I was diagnosed January of 2014 after my immune system plummeted when I came down with the Epstein barr virus (mono). It was devastating and relieving news all at the same time. I contracted it around the age of ten when I was living in the woods of NJ. For over a decade I was in and out of doctor’s offices running tests and looking for answers. When the tests results came in positive it gave me something to treat, something to work on. Before, I was discouraged and frustrated, shooting in the dark with strict diets, supplements, and palliative measures. I finally knew what my body was screaming at me so desperately trying to communicate. On the outside I look healthy, but on the inside I feel like my body is failing me and at 22 years old that is not acceptable. I have my entire life ahead of me and I will not let this disease change how I live.Read More
My diagnosis came just as I was beginning to follow my dream of being a musician. I had worked so hard to make this dream a reality just in time for Lyme Disease to take it away. This illness chooses to affect my joints primarily, followed by cognitive functions. Due to this, I am no longer capable of being a percussionist. It took three (if not four) years to really grasp the reality of losing my music and appreciate the talents of others. I would break down at the simplest triggers, unable to mourn the loss of this passion. It was hard, ugly, and long, but I overcame. While this was a devastating and life altering realization, so many wonderful things have come from this new path. I’ve learned to appreciate what I had and look forward to what the future will bring. I transferred schools to have a fresh start and learned so much more about myself and my identity.
Adjusting to a new way of life - especially one of difficulty - can seem daunting. Just when you think everything is routine and under control, a new symptom sneaks its way in. Because of this, I’ve learned to take it as it comes; one day at a time, one appointment at a time, one feeling at a time. Looking too far ahead with treatments and tasks can be overwhelming, so it’s important to keep the right perspective.Read More
Q: What kind of places intrigue you/motivate you–that inspire you to adventure. Somewhere you’d want to hang out at for an afternoon. (Maybe pick a places or a couple places around your home that you love to explore or just visit frequently.)
Laurel: Anywhere in Nature! Just the chance to see and experience something new and outdoors is inspiring to me. The amazing thing about nature is that even if you go to the same spot again and again, you can still find something new or have a different experience every time. The ocean has always and will always be my #1 obsesson, but I also love the forest and mountains. Snowboarding has been a big part of my life, so in the winter you can usually find me riding one of our local spots here in the Cascade mountains and during the rest of the year, enjoying hikes, rivers, waterfalls and alpine lakes. Living between the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges means never running out of places to explore! Camping, trips to the coast, swimming, surfing, freediving, rock climbing and biking are also other some other activities that motivate me to get outside and have fun.Read More