Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hope - Rare Disease Day

This past weekend we went to San Antonio for The Atypical HUS Foundation conference. It's always such a good time. Seeing those that have become family. Seeing those that KNOW what we go through. Knowing that we are not alone.

Since we have been home, I have been thinking about where I was 2 years ago in this journey called Atypical HUS.

I thought I would share my thoughts and feelings for others. What better day to do this than on International Rare Disease Day?!

Two years ago, I was fairly new in my diagnosis of aHUS still. I was diagnosed Sept/Oct of 2014. That first year was HARD. There were a lot of changes. Life saving meds were administered. I was literally fighting for my life.

After learning what I could from the very limited information on this disease, I was overwhelmed and hopeless. I told those closest to me that I would not be alive in 5 years. Whether it be the disease taking me or me taking my own life after tiring from fighting the disease.

At that time, it was the truth in my mind. I had no hope.

In the late fall of 2015, Ben and I attended a luncheon put on by Alexion (the pharma company that makes my life-saving drug, Soliris). We heard a patient story, we learned a ton from the doctor that spoke, we met others that are in the same journey as us. WE FOUND OUR HOPE!

I knew at that time that with the support of those with this disease, the information that we could find by going to these conferences, the people we would meet...that I would survive this. I had found my hope.

Since that first luncheon we attended...I have been to and spoken at so many conferences. I have shared my story in hopes of helping others get through the rough patch and grieving stages of a rare disease diagnosis.

Without these conferences and people to share this journey with, I was honestly lost. I was staring a life threatening disease right in the face. It's a very scary journey to be on with rare disease.
There aren't many people who have the disease or understand what you are going through.

But the people at these conferences, these people get it! They are currently living it as well!

There is hope out there. There are researchers working to find treatments and cures for this awful disease. We are one of the few rare diseases that actually has a treatment. We have each other. I have made some incredible friends that are now family. I have hopefully helped others somehow along the way.

We met several people this past weekend that were very recently diagnosed with aHUS. You can always tell how overwhelmed people are with this disease. It's so much to take in.

To those new patients, and even the experienced patients, please don't give up.

Please reach out to those that you trust. Reach out to those that are experiencing it as well. Hang in there. We are a team, a family. A family...that will fight together and love you through each set back and step forward. We are here!

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