32 Things

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Yesterday was my 32nd Birthday. In honor of it I’m going to give you  32 random facts about myself.

  1. My favorite color changes ever so often. I almost always have two at the same time. Currently Purple and Teal.
  2. Autumn and Spring are my two favorite seasons, with Autumn winning the top spot.
  3. I drink way too much coffee these days. Yep, I may have a Keurig addiction folks.
  4. I make some of the best  pork carnitas you’d ever eat, seriously better than most of the restaurants in our area.
  5. I have trust issues that started before I could begin forming memories.
  6. I know more than I say, and often people think I’m not paying attention because I don’t say a lot or engage in a situation that I feel is wiser to stay out of.
  7. Up until this year I was a Pumpkin everything person. Last fall, my taste buds informed me that pumpkin spice is no longer the preferred fall flavor, or maybe its a phase, we will see this coming fall.
  8. People tend to tell me the most random things, especially strangers who approach me at coffee houses.
  9. I seem to have entered the year of reconnecting with people from my past.
  10. I had to take a step back to realize I wasn’t alone.
  11. I have 4 tattoos and plan on getting several more. All with meanings.
  12. I find the calm before storms, and the calm snow provides to be utterly breathtaking experiences.
  13. I grew up in the country, then moved to the city. Now I want to find something in between.
  14. I carry a knife that matches the knife my Pawpaw carries.
  15. In case you didn’t get it from the fact above, I’m a Pawpaw’s girl, even at the age of 32.
  16. I’m a cat person who wanted a pug and ended up with an amazing 100+ lb Alaskan Malamute and our roommate/best friend’s 100ish lb dog as household members. I’m sure we can fit a couple more cats and a pug in here somewhere.
  17. I had a hedgehog until he died a few weeks ago. He was an old man by hedgehog standards. RIP Max.
  18. I grew up camping and fishing. I miss those days.
  19. I tend to binge watch tv shows on Netflix due to both my schedule and my patience level.
  20. I cuss a lot. I use all the bad words. I’ve actually made someone cringe because of this.
  21. I can start a fire like it’s my job. One for warmth, I’m not a Pyromaniac. Though there was that one time I caused a small forest fire with a flaming marshmallow. Oops.
  22. I love intense dark chocolate. The darker the better.
  23. I listen to a lot of Folk/Indie/Americana music.
  24. Growing up I thought one of my friend’s Dad hated me. Turns out it was a case of tough love.
  25. I attended a girl scout camp that was overrun by frogs, big frogs, tiny frogs. Frogs everywhere!!
  26. I met my husband online…before it was a cool thing to do. We’ve been together for 12years, married for almost 6.5 years.
  27. I’m a Certified Reflexologist, which is an alternative medicine modality  I have been around since I was a child.
  28.  I prefer the mountains to the beach.
  29. I am not a morning person, and morning people that can pop awake and have in depth conversations frustrate and confuse me. (My husband is one of those types).
  30. I didn’t start feeling like an actual adult until I hit my 30s. My 20s were more confusing than my teenage years, I refer to them as my second adolescence often.
  31. I’m bisexual, and find it rather hilarious when folks assume since I married a man that I am no longer attracted to the ladies. I usually just stare at them in silence and blink until they change the subject. Awkward!
  32. When I don’t know something about a topic that comes up, I tend to put it on a list of “things to be researched”. I’m a knowledge sponge and love learning. However, this has been known to annoy others around me. People are strange, me included.

Faithless? No, Just Jaded

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(img credit: http://datatrans.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/jaded.jpg)

Some time ago, when I was but a young girl, I lost my faith in God, humanity (most of it anyways), and in this world every surviving.  I learned as a little girl big churches are full of deceit, hypocrites, liars, cheaters, people pretending to be something they are not to save face among neighbors. This was not a religion nor community I wanted to be a part of. I stopped attending church as soon as the decision was mine to make. Before you think I need to be saved in this regard, I am not lost, I am solid in my core believes. I have maintained my own Spiritual concepts since then that I based my faith, and moral code in. These are the things that help shape me into the person I want to be.

