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To the Customer Who Said I Am Part of the 'Weak Generation'

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I was bagging your groceries. You handed me a large canvas bag and told me to fit as much as I could. I loaded a few in to create a stable bottom and put the bag in the cart. You quickly stated, “I want more in the bag.” I told you I wouldn’t be able to lift that many groceries. 

• What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
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“You are part of the weak generation,” you said.

I was taken aback. At work, I had to hold my tongue. So here is what I want you to know:

I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Basically, my body is made of faulty material. My joints dislocate easily, I end up with daily bruises I don’t remember getting, and my organs and blood vessels can easily rupture. Recently I’ve been dealing with a shoulder that likes to regularly dislocate. At this point I’m seriously considering a large procedure in the hopes of stabilizing it. I’m facing surgery number 41. Scary thought for someone who is 28 years old, right?

If I had been my stubborn self — as I can often be (and my coworkers know this all too well) — I could have dislocated my shoulder, or an other joint, causing a downfall and yet another surgery. I could have ended up in the ER needing sedation. I could have been unable to work for days, weeks, months or even permanently.

I hope you somehow see this. If you do, please remember just because I am young and look healthy doesn’t mean I am. And if that is your version of “weak,” well, I guess I am because I fight EDS with all my might, kicking and screaming.

Originally published: June 22, 2016
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