Posts Tagged: chronic illness

I Will Still Rise: Surgery, Complications and Recovery

October 12, 2016 Katie A personal: health, personal: that spoonie life 1 Comment

endoTwo months ago today, I went into the operating room for a surgery I had been trying to get for a year.

At that point in time, my health had continued to decline, and it was declining faster and faster as time went on.I saw an amazing nurse practitioner who listened as I cried, explaining at a 7am appointment about how miserable I was. I had been in the ER the night before due to the pain. She told me that I had gone through more than anyone else should ever have to endure, and that while she couldn’t do much for me as a nurse, she could refer me to a doctor and start me on the path to surgery.

The doctor I ended up seeing after two rounds of blood work, two ultrasounds and a month of anxiously waiting while dealing with the daily pain from endometriosis made it very clear at that appointment that she had no interest or plan in even helping me have somewhat of a normal life.

She told me:

I was fat.

That OTC pain killers would cure all the pain (yeah, okay).

She told me to come back in three months, and if then I had “lost weight”, she would “consider” surgery.

I walked out, got into my car and sobbed. I had such high hopes for this appointment and wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel like a medical professional understood me, cared about me, wanted to help me as I had only been getting worse, and worse, and worse.

Instead, I was pushed out and told to make a follow up appointment in three months if things didn’t get better. They didn’t. They got worse. My girlfriend saw me start to wither away because I was exhausted. I couldn’t sleep. I continued to be in and out of the ER due to pain and heavy bleeding. I was only getting worse… and no one cared. emdo2

Three months later, I anxiously made my follow up call.

I spoke up, saying this doctor really was not the right fit for me and asked to see someone else.

The next doctor I saw changed my life entirely.

At that same appointment, the first time I met Dr. Hastings – she agreed surgery was what we needed to do. She sat and listened and watched as I cried, telling her about how no one wanted to help me, how my health was going downhill. I had been in and out of the ER several times in the past year because of endometriosis.

She told me as I left that she was going to help me get the relief I needed, the relief I deserved. That same day, she carried my file into the surgery coordinators office. I was told to call back if I hadn’t heard back in about a week. I walked out of the appointment stunned.

Time and time again, I had gotten my hopes up and had them crushed.

Time and time again, I was left to only get worse, worse, worse.

fight-songThree weeks later, when I got the phone call with my surgery date – I sat at my desk with “Fight Song” playing and cried. This was going to happen. I had a surgery date. I was on the road to recovery. I was on the road, waiting anxiously until my surgery date.


On August 12, 2016 – I walked into the outpatient surgery center, registered and sat anxiously to be called back to be be prepped for surgery. I had hardly slept the night before. I was anxious. I was worried. At the same time, I knew that I was in good hands. I had a doctor who cared about me and who wanted the best for me.

Oddly enough, I had found out just two days prior that my doctor would be having a collegue assist in the surgery. At first I was pissed when I found out who it was, but Dr. Hastings assured me that she would be doing most of the work and the assisting surgeon would be there only if needed. Who was this doctor? Yup. You guessed it. The one who called me fat and made it clear she didn’t want to treat me.

Going into it, I knew that there was a very real chance that I could end up with a larger incision. It was one of those things where we planned for it to be a last resort, but I also knew because of how sick I was – that it was a very real chance it would happen.

My mom came in and we took some pictures before they wheeled me back into the operating room.

The last thing I remember were the jellyfish floating around on the operating room, moving onto the operating table and the anesthesiologist telling me he was giving me some medication in my IV to calm me down before surgery started. I don’t remember anything after that.


20160812_104032 When I woke in recovery, I really had no idea what the fuck was going on. I don’t remember much, even two months later. My mom said I was in a lot of paint, but I don’t remember it.

