Posted July 2, 2018

by Michaela A.

I was diagnosed three years ago when I was 20 years old. For this diagnosis, I was bounced around to the normal specialists such as gastroenterology, rheumatology, physical therapists, mental health teams. Until someone could finally tell me what was wrong. I was diagnosed with what is now known as hEDS

This was after I had chosen animal care and zoology as my career path. I was told that my choice of career would be a struggle due to my subluxations and poor strength, yet I persisted. First doing a nursing assistant qualification and now I’m about to finish my Higher National Diploma in Animal Management. The path has been a struggle, brain fog and fatigue has made doing my work increasingly difficult. While the problems with my joints have meant I’ve had to work extra hard during practicals. Once during a practical last year, an alpaca threw me over a fence, dislocating my wrist and shoulder as I went.

This brought my illness into full focus for me. It showed me just how easily I can get hurt doing my job. However I am still persisting with my career, but now I know my limits and stick to them. I’ve become less afraid to talk about EDS and ask for help from those around me.

I’ve realized it’s nothing to be ashamed about and that people are actually very supportive when you tell them your story. I even spent 8 weeks doing work experience at Blackpool Zoo which while extremely challenging on my body made me feel like I could accomplish anything as long as I allowed my the time and patience to do so.

I will continue my journey with my heart full of passion for the animals I care so deeply about. I do think about the future and the possibility I may need to stop due to the pain. But I’ve been lucky enough to have a tutor with EDS who has shown me there are other less taxing paths of I need them.


Disclaimer: Each story submitted to The Ehlers-Danlos Society for this #myEDS/#myHSD anthology is published "as-is," with only minimal edits for spelling, grammar, and typographical mistakes. Each profile reflects the personal views, experiences and opinions of the individual authors-and, thus does not necessarily represent the views and/or endorsements, individually or collectively, of The Ehlers-Danlos Society, its leadership, staff, boards, or communities. We can also not confirm any medical claims or comments in the story.

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