My name is Hannah Lutz and I live in Houston, Texas. On the day I was born, mass internal bleeding caused by a simple vitamin K injection led to my diagnosis: vonWillebrand’s Type III, the rarest and most severe type of vWD. Thus began my journey with my bleeding disorder.
Growing up was not easy. I dealt with many life-threatening hemorrhages in my joints, soft tissues, and G.I. tract, resulting in countless hospital stays. When I began my cycle, the word “horrible” was an understatement: I bled relentlessly for six years until the only solution was a hysterectomy at the age of 18. Because I spent so much of a my childhood in the hospital, the nurses and doctors became my teachers and friends. The positivity they could instill in me was powerful. That is not to say every nurse I encountered was a “gem.” I had some unspeakably bad nurses, but some remarkable ones as well. I told myself when I was about seven that I was going to become a nurse. I wanted to have the opportunity to make a sick child and parent’s day like some of my nurses had made ours.
I am standing here today with my scrubs on and a pediatric stethoscope hanging around my neck thanks to a lot of hard work, hope, positive thinking, and a sense of humor. I enjoy finding humor where it can be found and the positivity in every situation, because without it we get nowhere, right? I do not want anyone to get me wrong, I have my days when I want to (and sometimes do) kick and scream, but those are temporary and fade. I just want to make a difference in the world, especially my bleeding disorder community.
Until recently, I had never met anyone with my disorder before. That all changed last year when I was given a grant to go to the first ever Type Three National Conference in Florida. The only way I can describe it is it was like meeting people that I had met a long time ago or in a dream. It was like we had already known each other for years, like meeting up with old friends. I will always cherish that experience and I learned a great deal by attending.
Attending that conference and connecting with my peers led me to create the instagram account @TypeThreeGirl. This group of people may be small, but we have so much to say. We, and so many others with rare disorders, have been through so much and I have found that our common ground is humor. If we start from a place of laughter and positivity, there is nowhere to go but up.
Having this disorder not only shaped my career, it also shaped my character and how I treat and view other human beings. It has taught me bravery. Bravery to endure pain and embrace adversity. To find inner strength, to look different, to be different. It taught me that there was more to being a woman than what society tells you. I may be bruised, but I am not broken. And I can always find a reason to laugh.