We sat down with Paige Trischler to learn what’s new in her world and how she navigates living with PKD as a teenager.
PKD Foundation (PKDF) Hi Paige! What’s new since the last time you shared your story with the PKD Foundation?
Paige Since you heard from me last, I started a new school! It was a very busy school year, but the last quarter of the year wasn’t quite as smooth as I hoped it would be. After my last blog, I had a PKD-related flare up that caused me to miss school. Thankfully after talking to my teachers, I was able to get a couple of extra weeks to make up the work I missed.
PKDF What’s next for you? Do you have anything special planned for the summer?
Paige After finishing up some big end-of-year school projects, I was accepted into Barbizon School of Modeling and Acting. I got my first job as an ambassador for Greek Glasses and was also asked to walk in the Pittsburgh Fashion Week for Dress Haute. I hope to use my modeling and acting platform to spotlight living with PKD.
This summer, I’m happy to say I’m returning to marching band and the band front. I just wrapped up minicamp and then went to band camp on July 29. This means practice every Tuesday. I also started a job working at an ice cream shop in town.
PKDF Wow, it sounds like you’ve been very busy! How do you manage a busy schedule and staying healthy?
Paige Yes, my schedule is definitely busy, but I like it that way. I rely on my planner to help me ensure I’m doing what I need to do to remain healthy. I have a Happy Planner that I take everywhere with me and I also have a mini bullet journal that I use to jot down things when I’m on the go.
PKDF Do you have any healthy living tips for other teens living with PKD?
Paige I think planning ahead is one of the best ways I can stay healthy. I’ve found it helpful to always have water with me. My 24-oz Contigo water bottle is one of the best things I’ve bought. I can put ice in it and hours later, it’s still cold. I use alarms on my phone to remind me to take my medicine. I set one for every medicine I take. I have one for blood pressure, one for anemia and one for my stomach that I take every 12 hours. I also carry my pills in a pretty Vera Bradley pill holder. This is an easy way to carry my medicines and make sure that I take them regularly.
PKDF What are you looking forward to in the new school year?
Paige I’ll be starting a new school and that means Friday night football games and hanging out with my friends! I think this will also be a great opportunity to start fresh and make more new friends.
PKDF Is there anything you wish people understood better about a PKD diagnosis?
Paige A diagnosis of PKD doesn’t look like a broken arm or leg. Most people have no idea that I’m sick because from the outside I don’t look sick. I wish people understood the disease better and could be more understanding that the symptoms of PKD are often not visible, but that doesn’t mean you’re not hurting. I think this is a hard concept for some people to understand and therefore they aren’t always as kind or understanding as I wish they would be.
PKDF How do you stay motivated during difficult times?
Paige I like to take inspiration from other people who have also gone through tough things in their life. This includes people such as Alexa Bliss, an American professional wrestler in the WWE, who struggled with an eating disorder and Roman Reigns, who battled leukemia. I feel like these people are just like me in some ways. We might not have the same illness, but each of us knows what it feels like to be sick. It’s inspirational to me because each of us is learning how to make our illness a part of our story, but we know we are more than our illness.
I think it’s important for everyone to find their outlet. For me, that’s taking part in things that I love like WWE and wrestling, modeling, and acting.
Paige, age 16, lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She will be starting tenth grade this month and is active in band and modeling. In the past, she was also a member of the wrestling, volleyball, and softball teams at her school.