I could hardly stay awake.
My symptoms hit the weekend before my first week of law school. After going a few days with a stiff neck, stiff shoulders and stiff fingers, my doctor ordered lab work, which showed that my blood platelet count was 18,000/mcL. After further tests, we established it wasn't leukemia, hepatitis, rocky mountain spotted fever, or anything else we could think of.
I saw general physicians, hematologists, infectious disease specialists, neurologists, and more. During this time, I was also on zero medication. Extra Strength Tylenol was the only thing my doctors said I should take since they didn’t know what they were dealing with. I lost 20 pounds, lost a lot of hair, and stopped moving and living about as much as you can without being in a full body cast in the hospital. Eventually a doctor prescribed methylprednisolone for the pain and inflammation. That eased the pain for a little while.
Finally, thanks to some incredibly well-connected and generous people in my life, I was worked in to see a rheumatologist. This was a doctor who had a waiting list of two to three months, and I got in to see her in two days. It was this doctor who put me on a steady dose of prednisone and eventually gave me my lupus diagnosis.
Don't keep it to yourself. Don't let it define you, but be open about it. If you keep your emotions bottled up inside of you, you will make this a million times more difficult. At first, I only told my immediate family and closest friends about my diagnosis. But lupus is a major part of my life. And because I kept that huge part of me inside for so long, I felt very alone in the world. Don't make the same mistake I did.
I am proud of staying in law school. My first semester, while I was going through the diagnosis process, my family really urged me to drop out until we could figure out what was wrong with me. I was in an incredible amount of pain, and I could hardly stay awake, which was a serious problem. But I pushed through and have stayed in the top 10% of my class, while also holding an editor position on the law review and winning a moot court national championship. In short, I am proud that I haven't let my disease affect my dream of attending (and excelling in) law school.
Sleep and stress are probably the biggest things. I know that if I don't get enough sleep, I will have a flare. I know that if I am too stressed, I will have a flare. So I try to get as much sleep and endure as little stress as possible – both difficult for a law student. Eating right, planning out my day, yoga and meditation have been some of the best lifestyle changes.
My family, certainly, and my closest friends have been there for me. I went through a period of deep depression about a year after my diagnosis. I saw a therapist during that time, and he probably helped me the most to work through the mental aspects of chronic illness and to come to terms with my diagnosis.
I could hardly stay awake.
My name is David Postic. I am a 24-year-old law student from the great state of Oklahoma, and I was diagnosed with lupus the day before my 23rd birthday. Although law school is time consuming, I try to do as much as I can in the world outside of academics.
I love to travel, mostly to Rotary conventions and conferences (which is one of my true passions). I also love to share stories; everyone has one, and I strive to hear as many as I can. My dreams are many: travel to every continent, publish a book, start my own business, etc. But my biggest goal is to not let lupus prevent me from doing any of that.
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