My name is Lana, and I'm a 21 year-old chemistry grad student in Boulder, Colorado. I was recently diagnosed with SLE and secondary Sjögren's syndrome after spending three years searching for an explanation for my crippling joint pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and kidney problems. After my diagnosis, I started doing a bunch of research, and the pieces started to fall into place. Things that never occurred to me could be related (dry mouth, dry eyes, severe depression, sun sensitivity) started making sense, and I had such a feeling of relief at finally having a diagnosis.

As a scientist, I like to gather as much information as possible when tackling a problem. I was only given this diagnoses a week ago (I was originally diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease, but sought a second opinion after I did some research and it just didn't seem to fit), and have been attempting to amass as much information as possible on my condition and how to cope with it. My fiancée, strangely enough, also has an autoimmune condition, and while she has been an amazing resource, I don't want to feel as if I have to rely entirely on her for support, which is kind of the position I felt I've been in lately.

Anyways, I apologize for the long post. I'm interested in getting to know the other members on this site and hearing your strategies for coping with your condition(s).