Katrina T. - Diagnosed Age 37
I woke up one day in February unable to move my joints. I was terrified because my ankles, knees, elbows, hands were all immobile. I wasn't able to walk so my then husband had to carry me down the stairs of our townhome. A trip to the E.R led me to my first encounter with a rheumatologist – Dr. Popp of Baptist Rheumatology. I was terrified, after all I didn't know anything about lupus, the blood tests and information being given to me was overwhelming.
It took months before I was given the official diagnosis Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Sjogren's syndrome. I have gone through family and friends who promised to be there only to have them start complaining about me not showing up to events or put them first due to my symptoms. I remember an Aunt making the hurtful comment that I was acting like an old lady. Sometimes people don't realize how much their words can hurt. I suffered the most challenging events when the Sjogren's syndrome got worse. The effects caused me to have three plunging ranula removals in my mouth and a full mouth extraction with immediate denture placement. All of this happened when I should have been having the time of my life, yet I was in pain daily and constantly taking medication. Eventually my husband and I divorced and instead of breaking me, my journey of writing poetry and empowering others started. I found my voice and God gave me my Mantra "As long as I have a Pulse I have a Purpose."
ChocolateFe. I now perform under that stage name and I am now learning that my life is not over, it has just begun. I will not give up. I will walk in my purpose!