She was ready to feel wild

That was in May, two weeks before she was diagnosed with a form of the autoimmune disorder lupus that attacked her kidneys and sent her to All Children’s for two months this summer. The disease and the treatment left her sore, tired, nauseated and so bloated she had to wear maternity clothes.”I haven’t really dressed up since then,” said Audra, a senior at Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School who was a competitive runner. ”I’m not very confident about my body anymore.”Still, she wasn’t going to miss the party. ”I’ve been excited all week,” she said. ”But nervous to wear a cheap plus size wedding dresses.”
She picked a floor-length, shimmering blue gown from among the affordable evening dresses that were donated for the evening. A stylist whose services also were donated.twisted and teased her hair into a sleek up-do.Audra’s date Saturday was Daniel Hornsby, the same boy who had taken her to the junior prom,and stayed by her side at the hospital last summer.Last year, before Osceola High School’s October dance, the St. Petersburg teenager picked out a cheetah-print dress with rhinestone-studded straps. She was ready to feel wild. Girly. Normal. But she just felt dizzy and feverish. Her mom took her temperature: 104 degrees.
 By 13, My’Kala had been diagnosed with lupus, fibromyalgia and arthritis. Her immune system was so weak, she had to be home-schooled through her freshman and sophomore years. ”By junior year, I wanted to go to that dance. Be with my peers,” she said. ”I was yelling at doctors in the hospital like, ‘Let me go! I have my sexy wedding dresses! I have to go now!’ ”On Saturday afternoon, My’Kala was at the hospital again, but just to get her nails done. A family friend had already curled her long, dark locks into a partial up-do. She eyed a bottle of silver nail polish. ”I’ve been feeling good all week,” she said. ”Just a little backache. I’m ready for this.”