Updated: Feb 12
When you have a fighting spirit, ambition, and some level of imagination but are limited by physical factors, ya kinda sit around like a caged animal going, “Now what?” When I think about my journey, I think of the last two to three years but if I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s been a couple of decades. I’ve had pain for as long as I can remember. I actually cannot recall a day of my life that was not accompanied by discomfort of some sort. I don’t remember suffering much as a young child but I also can’t recollect much that far back.
As the years ticked by, the ailments stacked up. I’ve been fighting irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for the better part of a decade—maybe longer. At any given time, I will look five to seven months pregnant and be in extreme pain. One time, I was sitting on a bench holding my distended abdomen, when some elderly women happened by. One of the ladies said, “Don’t worry honey, it will all be worth it.” She thought I was expecting. Moreover, my abdomen gets a profound feeling of fullness at a moment’s notice, making it impossible for me to wear restrictive clothing. Even if the clothing wasn’t restrictive when I put it on, it can become so very quickly. There’s just no quick fix for IBS—or any fix for that matter. I was diagnosed with polycystic liver disease (PLD) and Fibromyalgia in 2021 (but was diagnosable long before that). The only cure for PLD is a liver transplant. Although my symptoms are a nuisance at times, I will probably never need a transplant. I did undergo a liver resection in 2021; they removed the majority of the left lobe of my liver and treated numerous cysts on the right lobe. Fibromyalgia causes brain fog, imbalance, blurry vision, severe fatigue and also causes my skin to be sensitive to the touch. Most know that Fibromyalgia also has no cure. I just never really feel all that great.
I gave away all of my jeans and started gravitating towards leggings and yoga pants. They had to be VERY soft and flexible, allowing my digestive region room to do whatever it was that it decided to do. I knew I had made major adjustments to my wardrobe and I knew why but I didn’t realize that it was a common occurrence in others. When I was diagnosed with PLD, the first thing one of my providers told me was, join a support group. Facebook, in all its glory, provided me with at least that much. I found so much comfort hearing from others that could relate to what I was feeling. Many of them are far worse off than I. Questions kept surfacing like, “Can anyone recommend a good bra that won’t cut into my growing abdomen?” There would be full discussions between women who just couldn’t wait to get home and get their bra off! I could relate! Between seeing others struggling with what to wear and having my own personal daily debate over which pair of lounge pants would best be suited for the occasion, I decided to do something to help all of us.
It was the end of January, 2022. I was standing in my closest conducting the daily ritual of caressing each pair of pants to decide which one felt the softest and seemed the most tolerable for that particular day. I had searched high and low, going from store to store trying to find pants that I liked. I would spend generous amounts of money on a pair of joggers only to get home and feel like the fit wasn’t quite right. That day, in my closet, an idea hit me. I would start a comfortable clothing company for people with abdominal issues! I went and declared my intentions to everybody in the house! My teenage daughter raised her eyebrows, tilted her head and looked at me like I had lost my mind. My husband thought it was a nice idea. My son could probably have cared less. His response didn’t stick with me so there probably wasn’t one. Once I get an idea, I mull it over until I’m able to visualize the entire thing from start to finish. My brain worked on it all day and into the night. At some point I fell asleep—in the morning I awoke with a completed vision of what my company would look like. In addition to solving the clothing conundrum, I wanted to make changes in healthcare, advocate for people with rare diseases, and create a nutritional solution for my fellow pain-stricken, continuously fatigued, and chronically ill comrades. In less than 24 hours, “Chronic” was born.
There are so many layers to being chronically ill but one thing that plagues the majority of us is depression. The depression (and anxiety) stems from a multitude of factors to include, but not limited to—not feeling well, lack of answers, indifference from the medical community, misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis, living with loved ones that lack understanding and empathy, but also, loss of self. We have to mourn the loss of the person we once were, the opportunities we once had, and the capabilities we once possessed. We gain weight, we lose weight, we lose strength...before we know it, we are lying around in pajamas all day because we can’t muster the energy to do much else. I’m also here for those people! My company isn’t just called Chronic. It’s called Chronic with the subtitle, “Accept, Adapt, Overcome”. Why? Because, even though we can’t always choose the cards we are dealt, we can choose how we play them. We do not have to settle for defeat. I will not and my hope is that others won’t either. We owe it to ourselves to survive this as beautifully as we can. One belief I hold to is that if you look better, you feel better. Something as simple as getting dressed can drastically change the day’s trajectory. I have designed a product that is very versatile and no matter how casual one wears it; it will ALWAYS look better than pajamas! The great news is that these pants are also more comfortable than pajamas. I wear them to bed and when I work out. I wear them when I go to the beach, shopping or when I attend a dress-casual event. The material is buttery soft, offers so much forgiveness and has tremendous longevity. Inspired by an extraordinary human, who left us far too soon due to medical negligence—I have named my first product after my nephew, Tyler Davis. That’s a story for another time. Until then...Chronic presents to you: The Davis Collection.