My name is Joy Ogheneovo Erekpaine. Am 35yrs old. I was diagnosed with SLE in 2014. In October 2014 I was rushed to one of the General hospital here in Lagos Nigeria due to heavy bleeding. I had fibroid issue. I bled to the stage of needing a transfusion. I was in that hospital for 17days and I was given about 10pints of blood. The more I was transfused the more the blood comes out.

At a point, the consultant that came to see me said am anemic and they needed to carry out a procedure to ascertain what was really wrong. They couldn’t do this because I was still bleeding, so instead of keeping me, they transfered me to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). On getting there they were on strike, and they recommended for us to go Island Maternity at Marina Lagos. Getting to Island Maternity, I was attended to. Tests carried out and they were able to stop the bleeding. I was discharged and asked to get back for check up the following week. I was discharged on a Monday and by Friday same week, I was rushed again to Island Maternity.

How we got there is still a miracle because i couldn’t breathe through my nose but my mouth,I lost my voice completely,couple with the heavy traffic on third mainland bridge. God came through for me that day. On arrival at the hospital I was taken to the ER, placed on oxygen and later the consultant came to see me, was asked so many questions, tests were run again and the consultant said he couldn’t place his hands on what was happening so another referral came. I was given two referrals. One to LASUTH and the other to Lagos University Teaching Hospital – LUTH. We got to LASUTH that night and no bed space, we were told to go to LUTH. We were told if no bed space we should ask for “Spill Over ward”.(It was also the Ebola crisis time with Nigeria). Eventually I was admitted at the Spill Over ward in LUTH.

That night I was attended too- different teams of Doctors came, asking questions and running series of tests on me. It was devasting but God showed Himself mightily in my Life. I had rashes on my neck, I had blood patches all over my body. My platelets were about 10,000. I was transfused again totaling 28pints in LUTH. Series of tests were carried out. My blood sample was taken to South Africa too. Blood was coming out of everywhere it could flow out from my body- I was vomiting lumps of blood, there was blood in my brain, blood in my stool, my eyes were bloodshot, my nose was running with blood gushing out, my menstrual flow won’t stop too.

With the series of tests carried out I was told I had West Nile Hermorhagic fever which is under the Ebola disease but not as deadly as Ebola. I was isolated there at LUTH and treatment going on. It was horrible, so horrible. At a point all i was thinking about was dead. Some family members had started saying it was spiritual, I was told I offended someone etc. At a time, the doctors had to set up a central Line for blood transfusion and giving of drips as all my veins had collapsed. I didn’t eat for five days as I was being monitored. I gave up on myself as I couldn’t understand what was happening again. I sent messages to my Pastors and they came over. Shiloh was fast approaching and I kept telling God I wanted to serve Him again and I needed to be well to do that. On one of those days, I told my pastor I wanted to be discharged and be taken to Canaan land so I could die in The house Of God, Yea it got to that. My pastor put a call through to Bishop, he prayed for me and that very day the vomiting of blood ceased. Then tests being carried out began to make some sense. Eventually the tests results from South Africa came in and it showed LUPUS. Haaaa what is lupus again?The doctors tried to explain it all but I wasn’t taking it. All I wanted was to go home. I got well and was discharged.

When I was being lectured by the doctors on lupus, I didn’t really pay attention. My medications got finished in Feb 2015, I was so happy(Ignorance got me) and by March I was admitted again. After I was discharged I Google and began to study all about it. My life changed. It’s not been a easy journey with lupus. Depression keeps creeping in. I stopped work and still not working till now. At a time my own father said it’s better am dead than living and wasting people’s resources for a sickness that can’t be cured. I’ve lost friends and relationships. But I haven’t lost myself. Lupus has taught me to LOVE me more. I keep more to myself. When people around start behaving funny because I have lupus, I shot them out of my life. It’s not been easy oooh but it’s been God. I used to have this nonchalant attitude towards things but it has all changed now. Even when I get depressed and frustration creeps in, I still remember I have God in me, and I keep moving up.

I cry! Yes to ease the tension In me. It’s been a sweet and sour experience. I see myself these days more of a warrior. Lupus cannot and will not pull me down but I will pull it down. I’ll defeat lupus. I’ll shame lupus. Things may not be as they should, but I always remember I’ve got God in me. Life is beautiful so don’t allow your challenges define you.

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