I remember feeling gross. I vaguely remember my doctor coming in and giving me an overview of the surgery. I remember trying to focus on her and what she was saying but the only thing I could absorb was this:

“We had to do the larger incision, we got in there, and we realized we needed to open you up all the way. It was the best option and we were able to excise a lot of the disease, adhesions and scar tissue.”

What I didn’t know and understand at that point in time was just how sick I was.

I later learned that I was unable to be weaned off of the oxygen, and even with the oxygen, I was wheezing. My heart rate was sky high and eventually that started to come down as we found a pain medication to help… it didn’t last long once they had me up and moving.

img_0230They had gotten me stable enough they thought I could go home and removed the catheter. The nurses helped me into a wheelchair and took me into the bathroom to make sure I could urinate on my own. I remember clutching one of those barf bags in my hand, remembering how I threw up post op nine years ago with my first surgery.

The moment they got me up and started to get me back into the wheelchair, I nearly passed out and threw up.

It wasn’t too much later that they decided to admit me for the night for observation. I was still too sick, too unstable. I was upset, but I knew that this was the best option for me. I hated it. I wanted to go home. I wanted to be in my own bed. I knew I had to stay.

I surprised my nurses over the night 18 hours at how well I was up and moving on my own and how well I had begun to recover. I was still shaky, exhausted and sore. My blood sugar was high but my breathing and heart rate had finally stabilized. I blew those nurses away.

I proved to them, and myself, that I am a fighter. img_0059


It’s been two months now.

In a way, it seems like it was forever ago. What turned into what was supposed to be four one inch incisions, turned into a six inch incision and two months off of work while I recovered.

I had staples. I had a minor infection.

I sunk into a deep post op depression.

When I look back today, I don’t really think I grasped how this surgery was going to impact my life. I knew it would change a lot of things. I knew I would start to feel better as I got further and further into recovery, but I never really fully understand how different things would be.

img_0499I celebrated the day I had my staples removed (that entire experience had me terrified and on the edge of a panic attack, but it was over before I knew it with minimal pain. I felt so much better once those damn things were out).

I celebrated my first shower (thank god for shower chairs).

I celebrated as each steri strip began to fall off.

I took daily incision photos. img_0196

Every day, I started to notice a difference. Some days I slept more than others, I bled heavily for the first week post op. The day to day pain I remember before surgery wasn’t entirely gone… but the surgery had helped so much that I have only had two, maybe three days, where I’ve had to take the prescription strength pain meds.

It’s been a long two months. It feels like it’s been forever.

meI just went back to work last week (surprised my work kids – they had no idea I was even picking them up, much less coming back that day). It’s getting into a new routine. It’s learning that I still need to be gentle on my body. I’m still healing. I had major surgery with major complications. img_0115

It’s a period I shouldn’t be having and the endometriosis pain that comes along with it. Even with surgery, I knew I would still have pain. Remember, there is no cure for endometriosis. It is a daily battle, even with surgery making such a huge difference in my life already.

20160812_143019It’s learning that I still need to rest when my body is telling me to rest.

It’s learning that my body is still regaining the strength and energy I once had.

It’s pushing through the last of school and walking the stage for the local graduation ceremony – one month and three days after surgery. I walked across the stage and become a high school graduate.

It’s been healing – and it hasn’t been easy. It’s exhausting. It’s painful. There are days where I have to stay in bed and just listen my body and take care of myself.

A lot has changed in two months… I’ve come so far, and there’s even more to come as time passes.

Overall, it’s learning that my entire life has changed.20160915_191242

 

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I Need Your Help: Surgery Recovery

July 24, 2016 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

Some of you may know that I’m scheduled to undergo surgery on August 12 for Endometriosis. While it is going to be an outpatient procedure (unless they end up having to make a bigger incision), it is still going to require anywhere from 4-6 weeks off of work to recover.
 
