Hi. My name is Karen Harder. I am new to L.E.S.S. Just to tell you a little bit about myself, I am 38 years old. I was born with a disability called “Spastic Cerebral Palsy” (more commonly referred to as Cerebral Palsy or C.P.). The doctors gave me a 10% chance that I would live. They said if I did live, I would not be able to function beyond a vegetative level for the duration of my life.
I am proud to say, I have proven those doctors wrong.
Throughout my 38 years, I have faced many struggles challenges and hard times. The hospital was my second home when I was growing up. To date, I have undergone 12 surgeries all related to my C.P. In order for me to continue to live my life, I had to have these surgeries.
On March 30, 2009, I went to see my specialist and she told me that I have lupus. I said, “I have WHAT?”
The specialist explained to me what it was and wrote it down. I was shocked. My first thought was, “Oh God, why me? Don’t I have enough problems? WHY ME!?” And then I cried. I left the doctor’s office, and I just sobbed, completely shaken. It would have been so easy to just give up. But I couldn’t. Not after what I had already overcome. And I didn’t.
Instead, arriving home, I researched the internet for information about lupus and SLE. Then, I was watching television one evening and I saw a commercial for L.E.S.S. I was so happy. I jumped up and emailed L.E.S.S. immediately and in April, 2009 I became a member.
A few days ago, months after receiving the diagnosis, I went to see my specialist again and she gave me the best Christmas present anyone could receive. She told me my lupus is much improved, and my blood counts are nearly normal. I was overjoyed.
I am so grateful for each and every day. My family is my number one priority. I love all of them so much. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for so many caring people in my life. My dad and mom, who have always been beside me, every single day of the last 38 years. My big brother, Harvey, and his family who have always been a big part of my life and are very special to me; my uncles and aunties, cousins, nice and nephews who have always been there for me; my countless friends and extended family who all mean so very much to me.
And of course, my right hand man, Mark. He is a great and tremendous support whose soft shoulder is always available when I need one. Mark is my voice when I need a translator, he helps me, supports me and has been by my side for the past 11 years. Without family who care, without people like Mark, and without organizations and networks like L.E.S.S., I don’t know where I would be today, but I do know I would not have been able to share this story with you.
So, thank you!!