Health

Teen Opens Up About Living With Chronic Illness

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Darcey KellyDarcey Kelly

Darcey Kelly is only expected to live up to 40 years, but that hasn’t stopped the Hertfordshire, England teen from attending university and pursuing a full personal life.

Kelly has the most severe form of Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (VEDS), a disorder that causes overly flexible joints, weak and stretchy skin as well as a weakened arteries and organs, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Kelly’s bones regularly dislocate, causing her daily pain. “On a bad day I can’t get [up] because I’ve dislocated like 10 things getting out of bed; on a good day I might get six dislocations. The other day I was trying to get out of bed and my hip came out, so then I fell over and my shoulder came out,” she told The Tab. 

Kelly also has to wear compressing clothes when she goes out drinking, but she tries to stay physically active, despite her limitations. She’s been practicing Muay Thai for eight years and refused to stop when she was diagnosed with the condition two years ago, despite the fact that doctors believe VEDS will significantly shorten her lifespan. 

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“I don’t really listen to that – you get told you’ll be in a wheelchair by 18 but I’m still strolling around absolutely fine…ish,” she said, according to Daily Mail.

VEDS also makes it difficult for Kelly to recover from injuries - the freshman was also seriously injured when she was assaulted outside of a club. “I was passing an alley way when I got thrown to the ground and stamped on, and then someone found me and took me to hospital and I had wires coming out of every part of me,” she explained. 

“My ribs had come out, my shoulder had come out, my jaw came out, everything came out. And then I couldn’t scream or anything because of my jaw so I had to just lie there and take it. At the start term I looked like I’d been run over by a truck.”

Kelly says a sense of humor in every situation, even the most intimate ones, helps her cope. “It can have an awkward moment say if my hip pops out mid sex and I’m like ‘erm, oops.’ I usually laugh and the guy thinks he’s done something wrong but really it’s because I dislocated an elbow or some s----,” she explained.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, The Tab, Daily Mail / Photo credit: The Tab

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