Written in HerStory | Kiki Elin
At the age of 15, Kiki’s life was drawn to a pause when she suddenly felt ill. Now, 10 years later after she has been completely healed of POTS and Lyme Disease, Kiki Elin is on the mission to raise awareness, encourage and inspire those with chronic illnesses. She overflows with hope and joy, and is compelled to share it with others.
Hey Kiki! Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. We wanna know a little more about you, and here at Her Progress, we love to have fun! So, if you were in a speed dating scenario and only had a minute or two to talk about yourself, what are the top five things you would share?
I would share about how important my faith in God is to me. I love Jesus and want to dedicate my life to him!
I would also share about my health journey. I had a chronic illness disability for 10 years, and dealt with isolation and social anxiety. I am finally feeling better and want to share my new life of joy!
I have big hopes for the future. I see myself as a successful model advocating and inspiring hope for those with chronic illnesses.
I also have a big, loving, and supportive family with five siblings and five nieces.
Lastly, I would talk about my adorable pet turtles. It is always a good day when you see a turtle, so I got pet turtles and they bring me so much joy!
Awwww that’s so cute! That’s totally me with puppies - can’t get enough of them! I came across with you on Instagram and was really amazed by your story. Your journey to healing started when you were 15 years old, where you were unable to attend classes and just felt sick. Can you tell us more about that experience?
It happened suddenly. I was always active and energetic, so it was strange that I felt dizzy and nauseous for no reason. The only way to ease my symptoms was to lay down. It was difficult to go to class, sometimes I would be out an entire semester. I missed going to school and seeing my friends. I felt like I didn’t get to have a normal teenage life. I ended up being diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome a.k.a. Dysautonomia). I was told there was no cause or cure for it and was left with no hope. Most of my days were spent at home, alone. I was bored to death, desperately wanting to go out, but not being able to. It hurt when people told me I was “lucky” that I did not have to go to school or work. The isolation turned into social anxiety, making me feel ashamed if people found out about my illness.
Six years after first getting sick, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Finding effective treatment was difficult for a disease that had been left undiagnosed and untreated for so many years. But eventually, I found some treatments that helped me, and most importantly, God filled me with hope of healing. Once I was able to treat the Lyme, my POTS symptoms went away. I am convinced that my POTS was caused by Lyme, and I encourage anyone with POTS to get a Lyme test. Today, I am finally feeling better after 10 years of illness!
Wow, what a journey! And God was definitely in that journey with you. So as you kept walking in that journey, what were the God moments that have happened that have pushed you to take steps into your healing?
I experienced an amazing moment with God a few years ago. A friend invited me last minute to the Good Friday service at her church. The church had a last-minute guest speaker, Bianca Olthoff. She spoke passionately about how Christ’s work is made complete in us. Suddenly, she stopped her speech and asked the audience, “does someone here have Lyme disease?” My friend encouraged me to stand up in a room of what felt like thousands. I was the only person standing in the audience. Bianca spoke what the Holy Spirit was revealing to her, that I would be healed! I will never forget that moment. The God of the universe singled me out in a crowd and called me “Healed!” It gave me the strength to keep moving forward to His healing. A couple years later, this came true, and I no longer experience symptoms!
Amazing! It is really true that a moment in God’s presence can change everything. It might not be instant healing, but it was a word that has carried you through all these years. Through this amazing testimony, was there a verse of scripture that you held on to, and why?
At one particular moment I felt like I was not going to be healed. I felt like giving up. I was so overwhelmed with my symptoms and I began having an anxiety attack. God showed me Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I repeated it over and over until I calmed down. I did not think I was going to make it in that moment, but a few months later, I was healed!
That’s so good! We have readers in our community who are praying for healing both for themselves and for others. What is your one piece of advice to them about having faith in God with our health, and dealing with any ailments?
