Let me Introduce Myself!
Firstly, Hello! My name is Ashley and I’m a 22-year-old college student and filmmaker from Helena, Alabama. My HS story began when I was around 12 or 13 years old and began experiencing symptoms. I had large cysts develop in my groin area and between my thighs. It made it hard and very painful to walk. Eventually I found my way to a dermatologist, who thankfully was able to properly diagnose me (many others aren’t as lucky).
We began a round of antibiotics and topical rubs, but nothing seemed to calm it down. Over the next seven years I tried every possible treatment available, and although some treatments did seem to dampen the symptoms a little, my HS continued to progress. And it spread to my underarm and breast areas. I missed a lot of school for not being able to walk or lift my arms and move. Scars that were very embarrassing developed and made me extremely self conscious I was resistant to seeking relationships. I became very depressed at the thought of having to live with this lifelong debilitating disease that causes me incredible pain nearly every day.
Hope and Support
Thankfully, in October of 2020, I was prescribed biologic injections. Although my HS has not been cured, my symptoms are far less severe and cysts are less frequent. It’s definitely changed my outlook on life and mobility.
I’ve found support through Facebook groups and a wonderful community on Instagram. I want to continue to support and inspire other HS warriors and those with chronic illness, and am currently writing a film centred around a character with HS to try and broaden representation when it comes to invisible illnesses.