I’ve always been seen as driven, healthy, and active. I played competitive sports and took on any adventure that came my way. But behind the curtains I was battling an unknown diagnosis. I purposely chose to deal with the pain and other sometimes debilitating symptoms for over 20 years. No one besides my family really knew what I was going through. I was tired of going from doctor to doctor only to hear the words, “You look healthy.” So I just tried to live a full life regardless of the daily struggle.
During my struggle, I also started and operated several businesses, found my beautiful wife, started a family, and are currently raising 4 amazing children. To the doctor’s credit, I do look healthy on the outside. I tried my best to ignore my health concerns until 4 years ago when I couldn’t any longer. I had stroke-like episodes, blood clots, fainting, dizziness, and a whole slew of complicated and random symptoms that began to sideline me from the life I wanted to live.
During this time, I was running my film company, Stiry, and directing hundreds of stories about others around the world who were struggling with their own unique challenges. I happened to be interviewing a doctor who asked what I was battling. Within just minutes, I was amazed as she uncovered my rare syndromes. Soon after that I received an official diagnosis of multiple vascular compression syndromes, dysautonomic conditions, and other related syndromes. I finally had a way to define my struggle.
Has my life been easier since then? No. It’s actually been more difficult as I manage my ever-changing health care needs. But what it gave me was an opportunity to finally connect with others like me. That alone gave me not only the will to survive, but to actually thrive. Now I’m on a mission to bring a voice to those who struggle every day and share more light to those who battle. I’m doing that as I open up about my story and have the honor of filming more stories like mine.
My favorite quote has always been, “I am a part of all that I have met.” (Alfred, Lord Tennyson). In my opinion there’s only one way to thrive with a complex medical journey. It’s by sharing your struggle with others and becoming a part of the lives of the people who fill your cup.