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Patty and Julie's Story

My name is Patty, I am from Colombia and I married to an English man since 1998. I am in my early 30's, I have 2 children, my son Alvaro he is 15 years old and Julie 14 years old (Julie was diagnosed with Lupus June 2001). We have been in England for 5 years; I am a Beauty Therapist specialising in permanent make-up and laser treatments. I work in a few salons around Surrey and I have my own place at home in which I have my private clients.

Two years ago I found out had Lupus. After Julie was diagnosed I had so many similar symptoms my GP suggested that I had some more sophisticated blood tests done. When I went to see my GP to have the blood test results, she explained to me that I needed to go to see the lupus specialists but at least I found the answer to so many different questions that I had in the past about my health. I was always very tired and felt very ill but I did not know what was happening to me. At the same time Julie was at home with a migraine that she had for about 3 weeks. I know she was very worried about my results and she told me something that it was heart breaking. Before I went to the clinic she said to me "Mum I have been praying for you not to have Lupus, because my brother needs you so much and you are our Mummy. We can't replace you if something happens to you, and you are so young that you can have another little girl if something happens to me". It was so painful!!

When I walked from the Clinic to my house in some ways I was excited about me having Lupus, (it sounds silly). I could show Julie that even not knowing about the Lupus for a very long time I managed to have normal life, stable relationship, my children, and my work, everything that we need in life to keep us going.

It has not been easy, I have my husband and my children here in England but the rest of my family are in Colombia; my mum, my dad, brother and sister, uncles, aunts, everybody and when you are going through difficult time you really need your family around you. I have to thank my husband for his support and understanding, but the amazing thing was that we received Jesus in our lives (Julie and me) and he gives us the spiritual support, strength and encouragement that we need to move on living with this long term illness.

Lupus affects my life in so many ways. Sometimes I have to cancel my bookings because of the pain in my joints, or because I get swollen hands and I cannot do any work. Fortunately my clients are lovely, understanding people and they don't mind to have to wait for a few days or a couple of weeks to have their treatments done.

Lupus has caused problems with my work. A few months ago I was going to work in a laser hair removal clinic, and needed a few days training prior to starting. It was on Monday and I came out of the hospital on Friday after having some problems to do with my kidneys. My caring and lovely husband went with me and when we had the practical training, filling the consultation form with all the medical records, we found that of course Lupus was a contraindication for me having Laser Treatments. So I called my husband and I asked him if he wanted to be a model for us instead of me and he agreed!!

I am on medication at the moment and I feel very well. I still have days where I feel extremely tired, but the thing is I know I have to live every day as it comes. With Lupus we have ups and downs, so when I feel well I would like to do as much as I can, but I have learnt not to push myself too hard.

I am very thankful to God because I have a lovely family, lovely children and lovely parents in law who are all very supportive and understanding about my health problems.