Her Story: Cara Woolsey

Motivating Stories from Local Women

Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. 

These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.

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Photos taken on location at Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary

It was September 19, 2021. I was pale, dizzy, and weak. My vision was blurry and speech was slurred. I could barely move, and I lost consciousness on a couple of occasions. I remember asking myself, “What is wrong with me?” I was a healthy 31-year-old who was recently married and lived a normal life. Just the week prior, my husband and I had vacationed in Florida. 

Flashback to 2016. I was at my first doctor’s appointment at Tennessee Oncology after finding that my blood platelet count was abnormally high. For perspective, the normal blood platelet count range is 100,000 to 400,000, but mine was over 1 million! After a series of tests, I learned that I have a very rare chronic blood disorder and mutation that is present in my bone marrow. My diagnosis was Essential Thrombocythemia with Jak2+ Mutation. I remember crying after hearing the news and wondering two questions: Will I be able to live a normal life, and will I ever be able to have kids? 

As time passed, I began to feel a sense of normalcy. I was an accountant at a construction company where I would meet my future husband, and my life finally felt normal again. Flash forward to 2021, when I was rushed to the hospital. Looking back now, it was by the grace of God that I survived. I had lost a majority of blood through internal bleeding and received five blood transfusions and an iron transfusion. I was later informed that I had a blood clot in the vein between the spleen and liver. 

I never thought those next five days in the hospital would give me an entirely new perspective on life, but they did. I remember holding my husband’s hand and crying while asking him if he thought I was going to survive. Following hospitalization, I had several outpatient procedures done in an attempt to eradicate the varices. We found ourselves rushing back to the hospital two weeks later after I felt severe pain and swelling in my neck. This time, we learned I had two blood clots in my neck and multiple blood clots in my lungs. As a result, I am now on a blood thinner and multiple medications.

It is now spring of 2022, and my journey is far from over, but God is still good through it all. Don’t take life for granted, and most importantly, no matter what comes your way – fight until the end. You are worth it, you are loved, and you have a story to tell. So, why am I fighting so hard? Why am I telling my story? My “why” is that I want there to be a cure for this rare chronic blood disorder. 

Cara Woolsey, Chattanooga

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