Capricious Lestrange, also known as Michelle Beltano Curtis or Mykie to those near and dear, has been researching and treating her many rare conditions with naturopathic medicine in conjunction with western medicine for many years. She built the Zebra Pit so that she can share everything she has learned and continues to learn and try along the way. Everything she writes about is from firsthand knowledge. The creams, supplements and devices she writes about, she has used herself, unless otherwise noted.
It is important to note that this knowledge comes from a patient’s perspective and not that of a practitioner. Capricious searched 19 years for answers and though doctors couldn’t tell her why she suffered so terribly, she found her correct primary diagnosis (and a few comorbid ones) through her own research. While it isn’t unheard of to discover one’s own rare genetic disorder this way, Capricious was determined to keep the research going until she found effective treatments that would save her from a life of bedbound agony when doctors could not. She relied on naturopathy and her GP to prescribe her what he would or refer her to specialists based on her own research. By the time she made her way to doctors qualified to diagnose her, she was already doing better than she had been in years. Now another year’s gone by and in working in cooperation with her new specialists and continuing her research, she is now feeling better than she has in over a decade.
Capricious honed her research skills with her BA in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Bowling Green State University, an MFA in Creative Writing and a not quite completed MA in English from National University. She has worked in the higher education, non-profit and aerospace sectors in the fields of English, marketing, support services and human resources. In addition to the Zebra Pit, Capricious still writes creative work work weekly, as well. You can find some of her work and more details on her background at her other blogsite dedicated to the craft; Mykie Writes It.
In addition to sharing what works to keep her EDS trifecta symptoms under control, she blogs about helpful products she finds that make her life with chronic illness easier, from mobility devices to various aids, to beauty products to things that help to kill some of the massive down time we’re forced to take due to our high levels of fatigue. She’s also a huge fan of makeup and has recently begun sharing her favorite beauty products and tips for applying makeup despite neurological symptoms like shaking hands, yips, poor eyesight, prevalent reactions due to MCAS, and so forth. Have a product or book you’d like her to review? Contact her here.
Love what Capricious does at the Zebra Pit? Consider making a donation through PayPal to help it grow! If you do, be sure to send a quick note about it so Capricious can properly thank and credit you on the blog. If you donate, your contribution will go toward the many fees and advertising costs that are necessary in getting the word out about the many things that can help spoonies to get relief and live a better quality of life.
Capricious has hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), making her what is known as a trifecta zebra. She suspects she also has gastroparesis, but this is not yet confirmed. Her other confirmed diagnoses include Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), Osteoarthritis (OA), Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Chronic Migraine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Interstitial Cystitis (IC), and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and more.
While she spends most of her time caring for her health, Capricious also tries to achieve a good balance in her life between her healthcare, blogging, other creative endeavors and spending time with her loving husband and little Russian Blue. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, watching movies and television, writing poetry and fiction, dabbling horribly with paint and pen as symptoms allow.
Why Capricious Lestrange?
Say it out loud 5 times fast! Get it? Capriciously strange? Yes, it’s a bit of a tip of the hat to Harry Potter and how Capricious feels on high anxiety days (she confesses to being bit of a rager). The real key is the first name, which she learned while studying for the GRE with her Ex partner meant, “Inclined to change one’s mind.”
When her ex added, “That’s you!” She smiled and laughed, letting her know she was joking, but it stung. So much, it stuck with her for over a decade. She didn’t make the connection until many years later that the reason this was true was because Capricious always had big dreams and since she’s emotive she always spoke them out loud, but often had to scale back or give up on those big dreams because her limitations would soon set in. Being the unconventional sort, she came up with the pseudonym “Capricious Lestrange” because she felt the chronically ill are probably all looked at this way to some degree, so this is her conscious reclaiming of a fallacious stereotype, which sort of has a long history in activism, much like the terms “cripple” and “queer” and that famed N word to which only African Americans have a right. Capricious may be slow and she may be forced to change her mind or scale back because of her illness, but she will not be ashamed of the fact that she is ill.
In January, 2018, The Zebra Pit was nominated for a Liebster Award! We’re proud to have been nominated and hope it speaks to the quality work we’ve been doing. You can read more about the Liebster Award here, and see who we nominated in turn.
Just a few of the nice things folks have said about the Zebra Pit and Capricious Lestrange 🙂
“Your blog posts are so interesting. You have your eyes open to a lot of things connected with chronic illness. You are a fantastic writer. Keep the amazing work up.”
“Your Blog and posts inspire me and keep me motivated. Seeing how much of an impact simple, at home exercises can have has been so helpful. I also have a few of your recipes in my meal rotations. Thank you for doing what you do!”
In response to El Houssaine Ichen, My Hero! on twitter, “This is such a good article. Very Inspiring. #inspiration #inspired”
Referring to this Tarragon Chicken Recipe, “Made this for dinner tonight and it was so good! Love using the #SlowCooker in the #fall. Thanks for the recipe @caplestrange”
in reference to our Instagram shares: “I’ve been dealing with chronic stuff off and on for 20+ years. Only learned about MCAS which seems closest match to all that happens to me. Thank you so much for sharing what you share here. Seriously makes me feel less lonely. Much Reiki and love to you!”