Peggy P. - Diagnosed at age 13
My name is Peggy, and I was diagnosed at the tender age of thirteen. I hardly entered my teen years, which was supposed to be the most fun years of my life, instead it was quite the opposite. I was constantly ill, constant nose bleeds, sensitive to the sun, had problems with my joints, which the doctors thought was growing pains until I had the butterfly rash on my face and it was bad. My dark skin looked pink like a little piglet.
Anyway after being sick all the time, the family doctor decided to refer me to a hospital as I was in bad shape, there the team of doctors did various tests in order to get to the root of the problem.
After literally hundreds of tests done on me, they found that I had an enlarged spleen, so much so that it was three times the size of a normal person's. That also had an impact on my platelet count. I had to have my spleen removed in order to stop the internal bleeding, which led to my curled up joints. I had arthritis, which was difficult on a young person. I wasn't even able to hold a teacup.
Finally, all the tests were back and I was officially diagnosed. Ever since it hasn't been an easy road, I had my hip replacement at the age of 27, bilateral shoulder pain at 28 and 29, and of course my splenectomy, and various other operations - back, elbow, neck and the list goes on.
I was married and gave birth to two beautiful kids, one was a premature baby born at 26 weeks and weighed 600g, I had a blood transfusion during my first pregnancy. Life got harder as the years progressed and as my lupus got worse. I hate this illness because there is no end like other illnesses. I wish I was normal. I want to use my story to help others in South Africa and around the world, be an inspiration to them and fight for help.