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        Faces Of Lupus
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Faces Of Lupus



2 Sisters 2 Different Kinds of Lupus


Hi my name is Monique Blackshear and I am 38yrs old, I currently reside in Montgomery Alabama (previously from Cleveland, OH). I was diagnosed with Lupus in 1985; unfortunately I underwent many complications due to my Lupus diagnoses. I was 9yrs old when I had my very 1st surgery. I remember it was when Hurricane Opel had hit us, that around the time when I had my “Appendix” removed. This later caused me to have a “Hysterectomy” done, due to the eruption damaging my female organs? Later in ’09 I had to have my upper bowel reconstructed. Unfortunately between the years of my surgeries I lost 2 fingers (2-3 yrs apart from another) due to poor circulation. 3yrs ago I had an aortic aneurysm repaired, that caused me to slip into a 37 day Coma. Addition to the many health issues I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, High Blood pressure, Osteoporosis, Thyroid problems, Sleep Apnea, Chronic Bronchitis, Acid Reflux and a host of other Health issues. Although I went through and still go through some very tough struggles, I take it day by day and is blessed to see another day. I open about my story, in the event it can relate, help and inspire other Lupus patients! I was on Channel 8 News at 11yrs of age, speaking about my story while an inpatient in Baptist Hospital. They had brought the program to Baptist South from UAB Birmingham, Al. *I am a Lupus Survivor, continuously fighting!!!


Hi my name is Lawanda Taylor, from Georgia and my story on my struggle with Lupus goes back to 1993; I first noticed symptoms of rashes on my arms and face. I went back and forth with my doctor and was told it was stress, an allergic reaction to my washing powder, shampoos, conditioner, lotions etc… after changing everything I used in my daily life I realized that it had nothing at all to do with any of it. I struggled with it until 2000 when I moved to Manchester, NH. I was referred to a dermatologist and as he walked into the room without laying a hand on me he said he read my charts and he notices the butterfly rash on my face and he is 99.999% sure I have Lupus. I set there in shock as he set up to do a biopsy of some skin behind my ear. It was torture as I waited for the results to be told I have Discoid Lupus. All other tests for systemic lupus at that time came up negative. Over the next five years my life seemed normal until I kept getting what I was told was a urinary tract infection. After three rounds of antibiotics I insisted that my doctor look a little deeper. I felt that it was something more serious than the average urinary tract infection. I was correct; I was referred to a nephrologist and diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis. I had less than 50% kidney function left and they started aggressive treatments of steroids and immune suppressant drugs. The prognosis was always dialysis but they did all they could to prolong the inevitable. Sadly in July of 2013 the inevitable happened, I lost my appetite, I began to lose weight at a rapid rate, and I suffered from severe nausea and fatigue. My Kidneys were now unable to remove the wastes in my body; I had to face the reality of dialysis. I don’t know if I have ever been more scared, confused or frustrated in my life. I am truly thankful for my faith, family and close friends. Without them I am not sure where I would be today. My doctor discussed the options available to me for dialysis and peritoneal dialysis fit me and my life style better. I was rushed into surgery to get the catheter necessary for treatments; I do my exchanges (dialysis) each night at bedtime. The machine runs for 9 hours as I sleep and I have a long cord attached so I am able to walk if necessary. I am currently on the wait list for kidney transplantation and I am patiently waiting for my turn. As I am waiting to reach the top of the list I am thankful to be alive, there was a time I asked myself why me, why me lord. I found peace in his reply of why NOT you?      ~LUPUS WARRIOR`


 Lupus has changed my life. It has made me stronger: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I know this may seem hard to imagine, but I am in a much better place because of all the struggles lupus has put me through. It was especially difficult being separated from my baby for almost six months and not knowing what the next day would hold or if I would be stable enough to go home. In addition, I missed my own baby shower, my 30th birthday, all of my daughter London’s first holidays including 4th of July, Halloween and more. I was diagnosed with lupus at age 22. It was very difficult juggling school, work, a social life and having this debilitating disease. Fatigue, body aches, swollen joints and chronic migraines were just some of the symptoms I had to deal with. Through the years I just learned to cope with the pain. 2010 was the most challenging year for me. After giving birth to my first child, I faced multiple health complications. Having lupus and being pregnant, I was considered “high risk.” During my pregnancy I developed preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and breathing problems. Due to these symptoms, at 36 weeks I was urged to have an emergency C-section. Within the first 1 ½ months after giving birth, I had two surgeries, dozens of blood transfusions, and was transferred in and out of ICU. In the next few months my kidneys were failing, and I began to have seizures, pneumonia and chicken pox. After the final surgery, things took a turn for the worse. I was intubated for two weeks. In five months, I was transferred to two more medical centers and was in and out of rehabilitation. I had always been self- reliant, but things were different when I returned home. Being hospitalized for so long left me weak and unable to stand or walk without assistance. I could barely carry or feed my daughter London, let alone change her diapers. I became depressed, bitter, helpless and hopeless. Exercise, eating healthy, being positive and staying focused was always recommended, but was a challenge for me to implement. When I tried to start a healthy regimen, I would run into even more obstacles. There were more bad days than good days: body aches, fatigue, headaches, car problems, financial & family conflicts—you name it—but I faced it all. I played the cards I was dealt. I’ve learned to take things day-by-day and set goals for myself. I’ve been participating in the Walk to End Lupus since 2008. One of my goals is to run a marathon in 2015. I still have a great deal of work ahead of me but I finally feel in control of my life and my health. I am at a place in my life where my health, happiness and my daughter are my only priorities. Everyone says I beat the odds and I know this! I have always had a vision of myself as a strong woman. I know I can do this can’t let this disease have the upper hand! I am so thankful and blessed to have a family who cares for my wellbeing and supports me throughout my trials and tribulations. My mom, dad, boyfriend, brother & sister-in-law and my best friend just to name a few, are a huge part of my support system, without them I don’t know where I would be. This is my story; this is why I walk to end lupus! For myself and my daughter:


My name is ShaVonne Mullen, I am a 34 year old mother of three. For the past 13 years I’ve been living with Crohn’s Disease. After several surgeries, many hospitalizations and to many doctors visits to mention I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 3 years ago. It has been rough but I am determined to fight and win this battle not just for myself but for my children. I’m still learning how to deal with Lupus. My worse flare-up caused me to lose a lot of my hair and have a very painful, ugly rash. I was then placed on steroids for six months which caused me to gain nearly 150 pounds. At that point, I decided “I have Lupus, Lupus doesn’t have me”. Since then, thankfully I have lost some of the weight, grew some hair back and learned how to treat and prevent the rashes. Due to me having Lupus & Crohn’s Disease my body constantly under battle with itself. One disease tends to cause a flare-up with the other . I take a lot of medications to treat both conditions. I still have exhaustion, memory fog, chronic pain and kidney problems. With all of this, I know my abilities and my triggers.




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