Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Ugly.

I wrote the below post about a week or so ago in absolute devastation. I didn't want to post it because I feel the need for this to be some ridiculous inspirational blog in which I am always a super badass woman who defeats chronic illness in a single bound. But that's not realistic or honest. Some days it defeats me...and for this to be a true picture of my life and a journey for me to look back on, I have to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly. And this my friends is ugly.

Two days ago I unexpectedly had to stand for an hour in a patient's room - and today, 3 days later I am still paying for it. Most of you likely hear that and think an hour is not that big of a deal, and part of why I was so mad was because I felt that way too. I'm in my 20s, and after I left that room and went back to my office, almost falling the whole way because my legs were numb, and just lost my mind. Thankfully, I had the office to myself. It was ugly. I wish I could adequately paint this picture for you, but I was full on drowning in the throes of despair. I was sobbing uncontrollably, hyperventilating to the point of almost fainting and uncontrollable in all regards. I was in the second most pain I've ever been in during my lifetime - which is saying something. I was angrily venting to my 2 people and yelling at God, begging for an answer. And the end result? Life isn't fair. This situation isn't fair. I had just come from a patient's room after trying to help her, and she knowingly was throwing away a chance at being better. A chance that 2 minutes later I was at the end of my rope begging for. She'll never know the sacrifice it took for me to stand with her for that hour. She didn't understand why the next day I came to her in a wheelchair. She'll never know the battles I face. And I realize if I want to truly bring awareness to chronic illnesses and my daily life, I need to show that we're not always on top. We feel burdened sometimes by the pressure of society to be an inspiration. There are some days when our illness does defeat us. And sometimes that's okay. It's okay for me to be mad, angry, frustrated and lose my mind for a minute if it means I can take a breath. It's okay if I'm tired from being knocked down. And it's okay to tell you about much as I try to paint a pretty picture of overcoming my life - sometimes I don't.

You don't see these meltdowns.
You don't see my house littered with mobility aids.
You don't see the quiet moments I have with my husband when there's nothing left to say.
You don't hear the incessant thoughts telling me I'm right to think I'm useless and a piece of trash.
You don't hear the would be conversations I want to have with the woman who caused this.
You don't see the tears I shed for having to cancel a night out because I literally can't stand up.
You don't see the dirty. And how much I sacrifice so you don't. But it's there.

A handful of you know that for the past two weeks I have been going through an experimental treatment to deal with my pain by getting ketamine infusions. Ketamine is well known in the medical world for being a popular anesthetic used for surgeries, and is quickly becoming well known for it's successes off-label for chronic pain, and now being studied for it's effects on depression.

Here I am at a pivotal decision that I have faced too many times to count in my life: do I roll the dice and gamble on a chance at something working? What if it doesn't work? Defeat and heartache. Loss of money and time. But potentially even scarier: what if it does? I don't know what a life without pain feels like. How would that change my life? Would it change who I am?

I literally can't count the number of medications, procedures, and treatments I have tried to alleviate or at least minimize my pain; none of them to any significant effect. And now, after two weeks of having my life completely turned upside down in a not so pleasant, daily life altering treatment I am yet again on the losing side. Absolute devastation and heartbreak don't even touch how I feel. There's not a big enough word for it, I don't think. So much hope and faith is put into another chance, only to have it dashed away. I researched for hours and talked to others who have successfully had the treatment. The odds were in my favor. Yet here I am again, in too much pain to focus on anything else and sobbing because my one tiny glimmer of hope is gone again.

Why hasn't anything worked? What's the point in continuing to search if decades of research and seeking new ideas hasn't worked? Doesn't seem to matter how good the odds are or how hard I try, at the end of the day I'm still stuck in extraordinary amounts of pain and having to force myself to see the silver lining or push my thoughts elsewhere. It's exhausting living everyday. It's even more exhausting when you add on never ending, never relenting pain from head to toe. It's furthermore exhausting to have to constantly redirect your thoughts to something else and try to pretend the pain isn't there or you're a word from breaking down and losing your mind.

