Strength To Heal: Hallie

Name + a little bit about yourself:

My name is Hallie Schiff. I have a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) with a passion for pediatrics and health education. I’m often thinking about ice cream, dogs, and whatever mystery or fantasy novel I’m reading at the time. I am currently disabled by multi-systemic complications of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare condition that affects connective tissue, primarily the skin, joints, and blood vessel walls.

I share some of my experiences with chronic illness on Instagram, @flyingthroughit, in order to connect with others and to educate the public about chronic illness and disability. 

How old were you when you were diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

I was diagnosed with EDS at 25 years old, despite showing clear signs since birth and seeking medical care for related issues beginning at 11 years old. Delayed diagnosis is unfortunately very common due to poor physician awareness of EDS.

How has EDS impacted your day-to-day life?

EDS has changed every aspect of how I live my life, especially over the last few years with a steep decline. Out of necessity, I have learned to listen to my body’s needs and to prioritize rest and recovery. I went from being a full-time pediatric PT, hiking and practicing aerial acrobatics in my free time, to spending the majority of my time at home laying down, unable to remain in an upright position for long enough to work, drive, cook a full meal, or leave home to socialize. Despite my decrease in function and activity, I have become stronger, more compassionate, and learned to appreciate the little things in life.

What are some things that you do that help provide relief?

I use a combination of ice, heat, compression (thank you!!), braces/splints, topical creams, targeted exercises, general movement, breathing techniques, massage, meditation, supportive pillows, dietary changes, and medication as directed by my physicians.

In addition to relieving pain, compression is also important for helping me with my coordination and regulating my autonomic nervous system dysfunction.

How has Copper Compression helped you?

Copper Compression has helped me manage pain in various joints with comfortable, compressive garments. The Wrist Sleeve with an Adjustable Strap helps stabilize my wrists and reduce pain with daily tasks. The Long Arm Gloves help my arms recover from pain and soreness overnight, and particularly came to the rescue to help me manage pain and weakness in my arms after a hospital stay left me with multiple blown veins that were slow to heal.

Do you have any advice for people who are dealing with the same thing?

Even in the hardest times, there’s always joy to be found in the little things - a cup of tea, a favorite movie, a sunny day, an accomplishment that feels big for you even if it seems small to others. Noticing these things won’t fix all the big challenging things going on, but it can give you something to smile about and look forward to on even the hardest days.

Connect With Hallie 

If you would like to learn more about Hallie, you can follow her story on her Instagram, @flyingthroughit. She also runs an Etsy store, GravityWellApparel