After seven years of unexplained symptoms and searching for answers, I was diagnosed with Mast Cell Disease and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) in April of 2012. My form of Mast Cell Disease is called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. It causes me to have severe allergic reactions to just about everything- down to the air that I breathe.
It has led to many lengthy hospital stays. I had 30 hospital admissions in 2012, but with each admission, I learned something that has helped me become a better person. Living with an incurable illness has really changed my perspective on life! I now know how to appreciate the little things and not take anything for granted. Life can change in an instant, and you never know what you have until its gone- like health.
Before I went downhill, I was very active in martial arts. I earned my black belt at the age of eleven, and by the time I was sixteen, I had reached the rank of third degree black belt. Tae Kwon Do was my LIFE! Even though I can’t participate anymore, I love watching my siblings in action and going to class to socialize with my friends.
In February of 2012, my parents surprised me with a Labradoodle puppy. I was always home sick, so I was thrilled to have a new companion! I named him Moose. To our amazement, Moose started alerting to my episodes when he was five months old. He alerted to my episodes on his own, without being trained to do so. Whenever I get sick or an episode is coming on, Moose will herd family members to me. It’s absolutely amazing. After several months of Moose consistently alerting and warning us of my episodes, we decided to go through training so that he could learn his “manners” and go out in public with me. He is now my medical alert dog! I love him to death and cannot imagine how differently life would be for me if I didn’t have him around.
I’ve been through a lot, but I wouldn’t change anything that has happened in the past. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. We may never know the reason for things that happen, but everything will come out okay in the end. Sometimes I see this illness as the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have met so many incredible individuals on my journey, and for that I am forever thankful. Thank you to everyone who follows me on my wild life! I love you all!
To learn more about Mast Cell Disease, you can visit: www.tmsforacure.org.
To learn more about Dysautonomia/POTS, you can visit: https://www.dinet.org/.
I am also on Instagram: @BrynnKaitlin.
Not Your Average Moose (Brynn’s Story): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSksRIQENgU.