Spending my childhood in PT gave me my passion

Posted June 29, 2020

valerie story

My name is Valerie, you can reach me at the @bendybodyblog! I’m about to be 23 and currently in graduate school, studying for my doctorate in physical therapy!

I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), celiac disease, chronic migraines, eczema, asthma, and suspected Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).

Throughout my studies and activities, I have won a few awards and titles, etc., but funny enough, the one I take the most pride in is that my senior class back in high school voted me “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day” in our yearbook! It’s one thing to have the aspirations to be a positive leading light, but for people to recognize that really shows your execution is successful.

I work day in and day out to fulfill my passion and goals to become “the EDS & PoTs Physical Therapist” of the Philadelphia area. I cannot wait for the day when I can share how exercise is (physical and mental) medicine with my fellow zebras, but having that empathy and understanding that sometimes the walk from the couch and back to bed is hard (as it was about 5 minutes ago for me). We have good days and bad days, but every day, it’s so important to remember that being able to get through a day with a chronic illness while doing whatever it is you may be doing… studying, working, taking care of a pet, being a good friend… none of that is a small feat and you deserve to be proud of the work that it takes to get up, and do you. Keep on keeping on, friends! I’m proud of you!

As a child, I was always really clumsy, constant sprains, and pains that were not properly addressed by doctors. At a young age, I had a complete ankle reconstruction surgery… that four years later “stretched back out” for the first time this surgeon had ever seen. Even then, EDS was not put on a differential diagnosis list for me, not by my ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder doctor! I needed someone to step back and see and me as a bigger picture. Years later, I found EDS in my own studies and traveled to a knowledgeable doctor, and my diagnosis was confirmed.

These ankle surgeries were some of the hardest times I’ve endured, but if I didn’t have them, I would have never discovered my passion for the physical therapy field and found my career.

I’m proud of my scars and my journey. I spent my childhood in physical therapy. To me seeing these scars is a reminder that everything happens for a reason. This is my calling. This is what I’m supposed to do. I’ve been given these physical struggles because I’m strong enough to endure them and use my experience to help others!

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