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A Lupus Love Story

by | Feb 22, 2023

Justina and Kyle Patterson



How and when did you meet?

We met at a very young age in school. Kyle’s sister and I were in the same class. But we did not officially start dating until after we graduated high school in 2015. We got married in 2022. 


What kind of challenges have you overcome together in your lupus journey?

In 2017, I was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, which was causing stage 2 kidney disease. I used to have to give myself a shot once a week. I would have a wide range of emotions that can be very challenging, but Kyle has been so understanding. Especially when there are days I just lay around and don’t feel well. He just picks up my slack. We learned how to communicate very well.

What unexpected hurdles have you had to overcome? 

We had our first baby boy in February of 2022. I carry an antibody from my lupus that could have crossed over to my son’s heart, where they would have had to put a heart monitor on him while he was in my belly. This was the most stressful/scary hurdle for me personally. Thank God my son is healthy and we did not have to experience that, but the thought of it was terrifying. Lupus is just so unpredictable. Through thick and thin Kyle is always by my side. 


How has lupus affected your relationship?

Lupus has affected our relationship in different ways: from mood changes, side effects from trying different medications, and learning what causes flare-ups. Kyle has helped me so much! He shows me how to always see the positives in the negatives and keep moving forward. 


How have you best supported each other during your lupus journey?

Kyle has always been such a positive light in my life and lupus journey. He always reminds me to stay positive no matter what. Kyle always says lupus does not define me as a person. He is always helping me to stay healthy. He has an app, called Yuka, that scans food products to get clear information on the health impact of those products. This helps me know which foods or products can cause flare-ups for me. It shows me that Kyle is always looking out for me.


What have you learned from each other? 

We learned that communication is always key. Kyle had to educate himself on what lupus is and the symptoms of it. He had to learn about SLE and lupus nephritis since I am diagnosed with both. Lupus was a big adjustment, not just for myself but for Kyle as well. We have learned patience is so important within our marriage. 


What do you love most about each other?

Justina: What I love most about Kyle is how hardworking he is to support his family and always helping others in need. He is also an amazing father, I love watching him with our son. 


Kyle: What I love most is her smile but mostly how wonderful of a mother she is to our son. I love that she’s ambitious and hardworking. 


What has life with a chronic illness taught you about marriage?

Life with a chronic illness has taught us marriage will always have challenges no matter what. Life will always have its ups and downs, but we will always have each other regardless. We always strive to stay positive and calm through the storm. 

What advice would you give to couples learning to live with a chronic illness?

Patience and communication are so important when living with someone with a chronic illness. Being supportive even when you do not understand what is going on with the other person is very important as well. Always love and forgive, because some days I can be so mean and needy without even knowing it. Always show your partner how much you appreciate them.

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