Whoever thought that a swollen elbow would lead to this. My conference/planning hour was over and I was headed up the stairs to get ready for my next class only to be out of breath when I got to the top of the stairs. It was only one flight of stairs and I exercise every once in a while, so why am I breathing like I just finished a marathon? When I got to the top of the stairs I noticed my elbow was swollen. Now where did that come from; I didn’t hit my elbow on anything that would make it bruise or swell. You know me, I don’t care to go to doctors but some of my fellow teachers encouraged me to go get it checked out. I guess there was some wisdom there; an apparent healthy young lady, just out of know where is challenged by a flight of stairs and swelling is manifesting in joints from no obvious reasons. So I went to see my primary doctor for the swelling. He noticed the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis and gave me some medicine and sent me to a specialist.
For the rest of the semester, the Arthritis would become more pronounced, no doubt the cold from the winter weather had it’s say in that progression – swelling in the elbows and now the knees; and the beginning of stiffness, slowing down my pace.
Test. Test. Test. Test. Test. Blood here. Specimen there. It’s Rheumatoid Arthritis, a little Reynar’s Disease, and Connective Tissue Disease. Take this, this, and this. Okay, now tell me what is causing this. If I know what is causing this, I can fix what is causing this. I don’t want to treat symptoms, I want to treat the cause.
Well apparently doctors don’t think that way. But for one who don’t go to doctors and don’t take medicine that is the basis of my medical beliefs. I want to get rid of the cause. If I get rid of the cause, I get rid of the symptoms.
This difference in medical approach would become more prevalent in my many many doctor visits to come. The doctor would comment on the level of activity of the symptoms – inflammation up or down, etc.... based on the numbers from the test results and how the medication is contributing to bring these number into range. I would question what is causing this – is it something I’m eating, something I’m doing or not doing? What is causing this. So I can work on that.
Finally, after four years the specialist finally said, it’s Lupus. It has been twelve years now, and that swollen elbow has progressed to lose of hair, fluctuation in weight, hemorrhaging in the eyes, Bullous Lupus, minor kidney effects; to name a few of the effects we have experiences from this disease…. still no answer to the question, "what's the cause?". There being no answer to the cause, there is no cure yet discovered.
In the meantime, each day brings its own challenges as we bravely war against the disease that is at war inside my body.
Join me, will you, in the Lupus Foundation of America Walk to End Lupus Now to help raise awareness to the mysterious disease and much needed funds toward research in hopes of one day finding a cure.
Together, we can solve the cruel mystery of lupus. Thank you for your generosity!