Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What is Lupus? Why does it make playing difficult?

I have received many emails asking about Lupus, what it is, why it makes playing the bass difficult, what causes it, etc. I put a link to the Lupus Foundation site on my sites page. But as for me personally, I was diasgnosed with Lupus SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) around 2001. I had been feeling very fatigued, my joints hurt pretty bad, I had a weird rash, I couldn't heal when I would get hurt as fast as usual, and I got a horrible cold that turned quickly into pneumonia....I had some tests that showed my kidneys were being attacked. After a hospital stay and a multitude of blood tests, I was told it was Lupus SLE. I must keep a close monitor on my kidneys and also get flu shots so I don't catch the flu as it could be bad for me, whereas for someone else, it would be a couple of days in bed and some Nyquil. My joints, mainly hands and fingers were hit hard, they hurt and lock up and ache constantly. WHY I decided to play an instrument is beyond me, it was like I said to myself, how dare you attack my hands, I'm just going to find something that requires me to use my fingers and hands and I'll just conquer this! I can't hold the neck of the bass correctly, I have to more or less cradle it in my open hand sometimes. It is VERY hard for me to play the notes on the frets, but that is getting better I think. My wrists hurt because I have to bend them, blah blah blah.....Here is a more "medical" explanation.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, usually life-long, potentially fatal autoimmune disease characterized by unpredictable exacerbations and remissions with variable clinical manifestations. In Lupus SLE there is a high probability for clinical involvement of the joints, skin, kidney, brain, lung, heart, serosa and gastrointestinal tract.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by immune dysregulation resulting in the production of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), generation of circulating immune complexes, and activation of the complement system. SLE is notable for unpredictable exacerbations and remissions and a predilection for clinical involvement of the joints, skin, kidney, brain, serosa, lung, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. The pathologic hallmark of the disease is recurrent, widespread, and diverse vascular lesions.

But not to fear!!!!! I am fighting it, like everyone else I know who has it. Some days, weeks, months are horrible, some are wonderful and free from some of the symptoms. You just have to treat yourself well, eat right and exercise but most important, try to have a positive attitude, stress is horrible for lupus. That is why picking up the bass and playing my favorite song helps. So that is what Lupus is. It is not known how or why people get it, it is predominent in females, but many men have it too. Yes, it can be fatal at the drop of a hat, but...... in the last 10 years great advances have been made in the treatment of Lupus, there just needs to be a lot more, just like all the other horrible diseases out there that we need funding for. I was just glad they could come up with a diagnosis, I was too energetic and loved the outdoors too much to suddenly be struck down. So after learning what I had, I then could find the tools to fight it. That is my story! I am sticking to it.....

No comments: