“You can either sink, or swim”

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From not being expected to live after collapsing, to having chemotherapy and a pacemaker fitted, Sarah Williams life has changed dramatically since she was diagnosed with lupus.

The condition nearly took her life and stole her career but the 32-year-old is grateful for the fact she is still here. The Polegate resident spoke to the Herald during Lupus Awareness Month to share her experience. The condition means the immune system see the internal organs as a threat and attacks them, which can have devastating consequences.

Sarah Williams who suffers from Lupus, an incurable illness of the immune system with one of her carers Hannah Riedel. October 24th 2013 E43193P

Sarah Williams who suffers from Lupus, an incurable illness of the immune system with one of her carers Hannah Riedel. October 24th 2013 E43193P

The mother-of-three was diagnosed back in 2008 but had been ill for around five years before. She had been blacking out, suffered cardiac problems and one infection after another. Although lupus means her plans to have a police career are ruined – she had applied and been accepted as a Police Community Support Officer but was then diagnosed with the condition – Sarah is remaining as positive as possible, “You can either sink or swim, you can wallow in self pity of pick yourself up and think in the grander scheme of things there are people that are worse off. It’s frustrating but I’m lucky to be here.”

Sarah, who said she owed her life to the DGH, is grateful she has been given a second chance, adding, “In a way it was nice [to be diagnosed] because I could put it down to that’s the reason that I’m ill, it’s not in my head.

But she added, “It is a very debilitating condition and if someone said they could chop off my right leg and I could have the quality of life I had before I’d have the leg off.”

But she has found the support of Lupus UK has been a help during tough times, adding, “I’m a member and its support group on Facebook and it’s amazing to be able to speak to other people like me on there.”

To find out more visit: www.lupusuk.org.uk