My name is Latoya.
I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) in 2001 (when I was 17) after constantly falling asleep and developing an open sore and red rash on my cheek that wouldn’t heal.
I remember receiving a phone call from the GP asking me to come in ASAP as my blood count was so low I should be in hospital. Diagnosis took 6 months and once confirmed, the words Systemic Lupus Erythematous were scrawled on a piece of paper. The internet then wasn’t what it is now, so I had so many questions. After some persuasion, my GP referred me to the Lupus Unit of a hospital in London. I finally got to grips with my symptoms, how Lupus would impact my life and how to learn to live with it. The staff there were/are amazing - particularly my consultant who will never know how much she helped me in those early days of helplessness!
My physical symptoms were so much worse in the early years compared to now, and for many years I struggled with confidence and anxiety. Some of the biggest challenges were dealing with extreme fatigue and hair loss. Last year I became a mother. My experience with pregnancy and Lupus was quite smooth and during the second trimester I went into a period of remission right though to the birth of my baby. If you are thinking of having a baby, 1). It’s possible and 2). There is extra support available.
If, like me, you suffer from scarring due to discoid lesions, I’d recommend a pair of exfoliation gloves and using them daily when you have a bath/shower. They are a great way to reduce scarring over time. Lupus affects many people in different ways.
My hope for the future is that Lupus isn’t a death sentence for anyone. My advice to anyone newly diagnosed is to be honest with people around you. If you’re tired, take a break, lay down, go to sleep. Sometimes it can be hard for people around you to believe or understand especially if you “look well” but I found that following how I feel has really helped.#lupusawareness #lupuslife #lupuswarrior #autoimmunedisease #lupusflare #lupussurvivor #lupusadvocate #lupussupport #lupusproblems #lupusrash #livingwithlupus #lupusrash #lupushelp #pregnancy #baby