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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Cait Lommel
Anchorage, AK

Chronic illness doesn't cross the mind of most 15-year-old kids often. I certainly didn't think much about illness of any kind until, at the age of 15, I was faced with a rare disorder. It took months of frustration and unanswered questions before I was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri (more appropriately called idiopathic intracranial hypertension). It took a 3,000 mile flight to a large teaching hospital to get treatment. Pseudotumor is not well understood by many medical professionals. It impacts daily life and functioning, is associated with severe pain, and can result in visual loss or blindness. There are a myriad of very real symptoms that come along with this disorder. Almost three years after my diagnosis, I have had four surgeries (the most recent just a month ago) and still struggle with the lack of knowledge displayed by many physicians. Neurological specialists in my home state of Alaska refuse to treat me, so I am forced to fly out of state for follow-up care. The constant accumulation of medical bills has put a huge strain on my family's budget, and I am faced with the difficulty of qualifying for financial aid in order to attend university. Universities do not always take into consideration the financial hardship that chronic illness brings with it. Although my life has been irrevocably changed by this disorder, I have learned much and been impressed by the strength and courage of so many people who live day to day with chronic illnesses.

Karin M. Amour, Fibromyalgia
Lyssa Bode, Chronic Fatigue Immune Disfunction Syndrome
Frankie Campling, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Laura Cerasuolo, Fibromyalgia/Myofacialsyndrome
Karen Cerio, Fibromyalgia
Rhonda Dewinter, Various Immune Diseases
Jennifer Embree, Fibromyalgia/Raynaud's Syndrome
Lynne Enman, Turner Syndrome/Various
Fibromyalgia Patient, Covington, KY
John Kennedy, Chronic Fatigue Immune Disfunction Syndrome
Susan Larick, Fibromyalgia
Melissa Lawler, Fibromyalgia
Irene Leeder, Fibromyalgia/Various
Cait Lommel, Pseudotumor Cerebri
Jennifer Munn, Chronic Lyme Disease
Robin Poole, Fibromyalgia/Lupus
Pam Schmidt, Phenylketonuria
Lynn Tonoli, Various
Various Patient, Haughton, LA
Suzanne Witt, Muscular Dystrophy/Fibromyalgia


Jose Pedro Greer, Physician
W.F. Nagle, Physician
Ronda Riebman, Exercise
Cathleen Schilling, Case Manager
Jim Sykes

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