This past Sunday our pastor had a passionate message with a word from the Holy Spirit that totally derailed his original sermon, and he felt such an intense NEED for someone in the room to hear the message he felt God was giving him. The whole series has been about running on empty (who doesn't feel this way?) and how to take God's promises to heart and lean on Him to get us through, and make sure we're running to the right things. His impassioned message was to keep holding on and that for someone in the room, possibly many, the long lost relationship, miracle, situation, whatever the case was that they had given up on or had been seeking answers for so long for would finally be answered. God was going to fulfill His promise and deliver something great. At that point I was halfway through my treatment and beginning to think it may not work, and really thought that the message was about my treatment and that it was going to begin to work. I went in to the next week and last half of my treatment with a renewed sense that it WAS going to work and I was finally going to get the relief I've longed for...but here we are.

Will it ever end? Some days I wonder. Tonight I finally have a free night to be with my husband and have quality time watching our TV shows, playing video games and just being together which hasn't happened in what feels like forever. Granted, I'm special enough to have gotten a mild concussion this morning and our plans were derailed so I could rest - but it was still something I've been craving and looking forward to. It's the weekend, so no need to wake up early or be anywhere in the morning which means we can stay up late into the night, yet it's barely 10 PM and I'm downing sleep medicine so I don't have to be conscious anymore. It just hurts too much to be awake. And my sainted husband holds me as tears slip down my face, despite my attempts to keep them inside and control myself so I don't wail and sob, wondering what he can do to take the pain away and knowing there's nothing tangible to be done. His night no longer is what he expected either. He misses out on quality time too. How do you explain to someone that it just hurts too much to be awake? How do I not feel like this is forever doomed to be how I always will feel? How do I keep going when the second I stand back up something else pushes me down?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


I've been thinking about this post for months now, never feeling like I was ready to write about it. Even today, I'm home from work and all responsibilities because my body has once again decided to give me the middle finger and I feel so unworthy of the title - but I'm learning with each passing day that so often we grow and learn the most from being out of our comfort zone, so here I go.

The past few months I've really been discovering what it means to call myself a warrior. Over the years I've heard it as a description of myself whether it was with my medical journey, or at church I was known as one of the "prayer warriors". We've all heard it in various uses, but I've found myself so drawn to it and really thinking about it lately and what it means to me.

According to the dictionary, a warrior is someone who is involved in a fight or a soldier. Recently I asked my friends what they think of when they hear the term and as expected, many went straight to Gladiator type references and soldiers fighting in life and death battles. That's what I've always gone straight to as well, and many days I don't feel like a warrior. Especially days like today, when I'm essentially bed bound by a body that malfunctions on the daily. If anything I'm a weakling! In any sort of prehistoric society I would have been one of the first to be dead, whether it was natural selection or not even having a choice by society, being handicapped and sick. Yet on my worst days I've been called a warrior for continuing to fight. I've always been very hard on myself in this regard and tend to self-destruct and self-criticize when my body fails me, as if it's some sort of failure or choice on my part. A warrior is someone incredible strong and brave, two things I rarely feel about myself. But recently I've come to discover that maybe it does hold a truth in my life....maybe I am a warrior, and it would in fact boost my self-confidence and worth to see myself in that light.

The Greatest Showman is probably my favorite movie of all time - if you haven't seen it, you must!! Of the many incredible musical numbers in the movie, the one that has always stuck out to me was This Is Me (video down below). If you haven't seen the movie you may not get the whole picture of what's happening with just the video, but essentially this group of people are the freaks and downcasts of society - the bearded lady, siamese twins, a dwarf, etc. Society mocks them and treats them as something less than human because they're different. And at the climax of this song, the leading lady gets so fed up with people throwing her aside because she's atypical, and she's had enough! She's not ashamed of who she is or what she looks like, she's been bruised and broken and has been told by the world to be ashamed of her scars, yet she takes pride in them. The most influential line to me in there was she says "We are warriors, that's what we've become!" That's when it hit me that I did in fact see them as warriors, and I was in the same boat!