Some time not too long ago I lost faith in myself. I was shaken to the core by a couple of medical diagnoses, and that triggered a process in which I felt like I lost myself. Actually more like I felt as though the old me died and I was being forced into being this new version of myself that I didn’t ask to be. I lost faith in my ability to adapt, in my ability to survive, in my ability to live under this new circumstance and expectations. Slowly I have been working through these complications. Someday my faith in myself will be as strong as it was before I got sick.

You see while I may not have the typical faith when it comes to religion, and at the moment my faith in myself is a little shaky, I’m not faithless, just a little jaded.

 

 

Post inspired by WP Daily Prompt: Un/Faithful

Endless Cycle…

Several weeks ago a couple things happened. I already mentioned I changed my anti-anxiety medication and my sleep medication. The update to this happening is that anxiety wise, for the most part I am in a much better place than I was while I was on Mirtazapine. Side benefit I have also lost 17.2 lbs since I changed to Venlafaxine and Trazodone. Granted most of the time I don’t have an appetite due Venlafaxine and the fact that I am also on Topiramate and my appetite is suppressed. This loss of 17.2 lbs has given me a total loss of my high weight at the time of getting sick back in May 0f 2013 so far to 35.2lbs. Still a ways to go before I want to check in with my doctor and get his advice on if I still need to lose a little more of if I’ve made it to where we are both happy with my weight. But at least I am finally making progress in the weight loss department. My suspicion that Mirtazapine was causing me to stall turned out to be right.

The second thing that happened shortly after the switch and the weight loss began was the pharmacy I use switched manufacturers of the Warfarin I had been getting. Apparently the old pills they were giving me were sugar pills because suddenly my INR started coming back high. My monthly INR checks were a thing of the past. I started going weekly again while we struggled to get my INR down. Finally we started making progress. Infact if you consider my weekly total dose prior to this happening was 110 mg and now my weekly dose is 92.5mg, you can see we significantly had to decrease my dose of Warfarin to get my INR to start staying in range again.

Meanwhile, I managed to develop bursitis in my shoulder, this is a story for a posting all on it’s own. I also developed a horrible tension headache/migraine which led me to getting a trigger point shot, that turned out to be way more exciting that necessary due to my body just being a barrel of laughs and having to always do something random to keep everyone on their toes (also deserving of it’s own post).

Currently I am battling a lupus flare, enduring another round of prednisone, a flare up of the trochanteric bursitis in my right hip which was doing amazingly well after my Rheumatologist did another injection at my appointment last week, until I did a silly thing. I actually thought I could get off the toilet like a normal person over the weekend after a trip to relieve myself. “No, No! We will have none of that missy!” said my hip. So I’ve been icing it, taking my meds like a good patient, and laughing at myself and the fact that I have managed to afflict myself with a toilet related injury (re-injure?) This type of stuff isn’t suppose to happen until you are much older right? Guess it’s time for safety rails, and grab bars!

Prednisone, ah yes my old friend. The magical drug that helps me get through flare symptoms, usually stops all the pain I’m having in it’s tracks and at the same time has the ability to send my emotional state of being bouncing all over the place. A few days into this taper I managed to become very upset by an email my Rheumy sent me. So I emailed him back. It was long, it included every issue I have ever had with any of our appointments, how things are being handled, and what I thought needed to be done. Once I get started I don’t usually stop when I’m in that frame of mind. After hitting send, I will say I had that instant ‘Oh crap, guess I’ll be finding a new Rheumatologist.’ Luckily we exchanged several emails, and I THINK, maybe this might have gotten us closer to being able to communicate and being on the same page. I follow up with one of their midline providers in Jan, and then see him again in March. I guess we will see between those two appointments how things go.

