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. Deemarie1223's Avatar
    Thank you for sharing lauris story saysusie. I'm crying as I write, you are an inspiration to many, and lauri is the key to that. So much sadness, pride, love, compassion and much more all rolled into 2 special people. I feel as if God lead me to WHL, a place to be comforted, to give comfort, to love and be loved, to bond on so many levels. As a mother of an angel, a mother in general and a victim of AI disease, this has touched deep into my heart. Keep her memory alive are truly a blessing! My prayers, thought and love go out to your family!

    Love and blessings,
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