Winner #1 - Mary Dixon
"I've been diagnosed with SLE for 30 years. It has been challenging to learn how to adapt my lifestyle so that Lupus doesn't define or dictate how I spend my time. I was able to work 12 hour shifts until 2011 after being diagnosed with AVN, Kienboch's Disease, that affected my dominant hand. I had surgical removal of my lunate bone to relieve the pain but sadly it caused a lot of problems, loss of motion, decreased strength and pain.
The hardest part of Lupus has been living with the pain and fatigue. I try to keep my daily routine the same so that I can stay active. I miss my "before life" where very little thought was put into my plans or physical activities. Now I understand that at times I won't be able to do certain activities, not knowing how you'll be feeling makes planning difficult.
Sometimes I know my family and friends think I'm making excuses even though they have watched my progression...it's ok because deep down I know they miss the old me. Sharing stories and experiences really helps me to cope. This is my life and Lupus is a part of me, it will not rule me!"