Help me find the path to healing

Friends, Family, and Other Caring People,

I am a 28 year old woman who has been ill for 16 months. The cause is unknown, and the solution is a mystery. If you had known me before November 18th, 2013, you would describe me as a very active and social young adult thriving in her twenties. On that day, everything changed. I have a strong and positive spirit, and I am determined to get back to running 6 miles, hiking in the Colorado Rockies and having a social life. To get there, I need help finding answers.

My Plan

On April 28th, I will go to the Cleveland Clinic in hope of getting some answers. The Cleveland Clinic recently opened a functional medicine clinic under Dr. Mark Hyman.  My appointment will be similar to the T.V. show House where a variety of doctors will come together to look at every part of my health as one functioning system rather than focus on individual systems within the human body. After seeing specialist after specialist, I am looking forward to having doctors look at the big picture and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.

I am asking for your support for my visit to the Cleveland Clinic with costs that insurance won't cover. This includes some testing, medications, supplements and follow up visits. I am so lucky to have such an understanding and supportive circle of friends and family surrounding me. I've decided now to reach out and ask a larger group for their help and support.

My Story

My whole life I have been a person who looks for excuses to get outside. From riding bikes all day long when I was a kid, to walking everywhere plausible, to climbing the tallest mountains in Colorado just 18 months ago. When I moved to Denver two years ago, I was very excited to be in such an active city and was soon busy playing volleyball in the park all weekend, going on trail runs, taking long bike rides on the Cherry Creek Trail, and hiking every chance I could.

One day I was running four miles before work, and the next I was bedridden. I got what seemed to be the flu but developed into lasting symptoms of severe fatigue and pain. After a short time being ill, I knew my body felt different than it ever had before and I started my search to figure out what this illness was that had taken over my body. No doctor has come up with a definitive answer. Some have told me it was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  and Fibromyalgia , and other doctors are sure it isn't. I have had doctors tell me there is nothing else to do, and that this is the way I will have to live my life.

And this is what that looks like - daily, I push through bone-crushing fatigue, heavy brain fog, debilitating dizziness, and enough muscle pain to restrict simple daily activities like blow drying my hair, being able to drive, or even holding a glass of water. As a result, I can no longer work a normal job as an architect and have moved home with my parents for additional support.

As you can imagine, this has significantly affected so many things about who I am. Being the girl who runs, walks or hikes everywhere isn’t physically possible. Being an architect and a social 28 year old just isn’t feasible.

But I am still me and have found new ways to express who I am.  I have rediscovered the joy in creating, painting and making people smile. I have started my own small business on Etsy called The Architect Paints  and I have been an integral part of a non-profit board that I am passionate about.

I will continue fighting to find my path to healing. This is where I need your help in my journey.

What I Need

I will have at least three appointments at the Cleveland Clinic and will need help with the following:

-Expenses for travel and lodging in Cleveland for three separate trips

-Medical testing that insurance won't pay for (like intestinal health testing, gene testing, etc)

-Medications and supplements for the next year

I am lucky enough to know someone who is my age and has had similar symptoms and who has been to the Cleveland Clinic Function Medicine Center. She has already seen some relief and is very hopeful to get more relief as her treatment continues. Her costs have helped me to estimate what my costs might end up being, for example approximately $600 a month just for the supplements.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and understand my daily struggles with this illness.

I will continue to post on this page to keep everyone updated throughout my journey.

Any donation, large or small, is helpful. Thanks for cheering me on in the fight for my health!

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Teresa Owens 
Lenexa, KS
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