This is not something I ever expected when I was given a choice of two August dates. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the situation. Not only that, but because of how poorly I am given the severity of the disease currently – it is going to be a longer and more difficult recovery than my first procedure in 2007.
I am the person who is always there for others. I have constantly and always put myself last. I drop everything to be there for others, even when I can barely take care of myself. I give, I love. I live to help, support and encourage others.
It is hard to even ask for help. It is not something I do often. Right now? I need your help. I really, really, need your help.
 
Within the last year, I have watched helplessly as this disease has stripped me of so many things.
 
I have had more and more days where I cannot get out of bed.
 

I can’t sleep.

I can’t eat when the pain is so severe.

I have missed countless days of work.

I have gotten behind on the school program I am in.

I have no social life.

I have no energy.
 
I have been in and out of the emergency room. I have been going to several doctors, and several appointments.
 
Even getting through a normal shift at work has become increasingly difficult.
 
I have no quality of life. None.
 
I have been fighting so hard, for so long. I have gotten to the point where I was ready to give up because I just kept getting worse, worse and worse. No one wanted to help me.
 
Instead, I am now going in for this surgery with a chance of having a brand new life where I can actually LIVE. It comes with a price of missing a month or more of work.
 
I need your help. support
 
I need your love. I need your support. I need your encouragement.
 
I’ve set up a gofundme page to help cover the unexpected costs of being off of work for a month or more. It will help make sure I can pay bills. It will help make sure I will have enough to eat. It will help make sure I can get whatever post op supplies I may end up needing that I don’t already have.
 
Even if you can’t donate, just sharing this and spreading the word will be a tremendous help. If you can’t donate, just knowing that you are here for me and support me is enough. I am so lucky to have you in my life and I am so thankful for anything you can do to help, financially or otherwise.
 
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#MedicatedAndMighty – Why I’m Taking Medication for Mental Illness

November 6, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness, personal: anxiety, personal: bipolar disorder, personal: mental health, personal: psychiatry, personal: that spoonie life, personal: therapy 0 Comments

04b98602857b22cd85129f52d6e64cd7When I saw this post on BuzzFeed, I instantly knew that I wanted to turn it into a blog post of my own. It had been lingering in the back of my mind for awhile, but it didn’t hit hard until I read this post yesterday.

For a long time, I fought with the idea of getting help. I’d sit in a funk for awhile, debate over finally calling EH where my doctor had set up a referral for me. Eventually, it’d pass. It took awhile, sometimes longer than others – but it would pass.

It didn’t mean I wasn’t sick anymore.

I was. I knew it. Those closest to me knew it. Deep down, I was wrestling with the idea of getting help. I knew that something wasn’t right, that this back and forth, the battle, the flip of a switch mood swings and everything I was feeling wasn’t normal. It wasn’t healthy.

It wasn’t until last winter where I finally knew that I was either going to give up, or find help. My first try got me nowhere and basically was told that I wasn’t “sick enough” to get help from the county mental health department. I still look back and think, had I been worse… that outcome could have been so much worse than it was.

7395b496d3afbe4bb7e0bbfc64a0b70aMy biggest fear at that point in time, was starting to come true.

Getting out of bed was a fight.

Getting ready for work or class was a battle.

The smallest things would trigger an avalanche of emotions.

I wasn’t sleeping.

I was hardly eating.

It was getting worse and worse as every day passed. I felt like I was drowning, sinking and that I was going to feel this deep depression for the rest of my life.

That’s not even including the anxiety that was quickly taking control of almost every aspect of my life.

So, one cold January morning – I walked into my doctors office, broke down in tears and explained what was going on. He was the first medical professional to listen to me. To really listen and see what this was like for me. I left the office that day with a referral to EH to see a psychiatrist and start therapy, but also with a prescription for an anti-depressant.

The adjustment was… hard. I slept, a lot. My moods stabilized somewhat, but then started bouncing around again. I was sleeping 10-12 hours a day once the medication entered my system, and even then I was exhausted. I knew it would take time, that it meant I may have to try other meds.

