KUANTAN: Five years ago, Nuraini Abu Bakar gained the sympathy of the nation when she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease.
Today, the 23-year-old who is married to a mechanic, is thankful that she is still alive and coming to terms with the fact that the disease might cause her to be childless.
When met at her home in Felda Panching Utara near here yesterday, the housewife said although the condition of her body, which used to be covered with rashes, had now improved, the disease had affected her internal organs.
She said doctors had advised her against conceiving as the medication she received to treat her lungs and kidney would affect the foetus.
"I got pregnant soon after my wedding in June 2007 but I had to terminate it six months into the pregnancy as doctors were worried that my lungs were weak and the medication had also affected the foetus' growth.
"It was a hard decision to make but I had no choice as I knew I was gasping for breath throughout my pregnancy. Even now, I still have breathing problems."
Nuraini said she used to be depressed and felt sorry for herself for having the disease but had now come to terms with it after joining a club for SLE patients.
And she was full of sympathy for 11-year-old Mohd Ihsan Mohd Tahir from Trong, Perak, whose plight was highlighted in the New Straits Times yesterday (read more).
Ihsan was born with a chronic skin condition.
"Back then, I used to be so engrossed with making myself beautiful but after I started getting the rashes and it started spreading all over my body, all I wanted was to get well.
"I now know that being healthy is more important than anything else.
"I am thankful that I can still walk around under the sun although I cannot get too much sunshine.
"All I can advise him (Ihsan) is to be strong and be grateful that we still have our families who love and accept us the way we are."