29 years ago (give or take a few months) I made my introduction into this world on a Saturday morning. No complications, doctor was so impressed with me he wanted to give me a 10/10. He couldn’t, of course, no one is perfect. Oh, if they knew then what I knew now. But that’s neither here nor there.
Hello, my name is Jasmin, and I suffer from a rare autoimmune (or auto-inflammatory, the verdict is still out on that, but who’s being technical?) disorder called Behcet’s disease. What is this Behcet’s, you ask? Well, it’s a chronic type of vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) that can happen anywhere in the body. Basically, the immune system mistakenly attacks the blood vessels thinking it is a foreign pathogen. The most common places targeted are the mouth, genitals and skin. More rare and severe cases (like mine, lucky me) have central nervous system, gastrointestinal and joint involvement. The damaged blood vessels cause surrounding tissues to die (ulceration) and they bleed out like crazy when agitated. There is no cure, only medications to treat the symptoms to prevent future damage. These treatments can range from topical steroids to IV infusions. For more, detailed information, please check out the American Behcets Disease Association under Resources.
I have had symptoms since I was a child but everything started to go haywire when I turned 15. It took 10 years for a correct diagnosis and somehow I still managed to graduate from high school and college and make a life. Was it easy? I’m as brutally honest as possible, HELL NO! Countless biopsies, surgeries, hospital visits, etc.
Despite, the hardship, I’m very proud of my accomplishments and even though this journey has been a rough one, I wouldn’t change it for the world. By creating Chronic Reality Exposed, I intend to share my ups and downs of this life long battle in hopes of making peace with this disease, and more so helping others that are in similar situations with their own chronic manifestations who desperately need support and encouragement to get by day to day. Especially, focusing on the mental aspects chronic illnesses can have on an individual and their life, as a whole. Illness, regardless of the type, is no joke but it DOESN’T have to be a prison sentence.
– Jasmin L. Hudgins, MLS (ASCP)cm, M. Clfs, creator of Chronic Reality Exposed