Living with Lupus as an Artist

This month is Lupus awareness month. I first heard the doctors tell me about it in May of 2006, while seeing the rheumatologists at the Cleveland Clinic. They told me it was the suspected diagnosis; but that it might take years to confirm. I began treatment for Lupus in March this year almost six full years later.

Lupus has really slowed down the speed at which I can accomplish tasks when I’m suffering a flare. Additionally, the inflammation in my wrists affects my fine motor skills. I find detail work far more challenging, and fatigue from it far earlier. As an artist with lupus, and knowing that every person’s manifestation of lupus is as individual as a snowflake, I’ve started to experiment a bit with my treatment.

I find that the corticosteroid cream for the skin inflammation can be applied around the wrists for some temporary relief. I have also been using an herbal combination of Curcumin and Licorice Root to help bring down inflammation too. I find them to work more effectively together than taken apart. They have helped get rid of the morning stiffness I was experiencing by taking them before bed.

The hardest part of making lifestyle changes is that I have an intense love of nature and the outdoors and now have to be very careful when and how I’m exposed to sunlight. Now hiking and snapping photos of wildlife for painting has limitations, as does my gardening. It’s all about adapting.

Being that it is Lupus awareness month I will share the following- Lupus should be considered a women’s health issue. Of the 1.5+ million people with Lupus, over 90% are women. These women receive their diagnosis usually during childbearing years and experience a worsening of symptoms often while ovulating. There will be several Lupus walks throughout the country this summer. I will be attending mine in June. On May 18th wear purple and find a way to make more people aware of this disease that affects more people than MS or Leukemia!

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