Long before age 17, I was just a young girl from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio living life with smiles, laughter, and so much joy on a go, go schedule. If I remember I was a natural born athlete, I always wanted to do everything, and my parents were ok with that as long as I did well in school and did my chores. There were days that I would get up, go to school all day, head to after school sport practice from there, eat dinner in the car on my way to the next practice, come home do homework and finally get to bed to just do it all over again the next. I was full of light, energy and so much love to give to others around me and my family. I loved traveling, staying active, shopping, excelling in school and good laughs with my friends. I had so many dreams ahead of me in life and could not wait to accomplish them all as I was always so motivated with every task presented to me.
Keep in mind, growing up I never once thought about my health in a way where I kind of just took it for granted that I was able to be so active. In middle school, it was nothing but normal to play volleyball, basketball, soccer and participate in dance class. However, there were some unique signals that I did not link to any significant concern at the time, such as: numerous upper respiratory infections, sports induced asthma, eczema rashes, GERD and sometimes dizziness. As I would seek medical advice and or see the appropriate physician they would do testing and most often just
prescribe an antibiotic.
As high school approached, I started changing into a young mature woman but still was bugging my parents to go to parties, have sleepovers with my friends just wanting to be a typical teenage girl with no fears in sight. I was even on track to play Division 1 Women’s Soccer and was looking at various college programs. I was being recruited by many schools in the Midwest and attending showcase soccer camps. I was a multi-sport athlete in high school playing both Varsity Basketball and Soccer.
Until one day, Junior year my life changed in the blink of an eye. I woke up and felt different. I felt ill but a different type of ill I could not breathe; my ribs were super inflamed, and I had pain and inflammation all over my body. I made two trips to the ER with a diagnosis of “Costochondritis” and an asthma flair the doctor told me “You will be all better in a couple of days”.
At the time I had no idea I had experienced my first severe ME/CFS crash, as days passed, I went on gasping for air, in lots of pain and with no energy to spare. I was sadly not getting better. Living in Cleveland, I resorted to one of the top hospitals in the world, Cleveland Clinic, with weeks of going from specialist to specialist and still no answers. Missed weeks of high school and was really starting to mentally reach one of the lowest points of my life. I no longer could play sports, I no longer could socialize, my new normal was doctor’s and being in bed all day. My parents were seeking answers as I visited Neurology, Rheumatology, Gastro, Sports Orthopedic and Functional Medicine specialists.
As we did the best we could and the months past we finally got some answers from a rheumatologist. high inflammation levels and EBV in my blood showed I possibly had fibromyalgia, dysautonomia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis with no cure and no plan in sight. I was lost and felt exhausted mentally and physically every day. That is when I started seeking holistic health remedies. I tried everything in sight from acupuncture, nutritionist, psychologist, neuromuscular massage therapy and overall rest, but with little to no results. During this period, I wanted life to still go on. I graduated high school and decided to try to go to college where I attended Ohio University. I was trying diet change, supplements while still trying to live a normal college life and attend class. It was not easy and looked very different for me, taking van rides to classes, going to class to just come back and go right back into my dorm room bed while also staying in my dorm room most weekends as I was exhausted from pushing throughout the week. I was in the push and crash cycle but really had no idea what that even meant at the time. I did have small improvements and some changes but still living the rollercoaster of this condition. However, there was always hope I think as I first started to accept my illness and then learn how to manage it and make lifestyle changes as time went on, but I was always determined to fully heal. My Mom was a strong support advocate, and she would educate me on how she connected to more knowledge via the internet.
It was not until COVID 19 came into our world and for me my Senior year of college came to an end second semester, to land me back at home with my parents. I would say as the world stood still my healing journey had just begun. I started to educate myself, I started to become aware of this community and learn and engage with others via Instagram. As a result, I started to evaluate many alternative treatment plans such as Medical Medium, mind body work, rewiring the brain methods, detox, and toxic viral load remedies etc. I felt like since I got sick this was a time where I could focus 100% on my health every day.
Today, I am working a full-time job with hope and motivation to heal as I have seen lots of progress. I would say I am 50-60% HEALED. I can cook, clean, work, shop and do daily activities.
I take one day at a time and am grateful for the improvements I have made thus far; however, I do need to set personal goals and objectives and take one day at a time. As I look to the future, I know I will get back to full recovery but that’s on god’s timing and my own path. My goal is to live a complete healthy lifestyle with no limitations. I strive to exercise as I discover the best options for my body. I would love to travel the world, give back to the CFS community and share my happiness of just being my authentic true self with friends and family.
I hope to inspire others with my story and give hope to other young and old in this community. I know that CFS does not define my identity. CFS has changed my life in more positives than negatives, I really appreciate every little moment in life and appreciate the little things that I accomplish each day. Most importantly I have learned to remove negative influences, both experiences and people from my life. The light of life is a gift!