If you had asked me ten years ago where I would be today, I’m not sure what the answer would have been. At the time, everything was uncertain; each day, each week, everything. I was completely homebound, I didn’t feel like doing any of the things I wanted to, friends abandoned me, and we were struggling to find a diagnosis. I was going from specialist to specialist, and we just weren’t finding the answers we needed. This process went on for almost four years. It was a struggle, but I had an amazing family who advocated for me and supported me.
I was finally diagnosed with POTS along with other previous complications right before my freshman year of high school. I made it through, but college was my next big hurdle. As everyone sent out their applications and excitedly mapped out their futures, I was left to wonder if it was possible to go from going to high school for one class every other day to making it on a college campus. About this time I found DYNA. I found hope and answers about making this transition.
Since then, DYNA has shaped the person I am and given me the courage and resources to succeed. I entered a small, private college close to home in the fall of 2006. I won’t lie. The first weeks were some of the hardest in my life, but I got some great advice and encouragement, and I soon learned to fight for the things I needed from my school to get me through. I have seen a tremendous improvement in my health and myself as a person. I still have my struggles and ups and downs, but I have learned to manage my illness, to push myself yet not overdo it, and to listen to my body. This has made all the difference in the world. Dysautonomia is still a huge part of my life, but that’s not what defines me. I am happy to say that I will be graduating this spring with degrees in business administration and fashion merchandising.
In the last four years I have become empowered and learned to stand up for myself. I have gained independence and knowledge, and more than anything I have learned that there is hope for this illness. We are not alone, and there is a light in what seems like endless darkness thanks to DYNA. Things may seem uncertain now, but I can personally promise that one day things do start to look up! This illness can not take our dreams, and I am proof of that.
Update February 2012: Since writing this, I graduated with honors from college. I am now 24 and have a part-time job. Fortunately, I have continued to see tremendous improvement, and after many years of hard work, I see a bright light for my future. I am so excited about the things I am now able to do and the endless possibilities ahead!