Monday, May 30, 2011

Lupus

by Megan S.


You know when words fail you?  That whatever you write or say can't possibly encompass all that you feel about something?  That's how I feel about Lupus.  It's an autoimmune disease that, chances are, affects at least one of you reading this and you may not even know it.  Maybe it's you or your best friend has it or your cool aunt suffers from it or your favorite pop star shows signs of Lupus.  My mama does.


You know that part of your body that protects against viruses?  That acts like a knight in shining armor, slaying all the bacterial and viral invaders?  What if that wonderful protector part of your system started attacking you instead?  That's what Lupus does: your immune system attacks your healthy tissue and organs.

When you have Lupus, you may feel tired all the time, your fingertips may turn blue from not enough blood, you've might have this bright redness across your cheeks and the bridge of your nose that looks kind of like a butterfly, your joints may hurt a lot, you can get a rash from sunlight, or when it's really bad, your kidneys might start to fail so your legs swell and you can't stand, or you may break out in weeping sores, or your hair could start to fall out and collects in the shower drain, or you may experience debilitating pain so bad you can't get out of bed and you don't know why.

Mostly, it's women that suffer from Lupus.  Chances are even higher for women of color.  The disease usually becomes apparent between the ages of 15-45.  My mother showed signs of it when she was in her twenties but wasn't diagnosed with Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) till just a few years ago.  She's one of the lucky ones, I guess.  The mortality rate for the most harmful of the four types of Lupus is grim.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of those that die from SLE, more than a third pass on before reaching the age of 45.

Dr. Horrible, Dollhouse, and Spartacus writer Maurissa Whedon has SLE.
May is Lupus Awareness Month.  Do yourself and all those you love a favor.  Take a few minutes today to read up on the autoimmune disease.  You could save someone's life just knowing the signs to look for.

* What is Lupus?

* Could you have Lupus? Here's a checklist.

* Like any good geek, you'll wanna check out the statistics.

* While there hasn't been much research on Lupus, there has been some.  Read up on the latest.

Feel like donating to help find a cure or even just a medicine that will do more to help relieve the suffering?  Give a buck to the Lupus Foundation of America and say screw you, Lupus.
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1 comment:

  1. Readers here may think they don't know of anyone with Lupus. Most likely you do... many cases go undiagnosed.

    Lady Gaga's beloved aunt died of Lupus. Lady Gaga herself is watched closely by her doctors as she has tested, what she calls, "borderline positive."

    The singer Toni Braxton battles Lupus and has been hit with Lupus Pericarditis which attacks the heart.

    There are many more well known people that battle Lupus daily... and others that have lost their battle. Michael Jackson reportedly had Lupus. The scars on Seal's face are from Discoid Lupus.

    Busy Phillips, Lady Gaga and Julian Lennon are lending their talent to fighting Lupus.

    Julian's father, John Lennon, wrote the song, "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" about a little girl who was friends with Julian. As an adult, Julian discovered that his friend Lucy Vodden suffered from Lupus. After her death he has continued to honor her by supporting Lupus research.

    Stella

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