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Lorraine; she/her; Endometriosis, Spondyloarthritis, Arrhythmia, etc

Endometriosis is a painful disorder where the tissue that normally lines the uterus forms on the outside, or even the bowels and intestines. This disorder can cause menstrual irregularity and increased pain during the menstrual cycle. Although it is thought that around 20% of people with uteruses have Endometriosis, many go undiagnosed due to the medical biases towards female-bodied patients. This same bias has led to a lack of research on this and similar disorders.

Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a group of inflammatory diseases that primarily affect the spine and, in some cases, the joints of the arms and legs. Symptoms often include chronic back pain and stiffness, particularly in the lower back and hips, which can worsen with inactivity. Spondyloarthritis can also involve other organs, such as the eyes, skin, and intestines. It is estimated that around 1% of the global population is affected by SpA. Early diagnosis and a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes are crucial for managing symptoms and preventing long-term disability.

Arrhythmia refers to any irregularity in the heart's rhythm, which can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or erratically. Symptoms may include palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Arrhythmias can range from harmless to life-threatening conditions. It is estimated that millions of people in the U.S. experience some form of arrhythmia each year. Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, which may involve medications, lifestyle changes, or medical procedures, are essential for maintaining heart health and preventing complications.

This subject described how she sometimes referred to her conditions and their fluctuations as "body weather" and saw many parallels between her conditions and the earth's environmental crisis. She chose to represent her conditions with three different things - the Arrhythmia is shown through a native plant (Castilleja) which grows from successful surgery points that have helped that condition. Invasive quagga mussels and zebra mussels attach to her abdomen and back to represent the chronic pain from her two other conditions. With the contrast between native and invasive species we were able to achieve what I think is a pretty powerful metaphor for chronic health conditions. 

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