I was first diagnosed with lupus in 2010. Although I had 3 positive tests, my doctors insisted that I did NOT have lupus and further tested me for other collegan diseases. I also have RA, OA, Raynauds and Colitis. This came after being mis-diagnosed with MS and Multiple Myeloma; both mimic Lupus. After my doctors mis-diagnosed me, I realized I needed to become my own advocate and find a new rheumatologist and neurologist.That’s when I wanted to become an advocate for other lupus patients. In the beginning of my disease I was really sick and didn’t know how I was going to take care of my then 1 year-old and 3 year-old boys. My husband jumped right into action to help. I found that support from family and friends is key to a chronic disease because depression runs so high with lupus. Today, not only am I a lupus survivor, but I’m a co-founder of a “YOU” Can’t See Lupus online support group (Facebook). I write a blog describing what it’s like to live with lupus on a daily basis along with the daily challenges that come along with the life events. I mentor other lupus patients on how to be their own advocate, where the lupus patients can locate
their resources and how to utilize those resources. It’s my mission to bring daily awareness and educate others on lupus. I reaffirm to myself and others that we will not be defined by our diseases.I have found that if I find one thing that I’m grateful for daily and with a positive attitude my life has been better and will feel better. To me, quality of life is everything. I chooses to feel and look better; “But You Don’t Look Sick” sticks with me and really,, who chooses to look like how they feel, not me! Lupus has taught me a lot during this journey also. I look at life in a different light and don’t take things for granted. For the past 2 years, my dear friend and I have (she’s done it for 3 year but I jumped in the last 2) run the Annual Crystal Lake Lupus Fundraiser. The money we raise benefits the Lupus Foundation of America. We decorate downtown Crystal Lake in purple ribbons, the local stores and community donate baskets and gifts that we make into raffle baskets and we raffle off the items. Last year we raised over $16,000 and this year our goal is $20,000! We don’t stop at May by spreading awareness, for us it’s 365/24/7!