Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

ness of the con­di­tion, or even help some­one else who may be go­ing through some­thing sim­i­lar.

When I was feel­ing at my low­est ebb in July, when I was hooked up to ma­chines and be­ing pumped full drugs and medicines, some­one close to me said: “When­ever you get dealt a s*** hand in life you’ve got to re­mem­ber one thing: cheer­ful­ness in the face of ad­ver­sity.” And they were right. So rather than fo­cus­ing on the bad right now, I’m fo­cus­ing on the good.

Yes I have lu­pus, but I’m alive. I’m not in as much pain any more and I’m get­ting the treat­ment I need. I’m sur­rounded by amaz­ing fam­ily, friends, an amaz­ing boyfriend and in­cred­i­ble con­sul­tants too.

If there’s one thing I’ve come to re­alise re­cently it’s that there’s al­ways some­one worse off than you in this life.

You can see that just by walk­ing around our lo­cal hos­pi­tals. There are people who have lost limbs, lost loved ones, lost any qual­ity of life they once had. But they smile and they say hello and they get on with it. And that’s ex­actly what I plan to do. At the mo­ment I’m tak­ing it all one day at a time.

I’m also stock­ing up on the fake tan, The lu­pus can stop me from go­ing out in the sun, but that hasn’t stopped me from ask­ing all the pa­tients on my ward to chuck on a sur­gi­cal glove and tan my back.

I’ve come to re­alise that laugh­ter and be­ing happy is the best medicine whether that’s through friends, fam­ily or a bot­tle of fake tan.

I’ve al­ready over­come the worst, and I can guar­an­tee that, real soon – just like I’m sure Selena will be – I’ll be back to my nor­mal self, climb­ing moun­tains, ex­plor­ing and ad­ven­tur­ing. All while rock­ing an amaz­ing fake tan!

If you would like to do­nate to Lu­pus Re­search Al­liance visit www.lu­pus­re­search. DE­SPITE be­ing life­long, lu­pus is a con­di­tion that “flares” up and down. So while one day you might feel right as rain, the next you could be holed up in bed feel­ing like you’re on death’s door. I like to call them “good days” and “bad days”, but th­ese flares can last any­thing from a cou­ple of hours to weeks and maybe even months in some cases. There are a num­ber of things that can trig­ger a flare-up, stress be­ing one of the main fac­tors. For me, one of the big­gest trig­gers is the sun so I con­stantly have to cover up and wear a high fac­tor sun block. Sun bathing is also com­pletely out of the ques­tion. HOW LU­PUS AF­FECTS MY BODY Lu­pus can at­tack and in­flame any part of your body. It mostly goes after your mus­cles and joints but in more se­vere cases like mine, it can at­tack or­gans like the kid­neys, lungs, the heart or brain. I have Stage 4 Lu­pus and the con­di­tion has af­fected sev­eral parts of my body in a num­ber of ways, in­clud­ing: Kid­neys – the lu­pus re­sulted in se­vere swelling on my kid­neys, caus­ing them to go into or­gan fail­ure. My kid­ney func­tion is now get­ting back to nor­mal, but there is still in­flam­ma­tion and a risk of scar­ring in the fu­ture which could ul­ti­mately mean trans­plant/ dial­y­sis Eyes – the op­tic nerves at the back of my eyes were so in­flamed, doc­tors feared I could lose my vi­sion. This also caused the shapes of my disks to change shape in a way many doc­tors had never seen be­fore. I also suf­fer from se­vere pho­to­sen­si­tiv­ity mean­ing my eyes can’t process bright lights and I have to wear dark glasses, as well as ex­pe­ri­enc­ing se­vere mi­graines and vi­sion loss Mus­cle and joint pain High blood pres­sure Heart – Doc­tors have re­cently found a mur­mur in my heart and I’m be­ing sent for fur­ther tests and scans Skin – Lu­pus suf­fer­ers de­velop a num­ber of dif­fer­ent skin con­di­tions, in­clud­ing a “but­ter­fly” rash across the mid­dle of their face. This can be un­sightly and em­bar­rass­ing for suf­fer­ers. Fa­tigue WHAT DOES THE FU­TURE HOLD?

Fol­low­ing my di­ag­no­sis in July, I was put on a num­ber of med­i­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a very high dose of steroids.

I still take around 15 tablets a day in­clud­ing steroids, blood pres­sure drugs and cal­cium. I’m also un­der­go­ing im­muno­sup­pres­sive treat­ment to turn off my im­mune sys­tem.

Doc­tors ini­tially sug­gested a course of chemo­ther­apy but this was de­cided against due to the fact that one day I want to have chil­dren.

It is hoped that once the treat­ment is fin­ished and my im­mune sys­tem is switched off, that it can slowly be turned back on and will (hope­fully) func­tion nor­mally.

This es­sen­tially means that I will be in re­mis­sion. It will then be a case of avoid­ing an­other flare-up and all the trig­gers that cause them.

My whole lifestyle has changed com­pletely since be­ing di­ag­nosed with Lu­pus.

The treat­ment doesn’t come with­out its side ef­fects – hair loss, bone dam­age, cancer risks, fer­til­ity is­sues, stom­ach cramps and of course pick­ing up ev­ery cold, flu and in­fec­tion go­ing but if any­thing, lu­pus has made me more aware of my body and how I was ne­glect­ing it be­fore.

I’m health­ier, drink­ing less, I’ve quit smok­ing and started things like swim­ming and yoga.

Selena Gomez ar­riv­ing at the #BoF500 gala din­ner dur­ing New York Fash­ion Week in New York last Satur­day Fol­low us on Twit­ter @WalesonSun­day Face­book.com/WalesOn­line


holds hands with ac­tress Fran­cia Raisa in a hospi­tal. Gomez re­cently re­ceived a in the post.

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