You’re a 34 year old single mother of 3 children, one of them a newborn, all is good, or so you thought. Just months after he was born you’re starting to notice you’re having trouble carrying your own child. Your hands are on FIRE and it’s getting worse by the day! You notice a red rash on your face. After googling your symptoms you go to your doctors to get tested for what you think you are suffering from. It’s confirmed, you have LUPUS. Imagine you’re awake but not really there. You hear voices, but no one’s home. Then PITCH BLACK. You’ve passed out and you wake up in a hospital bed with no recollection of what had happened. You have amnesia and all you have to go by is what everyone else witnessed. You were told you screamed some obscenities and at times became violet. All things that are out of character for you. You can’t remember your kids' names and it takes a while to remember things. You can’t form words because of the stutter you’ve developed.
After finally going to the right doctors and with the right medication, you start to feel better, but only for a very short time… the pain starts coming back again. Only this time, it comes on quicker and harder. Over time your hair begins falling out in clumps, like “birds nests” in your hands. Walking becomes difficult, never mind going up and down stairs at your apartment. Even getting out of bed, your 16 year old son has to help you. Every movement you make is excruciating. Everyday, you have to muster up the strength and nerve to drive your children to school because it takes every single ounce of energy to endure the pain. When you get home all you want to do is lay down on the floor and sleep all day, but you can't because you have a toddler. All the things you used to do were taken for granted, now you are grateful for days when you aren't in so much pain.
This is just a tiny glimpse of what my cousin Vanessa had gone through in her earlier stages of pre and post diagnosis of Lupus. This blog post is not to make you feel sorry for her, but it is to help bring awareness to this very debilitating disease. Before knowing what Vanessa endured day in and day out, I had only heard of Lupus, I knew NOTHING about it and how it can really be so life changing to someone suffering from Lupus and their loved ones. (Research shows that 2 out of 3 people know little to nothing about this cruel disease.) I felt helpless, I had no Idea how I could help her or others who suffer from it, so I got educated. I googled and found some amazing sites that are dedicated to Lupus sufferers, their families and finding a cure. Here are a few facts about Lupus:
-It’s unpredictable. It’s an autoimmune disease that can ravage ANY part of the body.
-In lupus, the body attacks it’s own defense and produces autoantibodies.
-90% of people with Lupus are women, but men can also be diagnosed.
-Most often develops between the ages of 15-44, but may develop in childhood.
-African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos and Native Americans are diagnosed two to three times more than Caucasians.
-It’s not contagious.
-It’s difficult to diagnose and treat because the symptoms come and go and they mimic other diseases. Not one test can definitively identify Lupus.
-There is NO cure.
May is Lupus Awareness month and JCL Jewelry is rolling out our handcrafted #LupieLove Line and 50% of the proceeds for #LupieLove for the entire month of May will go to lupus.org. Together we can raise awareness and funds to finding a cure that devastates so many families.
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