I'm literally in a fight every second of my life with my body. My heart rate, body temperature, pain levels, fatigue, even my memory can change on the spot without any warning, and in reality there isn't a whole lot I can do about it. As of late I've been battling a lot more with my anxiety and depression, which adds a whole separate element to the fight. There have been many days when I have wanted to quit. I don't feel like a positive addition to society, much less a warrior. Little did I realize that those days when I was ready to throw in the towel and give up, hide away and give precedence to my dark thoughts - THAT's when I was the most like a warrior, those were my hardest battles and I'm still here writing about this today.

You may be fighting your own battles, whether it's mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and feel like you're making no headway and feel like giving up. You're a warrior, too. Warriors don't all have gladiator armor or fight on the front lines. There are warriors all over the place. Every time you choose to be positive, or choose to continue in the face of adversity, or fight to be above your circumstances you are a winning warrior. Don't lose sight of that.

This Is Me movie clip - you gotta watch!

Sunday, February 25, 2018


As of today I have spent 366 days married to my best friend - that's right, we have officially hit the one year mark! It has been a whirlwind year, and we have been tested more than some couples who have spent decades together haven't faced and I believe we came out stronger than ever. The first anniversary is attributed to paper due to how fragile the relationship is in the first year. Looking back, I definitely have a deeper appreciation for this milestone.

Over the course of the past year-ish, I've often stared at my ring (which is gorgeous and perfect) and thought about how much more it is than a beautiful piece of jewelry on my finger, because it's so much more than that. Everything it represents has become so much more personal in the past year-ish. I say year-ish because it became a new piece of my life when we were engaged. From the moment we were engaged we planned for marriage. We registered for gifts in the planning of our home, we spoke with wise counsel and worked through things before they became problems in pre-marital counseling, and I went through the process of legally changing my name. We didn't just plan the wedding, but for our life together afterwords. There were times before the wedding that it almost wasn't on my finger - which makes it's presence that much more significant. This ring represents all the nights wrapped up in each other's arms, all the passionate kisses, the times we've cried from laughing so hard. But this ring also represents the times we've been frustrated with each other or life's circumstances.

We have been put through the ringer this year, for sure. We have been tested, tested, tested, and felt like we were at our breaking points too many times to count. Not at all because of each other, but because of the life circumstances we found ourselves in whether it be health, jobs, locale...but finally we are starting to see the other side of so many challenges. God has had His hand on our marriage from the beginning, even when we couldn't see Him. I was in and out of the hospital literally from the time we got home from the honeymoon and haven't been in the hospital for the past few months, which has been a huge blessing. It was a nice break while it lasted, as last week I had major surgery on my knee, and now I'm basically an invalid which has put another role on my sainted husband, of caretaker. Throughout my days with my husband, especially in the past week, I have seen the character of Jesus shine through Him. He never gets mad at me for my chronic illnesses or need for so much physical help at this time, but laments WITH me at the circumstances. He finds ways to make the humiliation of needing to literally be carried to the bathroom have enough dignity so I don't hate my life. He never complains about getting something for me, and manages to make my tears disappear. This is my first major surgery I've had post-marriage and it was such an eye-opening experience about the true bonds of marriage. "In sickness and health" was such an important piece of our vows that I specifically wanted in our wedding because I'm already sick and we knew going into this that it would be a crucial part of our lives - and my husband has never faltered in this.

The past year has not had a dull moment, and I definitely understand why people always say that marriage is work. But it's one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had and I absolutely cannot wait to see where this next year, and the many to come, take us.

Friday, February 2, 2018

We're No Different.

