I have often spoken about my wife but I have never ever introduced her to all of you. I think it is about time. Drumrooooollll! Here is Mrs. Squirrel………..
Astute readers will probably notice that the above picture is quite different from what one might normally imagine when thinking about squirrels frolicking in the park. And Mrs. Squirrel isn’t trying to avoid paying speeding fines in the previous picture either.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Squirrel has to avoid the sun; not unlike Edward Cullen except her skin doesn’t sparkle like in the movies. If you hang with us, you will have to get used to this sight.
About two years ago, my wife was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus or just Lupus . This has meant that she has to avoid ultraviolet light, stress and (somewhat surprisingly) alfalfa sprouts as these are known to be triggers for a flare or severe episode of the ailment.
If you have lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system and it attacks healthy cells and tissues. This can damage many parts of the body such as the Joints, Skin, Kidneys, Heart, Lungs, Blood vessels and Brain. (source: NIH).
Lupus actually is derived from the Latin word for “wolf” and it was thought that skin lesions that can sometimes develop with the disease resembles that of a wolf bite. The singer, Seal, has scars on his face which was a result of a form of Lupus. Another common symptom is a rash on the face on either side of the nose which is said to resemble a butterfly shape. Hence, Lupus is often associated with the imagery of the wolf and the butterfly. Some other famous Lupus sufferers include Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez.
Lupus manifests differently in different people with different sets of organs affected and different level of severity. Before the availability of the medicines we have today, the survival rate from this illness was quite poor. It has improved greatly and for most sufferers, it can be managed. Some may experience periods of remission but it is never ever cured.
But it can still be devastating. A work colleague’s wife was diagnosed with Lupus about the same time as my wife but she passed away within months. Currently, a friend’s niece is experiencing kidney problems which may mean that she will have to rely on dialysis to live. Sharon is just 25. We just visited her in hospital which is one of the reasons for this post.
I thank God that my wife’s illness is responding to treatment and management. As a result, she has been spared the more severe symptoms. But she needs to avoid sunlight. Just 30 minutes of exposure can cause a flare in the illness.
So…… I do the driving during daylight hours while she cocoons herself in darkness in the back seat. But she takes over at night. Our home is maintained in cave like darkness during the day and beach holidays are generally a thing of the past. Keeping her company has also caused me to develop a porcelain white complexion too. But it is a small price to pay if it keeps her well.
Do say a prayer for Sharon; specifically that her kidneys regain some function within the next month so that she might not be totally dependent on costly and life impacting dialysis three times a week. She has finished her university studies and would just like to be able to get a job and get on with living life. Your prayers are appreciated. Thank you.
(Haida style drawing of wolf by Joe Zoho)