I’m At An 8

This month I’ve had a very rude awakening about just how much physical therapy helps me. As someone with POTS and EDS, I have lots of chronic pain, particularly in my upper body and limbs. Whenever you go to the doctor or physical therapist, they ask if you can rate your pain scale from 1-10, 10 being completely unbearable. I’ve had very wide ranges, but the more I am able to go into the office and have hands-on work done, as well as doing my monitored strength and mobility exercises, the better I typically feel.

This article about exercising and living with EDS is well written and super-relatable. My insured PT visits ran out this month and I’ve only been a little over a week without care, but my pain levels have quickly shot up to an 8. I can’t focus on anything entirely because of how much everything hurts, and I can’t do the activities I’ve worked up to because of how much it hurts my shoulders and arms. Sleep is the only thing that relieves my pain right now, and I need to get back to my therapy sessions as soon as possible so that I don’t lose the progress I’ve worked so hard to get. It’s so frustrating living in a body that depends so heavily on doctors and working out the right way, but the thing that is the most difficult isn’t the time or effort put into all of this; rather, it’s the expense and toll this unwanted illness takes on myself and my family. I’ve always tried to remain positive and focus on the good in my life without allowing myself to dwell on the fact that it’s not fair for a young twentysomething to be sick, however it’s a lot more difficult when I feel like everything in the healthcare world is working against me. I don’t want to debate politics on this blog — ever — but one thing I do want to touch on is that I very strongly believe that people with disabilities should be cared for and given as much help as necessary to have as much of a chance at normalcy as possible. “Normal” hasn’t been attainable to me yet, but I feel blessed enough to not constantly have sharp, intense pain that I am grateful for the help I do get through physical therapy.

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In the meantime, I’m going to continue to do the best I can by doing my gentle stretches, mobility exercises, and managing the pain the best I can until January comes when I can get back in a normal routine. I have a pretty big doctor’s appointment today, and am hoping to get some relief from my pain tomorrow, so if you could say a little prayer for me that would be amazing. I’ll be back on this little corner of the Internet soon, but wanted to write a quick update about what’s been going on lately since I haven’t been great at keeping y’all updated. Love and hugs to you all.

Life As A Burden To All

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sometimes insecure about having a chronic illness.

I often try to hide my pain and symptoms, even from those I love most. First and foremost, because I want to try to ignore the fact that my life isn’t the way I wish it was. A part of me feels like if I try to shove all my frustrations with being sick deep down that some of them might disappear. Maybe if I close my eyes and pretend I’m not dizzy or hurting one day I’ll wake and that will be my reality.

Second, I hate sounding like a broken record. I’m in pain every day, so if I voice my discomfort people will get sick of being around me really, really fast. It’s kind of like when someone runs a race and keeps talking about how sore they are; it’s completely valid and understandable, but after being reminded for the fifth time that their legs hurt you wonder if they think you are hard of hearing. No one wants to hear about how I have sharp, painful triggerpoints in my shoulders or can’t load the dishwasher because it hurts my forearms to grip anything for more than a minute or two.

Third, I feel broken. I sometimes wonder why people still care about me since I can’t go out and have fun like a normal 26-year-old. I can’t give the acts of service to my friends and family that I’d like to, I don’t have a normal 9-5 job, and I need help with things that others do mindlessly on a daily basis. My parents have taken care of me since I got sick, and it’s been really hard to rely on others to do things that I want to be doing for myself. I’ve always been pretty independent, so giving up control in my life has been one of the toughest tasks.

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My heart hurts because my head isn’t affected by this illness. I want to be able to run, dance, and crank out dozens of pages of words at a time. I want to be pressured by the journalism deadlines that were once the bane of my existence, and I wonder why my body has betrayed me and doesn’t allow the vigorous work ethic I once prided myself on. It hurts feeling like this illness hasn’t just taken some of my hobbies, but it has also stripped me of having a purpose on this earth. 

