Living With Lupus

High school was much different than I thought it would be. In May of 2015 I was diagnosed with a disease called Lupus, now I know you probably have no idea what that even is, let me tell you. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your body pretty much attacks itself. In my case my own body was attacking my liver, pancreas, and gall bladder to the point where I almost needed to be hospitalized. Before I get any farther into this, let me tell you how I got to be in this situation. For three years of my life I was on medication to treat my acne, little did I or any of my doctors know that this would be the reason I literally went through hell. The medication I was on was basically destroying my liver for years and because of that, then went on to damaging my other organs.

All of this started out with stomach aches after I would eat so my pediatrician told me to change my diet for a few weeks to see if that would help, it didn’t. From that point on my symptoms only got worse. I broke out in a horrible rash on my face that made me embarrassed to go into public and especially school. I started to have such bad joint pain to the point where I couldn’t even hold a fork which then caused me to drop more than 15 pounds. I barely went to school and when I did I usually left early. I had no energy, I slept all day, and I had to stop dancing for the rest of the year. I was referred to a doctor at Duke University Hospital who after several visits and many blood tests they finally discovered I had Lupus. Being only 16 at the time I had no idea how to deal with something like this. I had incredible support from my family and friends, without them I would have never been able to get through this.

After being diagnosed I thought it would all be over with, not so much the case. Going into my senior year of high school I weighed about 113, not good for someone like me. I was literally skin and bones and I still could eat nothing because of the effects of the Lupus. Every time I would eat I would feel sick to my stomach, so I narrowed my diet to the same 6 foods that didn’t bother me. Let’s just say that did not help me gain back the weight. I then was referred to a nutritionist who made me drink supplement drinks with high calories. This went on for a good 6 months. It wasn’t until my doctor prescribed me this medication that calmed my stomach down, it took a few weeks to start working but after a year of hell I finally started to become myself again. Now I am still living with the effects of this disease but not nearly as bad as I was. Going through all of this made me realize how strong I actually am. I just keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason and I am happy I am me again.