The Blogger Recognition Award

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The Blogger Recognition Award comes to me from  SpoonieMom from A Spoonie’s Tale. Thank you so much for nominating me for this award.

Rules-and-regulations

The rules of this award are:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Write a post and display the award.

3. Share in your post a brief history of how your blog started.

4. Give advice to new bloggers.

5. Nominate other bloggers you feel deserve the award.

6. Let each blogger know that you have nominated them.

 

How it all began

I started  Undiagnosed Warrior as more of a personal journal that friends and family could read as a way to keep up with my search for a medical diagnosis. Although I had been searching for a diagnosis fto my unexplained symptoms for about  five or so years prior, although it was to a much smaller extent than what was eventually going to come with starting my care at one of the top-rated hospitals in the country. Even beforehand, though,  I had spent much of my childhood and teenage years going from doctor to doctor  but had been met with a great deal of opposition from the medical community since I was a young, highly productive female with nonspecific symptoms that varied substantially from day-to-day – and from one year to next. Nevertheless, I had never imagined that my blog would turn into what it has over the last year and a half, nor did I think my blog would lead me to all the opportunities it has, such as becoming a part of an amazing community and being able to “meet” so many strong, intelligent individuals who had gone through exactly what I had gone through. Essentially, the Undiagnosed Warrior Blog has taught me how to not only advocate for myself but for others as well. It gave me the ability to learn and seek out more information. It provided me support when I felt alone. Ultimately, it’s what led the way to my diagnosis – actually, multiple diagnoses – some of which were so rare that I’m not sure any of them would have  been found without the help of everybody in the blogging community and on the Facebook support pages. So thank you!

It’s because of this blog and my followers that I continue to remain strong and I’m determined to bring awareness to the injustices and difficulties that result from the current state of our medical systems. It’s not in our heads and our symptoms are real –  we will prove it! (although it’s a shame that we have to…)


I am not a “professional blogger” by any means, so really the only advice I can share is to keep telling your story – to anyone or anybody that will listen. Personally, I think  the more we talk about chronic, invisible, or undiagnosed illnesses , the more likely  other people will begin to understand where we’re coming from and how hard life truly is for all those who are suffering. With time, my hope is that the stigma of chronic illness or pain will be removed from society and we’ll gain additional support us in nearly the same way that the public has become tolerant of other forms of illness or disability.

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Again, huge shout out to Spoonie Mom from  A Spoonie’s Tale. When you get a moment, check out her blog as she offers such good information about living with a chronic illness and how to make self-care important.


I would like to nominate the following blogs for the Blogger Recognition Award.

(Of course, they are under no obligation to participate.)

  1. Finding Life’s Silver Sun
  2. crazyphatmommy
  3. MSnubutterflies
  4. Kelly Alive
  5. fibronacci
  6. Midnight Knitter
  7. Polishing Dookie
  8. Strange Label
  9. SassaFrassTheFeisty
  10. WorktheDream

 

The Encouraging Thunder Award

Gabrielle at (Not) Another Lupus Blog nominated me for the Encouraging Thunder award, which recognizes blogs that are inspiring and encouraging to their readers. I am so grateful for the recognition that Undiagnosed Warrior has received and this truly is a great honor, especially from such a talented and amazing blogger. encouraging-thunder-award

If you have the chance, definitely take a peek at (Not) Another Lupus Blog. It is full of valuable information about managing Lupus and living life in general that is extremely witty, yet eloquent, in writing.

How the Encouraging Thunder Award works:

(In your post, you should talk about your purpose in blogging.)

My Purpose:

When I started Undiagnosed Warrior in March of 2015, I had just received acceptance to the major research hospital in Denver, Colorado and I thought blogging would be a great way to document my own personal journey while keeping both my friends and family updated as to the happenings – it’s tiring to repeat the same story over and over, so I thought to myself – why not?

