I was five days away from my 16th birthday when I was rushed to the ER. I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) that night. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can attack any part of the body. If you have Lupus, you have it for life. A year prior to my diagnosis, I was already experiencing joint pain, drastic weight loss, rashes, hair loss, and fatigue. I never sought medical attention until my symptoms erupted into a flare up that sent me to the ER. Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) was recommended to me by one of my former rheumatologists and I am grateful to this day that I gave HSS a chance. I was treated by Dr. Nancy Pan of Pediatric Rheumatology for the past three years. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for Dr. Pan’s care.
SLE will be part of my life forever. I know that there will be tough days. I know that it will be a challenge. I am 20 years old now and I am still learning how to manage my Lupus. However, I also know that with the help of HSS, there is hope. They will fight alongside you. Their care made it possible for me to pursue my passion in nursing. I am currently a Junior in Adelphi University’s nursing program. Everyday, I look forward to becoming a registered nurse to give back and teach patients that anything is possible with the help of the right people.