Crap! I Have Lupus
What is it and what are the symptoms you should look out for?
The eagle-eyed among my readers will notice that I have yet again been on an extended break from writing. For once, it’s not my mental health that’s the problem, althouh it is has well and truly taken a battering the last couple of months. It’s my physical health. I have lupus.
What is lupus?
Lupus is an auto-immune disease, whereby the immune system mistakenly starts attacking healthy cells and tissues. For the most part, no one knows what causes it (aside from drug-induced lupus, which can be a side-effect of some prescription drugs), but it most commonly affects:
- people aged 18–44 (check)
- members of the Black, Asian and Indiginous communities (no check, guess I’m just “lucky”
- women — 90% of sufferers are female (check. Sigh).
I am a very intelligent person, so I am particularly aggrieved to discover that my immune system is so stupid.
“What’s this? A perfectly healthy knee? Argh! KILL IT, KILL IT NOW!” — my immune system.
What are the symptoms?
All auto-immune diseases (there are over 80, in total) affect people differently. For example, a ‘butterfly’ rash across the nose and cheeks is a common symptom of lupus which I have never had. However, the rest of my symptoms are fairly typical of the disease.
Around the middle of last year, I began experiencing crippling joint pain. Here’s the weird thing though: it wasn’t any particuar joint or set of joints. It was all of them, but not at the same time — it was like the pain was travelling around my body.
When I first woke up and found my right knee was so painful I couldn’t walk on it, I figured I’d injured myself exercising. But after taking a break from any kind of workout, it kept happening. One day it would be my right knee, then it was my left. Then I had excruciating pains in my fingers and wrists that I just couldn’t explain.