Devri Velazquez

The rest of my day I ignored the inconvenient changes happening throughout my body and continued with my normal routine. Later that night I had a friend over for dinner. Out of nowhere I felt like I was suffocating. I inhaled and exhaled faster and faster and couldn’t catch my breath. My chest felt so heavy and my fingers curled up while my lips turned blue. In a panic, my friend rushed me to the ER.

The doctors thought I might have had asthma, so they administered a nebulizer treatment for about twenty minutes till I regained the color in my lips and feeling in my fingertips. When they conducted an X-ray of my chest, there were no signs of pneumonia or inflammation. I rested for a few hours, and once I was able to breathe normally, I was sent home.

MORE: Devri's Hair & Health Journey Begins

When I got home I traded in my porcupine boar brushes for one with softer bristles, lessened the number of times that I washed my hair per week, and even created a crash diet for myself with optimism in appearing leaner and fit before the reunion. My physical energy did not allow me to do any type of cardio excercise, so I relied solely on my eating habits to whip me back into shape.

I have always considered myself a very independent person, but this was a moment that I knew I needed to finally suck up my pride and reach out to my mother (who is a nurse) for reassurance that everything was going to be ok. She calmed me down over the phone, caressing my confidence with her words of encouragement. I asked her to bring her medical tools to take a look at me once she got into town on the day of the reunion.

With my exhaustive attempts to conceal my deteriorating looks and health, I imagined myself being a lost girl stuck in a maze in search of the Devri I knew my whole life prior to these months. Mentally, I was running out of options. I continued to study at the local university and work part time but it wasn’t long before my life would take a drastic turn and force me out of both.

 

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