Help is Right Around the Corner

By Jessica De Block

I started my business while I was still studying, and gave it my full 100%. Wasn’t hugely succesful in classic terms at the very beginning, but success came pretty quickly. Not long after, lots and lots of people in Belgium were proud of me and got to know me via social media/interviews, etc.

But before the success, there was another side to my life. When I started my second bachelor’s year, I couldn’t move from the couch/bed as my back was full of inflammations. At that point, I had been looking for a diagnosis for 3 years but I got the wrong one (Spondylitis Ankylosans – I was sure it wasn’t what I had but the doctor was positive it was. My word against his). But everything got so much worse, and I looked for a new diagnosis (seeing 100’s of doctors and visiting different hospitals) for 11 months, until I finally found out I had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

After my diagnosis, I made a full recovery (although it’s a chronic disease – so I will never lose it entirely. However, I lost almost all pain symptoms). And I did that by just keeping my head up, and I kept going and going and going to the hospital’s physical rehabilitation center until I got better. Took 6 months and then some personal training, but I never gave up. I got to go back to school, and after that combine my Master’s year with a full time business.

How I stayed positive

I truly believed, even at my worst point, that help/relief/a solution was just around the corner. Whenever one door closes, two other doors open. I held onto that very firmly. I’ve always been a positive thinker and that may have been a blessing during my worst times.At one point, my very kind neighbor told me this: “Always remember that the prince thinks he has seen and done it all when trying to get to his princess up in a tower. But when he thinks he’s done it all, moments before reaching his princess, he has to slay the dragon”. She told me this story to remind me that you always go through the hardest part, right before the end or the solution.She told me this story around June 20th, when I had given up all hope and one doctor had told me – after 11 months of intense searching for a diagnosis – that I had made it all up and that I had psychological issues.On June 27th, a professor at Medical Genetics in the University Hospital of Antwerp, just pieced the puzzle together and finally diagnosed me with the correct diagnosis. Only a few days after the story, when I had just started to give up all hope, I got what I “wanted” so badly.


My diagnosis obviously wasn’t a very positive one, but at least I knew what I had to work on and what I coùld do. The professor told me I would maybe “improve my pain with around 30%” by doing physical rehabilitation for 6 months and keeping up doing physical exercise regularly. He didn’t seem too positive about it, but it was all I had so I took the advice and started swimming the next day until I could enroll in the 6 month program of the P.Reh. center. 


It took such a long time to recover, but I got so much better and I basically got my life back 99%. I still have the occasional shoulder and jaw luxation, and I get tired pretty quickly, but I couldn’t have imagined at that point that my life would get THAT much better. 


Now I live the 100% entrepreneur fast life, I have my own business and I’m out and about all day, running from one appointment to the other, traveling a lot, drawing a lot and my health is just fine.  

Keeping the mind positive is probably the best health advice I could ever give someone.


De Block

Jessica De Block is the founder and creative force behind Antwerp Avenue. She hand draws every design for her tech wear company.

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