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My Battle With Lupus- Part 3: Never Let Em See You Sweat

I seemed to have taken being diagnosed with a chronic illness REALLY well, huh? Well, for the summer, I kept it moving as usual. I didn't do too much during the day other than work. I took my medication and my hair came back, slowly but surely, so Lupus wasn't a big deal to me. The drugs kicked in and I started to feel a lot better. I got back to college upstate to begin my junior year very optimistic. A little too optimistic. I didn't tell anyone about my new illness except for a handful of the people I was close to. Between folk telling me they knew someone who died from it (I heard that wayyyy too often) and others trying to coddle me ("Shanelle, why are you here? You should go home and rest" even though it's like 9pm on a Saturday night), I didn't like the responses I'd get. I didn't want anyone to worry about me or think I was now handicapped so not only did I stay active in the MANY extracurriculars I was involved in on campus, I pushed myself into overdrive. Like the woman who gets plastic surgery before she actually needs it, I figured I'd work even harder to make sure that people never think to see the Lupus in me. I went harder in dance troupe practice even when my joints hurt, I continued to be the lead volunteer for everything I could be a part of, and I took on the positions of Junior Class President, Gospel Choir Director, the radio station manager, and was on the line that rechartered my sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc on my campus. I went home for fall and Thanksgiving breaks and I'd sleep like med student between rotations: dead to the world and like it was the only sleep I'd get for a while. My friends that knew I had Lupus didn't know enough about it to tell me that I was only damaging myself more by doing this. I showed them all smiles so they believed I was fine. "Never let 'em see you sweat." I remember thinking that if I ignore it, it'll go away. If I pretend it doesn't exist, it won't bother me. However, now that I knew what to look for, my body began speaking to me a LOT louder when it was overwhelmed. It seemed like I was always achy and drained but being busy meant I didn't have to think about it. If I didn't catch my breath or give myself a moment, I could easily overlook the fact that I was tired. To me, ripping and running was better than the thought of being laid up in a bed. Ironically, that's where I'd end up in a few months… 

(Continued: Part 4- My First Visit to the Emergency Room)

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