Are You Like Me?

I think I need to take a break from reading memoirs. But I can’t seem to stop. My last four books:

IMG_1341Still Waiting by Ann Swindell. Faithfully encouraging and integrates the story of the Bleeding Woman (one of my favorite parts of the Gospels).

“From my own perspective, I couldn’t see any reason why God wouldn’t heal me, why He wouldn’t change my struggle into a victorious cure. Wouldn’t He get all the glory? All the doctors and therapies and supplements hadn’t helped me, so clearly He would get the attention and fame if He healed me. Wouldn’t He show Himself to be God when no one else could heal?

“Why wouldn’t He heal me? Why?” Still Waiting, page 107

Continue reading “Are You Like Me?”

Friends, Can You Help Me?

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet so as to not burden anyone.

I need help from you, my faithful readers.

The brain fog caused by one of my medical conditions, POTS, a form of dysautonomia, has made it monumentally difficult for me to think. It’s like…my thoughts won’t connect, or certain parts of my brain won’t talk to each other. I can almost feel this void in the middle of my head, like a bridge is out over a river. I can feel an idea, or a sentence starting somewhere, but then it doesn’t get to where it needs to go, and it never materializes. I feel as though I’m stuck with all of these thoughts bouncing around in my head, but they won’t come out or even come to fruition.

I’m not using this as an excuse for my less than stellar writing as of late or for my general lack of writing altogether. I just can’t come up with anything that I think would be worth anyone’s while to read. So I’ve stopped writing. Or I’ll write something and immediately trash it because it’s not of a high enough standard for me to release to all of you.

So here’s where I need your help.

  1. If you have anything about any of our specific disease states (and this is being cross-posted, so this means endometriosis, adenomyosis, POTS and dysautonomia, that stupid brain tumor, celiac disease, depression, social anxiety, infertility, etc) that you would like to see a blog post written about, please comment and let me know! I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get a post out of it, but I’ll give it a good college try.
  2. Is there anything regarding myself you’d be more interested in knowing about? I will answer questions about almost anything, while maintaining privacy where appropriate.
  3. My blog does better the more followers I have. So instead of having to scroll through Facebook and hope to stumble across one of my posts, I invite you to go to the About page of my blog, scroll down to where it says “Follow Blog By E-mail,” and sign up! You will receive an e-mail only when I post, and no spam! If you happen to have a WordPress account, you can sign up using that too.
  4. If you have a blog and want to share, feel free to comment and leave a link so we know about each other’s blogs! It’s best to encourage and inspire each other, not to mention providing support to each other because of what we’re going through.

I really just need a spark to light the fuse in my brain somewhere. I’ve been trying and trying and can’t get through this brain fog. It’s made me want to quit blogging, and I’m very close to doing just that because I can’t deliver quality blog posts to you, my dear readers, anymore. For that, I am sorry.

If you can do anything to help me out, don’t hesitate to suggest an idea. You all are what makes this blog possible and meaningful, not me. That’s why I need your help to get me off the floor and get my brain working again.

I don’t want to quit blogging. But if I just stay like this and don’t move forward soon, I’ll have no choice. Please help me to not let that happen.

I love you all.

💛ribbonrx

Abandoning the Dream

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.

IMG_1317
Freshman roommate babies! (October 2004)

Continue reading “Abandoning the Dream”

Is My Illness My Fault?

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?”

Sunday Stealing: The Procrastination Tool

Greetings, one and all! Time to have some fun! I picked up these lovely questions down South at the McClendon Villa! Originally, however, they were the loot of Sunday Stealing! Check them both out!

But as for me…

1. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?

This is a tricky one. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012 and in this area of the country, it’s actually quite challenging to find a restaurant that can safely cater to a gluten free diet. The only place I really feel safe at is a restaurant called Skye.

2. What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of it?

Gluten free lemon bars from “Mom’s Place Gluten Free.” Great place if you’re looking for gluten free baking mixes!

3. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?

DesignA baby tooth that wouldn’t fall out because there was no adult tooth under it at the time, four wisdom teeth, appendix, endometriosis lesions, and a brain tumor.

4. What is the last heavy item you lifted?

The glass piece for the storm door after we put the screen in for the summer. It takes two people to lift that thing.

5. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?

Not really “knocked” unconscious as in punched in the head or anything. But I’ve had six surgeries and two endoscopies, so full general anesthesia six times and brief sedation twice.

6. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?

No, because I’d spend my whole life freaking out about it.

7. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

 Sara Renee.

8. What’s your goal for the year?

No emergency room visits, hospitalizations, or surgeries! (I have to have an angiogram in November, but I’m going to count that as imaging, even if there is sedation involved…)

9. Last person you hugged?

My hubby David.

10. First place you went this morning?

 The bathroom.

11. Do you always answer your phone?

 Only if I recognize the number.

12. It’s four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?

 Probably my brother on his way to O’Hare.

