What It's Like When Chronic Illness Is Always Lurking

Jennifer Clare Burke chronicles her struggle with lupus, and the challenge to keep on keepin' on.

By Jennifer Clare Burke
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 7 | Posted Sep. 12, 2012

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Jennifer Clare Burke is a writer based in the Philadelphia area. An expanded edition of her novel A Life Less Convenient: Letters to My Ex, about the struggle to maintain a romantic relationship through chronic illness, will be published by Homofactus Press in early 2013.

Quick Facts About Lupus

*Lupus is a disease in which the immune system mutinies against the body, mistaking its healthy tissues for a hostile invader. The resulting inflammation may cause pain and/or damage to joints, skin and organs.

*The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that approximately 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus.

*Ninety percent of individuals diagnosed with the disease are women, and 80 percent of those afflicted with systemic lupus develop it between the ages of 15 and 45.

*Approximately 70 percent of lupus cases are systemic. A major organ is affected in close to half these cases.

*Lupus is two to three times more prevalent among people of color, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians and Native Americans.

More information is available from the Lupus Foundation of America: lupus.org.

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7
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1. ryan said... on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:12AM

“Oh God another woe is me medical sob story on the cover of the PW. This isn't even good writing or make a bigger point it's just a pity party. This paper is terrible anymore, just pull the plug.”

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2. Sue said... on Sep 12, 2012 at 12:24PM

“I think it's important for young people to understand that they simply are not infallible, so I am glad she is giving this kind of reality check to her students.
Sorry to hear that Jennifer has had to deal with such an awful disease. I didn't know before this story just how all-encompassing it can be and how something that seems as simple as a colonoscopy can turn into something a million times more complicated thanks to the lupus.”

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3. Kristin said... on Sep 12, 2012 at 04:10PM

“Ryan, I'm glad you're so healthy that you can cast aside those of us with health problems. Chances are, you've had an extended encounter with one of the 1.5 million people with lupus. Try being a little more empathetic to the those living with serious chronic illnesses.”

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4. Megan said... on Sep 12, 2012 at 05:38PM

“@Ryan, yes, I'm sure the quality of writing can be accurately gauged by someone who thinks "this paper is terrible anymore" is correct. Bravo on saving everyone time.

I was fascinated and horrified by Jennifer's story, and extremely impressed with the attention to all the little details that healthy people don't consider and too often take for granted. Without sounding recursive, systemic disease affects everything. My sympathies and admiration on your strength in the face of this adversity.”

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5. Kman said... on Sep 14, 2012 at 04:29PM

“Once or twice in a lifetime, you come across an artist, an author or a musician that you just completely "get." For me, Jen Burke is one of those artists. Her book is a jewel. After you are done reading her work the world looks much more beautiful, so much more interesting and delightfully silly. A Life Less Convenient is a beautifully written piece of generosity, from a very talented author.”

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6. Brian said... on Sep 20, 2012 at 10:03AM

“Lupus, like almost all health challenges, including MS, HIV, obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes, can be reversed by leading a raw vegan lifestyle. This lifestyle enables me to work 100 hours a week with no lulls in mental focus and crisp mental clarity. Find out more at www.Fruit-Powered.com. Arnold's Way of Lansdale, Pa., offers more than 750 YouTube videos on healing from health challenges.”

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7. Doesnt Matter said... on Jan 16, 2013 at 02:14PM

“To Ryan; First off Ryan, let me start off by letting you know that I used to know this auther and have to tell you to this day she is the most amazing person I have ever met. Your ignorance amazes me and all I can ever hope for you is that one day you have the opportunity to meet Jenn in person. I have had an intersting life myself and she makes my struggles look like nothing. She is someone that will always hold a special place in my heart.”


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