Author Archives: Allison Ross

What to Look for in a Vasculitis Specialist

The doctor-patient relationship is unique. A doctor sees you intimately and is privy to your vulnerabilities, both physical and psychological. I’m thankful to have had many vasculitis specialists in the past decade, some of whom have also evolved into trustworthy friends. For those with vasculitis, your doctor may become one…

The Emotional Toll of Illness

Anxiety. Fear. Depression. Grief. Rage. Have you experienced any of these after receiving a diagnosis? Whether patient or caregiver, the emotions surrounding illness can take up an unexpectedly large chunk of one’s energy. Vasculitis primarily affects the physical body. Inflammation is a visceral symptom, causing pain and discomfort while threatening…

When Traveling With Chronic Illness, Planning Is Key

As the holiday season approaches, people will begin making travel plans, and their to-do lists can be extensive. Book a flight. Communicate with family. Check the weather forecast. Do laundry.  Being sick and having a weakened immune system, however, can add even more items…

The Nagging Questions of Chronic Illness

It sometimes feels silly when I receive an invitation for an event happening more than a year in the future. This is because the details of my everyday life can be so overwhelming it’s all I can do to focus on the here and now. Maybe I’ll focus on next…

What Do We Do About Stress?

The topic of stress is much too familiar to autoimmune disease patients. Even in remission, I’m not immune to the overwhelming feeling that comes when my cortisol levels spike. I’m not a physician or a researcher, and plenty of studies about the science behind stress are available to…

My Vasculitis Origin Story

I’ve been writing my column, “Peaceful Chaos,” about living with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) since June. I’ve written about my medications, doctor appointments, and the daily struggles of being chronically ill. I’ve discussed the psychological effect this disease has had on me and on others, and what…

I’m Not Afraid of Aging

The year I turned 30, I experienced a vague sense of panic. It seemed like the age at which the fundamental aspects of life — career, family, hobbies — coalesce into permanence. I had recently moved across the country to resettle in a new city that I enjoyed. My work…

Being Sick Has Taught Me Empathy

It’s an experience every pet owner fears: Our 8-month-old German shepherd needed to be rushed to the emergency vet. Luckily, four hours and several hundred dollars later, he was sent home with some meds and pronounced just fine. While my husband and I were overjoyed that our beloved pup was…