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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nastar Racing

Today I woke up to 2 inches of fresh snow, white outlined trees and sun sparkling through the crystals all over the ground. It's finally begun to look like winter in my neck of the woods, and I used the opportunity to embrace it and complete my first race this season. I bundled up in my new skin tight racing suit called a GS suit and hit the slopes with my friend from the school race team, Kayla. We did 6 runs for ten bucks and had a blast, and I ended up getting third place and receiving a bronze medal. There is a light at the end of every tunnel, and if I can persevere through a PICC line, two sprained fingers, tendinitis in both elbows, knee pain, and sight problems to take third on my first race of the year than I can make it through anything. This was the renewal of hope I needed in my life. A sure spike to my confidence level, and a pat on my sore back to encourage me to keep my chin up! I will be looking into more races in the future, and definitely picking it up more next year.

Friday, February 24, 2012

5 Little Monkeys Sleeping on the Bed

It's time to get a bigger bed. I have had an adjustable bed for about three years and it has been wonderful as I've spent many nights sick to my stomach or having to sit up after taking medicine so not to erode my esophagus. However, I am a teenager in a twin sized bed with three cuddly cats and of course my mama. We certainly can't all fit at once, I barely fit as is with my five pound kitten. So I decided it was time to upgrade to a full sized bed. This way on days that I'm sick or suffering depression I will have enough space for a companion, be it animal or human, to fit next to me and pet my head. Sometimes you just need your mama to lay down with you and listen to you cry. I realize I can't have that with a twin sized bed and an adjustable full sized bed is too much money for us right now. My goal is to get a regular full sized bed in fair condition as an even trade for the $300 adjustable twin bed I currently have in very nice condition. The mattress is well known as the comfiest bed in the house and among my friends, so i'm sure somebody out there will adore it. After I got home from work today I used my energy to turn on all my many lights (I'm a fan of light with white furniture, 3 windows, a 5-headed lamp, a ceiling fan, a lava lamp, a touch reading lamp, and 3 light enhancing window shades), and take some pictures of the naked bed for craigslist, face book, free cycle, etc. Now it's just the wait to find someone who so happens to be seeking to buy or trade with us for this beautiful bed that's treated me so well over the years.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 7

It's the final day of the seven day challenge. Today has shown me that seven days just isn't enough to get inside anyone's head. I have found that blogging everyday is challenging yet rewarding. Its therapeutic almost like journalism. I need to be using this website to not only keep my family and friends up to date on my recovery, but to show other people with chronic illnesses or handicaps that I will get better and it's okay to have bad days. We all learn lessons from mistakes and problems we encounter in our lives. If I can share my lessons with others, maybe they won't take the three strike rule to realize they need to listen. One lesson I realized today was I have no ability to pace myself. I push way too hard, and I don't know how to say no. When I think I feel better, I say yes to everything, fill up my schedule, and forget that I should take at least six months of symptom free days before I take on more than two activities. Then, just like before, I am declining health wise and stuck in a snowball effect of promises and responsibilities that I can't maintain. It's more efficient time wise to make a limit. Two activities is a safe bet, because you can pick a mandatory one that will effect your future, and a fun one that will give you purpose and enjoyment in life. For example, school work and a sport, or work and volunteering. Life is all about balance, and Lyme patients have to have even more balance than they believe they need. Balancing diet, physical activity, stressors, responsibility, and relaxation is mandatory. I am in the process of redesigning my life so I can take a step back and balance everything again. Today I couldn't even attend Civil Air Patrol because I woke up this morning on my one day of the week off from work and couldn't move from bed. My mom brought my a small lunch and my IV Nurse changed my dressing in bed. When I moved at 3:30 pm I was so dizzy and nauseas from napping that I cancelled the nights plans, and went right back to bed. Sometimes I just wish I had someone to sit with me and pet my head, or listen to me complain when I'm miserable. Not give me advice or motherly comfort, but that's okay sometimes too. The point is that there is a time for both, just like there is a time to be proactive and there is a time to be reactive. I have made choices that I now have to be reactive to, but next time I will be proactive and control my choices. If I could give major advice to any sufferer of any road block anywhere, it wouldn't be to keep your chin up, because sometimes the sun will get in your eyes, it would be to be proactive, and put on those sunglasses before you put your chin up so the sun will not affect you as much.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 6

