Shawn Blanton’s grandmother wanted him to be the first in the family to go to college. When he was diagnosed with lupus at 15 and doctors informed the family that he was having mini-strokes, that hope flickered. When they told him he might not live to age 30, it was all but snuffed out.
But Blanton was a self-described “geeky kid who liked school,” especially math and science. He was determined not to let lupus stop him -- even if his diagnosis delayed his dream for a few years. “I have a stubborn streak,” says the now 38-year-old resident of Springfield, IL. “I take after my grandmother that way. I wouldn’t accept what others told me. I was having too much fun living life and trying different things.”
He worked with tutors to graduate from high school with his class, not falling behind despite intense fatigue and lupus-related kidney disease. After high school, Blanton worked for a local video store, advancing in the company until, at 24, he was managing operations for the 100-store chain. But the long hours and travel between stores wore on him. He looked to the things he loved before -- math and science -- and what he’d learned from having lupus, and he settled on a career: physical therapy.
Read the complete article "Changing Direction: How Lupus Can Alter Your Life’s Goals -- For The Better"
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