chapter  7
16 Pages

The Big Bad Wolf: Lupus, Identity, and African American Women

WithKesha Morant Williams, Ronald L. Jackson II

Few people learned about the real big bad wolf–lupus, which destroys autoimmune systems, causes excruciating physical pain, and inhibits any predictability to daily life. In 2011, the first lupus drug since 1955 was approved by the FDA. Unfortunately the drug is least effective for those with the greatest need as African Americans "did not appear to respond to Benlysta as well as other patients". The effects of the disease and the identity changes that occur are often managed through social support. Those living with lupus sometimes feel isolated from the normalcy of life. Research supports that social support among African American women is higher than that in other communities and is a phenomenon others desire to emulate. This chapter presents the interpretive study to explore the ways lupus affects the identity of the participants. It also presents the case study to explore the experiences of eight African American women at various stages of life living with lupus.