February 18, 2013
Michigan Lupus foundation support
This story is written by Angel Rafael Alicea
What can I say about my life with lupus? I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Holland, Michigan I was and diagnosed with lupus at the age of 38 and this is my story. Graduated from Holland High school in 1988 went on to college to peruse law enforcement. I was hired with the Holland police department as a reserve police officer. Later, I was also hired as a part time paid firefighter. I took this responsibility as an employee for the city of Holland. I am now 43 with lupus. The stares I get from some people because of my face makes me uncomfortable. I went to a dermatologist who thought that I might have Lupus. I had to go through tests to determine if I have Lupus. Now after many years as a firefighter and a reserve police officer risking my life for others now became my struggle. My life has changed. My loss of weight and with stress not knowing how long I have had it makes me wonder. I am a devoted loving husband, father of three beautiful kids.
My high school years
My high school I was always in sports from baseball to football. My friends and teammates, along with coaches, kept me active. I was always working out and outside when I had to play ball. As a group of baseball players, we would go to Florida for spring training. In Florida, I was exposed to all the rays on my skin; I think it caught up to me. I would burn easily even with sunscreen.
It was when I got in my thirty’s that my face and my hands were reacting to the sun light. I took on the game of golf and the condition worsened. My wife knew something was wrong so I proceeded to seek medical attention. After several visits, I came home one day to tell my wife that I was diagnosed with Lupus. I had no idea what Lupus was, but the doctor told me to be careful when I am outside. My wife immediately researched up Lupus as she had a relative that died of the same disease.
Starting my Medication
Starting of my life I did not like to take pills, getting shots, and was never hospitalize until I was diagnosed with Lupus. Now I am on steroids both oral and shots. Hospitalized numerous of times now from the reaction due to my Lupus, and kept from doing what I once loved to do, which is work outside and sports.
Celebration of my life now
Celebration at 43, I decided after what has happen, I want to enjoy life with my wife and my kids. I am blessed with family and friends that have been there for me. Those are the heroes of my life.
Angel Rafael Alicea