Around this time 3 years ago, my life changed forever and I didn’t even know it at the time. I remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. I was a very active person. At the time I was attending college- where I had just gotten accepted into the respiratory therapy program ( something I had dreamed about for years), I was working part- time, and I was training for my 5th half- marathon. Life was good. I thought I was living the dream- I didn’t realize at the time that my nightmare was shortly to follow. One day, I woke up and went to coffee with my best friend- then headed to work. While I was at work, I stood up and instantly felt like I was hit by a train. I was dizzy, had a horrible side pain, and my body ached. One minute I was fine, the next I felt like I was going to pass out and keel over from the pain. I skipped running that day, and went home. That night, I was laying on the couch where I was dripping in sweat and crying from the pain while my mother held me. I was truly scared, because I had never felt true pain, until that night. This happened on a Thursday night, by Saturday I was in the hospital, because I was constantly throwing up and the pain was unbearable. I didn’t realize at the time that I would be facing countless amounts of doctors appointments, an ungodly amount of tests, and several hospital stays for the next 3 years. Finally, I was sent to Cleveland Clinic, because almost every doctor in my hometown turned me away. I didn’t get a diagnosis for 2 years. I finally had a doctor in Cleveland that did everything she could, until she found out what was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with Lupus, EDS, POTS, Fibromyalgia, CFS, Anxiety, and Depression. During that time, I was at my low point. My parents were afraid to go to sleep, because they didn’t know if I would be there the next morning- because EDS had taken over the muscles in my esophagus and I couldn’t keep food down. I was skin and bones.
Today, I am on a steady medication routine that has helped me. I do daily infusions and physical therapy. I have come a long way. I recently bought a home with the love of my life, and I am slowly on the path of recovery. I have come a long way in 3 years, because I have fought every damn day, and I continue to fight every single day, hour, and minute. If it weren’t for the people around me and all of you, with your amazing and encouraging words- I probably wouldn’t be here today. My parents, my family, and my boyfriend truly are my heroes. They are my angels and I am forever grateful for them.
What I am trying to say is- yes, I’ve been through hell and back but to be honest I don’t regret it. I am as strong as I am today because; of my illnesses. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for this journey. My illnesses made me take a long hard look at my life, and made me appreciate the beauty life had to offer. If it weren’t for my illnesses, I would have never gotten the strength to get the toxic people out of my life, and find people I wanted to spend my life with. I fought my butt off to get to where I am today. You have to find motivation in life to keep fighting. Yes, I still struggle, but that’s life with having a chronic illness. You have to fight to get out of bed. You have to fight to put your shoes on. You have to fight to go to the grocery store. Those small victories will soon add up, and make you stronger. Just trust the process, and know that even though you may be sick- you still have a purpose in this world. Never stop fighting.