autoimmune disease

‘I was out at a restaurant. ‘I’m not feeling well,’ I said. I knew something was wrong. Shaking, I excused myself and drove straight home. When I got back, my world crumbled around me.’

“I crawled to the bathroom. I couldn’t stand up without blacking out. I was paralyzed. I was supposed to be getting ready to go off to college with friends and I suddenly found myself unable to get out of bed. The wheelchair made others roll their eyes. ‘You don’t need that,’ they said. ‘Faker.’

‘What now?,’ is all that ran through my mind. ‘How did this happen to me?’ All the voices in the room disappeared. I was washed on a metal table with hoses that hung from the ceiling.’

“He instilled in my mind there was better out there. Someone who he didn’t have to help when I wasn’t feeling well, someone who he didn’t have to go to the ER with, someone who was ‘normal,’ who’s body was not scarred up. I said to my dad, ‘I can’t do it anymore. I can’t take this anymore.'”

‘I wondered why my doctor had such a grave tone when she gave me the diagnosis. This sounded like no big deal at all. There was finally a name for this mysterious illness! Boy was I wrong.’

“When I was riding the subway, I started to feel a little dizzy. I physically could not move. When the doors finally slid open, I spilled onto the platform packed with hundreds of commuters. My breathing and vision slowly returned. I finally realized this was serious. It had to be my priority.”

‘At 12 years old, symptoms began to manifest. I had joint pain in my knees and mouth sores on my gums. Food gave me belly aches. Aside from winter colds, I never was sick.’

“My parents were concerned. I had lost weight and they could see changes in me. I was 13 now, in the hospital to stabilize my 80-pound body. My parents were frustrated I followed ‘the rules.’ ‘If I thought the day of my diagnosis was life-shattering, this day would change the whole trajectory of how I lived my life.”

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