TRAVERSE CITY — Violet Patchen’s doctor diagnosed her with lupus in 1976 and told her she’d be dead within 10 years. She’s now 91.
Lupus was a mystery disease then. No cure existed for the chronic immune system disease that makes immune cells attack healthy tissue and organs. No one knew what caused it. It was hard to diagnose and treat and few doctors knew much about it.
Today lupus is still a mystery with no cure and cause yet unknown. Diagnosis, however, no longer is a death sentence. An estimated 60,000 people in Michigan and roughly 1.5 million nationwide suffer from it.
Awareness about the disease is growing, thanks to the advocacy, perseverance and tenacity of lupus sufferers like Violet Patchen, husband Paul and the Lupus Support Group they attend in Traverse City — one of 15 in Michigan.
Read more in today’s Body & Soul section.