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Introducing Kim, Lupus Ambassador

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Hello everyone! I’m Kim, one of the 2012 Lupus Ambassadors for LFM. We may have even met at the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth Lupus Walks for Hope, or at the Lupus Night at Target Field this past year.

For those of us living with lupus, 2012 has been an exciting year filled with hope, amazing awareness efforts, breakthroughs in research and increased public donations to find a cure. I’ve seen this on a national level, but quite extensively here in our own state. It’s not just the turkey talking when I say how grateful I am! I feel truly blessed when I think of all the hard work the LFM staff, board of directors, volunteers and researchers have provided this year. So to all of you making a difference, thank you.

A little bit about myself … I just celebrated my 44th birthday this week. Those yearly milestones on the calendar have taken on a whole new meaning during my adult years. In 2002, I became very ill and rapidly lost weight. Within six months I was down to 105 pounds, hospitalized on and off for pancreatitis and was told I had an autoimmune autonomic neuropathy. When I tried to research this crazy diagnosis, I found very little on it and what I did find produced a very poor prognosis. So, as a single mom with a five-year-old, about to remarry, all I could do was hope, educate myself and try to make healthy decisions. Ten birthdays have now come and gone, and I’m still here! Still grateful. Still sick and notably experiencing the decline, but still grateful. 

For me, one thing led to another, one surgery to the next, one specialist, then on to two, three, four, five, six … endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, rheumatology, dermatology, immunology, nephrology – you get the idea, I’ve seen them all for various things. It took 10 years of mystery illnesses, lung surgery, hip surgery and multiple other medical complaints before being diagnosed with lupus. Many of the doctors had thrown it around, or used the term “lupus-like,” but more weight was placed on my negative ANA then the combination of my systemic issues and health history.

Perhaps you share a similar story, have been seeking answers to your medical questions and symptoms, or know someone who is dealing with lupus. Through the upcoming entries, we hope to share some insights into the disease, healthy approaches and alternative therapies, fatigue and pain management strategies and living in the present, which we’ll discuss more in my next post!

As the days get busier this month, remember to keep yourself well. Sleep as much as you can, so you have the energy to mingle and jingle with family and friends. Find a little time to nap and recharge your batteries before heading out to holiday parties. Shop online and save the hassle of crowded stores or think about gifting restaurant, salon or other useable gift cards/services from your neighborhood businesses. Be sure to eat healthy – nothing causes inflammation, at least for me, like snacking on a bunch of sugar, and when it comes down to it, practice saying, “no, I’d like to, but I’m feeling a little too tired right now.” It’s okay. What doesn’t get done today will wait for you!

Peace and blessings to you as we wind down 2012, and may your days ahead be joy-filled!


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