Lupus Loop 2013
First, I have to thank you for taking the time to read my blogs, especially “Roar”. That was my most-read blog to date and I’m so flattered because it was probably my most personal. So, thank you!
I ran a 5k on October 27th. I’m not a runner. Sometimes I wish I was because I kind of like the idea of saying, “hey I’m going to go for a run!” But when I start running, I quickly realize that I don’t like it. I think it’s because my knees don’t like it. I get a lot of pain as soon as I hit the 3 mile mark and my knees are like, “ok I’m done!” I ran the Broad Street Run once a few years ago and while I feel so proud I ran the whole way, I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. I had trouble walking for almost two weeks afterward. Anyway, the 5k I did is called the Lupus Loop and it’s to obviously raise money for Lupus research. Some of you may be thinking, wtf is lupus? It’s ok, I thought the same thing when I first heard it.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, organs, etc.). The immune system basically goes nuts and can’t tell the difference between healthy tissue and unhealthy foreign invaders so autoantibodies are created to attack and destroy healthy tissue. Good times. There is no cure for lupus and there are limited medications approved by the FDA specifically for this disease (honestly don’t get me started on the nightmare people go through with health insurance companies in order to get the treatment they need).
Here are some facts:
- Lupus is a disease of flares (symptoms get worse) and remissions (symptoms get better) so it’s quite a roller-coaster.
- It’s estimated that 1.5 million people have it. This number could be higher as it is very difficult to diagnose since there is no specific “lupus test.”
- Mostly women of childbearing age (15-44) develop it but men and children get it too
- Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening but with good medical care, most people with it can lead a full life
- It’s called “the great imitator” because the symptoms are often like many other diseases
Here are some common symptoms (not an exhausted list):
- Extreme fatigue
- Painful and swollen joints
- Swelling in legs, hands, feet, and around eyes
- Butterfly shaped rash across cheeks and nose (just google image that and you’ll see)
- Sun or light sensitivity
- Hair loss
- Mouth or nose ulcers
Ok, now let me bring this back to the 5k. I chose to run because I wanted to do it for those with Lupus that can’t. And the reason I run for a seemingly random disease is because my sister has it. She’s been living with it for over 15 years. My mom was very involved with the Lupus Foundation and even helped organize it for many years. During that time, I walked the Loop with my family. Unfortunately, we stopped doing it for too many years. Last year I noticed that a guy I graduated high school with posted a Facebook status about doing the Loop. I asked him about it and why he was running and he said his sister also has it. He asked if I wanted to join his team and I did. It was really nice to run with a team instead of doing it by myself and it was really fun seeing some high school alumni! So this year I joined his team again and my husband even ran it! It was his first 5k and he has worse knees than me so I’m proud of him for doing it!
As I said, my sister has this disease and she’s definitely had her share of flares and remissions. Fortunately she’s in a remission right now. She is pretty amazing in that she’s obtained black belts in three styles of martial arts. Technically she’s a 2nd degree in Shotokan and 4th degree in Kenpo (which she got just a few weeks ago). And she did all that with Lupus.
I will continue to run the Lupus Loop every year. More money and more awareness needs to be raised. If you would like to donate, just click on any of the above lupus links.
Enjoy the rest of your week! Stay fabulous xoxo