Kimberly J. - Diagnosed at age 15
As a teenager, I could never figure out why my joints were so painful and achy. The pain was so excruciating that there were days I could barely walk. I basically suffered in silence not understanding what was really happening to me. I smiled through it all. I joined the United States Army at the tender age of 18. I coped with the pain to the point that I was immune to it. I traveled the world and enjoyed life as normal. As the years went by, my hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet felt very arthritic. It was definitely time for a medical visit. So, I decided to investigate my mysterious illness with a team of specialized medical doctors and rheumatologists. After a series of exams, blood tests, and exploring my family’s history, it was determined that I had Systematic Lupus Erythematosus.
I lived my life in shame with hopes that no one would ever learn of my condition. So, what did I do? I hid behind the pain. It became normal to be fatigued and have pain radiating throughout my body. I was totally embarrassed about my health condition. I struggled to understand why me. I could not understand what was really happening to me. I was baffled and lost, until I finally decided to fight back. Here I am today at the age of 50... Bravely fighting lupus with hopes to inspire and encourage others to be strong and stand up against lupus. I've created a blog/website to promote self-esteem, happiness, fashion, healthy tips and lifestyles while living with lupus. Because you really do not have to look how you feel. Spread awareness.