Essay On Autoimmune Diagnosis

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At 16 years old I was debilitated by constant fatigue and pain. I reached out to several doctors, but trained professionals disregarded me and reiterated toxic phrases such as, “depression” or “all in her head”. Day after day, I suffered from a plethora of symptoms only to have my cries ignored. Finally, after seeing over 12 doctors I had found one that actually listened to me and ran the appropriate tests to form a diagnosis. At 18 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder.
My illness took my teenage years from me. I missed 68 days of my senior year of high school and before that countless more, starting from freshman year. I was under pressure to be held back a year, but I persevered and finished high school in the top 25 percent of my very competitive class, with honors. This experience taught me to stand up and advocate for myself at a young age. I did not allow myself to become a victim and fall through the cracks. My grades were good and I did all the work that was needed to pass despite the many classes missed. Having an autoimmune diagnosis did not shield from the social stigma of being ill. Even today I still encounter this stigma every time I miss a class or don’t attend a sorority meeting. People don’t understand the unrelenting pain I suffer and assume that since there are no physical signs that everything is fine.
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At the University of Massachusetts I joined a sorority on campus and was part of a team of people who voted on new members. There was a transgender girl who wanted to pledge our sorority but no one wanted her to be apart our sisterhood. Thinking back to the isolating and defeating time I experienced, provoked me to defend her in front of the entire sorority. This action encouraged several other people to speak up because our motto is that we accept based on personality and they were judging this girl solely on her
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