Lupus in men isn’t rare. In fact, there have been several high profile men with lupus: former Major League Baseball outfielder Tim Raines, R&B singer Seal, Hip Hop artist J Dilla, and late CBS broadcaster Charles Kuralt.
This month, we talk to Brooklynite Emmanuel “Manny” Roldan, age 46, to get a local guy’s perspective on living with lupus.
When were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed with lupus in 1982. I had never heard of it before then. It took almost two years until I was diagnosed. My symptoms were severe swelling of all joints to a point that I could barely, if at all, move.
How has lupus changed you?
It has changed me, in a lot of areas of my life. It has taken things from me, like being able to work and play sports. I haven’t worked in a long time. My last job dealt with heavy lifting and deliveries, but I am unable to work at this time due to hip and knee replacements and other lupus factors.
At first I was very angry and depressed, however, today I am doing everything possible to live another day. I am very cautious in my daily routines. I truly miss having a “normal” life, but I deal with it.
How do you cope with your lupus?
Sometimes it is hard, but I’ve learned to live with it a day at a time, to the best of my ability. What works for me is taking my meds as prescribed and getting a lot of rest. I try to keep track of anything that doesn’t feel normal. My sister also has lupus, so I always can talk to her (and to my doctor) about what I’m going through.
How do you think lupus has shaped your relationships and social life?
Well, to be honest, it has changed my relationships in all areas of my life. I can say it has broken up some relationships, but today I have learned to treasure the ones I do have.
What is your biggest hope for lupus research?
I hope for a cure, but I’d also like just one pill that can put lupus into long-term remission.