Flight of the Butterflies is a lupus awareness campaign sharing stories of the brave lupus warriors. Many don’t understand lupus until they hear the walk of a warrior. Flight of the Butterflies is dedicated to sharing those stories in May for lupus awareness month.
Flight of the Butterflies Begins…..
Butterfly Flight Lauren Pancaldo
“Lauren, I need your help,” she weakly said, as she passed me a box of a couple dozen bottles of pills. I was all of six years old and my Nana passed me the large slotted, weekly pill organizer.
“Make sure you count correctly and put the right ones into each daily slot,” she said. She passed me bottles of prednisone, Plaquenil, and othermedications couldn’t even pronounce, used to treat her heart, thyroid, arthritis, and other dysfunctions of the body.
“One, two, three, four, five, and by the time I got to six, I asked, “Nana, why do you have to take so many pills? You’re so pretty. You don’t look like you are sick.”
I stared at her with pure curiosity, waiting for her response. “I have Lupus,” she said. “You will understand better one day. I need you to learn and how to sort and prepare medications. I remember thinking, she looked sad telling me this.
But my Nana, my grandmother was Super Woman and could do anything. I just simply didn’t understand.
Flash forward a few years.
I am 17 years old, screaming, and writhing in pain in my bed. I didn’t fall. I didn’t hurt myself and my hair was falling out in clumps. This went on for weeks and I just didn’t understand.
One day my grandmother came into my room and said I needed to be tested for Lupus. She instructed me, that when I feel my worst, to get a diagnosis, I needed to get ANA (Auto Nuclear Antibody) blood tests right away. I eventually had enough and drove myself, in tears, to the emergency room because it was the weekend.
The doctor came in right away with several nurses. Apparently, I made quite a scene. He asked me what was wrong and what hurt me.
I quickly yelled, “Everything hurts! From my toes to my scalp, everything hurts!” He looked at me, as did the others, in the room, like I was insane.
“You need to test my ANA. Lupus runs in my family. My grandmother has it and her mother and sister had it.” I begged him as he stared at me with a face of pure confusion. He did as I said and ordered blood tests.
The results came back three days later.
Not only was it positive but the titer used to measure its activity was well over 1/2400, which is an astronomical number. I saw my primary doctor who had received my results. The date was April 20th, 2007 and I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythmetosis.
I was sent to a Rheumatologist for treatment. He later added Fibromyalgia to my diagnosis. I was still in shock at that point. I didn’t know then but my list of diagnoses would forever be expanding.
Weeks later, my grandmother sat with me and counted pills into their weekly slots with me. “One, two, three, four, five,” and before I got to six, I thought to myself, maybe my grandmother knew. But I also knew that I was Super Woman too.
With the love of my Nana and family, I could do anything. I was a warrior just like my grandmother. I understood that she had me count those pills for a reason. Maybe deep down she did know, or maybe she just needed my help. But when Super Woman asks for your help, you help.
Lupus In Color is excited to present Lauren’s story to the world. As a Lupus Warrior he is actively promoting lupus awareness and wearing the armor of strength in doing so. Lupus In Color Salutes you Lauren Pancaldo.
YOUR BUTTERFLY WINGS ARE FLUTTERING, YOUR CHIN IS UP, YOUR ARMS ARE EXTENDED AND YOUR CHEST IS OUT! FLY ON BUTTERFLY!
PLEASE SHARE Lauren’s FLIGHT ON YOUR WALL AND START HER BUTTERFLY JOURNEY SPREADING LUPUS AWARENESS!
#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness