I spent yesterday with four of my sisters, and a few friends one of them introduced me to. After the incident with my offspring, I was exhausted and sore. I managed to eat a hamburger before feeling bloated and gross, so naturally… I drank vodka and juice. As much as I hate to admit it, I have been drinking more and more to kill the pain of the RA. Every step I take my knees crack and pop, and the rash across my chest and shoulders is getting worse. There are dark circles under my eyes, and my face turns bright red when I spend more than 10 minutes in direct sunlight.
While I sat and spoke with my sister Mary (Who has Lupus), we discussed the symptoms we share. The joint pain, exhaustion, nausea, etc. One of the main things we discussed was the health of all of the siblings. My father biologically produced 19 children. Out of those children, almost every single one has health issues. From cancer of the uterus, endometriosis, diabetes, and the obvious lupus and RA, all of these are consistent with his children from all three wives. My brother David, who is only two years older than me, is in the process of being diagnosed for his autoimmune issues. They believe that he may have one, if not two, forms of Lupus, or possibly RA. Hearing this pains me, because there are so many of us that are ill. David has always been one of my favorites, though I am not particularly close to any of my 9 brothers. We have an odd relationship, though we love each other very much. I am much closer to my sisters, especially my 6 older sisters. I can tell most of them anything, and oddly enough, they all seem to deem me as their favorite. I find this odd, though I am pleased to know that they love me just as much as I love them. It is as if I have 6 best friends that will always be there.
I am especially close and have a special bond with my sister Mary. About 7 years ago her Lupus was causing her a lot of trouble. She was diagnosed with it at 16, and considering she was down to just over 80lbs at 5’4″, we all thought she was not going to survive the year. Since nobody at the time could give her the care and attention she needed, me being the one with the best chance, had her move in with me. She was frail, and fragile. I used to have to help her use the toilet, and shower. Me being as I am, I used my odd sense of humor to make light of the situation. After a few awkward silences, and humphs from her general direction, my much missed sister’s personality started to peek back through. Mary is one of the funniest people that I know, and I have always loved to joke around with her. At one point she had a Lupus rash that spread across her entire arms and chest. She would shake hands with people, calmly telling them, “Don’t worry. It’s just leprosy.” Needless to say, she has always been able to make me laugh. Within 6 months Mary was up to over 100lbs, and getting around on her own. When she hit 130 lbs, we celebrated with a trip to Salt Lake (From Cedar City, where we lived at the time) for her birthday and met with all of our old friends. We spent the entire weekend lounging around with friends and family, careless and so happy that Mary had made it!
Yesterday we looked over my rashes. She recently had hers biopsied, and insists that I do the same. When she had hers done, it came back as another form of Lupus. Discoid Lupus. She thinks that it is likely that I may have the same, though many skin conditions can look this way. I told her that I was sure it was from the Plaquinel, to which she shrugged and said, “Yeah. Sure. Or it could be Lupus.” I retorted with, “Pfft! It’s never Lupus!” (For those of you who don’t know, that is a very common quote from the tv show House.) Mary, “Sometimes it’s Lupus!!”. Sometimes it is…. If I am being entirely honest, I am afraid that it could be. I am afraid of many things, and Lupus is one of them. I am afraid for David. I am afraid for Jon, and Hyrum who have diabetes. I feel sad for Vicci, Jen, Liz, and Crystal who al have suffered with various forms of cervical cancer, and/or endometriosis. I have had “pre-cancerous” cells of the cervix for almost 10 years now, and even just the thought of these transforming is frightening. My sisters have had this happen, and even Mary has had a part of hers removed. I also learned that my paternal grandmother was a sufferer of RA; This means I was twice as likely to get it. I know very little about my paternal family, so having my sister Jen (15 years my senior) to fill in the gaps is nice.
At the end of the day, what I can say in response to it is that yes. Sometimes is it Lupus. But in a family riddled with health issues, I am also in a family riddles with love, acceptance, humor, and all around awesomeness. There is nothing that can take that away, and I often think it is because of our struggles that we are like this. We have all made some serious mistakes, but the family we have to run back to will always be there to say, “You’re an idiot, an asshole, and I love you.” We are all there for each other no matter what, because sometimes…
Sometimes it is Lupus.