I get my INR checked Tuesday, and we will see see how high my inr has become during this course of Prednisone and with the extra meds I have had to take to deal with the pain.

Emotionally there is a lot on my plate, we are approaching the anniversary of my dad’s passing, holidays are generally rough all around for a variety of reasons. I’m doing a lot of thinking and processing right now. A lot of this needs dedicated posts to of their own.

Work has been great, and probably the most stress free area of my life. My client list is growing and working with my coworkers continues to be overall a positive experience that makes work enjoyable and not so much like work afterall.

So that’s what I’ve been up to since my last post. My apologies for not being around and posting like I had wanted to, but as you can see, life had some other plans for me. More posts with details soon. This time I promise.

 

Just book it, we will figure it out later

Here we are in March already. Time is flying and I blinked somewhere back in January and lost an entire month. The good news is, I didn’t lose an entire month to Lupus. Nope this time I lost it to normal life! I lost it to my studies of Reflexology, to being productive and just busy.

Things are going reasonably well for me right now. I’m about halfway through my certification program and I should be at a point of accepting clients by June. I’m rather excited about this. I would be lying if I tried to say I didn’t have some anxiety about how my body is going to hold up when I start working again. I will be in a supportive office with other amazing therapists and I know it will be an amazing experience though.

I was first introduced to Reflexology as a teenager by my aunt, who passed away from Autoimmune Hepatitis, so I feel rather passionate about my connection to this modality. In a way it is a way for me to keep her memory alive and honor her. I remember many a conversation with her about various reflex points and how they could benefit me. Especially the ones for migraines and nausea, as I have suffered from migraines since I was 11. As you can imagine my studies are bringing back some wonderful memories.

As far as health wise I had a small flare in my symptoms at the beginning March due to the bipolar weather we have here in North Carolina. The hot the cold, hot the cold weather pattern cause me a lot of pain in my joints and a few days of a continuous migraine. Luckily I was able to skip the round of Prednisone this time and just take a shot of Toradol and Phenergan to knock it down enough to get through. My INR has been amazing stable though, and in range. We’ve spaced my check to every 3 weeks now. That means on average I’m only going in 1-2 times a month now for those checks. It has been amazing, and such a change than every 2 weeks. I’ll enjoy this while it lasts!

Therapy is going well. She keeps reminding me I’m doing extremely well and that I can space my appointments out to 3-4 weeks but I honestly think keeping them at every two weeks is what is keeping me in the space that I am emotionally/mentally. Knowing I have that outlet, and safe space where I can go and get it all out every couple of weeks. So for now I’m going to continue seeing her every two weeks. It’s working, it’s not broken, why try to fix it.

Life is overall good. Busy, and never seems to slow down but good. I still have to take momentary pauses though when my body reminds me to. That’s something I’m not sure I’ll ever get use to. The days where I’m tired for no reason other than it’s just a brain fog, fatigue ridden lupus day. My time out days. I’m learning to use those for constructive things though. For now I use them for studying and catching up on small tasks. I’m not sure how I’ll handle them once I start seeing clients. But as the running joke at the office goes “Just book it, we will figure it out later.”

40 Days

Wow, I guess when you are keeping track of the days a picture at the time, you start to realize how quickly the year passes. 40 days doesn’t seem like a lot at first, until you think that in 40 more days we will be at the 80 day mark, then it quickly shows you how fast the year will be just be another memory. I was so busy these last 20 days that I really didn’t have a chance to sit down and do my 21-30 day most so I figured I would just combine that most and the 31-40 day post into one larger post. So here are Days 21-40 of my Project 365 page. Remember if you want to follow along with my daily posts you can follow me on Instagram. I also have a page dedicated to my 365 Days Project.

I kicked off the last 20 days by celebrating my 31st birthday. I was happy to be in a much better place mentally than I was on my 30th birthday. I spent the day with people who are important to me. I was surrounded with love, texts, and phone calls. It was a wonderful day. I couldn’t think of any way I would have rather of spent my birthday.

