I’ve made it a point to keep the lupus talk on my blog to a
minimum. I try not to dwell on the disease and its presence in my life. There
are many, many days that I forget I even have it, except for the fraction of a
second it takes to pop a pill in the morning and before bed. I have always
found it suspicious that there are no celebrities who have come forward with
this disease to promote public awareness.
Statistically, there must be some. It’s a disease that affects roughly 1.5
million American and 1 in 250 African American women (it’s much more prevalent
in women of color). Come on Whoopi! Oprah! Halle! Heck, at this point I’d even
take Star. It’s not like lupus is an STD or anything. There’s no shame in
admitting you have it.
My frustration with the closeted celebrity lupus cases (like
I said, there MUST be some) can now be put to rest. I found out yesterday that
there is, in fact, a celebrity who has come forward with Lupus. I discovered
this bit of information on the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center’s website last night:
There are famous people with autoimmune disease.
Barbara Bush and her husband, the ex-president George Bush, both had autoimmune
thyroid disease. One of their sons had colitis. But the member of their family
that got lupus was their dog, Millie. Dogs can get lupus. Vets can diagnose it
because dogs can get the same malar rash that human beings do.
Now, Millie wrote a book about her life with lupus.
It's a great story, because Millie had a successful pregnancy. So, I think it's
a nice story to tell patients with lupus. Millie has since died of old age. The
current dog in the White House, Spot, is Millie's grandson. But because Spot is
male, he's unlikely to get lupus. We think the autoimmune story has ended!
So, rest easy lupus sufferers of the world. We finally have
our spokesperson. Sure, she may have two strikes against her:
- She is not human and
therefore cannot actively raise awareness.
- She is dead and therefore
cannot actively do anything.
But our disease has a face and a book. I can’t imagine the
comfort I will find in Millie’s inspirational tale.