By Pat Ivey
A number of years ago, my ex-husband’s mother died. This in itself was not unusual, although she was fairly young, in her early 60s. What was notable was that it was only two days before she passed, after she had been in a coma for weeks, when she was finally diagnosed with something she knew she had for most of her life: Lupus.
She was never treated for it, never given pain medicine and treated by her family and friends as lazy and a whiner, because of the fact that nothing ever showed up on an X-ray or blood test or something a doctor could hold in his or her hand and say, “this is why you feel like you have been run over by a Mack truck all the time.”
So she lived her life in pain, missed out on spending a lot of time with her grandchildren, and even in some cases her younger children, and died a painful and miserable death at a much younger age than should have been the case.
There are literally millions of people out there, the vast majority women over age 30, who share a family of disorders and diseases that are completely debilitating and excruciatingly painful, but who are told on nearly every doctor visit they are imagining their symptoms. These diseases all belong to a family of disorders called autoimmune disease. They are, basically, the body’s own defense system attacking itself, and while they manifest themselves in different ways, the symptoms, treatments, and resulting disabilities are strikingly similar.