The biggest news from the last 20 days has been the beginning of the certification program for Reflexology. I know I’ve mentioned it in a lot of my posts, and I probably will for a while, but hey, when you are passionate about something you tend to talk about it a lot.

I also saw my Rheumatologist, who I see every 3-4 months and it was a great appointment. I’m fairly stable right now, and while I require routine testing and follow ups with him.

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Daily Gratitudes Week 5

(Image Source: http://maintainmomentum.com/blog/how-to-develop-an-attitude-of-gratitude/)

 

Just like that a week has flown by. January has closed, and February is off with a speedy start for us. I began a certification program for Reflexology. I should finish in May and begin taking clients in June. That is the most exciting news this week! It was a rather fast paced week and I swear I just blinked and the week flew by.

 

January 29- Feb 5, 2015

 

1-29:Hot showers. Good talks with friends, even if they are by text. Laughter at the office. The convenience of laying out my medications for a week at a time, and not having to open every single pill bottle everyday, because that would suck a lot. Evernote. Acceptance. 

1-30:Cheese. Coffee. Laughter and good conversation. Accountability. Stars on a crisp cold night. The feeling of accomplishment.

1-31:The hilarious moments in life brought to us by my being on Mirtazapine (a sedative/anxiety medication) and having to get up earlier than originally planned….It caused my quote of the day… “I just need pants.” QT Donuts and coffee. Busy Days go really quick. I’m finished with my first week of homework for Reflexology. Now I’m going to reread my resources I was given this week to make sure I have everything covered. British Comedies. Relaxing evenings. 

2-1: I received week 2 of my Reflexology course a day early! There is a lot of material to cover this week so I’m grateful for the extra day. This morning afforded me the luxury of lingering in bed until 8ish. My gratitude posts and the chance they give me each day to look back through my day for moments to be thankful for, even if they are small, and I have to work to find them, I can usually find something to be thankful for. Amusing Super Bowl Commercials. Seriously most of the time it’s the only reason I watch the game. Plans to see a friend tomorrow to catch up.

2-2:catching up with a friend over coffee, laughter, cherry limeade, a pharmacist that is on top of things….yep you guessed it Azathioprine/Imuran is still in short supply. I don’t run out for two more weeks but my pharmacist called this evening to give me the heads up that there may be another issue getting it this month. Sighs. Staying hopeful it will come in before I actually run out. Bedtime is getting close, I’m experiencing a caffeine crash and need sleep quick.

2-3:Days you can slowly ease into. Good therapy this morning. I’m about 90% finished with my homework for the week! I still have to review week 1 and finish reading this week’s resources but I’m mostly done with the actual homework portion. Woohoo!

2-4:Good Customer Services. Folks that remember your name and order upon sight. A more relaxed day, even if it was still busy. I got to speak with my mom via Skype briefly this afternoon. I’m having a rather low energy day so kept it a short convo. Caught up with a couple of friends via phone/text. Homework and reading is finished for the week. Now just reviewing the first two weeks and writing down questions for when I speak with my instructor at the end of Month 1. 

2-5: Azathioprine (My immunosuppressant) came in so I am back with all of my prescriptions at one pharmacy! Amusing convos with the pharmacy tech. Getting a couple of things down before heading to Concord. Thankful for Doug and Mellow and all they do and the continued emotional support they offer. Cherry Pepper Relish. My odd sense of humor, and the ability to laugh through the rough patches. Even more appreciative of those that get my sense of humor and laugh along with me. 

 This week I’d have to say the focus of my thoughts has been on how powerful the reframing ability of this daily exercise is for me. My 8:30 appointment to rethink about my day with only gratitude for the events allows me to end my day a positive note. It doesn’t take away the all of the bad that can happen in a day, but it does show me all the good that hang out even in the bad. I’ve learned to appreciate even the bad moments give us a chance to learn something. (Previous Daily Gratitude Week 4,  Week 3Week 2,Week 1)
What do you all have to be thankful for this week?

