Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Thanksgiving Post

I was unsure what to expect this Thanksgiving. This time last year I was still seriously recovering from Pneumonia and wasn't leaving the house or the couch for that matter.
As I said previously I have begun eating gluten free, so all the stuffing and pie and cake that I ate last year was out of the question.
We were invited to my sister in law Melissa's apartment in Cincinnati, and she took my food sensitivities seriously, investigating all she could on gluten free Thanksgiving foods. I've also been cutting back on dairy, but I handled that more by not eating things with dairy in it.
Mel made stuffing from gluten free corn bread, which had been my biggest concern, it was DELICIOUS. The turkey was moist and not only was their green bean casserole (on the no list) but steamed green beans that were very tasty. She left potatoes out of the masher for me to eat without milk, and made sure that everything was safe for me to eat. It was a great meal, I filled my plate, only once, as my stomach has been super sensitive lately.
This year I am Thankful for family who is so supportive of my lifestyle changes to a healthier me (this includes all my family and friends), I am thankful for being as healthy as I am, I am thankful for the nurses and doctors who have taken care of me over the past year both at Grady Hospital in Delaware, OH, and Harding OSU in Columbus. I am thankful for my church family both in PA and OH who have continued to support me in prayer and any other ways possible. I am thankful for God who has answered those prayers time and again.
A thanksgiving post would also not be complete without a thanks to my Hubby who has been there every step of the way. On my good days when I laugh, and on my really really horrible days when I can't do anything. He's always there and I am EXTREMELY grateful for that.
Here is a slide show from this fall, things I am grateful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Me and Gluten Free

I figure it's been about 3 or so weeks since I've been eating completely gluten free.  I started "trying" over the summer eating small amounts here and there, sticking to a mainly free diet, hoping that it would make my many digestion problems go away.  

After getting out of the hospital I made the commitment to go completely free and see how it made me feel.  When eating small amounts of gluten, I wasn't very sick, but perhaps I could feel better.  

My verdict so far is that I am feeling better than I was.  I think my skin is happier for it, by this time most years I would be itchy, scaly, and dry.  My face has also far less blemishes, and I'm starting to look like a grown up.

There are many other personal benefits here that I don't necessarily want to put out on to the world wide web for all to hear, but if you are interested drop me a note, and we can have a convo via e-mail.  Lets just say there are parts of my body that are much happier than at the beginning of the summer.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, some things will be a challenge, but my whole family, including the in-laws are committed to making sure there are things for me to eat.  Fortunately I'm a meat eater, I'm very much looking forward to turkey, and sausage that my hubby made just this week.  Mel, the sis-in-law might try some wild rice stuffing or something similar instead of traditional bread stuffing, and I am making some cookies for my dessert.  I'm not much of a pie eater, so that's not such a huge issue.  Perhaps next year I will look into gluten free pumpkin pie.

One other challenge is that I have mostly given up dairy on my way to digestive health.  This is something I can cheat a little more at, weighing my consequences, but most days it's not worth it.  I'd rather just skip the dairy all together.  Which means no milk in my mashed potatoes.   I'll just be stealing some boiled ones and mashing them with my fork.  I refuse to give up butter, but so far this has not presented a problem.

I've been grateful to Gluten Free Girl and A Chronic Dose to help me ease into this new part of my life.  They've been a wealth of information and comfort, reading their words about their original struggles into the life of eating gluten free.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Don't Even Know

I don't even know how to handle myself anymore.  I've been going to bed at a regular time and getting up at a regular time (earlier than Ryan would like).  Which means I'm getting real sleep, this is the first time I have gotten restorative sleep in about 8 years.  I've been busy walking, doing yoga, and household chores.  

But just because I can do these things does not mean things are much better.  Today for instance, I need desperately to do laundry, wash dishes, go to the pharmacy, the library, and the grocery.  But I'm laying in bed, exhausted.  My walk this morning was easy, just a quick jaunt around the block with a friend.

So why do I feel this why.  Why am I laying here, under the covers light turned off, barely able to keep my eyes open.  I want to cry, scream, throw a temper tantrum.  I don't ever remember if I threw temper tantrums when I was little, I'm sure I did, but this is how I feel the majority of the time now.  I want to roll on the floor, throw things, kick, scream, and yell..... I don't even have to yell real words.  I just want to yell.

