Author Archives: Claire Richmond

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…

Unexplained Pain and My 19-year Search for Answers

When Desiree Lyon, founder of the American Porphyria Foundation, described to a doctor her first attack of acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) at the age of 17, she likened it to “a thousand flaming swords” embedded into her abdomen. I think of her words often, as I’ve struggled throughout…