A Short Look At My Many Diagnoses- and How I Reached Where I Am Today!
Before I Was Diagnosed:
Ever since I was a child, there was something just a little bit different about me. My Mom called me a “space cadet”, and I would often get lost in thought and struggled to hold conversations with my peers. I spent most of my time with a nose in a book and was known for staring across the room at others without even realizing that I was doing it! I did well in school, but my relationships with my friends often suffered, and I was considered a loner most of the time.
Fall of 2013- Fall of 2014:
I moved from Eugene, Oregon to Portland- where I began my Junior year of high school. Shortly after starting school there I started to get sick – really sick. At the end of my Junior year I was diagnosed with a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome , also known as POTs syndrome, which means that when I stand up, my heart starts pounding like crazy! My heart rate would go from 60 beats per minute to over 120 in a matter of minutes, and by the beginning of my Senior year I was unable to attend school because of it.
Spring of 2015:
I was able to manage my Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia syndrome just in time to graduate and started working as a life guard! Things were definitely looking up. I was also diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome at this time, a disorder that connective tissue – or glue – that holds your body together not to work as well a it should. From hear, I will refer to this disorder as HEDS for short.
Summer and Fall of 2015:
A few months into working as a life guard, I started experiencing severe pain in my neck. I had to quit my job, and eventually ended up in a hard collar neck brace because the vertebra in the top of my neck were unstable- a condition called cervical instability. Through physical therapy, I was able to strengthen the muscles in my neck and wean myself off of the neck brace, while going to college at the University of Oregon at the same time!
Spring of 2016:
I applied to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints- something that I had dreamed of doing since I was a kid. I was doing quite well health-wise at the time and truly believe that I could handle the demands of a full time mission, including walking several miles each day, bike riding, and more. I submitted a detailed record of my health issues and was called to the Washington Vancouver Mission. I was SO EXCITED!
Fall of 2016- Winter of 2018
I dedicated these 18 months to serving the Lord on my mission, and it was one of the most rewarding and challenging things that I have ever done. I could probably write an entire novel about how the Lord has blessed me – both spiritually and physically – while I invited other to come unto Christ and receive His Gospel. While my health issues never went completely away, I know that God lightened my burden during this time and allowed me to complete my mission.
Winter of 2018- Spring of 2018
Almost immediately after returning from my mission, problems began to surface. My right ankle hurt so badly that I couldn’t even walk around the house, and I soon discovered that I would need a complex, flat foot reconstructive surgery in order to walk normally again on BOTH of my feet. I also developed severe allergies and started treatment for Mast Cell Activation Disorder, a condition that commonly occurs alongside EDS and POTs syndrome.
Summer of 2018
I underwent flat foot surgery for my right foot and it was successful! But it was also extremely painful. I had severe neuropathy, and recovering from this surgery was hands-down the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. 8 months later, much of my foot is still numb and overly sensitive from this procedure.
Fall of 2018
I moved to my Grandparents house in Eugene, Oregon and started attending the BYU Idaho Pathways program, a program that will eventually allow me to earn a degree online. With all of my health issues, going to school on campus is a pretty far off goal, and this is the next best thing!
Winter 2018- Today!
Currently, I am seeking to be evaluated for nerve pain in both of my elbows that is making simple tasks like swimming, writing, driving, carrying things, and even just standing difficult for me to do. I’m still not sure exactly what is going on there, but I am hoping to find an answer soon! None of the conditions that I have are curable, but I’m learning each day how to manage them better and growing so much along the way.