I am 32. I’m a registered nurse and I absolutely love it.

I really enjoy going for walks. It’s just nice to be able to have an opportunity to just relax and be one with nature and let all the stress and anxiety of the day just kind of escape.

When I started experiencing symptoms of HS around the age of 12 to 13 years old, I would get really bad pimples underneath my arms. But you think, okay, well that’s normal. I’m going through puberty. It’s okay. But these pimples kept reoccurring, and they would leave scars, and they were very embarrassing.

It was very scary, and I felt very alone…

I finally had to break down and tell my mom, and I showed her and she’s like, ‘Oh honey, that doesn’t look so good…maybe we should go see a dermatologist about this.’

For me as a teenager, having my parents go with me to doctors’ appointments to have their questions answered was so important because it allowed me to have the strength and the courage to face HS and knowing that my parents were there with me in this battle.

I think the best provider in my experience to help you with HS is a dermatologist. They have more knowledge and skills when it comes to HS and more tools and resources available, and they have more experience.

For me, I have seen a multitude of doctors, and it wasn’t until I came across my current doctor who said, ‘Wow, I know about this, and you know what? I want to go and learn more about it.’ And I’m always blown away every time I go and see him, where he’s like, ‘Hey, have you heard this new research article? Have you read it?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I haven’t; tell me more about this.’ So that, to me, is that great working relationship.

As a nurse, I get to be an advocate for my patients, especially my patients with HS. The relief on their faces that they met someone else who has HS and it’s their nurse is just so moving for me.

I have come to find that so many people know someone that has HS or has symptoms of HS, and they’re in the dark and they have no idea.

But when we speak up about HS, people are going to listen.

I remember what it was like having no one and feeling alone. And if I am helping somebody, just one person, by speaking up and sharing my personal struggles and what I’ve been through with HS, it makes everything worth it for me.