Eight years ago, while sitting in a high school science class, my whole world turned upside down. In an instant, something that was so fundamental to human life, something “automatic,” ceased to function. I couldn’t breathe.
I was sucking in as big a breath as possible with no respite, feeling as if I were drowning on dry land. Panicked, I looked around, trying to identify such a strange feeling. After a few minutes, the feeling subsided, and with it, my fears.
But a few days later, it happened again. And again. And again. I was rushed to an emergency room, and underwent every test in the book, with all of them returning negative. It was a strange feeling to experience something so uncomfortable without answers or solutions. It was a feeling that I, unfortunately, would become all too used to.
This was the beginning of a two-year-long journey into the healthcare world that I never expected. It has shaped who I was, who I am, and what I now dedicate my work to.
After that day in class, my definition of normal changed. New, unexplainable symptoms would pop up daily. Blood tests replaced math tests and hospital waiting rooms replaced school dances. Each week, I’d be bounced from provider to provider, with no one knowing what was wrong.
- Pulmonology thought it was cardiology’s problem
- Cardiology thought it was neurology’s problem
- And on and on and on
It is difficult to explain the social and emotional isolation associated with living with an undiagnosed illness. Friends wouldn’t know what to say, family members wouldn’t know how to act around me, and even interactions with providers felt combative at best.
For two years, I searched three states and five health systems for answers. Finally, I found one: POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). While a great relief to finally have answers, I soon found myself frustrated by the lack of understanding of this class of condition. Even the most advanced health systems in the world resorted to trying different treatments out and hoping for the best, waiting months to measure results.
After years of trial and error I eventually found a regimen that worked for me. While relived, I couldn't shake this nagging feeling; even with the ability to see some of the world's leading specialists, it still took years to decipher my condition. Why was it so difficult?
Despite wanting to find a way out of the world of healthcare for so long, I felt drawn back to it, this time as someone looking to improve the lives and experiences of patients who walked a similar path to mine.
Over the past year, I’ve been searching for ways to provide respite for those who are currently experiencing what I did all those years ago. Today, I’m immensely proud to be building Pathize Health, a health analytics platform that helps patients suffering from Long COVID, ME, CFS, and other chronic illnesses manage their care. Backed by Drive Capital, a leading investment firm in the Midwest, we hope to use our products to ease the burden of managing a chronic condition.
At the end of the day, our mission is simple: Be there for our patients when they need it the most. This fight is challenging. It is far from simple. But we will be there every step of the way, through all the ups and downs.
We’re hoping to test an early version of Pathize with a small group of users in early February. If you or anyone you know is interested in testing, please sign up for our waitlist here.
Pathize is the complete long covid care platform. Integrate hundreds of wearables, record your symptoms, and derive insights.
If that sounds helpful to you, sign up below to be notified of when our app is available.