Tomorrow, October 9th, is PANDAS Awareness Day.
Each year, it seems like parents lead the conversation. Some of this is because many who live with PANS are too young or too incapacitated to do it themselves. And I am so grateful for parents’ incredible efforts in raising awareness for this devastating illness––please keep it up. However, in order to be most effective, the conversation on awareness needs to center on what it’s like for the patients who actually live with the condition. We, the patients, are the ones who need the cures, so our voices should be amplified when possible.
I encourage all of you to not only post stories from parents’ perspectives tomorrow, but to also share stories from people who have lived with this condition themselves. I have compiled a list of what I think are my best advocacy essays and top posts on what PANS/PANDAS is a like, a guest post by another adult with PANS, and the Neuroimmune Foundation’s collection of patient stories. Please consider sharing at least one of these on your social media:
Why Ignoring Adults with PANS Hurts Everybody
Dear Sick, Scared 2015 Me: A Letter to Someone Whose Illness Uprooted Their Life
Why PANS/PANDAS Awareness Matters: An Open Letter to Legislators
Why Autoimmune Encephalitis Doctors Need to Stop Ignoring PANS
These 3 Myths About PANS Are Ruining Lives
Why PANS Awareness Saves Lives
How PANS Really Feels
Why Therapy Isn’t Enough When You Have OCD and PANS/PANDAS
I Woke Up in a Body I Didn’t Recognize: Living with Involuntary Movements
Special Guest Interview with Author and PANS Survivor Madeline Dyer
Neuroimmune Foundation Blog: In Our Own Words
Additional Info on PANS/PANDAS
ASPIRE: What Are PANS & PANDAS?
ASPIRE: Diagnosing PANS & PANDAS (Scroll down for suggested labs)
Neuroimmune Foundation: Resources to Share with Your Doctor
The Dreaming Panda Blog: Resources, Support Groups, and Organizations
After twenty years in and out of group homes, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment centers, at twenty-nine, Jo* has never been stable enough to have a job. Jo lives with his parents between hospitalizations. Despite being incredibly smart, Jo barely finished high school due to several learning disabilities. Jo’s frequent panic attacks render him unable to drive. Jo almost died of cardiac arrest from anorexia and has attempted suicide multiple times. Continue reading “Why Ignoring Adults with PANS Hurts Everybody” →
Today is PANS Awareness Day 2018. There’s so much I could write as someone who has lived with PANS for most of my life—even more than I’ve already said in the 100,000+ words I’ve written in previous posts on this blog.
However, I’m doing things differently this year, and instead of posting about PANS awareness, I’m going to speak on national talk radio. I’ll be interviewed on Worcester, Massachusetts’s John DiPietro show along with some New England PANS Association board members and a PANS parent. Continue reading “On the Radio Today! A Special for PANS Awareness Day 2018” →
This week, legislators in Wisconsin have the opportunity to save hundreds of lives and millions of taxpayer dollars: a bill to establish an advisory educational council on PANS/PANDAS is under review. New York is also considering similar policies, and several others including Virginia have successfully implemented them.
Continue reading “Why PANS/PANDAS Awareness Matters: An Open Letter to Legislators” →
For the last eleven years of my life, I’ve battled a debilitating yet misunderstood autoimmune disease called PANS. It’s a disorder where an infection or an environmental trigger confuses your immune system into attacking your brain. This leads to all sorts of problems like OCD, anxiety, depression, tics, involuntary movements, cognitive problems, and many more horrible things. It affects at least 1 in 200 people, but you’ve probably never heard of it. Many doctors haven’t, either.
Continue reading “Why PANS Awareness Saves Lives” →
As I made my way through the halls to my neurologist’s office last May, I stopped in my tracks as I saw a face I recognized. She was receiving IVIG and roaming the halls hooked up to an IV bag pole, accompanied by her mother and a nurse. She was exhausted. There was no light in her eyes. She had a sense of burden and deep sadness about her that penetrated to the depths of her soul.
Once you’ve seen the face of a child with PANDAS, you can never forget it.
Continue reading “Why PANDAS Awareness Matters” →