High Point woman starts Autoimmune Disease Support Group
Some days, Zondre’e Terry simply doesn’t feel like getting out of bed. That can come with the territory when you have a complex autoimmune disease such as lupus.
But Terry, a 43-year-old High Point woman, tries not to let her condition get her down — and she’s trying to reach out to others facing similar struggles.
“I know there’s somebody out there other than me who’s going through what I’m going through,” Terry says. “I don’t want them sitting in their house all day, just keeping that pain inside.”
To that end, Terry has initiated the Autoimmune Disease Support Group, which meets once a month to discuss the various issues that affect individuals battling an autoimmune disease. The group is also open to family members, caretakers, friends and other supporters.
The support group began in January and meets the fourth Tuesday of every month, at 10 a.m., at Millis Regional Health Education Center.
Terry will facilitate this month’s meeting, which will be held Tuesday morning.
“The topic for this month is ‘Autoimmune Disease and You,’ because this is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month,” she says.
Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body’s immune system inappropriately attacks substances and tissues normally present in the body, rather than foreign substances.
The list of autoimmune diseases is a long one. In addition to lupus, which Terry suffers from, other examples include such disorders as Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes mellitus type 1, Graves’ disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, among others.
Some 50 million Americans are impacted by autoimmune diseases, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. It’s the second-leading cause of chronic illness, and it’s one of the top 10 causes of death in women under 65. It’s also reported to be on the rise, both in this country and around the world.
“A lot of people with an autoimmune disease don’t realize they have it because they don’t know about it,” Terry says. “They know they’re having the symptoms, but they don’t know what it is sometimes until it’s in the severe stages.”
In Terry’s case, she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, in 2005. The unpredictable disease, which is much more common in women than men, can damage the heart, joints, skin, lungs and more, and in some cases can be fatal.
To compound the matter, Terry has also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis, and she receives treatment for chronic migraines. She takes an array of prescription medications on a daily basis.
“This life I’m living is not easy,” she says, “but I do the best I can. I’m hoping this support group will help other people like me.”
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The Autoimmune Disease Support Group will meet Tuesday, at 10 a.m., in multipurpose rooms 1 and 2 of Millis Regional Health Education Center, 600 N. Elm St.
The topic will be “Autoimmune Disease and You.”
The support group, which meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, is open to family, caretakers, survivors, friends and supporters.
For more information, contact Zondre’e Terry at 454-4383, (336) 858-7156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.