Balancing School and Vasculitis: Perspectives from Students and Parents

Lori Larson and son, Matt

Being a young adult with vasculitis is challenging enough, but trying to navigate through school while managing the illness demands extraordinary skills. We asked a cross-section of young adult patients (and some parents) how they found the balance between health and academics.

“One of the hardest things for me as a mom was encouraging our son to take over managing his illness. Matt was diagnosed with GPA in 2015 as a sophomore in high school, so I organized all of his care. I realized I needed to turn things over to him, like ordering and setting up his meds, helping him start communicating directly with his doctors, and keeping track of when his labs are due. It’s still a work in progress for me to let go, but next week he will be heading back for his sophomore year of college and is doing very well.”   -Lori Larson

Alys Bailey-Wood

“I will be going to university in September. I was diagnosed with IgA/Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) 11 years ago. I’ve found that during my school exams my HSP tends to get worse and it has been difficult for me to manage that and also study and do reviews. Stress and vasculitis do not mix! I was lucky that my school understood my situation. The best thing you can do to stop the flare ups from being so bad is to try and keep your routine normal. Don’t make any massive changes like staying up really late to study because that will only make it worse (speaking from experience!).”   -Alys Bailey-Wood


Author: Ed Becker
This story originally appeared in the September/October 2018 VF newsletter.