Faces of Sjogren's: Katherine's Story

KatherineWhen I was diagnosed with Sjögren's, my first thought was...

“It’s about time.” 

I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s in October 2013, a month shy of my 23rd birthday.  Finally, after ten years of feeling sick, spending the majority of my teenage years in bed, in pain, and at the doctor, I was relieved to finally be diagnosed. 

 Severe fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and chronic sinusitis filled my life, instead of spending time with friends and enjoying the so-called “best years of your life.”  After going to numerous doctors for years, it was clear that something was wrong, but what that something was exactly remained out of the doctors’ grasps.  I never thought that a salivary gland biopsy would lead to figuring out what that something was, the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle of my pain.  

I always drank a lot of water, as I was always thirsty. I craved water. In addition, my eyes constantly hurt, though I attributed it to my nearsightedness.  A new rheumatologist instantly ordered a salivary gland biopsy and a tear production test. 

It was revealed that I make very few tears, causing my eye pain. To my surprise and relief, the salivary gland biopsy came back indicating Sjögren’s syndrome. At last, that something was finally found. 

Despite Sjögren’s, I graduated college with honors in May. Even though it’s hard to remain positive when I’m feeling lousy, I realize that Sjögren’s may be a part of my life, but I don’t let Sjögren’s define my life. 

-Katherine

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