AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

-Living Beautifully with Lymphedema-

          My passion for dance started at the age of seven.  Any opportunity to perform and express my personality through my feet was always a rewarding challenge.  It wasn’t until I started having symptoms bilaterally in my lower extremities that were literally slowing down my dancing career and transforming my body that I became determined to find answers.  What I once viewed as my greatest strength, was quickly becoming a weakness. 

 

          As time went on the symptoms worsened.  Frustrations and emotions were slowly taking a toll on my self-confidence and self-esteem.  My Family and I began searching for those answers at the age of fourteen.  Various tests and appointments with primary care physicians, podiatrists, vein and vascular doctors, even cardiologists thinking maybe I was dealing with a heart issue or heart disease due to family history.  The constant search had me physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted.  Not a glimmer of hope, just countless misdiagnoses.

 

          Fast forward to 2007, I was still unaware as to what was happening with my body, yet I really wasn’t focusing on it either.  I was spending every waking moment planning what would be the wedding of my dreams to the Love of my Life, Ruben. 

My heart was focused on the new journey ahead, but I will admit that it was difficult for me because I was allowing symptoms to defeat my strengths and I had not a clue what I was dealing with.  I quickly realized that I had a huge support team between my husband and family and they were not going to allow me to face this journey alone.  Their encouragements to never lose hope and continue searching for answers instilled a greater determination within.

 

          After eighteen years of being misdiagnosed, God placed me exactly where he wanted me in June of 2011.  Although I wanted answers, I was not prepared for the plans He had already set out before me.  I was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema, which is a hereditary condition where lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired, causing swelling and discomfort that requires daily maintenance.                                            

          I have since turned my frustrations and defeat into a passion filled purpose by being the Voice of Lymphedema and the Voice of Significance, as an International Spokesperson and Global Ambassador for multiple organizations.  I am living out my dreams as an active dancer, makeup artist and currently hold the title of Mrs. Florida International 2016, but most importantly is my “why.”  Continue building awareness and giving voice to every door of opportunity that opens throughout my journey.  It has been the time that I have spent healing from the inside out, that has been a true testament of my life coming full circle.  My feet are still my greatest strength and I will continue to use them in such a way to encourage and inspire others to give voice to their story, rather than suffer in silence as I once did.

 

Live to Inspire, 

 

Amy Santiago

Mrs. Florida International 2016

We all have a story...

