Girl playing tennis

The Beginning

When I was 16 years old I was a normal healthy teenager, I was ranked first on my school's tennis team and was very athletic. I had always ached and struggled with minor pain but it was never anything serious. When I returned to tennis my senior year everything was different, I couldn’t move like I used to. I started playing all of my games wrapped in braces and struggling to be the player I used to me. This pain increased and continued to get worse over the next few years until I could barely make it through the day. The pain and fatigue was overwhelming, it felt that it took all of my energy to just exist. 

Lyme awareness shirt

The Diagnosis

When I was 22, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, it was a relief to finally know what was wrong with me, but I knew that Lyme was going to be a lifelong struggle. Following this diagnosis my life flipped upside down, I was forced to withdraw from a graduate program I had committed to at Western University and focus on my health. I was put on strong antibiotics for over a year and during that year I spent my time in bed, too sick to get up completely engulfed in my illness. I watched life move on without me, forgetting I was even there. The isolation and loneliness that I felt was something that I will never forget.

Husband and wife smiling

After the Diagnosis

After I was done with treatment I was fortunate to have a few good years. During these years I was still overwhelmed with fatigue and struggled everyday, but I could work and I could smile again. It felt that I had finally left my disease behind, but unfortunately it wasn’t done with me yet. One day in 2016 I was at work (as a salesman at Carmax) and suddenly got confused, dizzy and overwhelmed with pain in my neck and head, I remember my coworkers had to call my husband to come pick me up. The sudden onset of this was terrifying and I had to take a few weeks of disability leave from work because I could not even get out of bed. 

This neck pain and headaches have persisted since that day, no one has been able to diagnose what causes my pain, my Lyme doctor does not think it’s Lyme related, but no one really knows for sure.. Not having a diagnosis can be so isolating and confusing. I have been to every doctor I can think of and they all just refer me somewhere else. I have endured nerve blocks, nerve ablations, years of physical therapy, steroid epidural injections and have been put on dozens of different medications, and I never found any relief.

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2019 a New Diagnosis

After years overwhelming neck pain, hopeful procedures, confused doctors and random dislocations I have been given a probable diagnosis of Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). hEDS is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue in the body. Though this is a scary diagnosis its an answer to a lot of my health problems! As I await to see an EDS knowledgable in May I am glad to have this new understanding of my pain!

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Using My Story for Change

 Through these past few years I recognized the extreme lack of resources for those with chronic pain and illness, it seems that we have been forgotten. I remember once trying to seek out counseling and being sent to an addictions counselor because it was the closest thing to a pain counselor they had. This was devastating and this made me realize I wanted to make a difference. I want to make a world that takes care of and nurtures their chronic pain patients, not ignores them. So I spent three years getting my master's degree in counseling so I could maybe make a difference for people like us. After the medical world failed me I started to study everything I could chronic pain and mental health and I discovered a powerful connection between people's minds and their pain. By taking control and training you brain you can gain power over your pain and learn to live beyond it. I have created my counseling practice around this idea, I believe that the mind is the most powerful tool we have again our pain.

Chronic Hope Counseling and Community Center

1013 Bullard Ct, Suite 102 Raleigh, NC 27615

(919) 238 1113

Hours

Mon

10:00 am – 07:00 pm

Tue

10:00 am – 07:00 pm

Wed

10:00 am – 07:00 pm

Thu

10:00 am – 07:00 pm

Fri

10:00 am – 07:00 pm

Sat

By Appointment

Sun

By Appointment