My Story

Hey there!

You might have seen the small introduction “A Little About Me” on the sidebar, but I wanted to take an opportunity to be more personable. If you’d like to know more about me, please keep reading! For all you know, this could tell you JUST enough about me that you want to reach out and become friends – which I would completely love! The following information isn’t about reading or books, it’s simply about me and my personal life journey.

As you probably already know, my name is Phoebe. I’m a 20-year-old full-time college student seeking a degree in Mass Communications. I’m happily married and have been with my husband for nearly three years now – I am so blessed to have found my soulmate! I work as the Head Moderator for PageHabit, overseeing general questions, and organizing events within our group. I answer customer service emails and I also run all of their social media accounts. I started with this company in its original form, BooklyBox, in 2016. For a year and a half I helped curate the BooklyBox, but eventually, it was bought out by Quarterly. Once the company transitioned, I made the journey with them, and I grow to love it more and more each day. That’s all the current info, so now we’ll take a bit of a blast to the past!

In my mini introduction, you may have noticed that I said I was an Autoimmune Warrior. When I was 9 years old my health started deteriorating rapidly. On a daily basis, I struggled with pain, and over the years the symptoms just continued to get worse. I lived with extreme nausea to the point of puking without cause, blood pressure that dropped so low that it almost killed me, muscle spasms, severe dehydration, organ failure and more. If someone assessed me by my appearance, they wouldn’t think I had health issues, just that I was a bit overweight. For years my friends and family never understood what I was going through, and to this day… many still don’t. People who struggle with autoimmune diseases, often times, don’t look sick. It is an invisible disease attacking in ways that aren’t always visible to the naked eye. I personally feel that most people struggle to show compassion when they can’t physically see the pain you’re experiencing. Most people function with the subconscious ideology that “If it doesn’t look like it hurts, then it must not hurt that bad.” How wrong they are…

Trying to balance school, work, and family is far from an easy task when you’re healthy, but it is that much harder when you’re not. I have always had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, and have never had a lot of energy to work with. I’ve been told many discouraging things by doctors about my quality of life, and my life expectancy. I, however, haven’t let this stop me. Where there is God, there is a way. I respect everyone’s right to believe differently. In my own life, however, the only One who has EVER made a difference in my pain is Jesus. I rely solely on Him for comfort and saving.

Towards the end of 2016, I made a private declaration between myself and God. I told God to either heal me or allow me to die in peace and come home. A bold request, I know… I proceeded to, in faith, stop taking all 18 of my medications at once. I would later be made aware that I should not have survived this transition… stopping the medications alone, especially cold-turkey should have killed me. I knew I would experience withdrawals, and I knew that it was unwise, but I trusted God’s Will would be done. I had become desperate. Over the following four months, I began to see drastic changes in my health. Though there were a few things that concerned me (like my hair falling out) I was radically healthier.

Pause. I know what you’re thinking, “Well, of course, you got better, anyone taking 18 medications would be sick, just from the medicine alone,” so let me put those thoughts to bed. In my lifetime I have been prescribed over 40 medications, of which we have kindly declined the use of over half. We have always been very wary of the medications I took and only did so when blood tests began to show that my body was failing and I no longer had a choice. (When your lung function is down to 28% and you can’t finish a sentence without gasping, you’re left with little to no argument to refuse medication.)

Since then it has been documented that the disease has become more manageable, the cataracts that were affecting my eyesight have healed, and the Celiac’s Disease that was causing anaphylaxis has disappeared. I had accumulated over 15 diagnoses by the time I was 16 and had even been flown to Cleveland Clinic as a last stitch effort to determine why my body was attacking itself.

I am now a living and breathing testimony to God’s strength, love, and undying faithfulness. I take three medications that I was instructed by God to continue taking and have made an effort to live in harmony with the body I’ve been blessed with. I’m the proud owner of a life I never thought possible, thanks to a God who’s in the business of doing the impossible.

No matter how difficult life may get, I will always hold out hope and that, that is why I chose the Phoenix as my symbol. I always rise from the ashes.

“I’ve given my life to the only one who makes the moon reflect the sun. Every starry night was His design. I’ve given my life to the only one who gave me hope when I had none, so let His praise ring, He is everything.”

I will continue fighting the good fight and in the meantime, I will travel through the worlds of the uniquely portable magic we call books. I hope that in some way my story has touched you, and even if it hasn’t, I hope that it compels you to connect with me. I am a firm believer in the strength of connecting with others, and an even firmer believer in that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. I respect everyone’s beliefs, and opinions and I am open to respectful conversations. I want you to know that my faith is not a weapon that I would ever use to harm someone – rather, it is a deep-rooted part of who I am.

I so hope to hear from you soon, and want to thank you for taking the time to read my story!

The Reading Phoenix