On this day four years ago, I was two weeks away from graduating college and felt like I was moments away from my deathbed.
Over the last few months of my senior year, I went through some drastic physical changes. It started with a strange, itchy rash on the left side of my chin. Then another developed on the back of my neck. Then several more appeared on my legs and under my armpits. My muscles were sore to the point where it felt like I had been doing an intense cardio kickboxing class everyday. I was physically weak and tired all of the time, and depression had sucked out the little energy I had left in me.
Graduation Day was a blur. My entire body had swollen up and I couldn’t even walk ten steps without trying to catch my breath. I remember my entire family crying at my graduation party — not tears of joy, but ones of sorrow and confusion. A joyous occasion had been tainted by this random, mysterious plague that had taken over my body. I had no clue what was going on with me and I was terrified. It wasn’t until a month later that I was finally diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis (DM). [Read more…]