May 19 is National Lupus Day in Canada and to celebrate and raise awareness of the disease, CBC News interviewed Lisa Walters to learn a little more about what life is like with the disease.
Lisa explains that she looks like your average 28-year-old since the symptoms of lupus are often invisible to others. These invisible symptoms — including skin problems, migraines, debilitating fatigue, muscle weakness, and lung inflammation — have forced her to take a year off work. She manages the disease one day at a time, which makes it difficult for her to make plans and often has to cancel social engagements at the last minute as she feels too ill to go out. Thankfully for Lisa, she has good friends who are understanding and patient.
Like many people living with the disease, Lisa suffered from lupus symptoms for 10 years before she was diagnosed. She describes how frustrating it was waiting for a diagnosis and now, because she doesn’t have any visible symptoms, she worries people will judge her for using her disabled parking pass. Lisa only tends to use her parking pass when she’s having a bad day and on occasions where she needs a cane to help steady and support her, but as she points out, she should be able to use it all the time without people passing judgment.
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