Columns

5 Holiday Survival Tips for Those With Vasculitis

I have been dealing with vasculitis symptoms and fatigue for the past 14 holiday seasons. In the early years, I was so worried about disappointing my family and friends that I tried to be my old self and accomplish everything. This behavior always led to a series of disasters.

I Came, I Saw, I’m Conquering Vasculitis

“Veni, vidi, vici” is translated from Latin as “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Julius Caesar first said this after a victorious battle. Having a rare illness is a battle every day. I battle to stay alive. I battle to live a fulfilling life. I battle to get out of…

Battling GPA for Half My Life

I reached a milestone in November. Half my life ago, I was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA). On Nov. 16, 2001, I was near death when I was admitted to the emergency room. Nineteen years later, here I am. Each of those years has been a bonus in…

The War Against Fatigue

Everyone probably battles fatigue at some point, but for those with an autoimmune condition, it’s a war. I have granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), and fatigue is one of my biggest foes. I can handle many of the GPA symptoms and medication side effects without too much of an issue.

I’ve Been Blessed With My Career Path

When I chose my career path in high school, I had no idea how perfect it would be for me. At 19, I was in college pursuing a career in journalism when I was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) in 2001. I was the editor and designer of…

Diving Into a Sea of Denial

Before I was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) at age 19, I was ready to conquer the world. After the diagnosis, I just wanted to conquer the condition. At first, I was extremely focused on finding out everything I could about GPA. Every detail, every bit of information, and…

Persevering in a New Reality

After being diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis, I felt like life as I knew it was over, and a new reality was emerging. When I was diagnosed, I was a 19-year-old sophomore in college. I missed the last half of fall semester, and it was possible that I would…

Fighting Back After My Diagnosis

When I began college in the fall of 2000, I expected it to be similar to what my siblings had experienced or what I had seen on TV: making friends, having fun, enjoying a massive amount of freedom, and even going to class. I didn’t expect to fight an illness…

The Long, Blurry Days Leading Up to My Diagnosis

I was in a hospital room, dazed and confused. A doctor had sent me there after a chaotic trip to the emergency room. The first nurse to treat me said I had a hemoglobin level of 3.8 deciliters. My resting heart rate was 140 beats per minute, and when I…

The Beginning of My Invisible Journey

My long journey began in Virginia in 2001 at 18. I was in college at the time, and two friends and I decided to go on a trip during a three-day weekend in the spring. We stayed at my friend’s house, and I remember very clearly getting a pain in…