I started dancing when I was three. As soon as I hit 14, I tried out and joined the high school dance team and I was also on three different national competition teams at my studio. So on any given day, I was dancing five or six hours after school and on weekends. It was the most important thing in my life.
My dad worked in heart surgery and when I went to take your daughter to work day, I would always see the nurses and that is what I wanted to do. Going into nursing, I don't think I realized how physically demanding and emotionally demanding it can be.
In 2012, after a long battle with healthcare, I was finally diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, hypermobility type. This means I have a deficiency in producing and maintaining collagen throughout my body. Unfortunately it affects every organ, every body system that I have. It produces extreme pain. Most of my joints dislocate on a daily basis.
With Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, the worst thing you can do is be an athlete. Unfortunately, all of the activities I did did irreversible severe damage to my body, specifically my joints. My case is very severe now because of how active I was for 20-some years.
I was working at a clinic doing phone triage and had reached a point where it was impossible to keep working because of the pain. I couldn't even concentrate to help people like I needed to at my job. I am not exactly sure if or when I'll be able to go back to work or what that looks like.
Even something as simple as getting in and out of the car is extremely difficult and painful for me. It's an invisible illness. It's an invisible disability. So looking at me, people would have no idea I have it. When I was diagnosed, I really felt lost for awhile. I did really draw close to my faith in God and that was the only thing that got me through. Just constant, constant praying and having faith and having hope.
I have hope, even with my diagnosis, because I can always feel the presence of God. That is what gets me through the day. Jesus can help you through it. Because of Jesus, I have changed my focus in life.
I really felt like God was calling me to speak up and share my story even though I don't have the happy ending and I don't have something really amazing that came out of it yet, but I know that even if I don't, I still have Jesus and I still have grace and that's enough.
There's nothing I have to do other than believe and that helps a ton. Even if things don't ever get better, that still makes it easier for me knowing I have that relationship and nothing can ever or will ever take that away.
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."