Living With Lupus. My Personal Struggle
I know you guys haven't heard much from me lately in the way of blogs and I apologize for that. I've been busy here and there lately with Doctor appointments and such. You see, back in June, I woke up one morning in intense pain and running a fever of around 104 degrees. My wife took me to the emergency room and I was originally diagnosed as severely dehydrated, given IVs and painkillers and sent home. It worked....for a few hours. Later on that afternoon I started displaying the same symptoms when I went to bed. I awoke the next morning with the exact same problem as the day before. After another trip to the ER they determined that I should be admitted and tested further. After 3 days in the hospital it was determined that I had Gout....then they changed their minds to Rheumatoid Arthritis then back to Gout. I was discharged with the official diagnosis of Gout and prescribed medication for it. After a week, my condition did not improve.
I returned to my Dr. who performed countless blood tests. He determined it was definitely something Autoimmune related. Another few days went by and I was at a live station remote (out in direct sunlight) and felt my face become hot and a rash forming around my cheeks. I immediately informed my Dr who asked that I come in immediately so he could see the rash. It was right then he diagnosed me with a disease called Lupus. WTF is Lupus? I'll get to that in a minute. He sent me to the Rheumatologist that came to see me in the hospital who looked at the results of the blood tests I was given and immediately confirmed the diagnosis as Lupus.
So what is Lupus? Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system becomes over active and begins to attack healthy tissue/joints/organs for no reason. It can be incredibly painful and it can cause severe fatigue, as well as kidney, liver, heart or lung failure. Currently there are 1.5 million people living with Lupus in the U.S. with 90% of those being women so needless to say it's pretty rare in men which is why it took so long to get an accurate diagnosis. Also, the fact that Lupus imitates other diseases makes it even more difficult to diagnose. There is no 1 test for Lupus. Instead it takes test after test after test to accurately make a diagnosis. A few facts about Lupus....It's NOT contagious. You can't catch Lupus from someone else. It's not a form of Cancer although Chemotherapy is a treatment option to suppress the immune system. It's not a form of AIDS. It's actually quite the opposite. While AIDS is when your immune system doesn't perform enough, Lupus is when your immune system performs too much. Usually, Lupus is diagnosed in people between age 15-40 and depending on your Dr can take months to diagnose. Luckily, I have a team of Drs who were on the ball and were able to diagnose me in a couple of weeks. Others have gone as long as 8 years before being diagnosed. Don't be the quiet wheel...if something doesn't feel right GET A SECOND OPINION.
So there you have it....you may hear me talk on air from time to time about my disease. I'm not going to try and hide it from anyone...I'm usually an open book and I feel that talking about it more helps me own this disease. I'll update my blog from time to time about it too. If you follow my journey, be sure to tell me so. Sometimes its interaction with you guys that make the bad days more tolerable. Right now I'm feeling pretty good no doubt thanks to the countless pills I take in the mornings but you never know from day to day. I could wake up tomorrow and it be a whole other story....welcome to my struggle with Lupus.