Big news of the day: my surgery is only 11 days away!!! I am both anxious and excited. My knee has given me so much extra pain and hardship on top of my already perfectly functioning body (ha!) that I am ready for the problem to be fixed!

Many of you know I have been using a wheelchair part time for about 10 years now. But with my knee being how it is, for the past month-ish I’ve been using it at work, which has been new and an amusement park of feelings. It’s no secret that I don’t use my wheelchair all the times that I should, because of the reactions I get from other people. I know I should be more mature and ignore the people, but when it’s your whole life and you don’t have to actually deal with it – that is a lot easier said than done.

After bringing up the topic with some of my non-disabled friends I was enlightened to find out that the reactions so many of us take the wrong way are sometimes people just being uncomfortable or not knowing how to handle the situation. So I’m hoping to shed light on the situation and tell my story from my perspective.

There are so many different reactions I get in my wheelchair – some positive, most not. To over-simplify it: treat us as you would any other person. That’s what we want and need. It’s hard enough mentally to go out in public in a wheelchair, fearing what people will say or do, and we don’t need it made harder by people treating us differently. My IQ doesn’t drop because I’m sitting down. I’ve gotten several comments from patients and their family members in the neighborhood of “A medical professional in a wheelchair? Wow!” or “You’re working in a wheelchair? That’s too hard.” Or several times I’ve gone into a room and heard “You’re in a wheelchair!” Yes, I’m aware. I’m also aware of my age. Unfortunately, disability doesn’t filter out based on age or occupation; it can happen to anyone at any stage in life. There’s no need to point it out. Trust me, we are hyperaware of our situation and are trying to lead as normal a life as possible, and you pointing it out for no particular reason other than to bring attention to it is embarrassing and unnecessary.

It is natural to wonder why someone is in a wheelchair, but there is a considerate way to ask. It’s not very helpful or constructive to ask someone “What’s wrong with you?” It automatically makes that person feel less than equal. If you’re curious and feel it’s an open moment, say something to the effect of “If you don’t mind me asking, why do you use a wheelchair?” This gives the person an opportunity to share if they feel like it, and to spin it positively by saying it aids me in this way or this is what condition I have, as opposed to something negative or wrong.

Surprisingly in the healthcare field, or at least my experience with my current facility, some people have straight up ignored me, or started conversations where I can’t hear or be involved which is frustrating. If I was standing, that wouldn’t have happened or I could have squeezed my way in, but in my chair I can’t.
One last topic I will touch on is praising disabled people like we’re superheroes. Yes, we very much appreciate when it’s recognized how much harder we fight to do the same things, but as with everything else there is a proper way to go about it. I don’t need you to be impressed that I’m holding down a job or going to the grocery store. It’s not appreciated when comments like “Good for you for getting out of the house” or “I can’t believe you have a job!” are stated. Just because I need to sit more than you doesn’t mean I’m some sort of demi-god for still doing what’s expected of a productive member of society. If anything, recognize the struggle. Say “Wow, that must be really hard,” or comment on their strength and determination. We want normalcy. We crave it. If I’m doing something ordinary but just happen to be in my chair, it’s not an Olympic medal worthy thing. It doesn’t need to be commented on.

Hopefully this helps non-disabled people see a little into how their (sometimes) well-intentioned statements are taken from the other side. Honestly I think it just is a lack of understanding from each side. Our culture is so quick to point out differences and especially with the rise of social media it seems like so many ordinary life events are now competitions for who can do it the best or putting on a happy face when behind closed doors life is completely different. Many people are taught that different automatically means worse, which isn’t the case. When you interact with someone in a wheelchair, just treat them like you would anyone else. We’re not as different as you think.

*Note: I do not speak for all disabled people who use a wheelchair. I’ve just dealt with this personally for so long and have many friends who feel the same way. There are times when we need help, were not invincible and DO need extra help, but still want to go about our life without that being any more of an issue than it already is.

