invisible illness

‘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.”

‘When I was 19 I woke up screaming in pain, as if I was in labor. A million knives were stabbing my stomach. I tried to get to the bathroom, but I couldn’t stand. It became a regular occurrence.’

“I was told it was ‘just the pill’ or ‘just a bad period’ and it was ‘nothing to worry about.’ One doctor told me it was ‘just arthritis’ in my back from being a dancer. I’d never have another boyfriend because one guy had already gotten angry at me for bleeding on his bed sheets.”

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