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I Never Imagined My Life Turning Out This Way

I had typical American dream goals that I wanted to achieve before I turned 30: Go to college. Become a CPA. Get married. Buy a house. Have 2 kids. Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine going through what I have gone through before I turned 30: dealing with adulthood asthma, being diagnosed with lupus, being diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, being diagnosed with and then later healed from a pituitary tumor, my health becoming so poor I would be unable to work for 13 months, struggling to rebuild my career after that medical leave, still single, don’t own a home.

Dealing with invisible chronic illness as a young adult has had its unique challenges. I look normal on the outside, and since people my age are usually healthy, it is hard for them to understand that I could actually be that sick or that my limitations are real and not laziness. The mentality that you have to look sick in order to be sick caused a delay in me getting a diagnosis because doctors would not listen to me, has prevented or hindered me from being able to get the help that I needed at times because people thought I was faking my illness and has strained friendships and relationships. College is supposed to be a time of transitioning into adulthood, enjoying new-found freedom, and preparing for your career. I went through 2 near-death experiences during my undergrad and almost didn’t live to see my graduation (though I will say that made getting my degree that much more victorious). I didn’t get a chance to start my career before sickness forced me to stop working. Now that I have returned to the working world, I have struggled to find the balance between my actual job and my job as a “professional patient.” As I watch more and more of my friends get married and start families, I wonder if I will ever find a husband that is willing to accept that we may have more sickness than health and that we may not be able to have biological kids. My twenties should have been about having my whole life ahead of me, chasing my dreams, establishing my career, and enjoying my youth. In reality, my twenties have been about survival: fighting to live and fighting to have a future.

A Life Unimagined is about my journey with invisible chronic illness. I invite you to join me as I tell my story: the ups, downs, victories, lessons learned, wrestling with my faith, and finding joy in the midst of it all.

Proverbs 3:5-6



  • Barbara

    Your story was very interesting. And from what i read, you are a suvivor. You are a inspiration to other people out there that are going through some rough times. I loved the way you add a bible verse at the end. That is one of my favorites. And it so true. You will find love, i believe in that.I believe there is always someone for everyone. Your knight in shining armor is out there waiting on you and to take you to be hus queen. It will hapoen, just stay positive and keep the faith.

    • Amy Martinez

      I am glad you liked that verse. I can’t wait to meet my knight in shining armor 🙂

  • Alice M. Smith

    Amy, I can totally understand your situation. Although I was not diagnosed with as many ailments as you have been, there is at least one that was ‘spoken over me’ (I say that because I refuse to accept that this is the final word)—-one of those as well that is not readily visible. Yet, it has been a challenge for me to lead the once normal lifestyle that I enjoyed for most of my years on this side of Heaven. I was blessed indeed to have had very few health problems during those years. As I’ve aged, however, and perhaps because I have been too much of a workaholic all my life, the consequences have manifested now. But I do not lose hope, because I know in Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep ALL that I have committed to Him—including my health and my daily provision after having been unemployed and underemployed for almost two years. He is FAITHFUL and also will do it! Be encouraged, Amy!

    • Amy Martinez

      One of the many things that God has shown me in this season is that He always provides. Maybe not always the way we want it, but always what we need. He has provided for me even when it seemed impossible.

  • Pam Adams

    I have lupus and heart problems . I get the same lazy playing just so I don’t work. From friends family . I just deal

    • Amy Martinez

      Our struggles are so hard to understand if you do not go through them yourself. I hope you have people in your life who do understand you are not lazy.

  • Amber

    Amy, I pray that your life gets easier to understand (because God does have a plan for you) and that you are healed from so many unknowns that are happening. You are brave for sharing

  • Holly

    Chronic illnesses can be so hard for others to understand! You have taken a tough time and turned it into a learning experience for others! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  • Magan

    I’m so thankful for people who are willing to share their stories and bring some inspiration and courage to those who are currently going through some of those same experiences. Kudos to you for being so brave!

  • Beth

    I have a son who struggles with some seemingly invisible health issues. We will be cheering you on!

