Columns

Music as a Healthy Coping Methodology

Many people think music is a luxury. Others call it a necessity. But everyone agrees that music is enjoyable and rounds out a full life with everything the earthly and spiritual worlds have to offer. As a vasculitis patient, I’d like to add one more level of consideration. Music to…

Shooting for the Moon: A Perspective on Hope

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” — Norman Vincent Peale In a vasculitis lifestyle, shooting for the moon could mean hoping for a cure. We know it’s unrealistic to expect one so soon — after all, the group of disorders has only been…

The Nature of Autoimmune Awareness Month, and Its Diseases

March, which is Autoimmune Awareness Month, involves sliding into spring, a time of year that coincidentally reflects an autoimmune condition: shifting, transitional, and unpredictable. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks itself. The very organs that are supposed to keep the body safe become so overactive…

A Snapshot of College Life With Vasculitis

Imagine a college student who rarely goes to parties, never drinks to excess, and avoids virtually all risky behavior. Thanks to my health condition, that student was me. True, some young adults are laser-focused on their degree and future career and have an incredible amount of self-discipline. But for the…

Working Through the Question of Alternative Medicine

Among many health-support communities, there’s an ongoing discussion regarding pharmaceuticals versus natural healing. Once we patients have a diagnosis, the next step is to determine a treatment plan. But how do we know what’s the best route to keep our immune systems clean and functioning well, with the lowest…

Celebrating Rare Disease Day in the Hope of Becoming Less Rare

There’s an intriguing dichotomy in the vasculitis community, and I believe it’s one to be thankful for. My journey with granulomatosis with polyangiitis began in relative isolation. I was unfamiliar with the medical terms and treatments, and overwhelmed by the new normal that stood in front of me like…

The Not-so-Simple Task of Explaining Vasculitis

“Tell me about your disease.” This should be an uncomplicated request, but it’s not. Where do I start? What do I say that accurately encapsulates vasculitis but doesn’t confuse, mischaracterize, or bore? On the surface, describing my condition is simple: It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes inflamed blood vessels. But…

Joining the Exclusive Vasculitis Club

There’s a customary phrase in the vasculitis community: “We’re sorry that you’re here, but we’re very glad you found us.” Coined by Marilyn Sampson, the founder of what is now the Vasculitis Foundation, it’s a succinct reminder of the dual nature of living with chronic illness. After…

Prednisone: A Friend or Foe?

In the vasculitis community, patients often encounter uncomfortable situations. Disease symptoms plague us. Getting used to shifted routines takes some adjustment. And maybe worst of all, new medications can cause debilitating side effects. Among the various unpleasantries, one name makes even the seasoned autoimmune patient shudder with revulsion: prednisone.