Jadian - Diagnosed Age 23
From the age of seventeen, I acquired some very odd symptoms that I could not quite put my finger on, they included joint stiffness, fatigue, joint swelling, etc. and I brushed them off for years. I felt that as a single mother attempting to finish college and work two jobs; going to the doctor wasn't an option.
When my symptoms became unbearable at the age of twenty-one I went on a mission to figure out what my body was trying to tell me. My blood work from two separate doctors over the course of two years discovered two positive ANA tests on two separate occasions, but I was diagnosed as clinically depressed with undifferentiated connective tissue disease. I was given hydroxychloroquine and went on about my life.
Since my second rheumatologist did not believe anything was wrong, he discontinued the medication I was taking. I looked healthy on the outside, but sometimes the aches, pains, and fatigue made me feel like a prisoner in my own body. One hot day during a walking class my skin was covered in red lesions, my arms became weak, and I became extremely fatigued. A rheumatologist that I was scheduled to see, saw me the very next day. As she looked over my chart, symptoms, and gave me an exam. She asked, "has anyone diagnosed you with lupus?" I answered, "no." She said, " that's what this is." From that moment I felt relieved to have an answer but scared to know what this meant for me moving forward. Especially since I’ve had two family members die from complications due to lupus. I am now still on the journey of making sure certain organs are not being affected from this disease that took so long to diagnose because the symptoms mimic so many others.