A person is not defined by their illness. Rather, a person defines their illness.
Hi! My name is Lily and I am a Pre-Pharmacy student at UW Madison. I am very passionate about global health, which is rooted from my experience with chronic illness. I learned how to be an advocate for myself, and now I want to be an advocate for others whose struggles are similar to mine.
Here is my story:
I always felt limited due to my severe nut allergy. I thought I would never be able to go to restaurants with my friends, enjoy a birthday treat at school, or travel outside of the US. The questions of “what if the food I just ate contained nuts?” or “am i breathing ok?” was constantly in the back of my mind. I developed very obsessive behavior and almost a fear of food. I would read ingredients again and again, stopped eating foods I knew were safe but not manufactured in nut free facilities, and would feel anxious after I ate anything. I don’t think there was an exact moment that made me stop all of these habits, but thank God I did. I learned how to take control of my allergies and how to stop them from controlling me.
In 2018 I was also diagnosed, well re-diagnosed, with Lyme Disease. I was bit by a tick when I was a few months old and developed a bull’s-eye rash. I was treated with a very rigorous round of antibiotics and my pediatrician assured my parents I would be Lyme free. I went years without any symptoms, but more symptoms started showing throughout high school. I was constantly tired and would spend all of my free time sleeping. I started struggling to speak; I could never think of the right words to say. I also began to fail tests in school, after I had studied for hours the night before. I couldn’t focus or think straight. At the time, my dad was also experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease and connected the dots. I went back to my pediatrician, and my dad fought with her as to why I still had Lyme even though I completed the antibiotics. She wouldn’t budge and said there was nothing else she could do. After some research, my dad found a Chiropractor that practiced a treatment called LymeStop; a natural treatment for Lyme Disease. There are specific points on the body that the bacterias of Lyme rest, and by the use of magnets, the immune system is directed to those points to fight the bacteria. A few months following the series of treatments, my symptoms started to diminish.
Throughout my experience with food allergies and Lyme Disease, I learned what health truly meant. I understand how to listen to my body, and how important it is to advocate for yourself when others may not agree. Chronic illness is often misrepresented within healthcare and by society, which is why I am so passionate about illustrating chronic illness in a real and authentic way. I want to share my journey in hopes that others don’t feel so alone throughout theirs. Just remember that you are so much more than your illness and such a stronger person because of it.
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