Faces of Sjögren's: Abby's Journey

AbbyWhen I was diagnosed with Sjögren's, my first thought was…

“I have what?” On one hand, I was relieved to know I was not going crazy or “just getting old,” but on the other hand, I felt frightened and overwhelmed. When I left the doctor’s office, I sat in my car and cried. After all, the terms “autoimmune” and “no cure” sounded pretty scary. I immediately went home…and went straight to the Internet! I decided I would not read anything that didn’t look official, as the last thing I needed was to be misinformed. Thankfully, I found the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation. I poured over every page and ordered two recommended books. That was January, 2009. I was 46 years old.

Today, I am effectively coping with my symptoms with the help of my physician and constant support of my wonderful husband. My family and friends don’t always understand; they think I should feel fine just because I look fine! Some symptoms are persistent while others wax and wane. The most prominent and difficult symptom I must constantly manage is extreme fatigue, which can be utterly debilitating. I’ve learned to pace myself, reserve my energy, and avoid undue stress. My husband reminds me to take breaks and deep breaths, as I am stubborn and tend to overdo it! It really helps.

If you are reading this story because you have Sjögren's, know that you are not alone. The Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation is a great and positive way to find answers and support. If you are reading this story because you know someone with Sjögren's, please support that person with all of your heart and patience. It will make all of the difference in the world!


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