Sara Gruber

My Story

How living with chronic illness is helping me grow.

I’ve known something wasn’t right with my health for the past 20 years. I felt ill (dizzy, heart palpitations, anxious, bouts of weakness, heat intolerance…) but functioned fairly well. Doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause and anxiety was blamed. On the outside, I was thriving as a mother, wife, PR strategist, church member, and friend. My biggest concern was an overbooked schedule.

Shortly after my 40th birthday, everything changed. Overnight, I went from jogging two miles a day to being bed bound and needing a wheelchair. I could no longer stand long enough to make meals or even shower myself. I was weak, dizzy, and often confused. I had no idea what was going on and I was terrified. With a lot of persistance and the help of compassionate and dedicated doctors, it was discovered that I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a form of dysautonomia. Basically, my autonomic nervous system no longer regulates my automatic body functions well. This includes my blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. While debilitating and incurable, this illness is not fatal. It is something I can live with and hopefully learn to thrive with.

I have good and bad days, healthy seasons, and periods of flare ups. Every day I am learning more about how to care for my new body and how to protect and grow my spirit through this battle. Believe you me, when you become trapped in a body that no longer works; your spirit has to fight to stay positive, sane, and find the light in every day.

Along this journey, I am learning that we can discover the best parts of ourselves while being ill. It’s in these moments that we go deeper into what matters and what doesn’t, who we want to be, and who we want to be with. The best way I can describe it is that you live with the shadow of death. You know how after a loved one passes away, you have this period of clarity where you’re better able to prioritize what matters? That’s what living with illness is like.

Chronic illness is a teacher—for those who are sick and everyone who loves them. It’s not the teacher I would have chosen, but it’s the teacher I have.

Here is my diagnosis story.

I want so much for people to understand this journey – what we learn and how we grow through being sick.

If you’d like to join me, you can subscribe to this blog and its social accounts to stay up on new posts.

with much love, sara

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Recent Posts:

Aging – The Quest to Make Gratitude My Mirror

Looking around at the women I knew and saw – it seemed that aging took a stronger hold after 40. Bodies, faces, hair… I began to think that 40 was the magical age when I’d become “old.” 27 days after turning 40, I became so unbelievably sick. Life as I knew it… stopped. Dysautonomia is…

The Truths of Where I Am

I feel stronger and the gratitude I have for this is immeasurable. I am getting better about reading my body and learning my new limitations. My limitations are for my body, not my spirit. I need to rest several times throughout the day to be able to keep going. Once I get dressed, I rest.…

Making space for my new life

In this new season of life, coffee and wine have been moved to the do not consume list. While I’m okay with that, I still miss the idea of what they represented for me: company, friends, comfort, warmth… I think that’s why I’ve been reluctant to tuck away the coffee pot and wine rack. John…

The frienDship fern

I’ve adored this fern for years. I’ve protected it from deer, replanted it as it grew, and sat in its shade as it hung from the porch eave.  Caring for it every morning was part of how I calmed myself. This winter, I was too sick to care for it during the freeze and it…

I didn’t know what was coming, but God did

Five years ago, my life changed. Two of the people I loved the most passed away. My grandfather who helped raise me and my cousin who was only 39. She had five-month-old twins.  Trajedy like that brings clarity. I could see what really mattered and what I needed to change in my life. I was…


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