Author Archives: Claire Richmond

Learning Life Lessons From My Dog

It was love at first sight when I met my standard poodle, Lenny Bruce, but what I never imagined is how much he’d teach me about love and living. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I began playing an online matchmaking game with dog rescue sites. My family had…

Caring for the Caregiver: When Roles Are Reversed

My fiancé, Michael, is my caregiver. He tends to my needs during acute hepatic porphyria attacks, provides emotional support, and has steady energy that keeps me sane. Last year when he became very ill, I had to take care of him. It was a “Freaky Friday” situation.

Eating Halloween Candy Is Good for My Health

I recently found myself (masked up) at Walmart in a tiny Iowa town. These days, I don’t frequent big-box stores, but I’m a huge fan of scoping out the newest innovations in packaged foods adorning their shelves. Holiday-themed candy is one of my favorite things to discover, and I was…

Medical Gaslighting: How My Diagnostic Trauma Unfolded

I have a history of abusive relationships with medical providers. My trauma history stems from medical mistreatment and being dismissed while experiencing serious symptoms. My story is not uncommon. Disclaimer: This is not a piece to hate on doctors. I have a history of healthy, productive relationships with medical providers,…

What Doctors Don’t Tell You About Acute Hepatic Porphyria

Editor’s note: This column was updated Sept. 15, 2020, to emphasize the individuality of the writer’s personal experience, and now specifies the importance of seeking guidance from medical professionals. When my second port was implanted on the left side of my chest, just above my heart, I decided to give…

Twice a Month, Porphyria Cancels My Life

In the early morning hours, my body jarred me awake. Before opening my eyes, I felt the onslaught of symptoms I knew would be coming before I put myself to bed last night. Pain. Not a stomach cramp, not a tummy ache, but bullet holes riddled through my mid-section, smoldering…