My Story: Hello, Nice to Meet You, I Have Lupus

When dealing with a chronic illness, how much do you share on a first date?

lupus, kidney disease, kidney transplant

Sharing personal information on a first date can be risky, but sometimes it's worth it, as Miz Flow discovered. (Photo courtesy of Miz Flow).

Miz Flow writes the blog The Life of a 20-Something With Lupus, which chronicles her ups, her downs, and everything in between. She recently received her honors diploma in human resources.

It's been 13 days since my first date with a gentleman I met online. My main concern was telling him about my health and my struggles with lupus. How do you tell someone that? Will they get spooked? How much information do you share and when…and what?  Well, let me tell you how my experience went.

We had just gone out for dinner and the evening/night was still young, so we decided to go back to his house and watch a movie, which we did. After that, we got to talking just about whatever, and he told me about a couple of his past struggles. His honesty inspired me to tell him something too. I decided to start with the kidney transplant, since it's the most recent thing that's happened to me.

I explained to him that I had a kidney transplant in March and that my brother was my donor. He asked me how/why my kidneys failed, and I briefly explained to him that I had lupus and what lupus was. He got quiet for a minute…then said, "I don't know what to say."

Damn. I guess that's it for THIS guy.

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Then, he did speak. He said, "Actually, I do have something to say. I think your brother is a pretty stand-up guy for donating a kidney to you, and I think it's great you have such a strong and close family that supports you. And this doesn't change anything..."

Those were the words I was looking for: "This doesn't change anything." I was relieved he wasn't spooked by my story or my condition. As days went on, I explained a few other things to him. I was wearing jeans that were rolled up to about mid-calf. He noticed I had a knee brace on. I explained to him that medication I take causes some damage to my knee, so I wear a brace…and that I would eventually need surgery for it. He noted that he didn't see me limp or anything, which I thought was great.

Most recently, I was at his house at around 11 p.m. After a night trip to the beach, we were both hungry and thought we'd go onto the porch and barbecue some hamburgers. While the burgers were on the grill, he asked me why I always wore long-sleeve shirts. I froze...why does he have to be so observant?

So I explained to him I was covering my arm because of my fistula. I didn't get into specifics about what a fistula is, nor did I show it to him, but I did briefly explain it. I told him I was going to get it assessed for removal/revision in September, which I am.

He asked me if I was sensitive about it, and I said a little bit, mostly because of people looking at it and asking me questions about it all the time. I'm okay with questions, but I just don't want it to be the first thing people ask me when they see me. Afterwards, we ate our burgers, had some dessert, and then he said that he should drive me home because it was getting late and I should get some sleep, as I had to work in the morning. He drove me home, gave me a hug and a kiss, and that was that.

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The next day, I waited for the usual good morning text from him...it never came. Late in the afternoon, I sent him a text. No response. I was sad. Perhaps it was too much too soon—I didn't know. But with our being so honest with each other all the time, I thought he would have been open with me about how he felt if he didn't feel comfortable with my situation, or even asked me more questions, but he didn't.

The next day, I went to work as usual. On my break, I looked at my phone and saw it flashing. I looked and saw I had two text messages from two different people. One of them was from him. It said good morning...and I was happy to see it. I replied. He asked if I was at work, and I said yes.

Later in the evening, we texted again and I told him about my day. Then, this morning, I got a good morning text, which jokingly asked if I was enjoying the weather (it's raining). Maybe I overreacted…or maybe he just needed some time to think things through…maybe he was just busy...who knows? I haven't seen him since that day, but his texts still seem OK. Only time will tell.

At the end of the day, it was, is, and continues to be a learning experience. We've spent so much time together in the past two weeks—on average, every other day. I think he knows and sees the good person that I am...just like I see the good in him too. But we'll see.

This is reprinted with permission from the blog The Life of a 20-Something With Lupus.

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