Long time lupus patient finds a new doctor at Good Sam after moving to the area
Karen Simmons, Lupus, Good Samaritan Medical Center
"Finally, two years after my symptoms started, I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that tells the body to attack itself."
A mysterious illness
One day, Karen wasn't feeling so good. She lost hair, weight and didn't have much of an appetite. A 26-year old mother of two boys, age 2 and 8, Karen assumed she was simply exhausted or was developing a cold.
"But I wasn't getting better," she says. "I began to seek treatment."
Karen underwent a series of tests and took various medications. However, her results continued to mystify her doctors.
"Finally, two years after my symptoms started, I was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that tells the body to attack itself," Karen says.
As difficult as lupus was on her kidneys, heart and joints, Karen found inspiration and hope in her two boys.
"I wanted to see them grow up into strong young men," she says.
In the beginning, the lupus was so aggressive Karen's doctor recommended chemotherapy to slow the disease’s progress. Karen started her dialysis treatments three times a week when the chemotherapy failed to slow down the damage being done to her organs.
"I have successfully continued treatment for the last 14 years," Karen says.
Finding a treatment home
Karen Simmons was receiving her first dialysis treatment when she threw out her back. The pain was bad enough paramedics had to drive her to the emergency room.
"My new nephrologist, Dr. Nicole Basile, cared for me in the hospital for a few days," Karen says. "Both my physician and the hospital staff were very attentive to my needs."
Karen continued to visit Good Sam for regular treatments and doctor visits.
"I met many other doctors who took care of me like I was part of their family: Dr. James Mullen and Dr. David Amrose (Advanced Kidney Care), Dr. Mousa Hanna (Primary), Dr. Glenn Englander (GI), Dr. Manuel Mendez (Vascular), Dr. Norman Erenrich (Cardiology), surgeons, nurses and other staff members," Karen says. "These are just some of the people who were part of my healing process. I just want to say, 'thank you.'"
Living with lupus
Karen doesn't let her condition negatively affect her life.
"There have been other complications as a result of my Lupus, but at age 44, I feel healthy, stable and vibrantly alive," Karen says. "I feel blessed to have met and married my loving husband."
Karen is also hopeful about the future. She is currently on a kidney transplant list.
"I am hopeful. But no matter what happens, I will be forever thankful," Karen says.