Seven years ago, I graduated from pharmacy school with my doctor of pharmacy degree.
Seven years ago, I moved to a new city as a newlywed, fresh back from our honeymoon.
And seven years ago today, June 14th, I started my career as a pediatric pharmacist. My dream job.
And now I wonder…was there even a point?
We started off as children. Teenagers right out of high school dedicating ourselves to a highly esteemed profession, one which consistently ranks very high among the most trusted professions in the United States.
For me, 2016 was the year of the surgeries and bizarre diagnoses. Three surgeries, to be exact, spanning over a period of four months. Once the surgeries were over, I thought that once I had an adequate recovery period, I would be back to normal. I’d be able to return to work, from which I’d had to take an extended leave of absence, and I could put the entire year behind me as a gargantuan fluke.
But it was not to be. Almost exactly a month to the day after my third surgery, I started experiencing symptoms that very quickly led to a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). The tachycardia (rapid heart rate), shortness of breath, and presyncope (near fainting) were being caused by moderate hypovolemia (testing revealed my blood volume to be 18% below normal) and severe venous pooling (35% of my blood volume was pooling in my lower extremities; this number should be 5-10% in a normal person with quick resolution within two to three heartbeats).
Why did this suddenly happen? POTS has been linked to certain autoimmune diseases (including celiac disease, just my luck) and has been noted to occur following such events as pregnancy and trauma. However, medical science does not yet know why POTS happens. So what was going on with me? Continue reading “Is My Illness My Fault?”
One of the worst feelings you can experience as a chronically ill person is invalidation. It’s not necessarily that others don’t believe you (although that is also a tremendous problem and a discussion for another time), but that they either don’t see or don’t understand how much your illness(es) impact your daily life. Especially when mental health plays a role in your battles.
And what makes it even more frustrating? When that invalidation comes from healthcare professionals. When, to their eyes, you “don’t look sick” enough or you don’t have “enough” chronic illnesses or you’re “too young” (no matter how thick your medical chart) to warrant feeling depressed.
I’m not quite sure I’ve gone this long without updating my blog before, even after my multiple surgeries last year. This week has been a weird one, though, and I just haven’t felt like writing. Probably because of my rebellion that kind of ended up going sideways.
Hubby was out of town presenting at an emergency medicine conference in Orlando, so I’ve been alone with the cats all week. They’re used to me being home all the time, but not to him being gone. Surprisingly, I didn’t oversleep any of those days, except perhaps today.
But last week, I just suddenly got so sick of being sick. I wanted to pretend that I was normal. Or maybe I was trying to convince myself that I’m not as sick as I appear to be. So I rebelled.
This will be a weekly post of the most random of random questions to answer- to share my world! Thanks to Cee’s blog for being the brainchild behind this!
How many languages do you you speak? Two. Like the vast majority of American kids, I took Spanish in high school, but I don’t remember enough to really speak it. I especially realized this when my husband and I traveled to Honduras in 2012 to meet our sponsor child through Compassion International, Heybi. When we met, I did ok to start but then got nervous and promptly forgot all the Spanish I knew. Thank goodness we had personal translators with us. I remember at one point, the translator had gone to the bathroom, and I tried, out of necessity, to say something to Heybi’s mother and I conjugated the verb wrong (not a big deal; I said “No necesitan” instead of “No necesitamos.”) I corrected myself and managed to mumble a “Lo siento,” but she just smiled, chuckled, and hugged me for trying.
And I speak fluent cat. Meow.
I guess I dabbled in ASL (American Sign Language) as a child; I used to be able to sign the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember the alphabet and the sign for “flag.” And I can sign the following (known as “Awesome God/Omega”) from my time in a Christian vocal group in college: “Our God is an awesome God; He reigns from heaven above; With wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God. May the grace of our Lord be with you now and always, may you stay blameless ’til He comes. May the love of our Lord be with you now and always, may you stay blameless ’til He comes.” To see the song, view the following video from a “Beauty and the Geek” chapel event in February 2007. Bonus points if you can find me, lol.
One more time around the sun, one more time passing through National Infertility Awareness Week as an unintentionally childless woman. I guess you could say this is my third time.
It’s an understatement to say that a lot has gotten in the way of my attempts to become a mom.
In 2014, not long after we had starting trying to get pregnant, my battle with endometriosis took the forefront. Within a span of six months, I was hospitalized, diagnosed, and had two surgeries, one of which was out of state with an excision specialist. Then recovery began, and our efforts to get pregnant resumed in 2015.
I’ve always been a difficult person to be friends with. And I’m not easy to love.
Although life didn’t start out that way. One day in pre-school, my mom was shocked to see me sitting at a table with all the little boys in the class crowding around me, the only girl at the table. If only I had such admiration ten years later!
In all seriousness, I think a lot of my friend-making difficulty stems from my social anxiety, which started baring its teeth around the age of nine. There were really a lot of people who didn’t like me for reasons explained in that post, and it scarred me for life. I still remember the torment and how it made me feel. I was always the smart one, not the pretty one, and brains didn’t earn you many friends. Middle school and high school were awful for obvious reasons, so I was thrilled to go to college over 400 miles away from home where I didn’t know a soul. Friendships were much easier to maintain there because everyone was starting on a clean slate. Although I can still recall during the last two or three years (of a six-year program) a few examples of downright deliberate cruelty perpetuated by young women I thought were my friends…
But it’s now been almost seven years since I graduated from pharmacy school. I’m almost seven years into my career. But for the past ten months, I’ve been on medical leave in order to have and recover from three surgeries in a four-month period: hernia repair, brain tumor removal, and aneurysm stenting. However, just as I was about to go back to work, POTS happened, likely as a result of all those surgeries. And having POTS sucks incredibly. It’s not something I would wish on my worst enemy.