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LETTER: October is National Lupus Month

To the Editor:

October is National Lupus Month, signified by a purple ribbon.

I was diagnosed in 1988 with Systemic Lupus Erthematosus (SLE or lupus). I had the butterfly rash most of my life, and I missed like 40 days of school some years and no one even thought of Lupus. So I have had it all my life without any diagnosis.

Lupus is not contagious and women get it more often than men. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that they are just recently kind of understanding. It can affect virtually any part of the body and it does.

Patients with Lupus also develop distinct abnormalities of the immune system. What I mean is, in addition to antibodies that destroy bad things, we make antibodies that destroy the good.

Lupus is also known as Wolf disease. Patients develop a rash around the eyes, cheeks and nose, which I had almost all my life. I also know that Lupus can affect any part of the body. This I know, as it has affected and killed almost all my organs. I now have Lupus Peripheral Neuropathy. My legs just start shaking and at times I am in my wheelchair. Unfortunately, the meds I take have caused severe bone loss and wasting of my bones.

It seems like most of my life has been spent in the hospital. I also have severe migraines and no colon, as surgeons took it out in 1991. The Lupus had killed it. I have tests monthly, and every surgery you can think of. I had a blood clot in my brain in 2005 and have some problems from that.

Thank God for my family. They have been through it all with me and always are at my side.

I am a survivor, even though Lupus is never in remission.

We have no South Dakota Chapter of the Lupus Foundation as of yet.