From Fit Nurse to ME Warrior with Ashanti Daniel – 013

If everything that made you who you are was taken away from you in an instant, what would you do? In this episode, NICU nurse Ashanti tells her story of going from fit to suffering from a rare severe chronic illness, her life now and the lessons that have come with it from which all of us can learn.

Ashanti Daniel was successful as a nurse, specializing in Neonatal ICU, but she also has a love for health and fitness. It was truly a lifestyle for her, not only for the aesthetic benefits, but because it made her happy and gave her a positive outlet.

Ashanti spent her life as a cheer-mom to her daughter and a baseball-mom to her son who has been playing since he was 5. She was the picture of health, until she was suddenly diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). As an ME Warrior, Ashanti is now searching for her new passions and purpose in life while educating others on this rare and incurable disease.

Ashanti Daniel

 

 

Key Topics

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

  • Ashanti was suddenly diagnosed with ME, which is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • She was living a healthy lifestyle, and one day she got sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • She never got better, her doctors thought it was a bad asthma attack, but at her 2nd hospitalization she knew that this was something else.
  • She had extreme fatigue and muscle weakness, and she continued to search for answers.
  • Her sisters stumbled upon ME and sent Ashanti the information to look at, and she finally found a specialist that could help her.

How Ashanti’s Life Has Changed

  • When you don’t know what’s wrong with you, you hold on to hope, but now she knows that there is no cure because there just hasn’t been enough research done on the illness.
  • People with ME disappear as they are often in bed, can’t drive, and although she may not look sick, Ashanti has lost over 20 pounds.
  • She was told that she will never be able to workout again and had to stop her nursing career, but she has to hold onto hope that will someday change.
  • She was very adventurous and now she has to grieve the loss of her life as she knew it.
  • She has to find her new purpose, but she’s still searching for that.

Raising Awareness

  • Ashanti was at an event for a documentary called Unrest by Jennifer Brea.
  • Jennifer directed the documentary mostly from her bed, and it gives people a glimpse at what life is like with ME.
  • Ashanti made a conscious decision to stay as positive as she could, it doesn’t cure the illness but it helps her to see the good – she has her family, and she can help to inspire and help others.
  • Have you been to Nigeria? (22:42)People need resilience to keep on pushing through.

Valentine Ewudo and Ashanti Daniel

 

 

Key Quotes

I ended up getting an appointment to see him on May 12th, and that’s when I was given the devastating diagnosis, and ironically May 12th is actually International ME Awareness Day. (11:12)

It’s kind of like you die, but you’re forced to watch the world continue without you. (12:29)

There’s a lot of people living with illness that don’t necessarily look sick, so don’t judge a book by it’s cover. (18:24)

This is fatigue at a level that you can’t even imagine. This fatigue is worse than the days that I’ve gone over 24 hours without sleep. (32:01)

 

Connect With Ashanti On

Instagram

 

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