When I was one(1) the biggest challenge in life was probably walking now granted I don’t remember anything about it but I’m just taking a shot, of course touching your toes, and jabbering up a storm probably were just as important but let’s talk about walking. It’s something so simple to us. Right now, in this very moment imagine not being able to walk. Sitting on the floor rolling around trying to stand, standing and then trying to put one foot in front of the other repeatedly. Fast forward a couple years to five(5), now my biggest challenge is probably trying to memorize the alphabet or count to twenty, something I now take for granted and can do in the snap of a finger but back then probably took a good 15 minutes with many mistakes and “do overs” along the way. Skip ahead a couple more years and now I’m ten(10) my biggest challenge was moving and adjusting to Indiana, finding a group of friends where I felt comfortable and figuring out who I am as a human. I now take that for granted too, making friends; but back then it seemed like something that was going to be almost impossible to do. So finally five more years flash by and I’m fifteen(15). Along with the basic challenges every sophomore in high school has; bullying, grades, fitting in, etc. Never in a million years did I think I would have something like this added on to my plate. I never thought I’d be staying the night at the hospital instead of a friends, I never thought I’d be relying on pills to function normally throughout the day instead of just a healthy breakfast. I never thought I’d go to doctors appointments more than I would the movies, or football games. When I was in elementary school I pictured myself in high school wearing cool clothes and having a cell phone, not wearing compression socks and swallowing salt tablets. What I’m trying to say is we never know what life throws at us, ever. We never know why bad things happen the way they do, ever. It’s coming up on a year now that I’ve been dealing with this and if there’s one word to sum it all up it would be ‘wow’. I know you’re going to call me crazy for what you read next but it’s true. I wouldn’t trade all that I’ve gone through or endured for anything. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone else and with all my heart do I want to fix everyone else with an invisible illness, but I’ll keep mine. Although I’ve gone through SO MUCH SHIT (my mom will not be happy I used that word but it’s the only way to describe it) I wouldn’t undo any of it. It’s made me realize some of the most amazing parts of life. I still believe in the saying “Everything happens for a reason.” after all I’ve gone through and even though I can’t even begin to understand it I still believe it and hold it close to my heart. After all, if it’s printed on a keychain it must be true. I can’t say any of this has been easy because it hasn’t. I’ve hit rock bottom many times but somehow every single time this little glimmer of hope appears and some miracle happens and I’m still holding on. I can’t say I haven’t wanted to give up because I have. There’s days where I just wish I would float away. But out of all of this I can say I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve smiled, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’ve really lost, I’ve really won, I’ve been blessed, I’ve tried and that is all you can do. I go to these doctors appointents and more and more do I realize that they’ve already done all they can do for me besides prescribe and deprescribe more medicines. It’s up to me now, to figure out what works best for me, to continue on living, and to be all that I can be. Last year before any of this happened I planned on attending high school for all 4 years, then graduating and going off to college, preferably to be a crazy art student. Then I wanted to continue on and be “A creative director at an Ad Agency”, I wanted a family and to be happy. Today I can tell you that I want to finish high school, I want to graduate and go off to college and be a crazy art student, and then figure out what this big world has to offer me. I want to continue advocating awareness for Invisible Illnesses and I want to start a campaign. I want a family and I want to be more than happy, I want to be elated with life. None of this has stopped me because well I guess this was supposed to happen to me all along I just didn’t know it. I wouldn’t change this past year for the world. As of today I raised over $400 selling shirts. I can proudly say that I am donating half of it (the other half is cost of shirts and S&H) to Dysautonomia International to pay for Researching a cure for POTS. It might not be a lot but it’s a start and if we don’t start somewhere like learning to walk we will never be able to run with all the possibilities and opportunities our lives hold. You are you, and what is happening to you right now is happening for a reason. Don’t run from the opportunity, grasp it and run with it. Having POTS might not have been an opportunity of my choosing but I choose to not back down and I will someday make a difference.