I just want to be a responsible adult who can take care of the things that need taking care of.  I don't want to be tired, I don't want my body to hurt in places that there is no reason for.  I love the feeling I'm getting from Yoga, and it is stretching me out and causing some comfortable pain.  But then there are the jabbing ice pick pains, and the sore muscles, and bruises that have nothing to do with a physical activity.  I am just so tired of it.

And I'm so tired of being emotional about it.  I'm almost afraid that I want to emotionally hurt those around me so they can have at least an idea of what is going on.

I want to tear out my insides.  

I want how I feel inside to be visible to everyone on the outside.

I'm turning off the comments for this post... I  know what people will say and I just don't even really need to hear it, because I've heard it already.  No offense to my readers.  I just want this to be a post on the internet, with no discussion.  Period.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Second Look

I already posted this picture, but I knew when I took it I wanted it to say something special.  When I first took the picture I noticed the nut shells amongst the fallen leaves.  Then I noticed the snow from one of the first flakes of the year.  The squirrels had already gathered their nuts for the year, and the snow wasn't yet heavy enough to weigh down the leaves.  And now I know the nuts are hickory.

I hope you like it.

Warm Up America

Warm Up America is my most recent project.  I'm working on crocheting 7"x9" squares to put together into afghans.  These afghans then get distributed to victims of domestic violence who have fled their homes, victims of natural disasters, homeless, and other low income people.  

My afghan(s) most likely will go to the Common Grounds Free Store in Delaware OH.  Although Ryan and I are living in Columbus, our church home is in Delaware, and is really committed to making a difference in the lives of people in Delaware.  So that's where I hope these will be going.  I will post pictures as the afghan comes a long, we will see if I can get it done in any kind of timely manner.

Meanwhile check out the websites for these places, it is good stuff.

Butterflies and Rainbows

I know I haven't portrayed life as butterflies and rainbows lately.  Things have been rough, and I'm not going to lie about that.  But there are some positive things going on too.  

I'm learning to take better charge of my health, to make the calls to the doctors when things don't seem quite right, and make sure that my thoughts are heard.  Recently this week I was confronted with the decision of continuing to take a medication that had side effects of suicidal thoughts and depression, or try something different.  While the medication had been working fairly well at abating my migraines, I wanted to go a different route.  I didn't come to this decision while in the doctor's appointment however, because things always seem like a whirl wind.  But when I called back to the office later, I actually got to speak with my neurologist on the phone and came up with a better plan.  I was pretty happy about that.

I've also been receiving cards and e-mails from friends with messages of support.  I greatly appreciate it, because I really need people behind me through all of this.

I meet my new counselor tomorrow, I hope things go well.  It would be an understatement to say that I am very very nervous.  I never now how to figure out if  I need a referral, or how to get one if I do.  I know for sure I need a referral after my 4th visit, but not sure how to go about doing that.

I'm really beginning to like yoga.  I do yoga on the Wii Fit as well as from a DVD my mom bought me for people with Fibromyalgia.  I want to take a couple classes, so I can start doing my own routine, depending on how I feel a certain day.  I need a yoga mat, looking for donations.

I suppose that is all that fits into this category.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's getting that time.

I didn't want to post this too late for you to enjoy on Thanksgiving.  So here it is folks.  If you aren't familiar, please look for longer versions on You Tube.  Or ask your mom and dad.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I sat on hold for well over an hour with the Social Security Administration trying to update my information since my hospital stay and treatment.  I never got through.  I had to eat lunch and get a shower and get on with my day.  I just don't know how to handle this....

At least the sun is shining.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

low spirits

I'm in pretty low spirits today.  No real reason, just not feeling it.  The weekend is coming, which means football.  I don't really care all that much about the game, or being around those who will be drinking during the game.  

I feel like I need a vacation of sorts.

I had a good visit with my GP today, don't have to go back until I need something.  That is the first time something like that has happened in a really really long time.  She thought all my med changes were good and the like, and thought I was being realistic about my recovery time.

I'm giving myself 3-4 years to be back to whatever "normal" is.  That may seem like a lot, but pardon my french there is a lot of shit going on with me.  I'm finally getting restorative sleep for the first time in 8 years, so I'm not sure if I've ever felt normal.  But I'm also still waking up in pain. 

