Morgan Putbrese is spreading awareness of Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome. Morgan was born with the chronic illness and hopes to help encourage others by sharing her story and her outlook on overcoming challenges.
Tell us a little about you.
I’m 23 and going to school for occupational therapy, which is a path I found through my medical struggles. I knew this was the perfect way to combine everything I’ve learned so far and my desire to help people. I like anything that brings me a challenge! I love to do CrossFit events and am a CrossFit Trainer, so I enjoy reading self-help books for coaching and also new ways to better my athletes.
I also enjoy going to outdoor festivities, and don’t mind just some good old quiet time with a book. I like to be in constant pursuit of learning and developing into the best I can be. Although, I don’t mind getting down and dirty, I also am a huge fan of anything glitter or purple. My favorite things are giraffes and dinosaurs and can’t go wrong with some good old Disney. I am a huge believer in keeping the little kid inside alive as long as you can.
Tell us about your condition.
I have a complex vascular malformation called Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome or KTS. This affects my nerves, muscles and veins from my left glute down to knee. This syndrome is considered a rare disease with no cure and can affect us all in different ways and marks. I was born with very limited muscle development in that leg. My mobility is very weak in this area, and I have constant aches and throbs. I also have surface clots and venous implications, which affect my day to day. It wasn’t until these past few years, with weight lighting and swimming, that I have noticed a change and have been able to regain some strength.
How has compression helped the symptoms of KTS?
Compression has been a huge asset for me and my everyday activities. When I first had to start wearing compression stockings due to the worsening reflux and size of my malformation, it was overwhelming for me. I did not yet know of the benefits compression would bring me and how I would be able to move. Juzo has been great! My stockings are so comfortable, it’s like I barley am even wearing them.
Compression keeps me in the motions of life and increases my ability to walk and run for longer distances. It also increases my healing and comfort after routine treatment.
What is something you've learned about KTS that you wish you'd known earlier?
I wish I would have known that even when faced with something progressive and rare, the mentality we have in facing these challenges is what can make or break us. Acceptance is a long journey for each and every one of us, but I strongly believe that how we chose to adapt is how we succeed.
What or whom helps you overcome the obstacles you face due to your condition?
The biggest support system is my friends, my family and my faith. I’ve been blessed that through every event, goal I’ve set or even day-to-day life, including my treatments and healing, these people have been there from the start and through every tear and ache. My faith reminds me that there is always a higher purpose and something to my story to come, despite whatever season or challenge. I knew when things were more day-to-day for my condition, I wanted to make a “positive” of it and I wanted to use social media. That has opened my life to a choice of transparency.
What advice do you have for others with your condition or one that's similar and requires they also wear compression to "keep moving?"
The biggest thing I always stress is to find your why. Find what keeps you moving and getting up in the morning. Our conditions may limit us physically, but they do not have to mentally. That’s up to us. You have to see the light and chase it with every ounce of determination in you.
What do you hope to achieve by sharing your story?
A quote I hold dear, is to “stay grateful, stay hungry and humble.” I love this reminder that no matter what a day or report may bring, I know that I am grateful for the chance to be here and stumble upon the opportunities I have! I am always hungry to learn and overcome challenges. I want to become a better advocate and adaptive athlete, but I also know that nothing is to be taken for granted. I used to face my leg with such fear and anger, but in a sense, it humbled me. I hope that in sharing my story, it may give not only chronic illness warriors hope and the push they may need to seize what’s in front of them and what they face. In such a busy day and age, I think we often forget the control we have in our lives including the biggest tool for success, our mental strength.
Follow Morgan on Instagram @legsnotlikebriggs and read more about her story.