Jennifer
USA

My name is Jennifer Vallejo, I'm 31 years old and was diagnosed with a very painful autoimmune  disease  around 3 years ago. In 2016 while in Medical school I had to put my dream of becoming a doctor on hold because I  found out my mother was diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma, skin cancer.  While having my mother go under treatment my father was diagnosed with stage 4 Gastric Cancer, so now we had to have them both be under treatment. 

 

One of my mom's dream was for me to be able to have a child, since I have had cancer when I was 19 and was told that I might not be able to or it would be high risk. So when I found out about her condition being terminal, and since my husband and I had agreed on start trying, I decided to let nature do its job, and actually got pregnant; that was one of the happiest news I have given my mother. She passed 4 months later.  

 

I continue fighting full of hope with my father, hoping that I would at least have one parent of mine meet their grandkid, and he did, but when my baby was one and a half months old my dad passed. 

 

I had always felt some aches and pains but it would go away within a day without a problem, but  one day in 2017 I woke up in so much pain, every joint I could think of was hurting and I didn't understand what was going on.  According to doctors they think that the stress of the passing of my parents trigger my RA to flare up significantly for the first time.  Some days I couldn't get up from bed, others I couldn't change baby's diaper because my pain can get unbearable.  Also, I was very scared about the medication that I would be prescribed, but the pain and fatigue I was feeling gave me no choice. My life had changed drastically, no more walking, bike riding or even grocery shopping. 

 

I was then diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Sjögren's Sindrome, Fibromyalgia and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been taking prednisone and methotrexate, still working with trying to find the right dosage because after few weeks of taking it the severe pain starts again so the doctor keeps increasing it. 

 

Due to this diseases I have lost couple of years from Med school, but I plan to keep fighting, stay positive and find a way to go back and get my diploma.  Life has blessed me with an amazing husband and family, and thanks to them I keep moving forward hoping for remission.  Meanwhile, I will continue to make fun of this crazy condition trying to brighten others day even for a little. 

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