Sheila - She is Still Here
(Sheila has endured the terrible dark ages of this disease and, through her struggles and her grace, grown illuminating wisdom that guides her onward, lighting the path for others in pain.)
They saw the bruising, and the swollen glands, and thought it was Hodgkin's Disease or Leukemia, but the tests showed it was not.
She was 24.
They saw the loss of weight and the exhaustion And thought she was dieting excessively, but after weeks in hospital and twice daily weighing,
they knew she was not.
And when over the many months of tests and despite the fact she worked very hard between the frequent bad spells, they sent her away and told her she was attention seeking,
but she was not.
When she became confused, with headaches and bleeding and bruising they said she had a nervous breakdown and sectioned her to a psychiatric hospital and gave her Electro Convulsive Therapy. But then she got wise to their ways and never told them
of the pain.
They gave her medicine that rendered her unconscious, and put her in a room with no handle on the inside. They made her work in that hospital, polishing floors.
So she never complained again.
She also put the tablets under her tongue, and then spit them out when they left, so she started to recover. She saw the shame on her family's faces, and vowed never again
would she let them suffer.
They expected her to try suicide,
she expected to live her life.
She won, she was 26.
And through all the pain and the bleeding, and the swollen joints and painful muscles, through the loss of teeth and hair, their tests were inconclusive and they said it was her imagination.
She was 28.
Then in another town, a doctor sat on her hospital bed and told her all about SLE, the course of the disease, and the prognosis, which was poor. He told her the
'breakdown' had been a brain hemorrhage. Then he gave her advice, wished her well and bade her good bye.
She was 30.
Her dear, dear mother never knew what was happening, but loved her, then left her when she died suddenly....
She was 32
Her father in later years was told about Lupus, but closed his ears, for he didn't understand, and thought she should get on with things and not complain. He loved her dearly, but the doctors were always right.!! And they never agreed,
Some said yes to lupus, some said it was all in the mind. Her father died in '89. She went into a Nursing Home, they said she would die. She left the Nursing Home. She wouldn't die.!!
She was 47.
She had a 'slight' heart attack, and was introduced to another rheumatologist. She cared. She told her that 'Lupus' had been present since childhood. She had someone who believed her. At last.
She was 52
A very condensed story, but a familiar one to many sufferers of Lupus, it is the many faces of this illness. She is still here, despite being told her time on earth was nearly over many times.
She is now 58.
She is Dimples.
She is Sheila.
She is me.
©2001-2004 Sheila Brady