Hi Jena,

I was diagnosed with SLE at the age of 36, I'm now 40. Being diagnosed was one of the scariest points in my life. The fear, the thoughts of death, were awful. That was 4 years ago. Lupus symptoms are a daily part of my life. I have a bad flare every 2 or 3 days, with my symptoms never totally going away between flares. It can be very hard to deal with on the bad days. But, I also have good days. Sometimes I have really good days as a matter of fact. Yes, I've had to make many changes in my life, and it has not been easy, but it's been 4 years since the diagnosis, and I'm still very much alive. Lupus is by no means a death sentence. We have members here who have had SLE for ten, fifteen years or more, and are living and coping with their disease. I can feel the fear in you words, and I want you to know you are not alone. I've felt it too. I noticed some similarities between you and I as far as symptoms. I had patches of hair fall out on the back of my head. Alopecia Areatta is the term, and it's what led my to the SLE diagnosis. I also have a family member with SLE, my mother. My ANA was positive, and I was referred to a rheumotologist, who gave me the diagnosis. I am on full social security disability, as I'm unable to work. Just remember, Lupus IS NOT a death sentence. I'm really glad you joined our family here. I've found friendship, comfort, and understanding here that have really helped me cope, and have given comfort on my bad days. I think you'll find the same thing here. Welcome.