BOAZ, AL (WAFF) - Kary Fox was in severe pain for 10 years before she knew what was wrong with her body.
"I had been 10 years with different doctors....doctor after doctor," said Fox. "Some saying I was depressed. Some saying it was anxiety. I even got lectured about the high costs of medical tests."
They finally diagnosed her with Lupus in 2009.
"In Lupus, your body misfires and targets those proteins to your healthy tissue for destruction. So it turns on itself," said Fox.
For Fox, the disease means pain and frequent trips to a doctor familiar with lupus in Birmingham. Fox keeps a symptom journal.
"It can be from day to day. Some days I can sit up and literally not be able to do anything. Not care for myself. I need someone to help me literally get around and take care of myself. Some days [I'm] in a wheelchair or on crutches. It's body aches, joint aches, I also have blood pressure problems," added Fox. She said there are many symptoms and they vary with the patient.
"Arthritis is one of the main symptoms. A lot of people with lupus, that's one of their first symptoms is the joint pain, bone pain and muscle pain," said Fox.
The sun can also trigger a flare up which may include a severe rash.
One of Fox's goals is to raise awareness. She took her cause to the Internet and Facebook.
"I started a group called Lupus warriors. It's got about 60 members now all over the world [...] Part of what's helped me is trying to support other people going through the same exact thing."
Some log in to say they are fighting the disease with chemo therapy or stem cell transplants. Fox had to quit working in 2004. Most insurance companies won't cover her with the pre-existing illness. The first new medicine to fight lupus in 50 years, Benlysta, costs about 30 thousand dollars a year, and insurance does not cover it.
She also wanted the community to understand the disease.
"I want to start a support group here in Boaz, because I haven't been able to find anything like that."
She is hopeful that with more interest will come more research. And maybe that research can lead to a cure for her and other Lupus warriors.