"When I was first diagnosed with Sjögren’s, my first thought was..."
When I was first diagnosed with Sjögren’s, my first thought was, “What happens next?”
I’m the kind of person who needs to know everything that is happening before it happens. That being said, the most difficult part of being diagnosed, at the age of 11, was the fact that I didn’t know what the future would bring.
I am now 16 years old and have dealt with a slew of symptoms ranging from swollen parotid glands to body aches. However, throughout all of it, I have been sure of one thing; I always knew that I would have the support of the best doctors, my family and the determination to get through the ups and downs of Sjögren’s. I’ve learned to relax and drink a cup of hot chamomile tea when I am overwhelmed. I’ve learned that Epsom salt baths are great for body aches, and that taking my medications on time are so important. A combination of self-care and medications allow me the opportunity to live a full, active and totally normal life.
Although it’s hard when in a flare-up to do normal things, like go to school or attend theater rehearsals, there are definitely more good days than bad. I hope that other young patients with Sjögren’s realize that the disease doesn’t have to define who you are. Don’t let Sjögren’s impose limitations or create obstacles for you. A new normal can still mean living a life of dreams, passions and purpose. Surround yourself with people who will support you and your dreams!