Leg pain was something I lived with ever since I crashed into a hurdle during the finals of the college annual sport meet in my last year of school. I was a pretty successful sportsperson and never faced any health issues. I was an active participant in my office sports meets as well. I was 32 when I first noticed small lesions on my legs and arms and increased severity of pain. The lesions soon multiplied in number. I was sent for some tests. Skin cancer was ruled out. Some more tests were done after which I was tested positive for lupus.
I had heard about lupus but was not aware of how badly it could affect my routine and turn my life completely upside down. I was determined to learn everything about lupus and started looking for information from every possible resource including the internet, medical journals and books, doctors, paramedics, and support groups. All along I knew that there were going to be some really tough challenges ahead. But what followed went beyond my worst expectations.
I soon developed bone spurs, tennis elbow, migraines, fatigue stomach pain and indigestion, joint pains all over the body and sleep apnea. Hair loss was severe but that wasn’t a major area of concern. I was more worried about being not able to do my daily routines without assistance. The mornings were good but health became progressively worse as the day went on. I was not on firm grounds financially which forced me to continue to work. I am a stock advisor with a private firm.
My job required constant alertness and the ability to make deft moves to accommodate market variations. About six month after I was diagnosed with lupus, I found my mental alertness becoming blunt and my ability to take sharp decisions rapidly deserting me. The biggest relief was that my employers agreed to take care of a major part of my medical expenses and allowed me to work from home. It also helped me avoid the sun, which was bad for my skin sores.
The treatment I was undergoing did not seem to make any difference, so I went to another physician. He changed a few medicines and that seemed to make a difference. My sores were less severe but the feel-good factor was back. More than anything else, the doctor’s advice to exercise and go for short sprints proved to be the game changer.
While I still take Prednisone and other medications, Lupus has driven me to become fitter. I never miss my fitness regimen because they have increased my physical and mental stamina.
The key to overcoming depression and living life positively when you have lupus is to stop being sympathetic towards yourself and develop nerves of steel. Your determination to live life to the fullest will help you pull through. Like most other autoimmune diseases, lupus patients too generally experience flare-ups of symptoms followed by periods of remission. But it is important to remain positive and exercise as much as possible to live a life as close to normal as possible.