How My Journey as a Patient Has Come 'Full Circle' With My Career

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re trying as hard as you can to run away but you can’t seem to break out of slow motion or are simply stuck in your tracks? I have. Except for me, it wasn’t a dream – it was my life. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disease that resulted in total body arthritis and pain that made even the slightest movement excruciating. I was indefinitely unable to break out of slow motion.

Five months after my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, I was rushed to the ER to discover I also had Crohn’s disease, yet another autoimmune disorder that caused bleeding ulcers in my small intestine and made even drinking water almost unbearable.

At the ripe age of 19 I had received back-to-back diagnoses of serious, lifelong chronic illnesses. I endured countless failed treatments, debilitating fatigue, strained relationships and more pain than I ever could have imagined. But I am now blessed to have just celebrated three years of remission from my autoimmune diseases because of the lifesaving treatment I receive every two months. I live a relatively “normal” life and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.

woman giving presentation on her 'reason for being'


While my autoimmune diseases caused me to endure the most difficult time in my life, I am thankful for them. Why? My journey as a patient has defined my reason for being and launched my career in patient advocacy relations. Through my work I have become passionate about doing anything and everything I can to help make patients’ lives easier via digital health. In an age where one can order a taxi or groceries with a press of a button and swipe right to find the love of their lives, it is remarkable that the healthcare space has trailed so far behind.

As a patient, it is reassuring to know that startups around the world are working to bring healthcare up to speed. I currently work at Clara, a web and mobile platform that aims to connect patients to clinical trials and is dedicated to empowering patients with the knowledge they need to make informed treatment decisions.

Life has really come full circle for me. I didn’t know it a few years ago, but patients saved my life. Because of the brave patients that took part in clinical trials, the biologic I take was approved by the FDA. I now have the remarkable opportunity to pay it forward and support the patients who allow me to live fearlessly.

My autoimmune diseases have shaped the course of my life ultimately for the better. I hope my story will inspire fellow patients to know you can and will come out a stronger person because of your patient journey. Never forget that everything happens for a reason…so what’s yours?

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Psoriatic Arthritis

Woman Drinks Coffee Shop Lonely Concept

What It's Like Having a Type of Arthritis People Haven't Heard of

“You have what? Sorry-attic arthritis? Don’t you mean rheumatoid?” Well, good meaning but misguided work colleague – no, I do not mean I have rheumatoid arthritis. I’m sure most of us with psoriatic arthritis (PSA) have heard similar comments when explaining to people what our condition is. We’ve all seen the blank stares looking back at us from people who don’t [...]
pink hot air balloon and hearts trailing behind, made out of paper

To My Boyfriend: How You Can Help Me With My Psoriatic Arthritis

When we met, I was the life and soul of the party, and a young woman in her dream career. I loved you from the moment I met you. Over the next four years we had some amazing times. We travelled, we had adventures, we grew together. You supported me and my passion for running and you [...]
woman drinking tea by window

Why Winters Are Hard With Psoriatic Arthritis

I think snow is beautiful. The lovely, fluffy blanket adorning my front lawn is pure joy to the three beagles that romp and push their small, wriggling snow-plow snouts in intersecting lines.  There’s no denying the crisp, clean air.  There’s also no denying my wish to be in warmer, more humid weather. If you have [...]
friends with glasses of wine toasting

Please Don’t Ask Me to Explain Why I Won’t Drink a Glass of Wine

The mood is festive. Literally everyone sparkles in their holiday finery, from guests to tree to dog to house. Conversation and laughter flow freely. It’s lovely, and I enjoy every moment until I’m handed a wine glass or asked if I prefer white or red. There are many reasons why some of us can’t accept [...]