I have always been accident prone and flexible. It wasn’t unusual for me to fall UP stairs (yes, I defy gravity) and lose balance while walking. It was commonplace for me to have an unexplained bruise, feel dizzy out of nowhere, or trip and fall outside the Superdome while walking with friends. It was fall 2021, when my tiredness felt like exhaustion, car rides were halted due to extreme nausea, any rigorous physical activity was followed by swollen joints and extreme pain. I decided to ignore my gut feeling and powered forward, despite feeling that something more was wrong. The turning point for me was unbearable joint pain caused by fluid buildup which meant limited ability to walk and stand.
Under the advisement of Dr. Courseault at Tulane, I began the journey to uncover a diagnosis that completed the missing piece of this long developed puzzle. I started physical therapy, worked with the Tulane team to help manage my pain, and scheduled an appointment with a geneticist. It was an enormous validation when I finally visited with a geneticist, who uncovered that I had Type III collagen disorder known as Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). hEDS is characterized by hypermobile joints and a deficiency in collagen (connective tissue) that results in pain and repeated injury. Not only does this diagnosis account for my clumsiness, it also helps explain some of my migraines. I also met with an allergist/immunologist and cardiologist to help address other symptoms related to EDS.
Uncovering my EDS diagnosis has been a complex and unique experience, for most it can take up to 10 or more years to receive a diagnosis. However, having the support of an understanding medical team, mental health provider, and familial support has made this journey bearable. Now that I do finally have a proper diagnosis, I have taken the initiative needed to manage the symptoms. As a mental health professional who has extensive experience with health care systems and managed care, I have learned that compassion and attention to detail can go a long way. I would advise anyone to seek the help and support needed physically and mentally to ensure that your issues are addressed and proper care is given.
Kayla has a Master’s of Health Sciences (MHS) with honors from LSUHSC New Orleans, LA. She practices in New Orleans, LA as a Licensed Professional Counselor & Supervisor (LPC-S). She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP).
Her diverse experiences as a counselor in hospitals, managed care, and private practice is what helps tailor her eclectic approach to each client. She is not married to one model and leans towards cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), emotionally focused therapy (EFT), mindfulness, and therapeutic coaching. She works with individuals and families ages 14+.
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