Lila M. Diagnosed Age 20
I had been prone to sickness throughout college, but it became extreme my junior year. I should have been focusing on applying to grad school or celebrating the eagles’ super bowl win with friends, but something was undeniably wrong.
Everything ached. I couldn’t walk, my legs burned with pain. I couldn’t talk, I had no voice. My blood cell counts were a disaster. It hurt to stand for more than a few minutes. I woke up in the middle of every night- drenched in sweat, shaking, feverish. It hurt to even get dressed, to shower, to sit myself up, to even be carried by my father to the ER- just to get poked, prodded, questioned, examined, injected, everything- with no diagnosis. Weeks went by. My grades slipped away. I missed events with friends, birthdays, interviews, work.
I was misdiagnosed several times. Months of confusion, frustration, and hopelessness passed. I was a shell of my former self.
Finally, I got my diagnosis. Along with it got a team of doctors, medication, a plan, and a fire within to fight.
I am now graduating college with high honors and attending graduate school this fall. I’m working again. I volunteer. I have fun with my friends. Each day is certainly still a battle - I’ve had 3 hospital stays since my diagnosis due to lupus complications this year alone; but I have learned to look at the roses among the thorns. Sure, I am not only my old self again- but I’m an even stronger me. I am resilient. Through pain, self doubt, hardships- I pull myself right back together. I have to. I WANT to. I am brave. The same girl who hyperventilated at the very idea of donating blood has been stuck so many times for blood work, IV’s, even surgically implanted catheters, that I can laugh- even make jokes- while doing it. I am thankful. I hold my loved ones a little closer. I am inspired by the stories of others. I am compassionate, empathetic. I am understanding. I am versatile. I am always eager to learn, always making the most of things. I can do anything. I’ve been face to face with some of my worst fears, but it has gotten me to a place in life now where I never thought I’d be...and that is a happy, strong, educated, radiant woman. (with a really bad immune system.)