I never was a dedicated fan of zebras, or their stripes, before Cushing's Disease. (Though admittedly, yellow and blue --the Cushing's awareness ribbon colors-- were my wedding colors!) But now that I've been diagnosed with rare diseases, I see them everywhere and enjoy their stripyness so much more. The awareness ribbon for rare diseases is made of zebra stripes and we often call ourselves zebras, too. There is an oft-heard phrase doctors are taught and then repeat to us patients...patients who couldn't possibly have THAT disease because...well...it's too rare!
"When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras."
A phrase taught to medical students in the late 1940's by Dr. Theodore Woodward,
professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Well, many of us got our nerdy glasses on, learned what we needed to know, did what we needed to do, and got our zebra selves to the doctors we needed to see to get our diagnosis and treatment.
We earned our stripes and we wear them proudly!