For this month’s Hospital Experience spotlight Giftgowns is delighted to showcase this absolutely beauty, Audra LaRay. Despite countless hospital visits, she stays positive and has some great insights to help your next hospital stay be a little easier!
Name: Audra LaRay Pendry
Location: Delray Beach, FL
Social Media Handle(s): @audralaray (on all)
GG: Tell us about yourself, include if you’re a patient, survivor or a current warrior battling an illness:
AL: I’m 21, I just graduated college in only 3 years, I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I’m a professional artist, and I’m a model. Well, I was a model until this health crisis struck. I’m currently battling something that is “very rare” and “doesn’t fit any textbook diagnosis”. I’m usually a strong 105 lb girl of solid muscle. I started to put on water weight VERY rapidly. I gained 30 pounds in a matter of three months! I suddenly didn’t have my fit body anymore, I didn’t have my model body anymore, and I didn’t even look like myself. The doctors STILL don’t know what’s wrong with me, but it could be something as serious as a tumor on my pituitary gland that must be removed (via brain surgery). I’ve heard recovery goes well, but right now we still don’t know. It’s extremely frustrating for a 21 year old, but I’m glad to have such an amazing support system around me.
GG: In three words, how would your friends and family describe you?
AL: I think my friends would say intelligent, funny, and bada**. Haha, my family said “Absolutely Amazing Audra!”
GG: Have you ever had a long term stay in the hospital? What was it like and how do you think Giftgowns could have made the situation better and more comfortable?
AL: Yes, I have. Far too recently, actually. I think Giftgowns could have made me feel a little bit more like myself and it would’ve given me my own personal touch for visitors and doctors to comment on, instead of that drab hospital gown! It would’ve been just another little reason to smile.
GG: What is your favourite Giftgown?
AL: “Well behaved women seldom make history” - it’s one of my favorite quotes!
GG: What are tips and tricks for those who are currently going through treatment?
AL: Keep your head up. It WILL get better. Keep laughing, keep smiling, and start to write down littlevictories in your notebook or planner that you accomplished every day. If you made dinner, did a batch of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, took a shower - write it down, and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
GG: Do you have any tips on making a hospital stay more pleasant?
AL: Get an iPad or a laptop with Netflix on it, find an old movie that makes you laugh and watch it with a friend or a family member! Try to find little things to smile about, and sleep if you want to. Listen to your body. Remind yourself continuously that you’re doing the best you can. Even make goals for when you get better! And in the meantime, just try to find anything you can to relieve some stress and get you to smile again. It will feel better than anything.
GG: Do you have any special routines or mantras that help you cope?
AL: Because I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis at the young age of 16, I like the line from OneRepublic’s song “I Lived”: “I owned every second that this world could give, saw so many places and things that I did, yeah with every broken bone I swear I lived.” Something as simple as “I’ve got this” helps too when you may feel desperate and helpless it can really help to boost your confidence. Remind yourself how strong you are, and that you’re so much stronger than this illness.
GG: Here are some more fun questions to help us get to know you better! Optional (but fun) questions:
GG: What’s your zodiac sign?
GG: What’s your favourite candy/treat?
AL: Sour Punch Straws!
GG: What’s your favourite vacation destination?
AL: Oooh, anywhere honestly! I love to travel! I’ve lived in seven different states and recently went abroad to Dublin to aide in the international debut of a musical - I was the choreographer. I like any vacation destination.
Thank you so much, Audra! We are sending you all the positive, healthy vibes!