I am nominating myself not only because all Quest products are amazing and delicious, seriously, but because they actually saved my life. I am currently (at 27) finally in my second year of college at Hampshire – but that hardly sums up the lifetime’s worth of education and experience I have amassed throughout these tumultuous yet inspiringly fruitful years. To understand the origins of my story, please watch the short documentary:
With my life all figured out at 18, I developed an unexpected blood clot a week before my senior prom, was in a coma for months, and was unable to eat or drink anything for over three years. After 27 surgeries I was miraculously reconstructed with the intestines I have left.
It has been a long journey, but I have done more in these almost 10 years than I have in my entire life. I have started my own chocolate business, starred in musicals, taught at a nursery, Hebrew and dance schools, started my autobiography, learned karate, earned my yoga certification, gotten engaged, written, directed and starred in my own one-woman autobiographical musical that has been performed in three states and award-nominated – that is just the beginning of the list.
My biggest accomplishment to date however, is not surviving, but thriving. Through the years of uncertainty, I never once wanted to feel like a patient or victim – staying productive and true to my own passions before I became “sick” was my key to staying in touch with my own uniqueness. By preserving myself, I discovered an invaluable lifeline that could get me through the various medical invasions and setbacks. The years were up and down, with no guarantee that I would ever eat or drink again, let alone live a life free of IVs and medical appliances. I was read my last rites after needing 122 units of blood, my stomach literally burst to the top of the operating room and both lungs collapsed. But I tried to ground myself in gratitude – in what I could appreciate in one moment at a time. I realized that although I could tap into my passions from who I was “pre-coma”, I could never go back to that, though at times I wished to.
I learned how to start from here, from square one, and create a truly new beginning. I considered myself a mosaic – smashed and put together again, different, yet beautiful. I am nominating myself because I have a story to tell – not just my own, but a universal story that has already inspired so many. It is a story of never giving up – being tested, but staying resilient through gratitude and finding presence in the here and beautiful NOW. Even by performing “Gutless & Grateful” – a one-woman musical autobiography that I wrote, directed and starred in chronicling my crazy life, I have changed so many lives and inspired others to find the light in their struggles, or simply to be happier. Suffering really is relative. My ordeal is no more traumatic than anyone else’s. That is why I have so much to share and to relate to others.
I have dared to live even when all odds were against me. I daringly lived my truth – even when others thought I was better off staying in bed. By getting up every day and feeling an authentic connection to myself, my gratitude, and the world I live in, I felt real. I healed myself through my own passions – my creating, producing, and going on as if I was “healthy”, I dared to cross the boundaries of the “ill” and the “healthy”. Staying true to who I am enabled me to thrive.
Okay, so where do Quest products come into play here? I am so grateful that the doctors gave me a little makeshift digestive system. However, since my anatomy is so “unique” and as one surgeon said, my intestines are now basically just “over boiled spaghetti” – it’s not a perfect system. I only absorb 20% of what I take in orally so I have to eat a TON. I have 30 pounds left to gain from a surgery in ’12 that went disastrously wrong. And, if THAT weren’t enough – because I have two ostomies (speaking of which, last year I was the eastern regional recipient for Convatec’s Great Comebacks award, given to an ostomate who was particularly motivational and living their lives fully and boldly).
I am not allowed to have virtually any fat or sugar – so basically I have to have a TON of protein. Then I discovered Quest bars and boy did I have fun with those – especially since I love cooking – I became obsessed with all these new-fangled and creative quest recipes – and soon I was spending hours in my kitchen with my quest bars, microwave, and would just mold these bars like clay (I also love making Claymation, by the way, so I had maybe a bit too much fun with this part!) and your recipe blog is amazing. I’d make Quest donuts, little churros, anything! And then…Quest chips came out. Enough said. FINALLY, a way to get my protein by literally eating chips rather than just boring turkey all day long! Every month I order 8 cases of each flavor, and I go through them all! I eat a 6,000 calorie diet and your chips and bars are probably about 70% of that – they are so delicious…and then…I discovered your protein powders – and I bought all of them, although peanut butter is my favorite. Now I will stick those in anything from mashed potatoes to jello to muffins. My next venture is to experiment with using Quest chips for breading chicken and fish – I’ll keep you posted on that!
Anyway, I know that’s a mouthful, but in sharing my story through the arts and in the various ways I’ve been honored, I want to show others that with hope, strength, resourcefulness…and Quest…anything is possible! Seriously – I can fully attest to Quest that you are the reason I have been able to stay off of supplementary IV nutrition –your products are delicious and filled with all the nutrients I need right now – so my spirit and determination and passion for life got me to this point, you guys are responsible for the rest! Thanks!
Please go to my website www.amyoes.com for a more information on myself, everything I’ve done, and how I hope to continue to inspire others. I don’t believe that things happen for a reason. I believe you MAKE things happen for a reason. And while I’m on this earth, I want to make what I’ve been through mean something – it already has for me. Now I want my story to inspire others to live their best lives…and try Quest chips ‘cuz their awesome (just saying.) I know firsthand the healing power of the arts. As a child, the arts were my passion and identity. When my traumas occurred, they became my lifeline. Now that I am out of my medical crisis and into a life of health and vitality once again, the arts are how I can reconnect with the world, make a difference, and raise awareness – awareness of the power of ones internal resources, awareness that there are many ways to heal externally and internally, and awareness of the human potential and spirit. An awareness of gratitude – that every day and moment should be celebrated – that life is a canvas, an open score, a bare stage, waiting for us to join the dance! My therapy was purely based in the world of theatre, art, writing, dance, music, and whatever else I felt was an area that I could express myself appropriately. The arts were a way for me to express whatever felt too painful and overwhelming to put into words. They also helped me process what I was feeling. But most importantly, they served to be the greatest reward acting as a medium where I could still engage with my community, reach out to others, and make a difference in this world while utilizing my passion. Arts were my way of connecting with the world, sharing my story, and spreading my message of hope, strength, and finding beauty in whatever life brings you. My art is self-taught, personal, uniquely me, a mosaic of what I have been through. I have a story to tell, a message to share. WWW.AMYOES.COM
You can find Amy at: