The Comeback Girl- 21 Years in the Making

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain

2014 has taught me more about myself than I ever would have thought possible. This year I learned how to fight harder than I ever have before. Because of my acquired fighting skills, I reached my twenty-first birthday. After the year I’ve had, it felt like my 21st birthday would never get here! This year has not been easy. In just 365 days I have endured multiple surgeries, spent months in the ICU, learned how to walk with leg braces, I’ve been through four different central lines, I became one of the first patients in the country to be placed on a constant IV Benadryl pump, went through four different types of feeding tubes, added another diagnosis to the list and became the comeback girl.

I’ve always been vocal about the fact that I believe I was chosen to fight these monster illnesses for a reason. In this day and age, there are hundreds of crippling illnesses that need better treatments and the only way to spread awareness is to talk about them. Embarrassing or not, who is going to raise awareness for my disease if I don’t do it myself? The best decision I made in 2014 was starting Brynn’s Bubble. I had no idea how much I would gain from opening up about my invisible illnesses. After my story was shared on the Huffington Post, I began receiving emails from complete strangers who told me that by speaking out about Mast Cell Disease I saved their lives. I was contacted by mothers who told me that if they had not stumbled upon my story, their children likely would have gone untreated for another ten years just as I did. Other individuals thanked me for helping them find the cause behind deadly allergic reactions. Knowing that my voice has helped others is the most rewarding feeling in the world and it makes all of my struggles over the years worth it. I have no idea how to even begin to thank all of you for the overwhelming amount of support that you’ve given me.

Sometimes we are handed situations that seem impossible to overcome. Life is unpredictable and we never know what will happen from one day to another, but I can promise you that it gets better one way or another. I never imagined that I would be able to make a comeback. At the beginning of 2014 I couldn’t even stand without assistance from a walker or leg braces- Today I can walk up the stairs without thinking twice about it. I’ve attended various concerts over the past few months and was able to dance the night away at each one. (Of course I had to pay for it the next day, but IT WAS WORTH IT!) Thanks to IVIG treatments, I am now able to eat foods that once caused Anaphylaxis. I’m not anywhere close to being cured, but I am so much better than I have been in the past. To anyone out there who may be struggling- Never lose hope. Don’t give up on yourself. Allow yourself to keep striving for the things you wish to accomplish and don’t lose sight of them. Life may be confusing now, but one day it will all make sense.

I’m going to make 2015 my year. I will attempt things that I’ve always wanted to try. I refuse to let these illnesses control me any more than they already have. I will keep working hard so that I can finally get my high school diploma. I will face my biggest fears. Maybe this will be the year that I finally get to meet Ellen DeGeneres and see a taping of her show. Maybe this will be the year of medical breakthroughs. I don’t know what my 21st year of life has in store for me, but I am determined to fight harder than ever to make sure that it is the best year yet. Mast Cell Disease, Dysautonomia/POTS, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, & Gastroparesis- watch out because Brynn Duncan is making a comeback.

4 thoughts on “The Comeback Girl- 21 Years in the Making

  1. Brynn, I happened upon your story via CNN being very curious about your situation. After reading some of your post learning more about what you have been through, and I am in awe of your strength an courage. I went through a situation that has been traumatic for me, and has haunted me since. At the same time, it is nowhere near what you went through. Mine is not even related to allergies, but my appendix that burst going diagnosed for almost 3 weeks. By the grace of God, some antibiotics prescribed during that period I survived it. Although after is was caught, my surgeon told one more day and I would have died having gone septic. They removed 2ft of my small intestine, and 3 inches of my colon leaving me with symptoms similar to Chron’s Disease. It has been 4 years since, and I faced a difficult road emotionally trying to work through what had happened, and dealing with not being able to eat hardly anything because of the situation. I was later laid off from work, and in an effort to support my family became a flat bed truck driver until something better came along. Having that condition, little access to food I could eat, expensive meds I could not really afford (which has become an issue once again). I started to sink into deep depression, and resentment because I have tried so hard to live my life right as an individual, husband, and a father. I have come along way since all that, and finally got off the road. My struggles have been difficult mentally and physically, but pale in comparison to your experiences. After seeing how you have dealt with all you problems, and how they continue to plague you on such a deep level. I feel that you are truly stronger than anyone that I know. It actually makes me fell ashamed as to how I have let my situation get me down at times. I have a great deal of respect an admiration for your situation, and I hope that you continue to remain strong in the fight against your illness. What I would like the most for you is to be able to overcome it completely. However, it would seem that the situations in which we find ourselves, only time will tell. I am sure that you have many people that you interact with on a daily basis. I would like to follow your situation to see how things work out for you overtime. I know that this is a much longer reply that most would have expected, but your situation as got my attention as it is obvious that you are dealing with much more than I will ever face. However, there are still mental and emotional scars left by traumatic, and difficult experiences in our lives. I feel that the more people share those things. The more it help those on either end, and hopefully helps everyone to grow stronger. I will be praying that your situation gets better, and hope nothing but the best for you in the future.


  2. You are an amazing young lady and such a fighter! I wish you and your family the best and I know you will continue to be a strong fighter and advocate, which will help so many people around the world (even those without medical issues). I enjoyed reading your posts and I hope you continue to have this outlet for us to read. Stay calm, stay strong and fight on!!!

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