Introducing 2014 Lupus Ambassador Jan Jundt

Hi! My name is Jan Jundt. I’ve been asked to be the 2014 Lupus Ambassador. I was very honored and surprised that our three daughters nominated me. Thanks, girls!

I look forward to sharing “our” journey with you. From the beginning, we have always referred to my having lupus as we (our family) having lupus. As you can well imagine, how mom is feeling makes a difference in how and what we do. At first, I worried about spoiling family outings and plans, but with the help of my husband and girls we learned if plan A, B or C didn’t work, we’d go to Z if we had to.

I was diagnosed in December 1989, almost 25 years ago. I was 35 years old and suffered from pain I thought was caused from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We were only too familiar with this disease on both sides of the family, so when I was having more and more trouble with my joints, red swollen knuckles, and hard-to-climb stairs, I was sure it was RA. I remember stirring tomato soup for my five-year-old daughter and crying because it hurt so much.

I had an appointment early in December 1989 with my allergist, and while waiting to be called in the office, I read an article about allergies and arthritis being cousins. I asked my allergist about this and showed him my hands. He advised me to see a rheumatologist right away. The Lord was watching over me that day and I got an appointment for the following week.

After lots of tests and exams, my RA doctor called a couple days later to tell me I was suffering from lupus, an autoimmune disease. He asked to see me and my husband to discuss my diagnosis. I was so relieved it was not RA, after seeing how much my grandfather and aunt suffered from it, that I didn’t hear the implied RED FLAG of “bring your husband with you.”

We made an appointment for the end of the next week. Unfortunately, I did not make it to that appointment as I had a major flare the night before. The doctors could not figure out what was causing my organs to shut down until Dave remembered my appointment to discuss lupus. I spent a month in ICU with complete renal failure. The only two organs working somewhat were my heart and brain. I don’t remember a total of 10 days of that month, but by the grace of God I started coming around on Christmas Eve, “a true Christmas miracle.”

Jan Jundt

About the Author:

2014 Lupus Ambassador Jan Jundt has had lupus for nearly 25 years, is a 24-year lupus support group facilitator and now lives in Fargo. She and her husband, Dave, have three grown daughters and five grandchildren.
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