Hello world my name is Reba and I’ve had lupus for 7 years now. Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. Lupus (SLE) can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. I was diagnosed at age 19 but before then it took about 6 months for the doctors to properly diagnose me. The first signs I had of lupus were stiffness. When I would sit down or stand up for long periods of time and move again I would get very stiff and it would be hard to move. I would get swollen knuckles and my wrists would swell up, it was so hard to open a bottle of water. At the time I had no idea what was going on with me, I thought maybe I was loosing my mind or something. I would often forget things and have Brain fog so if someone was talking to me and ask me a question on something that I clearly knew what it was I would pause for a few seconds and couldn’t remember anything it was very embarrassing. Then my hair started falling out in certain spots and I started getting rashes on my face and body. That made me feel very insecure and so I started wearing wigs and makeup, this all happened in one year before I turned 19.
I remember getting my first wig, it was a Indian remy human hair lace front wig and it was dark brown and straight. I loved it though it was a hard transition I was so used to wearing my own hair but wasn’t confident enough to because of the bald spots. The first time I started wearing makeup was soon After I got those terrible butterfly rashes on my face it was dark and red looked very noticeable and I had to cover it up, so I went to my local Belks and ran straight over to the Lancôme makeup counter and told her I got this rash on my face from a soap I started using (at the time I didn’t know it was from lupus) and she felt terrible sorry for me but she knew just the right shade and foundation. I got the breathable full coverage 24 hour long wear foundation, it was perfect for covering up this massive rash on my face. I felt so much confident now that I could at least hide this rash. I walked out the store feeling really refreshed like my life wasn’t completely over. As the years past I learned what really has made my flares worsen. stress is the main one, If anyone has lupus that’s reading this, or knows someone that does... stress can really make your disease worse. Also eating fast food, junk food more often can make your disease worse as well. Process food is a big no! I’m not going to lie I sometimes eat fast food because it’s easier and already made but I eat it way less now than I did before. Catching colds of course can also make you have some bad flare ups so I always like to take a Multi vitamin and vitamin D because those can boost your immune system. I take vitamin D and calcium daily because I can’t be in the sun. Being in the sun causes me to have more flare ups as well so I’m pretty much a vampire when it comes to the sun, I either stay away or wear sun screen. Lupus has definitely changed my life, I appreciate life way more and I’m more thankful for the things I have. Dealing with lupus isn’t something easy, I been in and out of the hospital since age 19 I’m 27 now and it’s been a ride I have caught sepsis Four times in my life and pulled through each time. Lupus has made me strong, would I take it all back if I could? Probably not because having this disease has made me a stronger person and I feel like I could help more people like me, I learned to have Sympathy for other people who are in similar situations and Empathy for those ones who experienced what I have experienced. I’m grateful for life, it can be tough and it may knock me down sometimes but I will always try my best to fight and get back up.