Monday, January 1, 2018


So I'm technically a day late, but it's time for the annual review post!

I've tried to think about how to describe this past year, and I don't think there's one word that can properly package it all together. 

The biggest event of the past year, and possibly my entire life, was that I got MARRIED! Still in disbelief that I have been blessed with having my best friend beside me forever. We both got to experience our first cruise and travel internationally which was one of the best experiences of my life. But literally the moment we docked we were lost in the current of unrelenting waves of medical uncertainty. From February until August I was in and out of the ER and hospitals more in that time frame than I probably have ever in my life. We were somehow immediately thrown to the wolves of marriage. Yet with every new update to the situation or with each new admission, I no longer found myself fighting alone - I had a partner to hold me up each step of the way.

I got to fulfill my dream of having my wedding (sort of) at McLane Stadium. I was surrounded by sweet family and friends, and got to introduce my HUSBAND to my insane Baylor-obsessed self. Not to mention we had pretty stellar cake to top it off, and as promised it was not smashed in my face during our first bite.

On top of the daily medical battles that were now the icing on top of my "usual" health issues, we had both found ourselves in a town we felt we no longer belonged in, at jobs we no longer loved. I can't express the mental struggle everyday of having to wake up and force yourself to get up, dreading the day ahead and looking forward to already being home. And then because of your impending dread for the next day, your few hours of solace at home aren't truly enjoyed either. After months and months of searching, interviewing, praying...God led us to CORPUS CHRISTI! Never in my life would I have thought I would get to live so close to the beach - and it's awesome! We've been here about 2 months now and still count everyday as the biggest blessing. I didn't realize how downtrodden and truly depressed I was, until I came somewhere I actually wanted to live and work. It's been hard moving to a new place and trying to make new friends and begin our lives here, but it's absolutely where we are meant to be.

We got to experience our first holiday season as a married couple, which is wonderful and a lot to handle all at once! Suddenly there are 2 families to balance all the holidays with, and now that we live so much farther it becomes very logistical. Also throwing into the mix that we're both starting at brand new jobs and didn't have much in the way of vacation time. But it was a wonderful experience seeing our families and having our first married Christmas. This year we have a house to decorate for the first time, bought our first real Christmas tree, and got to do the whole thing upright. And instead of being stressed at our inability to properly tie a tree to the top of the car (which was quite hilarious to passersby, I'm sure) or worry about the mess of Christmas light boxes everywhere, I have made a significant effort to really drink in this time. I know that years from now we will look back and remember our first Christmas fondly. Also, we moved to the most southern part of Texas and somehow got to experience snow!

While my tiny world has been a hot mess this past year, it seems the same was true on a global scale. This year brought with it a series of earthquakes, hurricanes, bombings and political upheaval. We have a new president that has finished his first year in office with some really impressive highs, though of course not everyone is on board with him. We watched through teary eyes as so many lost their lives in the Las Vegas shooting, but then got to see a glimpse of the good when Houston and surrounding areas came together so quickly and cohesively after Hurricane Harvey.

I managed to have my first set of stitches not from a surgery, but from the not at all embarrassing moment of falling on a broken glass candle and cutting my hand open. My family and I experienced the excitement, along with many other Houston alum and all Texans while the Astros won the World Series for the first time. I grew up constantly going to Astros games back in the day with the Killer B's - Bagwell, Biggio, Berkman....had the world's biggest crush on Jeff Bagwell my entire elementary life, and getting to see all of that come together and bring people of so many backgrounds together was a really incredible moment.

Looking back on the past 365 days, it sometimes feels more like five times that amount of time has gone by. The first few years of marriage are theoretically your hardest, and in the past year we have been through more as a couple than some couples face their entire lives - and we are stronger for it. 2017 had a lot of moments I won't be sad to see gone, but there were also some moments that I would relive every day if I could. I have a feeling this next year is going to be a pretty intense one as well. Heck, I'm starting it off with a major reconstructive surgery that will have me down for quite a while. But after I learn to walk (again) and get up, I hope that I'll be stronger than ever and I'll hopefully have you along for the ride.

