A Poem

Stars shine bright this crisp spring night
The cats are in their bed.
The gentle banter of good friends
Runs in and out my head.
It’s a gathering, laughter abounds
The beers flow freely for the men,
The bowls for one and all
And talk turns to summertime
And all the things we will do
And all the places we will go
And all the people we will see.
And all the dreams we will have
That this is the year things happen

A lull in the conversation.
A click of a bottle cap echoes from the kitchen.
Again we roar with laughter.
I’m tired.
It’s only 10:30? Oh my.
Welcome to middle age, sunshine!

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Negative to Positive, Shifting My Perspective

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Well, it’s more doctor appointments this week. I meet with the pain clinic today, in about an hour and a half. I have a mammogram on Wednesday to see what these lumps are in my breast and and armpit. I meet with a surgeon on Friday, to see about closing a fistula that won’t heal (yay butt surgery)… And I get to see my counselor tomorrow for the second time. Also, Thursday night I have a class. It is going to be a busy week for me.

I got to see my best friend this weekend. My soul now feels at ease physically seeing her and hugging her and crying with her. I do feel as though she’s the cuter, younger, smarter sister I never had. My parents see her as another child to them. And although our visit was short, and she brought her boyfriend and his daughter with her, so it’s not like we had any alone time, I think it did my soul better than any prescription could in the way of feeling better. I love that woman. She’s an inspiration, and she makes me want to be a better person.

I am a little nervous about the pain clinic, it is my first visit and I have no idea what to expect. I do know we have some strict laws about opiates in our state, and those are the only things that work on my breakthrough pain. But I am not a candidate for narcotics treatments because, well, if they test my urine or blood for illicit drugs, they will find I test positive for marijuana. If you test positive for any illegal substances you cannot, by law, be prescribed narcotics. Which I understand, pill seekers and other drug users have ruined it for the people who medicinally use weed.

It gives me an appetite, reduces anxiety, and elevates my mood and sense of wellbeing. It calms the intestinal spasms and dulls the aches and pains of swollen ligaments and tendons. It greatly reduces my need for pain medication, and the side effects include dry mouth and absurd giggling. Better than the side effects of anything anyone could prescribe me. It is effective for me, and just because we don’t live in a legal state, I am going to have to choose between pharmaceuticals and Mary Jane.

I did get my homework done for Tuesday, but I have not done all of my homework for my new job. I need to write up a writing sample to apply for the job of social media consultant with the education side and the retail side of the business. I also need to print some stuff out, as well as run some research and development for the education side. I am excited about the opportunities this job is giving me. And to clarify, it is a volunteer position at this point, but I will be compensated for any curriculum I write and any materials I need for research and development.

I have been practicing mindfulness, and catching myself with negative thoughts and redirecting the negativity with positivity. It was hard at first, but research says it takes 21 days to make anything a habit. I have two more weeks and it should be a habit to look at the bright side of things. I am optimistic about this cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness redirection. It is going to come in handy when I quit cigarettes, and in just about every other aspect in my life. I think I really like my counselor. She’s really mellow and thorough. She jumps back and forth while talking but she seems to get a lot of information out of me. I know it takes time to establish your background and what makes you tick when meeting with a new counselor, so I am not going to gage my treatment just yet. But seriously looking forward to the positive changes she is bringing into my life.

Speaking of changes, there are some big changes coming to my life here shortly. Today is not the time to go into details about these changes, but soon my whole world will be turned upside down. It’s like waiting for a tattoo, I know the needle is coming for my skin, I anticipate it, I know it’s going to hurt, and all I can do is sit there and wait for the tattoo artist tune his machine, with my eyes closed and my heart racing. I hope it is much smoother and painless than I expect it to be. Rather, I hope the tattoo is on my upper outside arm, not the elbow this time. (Tattooed folks will get the analogy.)

Well, I should post this and get ready for the pain clinic. Check back often for updates on my life, opinions, trials and tribulations. Thank you once again for reading; I do appreciate your time. Also, feel free to ask any questions or comment, interaction is always encouraged! Have a great day!

 

A Productive Weekend

The last two days have been an amazing whirlwind of activity and ups and downs. Tonight I sit here reflecting on events and doing some research, and thought I should write a little to clear my mind. I guess you could call it a meditation for my fingers. It started on Thursday. I met with my rheumatologist and I had a list of questions to ask him. Turns out my paper diagnosis is fibromyalgia! Which is quite funny, I didn’t even know I had symptoms of it. I mean, I know about the Crohn’s Disease, I know about the connective tissue disorder, I know about all the side effects that come with the medications to deal with these issues, but I had no idea that I have fibromyalgia.

So I asked the doctor what signs and symptoms to look for and when should I seek treatment? He looked at me in disbelief and said, “Now!” Okay, I wasn’t even aware of a problem. The people I have known with this diagnosis were in incredible pain and lived with great difficulties. Now I am not new to health issues (I’ve always been sickly.) And I saw them taking copious amounts of narcotics in all sorts of pills and patches. I don’t want to be a pill junkie! I meet with a pain management doctor on Monday. I really hope they don’t want to shove more pills down me. I ended the day with a chemo shot. It made me tired and woozy, which is normal. I was so tired I couldn’t rest well.

