This post contains discussions of untimely death and suicide. Please stay safe and steer clear if these subjects may be triggering for you.
One of the interesting things about having chronic illness(es) is how your friendships change. In many unfortunate cases, people who were once your friends fade into the background. Sometimes it’s because they’re uncomfortable being around someone who is ill. Or maybe they don’t like the new version of this person they knew for so long. Or they could simply just not believe there’s anything wrong with this person because, like it or not, many chronic illnesses are invisible illnesses.
As a result of this, many individuals with chronic illness develop online friendships with others who are ill; people like themselves who understand exactly what they’re going through. Although not all of these friendships are with people who are ill. I have found new friends who are like-minded in faith and love of literature who I care for just as much.
But in the world of cyberspace, these friendships can result in heartache more often than you might think.
Way behind in publishing this, but I still want to continue this series.
Last year was a rough year for me due to all the medical problems I had. I poured out my heart and soul into my personal journals, which were my lifeline keeping me somewhat grounded. To give you an idea of what it was really like to go through all that I did, the rest of this entry is only direct quotes from my journals. I plan to do this every month this year. If you want to read January first to set the stage, you can find it here.
Welcome to the inside of my head and heart. Be warned, this is honest and raw.
Trigger warning: depression, discussion of death
February 3, 2016: “Basically, I can’t think of any convincing reason to stay alive…Maybe, if I’m lucky, I have a brain tumor. Although the chances of that are basically zero. I’m sure these headaches are just due to significant stress…Although I’m not saying that I don’t still want to die. It would be the most excellent release from everything I’m going through.” Continue reading “2016, In the Style of Personal Journals: February”
I haven’t done one of these in awhile. My last one was in December, I believe. Even in two short months, my life has changed a great deal. Not for the better, unfortunately. And since I’m having some painsomnia along with my general refusal to sleep at night for the most part anymore, I guess I may as well talk about it to some more sympathetic ears than I’ve been getting the past few days.
I lost my job last week. I understand why, but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear. My FMLA ran out last June, after which point my job was unprotected; they could have gotten rid of me then. Instead, they gave me as much time as they could for me to get well enough to return to work, which I failed to do twice, once in October, and again in January, when I was diagnosed with POTS. (Here’s a bit of what a day in my life looks like now thanks to POTS, except I pretty much stay in bed now.)
But anyway, now it’s prime recruiting season at the hospital and I’m not naive enough to think they would keep me any longer. They’d rather replace me with a new residency graduate who has some clinical knowledge, but has absolutely no idea how to actually be a pharmacist.
Although I don’t feel quite as bad sometimes when I think about what a literal revolving door my specific tiny department within an enormous department is. And it is a tiny department, with something like a dozen pharmacists total for a 24/7 operation. But since 2010, the year I started working there, I’m 99% certain, if my list is correct, that I am the 20th pharmacist to leave. In seven years.
Yet my emotions are still very raw. I keep crying periodically. Ok fine, I cry a lot. I want to scream and throw things and then go to bed and never wake up. I’m back in what I call my depression hole; I have periods where I just won’t talk and will only communicate via head movements or shrugs because I feel if I open my mouth to speak, I’ll fall apart. I took the picture on the right immediately after I found out so I’ll always remember how much it hurt.
So now the big question is, what do I do with myself now? Honestly, if I ever get well, I don’t know that I have the intention of reapplying in the future or to ever practice pharmacy again. What a waste of six years of education. I was never a good pharmacist in my opinion anyway.
But David and I had a heart to heart Friday night between us and God. We came to the conclusion that I’m basically going to start my life all over again. I’ve been through so much in the past year (or even really the past four years starting with my celiac disease diagnosis, then the endometriosis…) Between all my diagnoses, my surgeries, trying to get better on a deadline when my body wasn’t ready, being stressed out by that, getting worse, and so on, it’s finally time to take my foot off the accelerator. I’m setting intentional goals that I (hope) I am capable of and can work towards.
Not thinking about work or a return date or ever going back there ever again.
Do my cardiac rehab to the best of my ability in an effort to improve my POTS, and therefore my quality of life.
Do things I want to do that will make me happy.
Studying the Word
Listening to music
Take baby steps towards normalizing my life.
David will encourage me and I will encourage him.
Focus a bit on getting the house cleaned up.
So, really, living my life the way I want to, with as little stress as possible to maybe help promote faster healing. No deadlines.
A new me.
I started life over again in 2004 when I started pharmacy school, leaving behind my old life of dance and musical theater.
I started life over again in 2010 when I graduated from pharmacy school, got married, moved, passed my boards, and started my career.
And I’m starting my life over again in 2017 when my health is in shambles and my pharmacy career is over.
We’ll see where the road takes me. But after all I’ve been through, I can only hope it’ll be to a happier place.
I love fun stuff like this. It’s distracting me from the hell hole that is my life lately. Thanks Dangerously Normal Spoonie for the idea!
1. What’s your favorite candle scent? North Pole from Yankee Candle.
2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister? Emma Watson
3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother? Tom Hiddleston (seriously, he’s only four years older than me.)
4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? I was 24 when I got married, which is about how old I expected I would be.
