View Full Version : 26, just diagnosed, in a bad flare, ready to turn down grad (nursing) school

02-17-2012, 11:02 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm Meena. I'm 26 and after months of unexplained joint pain and fatigue I've been diagnosed with SLE. My blood work confirms that so far I have no organ damage but all my ANA and other tests are VERY high and I'm in a bad flare. I'm on prednisone 40mg, (started at 60 for weeks), plaquenil and a couple others.

I'm sad because I'm in the last pre-rec for grad school and I feel I should drop the class because I somehow can't seem to concentrate long enough to study. My brain is having a very hard time memorizing and it's anatomy class. I'm due to begin a top (basically IV league) grad program this June that will get me my R.N. degree in 1 year. The next 2 years of the program will earn me my Nurse Practitioner degree. I was very excited to enter this new path in my life, as I already have my B.A. in public health and was tired of working a desk job for 4 years and passionate about nursing. However, now I am re-evaluating my entire life because I'm finding that if I don't sleep by 10pm, I'm a mess the next day. I read the spoon article and it describes exactly how I feel! I hate getting up, eating my stomach medicines on an empty stomach then waiting 30 minutes then eating so I can take all my other medicines, then waiting for those to kick in just so I feel well enough to shower and get ready for the day. I feel like I should re-plan my life to a career and life plan that's more conducive to my health and well being, such as just going for the disability and working a regular part-time job or deciding to be a stay at home mom. I do want to get married and have kids within the next 5 years and I realize with Lupus that's not going to be as easy as if I was healthy so I'm thinking maybe I just shouldn't pursue grad school and/or even working right now and should just focus on my health. The stressful thing is, I have to decide if I'm going to stay in this class and go to grad school or drop the class and let the grad school know I'm not coming--within a week! :( I could also re-apply next year I suppose when I'm hopefully more stabalized and in remission?

But then I feel like I'm "giving up my dreams" and settling. But at the same time, I'm just trying to be realistic so that I can have a good quality of life and try to avoid getting even worse. I want to have a low-stress life as much as possible.

Do any of you have advice for me?

I appreciate it!

02-17-2012, 03:14 PM
Wow, that sounds like an awesome program, and a difficult decision. I am new here, so hopefully those with more experience dealing with this can help. You have to listen to your body and its limitations....but.....I would hate to see you set aside your career path. I was lucky in that I wasn't I'll while going to grad school and setting up practice (veterinary). Looking back, it would've been difficult to get through it all while being symptomatic with this disease. However, you have the potential to positively affect so many lives and may even become a champion for your patients with autoimmune disease. If at all possible, I would ask the administrative officials at the school for someone to speak with. If you announce that you are committed to the program, but may need extra time or consideration on certain factors, they may be receptive to helping you through.

Either way, I hope the meds will offer you some relief and maybe things will look up after you can taper the pred and the plaquenil kicks in. I wish you the best and there is still a lot you can do in the public health field if this doesn't work out. Best of luck!

02-17-2012, 07:21 PM
First let me welcome you to WHL. You have found a wonderful group of people and a new "family" to help when you need it.

The question you ask is such a hard one and, sadly, only you can answer it. The answer for each of us is different. Because Lupus hits us each differently and the flares last different lengths of time for all of us, the only one that is going to know if you need to modify your life is you. The one thing you should know is that your life isn't over just because you have Lupus. It may have to be different than you first imagined it but it is simply a changing of dreams not an end to them.

We will be here as you try and sort through the decisions that you have to make. Feel free to come here and ask questions, vent, cry, laugh or whatever you feel like doing. Someone here will understand. I look forward to getting to know you and welcome to the WHL family

02-17-2012, 10:30 PM
Hi Caligirl,
Welcome to WHL. I'm right down the road from you in the Monterey Bay area.
I don't have any good advice for you, since I was nearly 50 when I was diagnosed.
I do know that we have several members here who are currently students, some are pre-med and I know that we have a couple of nursing students here.
I hope that one of them comes along soon.

As you've already been told, you will need to listen to your own body to make your decisions. Sometimes, finding the right mix and dosage of meds is all it takes. For others, all of the symptoms just never go away.
We all understand what you are going through, and we'll be here to answer questions and give you our cyber-support.

02-17-2012, 11:34 PM
hi caligirl,
and welcome.

everyone has different symptoms, and they change over time.

for myself....
my lupus has forced me to retire.

i know others on here who can still study and work.
there is no sure answer, that we can give you.

my suggestion is if you really want it, try and do it.
if it is too much...... then you may need to extend the program.
please do not think you have to give up on your dream.....
it just may take longer to get there.

02-18-2012, 01:47 PM
I am so sorry your going through this, it breaks my heart. At least I was young enough to change my plans. I don't want you to have to give up your dreams, maybe you when you get healthier you might be able to have your dreams. Just be careful and don't over-do yourself. Just learn to listen to your body, you know yourself best and taking a break to get healthier isn't the end of the world either. I do hope you get better and continue your studies.