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    One month and 2 days after my 18 birthday my life was brought to a halt. I was in a horse accident. I managed to break my leg and tail bone, bruise and tear my kidney, tweak my neck and bang up my body pretty well. I did struggle with Post Traumatic Stress or PTS for short. I thought, “okay nothing major this happens to many people.” But little did I know that these common injuries would lead to something much more rare and life altering.  I did struggle with post traumatic stress but my mom made sure I faced that fear, and had me start seeing a psychiatrist.
    Hoping all will heal within 6 months as I had been told it would, I did my best to keep my chin up. It was summer and I was going to miss all the fun activities and spending time with my family and friends. I was assured this would not be forever. 6 months passed and things were not better but instead I found myself in unbearable pain, scared and with no answers in sight. I went to hospitals and doctors, daily it seemed, to no avail. When the doctors would give up they would tell me I needed to seek “professional help.” Apparently, I’m not broken just crazy!
    Two years and a few months later, I found out the truth. It is in my mind partially but not in a crazy way. My brain patterns have altered so they are telling my nerves in my body to fire away all at once all the time causing severe pain and burning. But, at least I am not crazy! Now the healing can begin. Now that I know what I am fighting against and “It” has a tangible name. I can beat this. I will beat this.
    When this disorder enters you life, it takes over, and  consumes you and everyone close to you. The person you were is no longer there. Not only do you physically have to adapt but your emotional thought process and reasoning does as well. This does not bypass you family it becomes evident that it transforms them as well as they are at the seams and left to feel just as helpless as yourself. Sometimes the disease affects just a toe and sometimes, like me, it affects your entire body leaving you completely debilitated and dependant on others. What was supposed to be a bright beginning to my life, just turning 18, has become a nightmare of severe burning pain, self doubt and lack of hope at times.
    Learning to accept these changes, fighting to find someone to believe you and help you, dealing with the immense pain and just barely being able to tread the waters of life becomes your new daily routine. Life as you new it is gone. Time to move forward.
    Once you accept that this is who you are now, find that team of doctors willing to help you, get that support team behind you and just get yourself away from the negative perspective on things and instead maintain a positive outlook on things that can and will change. Life is a gift and it throws you some serious curves sometimes. I have learned to bend with the curves, expect the unexpected, be grateful, NEVER take things for granted and keep in mind that you have the power to take your life back by taking one step and one breath at a time. The disorder or disease does not define you. Never give up!

Heidi's support system
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2013
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Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul-
Sings the tunes without words-
and never stops at all
         - Emily Dickinson
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