If one were to sit down and converse with her, they would quickly learn otherwise.
Pitts was diagnosed with lupus in 1995 and since then, has had a heart attack and a stroke, in addition to dealing with chronic fatigue on a daily basis.
“My hair has fallen out,” she said. “I’ve had double pneumonia in both lungs. You go through the critical stages but I was able to come through them all.”
She admitted that being able to rise above lupus and how it has directly altered her life, in regards to employment, life insurance and affordability of medications, was due directly to the support she has gained through being an active member of the Lupus Foundation of America’s chapter for the state.
Pitts helped to organize a support group for the foundation in Henry County to help herself and others cope with lupus.
“You learn from other people,” she said.
“You learn about different medications, doctors and what someone else is going through. Sometimes lupus patients don’t have anyone else who can identify with them, especially if they are the only one in their household with the disease.”
Awareness for the disease is particularly lacking, said Pitts, unlike for other diseases such as cancer or diabetes.
Her goal, along with her fellow organizers Thomas Walters and Lisa Williams, is to change that in Henry County.
A community forum will be at Piedmont Henry Hospital, 1133 Eagles Landing Pkwy. in Stockbridge, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the Southside Lupus Support Group.
The forum will be in the education building on the second floor of the hospital.
Forum features include an at-length discussion with a rheumatologist about the effects of lupus on the skin, joints and internal organs.
The role of the caregiver in the lupus journey will also be discussed, along with Social Security and disability, since the health of many lupus patients prevents them from working.
Awareness, said Pitts, remains key.
“We wanted to try to do something on the south side of town,” she said.
“We try to bring the awareness to the community and all of the southside counties. Our meetings are held here [Piedmont Henry Hospital] on a monthly basis.”
Residents are encouraged to register for the event in advance.
Information: (404) 660-5907 or www.lupus.org.