Why stress personal v family history in talking about those "invisible" handicaps? Well, 'cause so many are invisible, you see. (OK. Mildly amusing.)
Medical science has yet to establish a genetic connection for many autoimmune disorders.
We all know about Aunt Sophie who had "that there roomie-tism and poor thing couldn't even hold her head up... she was so bent all up." And your friend Ethel's friend with Multiple Sclerosis (MS); you could see her wheelchair. Joe, a diabetic from your old neighborhood... lost one leg below the knee and the other foot.
In my extended family, I know of no one who had/has any of the autoimmune disorders, I have/have had - with one exception. My mother had shingles when she was in her mid-sixties. I was diagnosed with shingles on December 24, 2005. My doctor believed, as I did, that my case was brought on by the trauma associated with Hurricane Katrina, et al.
Trauma, i.e., excessive and/or repeated stress, is accepted as a cause - a cause, not a precursor or a "factor in"- but a cause of many disorders, including some autoimmune disorders. Trauma beats the crap out of your mind, your body, your soul. It leaves you battered and bruised inside. And, many, many times, you don't always know that it's beat the crap outta 'ya until you have an out-of-the ordinary reaction to an ordinary event. And, then, you're asking yourself, "Where the hell did that come from...?" (Sorry, I dangle.)
I'd had several MRIs before the spring of 2006. So it was no big deal when my doc scheduled another one to check the status of my historically ailing lower back. Before Katrina, I'd was fine in the tube. One time I even went to sleep during an MRI, so relaxed I was. This time, I went through the usual prep, laid down, had my earphones tuned to the oldies, and went sliding in... And then, my chest went began to feel tight, tighter. My breathing, slow and deep, and easy, at first, suddenly became shallow and fast, faster... Jaw muscles clinched, hands made fists... "What the shit!" I talked to myself: "Hey, now, easy does it... you're OK.. ." The Beatles sang, "Slow down. You're moving too fast...".
"GET ME OUT OF HERE!" I commanded. "Ma’am, you're OK..." I rudely interrupted, "GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW... NOW." And I felt myself slowly sliding out of the coffin.
No amount of reasoning, consoling, or cajoling convinced me to try again. Not on your life, buddy-boy. "I am out of here!" And I got dressed and left the building.
Trauma. One Big Ole Trauma: being raped, losing a child, witnessing a violent act. All of those things and more are Trauma. Repeated Losses: your home and all your belongings in a hurricane, in a flood, in a tornado. You are not the same after as before, and never will be.
More on what the Big T does to you. Tell me what it did to you. How did it handicap you?