Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Personal Essay by Sarah Haskell, Senior

Autoimmune

50 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
2,375,100 have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis.

I am one of the 2,375,100.

The idea of being “sick” scares so many people. Fears of: shots, doctors and hospitals. An almost debilitating feeling: constant worry, constant symptoms. You’re sick, there is something wrong. Yet the disease that traps your body is invisible.

It’s autoimmune.

An autoimmune disease is defined as a disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy cells. Your organs and glands becomes the enemy: thousands of white cells storming through your bloodstream to attack the actually healthy organ.This idea of your body attacking you. This body supposed to be fending of the common cold and bacteria, instead sends thousands of white blood cells to break down your organs. You’re body is slowly destroying you. But all you can do is fight.
Fight through years of doctors assuming you're depressed, anorexic, obese, overreacting, or even just faking it. Fight through the doubts keeping you up at night wondering what the hell is wrong with me.  Fight through symptoms ranging from body aches and overall pain, weight gain or loss, insomnia, and even a rash.

All the checklists, blood tests, doctors appointments. Poked and prodded. You’re spent, exhausted; and sometimes you still don’t know what’s really wrong. The never ending cycle of dealing with an invisible disease.

Only you feel the pain, only you sit at your desk and can’t focus. Only you.

But we fight.

Four hospitals, five different doctors, over 50 blood tests, urine tests, MRI’s and ultrasounds. I fought; I need an answer, any answer. I’m 18 years old, and I have the body of an 80 year old woman. I fought. I argued with doctors who didn’t believe me, who kept saying there’s definitely something wrong. But didn’t know the answer. I fought. Missing schooling to go to another doctor. I fought.

I am one of the 2,375,100.

I am one of the over 50 million, who deal with an invisible disease. Who deal and fight through their body being attacked by its own cells. I am one of the fighters.
I will fight every day. I will fight through the comments saying I don’t look sick. I will fight through the everlasting exhaustion. I will fight through the constant ache in my muscles. I will fight through every morning and every night. I will fight.

We get good days. There are good days, pain free, energy having good days. There are good moments: pain free focused energy having moments. And it’s this breath of sunshine for one day, one week, or even one hour. It’s amazing. And I will fight for everyone one of those moment. For the one morning I wake up, and the pain isn’t so bad. I will fight.

50 million people have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
The person sitting to your right might have one. The person to your left might know someone who has one. 50 million fighters. 50 million people with dreams and bright futures and the will to fight. 50 million.
I
t’s something people don’t know about. It’s something still confusing doctors. It’s something with no cure. It’s the invisible disease that 50 million people have. It’s real. 50 people million suffer symptoms every day. So let’s start talking about it. Let’s look at  the 50 million people willing to fight and be proud.

I am one of the 50 million.

I’m proud of every discussion we have, every time someone choose to get out of bed instead of staying home, every good moment. I am one of the 50 million, and I will never stop fighting.




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