Nearly 15 years ago my mother was diagnosed with SLE lupus. At the time I was 14 years old and had no idea what her having lupus meant. I did see, however, her losing and gaining weight, hair thinning, and her energy level to nearly zero on many occasions. As a family we had crazy weekly schedules between my sister and I being in school, extracurricular clubs, athletics, dance and work, not to mention our family’s involvement in our local church. We stayed on the go, not knowing how damaging this was to my mother’s health. Lupus was quickly causing my mother’s body and life to deteriorate.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. -Lupus.org
My mother is one of many women in my family who have battled with lupus. Growing up we heard about others having the condition. Unfortunately, it was almost accepted as life and something that simply runs in the family. When I reached my mid-20’s I had thoughts about whether I too would join the list of women who struggled with lupus. It felt inevitable because so many close to me were experiencing life with the condition. As my faith grew and I witnessed my mother’s life and condition change, I knew that I no longer had to accept the idea of one day being diagnosed with lupus.
Mom’s story is one of lows and highs and I want to share a bit of it with you. I recently asked her some questions to get her perspective on lupus and to help those that read this who may suffer from the condition or who may someone who is to overcome and conquer their situation.
Interview of Denise, My Mother and Lupus Survivor
What was your earliest symptom of Lupus?
It wasn’t easy figuring out what my problem was. I was exhausted all of the time, joints and muscles aching. Many time thought the symptoms were from the flu. My memory was affected. There came a time that I was not able to remember how to do some reports at work that I had been doing for years.
What was your initial reaction to the diagnosis?
It didn’t upset me. I guess because I had heard the word lupus for so many years with different family members having it. Plus I believed that God had the last say in the matter.
How did it affect your day to day living?
It left me with no energy or drive to do anything because I just didn’t feel well.
How did you cope with your condition/symptoms?
I had to push through it. I had a family to take care of. My meds, especially the steroid that I didn’t want to take, is what gave me some relief and energy. But, it also makes you hungry and gain weight. I was not pleased with that.
What words of encouragement can you offer the newly diagnosed?
When you are diagnosed, regroup from the shock and realize that Ephesians 3:20 says that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think according to the power that works in YOU. You have the power to remain positive and believe that God is going to work it out. Just trust Him. Believe that God is able to do anything but FAIL. He has all the answers. By His stripes you are already healed!
When did your condition get better and how do you feel today?
My condition improved after accepting my miraculous healing from God in September 2014. Little by little, every day it gets better and better. I have to be reminded all the time that I still have to use common sense, listen to my body and take time out to “refresh”. I don’t have a glorified body yet! Almost daily, I quote the scripture, Psalm 118:16-18, “The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death.…”
What do you want people to know about Lupus?
People look at you and think, you are healthy. You can’t look at a person and see the pain they are in. It is a disease that is hard to be diagnosed. If you are feeling tired a lot, feel like you have the flu a lot, aching and not able to bend your fingers and knees without pain, perhaps you need to ask your physician to run a sed rate test to see if you have lupus. No case is the same. There are many types of lupus and it can affect any organ in your body. They say there is no cure, but GOD! Stress is ugly; it is a silent killer. Lupus is brought on a lot of times from it. Stop and allow God to take the wheel. He will keep you in perfect peace if your mind is stayed on Him.
Do you or someone you know suffer from lupus? Share this post to encourage someone today.
Learn more about lupus and awareness month here