Unexpected Connections

I’m grateful that my illness is treatable with medication. And that for those with RA, there is hope to live a long life.

I recently met a seventeen-year-old girl who made my day. I’ve been having many complicated stomach issues for a long while now (was in the hospital in April 2014) and most days you will find me in my Lululemon gear because the pants are the only ones that feel normal on my bloated stomach.

As I was walking out of the store, a sweet gorgeous teen, sitting behind a table of necklaces made from rocks, asked me if she could tell me about her jewelry. Syd told me how she was diagnosed with Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), a rare disease that is in need of funding. She started her rock necklace business at age 8 with magnificent rocks collected from the beaches of Lake Michigan. At age 10 she was diagnosed with LCH and all the money she raised with her necklaces was put towards LCH research. Now at age seventeen she is determined to continue raising money. To date she has reached almost $250,000.

As I told her about my diagnosis of RA and fibromyalgia she was so happy to hear that someone older totally understood what it was like to take a chemo drug. What it’s like to have hair fall out and thin, feel nauseous and so much more. The connection we shared was unexpected yet comforting.

I was struck with a feeling of gratefulness to be apart of a community – one I never expected to be part of. It is comforting to have so many who understand the complications of RA and autoimmune illness. I have several friends both old and new with RA and other autoimmune illnesses.

I was taken with Syd not only for her fundraising efforts, but also for her determination to make a difference and be heard. She is mature beyond her years and beautiful. She believes her necklaces have healing powers and so do I.

I walked out of the store with one around my neck and a feeling that’s very difficult to express. I was touched by her spirit, energy and wisdom. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Syd. She is capable, a fighter and indeed has made a difference.

Unexpected connections are the best. If you want to know more about Syd Rocks, please visit www.sydrocks.com.

asbRA was diagnosed with RA in November 2012 at the age of 27 and fibromyalgia in 2013. Through therapy and MBSR meditation asbRA found her calling in journaling her experience and is writing a book on how to navigate an RA diagnosis in the prime of one’s life. As a strong advocate in the autoimmune community asbRA shares her wisdom in hopes of helping others. @AllisonSBerger

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