Blessings to all, my dear friends.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Could Have Been.

This post is more or less looking through the other side of the lens of my last post which was an introspective look on who and where I am as a result of the life I've been given, pain and all; whereas this post is the other half - who I could have been. As I write this I am faced with the possibility of yet another unexpected surgery. I am once again thrown into the vicious cycle of finally accepting where I am physically and getting into a groove of managing everything, and then another bump in the road that comes that wouldn't even be there if I wasn't sick. If it wasn't for HER. I've just gone through 8 months of being in and out of the hospital and finally things were calming down. We made the big move, started the great new jobs and were getting the fresh start we've been searching for for so long. And now this? ANOTHER surgery?! More daily pain? WHY. And I can't help but think what my life could have been like, who I could have been, if I didn't have pain, if I wasn't sick.

I don't remember what it's like to not be in pain. Even when I was little, I was always slower and more limited than the others. I vividly remember bawling my eyes out in third grade when I was called a crippled for the first time. Granted when I was younger my pain was a fraction of what it is now, but it was still there. I don't remember what it feels like to not be completely exhausted regardless of hours of sleep I get - if there ever was a time when that was reality for me. I've accepted where I am in life physically, I've been to rehab to learn positive coping skills and to get away from a life dependent on pain medication - but that doesn't make it any easier.

I've been in extreme, unrelenting pain every day I can remember. You'd think at some point you would get used to it, but you don't. If anything it gets more exhausting. Harder to get up and fight another day, knowing the next day you have to do it again. Sure, in a way it becomes your "normal" and not every day is the same intense physical battle. But being in this much pain for so long, topped with exhaustion, with absolutely no rest for decades is not only physically wearing but emotionally and mentally devastating. Chronic pain is constantly pushing back on who you are and trying to defeat your will to have a normal life and to continue getting up everyday and being a part of the outside world. You begin to battle anxiety and depression, two things I never truly understood until I experienced them. It changes who you are and how you view the world, whether that be positive or negative. Every single day is a fight to make sure it's positive. Your brain begins to turn a normal activity like someone running down the street from having a positive reaction of "Good for you! Getting out an exercising is an awesome and hard thing, look at you go!" to "UGH. Look at you, rubbing it in my face that I can't do that. How dare you!" Obviously irrational. But neither is unrelenting, never ending pain. It becomes a constant snark-check when someone constantly complains about a small headache, or having the flu for a few days. If you have the flu, you feel like crap for a few days and get better. I, and millions of others like me, feel like the flu on steroids every single day, with no end in sight. It's very easy to lose perspective and snap at those around you just because you're in pain all the time.

When I was younger I had the same big dreams as most kids do - I wanted to be an astronaut or go exploring every country I could name, and for a time wanted to be a killer whale trainer at Seaworld. But as I became sicker, those dreams naturally had to shift. What no one aside from my husband knows (until now) is that in my most ideal dream world in which I am pain free and able bodied, I would like to have been a dancer. I'm obsessed with dancing, whether it be competition shows, movies, youtube videos...I become mesmerized watching their seemingly effortless movements, so flawless and beautiful that anyone in the world can share in the passion. Regardless of color, language, country - the language of dance is universal and can cross any barrier. Not to mention it is a feat of pure athleticism. And the incredible costumes? Come on. However, that is clearly not where my life was meant to end up.