That’s lie #1 I was fed when I first got sick. Deep down I know it isn’t true; I actually believe this is Satan’s disgustingly twisted game of trying to make a very complete and beautiful soul feel worthless. Worthlessness is a dangerous feeling because it’s based on a lie that only seems real to the person feeling it. I strongly believe every single person placed on this earth has a purpose they are here, including myself. I think each human being can add invaluable love, kindness, and strength to the world if they choose to give it. Each individual has some sort of special “X factor” that they can offer people in their life.


God wrote in Psalm 139:14 that each and every one of us was fearfully and wonderfully made. This means that we were made with His very own heart taking an interest in us, and that He made us different than anyone else. It means He cares about us more than we could ever understand.

That being said, I know so many others who are also different in one way or another and have had this feeling on some level. The next several weeks I am going to be completely smashing this fabrication and showing that the feelings of worthlessness are based on a complete lie. Whether or not you are a regular reader or you’re new here, I would love if you would be patient and stick around until I get to the main point of these posts. This message is so important, and I want to connect to your heart and help it listen to how I have begun to debunk the lies that the evil in the world wants us to believe.

In case you don’t come back, just know that you are a valuable part of society and you can make a much greater impact than you even realize. God gives incredible blessings to those who keep pushing forward and He can create a really beautiful masterpiece from brokenness. You just have to stick around to see what the beauty in your hardship is. Sometimes it won’t be as obvious as you might hope, but He sprinkles light into even the darkest of stories.

Handicapped? Really?

One thing every single young chronically ill person will tell you about is the incredibly frustrating battle that comes with having an invisible illness. We are constantly trying to regain normalcy in our lives, but also have to roll with the punches through the symptoms our illness brings along for the ride. For example, I can’t do many of my favorite activities anymore — let alone even just be outdoors in crazy heat — however, I don’t like being different and asking for help, even when I need it.

Today I went to my alma mater to run a quick errand. I wasn’t feeling particularly great, but I told myself that it would only take five minutes and to suck it up and get it over with. I mapped everything out in my head and went to my usual parking space. It’s one of two handicapped visitors spaces, both of which are always available. I sat for a minute to prepare for my walk up the hill and grumbled in my head about how I wasn’t up to my heart racing today so to just take it slow.

As I began my miniature hike, my heart began to thud swiftly and hard (for those of you who don’t know, when POTSies even just go from sitting to standing our heart literally beats as fast as someone running a marathon… No wonder I’m always so tired!). I walked slowly and carefully up the hill and focused on each step so I wouldn’t trip — that’s just because I’m Krista and a little bit clumsy — it has nothing to do with POTS.

I smiled at two young police officers when I looked up, and as I passed by them I heard one say to the other, “Handicapped? Really?” with a snicker.

My heart stopped — then went back to racing even faster than before. For a split second I was shocked, then brushed it off as my imagination. I always feel embarrassed when people can tell I’m different, and I hate having any sort of extra attention. This makes me feel like people are staring sometimes, even when they’re not really paying too much attention. I had a gut instinct, though, that I needed to turn around when I got to the top of the hill. I wanted to make sure my car was going to be OK in the visitor’s spot and that I didn’t need a university parking pass to be there. Despite having parked at that spot a hundred times, you can never be too careful at my alma mater.

Sure enough, they were smiling and looking at my bright blue sticker with a little black device.

Great, I thought to myself, now I have to trek back down the hill to see what’s going on. 

I wasn’t in the mood to deal with confrontation, but I know how crazy our school was about ticketing, so I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have any trouble when I came back from my meeting. Deep down I knew it was because of the way I looked, though, that the officers rushed down to check my credentials. I quickly realized that I hadn’t been imagining things with the officer’s remark, and that if he was gutsy enough to say that while I was right next to him, he might be confrontational when I chatted with him about my disability.

“Excuse me, can I help you?” I asked.

“We’re just making sure your pass matches up with your car,” one of the officers replied with a grin. “We know people often take advantage of these spots.”

