POTS, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome &
May Thurner Syndrome
From Brisbane, Australia
My name is Angel Crowden and I’m a 22-year-old female living with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and May Thurner syndrome.
I have just started my health journey, only being diagnosed over the past few years. I had many challenges being diagnosed, however am now grateful to have an explanation for the way I feel physically. I am a mum of two young children - Flynn and Lily. My two children have gifted me with a unique perspective on living with a chronic illness, as I have had to balance those challenges with motherhood.
After seeing the impact my chronic illnesses have had on my life, I feel inspired to raise awareness for my illnesses as well as promote the importance of being your own advocate when interacting with the medical system.
My journey to diagnosis was not easy. I faced a health care system that treated me like I was making stories up when I presented to the hospital with chest pain.
I remember being that scared that I was going to die because no one knew what was wrong with me. I even wrote goodbye letters to my children, husband and family and hid them in case I died during the night or just collapsed one day and never got back up. I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like to think like that.
I hope by sharing my story I can help motivate people to take a stand when they feel like a doctor/nurse/specialist isn’t listening and that if they feel like no one is listening then to go and find another medical professional who will.
Managing motherhood and illness has been challenging - balancing both the care needs of my two children and myself. I have truly learnt the importance of having a strong support system, as I feel like it would have been almost impossible to survive without mine! This has motivated me to also provide that support through sharing my experiences and being a part of the Wellness Empowerment Movement.
Having an invisible illness is hard. I find one of the hardest parts is trying to get others to understand that even though they may not be able to see physical signs of my illness it does not mean I am fine. Really, on the inside things are a bit of a mess!
Another massive challenge I have faced is the unpredictability of my body. One moment I can be walking, playing with my children and having a great time and then within seconds I would be crippled to the ground - sitting on the shower floor in tears wishing that I could feel better. I cannot even remember the last time I was able to shower standing up without passing out. I no longer take any of the little things for granted.
My chronic illnesses have taken a toll on my relationships and mental health. I don’t think people realise how much they take their health for granted, I know I did until I became like this. I am slowly finding ways to improve my quality of life. Every spare moment I am searching for new ways to make life with illness easier; mentally, emotionally and physically.
I am most looking forward to using the power of sharing my story to support and advocate for others in similar situations to me.