My 3 Year Chronic Illness Anniversary

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. 20160312_105828_0.jpgLife 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.20180530_165543_0-1 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. img_20190211_202513_6818429702200562719456.jpgI 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.20181115_130458_0

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.

40 thoughts on “My 3 Year Chronic Illness Anniversary”

  1. You’re an amazing example of survival. Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to so much of your story. I’ve lived with all of my stuff since 1998/2003. Those were my life changing years. Or at least the starts of it all. We need more stories like this, honest and real. Keep on shining. ✨((Hugs))❤️

    1. Thank you so much! It’s so easy to just share the good stuff going on in your life, but I try to share the real and raw stuff to show others aren’t alone. I hope by sharing my story I can help people. You’re an example of survival too, keep fighting!

  2. You are a true fighter Mackenzie! You are where you are today because you fought to get here. ALWAYS keep fighting!! Your strength and determination inspires me ever day. ❤

  3. Kenzie,
    You are an amazing young lady. I am proud of you, who you are and what you share with others and for keep going and never giving up!!!
    Love you tons!

  4. I don’t think I’ve read anything from you in a long time. I am so proud of you. You may not be looking for extra support, but you have been through hell and back, and I am proud that you have made it through with a positive attitude that you can pass along to the rest of us. Take care of yourself one day at a time.

    1. I have been off of the map with settling into my new home and trying new medications and treatments. Now that things have settled down I can write some more. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me!! ❤

  5. You are amazing Mackenzie Cartwright! An absolute fighter for sure💪 You have a great family that will fight right next to you all the way. Stay strong and hold on to God, as you continue this journey called life. 🙏💘

  6. Thank you for sharing! I really needed to read this today :”)

    One thing that I have come to realize is that family support is really needed when you have chronic illness. I live alone, but every time I go to my parents’ house, I realize that I am missing my biggest support system. My coworkers are great and I love my best friends, but nothing compares to just letting yourself go and accepting help from your own parents.

  7. I literally had tears in my eyes reading this. I think of my own situation and how I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It can be hard to squeeze in years of experiences and emotions into one post, but you’ve done a brilliant job, thank you for sharing it with us. It’s not an anniversary you’d want, but I think you should be very proud for how you’re learning, growing and adapting, and for everything you’re achieving with your blog. Keep fighting the good fight, Mackenzie, you rock  ♥
    PS. LOVE the photo of you & doggy nearly sat on your face!!

    1. That means so so so much to me. Thank you, I completely agree with you, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and it’s not an anniversary that is fun to celebrate- but its nice looking back and seeing how much I’ve grown and learned. Thank you!!!❤

  8. Kenzie you have shown so many what strength is. Your family has shown us what strength is. I believe that the true meaning of LOVE starts at home. Life is such a blessing and very precious. Through you and your blogs you have helped so many to find strength and fight their illnesses. You’re amazing and I’m so happy for you!! 💕

  9. Your strength, courage and pure determination is amazing! I am so happy things are going well for you and you and your boyfriend purchased your first home! You offer so much optimism and hope for all of your readers!!!

  10. Bravo! Life with chronic illness is a real struggle but you have not given up or given in . I wish you all the best going forward.

  11. Thank you for sharing your journey! Congrats on the new home!! That’s very exciting. 🙂

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