I have a neuromuscular autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis. Like other friends of mine with MG, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses, I have to weigh the joys of being with loved ones against the risks of getting a cold or the flu, which can lead to relapses, hospitalization, and weeks (or months) bedridden.
If you live with a chronic disease, you may be able to relate to me. Everyone wants to feel good. After all, it's hard to check off our bucket list and accomplish life goals if we can't get ourselves out of bed. So how can we obtain our best health and health care when battling a chronic and/or incurable illness?
Gender-based medicine is a budding 21st-century concept. New and fascinating findings are frequent in this field of study. However, the full extent of gender differences in medicine is still to be seen, and for that we rely entirely on research in gender biology and the forward push to ensure proper gender representation in clinical trials.
My symptoms were eventually diagnosed as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks itself. My search online yielded a website that charted survival in vague terms, claiming 90% of lupus patients lived five years post-diagnosis while 75% made it to 10 years and only 65% made it 15 years. For someone in her early 20s, those odds weren't reassuring. I knew as a journalist that information was power and never in my life had I felt so incredibly powerless. So, I set out on a mission to learn as much about lupus as I could. I never dreamed that journey would eventually lead me to medical school.