I got a therapist and am optimistic about my treatment, but progress with this kind of stuff isn't linear.  Anyways, that's what's on my mind, and that's why I'm a little down.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Part of my prescribed treatment from my rheumetologist as well as my psychologist is daily exercise.  I'm usually an active girl, so there could be worse things

Yesterday I went on about a 2 mile hike, it was great and I took some pictures.  Yesterday did not get above freezing, but it was enjoyable in all my awesome winter clothes and my new long underwear (thanks mom!)

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

Memories from back in the day with the Reid girls.  Don't worry Penny and Phil, I didn't go inside.  I hung over the edge to take the picture.

Some nuts in the snow.... Don't quiz me because I don't know what they are.

A semi-snowy trail.  It was a nice day.

Wii Fit

So my fit wants me to "Gain" weight to meet my goal.  Something doesn't seem right with that picture.  Either I didn't enter in right, or the Wii is screwed up.  Anyways, losing weight everyday.  And it even tells me that my Fit age is the same as my real age most days, that's a big accomplishment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Life outside IOP will require some adjustment to my day.  I was awake at my normal time and took the longest hottest shower I've taken in a long long time.  

My body has been rebelling, it knows there is a change coming up.  My muscles hurt bad, and I feel a pretty bad headache coming on.  It's funny how just a few changes can cause our bodies to go into a tail spin.  I'm not saying that these changes have not come with some stress.

I'm still in the process of trying to find a therapist.  Over the last week my caseworker had been trying to get a hold of people from different counseling centers that provide a certain service, but things seem to be booked up.  I have some phone calls to make, but I will wait till this afternoon.

Other than that I have a neurology appointment this afternoon, then a massage tomorrow.  Hopefully things will be good. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

A little nervous

Today is my last day of IOP.  I still do not have a permanent therapist or psychiatrist, so I'm a little nervous about how things are going to turn out.  I still need some serious therapy.

There are days that I wake up feeling that I was created for something really great, and I need to get out and do it.  And other days I wake up and wish that I hadn't woken up at all.  It's horrible, but I know we all feel that way.  It's just a little more intense in me than in most people, just like everything else. 

I have a busy week though.  Neurology appointment tomorrow, hopefully I can get some more answers about my headaches that I have been bothering me more severely recently.  Then on Wednesday I have a massage with Zach, SO EXCITED.  Then coffee on Friday with someone I haven't seen in awhile.  Looking forward to it all.

Of course I also have to exercise everyday.

Here's to hoping for a good week!  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Look

I think an important aspect to blogging is the look of the blog.  I've been playing around with my look for a long time.  You've noticed I've changed the format, added a picture banner (yes I know it's stretched, I wanted it that way), and I've been adding some Ads to try and generate some revenue (without much success.)  

But I'm never quite sure if it's the look I'm looking for.  I've given others feedback when I've noticed them playing with their layouts, so I'm asking the same for you.  What do you think?

I could add purple as the dominant color as it is my favorite, but I think I like the orange.  The problem is, two of my favorite sites already have pink, orange, or purple as their dominate colors.  Too bad there wasn't a tie-dye feature.  If there are any geniuses out there, can you work on that for me.  Thanks.
Anways, let me know what you think.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One day to go

On Monday at noon I will be discharged from my IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program).  I'm not sure if I feel ready, but curses to the insurance company.  Curses to the insurance company also because I have not been able to get a therapist or psychiatrist who is available and can take my insurance... Grrrr....

Today though is an over all great day, and I'm going to keep it that way.  Who knows, by Monday the problem may have resolved itself.

Middle of the night thought:

How does Brian McLaren find so much time to write books??

Are they just saying the same thing over and over again?  Anyone got a thought on this?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hello Loneliness

Loneliness, what does it actually look like?  Is it one person in a room by themselves?  Does it have a length of time that it lasts?  Is it always negative?  Can loneliness mean anything good?  Does it mean you are alone?

What can we do with this loneliness?
  • Read a book
  • Call a friend
  • Make plans for vacations (real or imaginary)
  • Plant a garden
 Everyone finds, at one time or another, that they are alone (lonely), maybe even in a room full of people.  But, I say, break those walls down and do not become a slave to loneliness.  With a smile at a stranger the loneliness may disappear.

Whatever you do, do not let the loneliness you feel now effect the next moment of your life.  

Our lives are defined by what we allow in or push out!  So put up those shields, gather your defenses, do not let loneliness infiltrate any part of you!!

When we break the bonds of loneliness we can change the world.  It may be
 by one flower garden at a time.  But that flower garden provides beauty to all who see it.  Beauty becomes an agent of change.  Beauty inspires action and action is one of the farthest things from and most contradictory to loneliness.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not a good day?

