Hidden Battles

When I share my story, the first diagnosis I share is PTSD. Not that I am putting other diagnosis of items I deal with aside, but that is the one that has caused the most damage. It ended my military career, which at the time was the end of the world. When the PTSD diagnosis was given in 2010 a lot happened that just made it all worse. I lost my troops, was told it was too much for someone with my issues to handle. Little did the leadership know that my troops were what made it possible for me to come to work and function. They just worried what a PTSD person would do, they assumed I would fail my mission and my troops. Instead, my leadership failed me.

That is why PTSD is the first issue I say I am dealing with, but there are others. One diagnosis has been left off when I do get into other issues. Lupus. Yes y’all I was diagnosed with Lupus after 5 years of it being tossed around. This was before the PTSD diagnosis, before the Fibromyalgia diagnosis. This was way back before many of my medical issues became so bad.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus mostly known as SLE but commonly just called Lupus was first diagnosed in 2007 before my second tour to Iraq. It was placed on the back burner until tour was over. I wasn’t having major symptomatic issues so we figured we could deal with it when I got back. There were issues that came up that had me going to the medical folks for some relief but nothing that kept me from doing my job. Once that tour was over and I was home in mid 2008, we started to tackle how to treat the major issues that were presenting themselves. For the rest of the year we were good, symptoms were in check and I was ready for another tour when it came time.

For the rest of my career we were able to maintain control of the Lupus and it was never an issue. Glad to know why I was having issues with my body so we could tackle issues as they came around. We only had to deal with flare ups from time to time.

If I listed every medical diagnosis for everyone to know about, there would have to be a page just for that. Seriously y’all its a long list. I don’t talk much about the Lupus as the symptoms mirror many of those for Fibromyalgia. That does not mean that I ignore it which is why I bring it up now.

Here are some of the symptoms that someone may experience. They are so similar to the RA and Fibro that I have. Which is why it was misdiagnosed for so long.
Pain areas: in the muscles
Pain circumstances: can occur while breathing
Pain types: can be sharp in the chest
Whole body: anemia, fatigue, or fever
Mouth: dryness or ulcers
Skin: red rashes or scaly rashes
Hair: hair loss or loss of scalp hair
Also common: anxiety, blood in urine, clinical depression, face rash, flare, headache, joint stiffness, raynaud’s syndrome, sensitivity to light, swelling, water retention, or weight loss.

When you are dealing with Autoimmune Diseases it is important that you get every symptom checked for a proper diagnosis. For me it was important because I wanted to be sure I could still deploy.  As I said earlier, the PTSD is what ended my career and caused more disruption to my life than the others. It was when things went bad that all medical issues became overwhelming.

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