“I have my DMV card, hang on,” I replied shortly. I wished I had called him out on making a snide remark earlier, but I honestly didn’t think a trained police officer would have been that loud and unprofessional about being so snarky. At least if you’re thinking that about me, keep it to yourself and your partner, don’t bring me into your little joke.

I didn’t smile as I showed my pass. Not smiling at someone when I’m interacting with them is actually one of the hardest things for me to do, but I felt frustrated that I was having to deal with this when I already wasn’t feeling great.

“Okay, good,” he replied. “Thanks. We just didn’t want you to be using grandma’s parking pass to get a better parking spot,” he said. “You know — so we can protect people like you who really need it,” he corrected himself.

Honestly, this part of the interaction bugged me a little, but I don’t fault people for saying goofy things like that anymore. I understand that it isn’t normal to see a 26-year-old who is disabled but looks healthy, and a lot of people haven’t even really had to interact with someone like me before.

The thing that bothers me about the whole ordeal was the way they went about everything. I completely agree that they should check to make sure I’m actually handicapped. People who use the stickers but don’t need them should absolutely get in trouble. The way they went about it was wrong, though. I shouldn’t feel like I am doing something bad by using a handicapped parking space when I need one, and I should feel comfortable using the resources that help make my life a little more normal. I already feel embarrassed enough when I have to park in one of those spots at Trader Joe’s and make three trips back and forth to carry $20 worth of groceries to my car without hurting myself. I hate that people stare at me to try and figure out why I am in that blue space, and I hate going grocery shopping with my mom and having people think I am a jerk for making her carry everything to the car by herself. I don’t want to feel like the people who are supposed to be protecting me are also going to give me grief about being a weak twentysomething.

I realize that the police officers were just trying to do their job, but I also know enough people in that field to know that there is a lot of sensitivity training so that they can be professional while they are on the job. I would have had absolutely no issues with them checking my pass — even right after I left my car — however, making me feel uncomfortable by being snarky loudly enough for me to hear was completely uncalled for. In hindsight after talking to a few people about it, the officer more than likely wanted me to hear his comment, as he waited until I was 200 feet from my car and right next to him, and thought he was catching me in the act of something I shouldn’t be doing.

I didn’t write about this to shame the police officer or have a pity party for myself. This is just such a perfect example that you never really know what someone is going through unless they tell you. I look fine, and if you stuck me next to a dozen other twentysomethings you would never guess that I was the sick one. I hope this story helps people be more gentle towards other human beings, as you never know what someone else is dealing with.

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Another reason I wanted to write about this to raise awareness about invisible illnesses is because not everyone with a chronic illness is as bold and open about their problems as I am. A few years ago when I first got POTS, my mom had to be my advocate because I couldn’t even stand without getting incredibly sick. People who are going through things like that should not have any extra obstacles that could easily be avoided, so I think it’s important for me to speak up about my experiences in hopes to better the lives of others who are chronically ill and don’t have someone to advocate for them. A good lesson from all of this is to be kind to everyone you meet, and never make assumptions based on the way someone looks. I am going to be writing a letter to the police department so that they can hopefully be better equipped to deal with others who are like me on campus.

Rose, Bud, & Thorn

Have you ever been in enough pain to make you feel sick?

It’s one of the most annoying things that happens with POTS. Last night I passed out on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I think it’s because I’ve been having some muscle spasm issues in my back lately. EDS makes it really easy to get injured. Partly because of my hypermobile joints; the other part is due to the fact that my body overreacts when it feels a threat — such as a torn muscle.

I’ve been a bit cranky this week because of that and a migraine. I tend to try to suck it up and not complain too much, but that sometimes makes me a little bit grumpy, so I think I need to be a little more vocal about venting and then trying to ignore my symptoms as best as I can.

