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Lupus and Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Susan L. Hendrix, MHA, Ph.d I can only speak for myself about living with a chronic illness called lupus, and hopefully one day I will sit down and write a book. My experience living with this illness has been a complex one since the age of 5. As of today, I have at last count a total of about thirty (30) underlying conditions. That’s right you heard me correctly and that was at last count. We know that lupus is a complex illness, takes months or even years to diagnose. Lupus mimics many other illnesses, that’s why it is called the “Great Imitator”. Lupus is an equal opportunity illness, but it affects people of color the most. The chronic and complex symptoms of lupus for me includes fatigue, joint pain, rashes , chest pain, weight loss/weight gain, headaches, and for me constant inflammatory attacks on my organs. But, did you know that having SLE (Lupus) that I am at an increase risk for lymphoma and other cancers, such as cancer of the cervix. A couple of months ago, I began to have issues with my lymph nodes in my neck, also there existed a mass, which I seen a ENT (Otorhinolaryngologists) regarding the issues that I was having. A biopsy was performed, and the specialist informed me that it was benign, but I was still not out of the woods. The next couple of weeks, I know that I had a follow-up appointment with my Rheumatologist. When he entered the room the look on his face was one of concern. “He stated Susan, your blood work has me concern, so we need to take more blood work to confirm what we suspect.” So, I was sent down to the lab to have an additional 12 tubes of blood taken to confirm the diagnosis of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. John Hopkins Lupus Center (2021) asserts “Studies show an increased risk of both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin lymphoma results from the disease process of lupus-specifically the overstimulation of B-cells coupled with defects in the immune system’s surveillance–and not just from mediations or other associated risk factors”. Here is a list of the symptoms that I was experiencing: Enlarge lymph nodes Chills Fatigue Swollen abdomen Chest pain Shortness of breath and cough Easy bruising Night sweats Weight loss (without trying) I’m doing well mentally, and so is my family. This is my short story of how living with this complex illness can be. It’s always something, either a new diagnosis, a hospital stay, a visit to the ER. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek help from your medical provider.

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