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When Life Hands You Lemons: My New Life With Chronic Illness

July 10, 2017

Back in 2015, I was healthy, vibrant, and full of energy. And then one day... I wasn't.

 

It all started one beautiful morning when I was working as a nanny. I was taking little Ollie for a walk and everything was great. But that night after I took a shower, something happened to my skin. It became swollen and PAINFUL. It kept happening and I had no idea what was wrong. Turns out, it was from the sunlight. That's right. I'm a freakin' vampire.

 

 

To this day, I'm a medical mystery and since then, I've developed multiple chronic illnesses. I was diagnosed with a condition called POTS and believe me, it's not as fun as it sounds.

 

POTS is a form of dysautonomia. This can cause my heart to race, even when sitting or doing menial tasks. This was probably the most devastating of all my conditions. For a time, it was so bad that I could barely stand for any duration of time. Thankfully, my POTS seems to be dormant for the most part.

 

 

I've also dealt with an unknown pituitary disorder. My pituitary became enlarged which caused me a great deal of neurological issues. For quite some time, I suffered from neuropathy, headaches, and even lactation.

Lactation? Yes, seriously.

 

But wait!...

 

There's more!

 

 

 

 

On top of all of that, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease. For those that don't know, Hashimoto's is a condition in which one's immune system attacks the thyroid.

 

 

Your thyroid is what regulates your metabolism. So with me, it makes it easy to pack on the pounds and makes me feel really tired. All. The, Time.

 

But despite all of this, I'm choosing happiness over pity.

 

 

Initially, I was depressed. Like... BAAAAAD! How could someone go from being so healthy to having to take medications everyday for the rest of their life? How could this happen to me? I had to turn things around. I knew I would never be NOT sick, but that didn't mean I had to be not happy.

 

 

That's when I found solace in my camera. Photography has given me a purpose again and has fueled my passion. Now instead of spending my days sulking, I spend them helping other women feel better about themselves.

 

Today, I'm still seeking medical answers and adapting to this new life. And for the most part, I'm making the most out of every single day.

 

 

 

So, when life hands you lemons... squeeze the fuck out of them and be happy!

 

 

 

 

 

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ANGEL

          RENEE