The Chance Hidradenitis Suppurativa Diagnosis
I have had Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) for 13 years. Last year I visited my doctor for something unrelated. While I waited, I read the Irish Skin Foundation’s Hidradenitis Suppurativa booklet. Reading through the booklet, I recognised my symptoms and decided to ask my doctor about it.
Now that I have a diagnosis of hidradenitis suppurativa, I can prevent some of my flare-ups rather than reacting to them.
But, that’s not the only thing I learned. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body.
1. My body is stronger than I ever imagined.
After my HS diagnosis, I realised that my body fought for me for twelve years without medical care.
I am not, of course, suggesting one handle their HS on their own. Medical professionals are essential.
What I am saying is they are also not the only ones taking care of you.
My body has been in so much pain, but it survived. I thought my condition was a weakness in my body for so long. I now realise there’s nothing weak about my body at all. It has overcome everything HS has thrown at it and it will overcome everything HS will throw at it.
2. I am the expert on my body.
I already knew so much before I knew the name of the condition. I knew home remedies and how lesions work in general. I knew what my body would respond best to. I knew the difference between a bad flare-up and a mild flare-up.
When my condition progressed, I knew I needed help. It was chance that I came across the booklet that day, nonetheless, I was ready to ask for help again.
3. My body deserves respect, regardless of what others think about it.
Like many of you, my consultation last year was not the first time I had sought medical help. Like many of you, my doctors told me that my condition was my fault. Some said that it is how my body is. Those are assumptions, not medical advice.
Here’s the thing, assumptions hurt but they don’t belong to you. They are the baggage carried by the person making the assumptions and do not represent you.
If your doctor has advised you that your medical condition was your fault, that was their bad. You have the right to respect for your body. It is not something you can earn.
4. I am more than capable of looking after myself.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about my condition, by observing my body during a flare-up. I know that my flare-ups might look a little different on different parts of my body. I know which creams help to heal and which ones will irritate my lesions. I know that one of the best things I can do is apply a warm compress.
Last year, I learned my conditions name. Putting a name to the face, so to speak, meant I could research ways to help myself. For me, this included dietary and lifestyle changes.
The most important part for me was realising I had been looking after my condition myself for half my life.
I am proud of myself for taking care of myself until help arrived.
5. I can help others
One of the challenges of HS is talking about it. I kept mine a secret for over a year before I first sought help. When that didn’t work, I kept it a secret for another 12 years.
One of the reasons I did that was because I felt ashamed. I know that a lot of people are because the condition is not well known. I worried about judgement, despite not knowing how to control it.
If we talk about HS, we can raise awareness, heal the shame and break the stigma.
I am lucky that I have the skill of writing. It means that I can get the information out to a wider audience. If I share my experience, other people will reach out for help and talk about theirs.
Managing a health condition is something that requires pulling in all your supports. It’s important to talk about it. Most things seem worse when you keep them a secret.
If you have not visited your doctor yet, consider it. A hidradenitis suppurativa diagnosis will enable you to receive better care You deserve health and happiness and so does your body. After all, it has taken you this far.