Yet, I knew that starting medication was the best choice. Nothing I was doing on my own was helping, I’d lost weight, I’d lost friends (later realizing this was their loss and not mine, as they left me when I needed my friends the most) and set out to work through this.

In the end, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist about six months ago.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar disorder. I was given more medication, with some adjustments here and there over the past six months. It took awhile, but I slowly started to see the difference.

Taking medication meant I could get out of bed.

Taking medication meant that I could make it to work and to school.

Taking medication meant that I could finally feel stable again, despite having a low here or there.

Taking medication means that I am taking care of myself, and in the long run – maybe this is what I needed all along. It took awhile to get to here, and previous experience with taking medication in high school left me hesitant and fighting the idea.

Taking medication means that I am on the road to becoming healthy. Taking medication daily means that I can have a chance to have a normal, healthy life. While I’m still fighting my mental illness, I am taking the biggest step I can in order to regaining my health.

I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

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On Chronic Illness, Friendships and Relationships

November 4, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness, personal: health, personal: that spoonie life 2 Comments

Since I’ve become sick and have started living my day to day life with chronic illness, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how strong I am, how much of a fight I have in me, that I can reach my goals, that I’ll have the good days and the bad days. I’ve learned that in order to be healthy and happy – I have to take care of myself.

I’ve also learned a lot about friendships.

And look, it hasn’t been easy.

People I thought would always be in my life, left.

Friends I thought I could trust, I can’t.

People I’ve loved dearly have left me behind, unable it seems, to deal with the plans life has thrown at me.

I’ve been broken, beaten and let down.

I’ve been dragged into situations that had nothing to do with me, torn apart and made to look like the bad guy. I’ve had people blatantly try to sabotage relationships and my own happiness.

I’ve had people I thought would be at my wedding, leave me behind. I’ve said goodbye to more people than I thought I ever would – but…

d478419b81e7d67abdd275e78281880fI learned that letting go is something I have to do to not only be healthy, but to be happy. I cannot sit around and let that negativity into my life. I struggle day in and day out as it is. I cannot let toxic people invade my space, try to silence me and try to ruin my own happiness.

Instead, I stood up. I stood up to the negativity. I stood up to toxic friendships that I let linger for far too long. I used my voice, one that had almost been taken from me. My own voice, that had been censored.

I had been told through others, that by speaking up, by venting and letting my own frustrations out in my own safe place, that I was stirring up trouble. I wasn’t going to allow my voice to be taken from me. I never will. 2a81792fdda015b2b760d614afa4f747

Instead, I severed ties.

I did what I had to do. I did what I had to do for my own health. I let go because having that negativity in my life means I can’t chase my happiness to the fullest. It meant that I would always be walking on glass, paranoid and ready for it to shatter all around me.

No matter what life has thrown at me, my own health and happiness matters the most. I refuse to be drawn into the drama, into the toxic and negative lives others thrive on. I refuse to be silenced.

I’m a fighter. I’m fighting for my health and my own happiness.

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Positively Katie: New Beginnings, New Meds and New Hopes

November 1, 2015 Katie A personal: anxiety, personal: bipolar disorder, personal: health, personal: highs and lows, personal: mental health, personal: positively katie, personal: pretty girl and honey, personal: psychiatry, personal: that spoonie life, personal: therapy 0 Comments

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YOU GUYS. This week has been kinda crazy, but most of it in good ways. I’ve been fairly busy this week, but still struggling with the endometriosis. I’m surviving, but still pushing through this flare.

highs: CANDY! Seriously. I bought all the best candy for Halloween. I knew we wouldn’t have many kids show up, so I got all the family favorites. Good thing, too. We only had two kids show last night. TWO.

FaceTime dates! Every time we laughed until we cried, we talked about some stuff we are both dealing with, talked about our future… it’s the best way to spend my evenings. I am so so lucky and in love.

