Natalie M. - Diagnosed at age 12
Hi, my name is Natalie and I was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 12. I remember being in middle school and just feeling horrible, I just felt like I was out of my body. It's hard to explain to be honest. But anyway, living with lupus is harder than people think. "You don't look sick" is what most people say and I hate hearing that.
When I was in 10th and 11th grade (high school) I started chemotherapy because the lupus seemed to be affecting my kidneys. Unfortunately for me the chemo didn't work and right out of high school I had to start dialysis. I graduated top 20 in my class!!! I was always such a little nerd haha. I tried to do school, dialysis, and work. It wasn't working. Dialysis made me super tired and I just lost all of my energy. I did get depressed, I'll be honest. I never showed this to my family, I think I try to be strong, not for me, but for them. During this depression I was always thinking "why me?" I stopped with all my religious beliefs. I was mad at God, I was mad at the world. I'd sit there thinking (and still to this day) "I'm not a bad person, what did I do at the age of 12 to deserve this. There are people out there so much worse than me, and I was the one that this had to happen to?"
Fortunately, I received a kidney on December 12, 2019! I have this pretty big scar which I hated at first but now I see it as the scar that saved my life. Lucky for me I've had so many supportive people in my life; my family, boyfriend, and friends.
For the past few years I've been Walking to End Lupus. I now walk for my nephew too who was diagnosed with discoid lupus about two years ago. I'm tired of living my life in hospitals, getting blood work and tests, seeing this doctor and that doctor. I'm even more tired of people not understanding lupus. So, I'm walking and raising awareness to hopefully one day say "Hi, I'm Natalie and I USED TO HAVE LUPUS!"