June 2, 2019, taken the day before my celiac diagnosis.

Dear Benefactor,

Has it really been almost a year since I’ve written you? Wow.

I’ve been a bad girl and I have not been hiking. Not once. Do you want to know why? Well, in October of 2019, I got a rash. It started as a teensy little spot on my face and grew from there. It traveled all over my face, settled across my whole neck, went down the length of my spine, and also affected six-inch portions of my wrists. 

Six months. Six months is how long I had that rash before getting diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis, a little complication of celiac . They used to call it “suicide rash.” I’ve heard it best described as “rolling in stinging nettles naked with a severe sunburn, then wrapping yourself in a wool blanket filled with ants and fleas…” 

I went right from this agonizing rash to a volleyball injury in February which resulted in “impingement syndrome/bone spur” and frozen shoulder.

So instead of hiking like I told you I would, I’m currently spending my days getting worked over by a a) chiropractor, b) physical therapist, and c) massage therapist. My main goal every day is to not cry from the unrelenting pain and get more than 4 hours of sleep every 12 hours.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s been rough.

But, just when I feel like complaining some more, I remember that I am one of the lucky ones. I am not dead. Not from cancer. Or celiac. Or a suicide rash. Or COVID-19.

I plan on taking up hiking the minute I’m back up on my feet again.

Sincerely, 

Marie