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From Mystery Woman to Super Woman: Finding Inner Power After Lupus Diagnosis

It was at the young age of 12 that Heather started to experience a variety of seemingly unrelated health issues. First joint pain, particularly in her knees, ankles and elbows. Then came the rashes on her face and back, the hair loss, the fatigue, the sensitivity to light and the difficulty breathing. These symptoms baffled her medical team and lead them to refer to her as a “mystery person.” Her symptoms were difficult and draining to manage while she spent her young adolescent years living with this mystery. It would take many years, ER visits, missed family moments, and the birth of her son before Heather finally learned exactly what was causing her mysterious symptoms. Unbeknownst to Heather and her family, her symptoms were interconnected and all stemmed from one major autoimmune disorder: lupus. “I vividly remember the day I was diagnosed,” Heather tells AfroTech. “I was in bed [at home], struggling to breathe and [I] had a red, inflamed rash on my face. Being a single mother...

May 16, 2024

The More You Know: An In-Depth Analysis of Lupus and its Impact on the Black Community

Dr. Ashira Blazer was still a student at the Baylor College of Medicine when her understanding of lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease, suddenly hit close to home. Her cousin had unexpectedly missed Thanksgiving dinner that year due to an illness. At the time, Blazer was studying immunology and reading about this disease extensively. “My cousin told me she had been sick. At first, I thought maybe she meant she had a cold or a stomach bug,” Blazer said. “But then, she started listing her symptoms, and I referenced my immunology textbook, thinking, ‘This could be lupus.’ I took her to my professor at the time and went with her to an appointment. She ended up being diagnosed.” Fortunately, Blazer’s cousin had access to a knowledgeable family member and trusted health resources to help her arrive at a timely lupus diagnosis. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many Black women who live with lupus. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects women of...

Nov 10, 2023