“But you don’t look sick?”
A question, a phrase, often heard many times throughout the life of a person living with chronic illness.
I thought it would be fitting to explain just what this statement means to a patient of an autoimmune disease.
We have all, at one point or another, been afflicted by illness, whether it’s a minor cold or a life threatening condition.
Lupus is a complex disorder to explain.
Often when people ask me how I am feeling, I find it difficult to put into words exactly what I am going through. I tend to describe my symptoms by saying, “Imagine feeling like you have your period, are struck down with the flu and have completed a marathon all at the same time.”
This is what it is like to live with lupus.
There are many forms of lupus which can have physical symptoms. Disfiguring skin rashes, irritating lesions, weight gain or significant hair loss are just some of them. What people don’t see is the turmoil beneath it all. Extreme fatigue, painful joints frozen in time, and cognitive disorientation, all very real and very raw symptoms of a disease taking hold of the body.
It is an unexplained feeling that no matter how hard you try; your body will not cooperate. I have had those days. The mornings where my children missed school because I couldn’t find the energy to get out of bed. The afternoons spent sinking into the couch while Netflix took over parenting for the rest of the day. The nights where frozen dinners were a staple because my legs wouldn’t let me stand.