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Lessons From My 'Freshman Year' of Chronic Illness

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In September 2020, three weeks after arriving in Leipzig, Germany, I seated myself at my new desk in my new apartment in my new city in a new country, and I was practically given a new identity over a video call with an American geneticist.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, she confirmed, after I had flexed all of my joints for her over camera, listed off all of my misplaced organs, and described to her my agonizing back pain.

I never in my life thought I would one day identify as “disabled.” In fact, some of you are likely reading this and thinking, “Disabled?

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