by Catherine Delaleu
I must admit it to myself and to others, I have lupus. I get
very emotional when I mention the word LUPUS. Here I am sitting on a dialysis chair writing my story with tears streaming down my face, yet I never bothered to mention to my friends or strangers what I've been through and still going through. Only those who know me on a personal level understand my pain. I was diagnosed in 2007 and had to go on medical leave in 2008 due to swelling in my legs. I lived in New York, my health was getting worse, I had no choice but to leave. Suddenly, my life turned upside down since I lived alone in NY in a rundown basement. I had no idea my apartment was filled with mold. My face had warts all over and people looked at me funny or perhaps too afraid wondering what is wrong with me. I was very depressed, not understanding the side effects of lupus. I had to go on medical leave and explain to my boss how hard it was to get to work on a daily basis and why I was limping. None of my shoes fit, I wore the same pair since my feet were too swollen. She understood and felt sorry for me. Meanwhile, at home I was extremely stressed about my rent and food and that's when in 2008 I had my first stroke. I was in my 30's all alone in the basement. I couldn't think straight but felt strange, first I called my one and only sister and couldn't think and was trying to write but could only scribble my name like a five year old. My sister immediately told me I'm having a stroke and to call 911, I didn't instead I called my mom and she said the same thing. "Cathy you're having a stroke, look at your pillow, is it wet? Call911."
I glanced at my pillow and noticed it was wet. By the time I grabbed my coat and was ready to call Willy , my great uncle to drive me to Long Island to go see a rheumotologist, I kept repeating in my mind not to panic. I fell back as I was grabbing my coat, passed out and since the floor was made of tile I hit my head pretty hard. My great uncle arrivedand began to knock hard and loud for me to hear. His deep loud voice woke me up, that's when I realized I had passed out. He was shouting my name. My mom was the one who called him all the way from Arizona to let him know what was happening. "Cathy, are you in there?"
I told him out of breath I can't move my legs. I can't reach for the front door, I was stuck on the floor. My Uncle Willy is a tall, strong man, he busted the door open and he rushed in with two paramedics behind him. He told me my mom called him from Arizona telling him to get to me asap and that i'm having a stroke. My entire body felt hot and my head was throbbing, I was in shock from falling. I was rushed to the hospital, I had no idea that my blood pressure was over 200/103, also I couldn't remember my home address, phone number or date of birth. I wasn't under any blood pressure meds but I do recall my primary care doctor telling me I need to exercise because my pressure is a little high.
At the hospital I was told by the doctors I had a major stroke due to my lupus. That next day to my surprise, my sister flew in from Ohio and I thought she was there to help me around the house. That was not the case.
"Nope, I'm here to move you out of NY, she said with determination. She took my house keys, left went to my house, and began to sell my furniture in one day and packed all my belongings had them shipped out ahead, got my plane ticket and I was on the next flight out to Ohio to live with her and her then family. She took care of me like a mother completly, bathed me, made specialty healthy meals, took me to my dyalisis, made me feel loved and cared for despite the fact that she had a home to tend to with her two kids and her then husband and a homebase business to run.
I couldn't picture myself living anywhere else at first.My sister was serious about making sure I was going to be ok. She was shock to see all those warts on my face and how much water weight I gained on my legs. My life was taking a major turn with my lupus. I didnt get better once I arrived in Ohio despite all the care I was given the lupus became progressive the winter was brutal and also it became hard for my sister to juggle so much and she needed help. She decided to fly me to my mom in Arizona so that mom can take over and help me and the weather was much better for me. Needless to say my story gets worst, I've had several strokes, my life has been in and out of hospitals and I face death everytime but continue to prove he's a liar. I feel hopeless when all the bills pile and come at me and I'm unable to catch up I've been in the hospital the past two weeks, I fell and cracked my skull, lost a lot of blood, so I had to get 7 staples, found out I had pneumonia, needed a blood transfusion because my blood levels was 3.4 and now I was just told I have pancreatic tumors. My sisters helping me so much, she has missed work a new job she began, recently. She's been by my side everyday after work because she literally just started and couldnt come in the AM, but eveyday exhausted she's there and trying to help me with my finances which shes helping me with. I'm unable to care for myself now Iam now at the mercy of my family completly and they are doing all possible to help me.
They need help to care for me right now, I come with lots of medical expenses, since living with lupus it would help to know that if anyone can donate anything they can to help me I will be beyond grateful, my sisters prideful sometimes with asking for help she feels she can do it all by herself but thats not the case when the load is so heavy.
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