After a 3-year battle with a life-threatening illness, a couple is finally able to celebrate their wedding, but the back story will have you in tears.
26-year-old, Viktoria Cupay, was diagnosed with Lupus in 2016 after experiencing symptoms for about two years. In June of 2019 everything “went downhill”.
“My mom brought me to the emergency room because I had a fever, but we were just thinking it was just another lupus flare-up,” Cupay recalled to Good Morning America.
“I started developing blisters, and that’s when the doctors diagnosed me with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis.”
These severe diseases are where skin tissue starts to die and detach from the body. She was diagnosed with those alongside Lupus, and shortly after her hospital visit, she was transferred to the intensive care unit.
“I was considered like a burn victim,” Cupay explained.
“They put me in a burn ICU because my injuries were so severe, and that’s when they had to put me in a medically induced coma.”
She was in a coma for a month and then had to have three surgeries after that, including a gastrostomy tube to help her eat, and a tracheotomy to help her breathe.
“I was 23 at that time. At that age, you would think that you would be living your best life but no, I was learning how to walk and talk and eat again,” Cupay said.
“There were moments where I just wanted to give up. But I had the best support system and I owe them my recovery.”
Her hospital stay was 240 days in total, and it was a long, painful process. The journey was hard, but she felt supported by her family and her then-boyfriend Nick Baldo.
While in the coma Baldo returned to her home in Illinois from San Francisco, where he worked, and asked Cupay’s mother for her blessing to propose.
“It was just my mom and Nick and the musical therapist at the time,” Cupay recounted.
“I was just surprised because at that time, when I woke up from a coma, they handed me a mirror because I didn’t know what was going on.
And so when I looked at myself, I didn’t look like me. I lost so much weight already. My skin looked different because it fell off pretty much … I did not look like myself at all.”
Despite everything they’ve been through, once she woke up, Baldo asked her to marry him.
Cupay said, “He chose to stay with me. He chose to spend the rest of his life with me.”
Three years after the proposal, the happy couple rejoiced in marriage on August 19th.
“I’m happy again that I’m able to live a second life, celebrate love, celebrate our recovery, second chances and the love of my family,” she said.
While Cupay has recovered from SJS/TEN, she still lives with Lupus. Yet, she manages to be a person of inspiration and uses her voice to become an advocate and inform others about her experience.
“Looking back at it, it’s crazy how far I’ve come. I’m in awe as well,” Cupay said.
“That’s why I want to share my story because I have been there, I have been at the lowest point in my life and I’m hoping that when someone hears this story, that it might be the story that they needed to hear to keep going as well.”
Lupus has no cure according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but she perseveres. She’s continuing to motivate herself to inspire others with her journey.
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