We’ve witnessed Vicki Gunvalson’s daughter Briana Culberson struggle with her health for years now on the Real Housewives of Orange County and on the season finale this week it was revealed that she was diagnosed with Lupus.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.
In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”) and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
Lupus is also a disease of flares (the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better).
Briana moved back to the OC to be closer to her mother this year after she underwent leg surgery in Oklahoma as we saw this season. She also underwent several other surgeries over the years (including surgery on thyroid and removal of her enlarged lymph nodes). A biopsy in November 2015 ruled out cancer, and was followed by a trip to the Mayo Clinic for further diagnosis, according to the Daily Dish.
Vicki previously told Entertainment Tonight that Briana was misdiagnosed at first, and that was the reason it was taking the family so long to get answers. “Two things: you don’t mess with my family, you don’t mess with my money. My family is my everything, and I’m gonna find this doctor. He was going to kill my daughter. So, when I do find him, I’ll probably pull him up against a wall and tell him what I think of him,” she said. ” I want to go on a witch hunt for him.”
We wish Briana the best moving forward.
Photo Credit: Bravo