It is important to remember that we currently live on earth, not in heaven. No one is exempt from suffering – not even Jesus. And, even though He did nothing to deserve it, He willingly embraced the suffering. Luke 22:44 describes Jesus before he faced the suffering on the cross: “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Jesus, in all His faithful perfection, experienced such agony that He sweated blood. Think about that the next time the Enemy tries to accuse you of not being “faithful enough” when you are experiencing anxiety or other symptoms. Jesus felt this way and He was perfectly faithful. “Yet not my will, but yours be done,” Jesus ended His prayer.
To be faithful is to be willing. I was humbled before God when He revealed this to me. God was good even though I did not feel good. God was a separate being from my life circumstances and emotions. God’s goodness was not determined by nor dependent on how my life was going or how I felt. My heart has changed to be willing to serve and praise God, even if I was sick for the rest of my life. My worship of Him was based solely on His goodness, not on my current feelings.
Remember that in Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God could save them from the fire, but were willing to embrace the flames even if God did not save them. They would rather endure the suffering instead of not worshipping God.
Wow! To be faithful is to be willing even if that situation do not go the way we want them to. That is really amazing, Kiki! Thank you for sharing that. Anyways, another amazing thing about is that you are also a model! What led you into the modelling industry?
After I was healed, I felt moved to create an Instagram modelling account to reach out to others with chronic illnesses. I felt called to dedicate my life to raising awareness, advocacy, and hope for those suffering from chronic illness disabilities. God did not heal me just for me, He healed me so I could go out and bless others. With social media, I can reach thousands from around the world who are not able to get out of their house or hospital. My passion to help others with chronic illnesses was married to my background skills in social media, art, and modeling. It was the perfect fit! I wanted to be a model for hope, inspiration, and justice for those who face discrimination because of a chronic illness disabilities.
That is incredible! Your purpose behind what you do is definitely God given, and just reminds us that God always uses everything for the good to those who love him. Speaking of modelling, we previously interviewed Mandy Kota, founder of Flourish Girl and model, who is on a mission to change every girl and woman's definition of beauty. As a model, what does beauty mean to you, and what is your top piece of advice for women who is struggling with body image?
Beauty is love. It can be so difficult to love your body and feel beautiful when it is not functioning properly. There is a common phrase among those who have chronic illnesses: “my body hates me.” This is not true! Your body loves you so much and is working so hard to fight this illness and keep you alive. Symptoms are your body’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong. A symptom never occurs because your body hates you. I encourage you to be grateful for your body, and express your appreciation and love for everything it does for you. I encourage you to say, “my body loves me and I love my body.”
That is an amazing piece of advice - symptoms are your body’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong. I think that with all these hustle going around us, we definitely need to take on this advice and listen to our bodies when it needs some rest. I know I’ve learnt that the hard way! So, we are almost at the end of our interview and there are two things that we ask everyone we interview in our blog. Firstly, what does being a work in progress mean to you?
Being a work in progress means the only way to get to where you are going is to keep moving forward! It means accepting yourself where you are at in your journey and pressing on towards your goal. Many times we think, ‘I should be there by now,’ and it is so easy to beat yourself up over not being healed yet. I was sick for five years before I felt called to be healed. It was another five years before I reached that destination. And just like how it was not my fault I was sick, it was also not my fault that I was ‘not healed yet.’ The path to healing involved many doubts, tears, and humility, and I would have never reached my destination if I did not go through that path to get there. If you are going through challenges, that is a good indicator you are on the right path!
Wow! You are definitely dropping wisdom in all of these that I totally am just left speechless. Secondly, Her Progress is all about celebrating ourselves and our journey, or what we call self-celebration. In your point of view, why is celebration important in our lives, and how do you celebrate you?
Moving forward can be hard work! It is so important to celebrate the little victories. It helps us to focus on the good and motivates us to keep going. I celebrate myself by sharing my joy and peace with others. When God bless us, he overflows us so we can go out and bless others. I feel God pouring an abundance of joy and hope in my heart and I feel so compelled to share it with others! The best celebrations of ourselves is celebrating with others!
That is just amazing! And you are definitely overflowing with God’s joy over you. Kiki, from the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank you for sharing your life with us and your story. We are definitely championing with you. If our community would like to know more about you, where can they find you?
My website is chronicallyhealed.com.