Tara S. - Diagnosed Age 42
My name is Tara. I was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 42. I am a wife, mother, and at the time of my diagnosis, I was a licensed practical nurse and a full-time student. I used to work twelve hours shifts/ three days a week and was in severe pain at work. The pain was unlike the pain I have experienced in the past, such as aching feet and a sore back from being on my feet all day and being overweight. The pain was specific and continual. I was at work unable to complete my shift and a co-worker had to call my husband to get me from work. I made several trips to the emergency room and got an appointment with my primary care provider. I was then referred to a rheumatoid arthritis specialist.
I was diagnosed with lupus and was flat on my back for two months. I had to quit my job and quickly readjust my life. I had to go through acceptance and started making some critical life changes in the areas of prayer, diet, exercise, becoming unemployed and now going back to school to get my psychology degree and become a registered nurse which I will start in the fall of this year.
I am in remission now but my life has been forever changed. I no longer have pain but go to the rheumatoid arthritis specialist and have labs every three to four months. I became a flexitarian (meat-reductionist) and exercise five days a week. Lupus has taught me to pray, love myself more, love my family more and pursue my dreams to the fullest. I no longer walk in fear. I pay attention to signs and symptoms now and am keeping better track of my body. My field of nursing is geriatric care but my goal is to become a lupus advocate and to teach nutrition and diet as it relates to lupus survivors.