This is for everyone living with lupus – whether you were diagnosed fourteen years ago, today or you find out tomorrow. This is for everyone who feels like it won’t get better. This is for everyone who feels like lupus controls his or her life. And this is my story.

ChristineHarriethaLupus at thirteen years old was not what I wanted to see in my deck of cards. But life isn’t always simple and it isn’t always fair. Thirteen is an important age. It’s when you start to figure out who you are and for a long time, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I let lupus define me. I hid behind my illness and used it as an excuse. I let myself believe that I couldn’t have or do certain things because I was “sick”. I had many bad days and many days where I just didn’t want to get out of bed. And there were many days that I didn’t. But I know now that it’s okay to have bad days. Everyone has them. And it’s when you have a bad day that you learn to appreciate the good ones. I once thought lupus made me weak, but I realize now how strong it has made me. I wouldn’t be me without lupus. A doctor once told me, “You can’t change what life deals you, but you can change how you deal with it”. The cards I’m dealt might not always be a winning hand, but sometimes you have to shuffle the deck and deal again. That quote has stayed with me and I wanted to share it with others who also occasionally need a reminder that you have some control.

World Lupus day was on May 10th and it hit closer to home this year because I just finished my 8th round of treatment, but that doesn’t stop me! I am 27 years old. I have two degrees and starting another in the fall. I have a full time job. I have a wonderful family and amazing friends. And I have lupus, but lupus doesn’t have me.

Christine Harrietha