Tieanna's story

Just checking out my student nurse!

Hi! My name is Tieanna, and I am 17-years old.  I am a senior in high school, and one day I am going to run a dancing school.  Right now, I am on the dancing team in my high school, and I love it! I do all sorts of dancing – hip hop, jazz, tap, even ballet (but I need to practice that one more!) Dancing has kept me really busy, since the team gets to dance at all the football and the basketball games.

> High school is great, and I am so busy. Though I may not be the best student in the world, I usually have a great time. As a senior this year, I am totally looking forward to going to college next year. Not sure where I'll be, but filling out applications is keeping me moving. I want to major in psychology…or maybe accounting…or maybe dancing…who knows? The possibilities are endless!

I'm in the hospital right now, getting better from a crazy medical problem called lupus. Until I found out I had it, I didn’t know anything about the disease. I had been getting really sore, and every joint in my body hurt except for my hips. It was the weirdest thing.  Then one day, I woke up and noticed that one of my hands was huge! Neither my mom nor I had no clue what was wrong with me, and actually thought it was kind of funny. Little old me, with one enormous hand.  I had to go to the hospital, and that’s where I learned what was going on with my body. All the organs around my stomach were going crazy, and as a result, my tummy looked huge! At first they thought I was in the fifth month of pregnancy...can you believe that?  I remember throwing up gross green liquid called bile.  Quite a hospitalization, all three weeks of it. I was 14-years-old then, so you can see that I've been dealing with this lupus thing for the past three years.

I spent my 15th birthday in the hospital back then, and during that time, about 70% of my hair fell out (as you might be able to see in the pictures, it's growing back now!) There I was, in a strange place on my birthday, and I had this tube down my nose to help clear the gook from my stomach, so I couldn’t even eat for a while.  Wouldn't you know, some of my friends brought me this awesome birthday cake.  I took one bite of it – my first bite of food in quite a while – and oh, my god, it tasted so bad!!! I think it was because of all the weird stuff going on with my stomach and my taste buds.  My friends and I laughed for so long about it.

Now don't be feeling sorry for me at all.  I am not sorry I have lupus.  I think God gave me lupus because I am so strong, and I can totally handle this.  At first, I was scared to tell people I had a disease....you know how people can be.  But now, I've learned a lot, and I like teaching my friends and classmates about my disease.  After all,  I've been dealing with this lupus thing for the past three years.  It has made me more of an individual, and it has definitely helped me to care and understand other people. Believe me, nobody ever teases me about it...I just don’t let them.  It’s pretty cool, actually. 

So, for now, I am just going to keep on dancing.  My parents, my brothers and my sister are so awesome and supportive, they keep me real. I know that I am never going to let lupus stop me from being the best me I can be!!! 

Hey, thanks for visiting my page. I don't have a computer at home, but if you felt like sending along a note, thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 16, 2004