Lupus - @emilyan.n

"Hello! My name is Emily. I am from Ashland, Nebraska and I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I was diagnosed with lupus in March of 2018 after years of seemingly random medical issues began to be connected by my primary care physician. When I was first diagnosed, I was confused, scared and angry. Heck, I am still confused, scared, and angry. Lupus is an incurable autoimmune disease in which my immune system mistakes my entire body for a foreign invader. Every case is unique and different as to which body part is primarily attacked and how it progresses. My lupus has focused mainly on my heart and brain causing short term memory issues, recurrent episodes of pericarditis, pericardial effusions and tachycardia. Lupus for me also has caused debilitating fatigue, joint pain, painful mouth ulcers, a face rash that is more embarrassing than anything, difficult pregnancies and a miscarriage, and the inability to have any more children. I have found that there is a strong online community that helps connect people with lupus and that has helped me navigate through my illness as it progresses and makes me feel not as alone. I also have amazing support through my husband, our 3 sons, countless friends and my family, and for that I am truly grateful. Even still, it is hard not to feel isolated, alone or burdensome while dealing with a chronic invisible illness. There have been more days than not that I have been very depressed and anxiety ridden because of lupus. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother and when my lupus is flaring, it makes it difficult to be the active mom I want to be. But I am trying my best to turn something so negative into a positive. With my A.W.A.R.E. necklace, I hope to bring more awareness to lupus and the havoc it can impose on not only the patient but their family and friends. I hope to help create a chapter with the Lupus Foundation in my home state of Nebraska (the nearest one is in Iowa, on the other side of the state) one day and continue to bring more light to lupus." @emilyan.n

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