You’re too Young to Be That Sick, and Other Misconceptions About Invisible Illness

At the age of twenty-four, a thousand miles away from my family and living in a new city, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Over a period of four weeks and about eight doctor’s visits, I finally found a physician of internal medicine who listened to me explain my symptoms; in less than two days I had a diagnosis.

Despite the terms “chronic” and “forever” I felt relieved to know the label that described my chronic pain. Few of my friends, however, shared my enthusiasm for a diagnosis. The managers at my office were more concerned about the fact that I wasn’t wearing heels in the office any longer, making me appear less professional.

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