I had lived with this undiagnosed illness since childhood and there were multiple times throughout my life that I had reached out to the medical community for help – to try and find answers as to what was wrong with me – although those answers never came. For the five years prior to acceptance with the research hospital, I had seen doctor after doctor, but only minimal testing was ordered (often the same standard tests) and it seemed as if no one believed me or my symptoms because all my test results continued to come back normal. At times, I’d leave the doctor’s offices in tears because of how they would treat me.

At my wits end and completely discouraged about my future, I decided to write the hospital a letter, begging for help. I knew this was going to be my last shot at ever finding out what was behind this illness that had wreaked havoc all throughout my life. My symptoms had suddenly increased unexpectedly not long before I reached out to them after they had been relatively consistent for a long time. At this time, I knew something was terribly wrong and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how much further my health would decline. It was now or never: I was going to prove that I was sick or I would die trying. There were no others options. In a beautifully morbid way, this blog is my legacy.

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I had never blogged before – still don’t know a thing about it, but I figured I’d learn along the way. I never expected anyone to actually read it, except for maybe the individuals that I was closest to. Hell, even some of the people I thought were very close to me didn’t show much interest in my illness. Nor did my doctors, apparently. It was a very unexpected surprise that other people not only followed along with my blog and my story, but they seemed to like it as well. What a humbling compliment – That I (a nobody in the scheme of this giant world) could either help or inspire an infinite number of people by doing such a simple and easy task. All I can say is WOW and thank you.

Most of all, without this blog and all the amazing people I have met because of this site, I don’t know if I’d have the  same amount of courage or willpower to continue this fight. Because of all of you (my readers) that I am as close as I’ve ever been to understanding and knowing the mystery plaguing me for as long as it has.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And thank you again to (Not) Another Lupus Blog for nominating me for the Encouraging Thunder Award.

And now it’s time for to pay it forward.

Here are some bloggers who I personally idolize for sharing their story:

  1. CarrotsinMyCarryon: Blogging about life, love, work, and spirituality, all while sharing an honest account of her long-standing battle with food.
  2.   Indisposed and Undiagnosed: Another insightful blog about what it’s like to be a  medical mystery and the struggles of day to day life when you’re sick with a chronic invisible illness.
  3. Itsapotslife: Blog that features incredible resources for tips on the ins and outs of having a diagnosis postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
  4. the myasthenia kid: Another great blogger who also knows what it is like to wait a long time for a diagnosis but finally discovered that she has POTS, EDS, and severe autonomic dysfunction (perhaps other things). Very encouraging and helpful blogger.
  5. Simply danLrene: Yet another inspiring blogger who has been affected by chronic illness, but always both so encouraging and enlightening in her posts about life and her hopes for the future.

Of course, I follow a number of special and encouraging blogs and I always find it hard to select just a few for awards. Please don’t take it personal, there’s always next time.

If I nominated you and if you choose to accept the award, here are the rules:

When you get this award, you can:

  • Post it and the logo on your blog
  • Pay it forward by nominating others

You cannot:

  • Abuse or misuse the logo
  • Claim the logo is your own

If you receive the award you should:

  • Give thanks via comments and likes in the blog of the person nominating you
  • Mention the person who nominated you in your award blog
  • Discuss your purpose in blogging in your award blog

The Awesome Food Award

Huge thanks to Emily from Fearfully Wonderfully Me for nominating me for this award. If you get time, check out her blog. Full of variety and inspiration, which I love.

Although you all know I have had issues with food and eating since childhood due to my condition, I do LOVE food… or at least the idea of it. So what a fun

The rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Answer the 10 questions provided
3. Come up with 10 more questions that relate to food
4. Nominate 10 people

My answers to the questions:

Coke or Pepsi?

I used to be addicted to diet coke but randomly one day my body decided it didn’t like carbonation. No idea why. But I am a slave to what my body likes or doesn’t like.

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How do you like your pizza?

I grew up in New England, so there is only one type of acceptable pizza. NY style, plain. No need for toppings when it’s THAT good. 
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If you were a food, what would you be?

I guess since currently the only thing I’m tolerating  well is Kind Bars, I must be granola.


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What is your family’s favorite recipe/dish?

