Lorene and I attended school together at Shawnee Heights High School and we have recently reconnected through Facebook. After the first Inspiring Hope Story about Annalise Bohm, Lorene let me know of her health challenges. She appreciated knowing that there are other people out there holding on to their faith in God through the midst of life’s storms. Lorene has faced some tough times in her life, but her faith in God has carried her through those times. It is my prayer that Lorene’s story will encourage you to remain faithful to God, trusting that He always has a plan to work all things together for good!
Lorene’s Story “Living with Lupus”
Maybe instead of saying, “Living with Lupus,” I should have said struggling with Lupus. For those of you who haven’t heard of Lupus, it’s an autoimmune deficiency disease. Yeah, that’s the same reaction I had when the doctor told me, except mine was, “you mean I have A.I.D.S.,” my heart was racing. No, the doctor said, “you don’t have aids.” You have a disease in which your body is fighting itself. He handed me some pamphlets to read, as I left his office. Needless to say, I was in shock, and some days I feel like I’m still in shock. So let me give you a little background on Lupus.
Lupus happens when something in your body goes wrong with your immune system and it attacks healthy cells in your body. It can affect anything from joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and the brain. Nine out of ten people with Lupus are women, and of those women, they tend to be more African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American. The symptoms of Lupus vary from person to person. Muscle/joint pain and swelling, skin sensitivities to the sun and rashes, usually on the face, kidney infections, breathing problems, poor circulation that causes purple fingers or toes, swelling in the legs or around the eyes, hair loss, memory problems, and feeling tired, and many more symptoms that I haven’t mentioned.
Here’s a little bit about me…I just turned 47 years old this month. I have been married, divorced, and re-married to the same man. We have three boys who are now young men. I was raised Catholic, and although I believe in the Catholic Church, I haven’t always followed my beliefs, especially when we were divorced. James and I met when I was going to college the first time when I was 18 years old. We had three kids and then I decided to go back to school for nursing when I turned 35. We started having problems, hence the divorce, which led me to drop out of nursing school. I hated God at this time and wanted to punish him by no longer being a good Christian. I was going through a wild time in my life and partying like no other. I started feeling sick and run down and this is when I found out that I had Lupus along with being pregnant. I actually thought about having an abortion. Here I was sick, not knowing how long I had to live, or even if I could carry a baby to full term. Not to mention, at the time, I wasn’t even married. At the time, I thought this was a cruel joke from God. Because of the Lupus, I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was 5 months along. Since I wasn’t married, I decided on adoption. I let James know what was going on and that I was thinking about putting the baby up for adoption. He was supportive and going through some rough times as well, along with missing the family. I asked him to move back in with me and emotionally support me through the pregnancy and adoption. The funny thing is, that although I wasn’t active in any church at the time, I wanted the person/family who was adopting my baby to have faith in God. My little one, that I gave up for adoption is turning 7 years old in a few months. I see him every once in a while, but he doesn’t know that I am his Mom.
I have learned from life that everyone makes mistakes and holding grudges doesn’t help anyone. I made it through Nursing School and I am now a LPN. I have my soul mate back and we are helping our son raise his three kids, ages 6, 5, and 4 years old. We both thank God for the time we have together and try not to focus on the negatives. I still struggle with getting out of bed most days, but I am trying to lead a normal life. Some days are a challenge, but with the faith that God has given me, I do it. My favorite song is by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You were Dying.” Now, I don’t want you to think that I am skydiving or bull riding. I just know that when I do go to Heaven I want to stand before God and say that I tried being the best Christian that I could be.
Blessings to Everyone and Thank You,