Weakness, fever, joing pain, rash and hair loss. Those are just a few symptoms of Lupus, an autoimmune disease that 73 percent of surveyed Americans admit they know little to nothing about. One El Pasoan is out to change that. Her name is Kristy Monteros, and she was diagnosed with Lupus seven years ago. She’s one of roughly 3,000 El Pasoans who are living with the disease, trying to keep up a healthy lifestyle so it doesn’t flare up again.
“I get achy, tired, and my joints hurt. Extreme pain all the time. Exhaustion. It’s hard to wake up in the morning, hard to get started,” laments Kristy. She has a full and busy life, and Lupus slows her down. She’s a grandma, school teacher, and has three children.
Lupus symptoms can flare up at times, and improve, but there is no cure. “When a normal person catches a cold, they get better,” says Kristy. “When we get sick, we get pneumonia…bronchitis. We get very sick. Lupus affects my entire family. My husband doesn’t have the healthy wife he used to. It puts a damper on some of those things sometimes. I can’t be in teh sun for a long time. I get tired, my back hurts. Family vacations, going outside – we don’t do as much as we used to but it’s an adaptation to the new normal. I can’t get down and play with the grandchildren like I wish I could,” Monteros adds.
Monteros’ son Maxwell says he helps as much as he can, but he wishes she could be more involved. “She’s missing out on the activities a mom should be there for,” he says. “And it’s not because she’s a bad mom. She’s a great mom. This disease – it holds her back a lot. When we go swimming, she can’t go out in the sun. She’ll be sitting down in the shade. We go out somewhere. She’ll stay in . It’s tough, but it’s manageable. We take care of her.”
Despite having a caring family, suffering from Lupus and its complications can leave a person feeling isolated. That’s why Monteros started a support group shortly after her diagnosis.
“I want people to know taht there is help. I started the support group when I was diagnosed. I wanted to make sure that those diagnosed knew there was help,” Monteros says.
This Saturday, she’s spearheading a walk called,”End Lupus Now,” from 4 to 8 pm at Ascarate Park. Everyone is welcome to help raise awareness, walk, and donations will be accepted.
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