Hello everyone. I am Michelle Beltano Curtis, the Zebra Pit’s Managing Editor and founder. You may also know me as Capricious Lestrange, a long-time pen name, or simply as Mykie, a much loved nickname I’ve done by for decades. My major diagnoses include hEDS, MCAS, POTS, and Fibromyalgia, among others.
Why I started the Zebra Pit
I built the Zebra Pit at a time when my health was at its worst. I was lonely and desperate for answers, so when doctors seemed clueless about what I had, I took to research to solve some of my health issues on my own. What I discovered was something that would transform my life and health; a renewed passion for natural medicine and holistic modes of healing, and a dedication to helping others solve some of their most daunting health problems.
Fast forward to today and you have the Zebra Pit, the culmination of my experiences as a disabled person with multiple disorders and everything I’ve found that helps make me to be comfortable and provides the vigor that allows me to do this work. If I try something and it improves my health or life in some way, I share it with you.
I’ve become a firm believer that nature provides nearly everything necessary for nearly every ailment. I still go to the doctor’s like everyone else and utilize a mixture of holistic and traditional medications and treatments and I firmly believe this is the best way to approach medicine, as it’s helped me far more than when I used to go to the doctor expecting they would remedy my every complaint.
Who am I?
I’m a writer whose main focus has become fitness, natural foods and natural medicine for spoonies. I am not a health coach or medical practitioner. While I do take classes and do a lot of research to learn about holistic health topics, I haven’t received any kind of degree for it. What I consider myself to be is a health writer. I learned how to conduct fabulous research as an undergrad and grad student and it has carried me far with my goals of finding reasonable solutions for my health problems and supporting other spoonies in their efforts to do the same. I rely on the work of medical experts, health coaches, fitness trainers, physical therapists and others whenever I do anything, from choosing my own supplements to writing about them for you.
My degrees include a BA in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Bowling Green State University and a creative writing MFA from National University. I am proud of my education and I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe to finish the MA in English that I left in progress when my symptoms made it impossible to finish.
If I truly am autistic as I believe, I would say that these pursuits have certainly become one of my “intense special interests.” I have to remind myself to do other things because I love what I do on the Zebra Pit and within the community so much. But I also have a passion for my creative writing, which you can check out at Mykie Writes It, and my other hobbies.
Writing, any kind of writing, has been an intense special interest of mine since I was a teen and I realized I could be understood so much better in writing than I could ever seem to accomplish with my oral communication skills. Not surprisingly, I’m also a huge fan of literature, television, film, theater; pretty much any sort of creative story-telling or art. I get out to the theater every chance I get, be it a Cinemark, or the Aronoff.
In addition to my pursuit of great stories, I am a huge fan of music. I listen to a wide variety of artists, though my first loves will always be 1970-80’s alternative and 60’s and 70’s hard rock. I also love nature and desire to be out among the trees and plants always. Though my conditions won’t currently allow for it, hiking, swimming and spending time out in nature is by far one of my favorite pastimes. Give me a campfire and some music and I will be content for days. Prior to becoming ill, I spent a good deal of my time volunteering and advocating for others for a number of causes, now my focus stays on helping the chronically ill and advocating for change in our treatment both by society and by the medical industry.
Last but definitely not least, I share a very happy life with my husband of 13 years, David. David gifted me with a step-son when we married who is now 24 years old. I am happier in my home life than I ever thought possible, being a survivor of childhood abuse and neglect. We understand each other very well, work hard to keep our marriage healthy and I can’t imagine having lived such a joyful life without him.
Get to know my work better by viewing my all-time top five posts (by views):
- Genetic Finding Could Help Explain POTS, EDS, IBS, FM, ME/CFS and Others – Could the discovery of hereditary alpha tryptasemia explain the interconnected nature of many spoonie conditions?
- Fascia Treatments for EDS and Fibromyalgia – One of my favorite subjects is also beloved by many other people with fibromyalgia, hypermobility and many of connective tissue conditions!
- Are Most Spoonies Suffering from MCAD? Further explores the interconnected nature of several spoonie conditions, much like Genetic Finding Could Help Explain…
- FDA Warns of Dangers of Epidural Spinal Injections – A must read for back pain sufferers before deciding to get an epidural spinal injection.
- Understanding Mast Cell Disorders is an informational article about MCAS, Mastocytosis and other mast cell conditions.