The unknown truth about invisible illness is that people live with it everyday and those around them usually have no idea. You might see a girl with a big smile going about her day hiding the pain she is experiencing. Only those close to them truly know and understand their pain. Even loved ones have trouble understanding their pain. There are many conditions that fall into this category and ehlers-danlos syndrome is one of them. This is the syndrome that I have lived with for years and never truly understood until a few years ago when I went to see a geneticist. Some of the symptoms of this syndrome are chronic pain, chronic fatigue, digestive issues, frequent infections and skin problems. I was the poster child for this condition. I had every possible symptom except a heart condition. Thankfully that was the one thing I didn’t manifest even-though I did need to see a cardiologist because I had frequent fainting episodes. The day I decided to see a geneticist I knew that this expansive list of symptoms had to be related somehow and I was right. The sad truth is there is no cure or treatment for it. The most you could do is use natural alternatives, exercise, diet modifications and prescriptions to help control symptoms. I was sick of using prescriptions and had already started incorporating diet changes and natural alternatives to help me feel better. I had reached a point in my life that covering up one symptom with a prescription that caused another problem was not an option. I wanted to get rid of all the prescriptions and I was well underway by the time I saw the geneticist. She told me everything I was doing was perfect. She said to continue my diet and fitness routine, use methods of stress relief and stay hydrated. At this point I was far from healthy but my body was slowly improving day by day. I had lived with pain to the right side of my body for almost 20 years. I remember feeling excruciating pain on my right arm beginning in 8th grade. The pain and symptoms worsened into adulthood. By the time I was 30 my right arm was always numb and in severe pain. By the time I was 35 my right leg was also affected and became numb as well. Any episodes of less physical activity or fitness routine would make all the pain and numbness worse. So I focused on staying active and eating what I thought was right. I was far from truly understanding my body and the foods that were harmful but I had already identified gluten and corn as huge culprits. By the age of 39, I had undergone a bunch of surgeries and I knew that more were eminent if I didn’t find a way to heal my body. Then one day my friend Daisy, who has Multiple Sclerosis another invisible illness came back into my life. She was experiencing some of the same symptoms and had found some relief in recent years. She spoke to me about nutrigenomics and using nutrient rich supplements to impact inflammation in the body. I was absolutely intrigued but I had to research it for myself. I took several months to research oxidative stress and nutrigenomics to see if it was my answer. I also had to research the ingredients to make sure I could take it. You see with all my food sensitivities, I had to be certain before I took the leap. Then one day, I jumped. I was pleasantly surprised that my energy was improving within the first few weeks. My pain pleasantly was down to 5/10 from 8/10 within a few months. After 4 months my numbness was gone and my pain was under control. I started to truly understand my body and the right fitness routine for me. This state of less pain also helped me identify more foods that caused symptoms to arise. I had flare ups and injuries at times but nothing compared to the life of severe pain I used to live. I was finally happy in my own skin and able to enjoy the world. I no longer had to hide behind a fake smile. I had a beautiful real smile that light up the room. I started to spread my story to the world. I am here to tell you invisible illness is real. You can never truly understand it unless you live it. People that live it need compassion and support. If you know someone with an invisible illness, I urge you to share my story with them. A story of hope is always a great thing to share. It is nice to know that you aren’t alone in the world. It is nice to know someone is here to support you if you choose to change your life. I fought back and won. It is a lifelong battle but I am here to support anyone through it with love and guidance.