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One side effect of being young, female and sick: People won’t believe you

After Michele Lent Hirsch had major hip surgery in her early 20s, even as she hobbled around on crutches, people didn’t always believe that she’d had surgery.

“Oh, my grandmother had that,” she’d hear. Or, “Weird, hip surgery.”

An older woman yelled at her for taking a seat on a mostly empty bus, and one bus driver refused to lower the steps so she could get on.

Other health problems beset Lent Hirsch throughout much of her 20s, from a severe allergic reaction that nearly killed her to thyroid cancer — which her then-boss told her to leave “at the door” — and later, Lyme disease.

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