I’ve made a small change to my race schedule, and I’m taking on a different challenge. Instead of racing a half marathon that I had planned for the first weekend in April, I’m going to walk. Those who know me well know that I’d rather run 20 miles than walk 2, but this walk is something that is important to me. It’s the 2015 DFW Walk to End Lupus.
This is my little sister, Megan. She was kind of an early twelfth birthday present. Megan was diagnosed with Lupus in 2008 when she was pregnant with her youngest child. She had struggled with various issues for years. Megan’s gall bladder was removed when she was a teenager, she endured countless GI issues and tests, but it wasn’t until the stress of the pregnancy caused the perfect storm of issues that she was formally diagnosed.
I’m in the medical field, and I’ve run calls on all kinds of patients. Little shocks me anymore. Amy and I went to visit Megan in the hospital while she was having problems early in her pregnancy. She was on the OB/GYN floor at Methodist Mansfield. We stepped off the elevator, turned the corner to her room, and there was a crash cart sitting outside her door. That literally stopped me in my tracks. What was going on with her causing cardiac issues? Several hospitalizations later, we would later find out that it was Lupus.
Megan takes good care of herself; she eats a heathy, balanced diet and exercises regularly. She works hard to keep herself healthy. She has a husband, three children, and a full-time job that need her attention.
So, when Megan has days where the simple act of getting dressed takes every ounce of energy she can muster, it’s heartbreaking. It’s not fair. She doesn’t complain though. Megan soldiers forward, digging into whatever reserves she can find, so that she doesn’t miss out on getting the kids to school, attending their various activities, or getting herself to work. Most people probably don’t even notice, but those who know her well can see the hurt behind her big blue eyes or in her forced smile. By all accounts, she doesn’t look sick, but the Lupus rages on nevertheless.
Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disease that can damage many different parts of the body. Basically, the immune system gets confused and attacks the body’s organs and tissues. It is a very complex disease, and it does not affect everyone the same. Treating Lupus is tricky too. Immunosuppressants are often used to limit the damage the immune system does, but sometimes the immune system does need to attack things – like cold and flu bugs. It’s a delicate balancing act that has left Megan on quite the cocktail of medicines. The first time I saw her toss back a handful of horsepills, I almost gagged for her. I know that in this day and age, with as many medical advances as there have been, that someday a cure for Lupus can be found.
On April 4, I will join Megan at Lone Star Park and Walk to End Lupus. I’m walking and raising funds for Lupus research. I want Megan and the 1.5 Million Americans who suffer from Lupus to have more good days than bad. I want to find a cure! If you can support our team with a donation, that would be awesome. Prayers, positive thoughts, and good vibes are also appreciated!