Lauren G. - Diagnosed Age 6
As a child, I enjoyed bike riding, swimming, and being outside in nature. In 1993, at age 6, I was diagnosed with lupus (SLE), with symptoms of joint pain, leg rash, and a 105 temperature. What did a 6 year old know about lupus in 1993? Absolutely nothing! All I knew is that I had to swallow distasteful liquid each day, known as Prednisone. The rheumatologist that I was seeing as a child copied two black and white pages from an encyclopedia, then handed it to my parents to read. There was barely any information or resources about lupus back then.
As a child, lupus bothered the joints of my ankles, feet, and fingers. I participated in sports and extracurricular activities at a very young age to help my bones. Softball games, swimming, piano recitals, and violin concerts kept me busy and focused as a child. Despite lupus at a young age, I had a very active childhood. However, I never focused too much on "having lupus." I was busy living life as a high school teenager.
At 16 my 1st flare up caused high blood pressure. I recovered and stayed in remission for 8 years until the beast struck again in 2012. Lupus attacked my kidneys causing kidney failure, which led to the unthinkable - dialysis. After 9 months of dialysis and 12 months of chemotherapy, miraculously my kidneys regained function. At age 32, I focus more on living a proactive lifestyle by healthy eating, exercising, and helping others. I partake in yoga, stretching, and deep breathing.
I would like for others to know that they are a strong individual that will do great things in life. Continue to have faith and always be thankful for each day. To the younger children with lupus; your future is bright regardless of this cruel disease. Do not let lupus put "limits" on your life. To all lupus warriors; do not allow lupus to define who you are as a person. Lupus is a fraction of your life. It does not consume WHO you are! Don't hold yourself hostage. Redirect your attention to positivity. Waking up each day gives me hope, knowing that I'm capable!