In March of 2015, my hands swelled up for the first time. We originally believed it was Rheumatoid Arthritis, but as time went on my symptoms got worse. My other joints began to swell, I developed the butterfly rash, constantly had fevers, was always sleeping, barely had an appetite, and more than half of my hair fell out. In August, my rheumatologist confirmed that what I had was lupus. I tried going back to college, but only lasted a week before I had to go back home. I spent 2 years out of school and have had several trips to the hospital. Lupus has significantly affected my lungs, my concentration, my vocal chords, and my kidneys. We tried different forms of treatment and had different tests done with no significant improvement. Now we have moved on to Chemo infusions (Cytoxan) and I have faith that we will get this under control.
Of course it has been hard not only physically, but emotionally as well. It's easy to sometimes feel ugly and useless, but I'm not going to let this disease tear me down. That's why my team name is Never Shaken. I have a tattoo on my back that states Psalm 16:8 "I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will never be shaken." I try to live by that every day. When I'm feeling low, I think of this verse and remember that I need to be strong for myself, my family, and all those other people living with lupus.
This has been a tough journey with many ups and downs. It’s a journey that is far from over. Please consider donating what you can so they can find a cure to this horrible disease. Anything is appreciated. Thank you so much.
-Valerie Quiñones, Never Shaken
Walk to End Lupus Now™ is the signature event of the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. In more than 50 cities across America, thousands of people walk to make a difference in the lives of those affected by lupus and to raise essential funds for research, education, and support services.