For the first time, I may be starting school in a flare-up of one of my chronic conditions (in this case, RND). To prepare for that circumstance, today I drafted a letter to my instructors (not all of them are professors; actually, I think only one is!) about my disability and what it looks like in the classroom. I will not send the letter until the 25th. I hope to be better by then, but I don't think I will be, and now I have the letter ready to go. I would like to share it here, as well; here it is.
Dear Professor _____________,
My name is Sarah ____________, and I am in your ____________ class for Fall semester 2015. You may recognize me by my yarmulke atop my brunette hair (usually pulled back, but not always) and my skirts long enough to cover my knees: I am certain that I am the one and only _____________ student who wears both those things to class each day.
I am writing to alert you to my two disabilities. I do have paperwork for everything and I will naturally present it to you at the first opportunity. This will not, however, be until after the first class session. You will therefore meet me before you receive any paperwork, and I wanted you to be prepared. Additionally, the paperwork does not reveal diagnoses; I think it should, and I am going to tell you mine.
I have the bad luck of being diagnosed with two chronic conditions: Bipolar Disorder and Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy (henceforth referred to as RND). Bipolar Disorder is common enough that I will assume you have encountered it before and understand it, and I will therefore not go into it here. RND, however, is sufficiently rare (striking two to four in 1000) that I will presume you would like an explanation.
As the word "neurovascular" suggests, RND strikes the nerves that control the blood vessels. The blood vessels in the affected area then constrict, causing lactic acid build-up, which causes burning pain.
Because RND is a condition affecting the nervous system, I can hurt any time, anywhere, for any reason or for no reason at all. At present, I am in a "no reason at all" flare-up; this past Friday marked six weeks and there is no telling how long the pain will last.
You need not fear that I'll disrupt class; I never do. I do take notes on a laptop when my hands are hurting, and I stay out of school when things get really bad, though in my entire ____________ career (this is my ninth semester) I have missed four days for Bipolar Disorder and one day for pain. I simply wanted you to be aware of and alert to my needs and situation.
Once again, I do have paperwork that covers all this, and I will present it to you at the earliest opportunity, most likely immediately after the first class session.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at: [email address]
You can also get in touch with my Disability Services coordinator, Mr. ____________ ______________, at: [email address]
Very Truly Yours,
P.S. (FOR FIRST YEAR RUSSIAN ONLY) Is there a TA for this class, or something similar, and does that person need to read and sign the paperwork, too?
"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."
I believe in God.
I believe in God.
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- I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!