Samantha S. - Diagnosed Age 18
I was recently diagnosed with lupus.
I am a full-time college student majoring in nursing. I work part-time at our local hospital and do side jobs like dog walking and house sitting to help pay my way through college. My life is crazy and I have no time to stop, but the past few months have been debilitating. I have been overwhelmed with fatigue and muscle weakness, joint pain and swelling. I have gotten random fevers almost every day since I was 15. I have noticed occasional joint pain and swelling for the past few years, but I was an athlete in high school so I blew it off. Doctors had no idea what was causing my fevers and they didn't put too much thought into it so I was never too concerned. I went to my doctor because I couldn't handle how bad my condition had gotten. She ordered lots of blood work and referred me to an allergist and rheumatologist when my ANA came back positive. After a lot more blood work, the doctors had narrowed it down to lupus and are beginning me on DMARDs with hope of success.
I work so hard in life and to be knocked down by your own body is hard. Some days I feel like I just can't function. I have had to adjust my everyday life to this disease and learn to listen to my body. For example, I love to kayak and camp, but being out in the sun is very hard with lupus. I become extremely fatigued and I get rashes from the sun. So to combat these symptoms, I wear all sorts of cute hats, long sleeves and sunscreen to protect myself. The little steps I take can have a huge impact on my body.
After reading other people's stories, I am filled with relief knowing that there are so many others out there who are going through the same thing I am going through. We are building such an incredible community that has so much support. Educating people on the disease is the first step to creating awareness and this website and foundation has done just that! I can't wait to see what the future has in store for all of us fighting this battle!