At age 18, I was diagnosed with a rare chronic autoimmune illness…

“At age 18, I was diagnosed with a rare chronic autoimmune illness called myasthenia gravis. My body releases antibodies that block the muscles from receiving stimuli from my nerves. It got so bad I had to be intubated for oxygen support as I was choking on my own saliva. I couldn’t swallow anything. This illness is a very big challenge in life. My facial muscles are most affected and I can’t even show expressions anymore. I can’t even smile. Basically I lost the jolly person that I was. I lost my voice—not literally but figuratively. I sometimes feel like a burden to my friends and family. They have to chop my food into very tiny pieces so I won’t take too much time and effort chewing them. Sometimes I want to run away but I know how it will affect everyone who loves me. I hate the feeling that my soul is alive but my body is not…But then again, I made a promise. I will continue fighting for those who love me (family and friends). Because no matter how it has greatly affected them, they never get tired of cheering me up.I will continue fighting because I don’t want my story to end here. I will not let this illness win.”
-Kate

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