Sep 15, 2019

* I shared this on Facebook and Instagram but wanted to post it on my blog as well since some of you here aren’t on social media. 💚 *


I originally had the background of this in blue, but then I remembered that today starts Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week 2019!  So I of course had to change it to green. 😉  You know how diseases have a specific color/ribbon (gold is for childhood cancer, etc.)?  Well, green is for mito. 💚💚


To bring more awareness, I just wanted to share a little about how Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome affects me which is the specific mitochondrial disorder that I have (there are many types).


Because my mitochondrial DNA is getting depleted over time (mitochondria are the organelles that make energy for all the organs and cells to function properly), I have to sleep over 15 hours every day which has always been so hard, especially in the winter—I wake up when it starts getting dark and go to bed when it’s dark so I don’t get to see much daylight at all. 😔  When I don’t get enough sleep, all my symptoms get worse, especially the pain. 🙁


Speaking of pain, I get headaches everyday, have small fiber polyneuropathy in my hands and feet (which causes terrible burning, aching pain), experience abdominal pain when the GI dysmotility is even worse than usual, neck pain because of the hypertrophic arthropathy that I have due to the congenital vertebral fusion I was born with, and also pain on the bottom of my right foot due to the vascular malformation I was also born with that grew back this year (even though it was removed in 2010).  I have to tip-toe on my right foot because the mass hurts so much.  I’ve had more than 18 surgeries and have another foot surgery coming up to remove the mass once again.  I’m on really strong pain meds, but even those don’t take it all away.. 🙁


I’ve had sepsis 3 times (2016, 2017, and 2019) and septic shock once (2018).


I have a j-tube in my abdomen to flush medications through because big pills get stuck in my esophagus caused by esophageal dysmotility/weak peristalsis.  I also have a central line in my chest for IV nutrition and IV magnesium for renal magnesium wasting.


I have muscle weakness and fatigue so I have to use a wheel chair for long distances.  I have numerous eye disorders caused by mito—ptosis (drooping of the eyelids, especially when I’m really tired), external ophthalmoplegia (paralysis of certain eye muscles), and nystagmus (involuntarily “shaking” of the eyes).


I also have a mast cell disease, POTS, EDS, and Wilson’s Disease (my doctors say I’m so rare). 😔


I have centrally-mediated vertigo and also complex sleep apnea (both central and obstructive).  I have to use an adaptive-servo ventilator at night because without it, I only breath on my own 40% of the time.


I’ve left out many other medical things, but you get the gist.. 😜


As you can see, having mito has been extremely life changing and more difficult than words can explain, but I want you to know that I really and truly could not do this without Jesus.  These beautiful lyrics are by @elevationworship, and when I call on Jesus, He is there for me.  He helps me.  He restores my soul.  He gives me purpose in all of this pain. 💚💚


P.S. If you made it this far, this month also marks 2 years since I started learning how to hand letter!! ☺️  It’s been one of the best decisions ever, and I’m so glad I took Becca’s amazing online courses (@thehappyevercrafter on Instagram).  Lettering has been so therapeutic to me while I’ve been on this journey. 💚

Post written byKerissa

Check out my previous posts below

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Medical Update July 2022 ...
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This post has 8 comments

  • Hi Kerissa,
    thank you for taking the time to share this on your blog. I am one of those people that doesn’t use social media, so I appreciate you going the extra step to keep us in the loop.
    I often feel inadequate to comment – what can someone like me who has not experienced significant pain or hardship in my life share to encourage you? When I read Hebrews 11:34- those who from weakness were made strong- you come to mind. I can sort of conceptualize what it means that Jesus’ strength is made perfect in our weakness, but you teach me what it looks like in real life. You are one of the strongest people I know- because your heart is strengthened by Gos’s grace.
    I will keep praying for endurance for the race for both of us.
    With much love,
    Tiffany Chen
    PS I just bought a bunch of cards otherwise I would try out punk post right away! I’m so happy that your beautiful art can now reach a larger audience. Looking forward to giving it a try soon.

    • Hi Tiffany!

      Thank you so much for your message! That was very thoughtful of you to think of me and write. 🙂

      Yes, so true…I am so weak without the Lord’s strength. I could not go on without Him by my side! He is my strong tower.

      And that’d be so cool if you could try Punkpost out! ☺️ Don’t forget, your first card is free if you download the app in the Apple App Store. 😊 Also, you can even request certain artists in the “notes” section to write your card! You could request me OR some of my favorite fellow Punkpost artists are Alexis Sanders, Laura, Wileen, Brenna, Linda, and Kelly, etc. 💜 And also, if you want specific colors or doodles drawn, you can mention that in the notes section as well (which a lot of people don’t know about 😉).

      One more thing, haha You can type my name in the “search box” and all the cards that I designed will come up! ☺️


      • Thank you Kerissa for all the tips! I was a little lost on the punkpost website so your pointers are much appreciated. I will definitely use the notes section when I try it out!
        I’m studying 2 Thessalonians for home Bible study right now and as I was pondering 1:4, you came to mind. “therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.”
        Praising God for your endurance,

  • Dear Kerissa,

    I just went through your 2018 & 2019 blogs and my heart is deeply saddened. I didn’t realize how dreadful the mitochondrial is until now. I don’t think any my encouraging words would help but letting you know that I am your friend, a friend in Jesus Christ, willing to listen and talk.

    I am a poliomyelitis victim when three years old and now 73, a born-again Christian attending SW Hills for 12 years. I really believe there is a hope, you are still young, God could heal you. I am joining the praying team to request our Heavenly Father for healing! Kerissa, rise up and try the last resource we have – the glorious privilege Father gave to His children!

    In His Love,

    Freeman Zhao

    • Thank you so much for praying for me, Freeman! That means a lot to me. Yes, there’s hope through Jesus Christ and He is always my help and refuge!

      I hope you have a very nice time with my parents when you have lunch together in March!

      Kerissa 🙂

  • Freeman Zhao

    Hi Kerissa,

    Yesterday your godly and lovely parents and I had lunch together at Applebee’s. We had a very nice time as you had wished; it was a blessing to talk with them about you, about our faith, about our lives on the earth, and the glorious hope in Heaven.

    Weeks ago I put some Bible verses together for the Bible study a bother and I have been doing about our dear Lord Jesus. Our Lord’s suffering, humility, obedience, gentleness, and commitment are so breathtaking that we can do nothing but to love Him and worship Him. Here are the passages:

    Our Dear Lord Jesus
    1. Isaiah 9:6-7
    2. Isaiah 53:1-12
    3. Mathew 11:28-30
    4. Mathew 27:27-31
    5. Luke 23:26-43
    6. John 8:3-11
    7. 2 Corinthians 5:21
    8. Philippians 2:5-11
    9. Hebrews 4:14-16
    10. Hebrews 5:7-10
    11. Revelation 1

    Do you have other verses to add to?

    May the Lord be with you!


    • Dear Freeman,

      I’m so sorry that it took me so long to reply back. Unfortunately, I didn’t see your comment until just now. 🙁 Anyways, I’m so glad to hear that you had an encouraging time with my parents last week! 🙂

      Thank you so much for all the verses you listed here! Some of my favorite verses that are so encouraging and uplifting are James 1:12, Romans 8:28, and Philippians 1:20-21. 🙂

      I hope you are staying healthy and safe!


  • Freeman Zhao

    Thank you Kerissa! I am encouraged to know that you keep these verses as your favorite. You have been in my prayer each day.

    The LORD bless you and keep you;
    the LORD make His face shine upon you
    and be gracious to you;
    the LORD turn His face toward you
    and give you peace. (Number 6:24-26)


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