We Are Lupus Survivors
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CHRISTINE MISERANDINOHey, come on in. Nice to meet you. I'm so glad you came over. Let's move over here. Oh, wow. Look who's here. So I have lupus for 18 years, and I think I'm living a good life. And how long have you?
ERIC CALHOUNI've had lupus for 29 years now.
ERIC CALHOUNAnd I think I'm doing great.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOAnd what about you, Steph?
STEPHANIE KENNEDYI've had it 10 years, most of my adult life, I'll say. And it's been a roller coaster. I have to be honest.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOAnd Kim?
KIM SCHOFIELDWell, I'm in my 11th year, and I was diagnosed right in the prime of my career. I lost control of everything. I lost a lot of energy. I lost a lot of time, a lot of friends. I lost a career. But you know what? I was still able to return to college and go on and get advanced degrees, but it was a struggle.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOGood for you.
KIM SCHOFIELDRetaining and remembering and the flares, but you know what? We're survivors.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOWe are.
KIM SCHOFIELDWe are survivors.
ERIC CALHOUNFor me, it was-- my coping mechanism came in like phases. It didn't all happen overnight, because I was dealing with the facial part, losing my hair. My skin changed. And I had to, first of all, accept myself, accept the disease. And then the third phase came when I was hoping that someone would select me as their husband, as handsome as I am, as Kim has already stated. So that happened, and once I began to accept my disease, accept my condition, accept the changes, and I found someone that will love me for me, hey, my life began to change.
STEPHANIE KENNEDYI think you hit the nail on the head there, and it has been a journey for me in that I am not the same mother. I have three children. I did everything with my children. I went everywhere. We had tea parties. We had princess time. We dressed up. I took them to the mall. And then I got sick. And then my son came 10 years later. I had been sick already for seven years. And sometimes it hurts, because my son is three years old, and my daughters are more of a mother to my child than I am. And that has been my biggest stumbling block in calling myself a survivor. I'm making them grow up way before their time and way before they should. They should not be worried about fixing their brother dinner. They should be worried about playing with their friends.
ERIC CALHOUNWell, I think you should be proud of yourself, though, because when you were well, you deposited into your daughters what a mother should be.
ERIC CALHOUNAnd they are now being the mother for you when Mom can't be a mom.
KIM SCHOFIELDWe do the best we can with the situation that we're given. And the strength that we show them is an encouragement every day that they can survive no matter what obstacles come their way, that there's still a strength, because they saw Mom. They saw Dad. They saw everyone go through this.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOAnd you know, you make it work.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOYou make it work. And what's amazing is that's how you survive. When you finally accept it-- come on, lupus. You're along for the ride, and let's find a new way. And you know, I realized just now when I said 18 that I've actually been sick longer than I've been healthy. And that's sad. And that's miserable to think about. But then I turn it around, and I say, I'm good at this.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINO: I know how to do what I wanted to do but switch it, switch it up, adjust. I could be a survivor, and we can still live with lupus and do it well.
ERIC CALHOUNYou rise to the top. You overcome. You fight, because the moment that we succumb to this, the moment that we just roll over, and just, OK, I got lupus, and that's it. I don't have anymore life. Life has dealt me these cards. Well, let's play the cards out, because there are some more cards in the deck.
KIM SCHOFIELDI kind of say, you know what? I have a story, and my story is not just about lupus.
ERIC CALHOUNThat's right.
KIM SCHOFIELDIt doesn't define who we are. It just adds another element to make the story of our life better. Our life stories are better--
STEPHANIE KENNEDYStory of our life-- I love that.
KIM SCHOFIELD--because of lupus.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOYou know what I always say? Lupus made my body weaker but my soul stronger.
KIM SCHOFIELDThat's right. I like that one.
STEPHANIE KENNEDYThere we go. Thank you.
KIM SCHOFIELDI like that one.
CHRISTINE MISERANDINOThere we go.