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you! I am cheering your son on as well.

  • Lucy

    Wow! Life definitely throws it’s curve balls at us which are sometimes difficult to understand. But I’m so happy that you are overcoming your struggles! Keep fighting!! 💪

    • Amy Martinez

      Life definitely throws some wild curveballs. Thank you for the encouragement.

  • Jennifer

    It’s not easy with chronic illness. It’s not easy when gps don’t listen. But, you have the resolve to keep on going and finding a way to manage your health. It’s okay to be single. You don’t know what can be around the corner for you.

  • Heather

    Great article. I think regardless if one has a chronic illness or not, a lot of people can relate to their life not turning out how they expected. By sharing your story, you can help those who feel the same way.

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you. I hope my story can encourage those in similar situations.

  • Robin

    Wow you have been through some trials! So glad you are speaking about them and helping others 🙂

  • Amy Irvin

    I have a mental illness that people don’t understand, so I relate in some way. I look normal and only people who are close to me know that I struggle. You have a great blog here. Thanks for sharing your story. I pray blessings over you and your venture!

    • Amy Martinez

      Thanks for the encouragement. I pray blessings over you too!

  • Sydney Delong

    Thank you for being willing to share your story. The struggles you have been through and are currently going through can relate to so many others, and I think you can end up helping those!

  • Angela

    I can relate on many levels here with my autoimmune ds. It’s so hard to get basic things done when you are in pain. Keep taking care of yourself & keep stress away where you can

  • Maria

    I think that the biggest life lesson we all have to learn is that life rarely goes as we plan. I wish you all the best on your journey.

  • Charlene

    Your story is so inspiring! Life never seems to go as planned, does it?

    • Amy Martinez

      That is so true. I do not know one person who’s life went exactly as planned.

  • Lisa Manderino

    As I was reading the comments I thought of one important thing. You are not alone! Sometimes chronic illness can make feel so isolated and misunderstood but knowing there are others who are going through the same thing is kind of comforting. Learning how others get through and pushing through the hard times.

    • Amy Martinez

      Everyone’s sweet comments have reminded me of that as well. Although I have never been alone, I have had moments when I do feel alone.

  • Lora Rovegna

    What a story! While I didn’t have any physical ailments in my younger years, I did deal with a lot of emotional stuff that I now realize stunted the growth of my personal life and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. The good news is that it is never too late to begin having the life you want.

  • Katherine Wolfe

    My husband also has a chronic illness and he says the same thing a lot because there are areas that it has held him back. But, he also says that there are positive things that have come as a result of his illness. Blessings to you on your journey!

    • Amy Martinez

      One thing that keeps me going is looking for the positives and always finding something to be grateful for not matter how hard things get.

  • Malia

    Wow, what a curveball life threw at you! Way to be a survivor with a remarkable story to share.

  • Tara

    You have such an important story to share; good for you! As a person who has suffered from Lyme disease I fully understand how one could look “the picture of health” and feel awful on the inside. I’m glad you are willing to share your journey with others…it will certainly serve as a source of encouragement and perspective.

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you. It also encourages me that my story can help others in some way.

  • Cindy

    You are definitely a survivor. My daughter has had similar types of struggles with health and it can really throw you a life curveball. Good for you for persisting and sharing your story with others.

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you. I wish your daughter the best in her journey as well.

  • Jen

    I love that you quoted Prov 3:5-6 at the end of your post. The lens of Scripture is the one we must choose to look through… living with chronic illness is not easy. Your words really resonates w me. Thank you and I look forward to following along.

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you for following along with me. I am glad you like the verse at the end.

  • Stacey Billingsley

    I’m sorry you have to live with this. Your determination is inspiring! Your story will help others that are facing these diseases.

  • Amy Martinez

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and encouragement. They mean a lot to me. Sickness tends to try to makes us think that we are alone in the fight. Everyone here is yet another reminder that I am never alone. Blessings to all of you. 💕

  • Thank you for sharing your story. It’s hard for people on the outside to imagine how terrible another person might feel inside when they look perfectly healthy. I also have had to deal with chronic pain, although I am lucky in that I am able to live a fairly normal life, now that I have gotten it
    mostly under control (for now).

