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Nursing student uses YouTube to describe her rare medical disorder

Nursing student in classroom lab

Brooklyn Park, May 4, 2023 – Meet a social media content creator who is inspiring people all over the world. On YouTube and Instagram, Mickey Sorensen describes her life dealing with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS), a rare debilitating disorder that effects connective tissues.

At Hennepin Tech, Sorensen is a student in the Licensed Practical Nursing program. She uses a wheelchair most of the time and can use a walking cane to assist with mobility. We asked her about navigating life as a student, social media star and an advocate for people living with EDS.

Hennepin Tech: People with EDS have different degrees of severity and different symptoms. How do you describe your physical challenges?

Sorensen: EDS effects my joints significantly. I dislocate 20-30 joints each day. I wake up in the morning and both hips are out of place. My shoulders get dislocated all the time. I had surgery because one shoulder was dislocated for six years. I have a feeding tube and issues with my skin and nervous system.

It absolutely causes chronic pain every day. I think you learn to live with pain. I am stronger now compared to a few years ago. I am grateful to my team of doctors and physical therapists.

Hennepin Tech: You were diagnosed with EDS in 8th grade. Tell us about that.

Sorensen: As a kid, I was a dancer and a figure skater. I hurt my ankle skating. But then I got a diagnosis of EDS. I kept thinking I would get better. But EDS is genetic. There’s no treatment. You can only manage it.

I left school because I got really sick. I was really lonely. My days were staying in bed constantly. It was hard. I spent many months in a dark place.  Then I said to myself, “Well, I can mope about it – or – I can live my life.”  That’s what I’ve chosen to do.

Hennepin Tech: There are thousands of people who follow you on social media. How did creating content help you?

Sorensen: I had to find my new identity. Everything about myself was gone. YouTube helped me cope and process EDS and even make light of it. I could also educate people about EDS. I was surprised that my channel really took off.

I have met amazing people through social media. I have had people contact me and say, “You helped me get diagnosed,” or “Your videos keep me company while I was in the hospital.” It’s a privilege to help people with EDS. I’m really shocked that I was able to help people. It gives everything meaning.

Hennepin Tech: How did you decide to become a nursing student?

Sorensen: For a time, I didn’t think I was strong enough to be a student or enter a medical career. Once I got stronger I thought, “I can do this. I’ll go for it.”

My first semester at Hennepin Tech, I took just one class. I had to test out how my body would handle it. The next semester I took two classes. Now I am a full-time student but it will take me longer to graduate.

Hennepin Tech: You plan to become a Registered Nurse. Did EDS put you on the path to a medical career?

Sorensen: Yes! I feel like a grew up inside the walls of a hospital. But all of it gave me a fascination for medical careers in general.

In class we were learning how to deal with a feeding tube. Oh, I already knew how to do that. I have a feeding tube and I get most of my nutrition from it.

I have had great nurses and also some were not-so-good. There’s good and bad in any profession. I want to be a really good nurse – the nurse that I always wanted to have when I was a patient. I want to work with kids. When I was a kid in the hospital, I know what I needed in that moment.

Hennepin Tech: How is your experience at Hennepin Tech?

Sorensen: Hennepin Tech is a big help. The campus is accessible for wheelchairs. The hallways are wide and the elevator is convenient. I looked at another college and it was not as accessible.

The faculty and staff here are amazing. I love it. Everyone was so encouraging when I started. I remember how one instructor said, “You got this. You will be a great nurse.”

Hennepin Tech: Public speaking keeps you busy too. How are you sharing your story beyond social media?

Sorensen: I speak at churches and share my faith story. I work with the company that makes my feeding tube formula. I’ve trained their employees on interacting with patients and I’ve spoken at medical conferences.

Hennepin Tech: What challenges have you faced during your journey into the nursing profession?

Sorensen: I worry about how patients will react. I had people who have questioned if I am capable of being a nurse. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t think that’s a good idea for you. Are you strong enough to do that?”

I won’t be able to lift a patient and put them into bed. It’s OK to say that you have limitations. I can still be a great nurse in the areas that I can physically do. There are many things I can do. When I hear something negative, all of that motivates me to prove to people that I can do this. I won’t stop until I get what I want. EDS has dictated my life for six years. Now it’s my turn. The nursing profession is vast and wide. There’s a place for me.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college offers degree and non-degree courses in over 40 programs in the skilled trades and high-demand career fields. Achieving a high job placement rate, Hennepin Tech prepares students for high-paying employment opportunities.

Last updated by kiavali : 2023-05-08 09:33:02