I have, what you call, an invisible illness. It’s called VACTERL Association.
Rare Diseases explains VACTERL as so:
- (V) = (costo-) vertebral abnormalities
- (A) = anal atresia
- (C) = cardiac (heart) defects
- (TE) = tracheal-esophageal abnormalities, including atresia, stenosis and fistula
- (R) = renal (kidney) and radial abnormalities
- (L) = (non-radial) limb abnormalities
Thanks to this condition, I have had 28 surgeries including 2 heart surgeries and 2 back surgeries. I spent most of my childhood shuttled between doctors and hospitals, getting poked and prodded until I was nothing but a pin cushion.
But this condition hasn’t broken me yet…if anything, it has made me stronger and more determined to live life the way I want.