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Cheenue Thao

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Cheenue Thao was born in St. Paul, MN.

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0:03:50

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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"Cheenue Thao and his medical journey"

Moving to a new country, there are different medical treatment methods that collide with pre-existing treatment methods.

The Hmong people come from the country Laos but was driven out due to military reasons. Because of these military factors, the Hmong population decreased and had to seek refuge in the forest or in the neighboring countries.

Not having a community to thrive in and always on the run, it was difficult to stay in one place.

With poor living conditions, most of the human labor was focused on providing money, food, and other living expenses, and not so much on education.

For medical purposes a shaman would be contacted to cleanse the human spirit of all the evils.

Treatment methods travel quickly through verbal communication rather than knowing the actual facts behind the method.

This is like the previous ointment used except most Hmong people believe in fake stories of how an herb cures such medical condition.

Being born in the United States, there were colliding issues between medical technology and cultural beliefs and whether they could be trusted upon. I was admitted to the hospital on August 16, 2016 for experiencing vertigo and breathing problems.

I was diagnosed in October 2016 with a medical disease called Multiple Sclerosis. It's a neurodegenerating disease in which one’s immune system recognizes a threat in the body when there really isn't. There is no cure and the cause is unknown. It attacks the myelin on the nerves. Myelin helps transmit information along the nerves from point a to point b. An example of vertigo is when a motionless person feels the sensations that the objects around them are constantly moving.

At first, I didn’t want to believe it, but as newer symptoms occurred, I slowly began to believe that I actually had a disease.

My parents and grandma don’t know what this medical condition is because it is not physically visible nor are there words for the modern medical terminology.

My father does not believe that I have a disease. While admitted to the hospital, I had a large needle injected into my spine to take out the cerebral fluid for further analysis, which eventually led to my diagnosis.

Different from the medical procedures in the Hmong culture, I take a medication called copaxone. I inject this medication three times a week with a tool that helps the needle get to where it needs to be injected (which is under the skin layer).

With their limited medical knowledge, my parents cannot understand my medical condition.
Though I live with this disease now, I don’t know what will happen but I know that I can't give up on the mysteries of life yet.

Thank you for watching!