I was taking a shower on May 26th, 2011 when I cut my leg while shaving. That tiny cut triggered a non-contagious, incurable, autoimmune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I could barely walk for the first six months. I maxed out on walking or standing after 15 minutes if I was lucky. For six months I didn’t know if I’d ever get my energy back or be able to walk any length of time. I had to drop out of college because I couldn’t keep up with the workload.
After much perseverance and some
exercise classes at the senior center I was able to run a 5k without triggering
a flare (a flare is when symptoms ‘flare up’). Since then, things have been
looking up and my lupus is even in remission. What hasn’t changed are my Lupus
symptoms. I still get fatigue, and I still get a rash when I go out in the sun.
I also have added another health problem to my list: Endometriosis. Soon I
shall have surgery to officially diagnose and treat what’s going on in my
reproductive organs, and I can’t wait.
My health history is part of the
reason why Nessie and I have such a great bond. She’s missing a leg, and I am
not like your average 20-something year old. I am inspired to keep pushing
myself when I see Nessie doing things I never thought physically capable for a
three-legged dog. She runs faster than Princess. Her back leg is strong enough
that she can jump onto the bed, although sometimes she doesn’t quite make it
and falls off.
Nessie is a caring dog, too. There
have been a few occasions where I have been sick or in pain and she has stayed
with me and kept an eye on me. She has watched over me when I’m curled up in
pain and crying out. She cuddles next to me when I’m too tired to move. And
when I was throwing up the day after my birthday she placed her paw on my
shoulder while I clung to the porcelain thrown.
We made it official on the 10th of this month. I had gotten some birthday money, had some left over from my trip to Beverly Hills, and I took all our cans and plastic bottles to the recycling center. I managed to scrounge up $130. All I needed was $20 to have enough for the adoption fees. My husband gave me his plastic money and sent me off to make Nessie a member of our family. And now she is.