Today has been 11 years since my mom passed away. She had breast cancer. I also believe that she may have had Lupus too, although that's only based on my memories of her...I have no way of knowing for sure. My mom passed on October 13th 2005. She was 53 years old. I was 24 years old. My mom was a single parent, and I am an only child...so on that day, I lost the person who had been my whole world. It was one of the hardest days of my life.
Today, 11 years later, I still miss her as much as the day she died. As a Christian, I believe she is in Heaven. My mom loved God and Jesus... and she truly believed. She had confidence that she was going to be with her savior. At that time in my life, I didn't believe like I do now. I was skeptical. I was raised a Christian, but I was angry that my mom was dying. My mom talked to me a lot about life, death and faith. In her passing, she showed me that Heaven is very real.
Since then, not a day goes by that I don't think about her. I see her in the beauty of nature, in the warm summer sun, when I see a robin perched on a branch, when I'm at the barn in the sweet smell of hay and horses, and most of all, when I see my son smile. He looks so much like his Daddy, but when he smiles he is 100% my mom. He has the same twinkle in his bright, gorgeous blue eyes.
When I think of my mom passing so young, I worry about my own health and want to be healthy & strong for my son and my family. In some ways, I am thankful that I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was because my organs are healthy and I'm on a treatment plan that I hope will work for many years to come. I hope that the monitoring that I have by wonderful doctors means that I will live a long life. I truly believe that one of the scariest parts of Lupus is how many women remain undiagnosed. Women who go to the doctor with symptoms that don't make any sense, and who have their doctors brush them off. Women who wake up exhausted, in pain, and wonder why they feel the way they do when they are young and should have more energy. If you're reading this, and this sounds like you then please ask your doctor to run a comprehensive metabolic panel of blood tests including an ANA test. If that's positive, ask for an anti-double stranded DNA test along with a referral to a rheumatologist who will test you for things like an anti-Smith antibody and other tests for autoimmune diseases. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor for these tests. Trust your gut...as my good friend says, "that is the Holy Spirit talking to you", and I believe she is correct. Sometimes, I think though, that the voice/gut feeling talking to me is actually my mom...but either way, I listen.
None of us know what God has in store for us. For my mom, God called her home far too young, but the impact she made on this Earth in 53 years was pretty amazing. She is my biggest inspiration. I hope I can be as good of a mom as she was to me.
This was a long and rambling post, but if you've lost a parent then you know how I'm feeling.
Moral of the story, if you feel like something is wrong with your body, whether you suspect cancer, or lupus or something else, push hard to get the tests needed. Trust your body, trust your instinct. Trust God to guide you. Early detection, with anything, is key.