Hi, my name is Claire.
Since I can remember, I’ve always had health issues in relation to my stomach. In the 5th grade, doctors shrugged it off as your basic anxieties. However, my family and I knew this wasn’t the case, especially since I was always so happy doing the things I loved – horseback riding, playing volleyball, and hanging out with my siblings. Yet my stomach still hurt 24/7.
When I was in 8th grade, I was in PE class when I passed out and smacked the back of my head- resulting in chronic migraines in addition to my (still) constant stomach pain. It was then that a family friend of ours recommended that I go get checked out for POTS.
From the first doctor’s appointment, my high heart rate and low blood pressure were enough to confidently say that I officially had POTS. However, there were still no answers for me. I tried everything- medicine, IV’s, and more. I even had a feeding tube placed because I was skin and bones from not being able to handle food. I spent more time in bed and in and out of hospitals than I did ever going to school. I ended up missing 8th grade to my junior year of high school. I was completely self-taught.
I had a couple surgeries and invasive procedures such as MALS surgery, and countless spinal blocks and blood patches in hopes that it may be the result of my pain. Unfortunately, nothing helped.
I kept living my life, relying completely on pain meds to get through my day as well as I could. I ended up graduating high school with my class, which was a huge deal. I went up to Utah State University and my stomach pain was still relentless. I ended up dropping out and coming home in October of 2020, and underwent a Kidney Auto-transplant, otherwise known as Nutcrackers. I woke up from the surgery and was still in pain. It was then that I knew there was still work to be done.
After 2020, I focused on myself and getting where I wanted to be. I started eating well, exercising regularly, and eating foods that I knew least hurt my stomach. Fast forward to 2022, I am continuing on my fitness journey. I have started lifting to make my body stronger, both mentally and physically. It is one of the only things that has made a difference for me. I still have my days where I feel horrible. But, for the most part, I am functioning like any other person. I have my physical and mental challenges, to which I attend to carefully. I have realized my love and appreciation for life, regardless of what I can control. I hope to inspire others with my story and encourage people that it really does get better.
Thank you for reading my story.