Faces 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`
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.
“I AM A LUPUS WARRIOR”