I’m not feeling much better, but tonight is going to be a turning point so I can have a nice weekend. From tonight until Monday I am going to try my best to focus on the present, not how long I’ve been hurting or wondering when I’ll feel better.

Tonight while I put some heat on my spine, I decided to play a game with y’all that my roommate and I loved in college. It’s called rose, bud, and thorn. It’s a game we played every single night and would giggle about as we recounted the details of the day to one another. The rose of the day is the best part of the day. The bud is something you’re looking forward to most, and the thorn is a not so great moment. Feel free to sound off yours in the comments; I would love if other people played along with me!

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I had 2 roses today. The first was when my mom and I took Macy on a walk. She looked so darn happy, and I love watching Macy chase little butterflies when we go out into a field! My second rose was when Robert called me on the phone after work and we had a kind of silly conversation. It made me smile, and I do think lighthearted fun is the best medicine.

My bud is this weekend. Robert and I are having another date night, which should be fun, and I am excited to just kind of relax and have a chill weekend after that. I also got a surprise for him, and hope we can use it this weekend! I will post what it is at a later date, but it’s something kind of nerdy and fun.

My thorn is just not feeling well. I am optimistic that tomorrow is going to be a great day, though, and I’m really going to try to enjoy the little things!

I’m feeling really sleepy now and am hoping I’ll be able to get some rest now. Goodnight world, I will post another little blurb tomorrow. I’m trying to be better about writing because I know people keep coming back to my site, and you deserve to have something new to read. Thank you for being kind and patient with me! ❤

Asking For Help

Part of me feels strange when I tell people I have a chronic illness — it doesn’t feel real that I am very different in a big, foreign way — but the other part can’t really remember what it’s like to be normal. It almost seems like the rest of my life was a dream, and it’s mind-blowing that I used to be able to jump out of bed quickly without blacking out or that I could carry my own backpack from class to class. I can remember what it’s like to run, but I can’t recall the feeling of independence that should have gone along with this privilege. Needless to say, I have had to swallow my pride a lot the past four years, and ask people for help.

I remember feeling incredibly uncomfortable when my Master’s class went to the university library and we were told to bring our bags because we wouldn’t be going back to that classroom. I panicked a little on the inside, as my dad always walked me to class early and picked me up late so that I could be discreet about getting help carrying my stuff, but I knew I would be in pain for a week if I didn’t ask someone to take my bag for me.

My face got warm as I approached one of the only guys in the class. “This is going to sound really weird,” I started, “but would you mind carrying my backpack to the library for me?”

I could feel my body turning the bright shade of red it seems to love so much when I am uncomfortable. I tried to think of something else — anything else — that would make my autonomic nervous system cooperate, but I ended up just coming to terms with the fact that I looked like I suddenly got a terribly bad sunburn under the florescent lights.

“Sure, no problem,” he interrupted before I could go into my spiel about why I need help taking a fairly light bag from one part of campus to another. I explained my situation quickly as he picked my bag off the floor, and was relieved when we shifted topics to chatting about English-related topics instead of my personal problems.

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Since that day I’ve gotten [a little] better at asking for help. I still have trouble vocalizing when something hurts unless it’s an unbearable pain, and I try to be as independent as possible, which sometimes results in injuring my muscles and joints further. I try to remember that everyone has something they need help with, even if it’s not the same thing I am struggling with.

Many of my friends have even become so great at automatically helping without me even having to ask; this blog has been an amazing platform for raising awareness for twentysomethings with chronic pain, and I think people understand a lot more than they would without reading about the experiences I have on here. Thank you to each and every one of you for reading and caring about the stories I have to tell. It means the world to me to have support from friends, both in person and for this little space on the internet.

Today’s Lesson: I always joke to my friends to “channel Krista” when they want to avoid a guy making a move on them on a first date since I was kind of a pro at that back in the day. Today, I want to encourage you to pull a Krista and ask for help when you need it, even if you’re afraid to. Whether you have a broken heart and need a friend to talk to or need assistance with a physical task, people are always a lot more willing to pitch in and help out than you initially expect. We all have different things to offer the world and ways we love to serve, and I’ve often found that when people can help another human being it makes them feel good as well.