Daily Gratitudes Week 4

(Image Source: http://improvementlist.blogspot.com/2013/11/be-thankful-and-show-gratitude.html)

I can’t believe another week has gone by already! It has been a busy week and I’ve had a lot of exciting things happen this week. I’m hoping to have time this weekend to make a couple of blog posts about a couple of things that are mentioned in this post. I saw my Rheumatologist on Monday and it was a great appointment. The biggest news from this week is that I started a certification program to become a Reflexologist! I should be finished and able to accept clients by summer. Here’s my week of gratitude posts: 

January 22- January 28, 2015

1-22: Funny movies before heading to Concord. Sharing future plans with people who are excited for me. Making steps towards obtaining a goal. Well meaning people, even if they leave me scratching my head sometimes. Zazzle snuggles. Precision in language. That my good friend became a brand new RN as of this week AND she gets to start her new amazing job earlier than planned! It is amazing when good things happen to those that deserve it.  

1-23: Fuzzy boots and the warmth they provide. Hot coffee on a cold morning. The exchange of ideas in a positive environment. Spotify. Mexican Food. Hot Coffee on a cold rainy evening. Hanging out with my two favorite guys. Laughter. Warm PJs. That bedtime is nearing, because cold rainy days zap my energy and are painful, plus I didn’t sleep all that well last night. 

1-24: Being able to move, even if it were at a slower pace this morning. Tramadol. Moving forward with plans. Sharing news with supportive folks in my life. How fluffy the clouds looked this afternoon, truly beautiful. Catching up with a friend via phone. Moments of personal realizations, chances to learn from them, and the ability to process that information. 

1-25: Milder weather, beautiful afternoons. Relaxing evenings. Early bedtime (though tomorrow is going to be a long day, with an early am Rheumatology appointment) to start the day off. Not feeling as stressed about this appointment as I have the last few appointments with Dr. L. Figuring ways to occupy the brain space has led to less anxiety. I’m glad I’m at a place where this is an option, unlike before when I couldn’t overpower the thoughts. Acknowledgment that this is for the moment a comfortable place to be, even if there are still some rough emotions being dealt with. 

1-26: A positive Rheumatology appointment. Feeling more confidence in my healthcare team and enjoying the freedom that provides. Entertaining comments about looking younger than I am, nurse thought I was 18. Call me amused. That silence often speaks louder than words, and says more than the spoken word ever will.

1-27: Supportive advice. New beginnings, paths, and the chance to learn something new. That today had a later start to it than yesterday. I’m not so sure I can do early mornings every day, this is not news though, I’ve never been a morning person. Good thing I’m around people who are accepting and understanding of this knowledge.Vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso helped jump-start me today. Earlier bedtime tonight hopefully. 

1-28: Hot coffee. Feta Cheese is amazing with shrimp. I have officially started my Reflexology studies. My instructor is the founder of the school, and the conference call with her was awesome. I was pleasantly surprised at how much information I had retained from when I was first introduced to Reflexology several years ago. Having things to share that do not seem mundane and boring. The ability to say, no I can do that tomorrow. Spending the evening with my hubby. Relaxing evenings cuddled on the couch. 

4 weeks into my gratitude posts projects has shown me a way to rethink through things. I have an alarm set on my phone for 8:30pm every day that reminds me to take a few moments to pause and think about the day. For those few moments, even if I’m having a bad day I think about it with only gratitude. As I think back over the day, I slowly start to see that even in the negative, adverse moments in life, there is usually something I can be appreciative of. That is one of the tools I first learned in therapy, reframing thoughts, and learning how to think differently to get around unhealthy thought processes.  (Previous Daily Gratitude Week 3Week 2, Week 1)

What do you have to be thankful for this week?