Is it ok for me to say that.  Sometimes I don't feel like it is.  I'm going to this program, and it is suppose to help, right?  But instead I just feel like I'm being torn down and no one is helping build me back up.  

I'm not talking about the staff at the hospital, they are wonderful.  But as I self reflect, I tear down everything I've done, and everything that I've felt, and I don't know how to rebuild.  

When I was in New Orleans touring the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, the woman who was giving us the tour had just had the plumbing finishing in her rebuilt house.  She referred to the rebuilding as bringing up.  And it was a community effort to bring up a house.  It wasn't done a lone.

I KNOW I have a community out there, but I don't know how to use my actions and words to bring them together to bring me up.  I'm so far down, and I feel like the hurricane is still raging. Those are just thoughts today though.  Maybe tomorrow will be different.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This is something I wrote this summer, before a lot of the current things have happened.  I use the word crazy in here, but I use it not to be offensive, but if you've ever met me... Well, I'm crazy.  You'll get the idea after read what I have to say.  It just kind of says some things I've been feeling lately and this was 2 months ago. 

I am a little crazy, I realize that.  I've lost friendships and relationships due to my craziness.  Sometimes I worry about slipping back into my old crazy patterns and driving even more people away.  I get a special kind of anxiety about this character flaw when I am reminded of relationships that I have in one way or another ruined.  This could occur by coming across an old photograph, or hearing the persons named mentioned by another friend.  This puts me on the defense, I check to see if my current actions are anything close to as crazy as the actions that may have ended the referenced friendship.

Maybe crazy isn't the word for it, I can be described more as intense.  One of the definitions Merriam-Webster gives for the word intense is: marked by or expressive of great zeal, energy, determination, or concentration.  That's about how I see it, I'm intense, and my intensity can express itself in many different ways.

When I first started reflecting on the word intense and subsequently intensity, I thought about a time when I was a kid and I burned myself very badly.  My sisters had a set of desk lamps that were accurately called high intensity desk lamps.  It used a bulb that was brighter than normal incandescent light bulb, and as one would expect much hotter than anything I had ever touched before.  I learned this a little too late.

One day I was playing on my older sisters bed, living in some make believe world with alligators under the bed, and dragons in the closet.  I discovered by putting the lamp that was on the side of my sisters bed under her bedspread, it made a bright pink glowing color.  Who knows as a four or five year old what I might have imagined it to be.  I enjoyed looking at it, and continued to play with the bedspread tented over the lamp glowing

Soon I began to smell something burning.  I looked and there was a brown spot forming on my sisters pink bedspread. Panicked I reached to grab the lamp by the metal part that covered the bulb, this is what caused my burn.  This was not the worst part for me however.  My mom had also smelled the burning, and by this time I was hiding in another room.  She first came to find me, and saw that I was burnt, then she wanted to know what had caused the smell.  I left her to figure it out, sobbing because I thought I was in more trouble than I ever had been.

I don't remember getting yelled at, however I'm sure I did get some kind of small lesson out of it.  What I do remember is my mom giving me a hug, telling me that she was just glad that I wasn't hurt worse than I could have been.  And she put something on the burn to make it feel better.  That was it, and I almost burned down the house!  If I can be forgiven for something like that, I'm sure I can be forgiven for much less.

This has not been the case for many friendships that I have lost over the years because of my intensity.  These relationships can fall into two categories.  The first is when the person never really got to know me well enough to begin with and was turned off by my general personality.  It is fairly harmless, it is hard for me to do wrong on my own.  If I have wronged a particular person, they most likely played a part as well, whether they realize it or not.

The second category are those people who might know me fairly well and let a small slip of judgement on my part affect their whole view on who I am.  If this is the case, did I really want to be friends with this person to begin with?

I'm not saying it's not my fault.  I have totally made poor judgement calls, or have had a lack of judgement all together.  I won't deny that sometimes I am just too intense, but who hasn't had these moments?

When people stop associating with me, do not return calls, e-mails, or letters, I take this to heart.  I am deeply wounded by it. Especially because most of the time, I am not the only person at fault.  I'm willing to forgive most people for most things, and some people are so shallow that they can not see me for who I really am.

