Ismar J. - Diagnosed Age 14
My name is Ismar Jakupovic. I am a Bosnian refugee living in Detroit, and at the age of 13 I was diagnosed with lupus. I was later diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease as I also have rheumatoid arthritis, raynaud's, and recently polymyositis has been brought up.
Lupus changed my life. I was a very active young teen ready to conquer the world. I played soccer, basketball and football. I loved being outdoors, being out in the sun, swimming and fishing. That all changed as the years went by as all the things I loved doing became harder and would affect me negatively.
When I was first diagnosed the winter time became my worst enemy. I was not able to stand on my feet. I had what felt like spikes on the bottom of my feet and on my forearms. I was confused as to what was happening with my body. The year before that I grew 6 inches, I had built some muscle, and all I did was play soccer and basketball. So when my muscles started to ache, cramp up, swell and hurt, I was not sure what to do or how to handle it. I got very depressed and before the age of 18 I was thinking of suicide. Doctors believed I’d grow out of it, but as years went by I didn’t grow out of it, all the things they hoped for didn’t happen.
I had pneumonia a countless number of times before the age of 21. Right after my 21st birthday I had shingles, and again doctors weren’t sure how since I was so young. At least two times every year I would go to the hospital and stay longer than 5 days. In 2016 I got shingles again! This time I got meningitis as well! Pleurisy seems to be a common thing. But every time I get knocked down I get right back up. I get myself into the gym and try to be as productive as I can be.
On September 27, 2018 I had emergency back surgery as last year was filled with health complications. But, no matter how hard life gets we have to get back up and appreciate this short life. Appreciate every moment because it could always be worse, this is what I tell myself, it’s my pick me up.