By Ewodaghe Harrell
I was diagnosed with lupus after my second year of studies at Union. I was a political science and Chinese language major. After spending a term abroad in Shanghai, China, I spent six months at school experiencing hair loss, increasing joint pain and severe fatigue after each and every activity.
Between classes and exams, I would visit doctors who investigated the symptoms. After a gamut of blood work and tests, they still could not come to a conclusion.
Finally home for the summer, I was rushed to the hospital when I woke up without the ability to walk. It was then discovered that I had lupus.
I was terrified. The doctors called it a chronic illness that could attack all parts of the body and was without a cure. Would I survive it?
In 2011, three years after my diagnosis, lupus caused my kidneys to fail while I was living in Paris, France.
Despite having dialysis three times a week for four hours a day I am thrilled to say that two years later, I am doing very well. The active lupus is in remission and I am on a kidney transplant waiting list.
I am blessed with an amazing support system. I believe lupus can be a very isolating disease. It’s hard to explain to someone who does not have it, what it’s like on the really bad days.
My counter top looks like a small pharmacy. The list of drugs I have to take just to feel okay is overwhelming. I find strength in my faith, friends and family, who encourage me to get up everyday and try to make a difference in the world.
I have participated in the Walk For Lupus Now® for two years. One of the amazing things about the walk is that it reminds you that you are not alone. There is a whole community of people who understand how you feel and what you’re going through.
We need more resources. We need more research. We need a cure.
So I walk. I walk for research. I walk for support. I walk for my family. I walk in memory of those who have seen the worst of the disease. I walk for the hope of some day finding a cure, so one day the world can be lupus free.
Please join me and sign up today for a Walk For Lupus Now® event in your community. Or donate to my team; we will be walking in Tampa, Florida on May 5. Start by asking 10 people to donate $10 and you’ve already raised $100! Visit http://lupus.donorpages.com/tampa2013/HelloEwo
Together, we can fight this terrible and life-altering disease.
Sincerely, Ewodaghe Harrell ‘10