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Why I'm Finally Sharing This Photo From My Lupus Treatment

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This is a self-portrait I took in April of 2011, just after the height of the treatments I underwent for a lupus flare that left me paralyzed.

woman during lupus treatment with tape on her chest and a tattoo on her shoulder

I was sweaty and exhausted. I had just gotten the plasmapheresis port that had been in my chest for nearly a month taken out. My face was puffy, swollen, and broken out from months of being on a very high dose of steroids. Additionally, I was receiving a chemotherapy infusion once a month.

Because I was doing so many things to knock down my immune system, I was incredibly susceptible to infections and caught shingles during this time — probably from the hospital.

It feels good to share it now because it shows how far I have come since this time in my life — both emotionally and physically. It also feels good to show what lupus can look like, because for such a common disease it is woefully misunderstood.

I think chronic illnesses need to be represented and talked about more so people realize this is someone they know, whether that person talks about it or not.

Originally published: August 7, 2017
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