Singer, Selena Gomez, is making headlines for finally breaking her silence on her battle with Lupus.
Unfortunately, like Multiple Sclerosis, I’m very familiar with Lupus because my mother has lived with it for years. In fact, I’ve expressed concerns to doctors recently that I need to be tested more thoroughly to rule out a misdiagnosis.
In light of recent headlines, I decided to take advantage of my dear Mom (plus, it was my way of gaining more insight on what I need to tell my doctors) and probe her for some information.
But, first what is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
(SLE or Lupus)?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by acute and chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body. Like other autoimmune diseases the body’s own immune system turns on the tissues (organs and/or skin). The immune system is supposed to act as as a defense against bad bacteria and antibodies.
People with lupus produce abnormal antibodies in their blood that target tissues within their own body rather than foreign infectious agents. These antibodies are referred to as autoantibodies.
This leads to inflammation and/or deterioration of a variety of areas (skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and/or nervous system).
So, now on to Mom:
THE INSIDE SCOOP
Coach Q : When were you diagnosed,
and how did you find out you had lupus?
MOM: In September, 1998. I kept missing work for months at a time due to extreme fatigue, weakness, and pain. The doctor’s didn’t know what was wrong with me. They first said I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but I wasn’t experiencing any of the symptoms of MS. Finally, an ANA Level was done which confirmed the Lupus diagnosis.
Coach Q : What do you think is the most common misconception about lupus?
MOM: People think you’re crazy! They can’t see your symptoms. Doctors can’t easily find the cause, so it can be frustrating.
Coach Q. Are there any annoying, misinformed things people say about the
MOM: I remember being told that Lupus was a Cancer; that it gets into your blood and you can die. But, I’ve learned that it’s NOT a Cancer.
Coach Q: What’s the hardest part about it for you?
MOM: Not knowing when I’ll get sick. My Lupus attacks my organs. One day I can be fine; the next day I’m sick. There are so many triggers and I don’t always know which one caused a relapse.
Coach Q: What advice do you have for someone newly diagnosed with lupus?
MOM: While there are different types of Lupus and there is no cure, it’s not a death sentence. BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. Learn your triggers (food, environments, stress) and listen to your body.
My mother retired in 1998 and has bravely battled this illness since then. She recently joined me in Arizona and let me tell you, Lupus hasn’t affected her cooking skills.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE – other famous people with Lupus
LaQuita Simone, Coach Q