The Huffington Post Features Adam Selkowitz’ Story of Lupus and Inspiration to Run LA’s 5K

Former New Yorker Chairs the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s West Coast Partner, Lupus LA

In 1987, at the age of 16, I had some trouble taking a deep breath, my joints ached and I was getting frequent headaches. Luckily, a family friend and doctor suggested that I go see a pediatric rheumatologist at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. After many scans, blood tests and the normal poking and prodding that comes with finding a needle in a haystack, I had a diagnosis.

My parents spoke to the doctor and then to me, and they simply said, "You have lupus." I had never heard the word and didn't know anything about what that meant to the rest of my life. I remember learning that it was not fatal, but that there was no cure. I was told that there were pills I would have to take that should start to make me feel better, but that those same pills had some side effects that might not be so pleasant. And so, the next day, I started taking a variety of immune suppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs, including the steroid Prednisone. That's the word most of us lupus patients grow to dread; Prednisone can be a lifesaver, as it was and still is in my case, but it also takes a brutal toll on the human body, and living with lupus can be a constant balancing act between the pros and cons of such drugs.