Her Story In Her Own Words:
My name is April Gulisano. I am a 38 year old Registered Nurse. I was diagnosed with SLE on January 2, 2010. Happy New Year! I struggled to come to terms with having a disease that could at any given moment take my life. It seemed so unfair at times. I remember those first few months how alone and afraid I felt. I just wanted to find peace. I felt like I had been stripped of my identity. I had no energy to go back to clinical nursing. It was exhausting and stressful. The hours were long. I cried for months. Then one day it hit me. We all know the saying, “You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” At some point it hits you and you realize that the only choice you have is to fight.
I joined a Lupus support group and became a group leader within 6 months. I found a job in nursing reading medical charts for insurance companies and I am able to work from home. That was a dream job for someone in my situation. I also started facing all the tests that I just didn’t want to know the outcome. In 2009 lesions were found on my brain and spinal cord. My short term memory was essentially gone. I had a neuropsychiatric evaluation which confirmed my brain issues. I also had CT scans, CTA scan, MRIs, lumbar puncture, and a sleep study. I have had so many labs I finally lost count. The best part is that even with all of the abnormalities I am still here and I am still trying. I am surrounded by family and friends and they give me so much support. I realize how lucky I am. TheLupus Support group has given me the most amazing women to call my friends. If I didn’t have Lupus I may not have made such amazing friends. I remind myself each day just how thankful I am for each and every day that I am given. This is my Lupus story and this is why I support Walk for Lupus Now. Every step matters and every donation helps us get closer to finding new treatments for this incurable, life-threatening disease.