Girl’s Weekend

Getting away with some of your best girl friends is always so great for your heart. This past weekend I went to the beach with Audrey and Melissa, and even though I didn’t feel my best the entire time it was such a wonderful getaway.

We left on Friday after I was all hydrated and salted up (Does anyone else with POTS feel like you are a car that needs to be oiled when you’re taking care of your body? It’s such a funny routine to me, but needs to be done to feel even halfway decent). Our drive to Virginia Beach actually wasn’t bad at all. We didn’t really hit the anticipated beach traffic, and I only had to stop to pee twice! This is amazing with all the water I drink every day… My trip to New York City is the perfect example of how inconvenient (And sometimes embarrassing) this can be.

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Anyway, we ended up getting there a little early, so hit up our favorite smoothie and sandwich joint before heading to the beach. If you ever get the chance to check out Zeke’s Beans & Bowls you totally should. They have the best smoothies, juice, and Greek chicken rice bowls!

After that we checked in to our motel and headed to the beach. It was really hilarious driving up and realizing that we had booked a motel instead of a hotel. It was actually pretty nice despite having a little bit of a rowdy crowd around our room. They even had a pool directly next to the busy highway! We didn’t utilize it at all, but if we had I think we would just avoid peak traffic hours on the off-chance a car veered two feet to the left of the road and into the pool.

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“Low Rates Come And Stay. N ow H rng” I think they might have run out of letters or something…
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Really the only inconvenient thing about our motel was that the shower didn’t really drain well.
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I figured this out my first time in the shower after the beach and from there on out had to take breaks between shampooing and conditioning to let the tub drain a little.

Audrey and Melissa were kind enough to split the amount of work and each added a half of a person to their beach load so I wouldn’t hurt my arms carrying my things. I always feel really bad making people hold my things for me, but they make it really easy to ask for help — by taking my things without me even having to ask! I felt really blessed that every time we left the room one of them would stretch out their arm to take my purse and water bottle from my hand. From now on I think I need to purchase purses that would suit my friends better than myself — after all, they’re the ones who usually carry them anyway!

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Acts of service is becoming a love language that I’m noticing more and more as I need help with so much.

We had a really nice day at the beach lying on our towels, dipping our toes into the water, and talking about dating. It was too cold to really swim, but Friday was the nicest beach day we had while we were gone.

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The best beach snack combination… Chocolate and La Croix! The chocolates had a nice crunch to them from the sand.

We went to Kohr Brothers every single day we were there, as it’s probably my favorite dessert place in the world (Maybe even above Pinkberry!). I’m a pretty happy camper when you give me anything chocolate peanut butter related, but this is the closest you get to a taste of heaven on earth.

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I couldn’t wait to eat the ice cream before the picture, so this is how I smile with a mouth full of chocolate sprinkles.

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The Kohrs people knew me by the end of our trip.

Our last evening there we decided to go to a nicer restaurant since it was a bit rainy out. We chose a place that got great a Yelp rating for American cuisine and seafood. When glancing over the reviews I noticed that a lot of people mentioned the broccoli in their posts; I realized it was a bit odd, but didn’t really give it another thought… Until I ordered the steamed veggies and they presented me with three heads of broccoli. Like, what the heck?! Who in their right mind could ever consume an entire mini-tree, much less three?!

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The funniest part was that they added a couple of pieces of squash and carrots to the mix, almost to tease you that you did, in fact, get “steamed vegetables,” even though it was essentially steamed broccoli with hollandaise sauce. I ate as much as I possibly could and still had two and a half stocks of broccoli left.

Our last day at the beach was a bit chilly, but any day at the beach is always a good one! We sported long sleeves and blankets, but it was nice being able to sit and listen to the waves sing before making the long trip home.

