Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lupus Crossing

Lupus Crossing Card

First there was Bookcrossing, then Postcrossing, now LupusCrossing. Actually I have no idea which of the first two came first. As to the third: a couple of weeks ago I noticed a call for postcards in honor of World Lupus Day which was May 10.
The symbol for Lupus, a severe autoimmune disorder, is the butterfly due to a classic butterfly shaped rash on the face and cheeks of some sufferers. Lupus is notorious for being hard to diagnose. It mimics many other disorders, hence doctors often will speak of ruling out lupus when a mysterious disease is encountered. Those of you who watch the medical drama House will know that lupus is almost always on the table as a possible diagnosis.
As with many chronic diseases, lupus can vary in severity but at its worst is a dreadful disease. In my intern year I worked with several individuals with lupus and was moved by the call for cards to send a card of my own. I duly sent off a butterfly postcard to Germany along with over 250 other folks internationally. The cards were distributed to individuals with lupus and were posted on their website. Beyond the fun of having done a (small) good deed, I was one of the lucky recipients of a return postcard from the project. They made a beautiful card of some of the cards they had received. I posted a scanned copy at the top of this post.
Thanks to Simone from Germany. I hope her project made many people happy and succeeded in increasing awareness.


Rayne said...

When ever I hear of Lupus I remember a friend of my mothers who had it. I was very little, I don't remember her name but I do remember running into her one day in a parking lot for a lawn mower repair shop. I remember my mother gasping and asking the lady what had 'happened' to her. I didn't recognize her...Laura! That was her name. I knew Laura as a thin, athletic, vibrant woman and here she was, swollen face, with what looked like a light brown bruise across her face. She moved slowly, painfully, and she cringed as my mother examined her and exclaimed over how sick she looked. I was so embarrassed. How could my mother not realize what she was doing was cruel? Laura explained about the Lupus and how she was on high doses of steroid. I could see the tears in her eyes and my mother treated it as the 'news of the week'.
"How awful." She tsked, and so on.
Laura was so brave, held herself with so much pride, and to this day that scene in the parking lot is what I think of when I hear 'Lupus'.

A Free Man said...

Very nice exchange.

I've wondered why lupus charities use a butterfly, so now I know. Thanks.