Brittany Wolf: From patient to provider
When she was younger, Brittany Wolf knew something was wrong but never got a diagnosis. She had a positive genetic marker for autoimmune tendencies and went through a juvenile rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, then that was taken away. They never thought of lupus, but she spent much of her childhood in pain and with a lot of joint swelling.
Despite her health challenges, Brittany became a highly recruited athlete to division one volleyball programs. She ended her career however with a multi-ligament knee injury while playing, which resulted in a major post-operative infection that almost cost her leg and her life.
After the seven surgeries she endured, she developed very strange symptoms - burning full body rashes for no apparent reason, hair loss, gastrointestinal problems, more intense and throbbing joint pain, chest pain, heart palpitations, and full body fatigue. At this point, she was in college, and having a very difficult time due to serious cognitive dysfunction and brain fog.
Brittany majored in exercise science and kinesiology at Rutgers University and received her degree a few months after being diagnosed with lupus in March 2016. College was tough because of the infections and her body almost shutting down because of lupus, multiple surgeries, and the appearance of more unusual symptoms.
Despite it all, living with lupus has opened up a world of possibilities.
She has grown to be a strong advocate for herself and other people struggling with lupus. She is now a member of the Young Leadership Committee for the Foundation. She feels that it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest research advances and play a proactive role in advocating for lupus research. She's studied science and medicine as a way of being able to discuss treatment options with her care team and making informed decisions on her own care.
Brittany is now applying to graduate school to be a physician assistant specializing in musculoskeletal conditions and wishes to study public health to use her science background with research for finding cures for diseases such as lupus. She is passionate about fitness and nutrition, and encourages others to take charge of their health. She is also focused on taking advantage of the good days and keeping her body in tip-top shape to battle lupus.