We Have Lupus Dedication - Lauri's Bio

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Lauri’s Lupus Story
This is Lauri’s story, as told and presented here by her mother, who is also the moderator of this forum. So, forgive me if the story becomes emotional or perhaps even clinical in my effort to tell you about her life, her bravery and the legacy of compassion, love and integrity that she left for us, her family.
Lauri’s Lupus story started much like many of you; with various illnesses which we could not define nor could we find a reason for them. At age 17, she began to suffer greatly with hives and we did everything that we could to find a reason for them. We changed all of our cleaning and washing ingredients to all natural products, purchased new bedding (including mattress and box-spring), fumigated our home, replaced carpets, etc. All to no avail, the hives continued and began to occur more and more frequently. She then began to develop muscle soreness and extreme fatigue. It was at this point that, since I also had Lupus, I began to ask her doctor’s to test her for lupus.
As you all know, the testing and diagnostic process for Lupus is lengthy and arduous. Her doctors finally told us that she had rheumatoid arthritis because she did not have all of the necessary criteria for Lupus. By this time, she was in her senior year of High School. Lauri had been a professional dancer all of her life (traveling throughout the state in competitions and winning numerous awards) and had always been physically fit and very active. All of this came to a screeching halt and she was not even able to attend school, having to finish her senior year on home schooling.
Throughout all of this, she continued to apply to colleges – determined to accomplish at least that one major goal in her life. Lauri had a team of very dedicated and caring doctor’s and eventually her health and her strength began to return under her regimen of medication and self-care. Also, she was accepted into the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was extremely happy about this.
Her first year of college was a happy one as she maintained reasonable health. However, her second year was fraught with one relapse after another. She developed pericarditis, Raynaud’s Syndrome and pulmonary hypertension. We were then advised by her doctor’s that she did, indeed, have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. The muscle aches and fatigue returned and she was forced, once again, to curtail her activities. However, during that same time, she met and fell in love with her husband to be, Duane Reinke. Duane was a caring, understanding and supportive fiancé and we could not have asked for a better son-in-law.
Lauri’s team of doctor’s did the best that they could for her since she was in Nevada and Kaiser did not have a facility in Nevada. She made many trips home to California at which time, the entire team would see her in an effort work on her treatment plan.
Eventually, it was agreed, in her third year at UNLV, that it would be advantages for her to return to California in order to be closer to her doctors. Lauri moved back home and her fiancé gave up his job in Nevada to be here with her. Her doctor’s were able to, once again, put her on a regimen that returned her to reasonable health. At that point, she and her fiancé began to make their wedding plans.
Lauri was now taking Methotrexate, Prednisone, Imuran, Flexeril and Plaquenil. She was tolerating all of the medications fairly well with the exception of the Methotrexate, which she took once per week. On those days, she was unable to get out of the bed or to function at all. Those days came to be known as “Lauri’s Methotrexate Days” which, all of us who loved her understood to mean: Just leave her alone, take care of her and make sure she has what she needs! Her face had swollen from the Prednisone and she hated looking at herself as she was almost unrecognizable. But, she was surrounded by SO MUCH LOVE – from her family and, most important to her, from her fiancé, Duane.
Lauri had to be taken to the hospital on two occasions while we were planning her wedding. It seemed that her heart was getting weaker and weaker. But, her doctor’s were so diligent and so determined to return her to good health and, eventually, she did become strong enough to have the wedding of her dreams and to have a memorable and wonderful honeymoon.
Her first year of marriage was reasonably filled with more good days than bad. Her second year of marriage was just the opposite. Lauri tried to continue her education, but once again, had to drop out due to her health. She tried to maintain a job, but had to give it up due to her health. For a third time, she was having major complications with her heart and had been told that she could never have children as the act of carrying a child, much less child birth, could actually kill her. She became extremely depressed about never having a child of her own and there was not much that we could do to comfort her in this area.
But, she and her husband moved into a lovely home of their own and in November, 1999, she hosted the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. She was very weak during that occasion, but we all had faith that she would regain her health as she had done on the previous occasions. Unfortunately, that would not happen again.
On December 8, 1999, I took Lauri to Kaiser for her regular doctor’s appointment. She had been having major problems with her heart and had even moved home with us so that she could be cared for 24 hours/ day. Her husband would drive up on weekends to be with and take care of her, but her health continued to decline. During her appointment, her doctors decided to admit her to the hospital because her condition was so critical.
Since I was also a Lupus patient and her doctors and my doctors worked closely together, it was decided that, for the protection of my health and the fact that my stress had apparently put me at risk, I should either stay in her room with her or also be admitted. I chose to stay in her room with her.
I thank God every day for allowing me to spend those last days of her life right there, next to her. Lauri lost her battle on Decembe 10, 1999 (three days shy of her second wedding anniversary). Her father and I were at her side when her heart finally gave out and she transitioned from this life to a life eternal; a life no longer filled with pain, sickness, or disease. We now see her whole, healthy and happy and she comes to us that way in our dreams.
Lauri had dreamed of being an attorney and had applied to and was accepted into law-school before she succumbed to Lupus. She was an advocate for those who could not defend themselves and she had a passionate belief in fairness and justice.
To us, Lauri was the calmness in our seas, she was the voice of reason and compassion and she was the softest most tender soul that I have ever known. As her mother, I strive to be like her! She was, and remains, my role model. Lauri Amber Reinke-Diggs was a woman whose life was a God-directed life, a life lived by giving and showing love and compassion for everything that God created!
To you, my fellow Lupus sufferers and to those of you who are significant in the lives of lupus sufferers, I want to say that: If you get nothing else from this forum, you will always get the support, understanding, comfort, care and concern that the love of my daughter has directed me to share with all of you. That is my mission and that is my goal.

