“I was diagnosed with lupus in 2003. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks various parts of the body at any time. What most people don’t know about lupus, is it comes in many forms and is extremely hard to diagnose. From memory loss, depression to kidney failure — most people don’t realize the pain and suffering from one who’s diagnosed really endure because most of us have grown accustomed to being ‘in pain’ as our way of life. I am used to chronic hives, blood clots and blisters, I am used to hair loss, weight gain and burning skin. Seems like, I am used to being tired all of the time and forgetting my kid’s names, etc … what I am not used to; is failure or quitting so I fight every day to raise awareness because it’s not just for me but for other warriors who suffer from this disloyal disease as well. “ –Nakita Nicci
What most don’t realize, this sneaky disease can also ruin your love life, consequently leading to other issues …
I had the pleasure of sitting with a fellow survivor, Delebra Hudson, who will tell us how to maintain a healthy love life despite living with an incurable disease.
Tell us, what type of lupus do you have and what medication do you take?
I was diagnosed with SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus. I am currently several medicines after my lupus diagnosis. Cell-Cept is used to treat symptoms of lupus and nephritis because lupus attacked my kidneys. I take Plaquenil to control lupus symptoms. I take Topamax for migraines. Tramadol for pain. Metroprol for tachycardia irregular heart beat. Monthly Benlysta infusions to treat lupus.
When were you diagnosed?
January 2006 after my third hospital visit.
How has lupus affected your love life?
Lupus has definitely affected my love life previously. Our society is so focused on image that people really can’t relate to illness. In previous relationships, it was difficult for the person to understand that I suddenly feel horrible. Lupus can be such a roller coaster, resulting in suddenly canceling plans at the last minute. A person that doesn’t have any health issues may not fully grasp that concept. I am very honest about how I am feeling. At this point, I am dating an amazing guy that has done research on lupus. We are able to communicate daily about how I feel. We are not too rigid in planning we are able to be spontaneous and make adjustments. The person that values you and has your back will be supportive, loving and available. I knew he was pretty fabulous when I suddenly became ill and he started praying. Prayer, love and mutual empathy are a dynamic combination and can be found when you are selective in relationships.
What advice can you give us?
Educate yourself about lupus. I have a hard time understanding how a disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States, and approximately five million in the world yet we lack information about it. Ask your doctor questions. Pay attention to sudden symptoms, and do not wait for treatment. Take your medicine and go to your doctors regularly. As a woman that has lupus I must wear sunscreen, therefore, I encourage everyone to wear sunscreen to prevent cancer as well as lupus flares. Lupus may cause me be to be creative with a task, however, I am still living a full life that includes parenting a wonderful teenager named Gabrielle. I am still seeing new goals and dreaming new dreams. Lupus doesn’t define me, it is an obstacle I work around never accepting defeat.
Who’s your support system and how do they help?
My support system has to be my family; specifically my aunt Joann and my uncle Dale, my daughter and my future husband, Jesse. They are a dynamic couple of people. My aunt and uncle have been through everything with me. The extended hospital stays. These two do things that I am unable to do most of all. When I was in the hospital my aunt made sure Gabrielle’s hair was done, took her to school. My uncle picked Gabrielle up from school when I was in the hospital. After I was discharged from the hospital my uncle was my chauffeur he took me to doctor’s appointments. Jesse always has my back as well. He makes sure I am OK daily. He is available to help when I need him. My daughter is my inspiration. I fight to see her grow up daily
Photos in gallery courtesy of Delebra Hudson.