So let's back track for a moment... A couple of months ago, one of my best friends became sick. She couldn't do the things she wanted to do anymore, and the simplest of things became a struggle for her. Her life became filled up with doctors appointments, as she tried to figure out why she was feeling this way. I started hating doctors at this point, because they would basically tell her that it was anxiety or that it was just in her head. It drove me insane! Why would nobody believe her?! Her parents had to fight the doctors to get tests done. It felt like no one was going to be able to help her and I felt useless. As a best friend, it killed me inside that I couldn't do anything to help her. I wanted to just take all of the pain and fear away from her, but I couldn't. All I could do is stand by and be there to support her. Eventually a doctor diagnosed her with a disease called Dysautonomia. This seemed like a good start, it felt like maybe now that they knew what it was, she could begin to get better. Then she fell into some days that were worse than usual and very scary. I was constantly checking my phone for updates and through all the fear I felt, I knew that she was way more scared than I was. A few weeks ago, we found out that she had been accepted into the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. This gave us all a new wave of hope. This clinic is known for helping those who don't know what's happening to them. At the start of last weekend she journeyed to Mayo Clinic and began working with doctors. I have now excluded the Mayo doctors from the list of doctors I hate, because they sounded amazing. They didn't dismiss what she told them, instead they wanted to hear every detail about what she was feeling. They told her how strong and amazing she was for not giving up, as they said most would have. After a week of testing, they came to the conclusion that she had the symptoms of multiple diseases including Dysautonomia, that were causing her own disease. She has a new disease, that is uncharted in medicine. She gave the clinic permission to use her blood and test results to research this new disease and uncover more about it, so that they can begin to help her get better. I can't put into words how proud I am of her for not giving up and for being the strong, beautiful person I have always known her to be.
Throughout all of this I have found myself already doing lots of research on Dysautonomia and the other diseases like it, so It is now my 20 time project. I am going to raise as much awareness as I can for these invisible illnesses and give them a bigger voice. Because they are relatively new to the world, not very many doctors know about them, or if they do, they don't know much and it can take people years to get diagnosed.
I know that there isn't much I can do to take away my best friend's pain, but I can help get awareness so that research can be done to find a treatment for these diseases.