Please don't misunderstand the intent behind these words. I hesitated to even make this post public because I fear I can't adequately express this strange double-edged sword that is chronic illness; but if this is truly to be a chronicle of my life and wading through this life, I have to include the parts that aren't always so pretty. I could not have imagined having the wonderful life I have. I most definitely NEVER thought I'd find someone who wanted to spend the rest of their life with me, I could have never imagined being in the nutrition field and having a job I so love going to every morning, or living this incredible life I have. This is clearly the plan God had for me and it's so much better than I could have dreamed of. However - that doesn't mean there won't always be a part of me who mourns the me that could have been if I had been born healthy. I have the answers to most of the questions I've asked for so long. I know what conditions I have and know that a cure at this point is not feasible. My life is now about managing the random assortment of symptoms that appear whenever they want. I'm not going to be a world renown dancer. But now in the face of adversity and seemingly everything trying to push back at my will to fight, I have a choice. I can still make the most of this life and find new adventures I could have never thought possible. I've accomplished so much already, and still hopefully have many more decades to continue achieving new dreams. I may not have the physical health so many have, but I have more than a lot of other people as well. I have a job I love. I have a roof over my head. I have a loving best friend who I get the honor of being married to. I have the weirdest autistic dog who gives me the love and snuggles I need and who is always excited to see me. I have an incredible support system built of many different people who bring me so much joy and love. This is a great life and I am grateful to experience it.   Even if in some alternate universe, an able bodied version of me did become a dancing sensation; that doesn't mean that life would be better than mine. My life may not be perfect, and I may have more physical struggles before I'm 30 than many will have in several lifetimes - but it's beautiful in it's imperfections. 

When I wake up every morning I don't know if it's going to be a manageable pain day, or an excruciating pain day. I don't know if I'm going to wake up with an attitude of COME AT ME WORLD, I GOT THIS! or if I will want to just hide away and not be conscious, looking for any way to have a small inkling of relief. But I do know that every morning I will wake up to my best friend, pray to a God who hears me, and has the greatest plan for this version of me.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


I write this from my new (and first) HOME! in Corpus Christi! What an absolute whirlwind the past month has been! I had a phone interview for a job that sounded really cool, and two days later I had an offer!! And like an insane person, I accepted without having been to Corpus Christi probably since I was in middle school. So that weekend we ventured down here to begin our one and only day to find a place to live - which we did!

For the past 2.5 years I've had my first full time career position, and been thrown into way more than I signed up for. I don't regret my time in Marble Falls at all - for one thing, it brought me Jake! And career wise it taught me a lot about my field, about me as a person, and the kind of people I want to surround myself with - and most importantly the kind I don't. I just felt suffocated I was drowning. If I'm honest, and without getting into too much detail in the public world, there were some DARK times. I've never mentally been as low as I was there. I HAD to get out. I had been searching for jobs for months, got a few nibbles, but nothing ever panned out. One opportunity was essentially a sure thing and fell through at the last minute, leaving me devastated. But I suppose God had a better plan for me, and it would seem that plan is in Corpus!

Those who know me know that I do NOT deal with change well. Not just that I dislike it, but it physically/emotionally/mentally screws with my head to deal with change. Call it OCD, call it intense anxiety or whatever label you want to attach to it - it makes life hard is nothing but change. It's so hard to explain because even if the change is 100% positive, I can't immediately get on board. I FINALLY got a ticket out of a toxic environment to a really cool new city. I got a promotion with my career and have my foot in the door to do what I've always been called to do - the NICU!!! BABIES!! In the world of dietetics the NICU is incredibly specialized, very competitive and hard to get into unless you have experience...which you can't get unless you have experience. But here I was given an opportunity to start in a great position and eventually transition to the NICU when their higher designation was approved. And on top of that I get to start this incredible journey with my husband and best friend! And we get to live in this amazing house and be real adults (ha!)! So why can't I just jump right into joyful glee? Couldn't tell you - I've just always needed time.

