chronic illness

‘No cure? Like forever?’ I’ve been shot in a drive-by shooting, and I’d still take that pain over Crohn’s. I was so angry.’: Young woman learns to live with invisible illness, ‘It’s not the end of the world if you have to pull over, or ruin a pair of pants’

“Suddenly I could not keep any food inside of me, from either end. I was losing weight fast. The weather was nice so my boyfriend and I went to a restaurant on the waterfront for dinner. Afterwards, he took the long, scenic way home. I was in intense pain and needed to get to a bathroom. We finally arrive and he insisted on walking me to the door, not realizing I was ready to sprint. The minute I shut the door behind me, I projectile vomited all over the entryway. I became a homebody. I was accused of things like, ‘You just want pity. You’re lazy.’”

‘Look, she’s eating something!’ I hear the whisper. I feel the cold gnawing at the bottom of my stomach. I hate it and I love it.’: After 12 years battling anorexia, ED survivor learns to accept new plus-size body

“My brother makes me a sandwich when he sees I didn’t eat lunch. My bones poke up under my skin. ‘Please eat it,’ he begs. ‘You need to eat.’ It is so sweet of him, so I eat a few bites. But when he leaves, I give the rest to the dogs. They leave no evidence. Nothing in the trash for my dad to find when he empties it, nothing to clog the toilet. I have become clever in the ways of secret self-destruction.”

‘A 3-legged dog and a one-armed wife? We even each other out!’ Sandy was always meant to be mine.’: Woman with anxiety disorder, limb difference finds ‘angel’ therapy dog

“One day, Sandy sat by my bed. I hadn’t walked 50 steps in over a year. She was DONE. ‘What’s up, Sandy?’ She looked right at me and barked! ‘What is it?’ She barked again! I said, ‘Oh, please. What in the world are you doing?’ She was egging me to get up, to move. She wouldn’t quit until I walked. Once I took just a step, she stopped and laid down! Sandy started me on my journey back to life. She took away my fear and, in return, let me give her something I so desperately needed: unconditional love.”

‘If we waited 2 more weeks, you would’ve been paralyzed from the neck down.’ I was in and out of consciousness. Death wasn’t the only thing on my mind.’: 15-year-old undergoes brain surgery after feeling dizzy, discovers rare chronic brain condition, Type 1 Chiari Malformation

“I knew something was very wrong. I was barely able to hold myself up. ‘Really Jen? Pull it together.’ No one had answers. All I heard was, ‘I think you’re depressed.’ I felt like someone had filled my head with cement. At this point, I had given up. I convinced myself I was out of my mind. I laid in that MRI machine and lost track of time. I felt like my life was over at 15. The tech pulled up the images on the computer. ‘You’re going to need a neurosurgeon.’”

‘It’s time to consider a lung transplant.’ I was terrified of dying before I’d started living.’: Young woman with Cystic Fibrosis fights ‘to live the fullest life I can, in the time I am given to live it’

“My parents comfort me by saying, ‘We will get through this.’ I needed oxygen pumped into my nostrils at all times to breathe. I was afraid I was dying. I’ve seen videos where they interview elderly people on their deathbeds who are asked what they regret in life. Most people regret not having lived passionately, fulfilled and happy. I believed I would be one of them if I didn’t make a change.”

‘Did yoga do this to you?’ I woke up seeing double. Things took a turn. ‘I know it’s a lot to take in.’ I was shocked.’: Young woman comes to terms with multiple sclerosis diagnosis, ‘I won’t let this hold me back’

“I remember sitting in the waiting room. I lost all control of myself and burst into tears. What if the MS diagnosis was wrong? It felt wrong! I just wanted to opt-out of this, but there was no way. Still crying, I signed my name. All I felt was a little pinch before I went completely numb.”

‘Are you scared?’ she asked. Breathless, I whispered to my mom, ‘No. It’s time to rally.’ I was so close to death.’: Woman with cystic fibrosis ‘in awe’ after gifted new lungs on verge of death, ‘the kindness of a stranger saved my life!’

“The meds had stopped working – time was running out. The call came at just the right time. I remember doubling over, nauseous with the news I’d just received: ‘They have a match for lungs.’ I needed to be transported to Boston IMMEDIATELY. I crouched down by my hospital bed, struck with the magnitude of the situation. As prepared as I was, nothing could get me ready for this moment. I couldn’t catch my breath.”

‘You look like you’ve been mauled by a gorilla. What happened to you?’ I lied. She didn’t deserve to know.’: Woman with terminal genetic condition embraces her scars, ‘Look how hard my body works to keep me alive!’

“I was leaving the grocery store. An older woman was staring at me. I felt the familiar rush of blood heat my cheeks and anger rise in my throat. Instead of asking questions about a body that wasn’t hers, she smiled widely. ‘I think I saw you in a magazine!’ I exhaled and laughed, confirming that she had. My scarring looks like burns. This is ‘the worst disease you’ve never heard of.'”

‘I’d rather die than have a poop bag attached to me.’ My boyfriend didn’t sign up for a sick girl.’: Woman with ulcerative colitis learns to ‘love herself’ despite invisible illness

“’Great, how do we get rid of it?’ The look on my doctor’s face immediately made my stomach drop. ‘There is no known cure.’ Everything I ate caused intense pain and had me running to the toilet. When I told my boyfriend, he nodded and we drove home in silence. I told him if he wanted to end the relationship I would understand.”

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