On April 25th, 2008, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) at the age of 19.  Thankfully, I only endured seven months of severe symptoms before receiving a diagnosis. Dermatomyositis is a rare muscle disease characterized by inflammation of the muscles and skin. Muscle pain, difficulty swallowing, and fatigue are common symptoms.

I was told my condition was rare, but what was even more rare was the age at which I began exhibiting symptoms. Most people who suffer from DM are diagnosed either before age 10, or after age 40. I was starting college and finally becoming more self-sufficient, only to have that all stripped away and find myself unable to go to school, unable to work, and again relying heavily on my parents.

I am now 23 and still undergoing treatment in the hopes of remission. I have since been able to return to school. I am nearing my graduation, but am finding it difficult to find employers who will accept my need to miss work for IVIG infusions. Even on my worst days, I know I still have hope.