It's not easy to tell whether a person is one of the 1.5 million Americans suffering from Lupus. The disease is difficult to diagnose, and those who have it say it's also not easy to say that they're suffering.
Last year, we introduced you to a local man who went from running ultra-marathons to struggling to take a step. As Richard Chrz tells it, his idea of a personal best time now has a different look.
"You kind of go off the last five minutes. You say the last five minutes were good, let's bank that. If something changes something changes. Lupus is a disease that can come and go, so you can be in remission and in times of flareup, and I think it was right around the 23 or 24 of January. I remember the night. I was sitting at home, and I went to go raise my right leg to cross my leg, and I couldn't raise my right leg. And I thought, 'hmm, something has progressed.'
"Flareups can happen so suddenly. And it's created a condition what I believe they call CIDP. A doctor might want to tap my knee, the signal goes back up and then the brain says do this. If they tap my knees, there's no reflexes on them.
"Boy, I tell you, some of my flares are 9 months, a year, year and a half long at times. Maybe it's not at the super highest level, but maybe as soon as that highest level goes away, you've got a little bit of relief, you find out what else is all there hanging around.
"It's day by day. And knowing that, what you have to do every morning is take a look at the day and say, 'today's going to be a good day regardless.' And if I can just keep myself in the game, it's gonna happen."
You can get in the game by taking a little trip back in time to help those with Lupus. Join Richard and the Local Lupus Alliance at a murder mystery dinner on Saturday, March 3 at the Waterfront's Cargill Room.
Enjoy a night of food, fun and trying to figure out "Whodunnit?" while learning a little more about the disease and how the Alliance is working to help those in the Coulee Region battling the disease. Tickets are $75 per person. You can register by clicking here.