Oh, there’s so many but the most asked for has got to be my mother’s chicken. She taught me the recipe just days before she passed away. Unfortunately, I never ever make it because I can’t eat it, but it is absolutely the best I’ve ever had. People would line up at our house if they got wind that she was making it. She’d have to fry at least 10 lbs. at a time.

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Ice cream or cake?

Cupcakes… which is cake, but better.

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What do you like to eat for breakfast?

Refer to above. download (2)

If you were a farmer, and could only grow one crop, what would it be?

This is a tough one. But I was president of my FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter my senior year, but I went to the aquaculture school. We only raised fish and other marine life. But if you were in FFA, you’ll get this:

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(see how I dodged that question…)

Are you (or have you ever been) vegetarian/vegan?

Sometimes, but only by default. dont-eat

Do you have any food allergies?

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Write a short poem/Haiku on a food item of your choice

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I nominate:

Here are your Questions:

  1. If you had to pick one food and one food only to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. If your life was a food, what kind would it be?
  3. What kind of food relates to your heritage?
  4. What food is your guilty pleasure?
  5. Which food do you turn to when you’re sad?
  6. How about when you’re sick?
  7. What do you think is the best food  to throw in a food fight?
  8. Apple, cherry, pumpkin, or blueberry pie?
  9. Hot chocolate sauce or caramel sauce on icecream?
  10. Write a short poem/Haiku on a food item of your choice. (Sorry Emily,  had to keep this one).

Have fun everyone! And please be sure to let me know when you’ve posted your answers.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

A big thank you to Sandy from Sandycademy for nominating me for

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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The rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award are to nominate eleven people and to ask eleven questions.

Here are my answers:

What is the most important thing to you? 

My husband and my “family” of pets. They are with me day in-out and day-out. They support me in my best and love me at my worst. My dogs snuggle me when I’m sick or in pain, and they never judge me for being ill. However, without my husband, there’s no way that I could continue to keep fighting and searching for a diagnosis all these years. He is my strength.

If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be? 

Anywhere with a beach. I miss the ocean! I miss the smell of the sea air when the wind blows, the warmth of sand between my toes, and the taste of salt on my skin. It reminds me of all the good times in my life.

What’s your favorite thing about blogging? 

Being able to share my story with those who are interested in “listening” and being able to connect with others who go through similar challenges related to both mental and physical illness. It’s given me more empathy to others and the understanding that although our chronic conditions may not be the same, we often struggle with some of the same experiences or feelings. Not to mention, all the love and  support I receive from people who TRULY understand what it’s like to be me.

What’s your favorite thing about yourself? 

My ability to be persistent, despite other’s trying to shut me down or discredit my feelings. When I was young, I gave up too easily and let other’s walk all over me. I’ve been through a lot in life, perhaps more or less than others, but what I’ve learned in this journey is that the only one who will fight for my life is me and I’m not willing to let it go that easily anymore.

What has been your biggest challenge in life so far? 

Learning not to get overwhelmed when everything seems like its falling apart. Although I don’t give up on my quest by any means, I often get frustrated and angry with the process. I know it’s normal to react to this amount of stress, I just wish it wouldn’t bother me as much.

Do you believe in love at first sight? 

Not love at first sight per say, but the initial feelings that come deep from your gut that tell you that this person has come into your life because they are exactly what you need. That you both met at the right time and in the right place; and now that you have them, there is absolutely no way you could ever let them go.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

I use to be a huge “planner”. I had so many goals and dreams, but the one thing you learn very quickly from chronic illness (especially when the illness advances within a short period of time) is that you never know what to expect from day to day, let alone make any type of plans. Plus, being sick changes your dreams anyway. For instance, I used to dream of having a successful career so I could buy a nice house on a huge plot of land so that I could rescue a ton of animals. Now, I just want to be alive… and  have a confirmed diagnosis, the ability to manage my symptoms, and have a decent quality of life. I also want to bring awareness to the problems that are created by doctors in leaving patients without a diagnosis, while hopefully helping others along the way.

How many languages do you speak? 

