When I was 18 years old in my senior year in high school, a nurse came in and told my mother; “No, it looks like she has lupus.” My mother and I looked at each other with the “what’s lupus” expression on our faces. The nurse recognized one of the symptoms that was on my face; the butter-fly rash, when she made that statement.

I’ve been going back and forth to the doctors at that point trying to find out why my health was declining. How could this have happened to me? I was an athlete, a cross-country runner. I was going to go into the military when I graduated. But of course, that came to a screeching halt to say the least. Luckily, I’ve been in remission since 2007 but I still face day-to-day challenges. Mentally, it drains you. It’s like I want to feel normal without limitations, but I can’t. Like, I have to be careful on going outside in the sun, because the sun-rays can damage my skin causing a potential flare-up. Just like cold weather can cause a flare-up.

I have systematic lupus; where it affects your skin and organs. It’s an autoimmune disease when your immune system attacks itself. Sometimes thinking about this depresses me but at the same time it can bring awareness to others. Everyone’s lupus is different but as for me I can only live day by day. I experience hair loss, achy joints from time to time and I know you’re probably thinking; but that’s with anyone right? True, but having lupus try to multiple that x 10 when you have an achy joint or headache.

My main objective is to bring awareness and understanding to this mystery illness to people and to be there for someone newly diagnosed because I didn’t have that support, other than my immediate family, back in 1995 when I was diagnosed. My name is Jessica Artis and this is my lupus story.

Jessica                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Lupus Warrior                                                                                                                                                                                       #tHeNaKedTrUth