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Overall the trip was really great and worth all the time spent not feeling well. I posted on Instagram a lot, mainly because I did spend quite some time in the hotel room resting from being out in the heat. I felt like this is ironic because it really was painting a picture for people that I was only having an amazing time my entire trip. Anyone with a chronic illness knows what it’s like to pretend to be well for a weekend. POTS is a little “B,” and I felt frustrated that I couldn’t run, play games on the beach, or walk by myself (Since I can’t carry my own water bottle to stay hydrated), but I sometimes forget that almost 4 years ago I got sick at the beach and couldn’t even walk a block without feeling like I was having a heart attack and/or passing out. I am so blessed that I can sit on the beach, enjoy the warm salty air, and eat a giant scoop of ice cream on the boardwalk. There are people who can’t even do that, so instead of feeling upset about the things I can’t do I try hard to focus on the wonderful things I do get to have.

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Mighty Letters

As many of you know, I got my third article published on The Mighty recently, and will be writing more about my chronic illness for that. I followed their Facebook page, and I will occasionally read some of the posts that especially catch my eye.

Last week I read one that made me tear up. It was titled, Dear Future Husband, From Your Chronically Ill Wife. Before I even clicked the link this article resonated with me because as goofy as it may seem, I have been writing letters to my “future husband” since I was a young teenager. I love to write, and I am someone who thinks letters and cards often mean more than extravagant gifts. I got the idea because of conversations we had at church about marriage, sex, and dating. I’ve always been a free-thinker and enjoyed spending time contemplating what people discussed, and forming my own opinion after thinking it through. Writing has been a great outlet to express myself as well as figuring out why I feel the way I do about important things in life.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was a late bloomer and wasn’t particularly interested in dating until I was in college (And was too shy to talk to the guys I did actually like in high school). This gave me time to think about what I wanted in a partner, as well as some difficult times being the only single one in some of my friend groups. Even as I’ve grown older I have kept in the back of my mind that I will be getting married one day, and thought about the way I hope my future husband treats the girls he dates before me. I have tried to keep him in the back of my mind with decisions I make, as well as my future kids. I know it seems weird that I was thinking about these people I hadn’t even met when I was so young, but I have always been someone who is very conscious about others’ feelings and I think pretty far into my future and know what I want it to look like.

This article choked me up because my life is not the way I want it to be; I’m not always the person I want to be. Having a chronic illness is the one of the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my short life and even though I’ve been sick for almost 4 years now, it still so often feels new to me. I’m not always okay with missing out on things I want to do, I still often wonder why God lets us feel pain, and I can’t do all the chores and work that a normal twenty-something can. I don’t talk about what I’m missing out on very much, as I like to be as positive as I can, but I do wish I could travel more, I wish I could write more, and I wish I could have the kind of adventures that I used to enjoy so much. I wish I could serve those I love more — I wish I could contribute to helping my family more, and I sometimes feel like I’m a burden. There’s a lot that I can’t do but rarely talk about because there really isn’t much of a point in harping on it.

Something I loved about this article is how much it talks about the love we still have to give, despite everything we are unable to do. As much as I sometimes feel like I am an incomplete person because of my illness, when I take the time to sit back and really look at myself the way Jesus would, I realize I am so much more than my physical body. I am kind and patient with others. I am a giver, and often offer much more than I really am able to in order to make others happy. I am thoughtful and genuine, which makes for a very loving heart.

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Photo Credit: The lovely Audrey Denison

As much as I hate my POTS and I hate that I can’t give every single thing in a relationship that I ordinarily would have been able to a few years ago, I also realize what a valuable gift my chronic illness has given me. I have become more resilient, I am much more empathetic than most people who are even twice my age, and I have new experiences under my belt that have been able to help others through hardships of their own.