I've persevered for my few followers on to day 6 of my 7 day blog challenge. Today has been a weird day. I haven't been in bad spirits, but I have been distant with thoughts and pressures of what is going to occur in my future. I had a visit from my home visiting nurse this morning. She comes once a week, takes my vitals, checks my IV for problems or infections, changes the dressing around the PICC line, draws my blood, and notes any changes in medicine or how I'm feeling. She can't come any less than once a week so I will see her again tomorrow since we are switching my day to Thursdays, my day off. She had a student with her today so she was running a bit late, which meant we had 10 minutes to zoom through a dressing change so I could rush off to a mediocre day at work. I worked from 10-5, pushed through two rushes and smiled at everybody as nonchalantly as I could. At the end of the day I was ready to go home, because there was family drama I wanted to be home for. I made it in before 5:30 pm, which felt great! That gave me enough time to suffer an hour of showering duties, and think about how I didn't have the energy to do the laundry or dishes that needed to be done, and how I didn't have much of a gluten free selection for dinner. My mom took off to go grocery shopping with my dad so I caught up on two episodes of the TV show 'Castle' about a detective and a writer in NYC. Its a good show, takes me to the fantasy of a world where the main characters are completely healthy, carrying out high energy jobs without a problem and thinking through major screenplays that my brain can barely comprehend as the viewer, forget the writer! It's been a long day with fairly warm weather and a lot of thought. I'm sure my brain will be relieved to turn off for a few hours as I sleep. Finally got Melatonin so I should sleep well tonight for the first time in a week! Off I go!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 5

I'm over the half way mark of this seven day challenge and I'm quite convinced that it has almost been healthy for me, like a public journal, and maybe I'll be blogging way more often after this week is done. Today, in the grand scheme of things, has been a very good day. I woke up early to witness my PCP or personal care physician overreact about my fingers that turned out to be not broken, just slightly sprained. Then I received a call that I was written on the work schedule for 10-6 when I was told 2-8. So I rushed around with my new shiny finger splints and flew off to work. The socialization I get working at Gunstock is refreshing. Hundreds of people come and go, and many regulars return to see my smiling face and sometimes even tip me a dollar or two! It surprises me how many people coming and going look familiar to me, but my brain just blocks out the information I need to remember their name or where I remember them from. I still smile and wave and hope for a release of memories to save me from embarrassment.

Today I realized there is a lot of pressure on me. I knew this all along, the past couple weeks with my life flowing like an icy river, to the hours in the day that change like the wind. Gunstock doesn't have winter forever, and soon I will be jobless. I'll have to get a summer job to pay for insurance and save money for a vehicle for myself and maybe even emergency savings. I need to catch up on school, maybe reduce the amount of current shifts I'm taking so I can survive health-wise. There are too many things on my mind that are stressing me, and I would never be able to remember all of them at once, but there's more to my life than meets the eyes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 4

Four is not my lucky number I guess. Today has been a terrible day. My fingers are taped to Popsicle sticks, and  work was painfully busy. I was in so much pain all day that it wore me down to the bone. I couldn't fight off the cold temperature when I stepped outside to walk to my car, and I just wanted to sleep the entire drive home. I'm suffering such a bad spout of depression right now. I don't feel this way all the time, and sometimes I want to cry but can just keep working through it, like when I working ski check and have something else to think about or when I'm at CAP and vulnerability is not an option. I can't be an emotional mess in this world. I have things to get done. But right now I'm officially the dictionary definition of mess. It's so hard to sit here with tears streaming down my face and think of how I'm supposed to describe what I feel like right now, what's going through my mind right now. I really don't think I can, or that I should have to. I'm highly discouraged, and my body has run out of available energy to draw from for optimism. We all reach this point, now it's my time to fight through it and overcome it with the amazing friends I have.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 3

I'm so tired my eyes are burning and my head is aching all over. But before I go to bed after a long day I must do a small day 3 post to continue on my 7 day challenge! This week is Massachusetts school vacation week so Gunstock will be bustling with vacationers getting in their skiing and snowboarding time. I work 5 days this week, and hope I'll get some time to breath in between the rush. I have schoolwork to do but no brain power to get going with, and I have fallen back on the job of taking care of myself. I realized tonight that I am out of pro-biotics which usually causes yeast problems, Melatonin which helps me sleep, and b-12 for energy. I really need to find time to stop at the health food store! I tried a new church this morning, and got to visit my miniature horse. While I was in the paddock getting Miracle, another horse started kicking and caught my hand in a few good whacks. My middle finger and ring finger on my left hand are all torn up and I believe sprained. The fun never ends for me! Now I have to suck it up and go lift baskets and bags all day tomorrow. Mike was with me for the day too. I feel like outer support systems do try to understand, but us chronically ill people give them a harder time then we think. I wish I could go back to the gentle soul I was before Lyme where I had no worries and just smiles and optimism. Maybe I'll feel that again some day in the future!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 2

