I am a mom, a nurse, an artist, and I am an Ehlers Danlos Syndrome warrior! Let me first say that EDS is not my only issue, I have ADHD, Celiac disease, and a handful of ailments that tag along with Ehlers Danlos. Chronic pain is basically my life, unfortunately, I have lived with it since childhood. I am a registered nurse, graduating from the local community college with my A.S. degree in nursing in 2005, I journeyed out into the world of hospital nursing. I worked as a certified nursing assistant and unit tech as I made my way through school, this gave me a huge advantage in school and after I graduated. I stayed on the floor (orthopedics and neurology) for a couple of years but I found out in school that pediatrics was what I absolutely loved. I waited patiently until a posting for a NICU or Pediatrics position opened up, and I was incredibly lucky to land a spot in the NICU. The NICU was definitely my home, I loved everything about it. As the years moved on my body began to break down, it didn’t seem to matter what I ate, or how much I exercised, the pain just wouldn’t give up. The journey to my Ehlers Danlos diagnosis is a long story, but I have to say if it weren’t for my youngest child, Evan, I would probably still be searching for answers. After a series of surgeries, my poor body just couldn’t tolerate the twelve-hour shifts that are required of hospital nursing. I had gone back to school to obtain my Bachelor's degree and my Masters's degree, upon completion of my Masters's degree in Nursing Education I began my search for a teaching position. It was such a hard decision to leave the bedside, I loved to care for all of the sweet little babies, but I also had to listen to my body and not just push through everything anymore. I accepted a teaching position at the College of the Sequoias in July of 2021 and that is where I am today. Teaching has been a blessing for my body, I am teaching future nurses, and hopefully, some will find the same love for pediatrics I did.
Heather's book recs:
I like to read when I can focus! I have a very difficult time reading anything that is not entertaining so….. in saying that I love Dean Koontz and Darcy Coates (horror, spooky, thriller, with a touch of sci-fi) and J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) In Death Series (who-done-its with a touch of romance and sass!)
Heather Vails, MSN Ed. RNC-NIC, is definitely in my badass nurse category. She has lived with the rare genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or EDS, for decades. She has not only lived, she’s thrived. After a long career as a NICU nurse, she recently left the bedside, a place she loved dearly to...