My Story: Shirley Hasan

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I always had problems with bleeding, bruising and hives and after I had my son, at 26, is when they discovered that I had an autoimmune disease. I was young and didn't take it very seriously, so aside from taking prednisone I didn't make any lifestyle changes at all.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

After some time had past and I was twenty pounds heavier my life started to change for the worst. I was always in and out of the hospital, I was always exhausted and my antibody counts were off the charts. I said to myself, "you better grab hold of this disease before it's too late,” and that's exactly what I did. I read up on lupus and all of the medication that is used to treat it. This helped my tremendously.

Who has been there for you? How?

I am a very private person when it comes to my illness and I'm not the type to cry on people's shoulders even when I'm in the worst pain so it was hard for people to be supportive. My oldest sister, my son and my husband have been through everything with me. I can't imagine what I would have done without them by my side and running back and forth to the hospital. I have since been more open about living with lupus and I can honestly say that I have a great family and group of friends that are super supportive and thoughtful.

You better grab hold of this disease before it's too late.

I'm very proud of myself because I refuse to let lupus get the best of me.

I'm very proud of myself because I refuse to let lupus get the best of me.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I'm very proud of myself because I refuse to let lupus get the best of me; my grandmother was a fighter and she instilled that in me. My medication has horrible side effects but I work through them. There are mornings where I have to fight to get out of bed, but I do it. My doctors are always amazed about how functional I am and I am very proud of that. There are moments when I get sad and want to quit but those moments are few and far between and they only last a moment. I love life and I'm not a quitter.

It's a lifelong fight but it's your life so it's worth fighting for.

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

I would tell them not to be a victim and to never stop fighting. They said that I would never have children and I have a son, they told me that I would be in a wheelchair by the time I turned 50 and I'm hiking 5 miles a day. It's a lifelong fight but it's your life so it's worth fighting for.

Is there anything else we should know?

I am 50 years old, I exercise 6 days a week and I try not to put garbage in my body. Lupus not only destroyed my joints but the medication destroyed my bones. Lupus has affected my kidneys and my heart and I have been on every medication that they have for lupus patients. But I still embrace my disease because without it I'm not sure that I would have such an appreciation for life.

About Shirley Hasan

My Story: Shirley Hasan
My father called me "Candy" ever since I was a baby and it stuck; everyone that knows me calls me Candy. I am the youngest of five sisters and one brother. I am a wife of sixteen years and I have a son named Jonathan and two lovely grandchildren named Lucy, 6, and Santino, 4. Although I always had medical issues growing up, I was not diagnosed with an autoimmune disease until after I had my son when I was 26 and it wasn't until 1998 that I was officially diagnosed with lupus. I have SLE, which means that lupus can affect and destroy my body parts, organs and body systems. I have had 9 miscarriages due to my lupus. I also have DJD, IBS and spinal stenosis. In the past five years I have had several surgeries, three spinal fusions and bone graphs. I take a lot of meds but I fight back with proper nutrition and exercise. Lupus is a hard disease to live with, let alone fight, and although there are mornings I can barely open my hands thanks to lupus, I refuse to give in. I will always fight with every fiber of my being because I love my life.
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