If you've just finished watching the Netflix documentary series Diagnosis you're probably worried about some of the patients Dr. Lisa Sanders has been helping for years. The patient featured on Episode 5 of the series was originally the subject of Dr. Sanders' New York Times column of the same name in June 2018. So, how is Lashay from Diagnosis now?
Lashay was 14-years old on a family vacation hiking the forest of Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica when a raccoon "scratched or scraped" her foot, Dr. Sanders' 2018 column said. Lashay was frightened but she wasn't bleeding. There was also no puncture wound. The area was cleaned with alcohol and Lashay seemed fine for the rest of the vacation. But when she got home symptoms began and they kept worsening.
She threw up often and couldn't keep fluids down. "It's hard for me to move around," Lashay said in a video that accompanies the Diagnosis column. "But when I do move around, my back, my stomach, like each step I take really upsets my stomach." Lashay and her parents have been seeking a diagnosis for her since 2014. She's been diagnosed with conditions like rumination syndrome and the autonomic nervous system disorder Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia syndrome (POTS) according to Dr. Sanders' column, but treatment doesn't help symptoms. Despite Dr. Sanders' help, it doesn't seem that Lashay has a diagnosis as of August 2019.
In a July 16 post on her Facebook she posted an article from The Mighty titled The Exhaustion of Fighting With Doctors for a Diagnosis with a tribute to her parents. "I can barely even talk to doctors about my symptoms and what I go through on a daily basis," the post said. She goes on to explain that her parents have been doing it for her, though she's trying to learn what it takes to navigate the health care system with a (currently) chronic illness. "...But with everything my body and my is going through it’s so hard to focus on those other things," Lashay continued.
She called her illness a "phase" in life and thanked her parents for helping her through it. But Lashay isn't letting her illness stop her from achieving her goals. New York Times readers might know she was homeschooled from reading the Diagnosis column and according to her Facebook page she's currently a Permanent Makeup Artist at Edify Permanent Cosmetics in Sandy, UT.
Recent shares on Lashay's Instagram account include senior pictures and photos taken by her mom to show off newly dyed pink hair. She and her family also don't let Lashay's mysterious illness stop them from traveling. She seems to be having a lot of fun in a post taken on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
I hope Lashay is doing all right, but that's not for me to say, even though she shares plenty of smiling pictures and motivational quotes on social media. Undiagnosed chronic illness doesn't deny her the right to have fun in addition to all of the pain and frustration her symptoms may be causing her. No emotions are mutually exclusive.
This is an aspect of living with a chronic condition that people who haven't experienced one don't often understand. I wish Lashay lots of happiness as she continues to search for the correct cause of her symptoms.