Chronicling the struggle with lupus
It was her "ruthless enemy" for months.
This "mere disease" wasn't going to slow her down because she wouldn't let it.
Sara Gretter Gorman was battling the severe joint pain and fatigue of systemic lupus.
When diagnosed, she was only 26, married for less than six weeks and was soaring in her career in television production. She had plans for her future -- just not lupus.
Gorman, like many other women, decided she was stronger than this chronic disease that rudely entered her life.
It started with chest pains followed by swollen glands, a fever and joint pain. She took one month off work, had the fluid removed from her lungs twice and took more medication in one week than she had in her lifetime. The simplest things became a struggle -- brushing her teeth, combing her hair, buttoning a button, turning on the faucet, turning the key in her car or putting on a seatbelt.
For four years, she desperately fought for what she considered her normal life -- a fulfilling career, active social life, a baby and more importantly, her invincible attitude.
Then she realized she was fighting the battle the wrong way.
She chose not to surrender, but to change her strategy. Gorman starting living well and improving her life, despite lupus. She learned more about her disease and took proactive steps to control the pain, swelling and fatigue caused by it. The life she thought was normal no longer existed. Her life had changed.
Gorman retired in 2006 and started a new chapter in her life. After taking aggressive medications, her health began to improve. She was once again mobile enough to enjoy life instead of just surviving each day. In October 2008, she and her husband were blessed with a baby girl.
"Now I can do everything a mother should do," she said.
In addition to motherhood, Gorman just authored her first book, "Despite Lupus: How to Live Well with a Chronic Disease." She filled the pages with her personal journey with lupus and gives the reader tips, insight, tricks, exercises and guidelines on living well, despite lupus.
In her book, Gorman tells about her decision to write the book.
She wrote, "I did not consider writing it on a day when my joints were swollen to double their normal size or the pain was so excruciating I couldn't lift a glass to my lips. Those days gave me the background I needed to write the manuscript, but the impetus for the book came during the days when I felt really good, and my lupus symptoms mysteriously disappeared. It was on those high-quality days when I was reminded how wonderful life can be."
A 1992 Greencastle High School graduate and graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Gorman now resides in Alexandria, Va., with her husband, daughter and two pug dogs. She is the daughter of Greencastle residents Gary and Sandy Gretter.
Signed copies of Gorman's book can be purchased on her Web site www.despitelupus.com, where she also writes a blog. Copies are also available for purchase on amazon.com.
Gorman will be in Greencastle at Almost Home from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday signing copies of her book. The community is invited to meet Gorman and help support the Lupus Foundation of America, Indianapolis Chapter. A portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to the foundation.