Hi I'm Katrina but I also go by Katty.
At the age of 9 I was diagnosed with JSLE (Juvenile Lupus) an auto-immune disease and my life changed forever. Due to multiple hospital admissions and lupus flares I was unable to continue my life as an ordinary child/teenager. Even as a young adult I continue to struggle with the impact of having a long term illness, as well as dealing with mental health issues I have developed along the way (Depression & Anxiety) . Lupus had a butterfly effect on my life, as that one diagnosis has continued to affect me years later and coincidentally a butterfly is the symbol for Lupus.
I love cats and I'm known for my feline obsession and my cat influenced name. My pet cats have always provided me with a lot of emotional support and I couldn't have gone through my journey without them.
I have always been quite an ambitious and determined person and have always aspired to work in the world of fashion and music even before I was diagnosed. It became an even bigger desire as I escaped through art and music during my diagnosis and treatment, and it became a big part of who I am and has played a key part in living with lupus for me. Music has especially helped me as I've been able to explore not only genres, but different cultures as well. It has enabled me to have different experiences as I attended concerts and pursued my own dreams of performing.
However after living with lupus for over a decade I have become more inspired to advocate for other young people like me. I want to improve services and awareness and help reduce stigma around having an illness, so that other young people don't have to struggle the way I've had to.
Katty's Territory is something that I created that is powerful to me. I want to use it to help influence change for other young people like me and have a platform to share my experiences that others can relate to and feel a little less alone. Hopefully I can show that having a long term illness doesn't have to stop you achieving your dreams and goal and that your illness can become your strength.
I can't change my past, I can try to change the present but I can influence my future and that is what Katty's Territory is all about.
Whatever happens in my life I want to be impactful and remembered.
LEARN ABOUT LUPUS
Lupus is a chronic auto immune disease in which the bodies immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood,the heart, and lungs -(cdc April 2015)
Lupus is a complex unpredictable life changing, life limiting illness. It can effect suffers differently from mild to acute symptoms. For me the diagnosis of juvinial Lupus (JSLE) meant a cocktail of medications to control my symptoms and regular visits to hospital. Being supported by a multi disciplinary team was essential to make my life as 'normal' as possible. Like many lupus suffers this meant being cared for by rhemutoligists, CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health) physio therapy and other interventions. At times it was difficult to cope with but with support from key family members and people who understood me made a world of difference.My Mum and Jane Dunnage(a good friend and previous chair of Lupus UK).
As a young adult with Lupus my experiences are still very similar to my experience as a child with Lupus, but what has changed is the desire to be more vocal and independent about what I want.
USEFUL LINKS: Lupus UK-Lupus in Young People, Young Minds