Gabriela Estefany - Diagnosed Age 17
I was diagnosed with lupus in August of 2017. I remember I started to feel pain in my knees and my fingers, and at first my mom didn't believe me. I took pain medicine but it didn't work. My mother soon realized that it was no longer normal, and she took me to the clinic to do a lab test which came back negative. Suddenly, I was unable to walk, and I was sent to a rheumatologist that same day. At the time of the consultation I couldn't move, I had to be carried in a wheelchair. The doctor gave me medication and isolated me for a week. I couldn't do anything. It was a very difficult time because I felt helpless. The lab tests started and everything came out standard.
Then, the doctor told me that more lab tests were needed, which were very expensive, and for that reason it took me a while to make them. Once I did the tests and got the results, the doctor told me that I had lupus and started me with a treatment, which was plaquenil and chemotherapy.
I remember the first time they gave me the chemo, I started to feel very bad. They had to suspend it and start giving me little by little. Right now my lupus is under control compared to the beginning. There are days that I feel very tired, and having lupus has changed my whole life. It has been difficult to get used to -- taking pills daily, not being able to go out as before, going to school as tired as if I had run a marathon. Lupus has negatively impacted my present and my future.
What has helped me to live with lupus is simply my God. He is the one who has given me the strength to continue and always goes by my side, and my family and friends who are always present. My hope comes from God, I live day by day trusting that he has a purpose with all this. I am the living testimony of a merciful God. I am not ashamed of my God or my illness. I am proud of what I am and of the life I have and I would not exchange it for anything.