Theresa D. - Diagnosed Age 43
I was officially diagnosed with lupus at 43 but thinking back it was really when I was about 14 or 15 when I really started to get sick. I was working for my dad in his clinical lab to start saving money for college. I started with stiff and painful joints and back and chest pain. My father basically said it was because I was working too hard and always busy. I worked for my dad starting at 12 because it was a way to be near him because he worked so hard and I never got to see him much! So I was working in the lab, going to school, playing softball on a traveling team and playing tennis. So I was quite busy!
My dad and I used to play a game of diagnosing the patients by lab work and pure research on my end. He taught me how to research and where to look for the information I needed. When I started getting sick my parents just shrugged it off and told me I would feel better tomorrow! They weren't interested because they were focused on my older brother who was severely developmentally delayed. They were too busy.
So I started doing research on my own. Long story short, I thought it might be lupus. I also had access to clinical lab tests. But at that time there weren't many tests available for lupus. I was able to run ANA, sed-rate, and they were always slightly elevated. Now the tests just come back negative. So as the years went on I just got the run around from the Doctors. I even got told I was an alcoholic because I drank one margarita a year.
Anyway I let it go for a while but started getting sicker and again the docs would say I was just an obese middle age hysterical female. Anyway 20 years ago I found a Doc that listens to me and he said it was lupus. He started me on meds and helped me until I moved back to California. Now I just go on status quo and really get no help from the doctors. I still feel awful every day and just push to get by. I have lots more to say but no room so be brave and hang in there my fellow lupies.