Teresa Brodie is fortunate enough to be able to work from home occasionally. That helps if her lupus flares up. She knows it's a disease which is often misdiagnosed or under diagnosed.
"I had been going to doctor after doctor after doctor and nobody could really diagnose me," she explained.
This is a common complaint among lupus patients, but they are relieved there is a name for a disease which can carry different symptoms for each patient. Hers was especially tough when her children were young.
"The sun is not a friend of Lupus patients and so it's very difficult because you want to be normal," she said. "You want to be able to go to the baseball games and do all the activities with your children."
She said she would be sick for days with skin lesions, mucus membrane ulcers and she would need to go to bed.
"Then I would not be able to get out of bed because of the joint pain, the swelling of my hands, my ankles and my feet," she remembered. "The fatigue of just not, almost, being able to take a breath. You're so tired."
She also described shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. These are only a few of the many symptoms of this disease she says is underfunded and not well understood.
At the urging of her son, Teresa put together a team and walked in the Birmingham Lupus walk and is now organizing one for Huntsville.
"We've really worked hard to get the Lupus walk here in Huntsville so that we can continue to grow with that awareness," she said.
Teresa loves working because it gives her a sense of purpose and now with the Lupus walk her purpose is growing.
Brodie is hopeful that with this upcoming walk, they will literally be able to open the door to understanding and awareness of Lupus.
Brodie said there is no funding for Lupus. That's why these walks are so important to raise awareness and dollars for new research and medicines.
The Huntsville Lupus Walk is slated for April 13th at the UAH Fitness center. Registration will be at 2 p.m. The walk begins at 4 p.m. Lupus patients can walk inside, while others may walk outside.