Gabriella Birzh is a 22 year old paralegal from New York City who hopes to attend law school in the near future. She was diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa when she was 18 years old, after months of various doctors misdiagnosing her. However, a proper diagnosis was only the beginning of the process. Gabriella moved to Chicago for college two weeks after being diagnosed with HS, and thus spent much of her first years in college flying back to NYC for doctors’ appointments and trying new treatments until she found one that worked. Through this process, she learned that finding a diagnosis, coping with symptoms, and keeping up with academics/work and social obligations can be a lonely road in the beginning, especially if you don’t have other people in your life who have had similar experiences. Gabriella hopes that by writing articles, others can be a little less lonely when navigating these different facets of being chronically ill.
Gabriella’s experience with having a chronic illness while attending college inspired her to be more involved with disability advocacy and ultimately culminated in her senior honors thesis, which focused on issues with academic accommodations in higher education. She hopes to use the insights that she gained while writing her thesis, as well as her own experience, to educate others.
When she’s not at work fighting for her firm’s clients or at home playing with her cat, Bengy, Gabriella likes to travel to new cities and explore coffee shops in the hopes of finding the best one in the country, although the jury is still out.
Click here to read all of Gabriella’s articles on HSDisease.com