Fluently, only English. I’ve taken classes in Latin, Spanish, and Chinese but I never retained any of it. I wish I spoke Russian, though.

What do you think is your best post so far? Link it. 

My favorite post thus far has been The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had because it’s so raw and real to the emotional pain and all the frustrations that come with being so sick for so long, without ever knowing why.

What’s your favorite quote? 

I love all inspirational quotes in general. However, many years ago I came across the following and vowed to live by these words, both in life and in love. When you’re young, it easy to be selfish and less understanding of other’s feelings. Now I work to treat others how I expect to be treated and build up others whenever I can because I know what it’s like to feel pain.

Maybe...giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don’t expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but if it doesn’t, be content that it grew in yours. Maybe . . you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy. Maybe . . we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift. Maybe . . when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, often times, we look so long at the closed door that we don’t even see the new one which has been opened for us. Maybe . . it is true that we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives. Maybe . . the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. Maybe . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can’t go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures, and heartaches. Maybe . . you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do. Maybe . . there are moments in life when you miss someone — a parent, a spouse, a friend, a child, your girlfriend/boyfriend — — so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more. Maybe . . the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had. Maybe . . you should do something nice for someone every single day, even if it is simply to leave them alone. Maybe . . happiness waits for all those who cry, all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have touched their lives. Maybe . . you shouldn’t go for looks; they can deceive; don’t go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one who makes your heart smile. God determines who walks into your life….it’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go. Most relationships tend to fail not because the absence of love. Love is always present. It’s just that one was being loved too much and the other was being loved too little..”

If you could recommend one fellow blogger for me to follow, who would it be and why?

This is such a hard decision as there are so many great blogs that I follow that provide different knowledge and experience. But I do agree with Sandy in choosing Indisposed and Undiagnosed. Not only is her blog well written, but she has long been searching for an accurate diagnosis as well and it’s easy for me to relate to her on a personal level because of both the pain created by her symptoms and the problems she has endured navigating the healthcare system.

Here are my 11 nominees (in no particular order):

  1. Indisposed and Undiagnosed
  2. Finding Life’s Silver Lining
  3. Carrots in My Carryon
  4. itsapotslife
  5. The Medical Student
  6. it’s{pos}able.
  7. Living to thrive
  8. Dear Hope
  9. Chronically Sarah Lynn
  10. sunshinesbeauty
  11. Diary of a POTS Girl

Answer the same questions as me…Congrats everyone! 🙂

The Infinity Dreams Award

Humbled and blessed by another award. I’m still in awe every day of the individuals who read and offer support through my blog, let alone being nominated for these awards. A huge thank you to Emily from Fearfully Wonderfully Me for nominating me to receive The Infinity Dreams Award. Emily is always so encouraging and thoughtful in her words. Definitely check out her blog,  Fearfully Wonderfully Me , as she eloquently writes about her faith has influenced both her life and her chronic condition. Her blog is truly fabulous because of the eclectic nature included in her blog, such as fashion, cooking, inspiration, and relationships. Thanks again, Emily!

Okay, so here are the rules for the award:

  • Thank and link to the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 questions

My Answers to Emily’s Questions:

(In pictures, because I like pictures)

1. Would you rather be a ninja, fairy, or mermaid?

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2. What is the last thing you ate?

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3. Cats or dogs (or both)?

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4. Do you wear glasses/contacts?

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5. Star Wars or The Hunger Games?

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6. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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7. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever gotten?

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8. What’s your least favorite color?

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9. What’s your favorite book?

PostSecret

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10. Do you like roller coasters?

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11. What is the most fun thing you’ve done this summer?

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And my nominees are:

Here are your questions:

(and no, they don’t have to be done with pictures)

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

2. What is your favorite quote?

3. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

4. Are you a morning person or night person?

5. What is your favorite childhood memory?

6. Which store could you max out your credit card with?

7. Ever meet anyone famous before?

8. Is the cup half empty or half full?

9. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

10. What cause would you like to bring the most awareness to?

11. Any exciting new and exciting news you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share.