In continuing with the fight to bring out Lupus Awareness, meet Sandra Lewis who is also fighting the good fight and looking very well while doing it.
(Sandra is smiling in this pic but she was very sick to the point that she thought she would collapse)
When and how did you find out you had lupus?
I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2001. My joints were constantly swelling and I thought I might have had Rheumatoid arthritis. The first medical practitioner I went to diagnosed me with having Dengue fever in November and December 2000; however I went to a different doctor for a second opinion in 2001 who was convinced I had systemic lupus erythematosus SLE and referred me to a specialist in Barbados where it was concluded that I tested positive with SLE.
How has life changed since your diagnosis?
It’s very difficult doing even the simplest task; for instance after waking up on a morning whilst preparing breakfast I’m usually very tired. I find it hard to socialize and I’m constantly missing work as a result.
What are some of the biggest challenges of living with a chronic illness?
a) Feeling absolutely exhausted on a daily basis which limits daily activities.
b) Constant joint pains which limits daily activities.
c) Pain in the chest which is accompanied with shortness of breath which creates a feeling of being light headed.
What are some common misunderstandings about lupus?
a) When you look as normal as hell but at the same time you’re sick to the point where you feel like you’re about to pass out; it’s almost like you have to try to convince people that you are feeling sick.
b) People can’t seem to understand that you’re feeling exhausted when you’ve done a simple task.
What advice would you give others battling lupus?
a) Take your medication like clock- work.
b) Try to incorporate exercising in your weekly routine
c) Drink a lot of water
d) Add alkaline based foods in your diet
e) Try not to worry and adopt an assertive attitude
f) Find time to rest
g) Live everyday like it’s your last.
h) Most importantly listen to your body
How has living with lupus affected your career?
a) Too many sick days
b) Find it hard to focus sometimes
c) Limited mobility some times
For as long as I knew Sandra, I was unaware that she had Lupus. I thank her for sharing her story with me and allowing us into her world and her struggles.