8 Things Women With “Invisible” Diseases Want You To Know

Don’t judge a book by its cover


“I have a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a rare condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it difficult for my heart to pump blood. On the outside, I look fine, but that means most people don’t see you as being in need of any special accommodation.

I have a handicapped sticker on my car, and I’ve gotten into screaming matches with people who have told me I’m a b—ch because they don’t believe I actually need it. A few days ago, I was getting out of my car when a guy walked past me with his wife and said, ‘Oh, she doesn’t look sick to me.’ It enraged me. I told him I was actually on a waiting list for a heart transplant and it takes so much energy for me just to walk, but he didn’t believe me. It made me so furious that I said to his wife, ‘I’m sorry you have to live with him.’ Sure, I don’t need a wheelchair or a walker, but I can barely breathe when I walk.” —Lisa Salberg, 48, Rockaway, NJ