I have a small binder of letters to give someone on my wedding day, and even though I am nowhere near perfect, that will be perfectly okay. The cool thing about marriage is that you are accepting someone for who they are — flaws and all — and promising to love and care for them for the rest of your life. I don’t know how much better I’ll get with my illness, but I do know that I have a heart that is equipped to love someone completely. I know that I will be a loyal, caring, thoughtful, and trustworthy companion, regardless of how my body is acting. When it comes down to it, these are the qualities that really matter in a relationship — not so much whether or not I can do the laundry or cook an extravagant dinner. I’m still learning to accept myself fully with my illness, but I have come a really long way from where I began.

A Letter From A “Slow Walker”

There is often a lot of talk about how annoying “slow walkers” are. I have always fallen into the “annoyed” category since God gave me long legs at birth.

When I was 22 I got sick with a chronic illness — Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It started off as a debilitating sickness. I could only walk about twelve feet without resting, and could only make the long journey up a flight of stairs to my bed once a day with the help of my parents and taking little breaks between climbing a few steps and sitting down to rest until I reached the top.

When I was finally well enough to go out of the house for a fifteen minute errand to the grocery store it was a big deal. I felt like I had this tiny piece of normalcy in my life, even though I felt constantly dizzy and nauseous.

Wegmans was my number one choice for a field trip, and I wanted to see if I could go find a salty snack and chocolate bar while I was there. One salty snack, one sweet treat. That’s it.

I walked to the dessert aisle first, as it was closer to the entrance, and my eyes grazed over dozens of choices. The room spun as I tried to read new labels, and my body started to gently sway. I knew I wasn’t feeling well enough to stay in this upright position much longer, but I was determined to be normal again — at least for a few minutes. I snagged a bar I thought might be halfway decent and took each step to the popcorn aisle as carefully as I possibly could. I didn’t want to fall, and I absolutely was not about to faint in public for the first time — not today.

As I put one foot in front of the other I vaguely noticed the bustling around me. I felt mildly panicked as I began to realize I shouldn’t be alone anymore and that my heart was racing the way it does when I’m about to pass out. My eyes slowly scanned the aisle, and I couldn’t feel my footing anymore. My feet were still planted firmly on the ground, but my head was spinning in circles.

“What the hell is her problem,” I hear behind me. I turn, dazed, as a woman my mom’s age firmly nudged me into the shelf that held some sort of food I couldn’t quite make out. It wasn’t until I was intentionally lying on the ground* to get the blood to flow back to my brain moments later that it all clicked. I was the one with the “problem.”

Tears welled up behind my foggy eyes. I had never been different before, and I wasn’t used to having a disability. No one could tell by looking at me that I was sick, but my body reminded me every second of every day that I was ill. The room kept spinning, but somehow I kept thinking.

I was a heavy mix of angry, frustrated, and devastated. Why aren’t people more patient? Why can’t we have some sort of label for the chronically ill so that people would know I need extra help? But wait, why can’t people just be kind to others in general and realize that you never know what someone else is going through by of the way they look? 

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These are questions I never really thought about before I got sick. I am guilty of complaining to friends about “slow walkers,” moody waiters, and distracted baristas. Having a chronic illness has taught me the very important lesson that just because someone looks fine doesn’t mean that they are. People can have a hard time for a number of different reasons, and instead of making their life any more difficult by making snarky remarks or getting frustrated, we should all take a minute to practice patience and kindness. After all, even if someone doesn’t need it, there is never any harm in being kind to others and treating them the way you would like to be treated. Sure people can be frustrating sometimes, but is the hustle and bustle and rush of life really worth hurting another human? Is whatever you are rushing to really worth upsetting anyone over? I think the answer for most of us if we sat down and thought about it would be “no.”


*This is a tactic POTSies use to ward off some of our symptoms and feel a little better, hence the “Postural” in “POTS.”

