"One Thousand Flaming Swords" – a Column by Claire Richmond

candy, joy, medical gaslighting, voting, flare, attacks, twice a month, pain, life

Claire hopes speaking her truth builds connections and generates hope. At 32, she was diagnosed with acute hepatic porphyria (AHP) after a 19-year search for answers. As severe, unexplained pain became a focal point of life, she exiled her body to protect her mind. Through laughter and challenges, “One Thousand Flaming Swords” navigates daily life with AHP, as Claire rebuilds the bridge between her physical and mental being.

How I Started Taking Givlaari for My Acute Porphyria

Well, I finally did it. I started Givlaari (givosiran). Since my diagnosis in 2017, the development of this new treatment was all anyone in the acute hepatic porphyria (AHP) community could talk about. Finally, here was a medication that doesn’t just prevent acute attacks, but may improve chronic…

Pain and Me: Defining the Relationship

Pain is a part of life. For me and an estimated 50 million people in the United States, it’s part of daily life. I’ve been in chronic pain since age 13. Its onset was likely due to a variety of factors, including a bad acute hepatic porphyria (AHP)…

An Undiagnosed Diseases Expert Shares Her Perspective

My 19-year journey to an acute hepatic porphyria (AHP) diagnosis was fraught with misdiagnoses and traumatic misunderstandings. Sadly, it is not a unique story within the rare community. This column is dedicated to those with mysterious symptoms, who are in the thick of searching for answers. Don’t…

I Live With Acute Porphyria, and I Am Tired

I can describe chronic fatigue, but it’s impossible to understand unless you’ve experienced it. It’s feeling exhausted from your morning shower; it’s falling asleep every time you crack open a book; it’s feeling too weak to pick up the watering can in the garden; it’s feeling more tired after a…

Facing Discrimination With an Invisible Illness

I was already emotional before I checked in at the nurse’s station. More than a week into a severe acute porphyria attack, I needed urgent hospital intervention. My body was weak and my mind was disoriented. Luckily, the direct admission orders from my hematologist allowed me to bypass the…