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The Golden Years

My lupus was diagnosed in the 1970’s when little or no information was available to patients. This was followed in subsequent years by further diagnoses of Sjögrens Syndrome, asthma and Antiphospholipid Syndrome — to say nothing of many bouts of illness, hospital admissions and years of fatigue.

Sadly, it is true that there is, as yet, no cure for this dreadful illness. It can only be managed, as sufferers know all too well. In my experience, no sooner does it flare and its attendant problems subside than another one lies in wait to attack.

It literally takes over one’s life. I am now in my 70’s and I had become resigned to having lupus for life and to feeling permanently fatigued.

Then about 6 months ago, something amazing happened. One morning I woke up full of energy and felt like jumping out of bed. I hadn’t felt like that in decades! At the time it was too good to be true. I dared to hope that my lupus had burned out. Recently at the Louise Coote Lupus Clinic, I was told in all probability this indeed is the case.

In ‘The Lupus Book’ Dr DJ Wallace writes: “For those with a history of long-term SLE, the golden years are usually just that. Lupus tends to burn itself out after many years and rarely progresses after menopause”.

I hope my experience will give heart to other patients and that in their golden years, when they eventually come, they too will have cause to celebrate. Just remember, after all, there can be light at the end of the tunnel! - Mrs Saiv P D’Angelo.

Dr David D’Cruz comments “Mrs D’Angelo’s experience of lupus going unto remission after the menopause is very positive. Lupus is clearly driven by female hormones though researchers are still struggling to unravel the precise mechanism by which oestrogen's influence the immune system.

The majority of patients do experience improvement in their symptoms after the menopause. Very occasionally, for reasons we do not understand, lupus continues to be active after the menopause and rarely, we do see patients who continue to flare up years afterwards. It is important therefore, for patients not to discontinue their lupus treatments without careful discussion with their physicians”.