When their teenage daughter started experiencing unusual health symptoms, Bonnie and Joe Godas did what any good parents would do – searched tirelessly for answers. After seeing several doctors and undergoing numerous medical tests, their daughter Charlotte still did not have a diagnosis and continued experiencing mysterious aches and pains throughout her body.
The Godas’ were desperate to get answers and help Charlotte get well.
Charlotte’s symptoms – stomach distress, headaches, muscle aches, joint pain – appeared out of nowhere as the family has no history of serious illness. Charlotte struggled with health issues for months before finding the medical attention that they were desperately searching for at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Robert Sundel, Chief of Rheumatology at Boston Children’s Hospital, finally diagnosed Charlotte with lupus. Bonnie and Joe credit Dr. Sundel for Charlotte’s early diagnosis and helping her manage her symptoms to prevent more serious complications.
The Godas’ stress the importance of early diagnosis to prevent more serious complications, and credit the work that the Lupus Foundation of America is doing to accelerate the time to diagnosis for people with lupus. The family also recommends following the Foundation’s updates on new and promising research developments.
Charlotte is doing what she needs to do to stay healthy. She attends the University of Massachusetts Boston and has successfully finished her first year. She is managing her health based on everything that she has learned throughout her journey with lupus. She used to take eight pills, whereas now she only needs to take two pills and vitamin supplements as she has learned to manage her health together with her doctor, who has been a tremendous source of support and guidance.
The Godas’ say that the past five years have been a true nightmare but their family has become more resilient to the challenges of dealing with a cruel and mysterious disease. Charlotte’s brother, Alex, also has been a great source of support for his sister by using his humor and non-alarmist approach. Together, they have focused on doing the best they can day-by-day to avoid feeling overwhelmed.