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 weirder. 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 noncurable autoimmune diseases. I was devastated.
I left my doctor's office with a stone face of bravery because I refused to break down in front of her. She reassured me that it was a disease that could 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 and 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 am joining thousands of people across the country for the Walk to End Lupus Now®. I hope that you will join me either by lacing up your sneakers or by donating to my fundraising page.
You can make a difference by donating 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 $50 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.
Lupus is hard to diagnose, but the Lupus Foundation of America is working to make life easier and more comfortable for the estimated 1.5 million people living with lupus in the United States. Together, we can solve the cruel mystery of lupus. Thank you for your generosity!