Up until my diagnosis, I had a clean bill of health. I spent six months is 2016 visiting different hospitals just to get answers to why I suddenly felt my body had decided to go rogue on me. In those six months, my symptoms were fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and unexplainable hunger (which was just confusing – one minute I didn’t feel like eating, the next I felt like eating a house).

I also experienced muscle aches (these were constant all through and I still have them now), ulcers of the mouth and morning stiffness (wherein the first fifteen minutes of the day I wouldn’t be able to move any part of my body. So I just lay there like a log of wood waiting for the stiffness to subside). There were occasional facial rashes; also known as the butterfly rashes – red rashes all over my face. I just woke up and saw those rashes sometimes. And whenever I had them, I found it difficult to step out of my room.

Then there were chest pains, numbness in fingers and feet and heat stroke. I usually experienced the heat stroke, which made my knees buckle and left me struggling to breathe. And how can I forget the excruciating pains in my joints and the hair loss? At first, I thought it was my hair breaking; so I cut it often, only to still have it fall off, leaving bald spots. Since my diagnosis, I have struggled not only physically but also emotionally. I felt shutting everyone out made sense. Now I have a group of women who understand me, who share my fears and worries but also push me to be better. They all say starting the foundation has helped them but they have healed me, Their collective strength blows me away. This lupus will not define us or cripple us.