My sister Samantha Therese Soqueña, aged 22, was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erethematosus in February 2018. Her first symptom appeared in November 2017 in the form of the so-called “butterfly rash” across her face. We thought it was nothing but a mere skin disease but after several trips to the dermatologist, we were referred to internal medicine. After a few tests, it was confirmed. Sam has lupus.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs. In Sam’s case, it is her kidneys that are suffering because of this disease. Lupus causes inflammation. Long-term inflammation in the kidneys causes damage. If enough of the kidney becomes scarred, it will begin to lose function. Last year, she underwent kidney biopsy because she is releasing protein from her body which is an implication of kidney failure. Her lupus also affects her joints in a way that she feels pains on her joints often. Lupus also increases the risk of heart diseases. Furthermore, the same drugs that prevent the immune system from attacking the body also impair its ability to fight off infections. Because the body’s immune system is weakened by the drugs, the body is unable to fight off even a simple infection, and a simple infection can become a complex infection.
Lupus is a chronic disease, and Sam will need a lifetime of medications. However, with enough treatment, her lupus can go into remission. Lupus remission means that her symptoms will not appear and that her lupus will become “dormant”, which is the best possible result of medications and treatments.
The cost of her medicines, treatments, and regular visits to her doctors are pricey and we need as much financial aid as we can get. On an average, her medicines cost as much as Php20,000 per month, excluding her expenses for regular check-ups and laboratory tests. In this regard, we are knocking on your generous hearts to extend help. Any amount will be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.