Kaitlyn Storm is a loving wife and mother of three amazing children. She spent the majority of her 20-year career as a child and youth counselor, providing counselling to children, youth, adults, couples and families.
In 2009, Kaitlyn began having health issues that developed into debilitating pain. She shares with listeners how this
developed, where it went and how she was able to help the kids cope with it.
On a morning in November 2009, Kaitlyn awoke with extreme pain in her right shoulder, and wasn’t able to move it. She went to the hospital and was sent for an ultrasound, with the issue being diagnosed as a torn tendon.
She was given steroids, anti-inflammatory mediation and had it put in a sling. Before Christmas of that year, she woke up to the same problem in her left shoulder, and in early 2010, was unable to move her whole body at times. In Fall 2010, she was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, along with a number of autoimmune diseases and fibromyalgia. With no cure for any of these, the best that can be done is managing the pain. Naturally, depression followed for Kaitlyn.
“It’s been a whirlwind”
Making the situation ever harder was the fact that Kaitlyn had been a very active individually, running and swimming daily.
“I’d never been healthier in my life than I had been in the two years leading up to this illness”
She says it’s a family diagnosis, and one that doesn’t just affect her. Her wish is that the medical system would take this into consideration as part of the treatment.
“When your health isn’t there, there’s not a single area of your life that isn’t impacted”
Kaitlyn says that the key now is to learn to live what she calls a “new normal”. The chronic illness has actually strengthened her relationships with her children, as they have become more empathetic, kind, caring and compassionate as a result.
Her role as a mother has changed in that she can no longer do the things she use to do with her children, but she’s not less in their eyes.
“Take today for where we are, and look forward”
Kaitlyn shares that 90% of illnesses are “invisible”; meaning the people that have them might not even look sick.
The “spoon theory” helped her find a way to express what she was going through. With this theory, she explains that people are given a handful of spoons to start the day, and everything done has an impact on the number of spoons you have, while also affecting the next day.
Kaitlyn can sleep for many hours, but be more exhausted when she wakes up than she did before going to bed.
Her family’s biggest frustration in life is watching her suffer and not being able to do anything to make it better.
Kaitlyn is motivated now but her ability to help others dealing with chronic pain.
“Everyone has a reason to live; feeling that you’re doing something worthwhile, that you’re contributing in some way means so much to your spirit.”
She says that the majority of things healthy people run up against in terms of health are not catastrophic, if you deal with them correctly and in a timely fashion.
“Keep your health and maintain it. If you have your health, you have a wide world open to you.”
The best way you can help others who have chronic pain is to believe them, and don’t wait for them to ask help.
“There aren’t words strong enough for what those little things can do for somebody living with chronic illness. It doesn’t take much to make a huge impact on somebody’s life.”
Kaitlyn wrote her Healing Journal as a way to help more people. She missed her career and when that was gone, felt like she lost a huge part of herself.
“We can still do what we always do wanted to do, we just have to do it differently”
He also just wrote “Calming the Anxiety Within”, as well as preparing to release a series of colouring books for adults and children that live with ADHD, pain, depression and more. She says that latest research shows that colouring is the equivalent of meditation.
www.butyoudontlooksick.com (for more information on “The Spoon Theory”)