Welcome, Chronic Illness Warriors

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

My name is Dolores and I was diagnosed with scleroderma at the age of sixteen.

I am now fifty-seven.

I do not know what I expected for my life but given my diagnosis, I admit I am surprised that I am here and still going strong. Isn’t it funny how we make plans and life intervenes, sometimes in good ways?

I am still ill, but I am living a life full of value.

For most of my life, I hid my illness as best as I could, which I recognize is a privilege. The damage to my physical self has involved my skin and muscles, so I did everything I could to hide my skin and work so I could keep my mobility.

I worked, I juggled, and I did everything I could to try and pass as “normal” to the rest of the world. It took a great deal of planning to do so, but I did my best to live my life. And yet I suffered in silence.

In 2019 I realized that 2020 would mark the fortieth anniversary of my diagnosis and I decided to share my story. Needless to say, then the pandemic hit, and things turned upside down.

So, here we are, albeit two years later after I decided to share my story. To be honest, transitioning from never discussing and hiding my illness to opening up about it publicly has not been exactly easy for me. I am a private person and an introvert.

It is difficult to stand up and tell people you are different. You are disfigured. Your body simply cannot function like others.

And while I may not fully be comfortable doing so yet, I know that it is time for me to do so. I feel that we all have a purpose and one of mine is to facilitate and support others who are facing other chronic illnesses.

Join me in sharing your story here: I welcome all those interested and able to contribute to this publication to do so. I look forward to illuminating your voice and inspiring others.

I want others who live with autoimmune conditions to know that you matter. You are strong. You are brave. You are authentically beautiful.

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

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