Actress Kelle Bryan is enduring regular chemotherapy sessions to stay healthy.
The Hollyoaks star needs treatment every six months to keep her lupus under control.
It’s been 21 years since she was first diagnosed with the condition, which affects your immune system.
Kelle said: “After lots of trial and error I found a drug that my body can tolerate, so I am able to function and live a pretty normal life.
“But even now I still have chemo to keep me well. I have to be in the chair at the hospital for a full day every six months. It then takes me about 48 hours to be back on my feet and back at work.
“My condition also means I suffer from fatigue and nausea quite often. And when I am reading my scripts I have to take my time.”
At her lowest point, Kelle suffered a stroke that left her unable to walk and talk. And her immune system was so low she couldn’t touch her own children because she’d be risking her life.
Kelle said: “There were lots of times when I thought I wouldn’t make it. At one point I got pneumonia and I feared the worst.
“I was in intensive care for a long time. I didn’t know what would happen. It was a case of day by day.
“So to now be healthy and working on Hollyoaks is just incredible. I feel very grateful just to have my health back to a place where I can live a normal life.
“I don’t take that for granted. I feel very blessed. I’m so grateful. I want to show people who have lupus that you can get through it.
“A lot of patients message me on Instagram and I am constantly having a dialogue with them.”
Kelle has been at the centre of a string of big storylines since joining Hollyoaks as Martine Deveraux last autumn. She said: “It’s a great time for the show. Its storylines push boundaries and that’s why I joined. It feels like we can make a difference.”
Kelle is a patron of Lupus Trust UK. Visit lupus.org.uk
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