I am a lover and I care deeply about other people, no matter what their role in my life has been.  It hurts to not have those gestures returned.  I constantly struggle to have good judgement, to not be too intense.  I suppose the truth is people just can't handle me.  I think this is someone else's problem, not mine.  But again, I can not stress enough how much it hurts to not be accepted including and in spite of my judgement and intensity.  Perhaps this is why God invented Moms.

Not so good days

So I hear a lot that things "seem to be going great" for me and my recovery.  Well that may not be such the truth.  I've been struggling more than just a little, but I try not to complain.  My wonderful mother tells me that it's not complaining, but explaining about why things aren't going so great.  So here things go.  At the moment I'm taking a day off from day program because the University is closed.  I miss the structure, but since Mom is here I got up at a semi normal time, and we are going to try to stay busy.  Here is a list of things that seem to not being going so well in my recovery :
  • Every time I try to sleep, or wake up my mind races about everyday normal things or worries and I am not able to get back to sleep.  Lack of sleep equals lack of productivity and overall good mood.
  • The thought of work or school sends me into a near panic attack.  As much as I want to go back, I worry that things won't go like I want them to.  I'm a smart person, but because of all of this, I can't articulate my intelligence most of the time.
  • I feel that things will never be normal, if there is such a thing.  I've been feeling like this for so long, I have no idea how I'm suppose to feel.
  • I miss friends.  I know they are out there, and they support me.  But getting out to actually see and socialize with them is almost next to impossible.
  • Everyone else's lives seem to be moving on, while I am back paddling just trying to stay afloat.
  • I am having killer headaches/migraines, and the psych doctor has taken me off one of my pain killer for headaches.  So I'm "dealing" which means wearing sunglasses indoors and hiding under the covers.
  • I've been crying a lot.  Which if you've spent much time with me, I don't really cry all that often.  Anything makes me cry right now, mostly because I'm reminded of something that was, or could be.
  • I'm in pain, all the time.  In theory everything that I'm doing is the right thing, but it will take a long time to start feeling better, I'm trying to be patient.
These are just a sample of the things, but I hope you can read these things, and know you are not alone on a bad day.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

tired and really, really tired

i teeter between tired 
and really, really tired 
i'm wiped and i'm wired 
but i guess that's just as well 
'cuz i've built my own empire 
out of car tires and chicken wire 
and now i'm queen of my own compost heap 
and i'm getting used to the smell 

- ani d.
Swan Dive 1999 Righteous Babe Records

Friday, November 07, 2008

Just so I don't Forget

An exercise we did in program today was called just so I don't forget and it gave us a list of fill in the blank type things.  I thought it would be a great exercise to share here, and I included my answers.  Feel free to do this on your own, it is very helpful when things seem bleak or you are struggling with a particular situation.


take care of my cat
write this blog to make a difference
maintain relationships

all humans have emotions and they are normal

that i have the strength to keep attending my program
that I am able to talk about my life with others
that I can change's people's lives through my interactions

it is helping
that there will be better days
I will have a successful career, social life, family

there will be setbacks, but that is ok
there are people on my side

what my brain is doing to my body
that I have been experiencing these feelings for a long time
it's no body's fault

change my behavior to live a healthier life
continue to make progress

I am learning from this
I will climb mountains (figuratively and literally)

God is leading me through

communicate my feeling to others
make it through the day

that there are some things I can not change
my life will be different, but possibly better

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bursting at the Seams

I really can't believe how much  my life really has been like a roller coaster ride.  I've had many experiences over the years that I'd rather not live at this particular moment, but right now after a few rough days at day program, and an overwhelming urge to sleep everyday at 2pm, I am at the top of the hill.  

Mom will be coming into the Columbus airport soon.  She should have been here at 4:30, then 7ish, now it looks more like a little after 9.  I have a a whole lot to say about the airline companies and airports these days, but I won't say it here. 

I'm bursting at the seems to see her, I saw her last in August, but considering how life has been going lately, it's been too long.  I may not have much to say over the next week because I expect to be spending time with her!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Today was a combination of OK and OK.  I didn't feel particularly one way or the other.  I had an incredibly emotional day yesterday and just needed things to even out.

 I've come through my time of crisis, shared my experiences, feelings and doubts.  Now as I move on to the time of recovery, which may take awhile, I need to reflect on items of disclosure.  What am I going to share about my diagnosis's, my treatments, and any set back I might have.

So if things seem slower on the crazy side :)  That is why.  

