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Caitlyn Brown

State: California

Chronic Conditions: Arthritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

I have been on my chronic journey for as long as I can remember—first as a daughter who cared for my mother with Rheumatoid Arthritis and now as someone who lives with chronic pain myself. When I was 21, I stepped out of the caregiver role and into my own personal chronic journey story when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Shortly after, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

Over the years I have learned how to navigate doctor's offices and deal with insurance. But ultimately, I have learned how to trust myself and my body. Before I received each diagnosis, I spent years questioning the symptoms I felt. After numerous tests, I was repeatedly told by specialists that "there was nothing wrong with me," but yet I still experienced crippling pain and life altering fatigue.

Just because my illness was invisible and my doctors could not see what was causing my symptoms, I was made to feel invisible as a patient. I decided in that moment that I would no longer be invisible. I strive to share my story in the hope that I can empower a change in our health care society to help chronic patients be seen and heard.