On a side note, it seems my blood sugars are horrible, and the other doctor wants to put me on insulin injections. I asked her kindly if we could give it a few weeks on an oral medication and then recheck my blood sugar levels before we resort to something as drastic as injections. Hell, I already take 8-10 injections of methotrexate and humira a month. I don’t want a daily shot playing with my hormones. Am I wrong to take a wait-and-see approach? I don’t know.

Friday brought a surge of frustration and anger, so I flung myself into cleaning mode. I spring cleaned the entire house. Spare room, dining room, and my bedroom too. It’s amazing how filthy a little old farmhouse can get in 6 months! I could have knitted an afghan out of all the black cat hair I cleaned up. I started at 7 and was done by noon. One of my good friends took me to lunch, and roundabouts 630 I was out on the porch smoking a cigarette when I heard someone pull into my driveway. I step out to see who it was and lo and behold- my best friend from Seattle was walking up the driveway! I haven’t been in a physical proximity to her since last July.

We hugged and bawled for about 5 minutes there in the driveway. I’m not exaggerating. It felt so good to be near her, especially after nearly dying three times this winter and her new diagnosis of MS. We stayed up talking and laughing and crying, and then this morning she got up and left again, only passing through town. But I am eternally grateful for every minute we got to spend together. I feel special that she planned to spend the night at my house, when she could have driven on through town. I love her with my whole being. I wish she was my sister. She IS my sister. Bobie.

Saturday, today, I had my first day at my volunteer gig. I was taken on to come up with and road test curriculum for a student education program. It is based in technology, and that I get to test run experiments and write curriculum thrills me beyond belief! Today we did what is called a deconstruction lab. Basically, we sit the kids down and coach them through deconstructing laptop and desktop computers. It was slow today, with only 8 or 10 kids coming in, but I did meet a few delightful young people who are redefining the world of technology. One was 9 and a savant when it comes to computers. The other was 6 and perpetually talked about Windows 95 and how he was going to write his own operating system that will work an all machines, regardless of their manufacturers. This kid was absolutely brilliant and inspires me to take passion in what I find interesting. It was a great first day at work!

Tomorrow is a day of fun and relaxation. I get to work on an inspiration board. I am having my pops print out several images I put together, and he’s bringing them by tomorrow and I get to cut and paste and tape and glue and make it all sorts of pretty. I’m excited to get my creative juices flowing. Also, mom and pops are sticking around for dinner, and I am making my specialty of biscuits and gravy. It’s going to be a very relaxing and low key day. Which I need a low key day. I have been on the go-go-go every day for like 2 weeks. I need a recuperation day. Maybe I will get to sleep in!

All in all this was a very productive week full of celebrations and setbacks. I sit at home, 930 on a Saturday night, in my pajamas, counting out my medication, and waiting on water to boil for sleepy time tea. Next to me sits a wonderful man who would do anything to make me happy. On the other side, a 30 pound black cat named Remington who likes to purr when he eats treats. I will rest well satisfied with my accomplishments this week. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I truly do appreciate it.

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A Positive Outlook Today, March 11, 2015

Well, I am officially a volunteer on the education side of a recycle and upcycle nonprofit. I start on Saturday! I am really excited about this opportunity, and to be teaching something to children is awesome. Also, I might be hired on to paint the lab like a galaxy and organize the offices and lab room. Right up my alley! I am super excited.

This evening, I worked on my positive inspiration board, per yesterday’s homework assignment from counseling. My favorite uncle came over for dinner and a few snips of tequila. Today I hung out with one of my favorite cousins, and we had lunch at a New York deli. My few things came from Amazon today, and when I laid down for my nap, I actually fell asleep for the first time in months. It was heavenly and quite refreshing!

I managed to stay positive all day, despite creeping feelings of doubt. I visualized the negativity evaporating off of me, the way a wet fence will steam in the sunlight on a cold morning. It worked. My optimism was so contagious, both my cousin and my uncle gave up their grumps and decided to laugh with me instead. I know there will be days that it will be an uphill battle to stay positive, but once I get my inspiration board physically put together, it should be easier to have something to meditate on when I get to feeling blue.

Something from the counselor is not sitting well. Actually, it started before she even mentioned anything. A month ago, I was taking 22 pills a night along with 2 injections a week. Now that I am tapering off some medications, my pill pile in the evenings is getting much smaller. But I would like to talk to my doctors and see if I can reduce the amount of 12 medications a day to 6 medications a day. It’s not all for my mental illness; most of them are from having organs removed and needing to medicate the body to still function properly. But the physical illness I live with is for another post, another day.

I meet with the rheumatologist tomorrow. I don’t know what he plans on doing, but I have a few questions I am unclear about. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about my conditions, and how to manage them. My joints are still weak, especially my left hip, both knees, and right ankle. It is hard for me to ascend a staircase. I can go down stairs just fine. It’s going up stairs that turns me into a wobbly pile of mush.