Amy_Mrs Florida International
Amy and Ruben_International Pageants
Amy_Mrs Florida International
Amy and Jaelyn_International Pageant
Amy_Mrs Florida International
Amy_Mrs Florida International 2016
Amy_Mrs Florida International
Mrs Florida International 2016
Amy_Mrs Florida International
Amy Editorial Shoot in Miami
Amy_Editorial Shoot in Miami
Amy Editorial Shoot in Miami
Healthy Heroes Event_Mental Health
Healthy Heroes Event_Mental Health
Healthy Heroes_Mental Health
Celebrities support Lymphedema in CA
Actress Kathy Bates & Amy in CA
All of us are living with Lymphedema
Actor-Billy Bob Thornton,Robin & Amy
Actress Kathy Bates Kicking off Walk
Lymphedema Fighters Maria & Amy - CA
Maureen, Amy & Robin at CA Run/Walk
Brianna & Amy at CA Run/Walk
Amy_Canada_GoPhysiotherapy
Amy_Canada_GoPhysiotherapy
Amy_Speaker at BSN Workshop
Amy_Speaker at BSN Workshop
Amy_Speaker at BSN Workshop
Amy_Ruben_GoRed Luncheon_2016
Ronald McDonald House Event
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Amy Santiago_Haiti
Amy Santiago_Haiti
Amy Santiago_Haiti
Amy Santiago_Haiti
Amy Santiago_Haiti
Amy Santiago_Haiti
Amy Santiago_Haiti
WESH 2 News Interview for Lymphedema
WESH 2 News Interview for Lymphedema
Amy & Ruben ~ Wishmaker's Ball
LymphCare Person of the Year Award
BSN Medical Lymphedema Day
GetGlam Event ~ Carmen Steffens
GetGlam Event ~ Carmen Steffens
GetGlam Event ~ Carmen Steffens
GetGlam Event ~ Carmen Steffens
Amy Santiago
Amy & Kyarra~American Cancer Society
Amy & Ruben_Miami
Amy & Diana Nyad_United Way Event
Amy Santiago_Washington, D.C
Federation of Families Article
Hollywood, CA
Hiking~Inspiration Point, CA
Hiking~Inspiration Point, CA
Hiking~Inspiration Point, CA
Amy Santiago_Carmen Steffens Event
Amy and Ruben Santiago
Amy_LymphCareUSA
Amy Santiago & Talia Joy_MAC Makeup
Kinky Boots_MasterClass
Kinky Boots_MasterClass
Amy Santiago_San Francisco, CA
Amy Santiago_San Francisco, CA
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Event
Ruben and Amy Santiago_San Francisco
Ronald McDonald House Event
Amy Santiago_Hollywood, CA
Amy Santiago_YMCA Prayer Breakfast
Amy Santiago_San Francisco, CA Shoot
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Measurements
Amy Santiago_New York City, NY
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Kinesio Tape
Amy Santiago_Pandora Radio_NYC
Ruben and Amy Santiago_Pandora NYC
Amy Santiago_San Francisco
Amy_Carmen Steffens_Easter Seals
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Bandaging
Amy Santiago
Amy Santiago_Minneapolis,MN
Amy Santiago_Minneapolis, MN
Amy Santiago
Amy Santiago
BayHill Golf Invitational
Amy Santiago
Lymphedema Support Group
Amy Santiago_Lymph4Soles Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_Lymph4Soles Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_Lymph4Soles Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_Lymph4Soles Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_New York, NY
Amy Santiago_New York, NY
Amy Santiago_New York, NY
Amy Santiago_Broadway~New York City
Dirty Dancing_MasterClass
Dirty Dancing_MasterClass
Amy's Dance Feet
Amy Santiago_Epilepsy Foundation
Amy Santiago_NLN Organization, CA
Amy Santiago_NLN LSAP Graduate
Amy Santiago_NBA Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_NBA Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_NBA Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_Makeup Studio
Amy Santiago_Glam Wars for BaseCamp
Amy Santiago
Amy Santiago_Soles4Souls
Amy & Ruben_ALR Event Miami
Most Interesting Man_ALR_Miami
Amy Santiago_Medi Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_Medi Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_Medi Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_LE&RN Walk_Brooklyn, NY
Amy Santiago_Athens, Greece
Amy Santiago_Athens, Greece
Amy Santiago_Lipari, Italy
Ruben and Amy Santiago_Capri, Italy
Amy Santiago_Luna Medical_Chicago,IL
Amy Santiago_Elizabeth S. Handbags
Amy Santiago_Medi Lymphedema Event
Amy Santiago_Medi Lymphedema Event
Ruben and Amy Santiago_GKTW Gala
Amy and Ruben Santiago_Mt.Etna Italy
Amy Santiago_Mt.Etna Italy
Amy Santiago_Good Morning America
Amy Santiago & Dawn Wells_WESH Event
Amy Santiago_New York City
Amy Santiago
Amy Santiago & Int'l Pageant Queens
Amy Santiago_Medi HQ_North Carolina
Amy Santiago_Kalamata, Greece
Ruben and Amy Santiago_Greece
Amy Santiago_CMN Hospitals Event
Amy Santiago_CMN Hospitals Event
Amy Santiago_CMN Hospitals Event
Amy Santiago_Rome, Italy
Amy Santiago_Rome, Italy
Amy Santiago_CMN Radiothon Event
Amy Santiago_CMN Radiothon Event
Amy Santiago_CMN Radiothon Event
Amy Santiago_WCOL Conf_San Francisco
Amy Santiago_AHA Event
Amy Santiago_AHA Event
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Conference
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Conference
Amy Santiago_Bora Bora, Tahiti
Amy Santiago_Bora Bora, Tahiti
Ruben&Amy Santiago_Bora Bora,Tahiti
Amy Santiago_Bora Bora, Tahiti
Amy Santiago_Lymphedema Treatment
Amy Santiago_LE&RN Walk_Brooklyn, NY
Amy Santiago_LE&RN Walk_Brooklyn, NY
Amy Santiago_LE&RN Walk_Brooklyn, NY
Amy Santiago_LE&RN Walk_Brooklyn, NY
Amy Santiago_LE&RN Walk Brooklyn, NY
Amy Santiago_GoRed for Women Event
Amy Santiago_Lymph2Glam Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_Lymph2Glam Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_Lymph2Glam Event @ CS
Amy Santiago_Lymph2Glam Event @ CS
Amy and Ruben Santiago_Miami, FL
Amy Santiago
Ruben&Amy Santiago_Santa Barbara, CA
Amy Santiago_Santa Barbara, CA
Amy Santiago_Florence, Italy
Amy Santiago_Rome, Italy
Ruben and Amy Santiago_Vatican City
Amy Santiago & Parents_California
Amy Santiago_Golden Gate Bridge
NBA Lymphedema Night for LE&RN
NBA Lymphedema Night for LE&RN
NBA_Lymphedema Night for LE&RN
Amy Santiago_Twin Peaks_San Fran CA
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