At 42 years old, Annessa Morrison began feeling ill.
"It felt like I was running a marathon that I didn't train for," she told Giddy in an interview. "Having an autoimmune disease feels like that every day."
Morrison's symptoms included sore muscles, a burning sensation, weakness in her joints, digestive problems, headaches, nausea and dizziness.
"It was progressive," she explained. "I had a couple of years constantly going to the doctors where I was tested for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Epstein-Barr over and over."
The Arizona resident was nearly 45 by the time she was finally diagnosed with lupus, an inflammatory illness that causes the immune system to attack itself.
The overarching effects of lupus
A year before she was officially diagnosed, Morrison had her ovaries removed due to recurring bursting cysts. Thankfully, she had already given birth to two children, a boy and girl.
"The doctors did not link my ovaries with lupus," she said. "Mostly, they focused on the fact that I had an above average stressful life as a single mom of two young kids." That, combined with a stressful divorce and working 2 to 3 jobs to maintain her family's quality of life