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Since i was around 11 years old, i suffered with severe acne. I went to a dermatologist and it cleared up nicely. So of course, when i started getting a large bump in my armpit around age 19, i assumed it was a pimple. That was, until it turned into the size of a tennis ball. I was in massive amounts of pain, was pregnant at the time with my first child and didn’t know what to do to get relief. The first doctor i went to said it was probably an ingrown hair so she cut it open (without numbing it) and packed it. It drained and the packing hurt worse than the initial pain but i thought it was over. My armpit continued to fill and drain over the next 6 years and all i did was repeat the process. Doctor, cut, drain, pack. I finally decided when i was 25 years old to go see a dermatologist because i started getting cysts on my inner thighs then my back and then my neck. Finally, some relief came when i found out this was an actual condition called hidradenitis suppurativa. That relief was short lived when i heard the rest of it. It’s an autoimmune disorder that I’ll have for the rest of my life. The pain, the suffering, the scars. I’ll have it all forever. I’ve lost jobs because of it, from calling out due to the pain or appointments to get the cysts surgically removed. My son is 7 years old now but when he was younger, there were days when i couldn’t even get up to feed him because my thighs would rub together and i couldn’t walk. I’ve had my entire armpit cut open and lost feeling in half my arm due to nerve damage, I’ve had two surgeries on cysts on my back, and soon I’ll have more for the ones that are still on my neck. I’m always tired, I’m ashamed of the way my body looks, and I’m pretty much fed up with the pain. We need more information about this condition and we need more treatments. We cannot give up until we get answers. We are Hs strong and we are survivors!

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