    • Amy Martinez

      I am so glad you have been able to get your chronic pain under control. I pray it stays that way.

  • Brianna

    I guarantee your going to be a huge inspiration to a lot of people. Thank you for making the decision to share this journey with us.

  • T.M. Brown

    Living with something that no one else can see at face value is difficult. We’ve dealt with this even in the setting of food allergies. No one believes you, no one understands the situation and nothing makes sense until that individual (child or adult) goes anaphylactic right in front of you. It looks like you’ve kept yourself going as best you can and look forward to pushing ahead with everything you’ve got. Keep it up!! Hugs!

  • Karen

    Wow! I’m sure that your story will be very encouraging for many people who are also facing health issues.

  • Beatriz

    Oh my! How I relate to you and how I know what you went through! Of course it looks like you have gone through a lot more than me. But, I have gone through an invisible illness for more than 10 years, and I am in my 30s too! Definitely life has been difficult but this is our story and this is our song! Lets stay brave momma :). I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism that later became hashimoto’s disease!

    • Amy Martinez

      Don’t ever feel that your struggles are insignificant because it may seem like someone is worse off. The reality is that there will always be someone worse off and better off than us. But that does not invalidate our struggles. Best wishes to you <3

  • Susan

    It comes to my mind reading your heartfelt journey that maybe your were NOT destined to have the stereotypical life that we are socialized into WANTING just because that is what we are taught. What I see is a challenge and your determined spirit to overcome in order to help millions going through the same struggles. You are destined to be great… keep doing what you’re doing and thanks for sharing.

  • Trisha

    You are so brave! You post made me think of the saying that you never know what a person is going through until you walk in their shoes. Someone may look “fine” on the outside but you don’t know what’s going on inside.

    • Amy Martinez

      My journey has definitely given me more empathy and grace with people. You really never know what someone is going through behind closed doors.

  • Shirley

    Be proud of everything you have overcome, keep your head up, and keep on going strong. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease right after I had my 2nd child, but at the time I had no idea what it meant. I just dealt with it and continued on with life. Looking back I can see how it did effect everything. Great post and look forward to more.

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you for the encouragement and thank you for joining me.

  • Robin

    I’m so glad you’re telling your story. Thank you for being brave enough to bring awareness to these illnesses and to the fact that there are a lot of people out there suffering and struggling on the inside that “look” just fine on the outside. We all have things that we’re going through. Looking forward to your posts and hope you are doing well!

    • Amy Martinez

      Thank you for the encouragement and thanks for joining me in my journey.

  • Vanessa

    I know your story will inspire so many other people. It takes courage to do what you’re doing and even though it’s not what you imagined, it’s a journey that we can’t ever know until we get there.

  • Caitlin Westwood

    I honestly think people with chronic illnesses are the strongest people on the planet! I read a quote the other day that says “The struggle you are going through right now will end up being the most powerful part of your story”, and I think its brave that you are sharing yours!

  • Tricia Snow

    Your story will be able to help many people. This is a good thing!

  • Melissa Jones

    It seems like life doesn’t ever quite go the way any of us plan.

  • Beth

    Thank you for sharing your story and journey.

  • Michele

    I know how you feel on the illness. I suffered from multiple chronic illnesses for 3-4 years. I am very happy to say that I never gave up and I have been 2 years now with minimal problems! I wish you the best!

    • Amy Martinez

      I am so glad your health problems have been minimal. I pray they remain that way or get even better.

  • Lisaq

    What a tough journey you have been on. Sending good vibes that things work themselves out in your favorite.

  • Cindy

    I’ll be following your journey!

  • Alicia

    Yes!!! I am so proud of you Amy! I have seen you battle and you are a fighter! Your growth and resolve is absolutely beautiful! God has you and you are a force for the kingdom of God! Keep sharing your journey and inspiring others! God has your king and will make him available to you at the perfect time! Keep seeking the kingdom of God!

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