My final years of high school
Turning 17 and 18 are supposed to be some of the best years of your life. You're about to finish high school, and even though you are battling the intense workload of years 11 and 12, you know the summer holidays and time with your friends will be great. However, getting diagnosed at 16, in the middle of year 11, with psoriatic arthritis, was not something I had planned for. And it ruined my life.
The impact of psoriatic arthritis on my life
Suddenly everything was hard. I had to quit my job and missed a lot of class time in order to attend appointments, hospital visits, etc. This made keeping up and getting top grades extremely difficult. I could no longer play volleyball, which I loved, and had to turn down activities with friends due to the fatigue immunosuppressants gave me.
Going through additional diagnosis processes
A couple of months later, I received the news I may have lupus, which led to a whole new long and draining diagnostic process. In year 12, I was told I may have Crohn's disease and missed a large amount of class in order to have discovery surgeries, MRI's, appointments – the whole works. Exams were hard, essays even harder.
I still graduated almost top of my year and received no extra credit for having a chronic illness. I was reminded that this disease does not define me. I am still as strong and smart as I was before this came into life, sometimes it's hard to remember, but it's important to never forget.
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