Over the next few months I want to continue to provide you with information on social justice and insight on environmentalism and Christianity, as well as bring information about chronic illnesses, including mental illnesses to those who might not otherwise have a reason to read about them on their own.

I hope you enjoy.

some days (stream of consciousness at 5am)

some days I don't feel sick at all.  or some hours, or some minutes, or maybe just for a few seconds i forget.  

i'm not sure what to do with it.

i'm listening to the cat most likely being naughty. for the second morning in a row i've woken up at 5am.  i've been going to bed at 11pm, so i guess that's a decent time of sleep.  but i'm stiff and sore, and thirsty.  i came into the tv room thinking my water cup was by the recliner, but it must be by the bed.  i guess i will go lay down for a little while longer, although i doubt it will help.

it's wednesday, hump day.  the weekends mean something again, which actually makes me happy.  my life has changed since i've stopped living in my pjs.  mind you, i still love putting them on at the end of the day.

it's my first day at half program, we will see what i do with my extra time.  i have a counselor at the hospital helping me with my resume and cover letter for a job, it could be promising.  part time, exactly what i need.

i need more exercise.  it's what the doctor ordered.  and i want to do it, but i'm having a problem with fatigue.  must combat that first.

MOM: I hope you are recovering well from your busy day yesterday.  You are one of my heros and I love you.  Can't wait to see you tomorrow.  No matter what time your flight comes in, I'll be there. :)

The Anxiety

Part of my anxiety has joyfully gone away.  Congratulations President Obama, make this a great 4-8 years!  :)

I'd put some cute picture or video here, but really folks, it's 5am and I can't sleep, so this is the best you can get.

And ptttt.... to you who mocked me for moving to Ohio, saying my vote wouldn't count.  Looks like it did tonight! (er, last night).

And thank you Senator McCain for making such a great speech last night, you really are a good man and I hope you really will work for a more bipartisan solution to our nations problems.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

roller coaster ride

I'm tired, like really really tired
And I'm up and down like a roller coaster ride
But this time, it's not fun.

I'm angry it's gone on this long
That no one has intervened
Offered to put on the breaks.

You ask how it feels
How could you possibly know
For close to 27 years now
It hasn't stopped
And the edge is near.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Familiarity Breeds Content

Ryan, my husband just sent me this video.  It's a Christian Rap Artist from Columbus Ohio and this video is pretty great... give it a looky: 

4 Mile Hike

Ryan and I went on a 4 mile hike at Sharon Woods Metro Park today.  It's the longest I've walked since going 6 miles at the 2007 CROP walk in the beginning of October last year.  I'm tired, and I'd be lying if I told you I felt great, but it was so nice to get out. 
From 2008
I'm sure I will also be feeling it tomorrow, but hopefully I didn't over do it.  I expect to rest the rest of the evening and be ready for church tomorrow morning.  I'm going to try to post some pictures of the day, we will see if I have the brain capacity to do that now.
From 2008
From 2008

A Sick-a-versary!

This time last year I was really hurting. As you can see here on Oct. 30th I reported that I had pneumonia and my readers should not expect to hear from me for awhile. That while turned into a very long time.

At the time the doctor I saw at urgent care said I should be better in 5-10 days. Well... that wasn't quite the truth. Here is a summary of what the last year has been like. This is not so much to whine about my situation, but to put thing into perspective of where I am at on November 1, 2008.
  • October 29ish- Went to urgent care for chest x-rays and an EKG, because my body didn't feel right. Diagnosed with Pneumonia, given anti-biotics, and told to take Mucinex. Went home and went to bed.
  • October 30-Nov. 2ish- Spent entire time in bed, alternating between sleeping, coughing, chills, fevers, and call for Ryan to help me to the bathroom.
  • First 3 weeks of November- Continued to feel like I was hit by a truck, visited doctor frequently. Got the first shot in the butt that I was old enough to remember, antibiotics helped little. Continued to sweat, freeze, cough, and my breathing became worse.
  • Week before Thanksgiving- Went to doctor, she looked at me.... not even examining, just looked, and said she think I needed to be admitted to the hospital. My oxpulsometer read low levels, I started a breathing treatment immediately and took my first wheel chair ride to my first ever hospital room.
Here I immediately set up camp, calling for my Woobie, and crochet items. Over the next 6 days I was poked, prodded, x-rayed, cat scanned, and had my vital signs taken an uncountable number of times. During this time, I also had some wonderful visitors who included Pastor Jason, Jana Hansen, Jeremy, Dustyn, Robin, Hanna, Moncia and Lee, not to include the visitors I had in my dreams like the Wallace family. Apparently they were on my mind. My hospital room quickly filled with flowers from all over the country and I felt loved. Ryan stayed by my side as much as he could while he was attending to his schooling. I finished many crocheted hats and watch a lot of TV Land. I watched the Michigan game from my tiny hospital TV with Ryan and Jeremy, and it was as enjoyable as can be.

