Q: Why are you supporting the LRA’s Lift Up Lupus campaign?
A: This was a tough year for all of us, and I am inspired by the sense of optimism conveyed by the LRA’s Lift Up Lupus campaign – and incredibly inspirational stories. There are many misconceptions surrounding lupus, and I hope the Lift Up Lupus campaign can help educate our friends and family on what we go through every day. And research is bringing us so much hope with breakthrough discoveries and better treatments.
Q: How has COVID-19 been impacting you?
A: Like everyone else it has impacted me in many ways and it’s been a really intense time. Overnight, it seemed our lives were changed in such a dramatic way. With me having lupus, and therefore being immune compromised, I’ve had to be even more vigilant when it came to following with guidelines and listening to scientists. Thankfully, more and more people are getting vaccinated every day and we are starting to see more signs of normalcy.
Q: What was your experience with lupus nephritis?
A: I was lucky. I was treated by a team of specialists. A survey by the Lupus Research Alliance and National Kidney Foundation found that half of people with lupus nephritis did not know that by definition, they also have lupus. Lupus is a chronic disease and can change over time. That’s why it’s so important to work with the right care team.
Q: How are you feeling now, a few years after your kidney transplant?
A: I actually cannot believe it’s been almost three years. I feel great but I am always aware of the extra steps I need to take to remain healthy. It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to have received a kidney transplant at a time when my body was feeling the effects of lupus.
Q: What is your advice to help deal with lupus?
A: Develop a close relationship with your doctors – tell them everything you’re experiencing and bring questions with you. Connect with people who know what you’re coping with because they also have lupus. Join organizations such as the Lupus Research Alliance to feel more supported, productive and in control. Another simple but important piece of advice is to listen to your body and if your energy is limited, just focus on what you really want or need to do.