Today was a busy out straight day. Like most of my days, I didn't have time to take my medicine, pack a gluten free lunch and dinner, get sleep and still eat a healthy breakfast, or even take a couple minutes to close my eyes and think. I drove my parents around Laconia, running a few errands and attending half of the Lyme 411 Support Group meeting. At the meeting I met a fellow young girl with Lyme and smell sensibilities. I did not realize how sensitive people can be to scents like perfumes and cleaning solutions. It's another invisible symptom of Lyme Disease that many don't care to recognize. I rushed my parents back home and sped to work, not even enough time to fill my water bottle so I'd stay hydrated. I arrived late, and still all the handicap parking was full so I had to forget the placard that I still have until the end of this month and park a mile out, practically running to clock in. Then I made my way to the basket room where I work half the time and told myself I wasn't hungry. After all I was late, there was a line, and I didn't have time to eat even if I went to get the food. So I jumped right in, answering phone calls, collecting bags, logging lost items, and completely spacing the fact that I forgot my sneakers in the car. After two hours I was hungry and thirsty, beginning the stages of being dizzy and lightheaded. Four hours in my entire back and down my legs hurt from the decorative boots I was wearing and my head screamed at me to just sit down. Five hours in I splurged on a cheeseburger and some chocolate pudding, shutting my head up and killing my stomach at the same time. I left work after six hours of strategically catching as much sitting time as I could and ignoring the elbow and knee pain. A member of security drove me to the back parking lot to retrieve my car and I made my way home. I just finished off that pudding and it was very good, though I know tomorrow I will wake up with the same familiar headache and lots of abdominal pain. I'll probably toss and turn tonight and need to drink a glass of magnesium tomorrow just to make it through the next 24 hours, but I'll survive. I just can't wait to put on some comfy clothes, and set my alarm for 8 am. I can't believe I still have to brave the shower either tonight or tomorrow. Its a regular activity for many but its an hour and a half of wrapping my arm in plastic wrap and medical tape and getting help to scrub my hair since I can't bend my elbows or get my Picc line(IV) wet. I end up getting out of the steamy heat and feeling like collapsing because of the nausea and fatigue it creates. Lyme doesn't like heat, and it makes you feel like a vegetable when you spend too much time in it. Thankfully my mother is there to help me and I'll get out alive no matter how questionable I feel half way through the process. The hardest part now is to figure out whether to take it after such a long day when all I want to do is sleep or beginning tomorrow which might drain my day's energy. I've gotten up to take showers in the middle of the night because of this reason, then I get a little rest and I still get more before the next day. For tonight I'm just going to get ready for bed and embrace the opportunity for that free clean feeling tomorrow. Goodnight world.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 1

Today is the first day of my seven day challenge to post daily on my blog about the events of my life.

The past few days I have been suffering a bad head cold on top of the Lyme symptoms. It kept me in bed for two days, making me miss Civil Air Patrol last night, and I woke up this morning still fighting the stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, slight fever, and fatigue. My eyes burn and are watery sometimes, and my nose actually hurts bad enough to question if its broken sometimes. I know that may sound dramatic, but the combination of the burning, stinging, and sinus pressure is brutal. I woke early and rushed myself to work for 8:30 AM. That means I had to wake my insomniac self at 7:15 this morning, with only 8 hours of sleep where my body usually needs 10-11 hours to have a healthy rest. I worked alone for two hours while Gunstock bustled with middle school students on a field trip and early vacationers from Massachusetts, and then my help finally came in. At that point I was beyond caring if the cold was contagious, because I was tired, sweating, in pain, and dehydrated. I splurged at lunch with a brownie and knowing that was going to hurt my stomach ignored the gluten and dairy. Leaving work early at 2, I jumped in the car, rolled the window down in the almost spring weather, and navigated my way to UNH where I am blogging right now while waiting for my brother and boyfriend to return from a meeting. If I felt well enough I'd use this time to take a run, but I don't know my way around this campus and frankly I'd rather soak up any time sleeping I can. My whole body hurts, and feels bruised. I know my head is mad at me for not staying hydrated enough and pushing myself physically and mentally. I'm so used to the pain that I just keep pushing through it. Most people with Lyme or other chronic conditions do the same thing, smiling and keeping busy to sidetrack themselves from the crushing hurt all over. When one body part hurts long enough they all start hurting and become hypersensitive. That's why even a poke or pat on the back can seem like a brutal attack.