What To Do When You Get Diagnosed With A Chronic Illness

Getting sick with a chronic condition is life-changing and confusing. I have become a bit of a pro when it comes to being sick, so here are a few tips on what to do if you or someone you love ever get diagnosed with a chronic illness:

  1. First and foremost, do not panic. Take a second to breathe, and realize that just because you now have a name to label your symptoms doesn’t mean it’s going to get worse here on out. If anything it actually gets much better since you are able to explain why certain things happen to your body and how to treat them.
  2. Realize that it’s normal and okay to cry. Doctors have seen it all, and if they’re good at their profession they will be sympathetic towards your feelings (And if they’re not, it’s definitely not you — it’s them).
  3. Do not go on Google! I cannot stress how important it is to process everything before reading dozens of articles and Facebook forums about your illness. Whether it’s an absolutely extreme version of your illness or a post venting about how difficult life becomes with this condition, there isn’t a lot that will help you out that very same day. Give yourself a little time and ask your doctor questions, rather than relying on WebMD to give you a cure. I found that negativity can really have a direct effect on your health and healing, which is why I try to keep things as stress-free as humanly possible.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 1.54.29 PM.png
  4. On a related note, make sure to find out how to contact your doctor in case you need to reach someone with a question about symptoms you might be having. Most doctors who deal with people with chronic conditions have a way of reaching them, whether it’s a nurse hotline or an email address. I have a neurologist who offers an in-home service where I can email him with questions or prescription refill requests, and he replies within a day. It’s been a really valuable resource and I tend to stick with the doctors who really care about their patients.
  5. If a little bit of time goes by and you’re still afraid to research what you have, ask a family member or friend to do some research for you — then leave out the really unhelpful negative information. I’ve found a lot of people with chronic conditions can be incredibly pessimistic and bitter — and they have every right to be! But the more you can try to keep your spirits high and look towards your bright future, the better off you will be. I very firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, and although that may not be able to heal your body, it can at least keep your mind in a healthy state.
  6. If you do have a hard time staying positive about life, though, there is absolutely no shame in seeing a therapist or counselor to vent your frustrations to. Never feel bad about needing extra help. It doesn’t mean you aren’t strong — sometimes I think being able to ask for help is the hardest thing a person can do, but it can be life-changing.
  7. Lastly, be open with friends and family about what you need. It can be difficult for loved ones to know how to react or behave when someone close to them gets sick, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be there for you. Giving people a very concrete thing they could do to help — such as talking on the phone for fifteen minutes a day or making a meal for you and your family — is actually really helpful.
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I never in a million years thought I would ever need a wheelchair at 22 years old, but by the time I traveled to take this picture I was able to make light of a difficult situation.

I know how scary and life-changing getting a chronic illness is. I remember getting diagnosed with POTS like it was yesterday. Collecting a few other “syndromes” and conditions along the way hasn’t been easy, but I’ve at least had enough experience to stay a little calmer when I learn something new about my health. Finding five things you are thankful for despite being sick is something I try to do on my most difficult days. I am thankful for my family (This includes Macy!), Robert, my best friends, the sunshine, and chocolate. That was a really easy list, and I grouped a bunch of people together. Despite not having the life I had dreamed of for most of my childhood, I still have some pretty incredible blessings.

FabFitFun Unboxing Video

I am finally starting to feel a bit better. I was really sick all last week, and although I am still in the middle of recovering (POTS makes it a real “B” to heal after anything even remotely shakes my health), I am at least able to get out of bed and walk around some now.

Today I have a little YouTube video to share with y’all! I got my FabFitFun box and wanted to open it on camera to show everything inside the spring box. I’m still getting used to being on camera (And have no idea how to edit anything — help!), so any and all advice is appreciated. 🙂

Overall I really liked this box — possibly even better than the “Editor’s Box” I got last time — and I’m already obsessed with some of the makeup I got in it. I’ll be writing reviews on that in the near future.

I hope y’all have a great Monday, and thanks for watching!


*I should note, though, that I made a mistake and it’s actually not $40/month, rather it’s $50/box, which is every three months or so. With my coupon code it is $40 for your first box, though, so make sure to utilize that if you want to try it out!