Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's a Daily Struggle but I Must Stay Upbeat; Lupus Is a Largely Misunderstood and Difficult Illness to Diagnose. LAURA EMMERSON Spoke to One Young Woman Who Is Living with the Painful Condition

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's a Daily Struggle but I Must Stay Upbeat; Lupus Is a Largely Misunderstood and Difficult Illness to Diagnose. LAURA EMMERSON Spoke to One Young Woman Who Is Living with the Painful Condition

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA EMMERSON

wish I could go to dance classes but it's just not possible now, it's certainly changed my whole career direction and outlook on life.

"But I try to focus on the positives, I can still sing while my friends play." Lupus can remain undiagnosed for years, because symptoms vary from person to person, and often "mimic" other illnesses like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The disease can destroy vital organs and is sometimes fatal. But severe fatigue, aching joints and depression are just some of the symptoms sufferers can expect.

Various drugs can reduce the pain and discomfort, but there are currently no known cures.

"At one point I had been in so much pain for months, so my doctor gave me a steroid injection in order to take the edge off my soreness," explained Becky.

"The morning after I was dancing around the house in my four-inch heels and pyjamas - I hadn't been able to wear heels for such a long time, it felt like a miracle cure.

"But unfortunately the effects didn't last long and now after more injections of steroids, they don't seem to work any more, so I have asked not to have them."

The fatigue in particular caused Becky to feel very low, combined with the pain, and not being able to do the things she used to.

"I am a very bubbly character and am known among my friends and family as the one that is always jumping and dancing about, the life and soul of the party, but by this stage I couldn't have been further from that," she said.

Last year Becky contracted pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest, caused by her weakened immune system. "It was very painful to breathe, and I was ill for quite some time with it, but I found out that it's quite common for those with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis."

Coping with how other people see her illness can sometimes be difficult. …

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