1. Do you have a primary diagnosis, if so, what is it?
A: I have a few! Seronegative Inflammatory Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, etc. Not including mental health.
2. How long did it take you to get diagnosed?
A: Not long once I actually got in to my rheumatologist. It all went pretty quickly from there. I'm currently waiting now though, for a consult with another specialist to get my Tachycardia diagnosed.
3. How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? (ex: relieved, upset, numb?) What was the first thing you did?
A: I wasn't expecting the fibromyalgia diagnosis, or the severity of my spine issues. They both hit me a lot harder than any other diagnosis. I didn't understand fibromyalgia and was very numb and confused. The Arthritis I kind of expected and understood.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is chronically ill but undiagnosed?
A: Keep fighting, keep advocating for yourself! You know your body best and as frustrating as it is, you have to fight for the treatment you need and deserve.
5. Has your chronic illness changed your perspective, and if so, how?
A: I feel like I am more understanding and compassionate now. I didn't know a lot of these illnesses existed before I was diagnosed with them and joined the chronic illness community. It has really opened my eyes and pushed me to be an advocate for awareness.
6. What moment are you most proud of in your chronic illness journey thus far?
A: Becoming Chronically Courtney. Meeting other fighters and being there to support them as they support me. I try to be a positive impact on the community as much as possible. I aim to be an honest voice.
7. What was your hardest (or lowest) moment, mentally and/or physically, that you’ve been through on your journey
A: this last year I have had some very rough times. I've been waiting for a spinal fusion and trying to understand what is going on with my Tachycardia. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and hopeless as I have lost so much of my independence. I keep fighting though, because I believe better days are coming.
8. What or who has helped you the most during the lowest days?
A: My husband, Michael. He is by my side, fighting with and for me. I definitely couldn't have done any od this without him.
9. If you had any words of advice for someone struggling with a similar diagnosis, what would they be?
A: Don't give up, and seek help if something doesn't feel right. Remember that you know your body, and trust your intuition. Seek help for mental and physical illnesses equally. If you're struggling, talk to someone. Please.
10. What would you like the world to know about life as a chronic illness patient?
A: Appearances are often deceiving. We may not look sick, but we are, so treat everyone with kindness. You never know what someone is fighting through.
By Courtney | @Chronically_Courtney