"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.

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…

How I Vacation With Acute Hepatic Porphyria

I refreshed the Lyft app on my phone as the speakers behind me blared music from the beloved animated classics of my childhood. I eased my body onto a relatively dry strip of concrete and continued my day of waiting. That morning in February 2020 started earlier than my body…