[Graphic Opening (Words appear over black brick background)]
[Elizabeth:] Being Secretive
[Sterling:] Bad Solutions
[Kerry:] Being Silent?
No. No more BS about HS.
[Elizabeth:] Hidradenitis suppurativa is—if I could put it in one word: it’s awful. I had a really nasty flare-up under my arm about the size of a baseball. And, it ruptured in class…there was pus and blood. I remember my classmates all saying, "Oh my gosh, what is that smell? It is so gross in here." And, I realized it was me. My name is Elizabeth, and I live in beautiful Tampa, Florida. I’m currently a nurse. I work in the emergency room at a local hospital. And I go to school getting my advanced registered nurse practitioner degree. I spend a lot of time studying; a lot of dedication to what I am learning. I first started experiencing symptoms of HS probably around 13 years old. I would get what I thought were pimples, just really bad-looking pimples, and they would be horribly painful. My parents knew, but that was all who knew. My mom took me to the dermatologist. The nurse comes in. I show underneath my arm. She says, “Oh my goodness, you have hidradenitis suppurativa. I know you have it, because I have it, too." And she walked over to me and hugged me and said, “I’m sorry, there is no cure.” So, I have this mystery illness that no one knows anything about. I’ve had doctors who have basically put the blame on me; that it is my weight, my lifestyle choices, that I caused this disease. I remember just feeling very alone and very scared that there was nothing that could be done for me. And I would have to live with this for the rest of my life. But I can’t just sit in bed all day long in pain and in misery and let this disease control my life. I love to keep an active social life. I love to go out with my friends and go to hockey games and go to the movies and go shopping. 'Cause I only have one life to live. If you were just diagnosed with HS, I think the message that I would have is to not lose hope and to find that doctor who knows about HS. I look at it now as a fight, and I am winning this fight.