There are heroes among us. I never thought of myself as one, until recently.
Everything my life has consisted of, was just what was normal for me. Hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, blood transfusions- all part of growing up. Growing up with a chronic illness, that is.
For most my life I had a “working diagnosis,” it wasn’t until last year it was confirmed I have Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anemia type 2. My illness breaks down as my body does not produce red blood cells as frequently as it should, resulting in the need for chronic blood transfusions. As a result of that, I also have Iron Overload. About 40x the normal amount. Hence, my nickname around the infusion center, “Iron Man.”
It always puzzled me growing up hearing people say “you’re so brave” and “you’re my hero.” I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary other than trying to survive. I understand now that going through the ordeals as a child was an inspiration to others. Fighting against an invisible foe sometimes is just what people need to see to keep them fighting their own battles.
Recently, I’ve made contact with someone else with my illness. I’ve been able to provide useful information based on my experience to help her navigate her way through the same routine. I have no cape. I’m armed with my experience and understanding, and I aim to help those who could benefit from it.
I am a patient; I am an advocate; I am Iron Man.