I was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 4. However, it is believed I had it way before then. I remember walking from the bathroom towards the kitchen and just falling right down. I was unable to bend my knee and it swollen and hot to the touch. I’ve been on medication for YEARS! Can you imagine telling/showing a child how to swallow pills? Not as easy as it seems.

No one could have told me my mom and I would have hospital to go bags. We knew an emergency room trip meant a couple of days in the hospital. It got to be a lifestyle. While in elementary school, I missed quite a few days; and I was homeschooled my 5th grade year because of issues with my kidneys. The doctor even decided to put me on chemo. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “chemo?” The big “C” also known as cancer. It had gotten to the point where someone with a common cold was “toxic” towards me. During my homeschooling, teachers and administrators visited me as well as classmates. But to be able to attend my 5th grade graduation was a dream come true!

Middle school years were ok, still missed quite a few days but still made it through. I was in ICU because of fluid around my heart. How scary that was! I was rushed over because I couldn’t catch my breath to breathe. Also, during my middle school years, my mom and I received a grant to go to a lupus conference in Minnesota. It was so amazing and inspiring to hear stories from my peers about the disease. Some of them had similar symptoms, while others went through things I have never heard of. I even met a boy with lupus, which is very rare.

High school came along. My 9th and 10th grade years were tough. I almost failed because of absences but I had an understanding administration that “looked” the other way. I graduated with honors from high school. I entered into ODU with minor aches. During my senior year at ODU, I got pregnant. Now we all know patients with lupus are not “supposed” to get pregnant without the proper precautions. Well I can say my 6 year old was early (6 weeks) but you would never know. She didn’t have any complications at all. However I got a BIG flare up that put my kidneys at risk. I now have lupus nephritis. My legs, feet and ankles swelled up so bad. I was put on chemo again; a stronger dosage than before. It felt like I was walking on pillows!
I have had the BEST support system throughout this WHOLE ordeal. First and foremost is my Heavenly Father. Without Him, I might not be sharing my story. My mother has been there to ensure I make it to doctors’ appointments and sitting with me during hospital stays. My grandma (RIP) sat with my countless times, bringing her lunch and taking her naps (lol). My grandpa stayed on me and still do about my meds. My uncle would get off work if need be to get me the help I needed. Last but not least my daughter. She may not understand everything about lupus but she makes sure mommy is okay.

Fast forward to present day….I am a graduate of ODU (Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies – Teacher Prep.; Masters in Elementary Education) and I have been a teacher with Norfolk Public Schools, this being my 4th year. My lupus is calm and I plan to keep it that way. I’m only on 5 meds…yay! And I do what I’ve been wanting to do…living life!

Kourtnee Battle                                                                                                                                                                                                     #NoBATTLELost #lupuswarrior