13. If you could change your eye color what would it be?

 I like my hazel eyes, but I wouldn’t mind having green eyes.

14. What’s on your wish list for your birthday?

 Books.

15. Does the future make you more nervous or excited?

With all my chronic illnesses and not knowing what’s going to get me next…nervous.

16. Do you have any saved texts?

 All of my texts are saved.

17. Ever been in a car wreck?

A few fender benders. I got rear-ended on Interstate 90 once when someone cut me off and I had to slam on the brakes. But everyone was fine and there was little damage to the vehicles.

The scariest one was my freshman year of high school. It was January and my brother, who was a senior, was driving us to school. He had pulled into the intersection waiting for traffic to pass to make a left turn, which he did just as the light was changing to red. Some idiot from our school was coming from the opposite direction to turn onto the same road (a right turn for him) and he ran the light and swung wide into our lane just as my brother was making the turn. The reckless driver clipped our passenger side door where I was sitting (I can still remember the scraaaaaaaaping sound) and somehow managed to rip the front bumper off our car. He took off, but not before my brother got most of the license plate. I’m proud of my brother; he kept a cool head (after letting loose some choice words), pulled into a CVS parking lot that was right there and immediately called 911 for a police dispatch. We were fine, but the car needed some attention. Later in the day, my brother went out to the student parking lot at school and found the car and was able to give the full license plate to the police. For months afterwards, if I was in the front passenger seat of a car and we were at a four-way stop, I would panic that other cars would run the stop signs and T-bone the passenger door.

18. Do you have an accent?

Technically everyone has an accent. But this seems to be the one I have, called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. Who knew? (It’s “Raaaaaahchester…”)

19. What was the last song to make you cry?

20. What did you do last night?

Went to bed early because I didn’t feel well. 

21. Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?

 Yes. The entire year of 2016.

22. Current hate right now?

Warm weather. I usually enjoy summer because I tend to be freezing all the time. But this is my first summer with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Many POTsies (apparently myself included) have severe heat intolerance and the warm temperatures cause us to dehydrate very easily, even more so than we usually do. (For example, I get extremely dehydrated just from sleeping too long.) But we do have central air, ceiling fans, and a pool, so hopefully that will keep things tolerable.

23. Met someone who changed your life?

 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on April 13, 2001 when I was 15 years old. It was Good Friday that year, so it ended up being a very Good Friday.

24. How did you bring in the New Year?

Watched the Times Square countdown on TV with hubby. Then a neighbor had a very large (and very illegal) fireworks display that we could see out the back windows, so we watched that for a solid five minutes. No idea where this neighbor managed to get fireworks of this size and quality.IMG_1572

25. What song represents you?

💛ribbonrx

Fighting Back With Love

Recently, I wrote a post that ended up being quite popular within the dysautonomia community. It’s actually been the most popular post I’ve written this year. I honestly have no idea why; I have read it over and over again and can’t seem to find what is so remarkable about it. When I asked my husband, even he said there was nothing profound about it. (Thanks, honey; I can always count on you to be honest. 😊) But whatever it is, I’m still grateful for the 843 hits, plus the 70 Facebook shares thus far. (That’s a lot for my blog, ok?) To those who found it worthy of reading and/or sharing, thank you so much! I hope the post was helpful to you in your own fight, or friend’s or family member’s fight, with dysautonomia.

It was encouraging to me to write because as I reminisced, I realized that I have made some decent progress since I was diagnosed in January as I’ve teased out what works and what doesn’t regarding symptom management. Things are a bit challenging at the moment because my cardiologist has been on unexpected medical leave since April (starting two days before my appointment where we were going to start Florinef) and I don’t see a POTS neurologist until July (after having waited seven months for the appointment), so right now everything is on hold and nobody is managing my POTS at all. So I likely could have made even more progress by now had things gone differently, but I’m just being patient and trying to do my best in the meantime.

But that particular post unfortunately brought up another issue that coincides all too often with posting things of a medical nature on social media: people who feel they have the right to judge you for how you’re handling your illness. Continue reading “Fighting Back With Love”

Things We Lost in the Fire

“Things we lost to the flame
Things we’ll never see again
All that we’ve amassed
Sits before us, shattered into ash…”

Things We Lost in the Fire (Bastille)

 

IMG_1123As Esther Smith said in her excellent book, When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away, “Grief is the process by which we actively release all that we feel, question, and remember at the feet of God and the people He has placed in our lives.”

At the end of the second chapter, she poses some questions that have me wrestling with my thoughts, emotions, and feelings towards God. Questioning God isn’t a bad thing. In fact, He encourages us to come to Him with our questions, fears, or doubts. If you’ve ever read Psalms, you know this to be true!

As part of my grief process, I am going to share my answers to the questions, as you all are the people God has placed in my life. I assume the intention of that is to find help through grief from a different perspective than God’s. Continue reading “Things We Lost in the Fire”