December 3, 2006 10:42pm CST
In 1993, I had never heard of lupus. Then I met a man that had already been battling the disease for seven years. Just one year earlier, he had been at one of his lowest points in his life. He was in the hospital on kidney dialysis and near death when his first wife decided it would be fun, or maybe amusing to her,to leave him and run off with another man to California and drag his two children along. What a way to treat a man when he is that far down. What a difference a year makes. For within that year following his recovering and only with a little bit of dignity left,he met his future wife in me. Of course when he told me had lupus I was dumbfounded because I had not a clue what it was. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder. Now the first thing people think when you say it is a disease of the immune system is AIDS of course and many people asked me if it was a form of that.No it is not a form of aids.This disease is more common in women and can be passed from the mother to her unborn child, but it is not a contagious disease.In its most serious form known as "SLE" or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus,it can cause skin rashes,extreme fatigue,swollen painful joints and kidney damage. This is the form of lupus my husband had. He was told to stay out of the sun because it would cause the skin rashes. But he loved the sun and the summertime and going to the beach.His belief was that he was only going to live one time and he was going to enjoy it while he was alive.Throughout our eight years of marriage,he suffered many setbacks. Three heart attacks, chemotherapy when the lupus was out of control and gastric bypass surgery.He had gained alot of weight from not being able to do anything and being on steroids didnt help. His doctor advised him he needed to lose weight or his kidneys were going to shut down and kill him.He only had 40% kidney function left and after consulting with doctors decided to go through with gastric bypass. In nine months he had lost 160 lbs and was feeling great with one exception.He had developed a "dumping" problem. This has to do with eating and occurs when food is transported to the small intestines too rapidly and may cause nausea and vomiting.With my husband it was hypoglycemia-his blood sugar would drop too low. He had never been diagnosed as being diabetic when he was overweight and had never taken insulin.These attacks were scary at times because you never knew if he was gonna make it through the attacks or not.In Feburary of 2004, after four years in remission, his lupus had started to rear its ugly head again and his doctor decided he was gonna have to start chemo again. At the same time his heart doctor said it was time to go in and check an artery that was partially blocked.Insurances wont pay for this unless the artery is over 75% blocked. On February 21st,2004,my husband woke me early that morning to tell me he was sick.He was having another heart attack and within the hour and before the ambulance got to him he left this life and even though I still suffer everyday from his loss, I know that he no longer has to suffer with his illness. Had he not had the gastric bypass, he may not have lived as long as he did. So I am thankful for the journey and the experiences and all that my husband taught me.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Oct 07
It takes extreme courage to love some one whole heartedly that you know is sick. I applaud your beautiful spirit. It really helps having someone that loves you to help you through those tuff and trying times. Thank you :) Many Blessings- JA