- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
To tell you frankly, until now… … I have not truly understood lupus or rather I choose not to. In fact, when the doctor first told me that I have the same condition as my mother, I totally don’t know what was going on. I was too sick to think at that point of time.
By the time, I realized what was happening, the first thought flashed through my mind,”Huh?”, “What happened?”, ” Why me?” It was like your doctor breaks the news that you have this long lost twin sister living with you silently for 12 years and now she decided to be part of you for the rest of your life?! Ever since, doctors, medications and hospitals have become part of my life.
What is lupus?
Well, I tried to understand her. Okay, if I am to do a search through the Google, there is a number of medical definition explaining what is lupus. But I think I will just use my own words to simplify what it is. All of us have antibodies, right? The purpose of our antibodies is to protect ourselves from viruses and bacteria around us. What happens is, our very own antibodies now can’t differentiate between own healthy tissues in our bodies and external viruses and bacteria and attack on the healthy tissues. That is how it starts.
Lupus in full is known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE.
Why is it systemic?
Basically, this autoimmune disease can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.
So, how does it affect me?
It affects my full blood count which means my own body system is unable to make its own blood cells.
It happened when I had my first menses; I had prolonged fever of 38oC, breathless and sudden of weight loss. After my menses, I became so weak that I could not even walk and I turned yellowish. My body can’t produce red blood cells. I had to go through blood transfusion in order to keep me alive again. In another word, I am a living vampire with more than 10 people’s blood in me.
Exams and tests
In order to be diagnosed with lupus, I must have 4 out of 11 common signs of the disease so... ... During the hospitalization, my doctor did a physical exam and listen to your chest. An abnormal sound called a heart friction rub or pleural friction rub may be heard. A nervous system exam will also be done.
I am not sure what are the tests my doctor done on me. I managed to come across this website with this list of tests used to diagnose SLE may include:
There are other tests to learn more about lupus condition. Some of these are:
- Antithyroglobulin antibody
- Antithyroid microsomal antibody
- Complement components (C3 and C4)
- Coombs' test - direct
- Kidney function blood tests
- Liver function blood tests
- Rheumatoid factor
In order to find out if I have lupus, doctor ordered this test: antinuclear antibody (ANA) to see if I have the signs of an autoimmune disorder which is lupus. This test is done as I had unexplained symptoms such as swelling and rashes.
Usually, there is no detectable ANA in the blood (negative test). Sometimes, however, people who do not have any specific disease may have low levels of ANA for no obvious reason.
ANA is reported as a "titer." Low titers are in the range of 1:40 to 1:60. A positive ANA is much more significant if you also have antibodies against the double-stranded form of DNA.
ANA does not confirm a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE). However, a lack of ANA makes that diagnosis much less likely.
Although the ANA is most often identified with SLE, a positive ANA can also be a sign of other autoimmune diseases.
And the results turn out to be positive and because there is a family history, doctor diagnosed my condition as lupus.
Life goes on
Are you wondering how am I coping now? Well, so far so good I guess. Once a while, she will needs my attention and I will need to be send in for maintenance. Even up to now, the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases is not fully known. And sadly to say, there is no cure for lupus but only measures of how I can live with her peacefully.
Well, it is not say I am mentally strong and I doing extremely well. It is more like I don’t have a choice or rather there is only 2 options for me to choose. It is either you perish with her or you try to live with her. I tried to perish with her but in vain… …
So now, I choose the latter. That’s why it is just so far so good as for now.
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