Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake and can damage many parts of the body. Lupus is progressive, ever-changing, unpredictable, and different for every person in their symptoms and severity. Did you know that lupus:
- Is a mysterious and misunderstood autoimmune disease. It strikes without warning, affects each person differently, and has no known causes or cure.
- Symptoms can be severe and highly unpredictable and can damage any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys.
- Can strike anyone at any time, however 90% of people living with lupus are women.
- Only has one drug that has ever been developed and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration specifically to treat the disease.
For me, lupus symptoms began at 12 years old. My fingers would turn white when the temperature was cool. This soon progressed from fingers to hands, feet, wrists, and ankles. The blanching progessed to my extremeties turning purple and my hands and feet would become unusable from the swelling and pain. Muscle and joint pain, extreme fatigue, headaches, fever, rashes, hair loss, mouth and nose ulcers, stomach pain, a butterfly rash, sun sensitivity, and more soon followed. Years of pain, uncertainty, doctors appointments, blood tests and biopsies finally led to my diagnosis at 15.
Having a diagnosis and treatment plan is helpful, but there is no cure. Medications to manage symptoms come at the price of side effects and do not continually provide relief. Over time, higher doses and stronger drugs have become necessary to keep my symptoms under control. Flares can be brought on by stress, lack of sleep, illness, or sometimes nothing at all. What’s more, once you have one autoimmune disease, there is a strong likelihood of developing more (I have three)!
That’s why my family and I are again choosing participate in the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now™ in Raleigh to raise critical funds for the estimated 1.5 million people living with lupus in the United States. Will you join my team or make a donation to support the Foundation's efforts to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus? Every single dollar counts. Together, we can solve the cruel mystery of lupus. Thank you for your generosity!