My Battle with Autoimmune Diseases
Hello, my name is Stephanie. I’m an autoimmune-disease fighter, and I wanted to share my story because it’s been a journey for me to have multiple autoimmune diseases and take so many medications every day—which, for my age, is very young.
I’m 29 years old and I’m a mother. I’m also a girlfriend to my boyfriend of six years. I had to quit my job because I’m very ill. I got diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease at 22 years old. I really believe that if I didn’t go to the doctors very soon, I was going to die. I felt very ill and weak, and lost weight like crazy without knowing I was sick. I also had very bad anxiety. My heartbeat would be so fast. I just couldn’t seem to function.
Then I got pregnant and it was a high risk—which was scary for me because I didn’t want to lose my baby. After having my baby, my thyroid level was under control, which was a miracle. But then other problems started to happen; I noticed them while working. I started to feel aches and pains for no reason. When I went to the doctor and got X-rays and bloodwork, he told me that I have arthritis in my wrist and hand. I was like, “Wow! Already? At this age?”
Then my bloodwork came back positive for lupus. I didn’t take the news so well—I just cried. I wondered why my health just kept getting worse. My doctor told me I had to go to a specialist to get the right diagnosis, and they told me that I’m positive for lupus because I have autoimmune diseases, which is a very common reason. After a lot of bloodwork and X-rays and an MRI, the doctor told me I have psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia.
I already felt depressed, and then I discovered that I have Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease inside my digestive tract. I always knew I had that problem, as I’ve felt symptoms since the age of 17. I had simply been waiting for the right diagnosis.
Needless to say, my life has been like a roller coaster that I can’t get off of. I have to keep battling and sucking up so much, and a lot people can’t even tell I’m sick. I have a lot of faith in God and know that I am strong enough to deal with all of this.
I’ve been silent for too long, and I know I have to share my story now. I really want to help others like myself or with different diseases. We don’t have to let anyone bring us down or say bad things about us. Because even if we don’t show it, our bodies are telling us we are sick—and we have to fight every day. I want to show people in the same shoes that we can be there for each other. We are not alone.
Previously published here.