LupusChick’s Spotlight On series began about 3 years ago. We highlight men and women who are dealing with a wide range of illnesses, and we felt it was important to tell individual stories because of how different each story is. Our hope is you connect to one (or more) stories! This Spotlight On story was completed by LC writer, Maria Mongiardo and edited by LC Founder, Marisa.
Courtney is 22 years old and was diagnosed with Lupus in June of 2016. She had just moved in with her boyfriend and was dealing with what she thought was a normal occurrence of joint pain and strep throat. She had gotten strep a lot as a kid so she thought nothing of it. She also started losing her hair and just thought it was from stress at work. Eventually, the symptoms worsened and she went to see a doctor.
The doctor tested her for strep and it came back positive, so the doctor treated her for the infection. This course of action did not help and she was taken to the ER. The doctors found that her heart was enlarged and her lungs carried 300 mL of fluid. After 12 days at the hospital, losing 40 pounds, they diagnosed her with SLE. Today, Courtney is 7 months post diagnosis, is feeling better and is also in the Air Force.
Had you heard of Lupus before getting diagnosed?
When I was in the hospital and no one seemed to know what was going on, I did some research via Google. I looked up my symptoms and when I discovered Lupus was a possibility I looked into it further but until that point I had no idea.
You mention your boyfriend as a support system – how does he help you?
My boyfriend really helps to keep me grounded, motivated, and positive. I get anxious sometimes and it’s gotten worse since my big flare, so he helps me to make sure I keep my anxiety levels low, he helps me find reasons to get out of bed when I need to but don’t want to, he just keeps me going!
Do you have any advice for other Lupus patients your age?
I think the biggest thing I have learned through this is to not let your illness define you, the way that some people make this seem is that I am not sick or I am overreacting and then there are the opposite thinkers, the ones that say it’s a disability. I am 22… I cannot possibly think of myself as disabled. And I really hope that my current path of stability continues and I am able to achieve my goals of attaining my degree and building a career.
What degree or career are you considering?
I am currently pursuing two associates degrees, one in General Studies, mostly because I have a bunch of random credits, and the other in Applied Health Sciences. I hope to have a career in healthcare at some point because of my work through the military as a medic.
What types of medications or treatments have helped you and your Lupus?
I have the usual medications, Azathioprine, Plaquenil, just got off Prednisone, but I’ve also started eating for my blood type, using 4yourtype.com. They explain what benefits your body needs based on your blood type. It helped me shed the last few Prednisone pounds and helped me continue to feel better.
Could you explain more about the blood type diet?
I am an A – blood type, meaning my body looks for nutrients more in vegetables, turkey, and foods that do not contain gluten. My diet has been largely gluten free, dairy free, no red meat, and full of veggies! The website also explains what kinds of exercises you should do based on your blood type.
Is there anything you hope someone understands from reading your story?
I hope that people who read my story understand that Lupus comes in all shapes and sizes. But most importantly, I hope to be a resource for others going through this battle too! That if I can kick this, shake it a little, everyone has the strength to do that too! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if any other Lupus chick needs someone to talk to.
What is your Lupus story? Let us know in the comments.
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