Interviews…. what can I say here. It wasn’t a job interview. This summer I applied for a local high school diploma program and completed the qualifying process. I didn’t know when I’d heard more as it’s all state funded and based on grants, so I was surprised to see an e-mail asking me to schedule my IN PERSON INTERVIEW for the program.

I just got home from that and I am just so amazed, so excited and just… it’s overwhelming. It’s a dream come true and I am so thankful for this opportunity. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long, long time. 6cbf532a2c119171d6589ef556030310

I still have a final qualifying course to complete once I get the e-mail telling me to start (next week or two, I was told) and need to complete it (two parts) in a month, from there I am officially ENROLLED to work as a high school student and earn my diploma. 9106387b2fd29a4a2136b332a7a30150

Mental health… I have graduated to every two months for visits with my psychiatrist! She is thrilled with my progress over the last five months, so we are keeping my mood stabilizer at it’s current dose and upped the dose of my sleep meds, but I am thrilled with this progress.

lows: anxiety about that interview… especially last night and just minutes before it. I thought of taking an anxiety pill, but I didn’t and I am feeling much better. Once the interview started and all, I felt so much better and confident.

Endometriosis…. this is the flare that never ends. Let’s just leave it at that.

 

1Overall, a great week with a lot of exciting things ahead! I’ll leave you with a photo I took after my interview today. I got all dressed up for the interview and was (still am) feeling amazing!

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Fact Friday: Endometriosis

October 30, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness, personal: fact friday, personal: health, personal: that spoonie life 0 Comments

I guess I’m on a roll for these new features, but it’s fun and something to focus on when I have nothing else to do.

This week I wanted to give a quick, five fact breakdown for one of my biggest health challenges – endometriosis.

  1. MayoClinic describes endometriosis as:

Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant). Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region.

In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal tissue that binds organs together.

Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.

2.There is NO CURE for endometriosis. Yep, you heard me. NO. CURE. That means this condition will never go away. There are treatments for it (and I’ve tried several) but as with any medication or treatment approach – what may work for you, may not work for me.

3. The biggest symptom and indicator many women have is:

The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your menstrual period. Although many women experience cramping during their menstrual period, women with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that’s far worse than usual. They also tend to report that the pain has increased over time. 

4. I deal with the pain by pain medication, rest, hot baths or heating pads. No, this doesn’t always help. Sometimes it brings enough relief that I can get some rest, but lately – that’s impossible. I’ve had several doctor appointments and several ER trips this past summer because my symptoms have only worsened.

5. The most effective treatment for me? Has been my first and only surgery. I had a laparoscopy done about eight years ago and what endometriosis was found was removed and I had quite a bit of relief for awhile. Now that it’s been several years, my symptoms are worse – right back to where they were before my operation. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to have another soon so that I can have somewhat of a normal life.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Hopefully this post has helped explain some of what I go through with endo.

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Positively Katie

October 25, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness, personal: health, personal: highs and lows, personal: positively katie 0 Comments

8fb9f982df577e98979283c1bb6071e2Back in the day when I was involved in the high school youth group at my former church, we always began our Sunday mornings by getting coffee and snacks at the local cafe and then coming back to our room. We’d sit on the floor or wherever we felt comfortable and then our leader would open it up.

We always started with our highs and lows of the week. We’d each share our own, and sometimes we’d talk about them further or answer any questions. At first, I was so hesitant to share mine. At this point in time, I was knee deep in depression and living in an unhealthy (and unsafe) environment. I didn’t want to speak up. I was scared.

What those memories bring back to me is how freeing it was to share what was going on in my life. The good days, the bad days, the really bad days. It was a safe place to talk to others my age, I had trusted adults around me and even though I felt like I didn’t fit in (let’s face it: I didn’t. I wasn’t popular, “pretty” or outgoing), I had a chance to share what I was going through in a safe environment.

