My Story: Precious Lewis

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

My symptoms came out of nowhere. When I was 16 I woke up one day with this bright pink rash (butterfly rash) going across my face. It was so embarrassing – I looked infected. We just assumed it was a reaction to something and that it would go away. Then one night when I got home from work, I had a seizure in my sleep. My eyes were open and I could see clearly, but I was screaming and didn't know why and couldn't make myself stop. My parents ran in and were trying to calm me down, but the whole time I was thinking to myself why am I screaming, why can't I move? They picked me up and drove me to the hospital. There I was diagnosed with discoid lupus. Seven years later the lupus progressed and I was diagnosed with stage three lupus nephritis.

Who has been there for you? How?

The people who have really been considerate and compassionate about my situation are my mother, my niece, my best friend, and my manager at work.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

My Story: Precious LewisI had to make so many changes at a young age. I could hardly go out in the sun because my skin was so sensitive, so that meant no daytime activities with friends, no beach during spring break or summer. Now I try to eat a low protein, low sodium diet so my kidneys don't have to filter so much. I try to have minimal physical contact with people to avoid germs and keep my immune system from overreacting.

People may never understand what you go through.

Keep a positive outlook on life, and your days won't seem so bad.

Keep a positive outlook on life, and your days won't seem so bad.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I'm proud of being able to finally be myself and helping others who may be going through similar things. There were times when I would never talk about having lupus because I didn't want people to treat me differently, but I realize talking about things helps to educate others.

There were times when I would never talk about having lupus.

What's your advice to someone else living with Lupus?

You may feel horrible, you may look completely different now, but it's not the end of the world. People may never understand what you go through because "you don't look sick", but it's up to you to remain strong and educate them. Keep a positive outlook on life, and your days won't seem so bad.

Is there anything else we should know?

I'm 24, live in a small town in Alabama, and every year I get a little better with dealing with things.

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