Shermya J. - Diagnosed at age 8
My name is Shermya Jackson. I was diagnosed with SLE lupus seven years ago when I was just eight years old.
I began showing symptoms at six months old. My initial symptoms were bruises I developed that would occur overnight on my legs and arms and would stay for about a week and then disappear, frequent doctor’s visits, severe exhaustion, mouth and nose ulcers, frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums, intense pain throughout my body (mainly in my legs), stiffness in the morning, and extreme nausea. I was also having sleep, memory and mood issues. The rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and thrombocytopenia. I have had to make many changes since having lupus. I have to avoid outdoor activities including physical education outside for school. I have missed many pool parties, important family events, and picnics because I can’t do outdoor activities. I love playing volleyball. I play competitive and year-round.
I encourage people who deal with a chronic illness to stay positive, keep fighting, and never give up. You should never dwell on what you can’t do. Think about what you can do. Your illness doesn’t define who you are. You are not a victim; you are a survivor. My parents encourage me to have and strive for goals and dreams and to not let lupus control my life. My mom gives me hope, she was diagnosed with lupus a few months after I was diagnosed and she has never let anything hold her back. Lupus is just one part of my life. I am still of value and still have something to offer to the world. I have a lot to be thankful for. I have strong faith, and I know that God watches over me and helps me get through the rough times. I encourage others to stay positive. Never give up. People ask me how I stay positive and how I’m not depressed or sad about my chronic illness. I tell them that I know God got me, and that you have to believe and have faith in God so that everything will be ok.