At the age of 18, I should’ve been heading off to college. I should’ve been on the brink of an exciting adventure, but I wasn’t. I had a strange knot and a lot of pain on the side of my foot. I worked on my feet a lot. I thought for sure, worse case scenario, it was a bunion. That actually makes me laugh now. My mom urges me to see a doctor and insists that she’ll go with me. I’m thinking, c’mon mom. I’m 18 now. Seriously. Cut the cord. The doctor walks in. Asks how I’m doing, so I proceed to tell him and show him. He’s just doing his usual. Mmmhmm, yes I see, ok. He leaves the room, stating he’ll be back in a few minutes. I then go on again to my mom about the bunion idea. Then when he comes back, he says he wants to run some blood tests. Things flipped upside down for me for a few minutes as he mutters things about Rheumatoid Factors and a whole bunch of other things I didn’t understand. At this moment, I’m glad my mom is there with me. She happens to be a nurse as well. I start asking her questions when he leaves the room again and she’s hesitant to say anything at all. It felt like forever, but he came back. He says my Rheumatoid Factor is high. I’m shaking my head, not understanding what’s going on. Then he hands me a script and says you need to see a Rheumatologist. I’m thinking, isn’t that for people with arthritis. Like older people with deformed hands and bad backs. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the whole thing. Well, that was the beginning. It was rough. It got a lot worse than that silly pain in my foot. The first Rheumatologist I saw said I wouldn’t be able to walk by the time I was 30. Way to wipe away a young woman’s dreams. It just about did too. That’s more the ..meat of my story.
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