I didn’t want to tell my parents and I didn’t want to go to a doctor about it. So I... From that moment is when I started hiding. I just completely shut down.


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[cut back to Tara]


My name is Tara, I’m 36 years old, I’m a mother of 6. 14, almost 13, almost 12, 10, 8, and almost 8.


My relationship with my children has been affected by HS in that I didn’t like to be touched, and so to not even feel like my own children could wrap their arms around my waist or wrap their arms around me, because I just didn’t want to be touched physically.


There’s a lot of guilt around not being able to have a physical relationship with my children.


For me, my sense of shame was my weight, and feeling like, “Well, it’s my fault because I’m overweight and if I wasn’t overweight I wouldn’t have these abscesses anymore.”


When I lost 114 pounds, despite being at my absolute lowest weight, my HS was the most out of control.


Before I was diagnosed, I was told I have acne, boils, carbuncles, sinus tracking and tunneling, excessive hair growth.


When I finally got a diagnosis of HS, I felt I had a place to go for the first time. I had something tangible that I could then start understanding, and researching, and finding some solutions. I was able to find a dermatologist who was willing to be a partner in my HS journey.


I’ve shown him parts of my body that I haven’t shown anybody else, and he’s always very much respected my modesty and my privacy.


I would tell my younger self, “It’s not your fault, and you are more than just your physical skin. And that people can see beyond your physical skin.”


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