5. Do you know a hoarder? Not as bad as on the show, but my husband is definitely a hoarder.
6. Can you do a split? Yes. I’ll have you know I haven’t stretched in two years and didn’t before taking these pictures just now.
7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike? I think about five?
8. How many oceans have you swam in? Umm…Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Adriatic. So four.
9. How many countries have you been to? I think eight…(excluding the U.S.) Canada, Honduras, France, Italy, Monaco, (is Monaco its own country?) Germany, United Kingdom (including England, Wales, and Northern Ireland), Republic of Ireland.
10. Is anyone in your family in the army? Nope.
11. What would you name your daughter if you had one? Alexis Ruth
12. What would you name your son if you had one? Jacob Daniel
13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test? F. Very, very F. (In the apt words of one of my uncle’s college professors, “Oh, you don’t get F, you get F minus!”)
14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child? Adventures in Wonderland and Saved by the Bell
15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight? That would have been second grade…a black cat.
16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? Yes. I loved and need to reread Harry Potter. I need to finish Hunger Games (only finished the first book). And I need to set fire to Twilight.
17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent? British. It’s in my royal heritage, you know.
18. Did your mother go to college? Yes.
19. Are your grandparents still married? They’re dead.
20. Have you ever taken karate lessons? No
21. Do you know who Kermit the frog is? Of course. If you don’t, I don’t want to imagine how tragic your childhood was.
22. What’s the first amusement park you’ve been to? Seabreeze! (Twelfth oldest operating amusement park in the world, fourth oldest in the U.S.)
23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in? Spanish
24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray? Gray
25. Is your father bald? Getting there.
26. Do you know triplets? Not personally.
27. Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook? Neither, although if I had to pick one, The Notebook.
28. Have you ever had Indian food? Who hasn’t?
29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant? Revolution Pizza (best gluten free pizza anywhere!)
30. Have you ever been to Olive Garden? Too many times.
31. Do you belong to any warehouse stores (Costco, BJ’s, etc.)?Sam’s Club
32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender? Kevin Charles
33. If you have a nickname, what is it? Bootie
34. Who’s your favorite person in the world? My hubby, David.
35. Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs? Suburbs.
36. Can you whistle? Eh, not really.
37. Do you sleep with a nightlight? We have one over by the bathroom door that we put there while I was recovering from knee surgery so if I needed to crutch to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I could see where I was going. We just never got rid of it. But it’s pretty much hidden by a dresser, so you can’t see it until you’re right in front of the bathroom door.
38. Do you eat breakfast every morning? Nope. Stopped doing that when I was 12.
39. Do you take any pills or medication daily? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes. Ends up being about 30 pills daily.
40. What medical conditions do you have? Sigh…Endometriosis, adenomyosis, celiac disease, infertility, major depressive disorder, anxiety, episodic migraines, hypothyroidism, pituitary tumor (prolactinoma) that was surgically removed and had better not come back, left internal carotid artery aneurysm, dysautonomia, orthostatic intolerance, moderate hypovolemia (I don’t have enough blood, but I’m not anemic), and “very severe” venous pooling, both of which indicate POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). And I might have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome; I have an appointment with a geneticist in a few weeks.
41. How many times have you been to the hospital? I work at one and trained in many, so I’m going to assume this question means as a patient. So then…15, to the best of my knowledge, including emergency room visits, admissions, and procedures or surgeries. That excludes appointments.
42. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo? What person in their 30s hasn’t!?
43. Where do you buy your jeans? New York and Company
44. What’s the last compliment you got? A comment from a lovely reader on my blog: “Thank you so much for such an informative post on brain fog. I know I get it a lot and it drives me bonkers. Reading your experience makes me feel less alone!”
45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning? Most of the time.
46. What flavor tea do you enjoy? Lady Gray and English Breakfast.
47. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Too many. I only wear about seven of them.
48. What religion will you raise your children to practice? Jesus is my Savior, not my religion.
49. How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real? I think I was about 7 or 8.
50. Why do you have a Tumblr? I don’t. I just copied this list from someone else!
It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to figure out that right now my life is exceptionally overwhelming. I thought I’d gone through a lot last year, which I did. Unfortunately, it appears, at least so far, that 2017 is turning out to be a real stinker as well. And we’re only a month in!
Maybe listing everything I’m overwhelmed about will help. I’ll try to make this as coherent as possible. However, between this perpetual brainfog and the fact that as of right now, I’ve been awake for 28 hours (couldn’t sleep due to pain and just feeling crummy in general…plus I wanted to finish a book I was reading), it may be a little bit off. Continue reading “Can’t I Just Be “Whelmed”?”
What’s it like to have dysautonomia? Let me take you through a day in my compression socks so you have some idea of what I fight through on a daily basis.
Imagine it’s a new day. You wake up and get out of bed. You do your business and then brush your teeth (with an electric toothbrush, by the way.) As you’re doing this, you place two of your fingers over your carotid artery. Your heart rate is rapid, probably in the 120s, maybe pushing 130. And all you’re doing is standing up, brushing your teeth. Continue reading “A Day With Dysautonomia”