That’s why this week, during a bad week – I wanted to start the weekly highs and lows. Not only for myself to look back on, but as a way to connect with everyone, to share what I’m facing, and to hear from you.

What did my week shape up as?

highs: my birthday... I celebrated quite a bit for my birthday this week. Work spoiled me, I spoiled myself, I got to go to Monterey with my sister, lunch with my sister and one of my best friends and my dad. I indulged (maybe too much?) with some of my favorite things and food. 12074756_695009221797_1570833329665519035_n

FaceTime dates with my gorgeous girl. 11051977_676444690267_4307485438757227096_nWe had a few of them this week, and each of them had moments where we laughed until we cried. Mostly over ridiculous things, but I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything. We also made a big decision last night but I’m keeping it a secret.

On my birthday, I had posted something on Instagram and was greeted with a comment that I never thought I’d get. It was from one of my childhood best friends that I’d lost touch with over the last couple of years. As you can imagine, it was a flood of emotions and we exchanged phone numbers and have started to catch up. I’m still crying happy tears over this and I am so thankful she is back in my life.

lows: insomnia. Good lord, it’s been horrible this week. It’s gotten to the point where my entire sleep schedule is now thrown off because of it. It’s a mess. I’m so tired and so frustrated and just want to sleep.

Endometriosis…. yeah, no. I’m still mad. My period showed up out of nowhere when I am not supposed to have it and left me in bed for most of the week. I couldn’t go to class because not only was I exhausted, but I was in so much pain. It got to the point where I ended up having to take some heavy painkillers, and I hate doing that as often as I did this week.

Friendships breaking apart… eh. I’m still mad, but I cut them out of my life as they were nothing but toxic. I was dragged into something that had nothing to do with me in the first place, and lets just say, I went off on those responsible and proceeded to block them from every social media outlet I’m active on. It was a mess and frustrating.

Overall, I think it was a pretty good week. I was upset over missing so much class, but it gave me the chance (and forced me) to learn that I have to take care of myself, and not too push myself too hard.

8475f00924944443a11e015d8cd3edadThe good days won over the bad days, and even though I struggled a bit this week – I did the best I could and got on my feet and kept fighting, kept moving and kept going. I didn’t give up.

 

 

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The Guilt of Self Care

October 22, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness 1 Comment

Let me be honest here. Brutally honest.

It’s been a bad week. Rough. Emotional. Full of pain. Frustration. Stress. And then, just when I thought things couldn’t get harder – depression started to rear it’s ugly head. All while I battle an unexpected flare up of endometriosis complete with my second period this month.

All of this the week of my birthday.

I missed work Monday because I was that miserable. On my birthday.

It’s been rough.

I’ve missed more class this week than I have in the entire semester. Between the exhaustion, the pain and just being unable to do anything – I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. It was either classes, or work – but not both.

I couldn’t do both. fbc5c7c32a79e92133988542e01f159f

I had every intention of getting up and going to both classes this morning, but a rough night of sleep, pain that left me doubled over this morning and the fact that it was one of those mornings where I knew I had to take some serious pain meds, – that wasn’t going to happen.

I hated it.

I wanted to cry (and still do).

Worst of all?

I felt guilty for realizing that I need to take care of myself.

It’s a hard thing to learn that you need to take care of yourself, especially when you are facing so many chronic health conditions. It’s been my biggest fight sometimes. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. More often than not, I’ve pushed myself too hard, too far and too often. e96032de17b086e2017a2c77765d2777

Lately, it’s been too hard, too far and much too often.

When I turned off my alarm this morning, I sat in bed fighting with myself over the choice I made.

Do I go and push myself too far?

Do I stay home and rest?

I’d look at the clock every minute or so, telling myself I still had time to get up, to get ready and get out the door.

Eventually, knowing that I needed the rest, the heavy medication and to take care of myself won. I still felt guilty. Even more so when I woke up after noon, despite knowing how much I needed the rest, despite knowing how bad the pain was this morning.

