About

Hi, I’m Mandy! Thanks for stopping by!

Fuzzy socks on, sitting on my couch…my natural habitat.

A Little About Me

In July 2015, seven months after graduating college, six months after marrying the love of my life, four months after moving across the country, and three months after starting a new job, I got sick.

Sickness has been a part of my life ever since.

As much as sickness has impacted my life, it isn’t my whole life. I have other things goin’ on too!

I  love being in nature and secretly want to learn how to be a survivalist so I can escape to the mountains and hide from the world every now and then.

From our trip with my in-laws to Grand Teton National Park last summer. Who wouldn’t want to get lost in this paradise for a little bit??

 

I am an avid coffee drinker, and by that I mean I’m probably an addict. Would it be healthy for me to step away from caffeine for a little bit? …Probably. Am I going to? …Probably not.

I am obsessed with my dog, Kona (aka Woofums, Princess Pupperwoof, Sassypants, Madam Konapop…You get the idea). Isn’t she adorable?!

Just look at that sassy spotty dog! Cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

 

I enjoy cooking, and more than that, I enjoy eating! Grocery shopping gives me a little bit of a rush, and nothing makes me happier than feeding good food to people I love.

I am a Tennessee girl through-and-through (Go Vols!), but currently live in the beautiful state of Colorado. The worst part about living in Colorado is that I’m too sick to enjoy it! Hubs and I have a crazy-long list of places we want to see and hikes we want to go on and things we want to experience that only Colorado can offer, sooooo if I could hurry up and get better? Yeah, that would be great.

So #Colorado. I summitted Colorado’s highest mountain, Mt. Elbert, in August 2015 (after I began showing symptoms, but before I realized that something serious was going on…I had a temperature of about 99.5 that day…).

 

I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with my darling dearest husband. He has seen some pretty ugly sides of Mandy in the past few years, but chooses to love me anyways. Plus he gives killer foot rubs! What more could a girl ask for?

Look at that smile! What a hunk!

I am a born-again follower of Christ. That’s a pretty holy sounding title, but the truth of it is, the only holy thing about me is the God I serve. Chronic illness continues to test my faith, and honestly, some days I really struggle to be the person I know I’m called to be.

And yes, I am chronically ill and, until July 2017, I was chronically undiagnosed. I now know that what I’ve been suffering from is Chronic Lyme Disease and Co-infections (specifically Babesia, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia). It’s been a hard road to walk, and this illness has taken so many things from me along the way, but I try to focus instead on what it’s given me: a greater appreciation for the living, breathing miracle that is my body, an amazing capacity for empathy and love towards others, and a deeper understanding of what true hope looks like.

A Little About This Blog

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”       -Maya Angelou

It is rare indeed that we talk about the changes that take place to achieve beauty…or success, joy, wisdom, peace, health, or anything else worth pursuing. No, no one likes to talk about the change, because change and growth often stem from pain, struggle, and heartache. Yes, we celebrate the butterfly, but that leaves many of us caterpillars feeling less-than, unworthy, as though something is wrong with us simply because we have yet to spread our wings. This blog is my way of embracing the period of change and growth. Let’s talk about the hard and unpleasant things that are shaping us. Let’s continue to celebrate butterflies, but let’s also celebrate the process of growth and change that created them.

The Chronic Caterpillar is dedicated to those who have been affected by chronic illness, whether directly or indirectly. Here, I’ll share openly about my experiences, struggles, victories, and laughable moments in this life with chronic illness, as well as any updates on my own health. On Foodie Fridays, I’ll post spoonie-approved recipes to try at home, because I am a firm believer in the healing power of a yummy, home cooked meal. Many of us have diet restrictions, but that shouldn’t stop us from eating good food!

Ultimately, I want this blog to be a source of hope, inspiration, and community for those walking through illness. If you’re a caterpillar, you’re welcome here!

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