Dehydration and Chronic Illness: A Survivor Shares Her Inspiring Story
"I made the worst thing that's happened to me, into something that has helped and continues to help thousands of people."
We recently caught up with chronic illness warrior and IBD advocate Kristen Furey to find out how defeating dehydration with DripDrop ORS has enabled her to take control of her life, confidently do what she loves and inspire others to do the same.
Q: Kristen, tell us how dehydration has affected your life?
As a woman living with a serious medical condition, Crohn's Disease, dehydration is a daily concern. For me, becoming dehydrated means a trip to the hospital for IV fluids—something that's happened more times than I can count.
Q: Please explain Crohn's Disease to those who aren't in the know.
I'm one of nearly 700,000 people who suffer from Crohn's Disease. This inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causes inflammation of the digestive system. It's like having sores in your stomach, which makes food passing through excruciating. As a result, I experienced abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea and so much more.
Q: What it's like living with chronic illness?
Everything is harder with a chronic illness; holidays, travel, shopping for daily essentials, you name it. Even bouncing back from injury or sickness is more difficult. You can never count on being healthy, or anticipate when you might have to miss an event because you're suddenly in pain. For me, just having a healthy body weight is a big deal. When I was at my sickest, I weighed 75 pounds!
Q: Wow! That’s a lot to manage. What’s been the hardest part of this journey?
At 19, my doctors said I needed to have my colon removed and get an ostomy. I was shocked. When you get a diagnosis like that, you have to work through all kinds of emotions. At first, I felt very alone. I thought I can't do this. I don't want to do this. I went through all the stages of grief. But eventually, I learned to navigate my new life.
Q: That’s remarkable. What was the turning point?
Discovering community. It's hard learning to ask for help. It took months before I was even willing to talk about my condition. Finding the ostomy community online provided emotional support and practical information from people going through the same thing I was. My perspective changed. Straight away I became an IBD/ostomy advocate to help other people like myself.
“Freedom without worry is something I never thought I’d have. Now that my dehydration is under control, I feel emancipated.”
Q: Can you share more about your role as an ostomy advocate?
When you have an ostomy, dehydration is a daily struggle. I started my Instagram page @thefureyfighter to help other ostomates learn to navigate life, address dehydration and share my experiences as a survivor. People need the real facts. My page is a first-hand breakdown of what's terrible and what really works!
Q: Help us understand how your condition causes dehydration.
As a result of having my colon removed and receiving an ostomy, my body struggles to get the fluids I need. The primary function of the colon (aka large intestines) is water reabsorption. Consequently, when you're missing sections of your digestive tract, you can't absorb enough water to stay hydrated.
Q: What is it like to experience dehydration?
You feel like you just ran a marathon. Your heart's racing while your body’s working 10x harder than usual. You're anxious, nauseous, shaking, fatigued, dizzy, short of breath, and your mind is so foggy you can't think. This can happen at any time, and when it does, no amount of water can help. You need electrolytes!
Q: Woah! How did you cope with that?
I was told by doctors I'd need to drink more water to stay hydrated — up to 12/15 cups a day! But I found that drinking water wasn't effective for staving off dehydration. I ended up in the hospital nearly every month, getting IV fluids. Shockingly, nobody mentioned the possibility of using an electrolyte powder like DripDrop ORS to address my dehydration.
Q: So how did you finally learn about DripDrop ORS?
I came across a well-known influencer in my community who shared her success with DripDrop ORS. After struggling with dehydration for so long, I couldn't wait to try it and see if this product would work for me.
Q: How has DripDrop ORS changed your life?
Once I started using DripDrop ORS, I was able to stay out of the hospital for good. I could finally live my life without worrying about dehydration. Water and sports drinks didn't do the trick. DripDrop ORS is the only product I use that never fails me. My daily routine is toothpaste, deodorant, and DripDrop ORS.
Q: Amazing! So, what does life look like now?
Freedom without worry is something I never thought I’d have. Now that my dehydration is under control, I feel emancipated. I relish the simple things in life—that I’m able to work an 8-hour day, come home and make dinner without anything slowing me down. I can enjoy a glass of wine, hike my favorite national parks, and even travel across the world to Australia. I'm living my best life and showing others how they can too.
Q: How has your journey informed your perspective?
Never being able to count on your health changes your perspective on life. I learned not to take the small things for granted. I spent a long time feeling like an outsider. But when I discovered techniques for taking control of my body, everything changed. Now I'm passionate about helping others find their power and regain a sense of freedom.
Q: What's the main thing you'd like to share with everybody following your story?
Regardless of my health struggles, my mission is to live a happy, active lifestyle and encourage others to do the same. I drink DripDrop ORS daily and dodge dehydration. It's that easy. If it can keep me out of the hospital and doing what I love, I know it will work for anyone else experiencing dehydration!