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Navigating life with invisible disabilities and a loyal service dog
By Pauline McKenzie

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Lindsay Murray, a vibrant 24-year-old, has embraced social media, using it as a platform to chronicle and share her personal odyssey through life. Her online platforms not only allow her to connect with a global audience but also serve as a platform to raise awareness about chronic illnesses and disabilities. From college-oriented content, her engagement on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok has evolved into a disability advocacy tool. She shares her perspective of living with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Epilepsy, Vasovagal Syncope, Gastroparesis, Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, and Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome (SMAS), connecting with her audience, providing glimpses of her life’s ups and downs.

“I kind of felt alone because no one could really see how much I was struggling because the symptoms were increased heart rate, fatigue, brain fog, tachycardia, and everything – nothing visible. I felt really alone in that journey going from living my life as like a healthy person to becoming chronically ill and fully disabled. It was a big transition, and I wanted to share that journey so that when other people go through similar things they won’t feel alone. It really encourages me to share my story with others.”

While motivating others to not give up, Lindsay’s experiences offer insights into how her invisible disabilities impact various aspects of her life. Even simple tasks like grocery shopping require meticulous planning. She carries a med bag stocked with emergency medications and supplies for her PICC line, which she relies on due to her gastroparesis. But Lindsay continues to navigate everyday activities with a positive spirit despite the challenges.


One remarkable figure in her life is Simon, her furry companion. He is a Labrador mix who has proven to be a lifeline and extraordinary friend. Her service dog accompanies her on all of her outings, ready to lend a helping paw whenever needed.  Simon’s capabilities extend beyond being a loyal pet – he’s a skilled medical alert dog trained to sense changes in Lindsay’s body. He’ll lick or nibble her right hand when he senses her blood pressure is running low, a crucial alert for Lindsay. He alerts her to the necessity of sitting down to avert harm, recognizing the approach of a fainting spell or impending seizure. Simon’s signals provide Lindsay with precious moments to take necessary actions. The bond between them is a testament to the profound impact service dogs can have on the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Lindsay’s travel narrative weaves together both moments of triumph and challenges. Among her cherished memories, the standout is the summer of 2017, a time when she embarked on a remarkable journey across Europe, an adventure that preceded her awareness of her illness. This voyage encompassed Spain, Italy, and a captivating cruise to France. The voyage proved to be a crowning experience, allowing her to immerse herself in diverse cultures and marvel at the splendor of architectural masterpieces. Presently, Lindsay’s travel horizons have shifted to domestic destinations within the U.S., relinquishing international voyages but she hopes to be able to do this again.

While the thought of excursions to the beach fills her with delight – the beach is her happy place – visits there are colored by the trials of heat sensitivity and health concerns, sometimes necessitating unplanned hospital visits. Nevertheless, Lindsay’s spirit remains unyielding, as she embraces life with determination and endeavors to make the most of every instance of exploration that comes her way.


Her advice for travelers with similar conditions underscores the importance of being prepared. She recommends wearing compression socks during long journeys to improve blood circulation. Staying hydrated and ensuring an adequate intake of salt are crucial strategies. She believes it is important to  understand your body and be prepared to advocate for yourself, even if it requires approaches like carrying emergency salt packets or firmly holding your ground when someone insists that you do not look sick and therefore should not use the accessible parking spot!

Through Lindsay’s words and experiences, we gain a glimpse into a world that often remains hidden but is rich with strength, courage, and hope. She advises, “You will be able to do everything you want to do, even if you have to do it differently. Life’s journey may take unexpected turns, but with determination and resilience, one can adapt and find joy in the midst of adversity.”

Follow Lindsay:

YouTube- @ChronicallyLindsay :

Instagram- @chronically.lindsay :

TikTok- @chronically.lindsay :

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