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‘Suddenly, I couldn’t walk’: OUWB medical student shares story to raise awareness of rare disease

Jessica Cummings and Andrew Eibling
Jessica Cummings and Andrew Eibling

Fortune brought Jessica Cummings and Andrew Eibling together at OUWB, where each expected to become a doctor — but neither could have anticipated the unique and challenging journey they would face.

Unique because neither expected to fall in love with another person within weeks of starting medical school.

Challenging because neither expected Jessica would develop a rare and painful condition that would force the couple to travel around the country for treatment and take a year off from medical school.

Unique because of the way the OUWB community would lend support, both in spirit and financially.

And challenging because of the lessons they would learn about health care — the kind of lessons that can’t be learned from a book or lecture.

The kind of lessons Jessica hopes others can take away from her story.

“I was apprehensive about sharing my story because it’s so personal, and bringing a stigma upon yourself is hard,” says Jessica. “But I want to bring awareness to a rare disease and what patients with rare diseases experience.”

“I also want to break the stigma around chronic pain,” she adds. “Because I’m not lazy. I don’t just want pain medication. I want nothing more than to leave this behind me forever.”

(Only partial stories are posted here with hopes to provide a brief overview and introduction to my most recent work. The full version of this story may be found on the OUWB InMedicine site here.)

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