Thank you for visiting my CaringBridge website! I am so glad you are here! My name is Lisa Friend (previously Lisa DeCoste before I married my best friend, Caleb, in January 2021). I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC with my parents and two older sisters and now live in a small brick ranch house with my husband in Huntersville, NC!
My health journey actually started when I was born with a few chronic health challenges, including asthmatic bronchitis, but I didn't have a diagnosis bringing everything together until 2015. Over the years, many different health problems and diagnoses accumulated. From Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), to chronically hypermobile joints all over my body, Chiari I malformation, tethered cord syndrome, and cranio-cervical instability (CCI). With the help of a geneticist and rheumatologist, I was diagnosed with Ehlers- Danlos Syndrome (EDS), hypermobility type.
Starting in December 2014, I have had 8 orthopedic surgeries for different joints (shoulders, elbow, ankles, knee) to treat a variety of injuries caused by my hypermobility. During this ongoing journey of injury, surgery, recovery, repeat, God brought alongside my family and I a fantastic circle of support and encouragement, many of whom we met in/through the local churches we've attended over the years in Charlotte, NC. Although many doctors have hoped over the years that my health challenges would stabilize, they have yet to do so. As a result, doctor appointments, medications, various tests, surgeries, and physical therapy as well as a myriad of lifestyle changes continue to be part of my regular, daily life.
Although EDS and related health challenges take up a lot of my time and energy, God has blessed me with so many gifts in the form of people, opportunities, achievements, and most of all, knowing more of Him throughout each step of my journey. Life with chronic illness is incredibly difficult sometimes and there are definitely days that the fight for faith, joy, and hope is really difficult and I do feel like giving up. However, God is faithful, and He reminds me of His truth and love in so many ways each and every day; He is the reason I can and do press on.
It is so amazing to experience His kind generosity throughout this life, most especially through the gift of salvation made possible through Jesus, but also in this broken but beautiful world He has made. In the past few months I have been able to finish my undergraduate college education at UNC Charlotte with a degree in Communication Studies, concentration Health Communication, and double minors in Biology and Psychology. It was wonderful to finally cross that finish line after five surgeries, four and a half years, three different degrees, and two schools, by the grace of One Faithful God. I also had the absolute joy and privilege to marry my bestest friend, Caleb Friend, who I met through a Christian college ministry on UNC Charlotte's campus, on January 2, 2021.
That is the story God has written so far in my life and I am excited to see what the next paragraphs, pages, and chapters will contain as He continues to gloriously, lovingly, and sovereignly unfolds His plan for my life! I am beyond grateful you want to ride alongside Caleb and I on this crazy adventure. We are humbled beyond words by the love and support of our community and we thank Jesus every day for all of you. Please know that we want to walk through life's ups and downs with you too, so don't hesitate to reach out to us when you need care and prayer! We are all in this together♥️
If you're interested to know what our journey currently looks like, head on over to the journal entries and there you will find the most up-to-date information!