Dewitt, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Social media was buzzing Thursday after singer Selena Gomez posted a photo and message on her Instagram, informing her fans of her recent kidney transplant due to Lupus.
It's a disease that many know nothing about. It does not have a cure, but does have effective treatments like steroids.
Alana Hughes still remembers the first time she knew something was wrong.
"A walk that should have taken me maybe about 5 minutes to get to the front door, took me almost a half hour," she said.
She was suffering from unbearable pain. It was followed by a surprising diagnosis: the autoimmune disease Lupus.
"It literally felt like I had been run over by a train. Every joint in my body was sore, every one of them was swollen so I could barely move," she added of her condition.
Before her diagnosis, Hughes- an active personal trainer- knew very little about the disease. Her symptoms never leading her to believe she was suffering from a serious illness.
It's a story doctors like Upstate University Hospital's Dr. Andras Perl see all too often.
"People just believe 'oh, I had an infection' and sometimes it just spontaneously goes away, but during this infection the body accumulates damage. So, that infection like flare actually builds on existing damage," Perl said.
In severe cases, Lupus can mean a life-threatening attack on your organs.
"Infectious diseases can mimic Lupus- which are very common- and Lupus flares often mimic infectious diseases and it's not diagnosed," Perl added.
Hughes said living with Lupus can often make it hard to get to work and to the gym, but she finds motivation despite her diagnosis.
"Some days I can't find it myself other people have to give it to me," she added. "I always think it's so important to surround yourself with positive people, people who won't let you quit. Because there have been days where I'm just like "I can't do it anymore it's just too much."
But with the hope that tomorrow will be better, Alana, like so many with Lupus, is determined to keep going.
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