Well, that’s about all I have to write about tonight. Short post, yes, but I am tired and I am going to indulge in the opportunity to go to bed early. This whole sleeping again thing is great! Damn prednisone, turning all us inflammies into raging hungry insomniac. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It is nice my voice is being heard. Questions? Comments? Everything will be replied to. Have a great evening!

 

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My name is Emily, and I have mental illness.

Well, today I stand on the precipice of a huge change in my life. I decided to seek counseling for some emotional baggage I am carrying around. I met with her today for the first time. I was nervous, and I still have waves of apprehensiveness, but I like her. She seems nice enough. I left the session feeling better than when I went in, being nervous and scared and leaving with a ray of hope. It’s a sliver, but I plan to nurture the hope into a beautiful sunset of hope and inspiration.

Before we go any further, I feel compelled to admit that I live with having mental illness. I developed bipolar disorder in my teens. I medicated myself with street drugs until I got sick with an autoimmune disorder. I acquired insurance, and sought medical treatment of both. To clarify, my diagnosis is as follows: Crohn’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Connective Tissue Disease, Bipolar disorder with schizoaffective tendencies, with a good dose of a skin condition called gangrenosa pyroderma, which leaves me with odd scars and open wounds. I’m a walking mess. My most recent flare up of the autoimmune issues started in October 2014 and only now (March 10, 2015) do I feel even remotely close to normal. I am still weak, and have to take naps and pace myself, but I am getting stronger and better every day.

And just a little tidbit about my mental condition… I am well medicated and under the care of a wonderful nurse practitioner who is well informed and very intelligent. I still get manic highs, which I am on one the last 2 weeks, and I get majorly depressed from time to time, but most of my illness manifests itself in the form of anxiety and worry and fretting. I also, when unmedicated, get weird hallucinations. Not the “there’s a dragon in the corner” kind of hallucinations. It’s more of an “I smell burning wires” or “did someone just knock on the back door?” kind of hallucinations. I also can get delusional, thinking that people don’t like me; I’m a fraud, full of self-doubt and hatred. But that is changing through mindfulness and positive intentions. This blog is to hold me accountable to myself about the mindfulness and positivity.

Well, now that we have addressed the elephant in the room, I feel more comfortable in my writing. I feel as if you, the reader, might understand my ramb-lings a little more easily. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. I will answer as honestly as I can.

I was given homework this week. We need to come up with a 6 month plan. I think having a few routes of options and possible outcomes will greatly reduce my anxiety about the inevitable changes coming to my household. Also, I am supposed to make an “inspiration” board. Gather photos and quotes and sketches and whatnot of things I find uplifting and inspirational. Sounds like SOMEONE gets to flex their creative muscles… I get to get crafty!

So tonight, I am positive about the journey I have begun. It feels good to admit in a public forum that I have issues, which I am changing for the better, and I have to remain positive about all the changes. Nay, I get to remain positive about all the wonderful ebbs and flows of the ocean of change. In coming days, I plan on writing about the changes coming. Nothing is set in stone, of course. Is anything ever really set in stone, except death and taxes? A wise woman told me today that on the road of life, there are curves, go with the curve, or go off the road. I’m going to corner this curve so precise, Truex and Truex Jr would both be proud. (A little NASCAR humor.)

On that not I bid you adieu, dear reader. I want to thank you for your time, and I appreciate every single one of you. All one of you, teeheehee.

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Hello, An Introduction…

Hello, my name is Emily and I used to have a blog here. It was full of negativity and self-doubt, so I deleted every single one of my almost 200 posts and decided to start anew. Tomorrow begins a journey of self-discovery and awareness, and I thought this would be a good platform from which to organize my thoughts and streamline my progress. Plus, it is a great way to get feedback on my progress. There is a part of me that is thrilled at the prospect of strangers being privy to my most personal and inside thoughts. Nobody in my waking life knows I keep a blog. My boyfriend knows, but he doesn’t really care about what I write. Personally, I think he is thankful because it occupies a part of his evening that I am not rattling about this or that. I do talk a lot, and I am very “wordy” so I can imagine his relief when I finally quiet down and fire up the laptop.

Let me introduce myself. I am a homemaker, but I have a job interview in 2 days. I haven’t had a job interview in 10 years. I am a bit nervous, and really hope I get it. I have a boyfriend, and we celebrated our 18th anniversary last December. Our relationship has had more ups than downs, and we have a great thing going on. I’m 33, and have no children. Childless by choice, yes, envy my lifestyle. We live in Idaho with our two black cats. I am an only child, my parents are still married, and I have many, many aunts and uncles and cousins. I have a plethora of great friends. My health is failing, but that is for another day.

Tomorrow I start counseling. I have some baggage that needs a little help resolving itself, and I am a bit excited to put this all in my past. I have great expectations for this endeavor. It is going to be challenging, and I am sure it will rip me raw and stitch me up again. And like I said previously, I intend on using this platform to streamline my chaotic brain and get things in order. To be honest, it is rather thrilling that complete strangers might read my thoughts. It seems perverse to be so voyeuristic about the whole thing. But it is who I am, and I will own it. Thank you for taking a moment and reading my introduction. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you have any comments or observations, please share with me. As much as I look forward to making some positive changes in my life, I would like to share the journey with people.  Have a great day!

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