We hung up the pictures and art this week in the house so it would feel more like home, and yet it made me cry. The pictures aren't where they normally go, we're in a new place and don't know anyone, and I just felt so empty. I have Jake and Brinkley, who bring me immense joy and are my one familiar thing in a land of unknown - but right now it's hard to cling to just that. You know when you have a crappy or long day and you go to the safety and comfort of your home, and everything feels better? That is all I want right now, but right now my house isn't home to me yet. My new job threw me right into the fire and I went from seeing 4-8 patients a day in MF to my first day having 32! Thankfully it's calmed down since then but even still it's physically way more demanding and I had 24 hours from moving in to be at work - absolutely no down time. Needless to say, my body is pretty upset with me right now.

All of this has made my head spin without rest for the past 10 days we've been here, and finally this weekend I have time to sit and breathe. Instead of dealing with these emotions or thoughts I've just been pushing them down and doing what needs to get done. But today, for the first time, I had to excuse myself from a patient's room because I could say absolutely nothing professional or kind. She pushed every button I had and stabbed me right in the pinnacle of my insecurities and anger I didn't fully realize was still so strong in my soul. It was for sure the straw that broke the camel's back. I excused myself and immediately called Jake, crying I was so livid. I have NEVER been that upset about a patient, and my strength and resolve was already so low that I had no tolerance or ability to fight it. All details aside, she has made some very poor health decisions that have already affected her baby. Her baby already has several serious conditions and will now face a life of sickness and a direct result of her mother. Despite knowing it is due to her lifestyle, she not only doesn't care or have remorse about her actions, but has plans to have another baby after this one.

Many people probably won't understand why this hit me so hard. I've had plenty of difficult patients before. Probably 75% of my patients are noncompliant, and hers was not the most ridiculous diet history I've heard. But she has altered the course of her baby's life because of selfish decisions and could not have cared less. And this hits home SO hard for me because my life has forever been altered because of a birthmom who didn't care enough about herself or me to do what needed to be done. And now this poor, defenseless baby has to fight the same battles. And her mother has absolutely no guilt about the situation or plans to change, but in fact wants another baby and for me to tell her what she's doing is okay. I was shaking with anger - anger that obviously is unresolved. I need to deal with this but honestly, don't know how (Legit taking suggestions or advice on this point). As I transition into the NICU I'm bound to meet more families with stories like this one, stories like mine. But when I think about it, I wouldn't even have a desire or calling for NICU without my situation. I was born already at a massive disadvantage, through no fault of my own - and so are these precious souls. I've been given an opportunity to help get them back on the best track they can be on, and I doubt I'd be on this path without my social history. Does it make it okay? Does it mean I don't still want answers from her or honestly, sometimes to punch her in the face? No, it doesn't. But it does mean that not everything that came from her is negative. For me to even be able to say that is HUGE.

If you've made it this far, I sincerely appreciate it. I don't know how much of this makes sense to anyone else, but I felt the need to get out my thoughts and angst, so I just wrote without editing. This season of my life is most definitely a transition. There is a whole new world of opportunities, memories, and a life to be made here and really I am so excited to discover everything God has for us here, and I know in time it will feel like home. I never really went through the angsty high school "who am I?" phase. In college I definitely found out a lot about who I was, because for the first time you're having to decide what you believe and how you want to live your life without your parents telling you everything. Honestly, I thought I was done with finding out who I was, if that makes sense. But maybe that transition is fluid and ever changing. My life was turned upside down 4 years ago when I found out the truth about my health. I had to redefine who I was and what made me "me". I thought I had dealt with "her" and could go about my life, but obviously that is still "in progress". She made a mistake many years ago, and I've paid for that mistake every day of my life. But it made me who I am. I probably wouldn't be as empathetic as I am, I probably wouldn't have always had a drive to be in the healthcare world, and now more specifically the NICU. I have a kindred spirit with every one of those tiny miracles, and that's because of her. As much as I hate her most of the time (I know it's wrong but hey - working on it), she unintentionally or not made me part of who I am I guess. I want to rise above the anger and negativity I have towards her, and while I am making strides I am not there yet, but one day I will be. But for now? I ride the wave of fluid transition.