Life with Lyme: Kiki - Chronically Healed
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Kiki, who has an inspiring Instagram, Chronically Healed as well as a vlog on YouTube. She is a passionate and driven person who has such a positive outlook on life and is sharing that with others who are struggling with chronic illness. Kiki suffered from POTS and Lyme disease and is on a mission to bring hope to those around her. Read about her journey below and ways to stay positive in the middle of illness.
JC: Tell us a little about yourself!
Kiki: I am getting my Bachelor’s degree and I am planning on starting and leading a ministry for people with chronic illnesses.
JC: When were you diagnosed with Lyme?
Kiki: I was 15 when I first got sick with POTS. It took 6 years to diagnose me and that is because I asked my doctor to test me for Lyme. She didn’t believe that it could be Lyme disease but she tested me anyway! It also took about 4 years of treatment for me to start feeling better.
JC: What were your main symptoms?
Kiki: With having POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) I couldn’t go to school because I couldn’t sit up straight for that long. My heart rate was so high and my blood pressure and blood volume were so low. I would drink a gallon of Gatorade and still feel depleted. I had such bad fatigue, I was more than tired…I was just completely exhausted. I also had insomnia, nausea, terrible stomach pain, neck pain and anxiety. Anxiety was probably one of my worst symptoms. I am probably missing some symptoms because there were so many!
JC: You have a truly inspiring Instagram - Chronically Healed. When did you start that and what inspired you?
Kiki: I began Chronically Healed in December 2016. I had been modeling and I thought I could use this platform to spread awareness. My life passion and mission are to spread awareness and hope to people.
JC: In your Instagram bio you say that you have been healed of Lyme and POTS. That’s amazing! What 3 things do you feel were the most beneficial components to your healing process?
Kiki: The paleo diet has been huge for me! I talk about it in one of my YouTube videos in detail. I also did IVs of Vitamin C, B complex, calcium and magnesium, as well as a glutathione push. I am not saying this will cure anyone, you have to find the right treatment for yourself. These were just things that were big components to my personal healing.
JC: What are a few pieces of advice that you would give a struggling Lyme disease patient from going through it yourself?
Kiki: Keep moving forward no matter what. I tried so many treatments. I mean so so many treatments. You have to make healing your goal and have hope and keep moving forward.
JC: You seem to really capitalize on positive thinking. I love one of your latest Instagram captions that says, “Gratefulness helped me to stay joyful with a chronic illness and isolation. Focusing on little blessings instead of magnifying my hurts enabled me to keep moving forward”… What did you do to stay motivated and grateful? Did you keep a gratitude journal or any action item that our readers could apply to their daily lives?
Kiki: I kept a prayer journal throughout my journey. But you have to make a conscious effort every day to see the good. If you choose to zoom in on suffering it can take up your whole life. If I was having a bad day and I was outside and I would see something like a small flower and I would meditate on that little piece of goodness. I would think how grateful I am for that beauty in the world and focus on that instead of the pain I was in. You have to choose to see the good in every day.
JC: What is something that you would like those who know little to nothing about Lyme disease or dealing with a chronic illness to know?
Kiki: That this is a terrible disease and there is nothing good to say about it. It is debilitating and even deadly. I get angry when people say things to me like, “it can’t be that bad” or “at least you don’t have cancer”. You don’t want Lyme as much as you don’t want cancer. To those who don’t understand Lyme I would say to believe those that have it. They are not doing it for attention, they truly are sick. You do suffer and that’s not a message that everyone wants to hear.
JC: Anything else you would like to share?
Kiki: For those that have Lyme, go through your journey and have that hope for a joyful and meaningful life. Going through this illness has brought so much insight to my life. It showed me how important people are, that who you are doesn’t depend on your career and success but who you are as a person and how you treat people. You are so important no matter if you are laying in bed all day. You are important and worthy just for being yourself.
Make sure to follow Kiki on Instagram, @chronicallyhealed
Opinions expressed by contributors are there own and not intended to serve as medical advice. Jessica Crawford is the Director of Development at Focus on Lyme. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.