Trakela W. – Diagnosed at age 13
I was diagnosed at 13 years of age with SLE and Stage 4 renal disease. My symptoms started with urinary tract infections and extreme fatigue while in 8th grade. I transitioned from a straight-A scholar to having to attend summer school due to constant early release and absentees. I was diagnosed with three immune disorders before a proper diagnosis. I am now 39. I have experienced hair loss, 7 kidney biopsies, 4 sets of 6 chemotherapy treatments, a stroke at 16, 2 blood transfusions, rehabilitation to walk again, manic depressive disorder, a miscarriage, a stillbirth, blackouts from migraines, and currently starting Benlysta. That said, I also have obtained several great achievements: for example, obtaining a doctorate and starting two businesses, despite having to resign from multiple positions in the corporate world in the past due to lupus. Even with a Schedule A, there was a lack of compliance.
It's stressful when both you and your mother have been diagnosed with lupus. I am a STEMinist who advocates for multiple foundations, including the Lupus Foundation of America.