I am currently in my 20th year of teaching. The last eight years I have taught kindergarten and found my happy place.
When I was a teenager, I had many symptoms of an autoimmune disease that were not put together by the different doctors. After my first year of teaching, I was diagnosed. Due to my circumstances—first-year teacher, a woman, a mom of a two-year-old, and living in a new state--I could have been told I was just tired. But I pushed and demanded all tests be run. My initial diagnosis was Sjogren’s Syndrome, but due to a few hospital stays, lupus was added. I knew what that meant. My grandfather had bravely dealt with lupus for thirty years after his diagnosis in 1970 caused him to retire at 54 as a mail carrier partly because of the sun and heat. No one had heard of lupus at that time.
My goal is to help educators know more about pediatric lupus that is often misunderstood. I want to help administrators and coworkers better understand the constant battle those of us with lupus face as we still perform our duties. My biggest battle is recess. Fortunately, I have amazing coworkers that have always helped me.
I recognize it is difficult for those around me because I put my mask on daily and do not look sick. I use the “spoon theory” that we all have limitations. I put all of my spoons into my students and the other requirements teaching brings these days. So almost no spoons remain for weddings, baby showers, and friend time. I am fortunate to have a supportive group of friends who understand that “yes, I want to participate, but I will have to let you know five minutes before the event starts.” The spoon theory has been helpful for those around me to understand my limitations.
The GA Chapter has provided a community where I am accepted without question.
I’m Walking to End Lupus. Join Me?
Imagine a day when doctors can say, “There is a cure for lupus.” Until that day though, there is work to be done. That’s why I’m taking action in the fight against lupus. Join me as I participate in Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now™ in Atlanta to raise critical funds for the estimated 1.5 million people living with lupus in the United States.
Did you know?
- Lupus is a mysterious and misunderstood autoimmune disease. It strikes without warning, affects each person differently, and has no known causes or cure.
- Lupus symptoms can be severe and highly unpredictable and can damage any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys.
- While lupus can strike anyone at any time, 90% of people living with lupus are women. Women of color are at especially high risk.
- Only one drug has ever been developed and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration specifically to treat the disease.
Together, we can solve the cruel mystery of lupus. Thank you for your generosity!