Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Brooks.
Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
During my senior year of college, I created a nonprofit organization called Sisters Helping Each other (SHE). SHE aims to create meaningful relationships among college-aged women and young girls in the Metro Atlanta area. The organization is currently only based on Georgia State University’s campus, but I hope one day, SHE can have a presence on multiple college campuses. I tackled the stresses of college, managing my own organization, and maintained my grades while majoring in Respiratory Therapy. A lot of people did not know that I was battling something way bigger in my personal life. I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in April of 2017. This was the very beginning of my senior year. MG is a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease that affects a person’s ability to control voluntary muscles due to weakness. Symptoms include muscle weakness, droopy eyelids, blurred vision, difficulty talking, swallowing, and chewing. I found this super ironic that I had this rare disease that I practically majored in. See, in my career field, MG patients are apart of the patient population. Myasthenia Gravis is a huge respiratory issue because the “weakness” can affect your breathing muscles. It’s pretty scary stuff.
I’ve had blood transfusions, open chest surgery, vocal chord repairs, chemotherapy, etc… but I’ve also managed to join my dream sorority, create a lasting campus organization, and advocated for survivors all over the world. Today, I do not work in my career field of Respiratory Therapy. I’m a full-time blogger and influencer. My goal is to raise awareness and improve the average person and care- giver’s knowledge of Myasthenia Gravis. I can’t count on my hands how many times I’ve gone to the Emergency Room and had a nurse say “What’s that?” after I tell them the name of my chronic illness. You can always find me on AshleysAnatomy.com blogging about life with a chronic illness, beauty, and natural hair.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has definitely not been a smooth one. I’ve struggled not only with my physical health, but also my mental health. I’ve always struggled with severe anxiety. This is something that I share with the girls in SHE often. It’s actually one of the reasons why I needed to create such an org. Here’s a little timeline of some of my “struggles”.
I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis in April of 2017.
Hospitalized in November 2017 for overdoing it.
I had a Thymectomy surgery in December of 2017. It is believed that the Thymus gland is related to the cells that are found in MG. In this surgery, the thymus gland is removed. This requires open-chest surgery.
My vocal cords were injured during surgery so I needed another repair surgery in January of 2018, then another in March of 2018.
My last hospitalization was January of 2019 (Thank God).
I currently receive an experimental treatment called Rituxan and it has changed my life.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ashley’s Anatomy – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a brand and what sets you apart from others.
Ashley’s Anatomy is my brand. I aim to advocate and raise awareness for people with chronic illnesses. My goal is to educate and show others that it’s possible to be ill and fabulous. My blog features beauty, chronic illness, and natural hair reviews. I’m most proud of my site and my brand so far. I have friends with MG in Russia! It’s amazing the people you can meet that are struggling with the exact same issues as you.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I plan to increase the campus presence of SHE at multiple colleges. Ashley’s Anatomy hopes to visit and speak at public events encouraging and raising awareness on Myasthenia Gravis and sharing my story. I want to serve and help others. I just want to continue doing what I’m doing but on a larger scale. I’m looking forward to growing and learning. I’m just happy to be here. No big changes yet, but you can always stay updated at _AshleysAnatomy on Instagram.
- Website: www.AshleysAnatomy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_ashleysanatomy/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshleysAnatomy/
Drenay Everett Photography, Quaaye