invisible illness

‘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.’

‘At 17, two pink lines changed everything. While my friends were out partying and going to football games, I sat in a rocking chair and cried while my baby cried.’ Disabled teen mom doesn’t want others to ‘feel sorry for her’, reminds us to ‘show compassion’

“It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t just my life anymore. It was about this little baby growing. I didn’t care about myself or my future and it showed in my daily decisions. I was a mess, a completely reckless teenager. Sometime after getting put on probation, totaling my car, and losing credit from skipping school, I decided I needed a change. I was focused on giving her the life I never had.”

‘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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