Photo Credit: Larshell Green/ The Lion’s Roar Newspaper
Junior communication major Jennifer Dewtwiller appears to be your “normal” university student. She has gotten involved in Press Club by serving as the historian for the multi-platform journalism organization. Her passion for baseball has led her to become a secretary of the Diamond Girls. Dewtwiller has a thirst for knowledge of print media led her to become a reporter for The Lion’s Roar newspaper.
Dewtwiller’s life changed forever in 2011, the summer prior to her freshmen year of high school.
She was diagnosed with two medical conditions: Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Fibromyalgia.
“CRPS is atrophying (explain that term) muscles, discoloration of the extremities and swelling,” said Dewtwiller. “While fibromyalgia is over active nerve endings sending pain where there is no cause for pain to be there. It took three months to find a doctor who could find me a diagnosis. It was a very frustrating summer because I kept being told I was fine.”
Dewtwiller is able to do most of the things that she wishes to in life, simple aspects of her daily life such as the weather can affect her health. She admits that when environmental changes occur, she is in intense pain and experiences weakness for roughly three days straight.
Dewtwiller has the support of her family and friends and her journey with the disease has been anything short of effortless.
“The long term hardships I’ve encountered are not being fully able to do as much as I used to,” said Dewtwiller. “I have definitely encountered stereotyping with the illnesses. I look completely normal and people mainly judge a book by the cover. What I mean is, I’ve been called a faker, hypochondriac and have been told to use mind over matter. They don’t know that it is something I really don’t have control over. I was even bullied in high school because some days I needed a wheelchair but still looked normal.”