My name is Ann Robison. I’m currently 19, but was diagnosed with my ‘speed bumps’ when I was in 8th grade. What, you may ask, are speed bumps? I don’t like the word disease. I feel like using the word ‘disease’ makes it easier for people to discriminate; where as a speed bump is just something you can overcome without having someone saying ‘Oh, she has a disease’.
Well to start off, I had gotten extremely sick in 8th grade. We just thought it was acid reflux. Later, we found out it was juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. ‘Great’, I thought. One speed bump, it’s not that bad. Unfortunately, it only got worse. A couple months down the road I continued to lose weight, and have extreme stomach pain. I also had extremely dry eyes and mouth. I had a biopsy on a salivary gland, and we found out that I also have Sjogren’s syndrome. After that, I still didn’t feel any better. When I was starting junior year of high school, my stomach pain became unbearable. I could never keep any food down (diarrhea). Nasty, I know. I went months having to leave class to hopefully make it to the restroom. After having a scope done we found out that I had Crohn’s disease, as well.
Three diseases, surely something is not right? My mother and I headed out to the Mayo Clinic. The doctor told me I was crazy; there was no way I can have Crohn’s disease and Sjogren’s. I had started to believe him. Maybe I was going crazy. Now I’m a sophomore in college. I know I have Crohn’s disease by all my tests I’ve had to undergo. Another issue that comes with it is called a B-12 deficiency anemia. Just within the first few months my new rheumatologist also told me I had all the test factors for lupus.
Five speed bumps. Everyday is a day I wake up not knowing how I will feel. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that can cause inflammation to your joints and surrounding tissues. Sjogren’s syndrome is a disease where your body is attacking your moisture producing glands. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can inflame anywhere from your mouth to your anus. B-12 is a common vitamin; it’s intake is mainly through food you eat. Finally, lupus is along-term autoimmune disorder that may affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.
Everyday I feel like I should give up. My family, loving boyfriend, and amazing friends all keep me on track. When I have my bad days, people may ask ‘what’s wrong?’. I like to give them my short story, and they always say sorry. Please don’t say sorry. I’m not sorry about all my speed bumps and the medication that goes with it. If I didn’t have my speed bumps, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I would have given up many times, but instead I like to Fight Like a Girl.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.