In memory of Terrie B. – Diagnosed at age 38
Shortly after I was born, my mom was diagnosed with lupus. Her life took a 180-degree turn as she began her battle with the disease. It started with a butterfly rash, then pain in her joints, and low fevers. At 38, she went through an ordeal of tests which led to her diagnosis.
My mom always pushed through, having her good days and then of course days or weeks of flare ups. She was a warrior, and that’s how I’ll always remember her to be. She would push through on her worst days to be there for me. I won’t forget the day of my high school graduation where she had felt horrible all day but still pushed through and came. She was my biggest supporter through everything.
She was proud to share her story and be open about having lupus. When I was about five years old, she put together a walk for the Lupus Foundation of America. She gathered major sponsors to support the cause and put the whole event together herself. I still have a t-shirt she made for the event, and memories of walking with my best friend and my grandfather painting our faces with butterflies. This was during a time when her doctors considered her to be in remission, which was not the only time they would tell her that.
You can’t always tell when someone has lupus, many of the symptoms being undetectable when looking at someone. Even friends and family wouldn’t understand when my mom would say she’s not feeling well during some of her flare ups. The older I got and began to understand lupus, I described my mom’s hidden pain like what you see in ibuprofen or cold medicine commercials where they show a figure of a body covered with flames which represent the pain the medication treats. I’d say that’s what my mom feels, pain through her whole body, and then people could understand as there was an image, almost like it was proof that she was sick.
I unexpectedly lost my mom in January of 2019, a few days shy of her 60th birthday. Today I felt compelled to share a part of her story, to hopefully remind others who have a loved one with lupus that any time spent with them should not be taken for granted. And to those battling lupus, you are a warrior.