FOR most of her life, Reeanna Harrilal has been waging war against an insidious autoimmune disease that was holding her body captive until it was finally unmasked and given a name—Lupus. This disease, which has gone largely unrecognised and does not get the attention it deserves, in T&T almost brought Harrilal to the brink of her own life. The story of how this 34-year-old managed to crawl her way from the edge and regain control of her life is nothing short of inspirational.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

economiavenezuela.com
Harrilal was only 13 when symptoms began to show. Spending any time in the sun resulted in fevers and nosebleeds. That was followed by blue-black marks about her body. The mystery deepened when Harrilal entered adolescence and her joints began to ache to the point that it became difficult for her to run or lift things.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

economiavenezuela.com
By the age of 17, it was obvious that Harrilal was in the grip of a merciless disease but at that time, she still had no idea what that disease was.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

economiavenezuela.com
As a teenager, she spent months at a time bedridden; her body, ravaged by fevers felt like it was being destroyed inside, out.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

elmercuriodechile.com
She was subjected to a litany of tests ranging from HIV/AIDS to lymphoma, from tuberculosis to leukemia.

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© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

elmercuriodechile.com

© Jorge Plaza

© Jorge Marquez