Recently I found out I have an auto immune condition called Lupus.
For the past 5 years, I’ve been to doctor after doctor who never knew what was wrong with me or why most days, I felt sick. There was little to no explanation for why my stomach was constantly hurting, why I would have days where I had no energy and couldn’t do much, why I require on average 10 hours of sleep at night, why I bruise easily and get rashes. The list goes on, and to be honest sometimes it was hard to stay optimistic. I have always been somebody who looks at the bright side and doesn’t want to be defined by these things or have them limit me from being social or enjoying doing things.
I had dermatologists tell me I just had normal acne and that it was nothing they could help with. I had doctors who told me it was just as much a mystery to them as it was to me. I even got a colonoscopy where they told me that everything was inflamed but didn’t now have answers as to why. I had a doctor a couple years ago who told me most of my symptoms were due to bacteria overgrowth in my small intestine, which we thought was the answer to most of my health stuff, but yet everything I did to try and treat that didn’t help. I tried a lot of diets, vitamins, supplements , got a lot of blood drawn in hopes that something might help. Finally, last year some bloodwork I did suggested I could have an auto immune condition.
Long story short, initially my rheumatologist wasn’t sure what I had but thought maybe it could be lupus. The thing about auto immune conditions is that they can be hard to diagnosis. A lot of the typical auto immune symptoms are the same across the board but each one usually has a signifying factor or two that help identify them. She put me on a medication that usually would help improve some symptoms if you do have auto immune condition and told me to come back in three months to follow up. I remember praying after that appointment, that by the next visit she would have an answer, a diagnosis would finally provide insight into all my health problems. Over the next three months, a lot of my symptoms improved from the medication which she told me indicated I for sure had an auto immune condition. Within those three months, I also started to get what is called the butterfly rash, which is a rash on your face over your nose and under your eyes. This rash is very specific to Lupus, and so from that she was able to move forward with telling me I had lupus.
I have to be honest, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions since finding this out. The biggest thing I feel is relief, after everything these past few years I finally have an answer. Also, I have felt a lot of intimidation and it is a bit scary because there is a lot of unknowns and also the recognition that this is a condition I have to learn how to live with and manage.
Through this whole process, the biggest thing I have felt though is thankfulness. Thankfulness for my wonderful Fiancé who always advocated for me, knows when I need rest and always prays with me when I am down. For my close friends and family who have encouraged me, prayed for me and checked in on me. I have so many incredible people in my corner, and that alone means the world. I’m thankful for all the doctors who helped overtime to put the puzzle pieces together. I’m thankful to have answers to the prayers I prayed for so long. I am thankful that my lupus is not as bad as it could be and that I can start figuring out my triggers to avoid flare ups.
I am thankful that I learned to advocate for myself and to know my boundaries. Thankful that I’m learning how to take care of my body and how to listen to it. Thankful that it taught me to have grace with myself and others.
I know this is just the beginning but I hope to bring more awareness to the invisible diseases that people face and to remind others that they are not alone.
There are going to be good days and bad days, but regardless there is always hope.