It was a Friday night and I was relaxing from a typical stressful week of teaching. Laying out on the couch my body suddenly became awkwardly stiff. I began stretching my legs and arms thinking maybe I was just extremely achy from a previous workout...it was strange but I was sure a little stretching would fix it. The days that followed became even more weird. The soreness and aches seemed to travel to different parts of my body; my arms, back, legs, hips, hands then feet....my feet were the absolute worst! At first I thought it was my muscles but soon realized it was my joints. I could barely walk and was moving around like I was crippled from old age. At this point I knew something was not right and when my doctor received the test results and asked me to come in so she could discuss them, I prepared for the worst. On May 27, 2016 I was diagnosed with Lupus and later Rheumatoid Arthritis, both non curable auto immune diseases. I was devastated.
I left my doctor's office with a stone face of bravery because I refused to breakdown in front of her. She reassured me that it was a disease that can be controlled and that I could live a long healthy life. She urged me not to Google anything before visiting my specialist. Yeah right....I Googled away! Of course my first thought was "am I going to die!?" I immediately went into a panic thinking of everything I hadn't done in life that I wanted to accomplish. After talking to my mom and sister on the phone my panic subsided and I began to think more rationally. I told myself, "Adrienne, yes you are going to die...everyone is...but this WILL NOT be the death of you...this is not the end of your life!" Today, I am surrounded by an incredible support system consisting of family, friends and colleagues. I have one of Chicago's best doctors that specializes in Lupus and has received numerous awards for his extensive work and research.
Though I have my good days and bad days, I am learning how to live with Lupus but not let it take over my life. I was recently told that I should try to find the "silver lining" in all things...in this case Lupus taught me to LIVE. Live life, find my happiness and don't let anything get in the way of that!
I’m Walking to End Lupus. Join Me?
Imagine a day when doctors can say, “There is a cure for lupus.” Until that day though, there is work to be done. That’s why I’m taking action in the fight against lupus. Join me on Saturday, October 16th as I participate in the VIRTUAL Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now™ in Chicago to raise critical funds for the estimated 1.5 million people living with lupus in the United States.
Will you make a donation to help me reach my personal fundraising goal and support the Foundation's efforts to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus? A generous contribution of $10 or $100 can make a definite impact. What’s more, if your employer offers a Matching Gift Program to employees, you may be able to double your contribution with just a little bit of paperwork. Trust me, it’s worth the effort! Every single dollar counts!
Did you know?
- Lupus is a mysterious and misunderstood autoimmune disease. It strikes without warning, affects each person differently, and has no known causes or cure.
- Lupus symptoms can be severe and highly unpredictable and can damage any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys.
- While lupus can strike anyone at any time, 90% of people living with lupus are women. Women of color are at especially high risk.
- Only one drug has ever been developed and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration specifically to treat the disease.
Together, we can solve the cruel mystery of lupus. Thank you for your generosity!