My name is Debra Freeman Highberger. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis. In 2007 lupus SLE was added In 2008 I developed Lupus discoid. Grouped together it is called Connective Tissue Disease. A debilitating chronic illness, I went from a very active and athletic person to someone who needed a cane and a walker in a span of three weeks from the onset of the first symptom. I searched book stores and the internet for answers. I did not find anything that would say if I would have my mobility back; if the pain would be gone. I vowed then that if I did I would write something to help others answer that question. This is a documented account of that journey; of my road back.
Before one can understand who I have become from this illness one must first understand who I was and how it changed me.
Not too many people can proclaim their life was perfect. After all perfection is a perception we all have. It is as individual as a snow flake. For me the perfection of my life was molded from the people I’ve met. The job I did and the surroundings I had created. It was measured by the feeling of peace I would achieve when my head hit the pillow at night and I would think…the balance of my life was right. I worked hard for those feelings. After all I am by no means perfect. No, it wasn’t my own perfection I sought. It was the feeling that I did the best I could with the materials I had.
I was an art teacher. I owned my own school. I taught life skills as well as art to many young students. Some were sent to me for the life skills alone and I knew this. I was born with the