Hi there everyone. I'm a new member, posted a couple times under Carol's post, so I should do the introduction thing so I don't just crash the board as a stranger.
I'm 46, have SLE, was dx'd in summer 2005 after 1.5 years of observation. I'd had symptoms for 8 to 10 years, but never pursued a cause, at least until I couldn't ignore it anymore. I had joint, neuro, skin and bloodwork abnormalities. I'm on Plaquenil and topical steroids, and have been on inhaled steroids from time to time.
Within the last couple years I was dx'd with SPAH, secondary pulmonary arterial hypertension. It's a rare but serious complication of lupus (even more so of scleroderma, which I don't have). It was caught early, though the effects on the heart were already apparent, as it overworks the right side of the heart. I was able to really slowly start on an exercise program and creep up to jogging for 40 minutes 3 to 4 times a week. Something is released during exercise that lowers the pressures in the pulmonary artery and has staved off this complication for now. This was a big huge answered prayer by a God who is clearly powerful enough to do anything. BTW, this was incorrectly diagnosed as emphysema by my GP, even tho I'd never smoked. Then I went to a real doctor, a pulmonologist who actually knew what he was doing and knew something about
lupus and its effects.
In life, I'm an RN in newborn intensive care for 21 years now, still working night shift--I know, bad idea, but it works out with the family. I have four kids, ages 9 to 19, and I home school the 9 and 13 year olds. I love animals, and have a website with pics of some of my more exotic ones at www.beardiebuddies.com. I'm also a pretty poor excuse for a financial secretary at my church.