May you find here some form of Peace and may your life be filled with wonderful blessings!

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  1. Oluwa's Avatar
    As I read...Saysusie

    I felt your loss.
    I felt your pride.

    I felt Laurie's joy.
    I felt Laurie's passion.

    I left with sadness.
    I left with happiness.

    Thank you Laurie for sharing your beautiful Mom.
    Thank you Saysusie for sharing a huge part of your life, your Laurie, her story with us.

    I am so happy, really happy I found this place. Thank you very, very much...from the bottom to the top of my heart.

    Oodles of love...
  2. Angel Oliver's Avatar
    Oh Saysusie,

    Thanks for sharing Lauri's story, wow such a wonderful young lady.What a legacy...WHL!!! Thank you for being here to help us all, me! I so felt the pain of losing such a loving daughter.I hope telling her story helped you .I felt the pride in your words. So sorry for your loss, but hope, we can help you too, like you help us in Lauri's name. Thank you.
  3. Saysusie's Avatar
    Thank You Oluwa and Angel Oliver. Time has not made the loss of Lauri any easier. It has made me find more reasons to smile at the thought of her; rather than cry at the loss of her.
    Thank you both for all that you do here at WHL and for giving so much of yourselves to help other members here!
    Oluwa..You are my heart and my strength! You don't know how much you mean to me.
    Angel..You are amazing to me, I admire your strength, your resolve and your kindness!!

    Much Love To You Both
  4. rob's Avatar

    I've read Lauri's biography many times, and it never fails to have a profound effect on me. In your words I hear terrible sadness, but I also see pride, and an everlasting love that knows no bounds. A love Lupus cannot take away, ever.

  5. wrightrs's Avatar
    This touched me so much. We like to think of lupus as something we deal with everyday. And all the struggles we go though daily. Sometime we fail to see how serious Lupus can be!!! How hard it is own others that are close to us.

    It also moved me deep inside because I have Pulmonary Hypertion and Heart Problems also!!!
  6. Saysusie's Avatar
    I knew that you were familiar with Lauri's story. Thank you for your sweet and kind words. It has taken some time for me to finally post her bio....but I'm glad that I did.
    Again...Thank You
  7. Saysusie's Avatar
    I am sorry to hear that you also suffer from Pulmonary Hypertension as well as issues with your heart. Treatment for these conditions have come a long way since Lauri's struggle. So, the prognosis for these conditions are much more encouraging. Make sure that you take your meds as prescribed, take very good care of yourself and always pay attention to what your body is telling you!
    Thank you so much for your very sweet comments!

    Peace and Blessings
  8. TobyJug's Avatar
    spending time with people creates lifelong memories.....
    never let them slip away....

  9. BadFlareDay's Avatar
    Thank you for sharing this story.
  10. Saysusie's Avatar
    You are so right TobyJug!!

    Thank You for appreciating Lauri's Story BadFlareDay!
  11. ashleybaby715's Avatar
    saysusie this story really touched me. its nice to see that lauri didn't want to let lupus get her down and that she was determinded to complete her goals in life.
    she was a strong girl and i really admire that. and i admire you for being there for her the whole time !
  12. Oluwa's Avatar
    You're welcome, Saysusie....

    In so many ways you've been my strength to overcome the deficits Lupus can bring. With your words, your love I have learned to battle them one by one and more times than not I have won.

    You've helped me to realize having Lupus ain't so bad...thank you too.

  13. mrstjscott's Avatar
    Wow!!!! What a wonderful, loving, and admirable story. My heart feels an overwhelming peace from you but at the same time, sorrow. I admire the woman that you are and the woman (your daughter) that you lost. I am a woman of faith but am finding it hard to get through some days. After reading your daughter's bio, I feel that I shouldn't complain.
    My husband and I were married on December 4, 1999. Thank you, Saysusie for continuing to give life to me and the people on this site. May God bless you for blessing me.
  14. MicRoMediC's Avatar
    Wow Saysusie, I know this comes kind of late, but I just had the time to read your amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. It made me tear up and brought me back down to earth. It's a little reminder to take care of yourself and to surround yourself with people who care and are willing to take care of you. Thanks again. Thoughts and prayers always.
  15. BonusMom's Avatar
    As a mother, I cried as I read your story of love and loss. Witnessing your child's battle against this deadly disease has got to be the most heart wrenching agony known to (wo)man, yet there's no place you would have rather been--at Lauri's side.

    As women of grace, you and Lauri have touched the lives of so many. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the beautiful woman she was, her struggle with SLE and a forum that allows members to learn, share and grow in the face of Lupus.
  16. Bonita's Avatar
    I am deeply touched by your devotion to your daughter and ways to help others. There is no greater pain than losing ones children and i pray that you have some comfort knowing your daughter was a Christian and is with the Lord now. My heart and prayers go with you. Love bonita
  17. Saysusie's Avatar
    Mrstjscott; MicRoMedic; Bonus Mom; & Bonita;
    I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to respond to your comments. Thank each of you for your loving and supportive words. This is a loss that I have not (& probably never shall) recover from. However, she is my hero and I try to be the best person that I can so that she will be proud of me.
    Thank you all again...Always
  18. musick2myears's Avatar
    Thank you for your story and for this forum. You are a great person and mother. Your faith and love have filled my heart with more hope today.
    Thanks again
  19. Saysusie's Avatar
    Thank you so very much for those kind words

    Quote Originally Posted by musick2myears
    Thank you for your story and for this forum. You are a great person and mother. Your faith and love have filled my heart with more hope today.
    Thanks again
  20. running girl's Avatar
    Dear Saysusie,

    Thank you for sharing Lauri's story - your love - and your pain. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Building WHL is such a generous and loving tribute to your daughter. Thank you!
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