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.

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Freshman roommate babies! (October 2004)

Continue reading “Abandoning the Dream”

Share Your World: June 12, 2017

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!

What do you do when you’re not working? If you are retired, what do you that is not part of your regular daytime routine? Due to my illnesses, I am unable to work at the age of 31. I hate it and I’m ashamed of it. And I have no children to take care of because my body is a traitor. So what do I do now? I write, both on my blog and in my journal. I read. I listen to music. That’s it. Continue reading “Share Your World: June 12, 2017”

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?”

Share Your World: June 5, 2017

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!

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After surgery, when I couldn’t smell anything!

What’s your strongest sense? Smell. (I must have been a dog or cat in a past life.) Many of my memories are based on smells. It was so weird after my brain surgery when I couldn’t smell anything at all for a week or two because the tumor was removed through my nose. And it wasn’t just like when you have a cold and can’t smell anything, this was a total, complete loss of the sense. I was lucky to get it back so quickly; many people experience a loss for months to a year! And it affects your sense of taste, too…I didn’t want to eat at all because what’s the point of eating if you can’t even remotely taste or smell your food? My husband had to practically force-feed me. Continue reading “Share Your World: June 5, 2017”

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”

When Your Depression Is Invalidated

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 have struggled with depression for a year and a half now, starting when infertility problems really came to the forefront of my life. But those issues were usurped by far more serious problems. Continue reading “When Your Depression Is Invalidated”