aira Daniels’s affinity for hairstyling was clear from the age of 4, when she braided her dolls’ hair so often that her that mother teased her, saying the hair would fall out. Decades later, she is beating the odds to return to that first love.
“My mom tried to get me to go to cosmetology school when I graduated from high school, but I wanted to major in communications for radio and television, so that’s that’s what I went to school for,” Daniels tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She was interning at radio stations in her hometown of Cincinnati in 2009 when her 1-year-old daughter, Amariyah, was diagnosed with Pompe disease, a rare disorder that causes muscles to break down. Daniels stayed home to care for her daughter until her death later that year. The experience prompted her to change her path and go back to school to become a medical assistant.
But in 2012, when she was one term away from completing her education, Daniels got sick herself. Severe nausea and vomiting landed her in the hospital for five weeks. No one was able to diagnose her, but becoming a medical assistant was off the table.
While recovering, Daniels decided she would go back to her childhood passion, and she enrolled in cosmetology school. Her life changed yet again when just three months shy of completing that program she got sick again. In and out of the hospital, Daniels had more questions than answers about her health.
Shingles, scabies (due to a back itch), lupus — every diagnosis seemed like a guess. “They weren’t sure what it was,” she says of her doctors. “They were trying to say it was all in my head. I’m like, ‘no, something is causing me to throw up all the time, and I can’t eat, every time I go back to school or work.’”
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