Overall my optimism is high today. I have my ups and downs, days where I would rather disappear and days where I know I have to keep going for the family and friends who love me. Today I feel loved. There's people I don't even know praying for me, and though it's hard to imagine I recognize that today. I want to be an example to other teen girl's who are on the brink of hopelessness. Being depressed, being sad, being frustrated and disappointed, that's okay. We all have those days no matter who we are. It doesn't mean you are weak. Take your day or your week to be upset. Cry, yell, lock yourself away from the world, eat that chocolate and listen to those sappy songs. Sleep in the middle of the day and stay up sobbing your heart story into your journal at night. That's just how your body is handling it's stress, and we all need to relieve that stress in our own way. Have you had your moment? Okay, now pick up the pieces, apologize to your friends and family, put away the junk food, change the playlist on your ipod, and get your life back together. You have to be strong because we have no choice, and other people like myself need an example, we need a strong role model. We'll all get through this. Together.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

7 Day Challenge

For the next seven days, starting tomorrow, I have decided to post about the days events in hopes to open the eyes of many people into what my current life consists of. People think they know me, they think the smile and strength, the passive personality, the understanding, that it's all natural to me. Having a chronic illness changes your perspective of life, matures you a bit, and brings you to a point of many different skills than ever imagined. However, no healthy person can understand the courage it takes to face each day, keep smiling, and work through problems that I don't even have the energy to comprehend. I hope quite a few people, fellow lyme advocates and sufferers, friends, even family will check in to catch a 15 minute glimpse of what the true me is going through. I'm ready to expose the bare truth and open eyes and hearts up to the unknown.

Update: February 16

My world has been spinning around me. I think sometimes people tend to run before they walk. I took a couple inches of slack, wrapped it around my neck, and ran with it but when it ran out I managed to strangle myself. Now I'm in the back fall stage. The ground is disintegrating from beneath my feet faster than I can run. I've pushed myself so much with the health and strength I had, picking up a job, pushing through schoolwork, getting my license, hanging with friends, forgetting my medicine, splurging from my diet, starting to run again, staying up late, and plain neglecting myself, that now I've run out of that slack and I'm disappearing back into reality. The joint pain is killer, I have headaches daily again, I can't bring myself to wrap my brain around my classes currently, my job takes all my energy left, and I have such a weak immune system from beating myself up that I'm sick with a cold that feels like the end of the world. The mood swings have transitioned to an hourly event, and I find myself fighting anxiety attacks, heart palpitations, and wild depression spells. I'm trying to keep my head above water but I'm so concentrated on just making it through the next breath of air, that I have forgotten how to be patient and strong.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Update, February 2012

I've been doing very well lately. Civil Air Patrol is progressing nicely, I work 4 days a week at the ski resort, two days inside two days outside, I have completed two classes since my worsened illness back in May and I'm catching up. Up until work I was doing very well. Now my elbows have developed extreme problems and I am suffering with what I believe is tendinitis that runs from my elbows to my wrists. My left knee has started hurting me again, probably from the walking and me starting running within the past two weeks. I have had a passing out spell and lots of dizzy, light-headed feelings. My head has hurt me occasionally, my knuckles are swollen, and my endometriosis symptoms have not been easy. My GYN did say she thought it was endometriosis too, which makes it a long-term problem. Aside from that I am completing my Spanish class and biology class currently and have 12 credits to make up. That's a lot of schoolwork. My trials have been great, but I have yet another supportive man in my life because God has favored me. I am happy even though overall I'm suffering physically. I will get better, and I'm trying to keep my head up. Deep breath, time to take on the world.

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Promotion

It's been a successful first month with the Civil Air Patrol. I am now officially a member, and have taken all my tests and received my first promotion. I am a Cadet Airman now, next stop Airman First Class. Every promotion has a few requirements. From now on there will be a leadership chapter test, an aerospace chapter test, a physical fitness test, and/or other activities and progressions among the squadron. I have been released from the Physical Fitness tests and training nights because of my PICC line and joint problems. I have recovered mostly from my tailbone surgery, but it's still painful to do sit ups. I have slowly started running but its more like low impact jogging. I almost fainted at the promotion ceremony last night while standing at attention for 30 minutes. So as well as I've been doing there is still some need for improvement. My goal is to be a first Lieutenant by the summer of 2013 so I can have my Mitchell Award by Graduation. I also have other things to be keeping up with, but Civil Air Patrol is my main concern right now. It will be so neat to say that I overcame Chronic Lyme to have the chance to get my doctorates in Physical Therapy and be established in the Air Force NH Guard. Now that's going to be an accomplishment.