My story is a story of a preteen/teenager aching, suffering, learning, coping and surviving. My story starts when I was around 12-13 years old. I remember it above any other memory because it was the first time that I had ever been really sick and my parents couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
My father has been a Licensed Pharmacist for over 30 years and had read or seen just about everything. A very knowledgeable man that doesn’t mind learning and growth even at 66. My mysterious illness came from out of nowhere and lasted the entire summer. He didn’t know what to think.
That summer was spent either in bed or in the bathroom. I slept and vomited the entire summer. I never went to the doctor that summer because just how it suddenly appeared, it suddenly disappeared! The school year started and there were no problems. I went through the seventh and eighth grade with no problems or feeling sick. At least not like the symptoms I dealt with that summer.
I was at that stage where I was becoming a young woman and dealing with the issues that young women go through. It was especially hard for me. I had to stay home every month on the day that my cycle started. I was always in so much pain. I could never keep anything down that day and I was miserable.
The summer of 1995 came and I was super excited and super nervous. I would be going to the 9th grade. Wow!! I didn’t know what to do with myself! I was entering high school and I was worried that people wouldn’t like me and that I would have the same problems I had in middle school.
I had been blessed with this curly hair and it got on my nerves! It never held a style. It did what it wanted. It is thin and curly. Today, even though I call it a blessing, I also can call it a curse. The least bit of moisture would kill a style and have me out of $60. Needless to say the females in the town I lived didn’t like me and a lot of it had to do with my hair, my complexion and me looking “exotic”.
The summer of 1995 was a repeat of that summer before middle school. I was in pain all summer, vomiting and sleeping. This time I developed lesions that left scars when they healed. I had never had scars on my face and I was mortified! I cried. Once school started, my illness didn’t just disappear. My arms and legs started hurting to the point where it was hard to walk. Climbing the steps at school was a task in itself and required so much energy that I used to sleep during my Algebra class. Thank God that I had an understanding teacher! By this time my mom had gotten enough of not knowing what was going on with me. She made an appointment with a Dermatologist.
The Dermatologist took one look at me, asked a couple of questions and told me that she wasn’t 100% sure but she believed that I had Lupus. She explained the illness to my mother and I and told us that she would refer me to one of the best hospitals in South Carolina.
This was the beginning of my sixteen year journey to becoming who and what I am today.