Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lupus? Whats that?

Its been a little bit since I've blogged and I'm feeling a little inspired to write a little more about Lupus so that those of you who don't really know about the disease can gain some insight.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect different parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies that protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. These foreign invaders are called antigens. With Lupus, the immune system can't tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies that attack the body. This can cause inflammation, pain and damage to various organs. Some of the symptoms that people with Lupus feel can include:

*Joint and muscle pain
*A highly weakened immune system
*Extreme Fatigue
*Skin Rashes
*Kidney problems
*Chest pain

Mind you, these are just some of the general problems people with Lupus have. While taking medications to treat these issues, you usually end up with a weaker immune system which leaves you susceptible to sickness. Lupus sufferers also need to be careful to continuously monitor themselves for other diseases. More often than not you can develop another disease in addition to having the Lupus.

Another alarming fact is that African-American women are 3 times more likely to get lupus than white women. African-American women tend to develop Lupus at a younger age and have more severe symptoms than white women. This fact alone is what led me to want to start a non profit organization. I know how hard it can be a young African American women, who has been diagnosed with Lupus and now has a million and one questions.

When I first found out that I had Lupus, I'll admit that I barely knew anything about it. After doing a ton of research I was shocked to find out that it affects African American women at a higher rate that other races. It was really frustrating for me that I could not find any information about Lupus that was specific to my race. All the information seemed pretty generic and I couldn't answer any of the specific questions that I had. So I just continue researching and asking questions, because I figure someone has to have asked the same questions, and someone may have had an answer.

So while I've had to make some life adjustments the past 3 years to accommodate living with Lupus, I am still learning. Every day is a new day, and I've learned its easier to keep and open mind rather than dwell on the fact that I have Lupus.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blogging For A Purpose

Welcome to my blog! I've been encouraged by my close friend Racquel, to blog for a number of different reasons. I wanted to blog to support those women of color who suffer from Lupus and need to vent, as well as to update the world on the progress of my organization. So let me start off with the organization, I am in the process of starting a non profit to support minority women who suffer from Lupus. The name of the organization is Shades of Lupus. Being diagnosed with Lupus a few years ago, I found some things extremely frustrating in dealing with this disease and I am trying to prevent other young women who develop this disease from having to go through the same things, or at least soften the blow. So as things come up with the organization I will definitely blog and keep the Web posted as well as post any other random thoughts I have. As of right now, I am on track to file for incorporation by next Thursday so wish me luck!!! I am very interested in hearing feedback from the outside world so please feel free to post a reply!