I took many breaks to take drugs, have anti-biotics inserted through my IV, and the nurses tended to my pain and coughs as much as possible. A diagnosis of pertussis, or whooping cough was also confirmed, which explained the horrible coughing until I would throw up.

My most important visitor was my grad school advisor who visited me in my hospital room and told me that even though the trip was less than 8 weeks away, I was going to India.

I got out of the hospital the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, had wonderful  meals delivered to me from all the wonderful members of Terra Nova (thanks Jen for arranging this).  Mom visited the day after Thanksgiving, she brought my a wonderful prayer scarf from the Center Moreland United Methodist Church, which I wore the rest of the winter, and continue to refer to even now.

The rest of the next few months is kind of a blur.  My body hurt, I was tired all the time, I had a hard time breathing, and I seriously just wanted to get better.  The doctor said 6 weeks, I'd be back to normal, then 10 weeks, by the time it was all over it sounded more like 6 months to a year before I was completely recovered from pneumonia.

After a short trip home for Christmas I boarded a plane to India.  I was crying as I stood in line in the Newark airport thinking that it was not in my best judgement to be getting on a plane to another part of the world.  But I did it anyways.  I had a lot of wonderful experience, many which I don't remember.  I remember the people who took care of us, the people who I met briefly, the kids who wanted to have their pictures taken, and the life that I could see in the Indian people.  To experience just a little of this visit my pictures here: CJB's India Album.

I got a stomach virus while in India (no big surprise there) but there was a time, again as I was getting on a plane to come home, I didn't know how I was going to make it.  The 13 other people that I was on that trip with made it possible.

My return from India resulted in more blood tests, more fatigue, more pain, more stomach issues, and more diagnosis.  I learned the thyroid condition I'd been treating since I was 12 is called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis .  I eventually got a diagnosis of adult onset asthma, which explained my horrible chest pains and breathing problems.  And finally I saw a headache specialist who diagnosed me with chronic tension headaches as well as migraines.  I was put on the appropriate medications for each of these conditions, and I seem to be handling them mostly well.  Oh I didn't mention my high blood pressure, but that's a given, my whole family deals with that.

Now the not so easy things that I've had to deal with: In May I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia while it is a common condition, it is not understood well, and treatments aren't really universal.  But this was explaining my body pains, my fatigue, my general over all crapiness.  And then the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  This I have not nailed down yet, I've cut most gluten and dairy from my diet, take supplement, and have good days and bad days.  It is an ongoing struggle.

Throughout all this I have been at constant battle with my mental status.  With my anxiety and depression constantly telling me I was worthless, or that I couldn't deal with the pain anymore, and that no one was every going to figure out how to make me feel better.  I put my education on hold, I stopped working, and essentially I had to put my life on hold for all of this.  Last week found me in the emergency room, expressing thoughts of wanting to kill myself, or at least harm myself.  I can't tell you have good it felt to get those things out.

I spent 6 days as in inpatient in the Neuropsych Unit here at the OSU Harding Hospital.  Medications have been added, removed, adjusted, and monitored.  I've done group therapy, recreational therapy, and most importantly met people who could really help me with my struggle.  The last week I've been participating in a structured day program to further my process, and while on some days it's exhausting things can be looking up.

It's hard and I'm struggling.  I can't say things are rainbows and butterflies, because they are not.  But I've had an amazing support system that include my church here, my home church, life long friends, new friends since moving to Ohio, and most importantly my family.  So I find myself on a sunny Saturday getting ready to put some shoes on, grab my cane and go for a walk with my wonderful husband.

Thanks for listening if you got this far.  I really appreciate every one of you.  Let's hope the next year brings better things.  Peace.

(Editor's note: I wanted to add that there are still some diagnosis flying around out there, and the next few weeks could bring big changes.  I have a very important appointment on Monday that I hope to bring some clarity to all I've been experiencing.  I will update you as I know.)