I felt guilty.

I felt guilty, horrible and selfish for taking care of myself.

I felt guilty for taking the medicine I knew would help me get some relief. I felt guilty sleeping for another few hours when my body absolutely needed it. I felt like in many ways, I’d lost the fight. I’d given in – that guilt was a hungry thing, grabbing onto everything I had and lingering.

fce7b6e1bf9f77bf30006f84921412b5I knew that I had to take care of myself.

I knew that if I pushed too hard, too fast, too often – I’d make myself worse.

I sat in bed, staring up at the ceiling as I felt the guilt eat at me, repeating quietly to myself that I had to take care of myself. I had to put myself first.

There are times where I feel like people around me don’t see how hard I fight. I fight hard. I always have some sort of barrier put up to protect myself.

Sometimes, I stand surrounded by people – and watch and wonder if they can hear me scream as I drown with the fact that self care is hard. Putting yourself first is hard. Learning to do this every day is even harder – but so many times, I feel like it is a silent scream that no one hears.

Do they see the fight in me? I honestly don’t know.

I’ve been at my job for nine years and I am just now getting to the point where I am comfortable telling my boss how I really feel on these bad days, and that is something incredibly hard to do.

Learning to say no, to create boundaries, to take care of myself (in any way I have to), is a fight. Sometimes it’s more than I can handle and I feel like I’m drowning in the guilt – but these are the times where I know I am doing the right thing.

It’s the hardest times that make you realize that you can be at your lowest point, drowning underneath everything but finally feel like you can breathe and just let go.

23f5f3154a725194b3af582c8d5e92bb

 

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Wednesday Words – A Letter to My Younger Self

October 7, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

(Wednesday Words was originally created by me when I was blogging for The Hunger Games fansite – The Hob. Now I’m hoping to use it here once or twice a month)

Dear younger Katie,
You have already been through so much. You’ve seen your parents divorce, you survived a messy divorce, and moved around a bit. You went through a period of time where there wasn’t enough food, lived in place to place, had some really, really rough times, but you stayed strong (even though you hid the truth from family).

You saw a parent in and out of a psychiatric hospital while you battled your first big bout of depression.

You struggled with an eating disorder (and still do) even after several doctors told you that there’s “nothing wrong”. You survived high school where you were bullied, humiliated by a teacher and began self harming.

You survived a break up that changed your entire life – in good ways and bad. It left you depressed and wondering what went wrong, but you learned that things were better now. It opened up the door to a new relationship – one that is healthy, full of love and with your soulmate.

You came out. As hard as it was, you knew it was something that had to be done. It was hard, and scary. You were publicly humiliated by people you thought were friends. You were called a liar. You were called disgusting. You were told you were going to hell. You were prayed for because it would “heal” you. These same people stalked and harassed you for months.

You survived, again and again.

You don’t know what lies ahead – you don’t know that you’ll be diagnosed as type 2 diabetic just months after your 30th birthday. It’ll come as a huge shock and will leave you wondering WHY. You’ll feel alone and ashamed when others tell you things like “you can’t be diabetic, you’re too young” or “you better get it together and make changes” or “you’re too thin and active to be diabetic”. It’s harmful. It hurts.

You don’t know that you’ll be diagnosed with PCOS just months later, even after the thought of it has lingered in the back of your head for a couple years. While the diagnosis is somewhat of a relief, it brings more hard news – between the diagnosis of PCOS, having endometriosis and being a diabetic… chances of having a pregnancy are slim. It crushes you. You knew there was a chance of this, but you didn’t want to think about. That news from a doctor hit you like a ton of bricks.

You’ll fall in love with an amazing woman, exchange promise rings on the beach in Florida, and make plans for “the big move”. The long distance is hard, but you two are meant to be. She’s your rock, your anchor, your strength when you are weak. She will always love you, for you.

