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It's Pain Awareness Month. Here's What I Need You to Know About Mine.

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I remember the very moment I noticed. It was March 31, 2018, days before my 38th birthday. I was on vacation in the Philippines, out with a group of people I met there, and I looked down at my left hand and noticed two of my knuckles were slightly misshapen.

Four years later, I have full-blown, painful arthritis in all of my fingers. It didn’t begin there. I’ve had back pain since my teens and confirmed advanced osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease in my spine by my early 30s.

For my 42nd birthday, my feet decided to join the arthritis party. I also have fibromyalgia, a little-understood chronic illness with symptoms spanning from cognitive to mental health to physical, which include chronic pain.

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