Fighting for my health taught me more than I ever set out to know.
I grew up eating well. My mom made homemade food, argentinian cuisine, empanadas, meat, and more. I also had a very active lifestyle. My dad was a former professional rugby player, so he raised me to be an athlete. I played competitive basketball, soccer, and volleyball from an early age, but after discovering I could sing & play guitar at 16, I left sports behind to explore my creative voice.
After high school, big music contracts landed me in Times Square 2010 to perform for 1.2M people on New Years Eve. But out of nowhere, memories of trauma came crashing in, and with it came a chronic illness, a medical mystery that baffled doctors for more than 7 years; two surgeries and seven procedures couldn't fix the swelling in my face. I was diagnosed with a non-cancerous, 'lymphatic hygroma' and told I would live with the deformity for the rest of my life.
My Battle to Survive
I did what I could to bring beauty out of, what I consider to be, the darkest time of my life.
I put my music career on hold to deal with the pain. Thanks to my Catholic upbringing, I never stopped believing that healing was possible, though I wouldn't say my journey was one of total faith. I did everything I could in my own strength to heal & bring strength to my body.
I spent my twenties in and out of gyms and hospitals. I deep-dived into weight-lifting & yoga, dieting & cleansing, and tried all kinds of Eastern & Western medicines and practices to heal what had become 60+ symptoms of PTSD, including body dysmorphia and an eating disorder,.
None of this healed me, though I learned vital self-care routines and wellness expertise that landed me a career writing for health & fitness magazines in 2015.
My frustration grew the harder I worked to heal; nothing seemed to work. Hopelessness led to addiction, which eventually made me feel even more distanced from society. I craved normalcy, a sense of belonging, and hope.
In 2016, I took up running with a unique group in downtown LA called, The Skid Row Running Club, comprised of recovering homeless men & women living in the Midnight Mission, LAPD officers, attorneys, Netflix employees, creatives and regular people like me. We were led by Craig Mitchell, Superior Court Judge of LA. It was with the homeless that I finally felt free to be myself. We bonded over the brokenness of our stories but pushed on to make something beautiful with the pain.
In March 2017, I finished the LA Marathon alongside my Skid Row friends. The group was filming a documentary at the time, which is what inspired me to step out and share my story & my struggle. I released a short film about my life called, "The Coverup Girl" which gave voice to my pain. Miracles followed, though not the one I'd been wishing for. My medical debt was forgiven by UCLA, extended family members reached out to support me, and the swelling in my face went down significantly. Still, I hungered for more: total freedom from pain.
Making the most of a miracle
Getting sued triggered a series of events that led me straight to the throne room, hungry for a miracle. I prayed more in those three months than I did in 30 years.
As brilliant as my journey was through world's best remedies & recipes for strength and healing, nothing worked. In 2018, still plagued with symptoms, my dad brought a lawsuit against me for sharing my story. But in a radical turn of events, I won the lawsuit and everything changed. Something about feeling defended made my craving for freedom even stronger, and as my depression, addiction, and anxieties rised up, so did my prayer life.
I left puddles of tears on the floor of my kitchen most days in 2019, praying, crying, and asking God to fix my life. I felt intense hatred over what my life had become, and deep despair over how hard I needed to work to manage all my symptoms of trauma. I prayed more in those three months than I did in 30 years. I can't explain how relief entered my soul, but I was finally able to heal. The more I prayed, the more joy returned to me, though life circumstances remained the same. My hunger for healing, the hatred and vengeance I surrendered, and the curiosity that led me on to keep praying for a miracle, "GOD FIX IT!" helped bleed out my pain and a strange euphoria entered my life. Finally, for my birthday that year, I made the choice to go all in with Jesus, to believe wholeheartedly in who he was, and is. I was was re-baptized on my 30th birthday, just a few months later, every single symptom of trauma disappeared! I was no longer oppressed by the mysterious swelling on my face. The lymphatic hygroma and the scar tissue from past procedures were completely gone. 60+ symptoms of PTSD, body dysmorphia, addiction, and anxiety were healed.
I remember waking up one day and nothing bothered me. I couldn't believe it. I never knew such radical healing existed, and in all the years of what I did to try to find healing, it was in stopping trying and simply being with Jesus in my prayer time that did.
Re-discovering Fatih, Health & Wellness
As cliche as it sounds, I'm thankful for the journey and all it taught me. I gained incredible tools, like how to eat & workout well, how to nurture the mind/body connection and thrive as a human being, knowledge I still share through the projects I take on through writing and coaching. All of these 'natural' tools have helped create the lifestyle I have now and helps me stay at my best emotionally, mentally, and physically. But in the end, it was God's 'supernatural' tools that unlocked my total recovery.
My journey toward chronic wellness has left me unexplainably optimistic about the problems we face in today's world. It's taught me to believe that anything is possible when we partner natural solutions with God's supernatural power. It just takes faith to hear the heartbeat of the Father, and courage to then go out and work hard to bring about radical, unexplainable change where it's most needed.