You’ve survived so much already, and you’ll keep surviving. You’ll fight every day, no matter how hard things get. You keep moving – one foot in front of the other. One day at a time, even one second at a time.

Everything you go through now will lead up to where you’ll be later on in life – but don’t forget how strong you are.

One day at a time.

Love,
me.

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My Health, My Treatments, My Choice

September 29, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness 0 Comments

Yeah, yeah, yeah. . . I know I suck at this whole blogging thing, but let’s face it: this summer was brutal for me. Two ER trips due to Endometriosis, a shitty doctor who told me my pain was “in my mindset” and the agonizing wait to get into a new clinic (which has a much happier ending).

I walked out of that new clinic with yet another diagnosis – one that makes so much sense when it comes to my type two diabetes diagnosis. I was diagnosed with PCOS and told that between this, the diabetes and the endometriosis that I am unlikely to be a candidate for pregnancy.

It was crushing, honestly. I’ve cried about it. I’ve been angry.

This diagnosis though makes sense. The symptoms, the diabetes… it all makes sense.

That being said, this post was triggered and inspired by one of my classes today. I’m back in school after a semester off and while I am loving it, let’s be honest – it’s draining. I come home and nap after my classes before I go to work for the afternoon. I try and get homework done early in the week, but that has yet to happen. I’m just wiped out.

Today we were discussing gender and how our identities often intersect with other aspects of our lives. Some of the things I listed were my sexuality (I’m openly lesbian), a spoonie, endometriosis warrior, a chronic illness fighter and someone who has invisible illnesses.

When it came time to discuss these with other classmates in smaller groups, I was hesitant. I didn’t want to share this because it’s so hard sometimes. It’s frustrating to hear “but you don’t look sick”, or “you’re too young”, or “you’re too healthy and thin to have diabetes”, but guess what? I do. I fight every day. I push myself every day. I don’t want to have these – but I do. 1efbedb94b1252751abd144718c73922

I am sick.

One of the people in my group is very vocal about her approach and a family member who has been ill. Which, I appreciate – it’s nice to hear from someone else about what they may be dealing with.

The problem I have is that today, when I brought up my illnesses – all of them being invisible – I was immediately thrown into a whirlpool of health treatments that don’t mesh well with me. They aren’t something I’m comfortable with, something I feel that would benefit me. She didn’t seem to understand that and kept going on and on.

When I talked about how a recent trial of me being off of metformin for the diabetes sent me back into the range of the 200-300 blood glucose level, she said I just need to get off of the medication and let my body detox.

Yeah, no. I’m not willing to risk that and put myself in a possible position to end up in the emergency room because my blood glucose won’t come down to a safe level. I’m not willing to risk going off of my mood stabilizers or anti-depressants. I know what I am like without them, and I don’t want to go there again.

I know how I am without being on my current birth control pill. It sent me to the emergency room twice this summer. I bled for six weeks. I was sick. I was in so much pain I could hardly even eat.

Let’s face it: what may work for you, may not work for me. And that is totally fine. We all have different bodies that react to things differently. Right now, my body is doing fine on the metformin, it’s doing really well with the new birth control pills to help my Endometriosis, and my mood stabilizer (while I am adjusting to a higher dose currently) is worked wonders.

When my girlfriend and I talked today about this entire thing, this is what she said:

“I, personally, have seen the amazing benefits your treatment plan has had on you: a happier, healthier katie.  ❤”

Having her and my friends and family at my side helping me through these last few months has been life saving. I’ve been in a very dark place for a long time before I finally started getting treatment and for others to see the changes in me? Means the world and really hits home that I am doing what is best for me.

Let me make my own choices with my doctor and psychiatrist and gynecologist about what works for me. Let me take the medications that keep me stable, keep me out of the emergency room. Let me handle my own treatment, knowing what works for me.

Being chronically ill is hard enough as it is, but knowing what works best for me? Has been amazing and I am not letting that go anytime soon.

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