Melinda shares her #MyositisLIFE, “My Education Dream,” for Myositis Awareness Month and MSU’s #MyositisLIFE project.
My name is Melinda Standridge, age 54, a full time secretary at a hospital, and an online student working to complete my Bachelor’s degree. I had just completed my second semester when my health became very strange. I had taken 6 rounds of antibiotics, three CT scans of my head, and a visit to an ENT which told me to go home and use this nose spray and come back in two months. I had no voice and my eyes looked like the above picture. Thankfully, working in the health field I knew that something was terribly wrong. I had no voice and when I walked down the hall it felt like I had run a marathon. My primary doctor sent me to an Infectious Disease doctor since she did not know what else to do. What a blessing this doctor was because after listening to me carefully he showed me information on Dermatomyositis. He referred me to a new Rheumatologist which had had several Myositis cases that she had treated.
The first year was such a challenge. I continued to work full-time and continue my college classes. My philosophy was this is just a boulder in my path. I will go around, over, or under but I knew that I would get to the other side. When I found the Facebook support group for Myositis my daily walk with the disease became easier. Questions would be answered prayer were sent, and I found that I was actually blessed to have the movement that I have when I could read about those that struggled much more than myself. It is imperative that one with Myositis to build a support team. Not all will understand, move on to others that can lift you up.
I am now two plus years and graduated this past weekend, magna cum laude, with my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I also have been promoted to Office Manager of a general surgery office with two physicians and we will soon add another physician.
I have damage in my hip flexors which causes walking to be painful but I walked when I can even if it is just a quarter of a mile. Keep moving anyway you can even chair exercises. I am now taking IVIG infusions and see great possibilities. Each of the treatments available comes with great risk and side effects. No one reacts the same way so you must find what works for you. You are not the disease. It does not define us. I had an uncle that was in a wheelchair since age 11 with polio. His statement is so profound I must share with you to uplift your outlook. “It is not a handicap, It is an inconvenience.” Keep doing all that you can do.
Paducah, KY, USA
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