“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Post-surgery, my goal was to become more consistent with posting but it’s gotten pretty crazy around here. I’ve been hesitant to share what’s going on, but I guess I’m as ready as ever.

Don’t get me wrong – things are going pretty well around here! It is drastically different; this time last year, I could barely leave the house, I was sick & afraid; nowadays I’m discovering my passions and chasing my dreams. For now, that means working 60-hour weeks & pursuing a Master’s Degree. I am fortunate that my body is ready to handle this kind of crazy, but honestly most days I am just surviving this insane routine. Leaving home at 6:30 am & not returning until 10:30 in the evening means I’m often cutting infusions & feeds short or forgetting them all together.

Last week I got news that completely stopped me in my tracks. I have been incredibly hesitant to share this because there’s still lots of unanswered questions. Through all this craziness, I still have to keep up with my health & medical appointments. Since having surgery just one month ago, my doctors have been working very closely together to help me get back on track. However, at an appointment last week they talked about stopping treatment completely. *To give you some comparison, in the same appointment I was told to stop exercising because my body can’t handle it. How does that make sense? How am I too sick for something that keeps me sane, but apparently not sick enough to continue treatment to get well?

You would think this news would be positive & exciting, but I am just terrified. I was totally caught off guard. A long time ago, I accepted that I may never stop treatment, so thinking it could happen now is unreal. I started treatment in June of 2012 and it’s been a consistent battle ever since. That being said – over the past several years of illness there has been permanent damage to my body. Going forward, if and when we do stop treatment, I will still have to manage the fact that the hearing I’ve lost will not come back, my body’s ability to manage eating will still be affected, the medical PTSD isn’t going anywhere.

I certainly need to digest this a bit more, get my questions answered and see where it takes me, but I’m sure it will be an adventure!


“The comeback is always stronger than the setback”

May is an incredible month. It’s awareness month for pretty much everything; Mental Illness, Lyme Disease, Brain Tumors, Hearing Loss, etc. It’s also the start of Spring here in New England!

We’re halfway through the month, and I have not been able to get my thoughts together. I’ve had thoughts come & go, posts written, drafted & erased, but nothing stuck. I have been doing a bit of in person education and advocacy, so I’m not totally letting the community down! Although May is an incredible month, it has been really tough on me. My health has been all over the place, the semester is coming to an end, I’m moving schools to one halfway across the state, blah, blah, blah — I just haven’t had the mental power to write.

So, while I work on getting my shit together, here’s my May update:

Medically, I’ve regressed a lot. I had surgery earlier this week. Between the prep and now recovery, everything else has been put on hold. I’m only three days post-op so I can’t exactly tell if the surgery helped or made things worse. For now I’m feeling a hell of a lot worse, but I’m blaming it on some post-op complications & measures taken to get over those. I have some appointments towards the end of the month with the local(ish) Feeding & Motility Clinics, which will hopefully provide more answers and relief.

Surgery was really tough on me, mentally & physically. Due to my past history with illness, hospitals etc. I have been diagnosed with medical PTSD, basically anything new or different surrounding anything medical pushes me into a tailspin of panic. I did way better than I expected to in regards to all that, until it came time for the IV placement. I warned them that they would struggle but they sent a student nurse anyways. I was dehydrated, my veins are tiny, deep, they roll & burst and this poor nursing student who got stuck with me had no idea what to expect. He put in five failed lines; FIVE! I nearly lost my shit, so at that point they gave me an intramuscular (needle-into-muscle) dose of sedation. After that terrible experience, they prepped me with Scopolamine patches, another shot of sedation and a couple blood-thinning shots — lots of needles! As they started to administer something into my IV in the operating room, I began to shake convulsively, and from there, everything goes blurry. Fast-forward to post-surgery — I still don’t have any memory of most of this, though. I did not tolerate the anesthesia well, which I kind of expected. I woke up combative, pulled out my IV’s & tubes and had to be restrained. The first thing I remember is them telling me they were going to access my port, (which they should have done in the first place, but not my call), looking down and seeing my hospital dress and entirety of my left arm were caked in blood from pulling out my tubes. They tried to give me pain medication again & again but I guess I kept refusing it. My vitals crashed, I went out again, they gave me a shot in my arm and vitals went up. It went like this for the rest of the evening; I struggled to regulate my temperature, my blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc. but each time I woke up, I would refuse to let them give me anything — which is just like my stubborn self to do!

That’s all almost in the past. My job now is to get stronger, eat & gain weight, basically just get back to where I was beforehand. Due to the kind of surgery I had, certain abdominal muscles had to be cut, so activities like sitting, standing & walking are tricky. Eating & gaining weight will come later on; when there’s trauma to the abdomen, the digestive system is typically the first thing to shut down.

So the rest of May will be slow moving, but busy. I’ve partnered with ILADS and the NE PANS Association to work on advocacy & education— which I am super excited about! But for now, my first goal is to heal & get back to work!

“Strength grows in the moments when you think you cannot go on but you keep going anyway.” – Unknown

Let’s get real, today sucked, it was a struggle. I began the day feeling excited and empowered to take advantage of my only off day — but it didn’t last long. My body and brain were quickly hijacked with nausea and anxious energy. I’ve been dealing with nausea and an anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember, it’s nothing new and certainly not enough to change the course of my day.

I did my morning yoga flow, attempted some breakfast (& failed miserably), slapped on some anti-nausea patches, hopped in my car and started on the highway. Only from there, the world began to turn in on itself. Nausea became relentless vertigo; anxious energy became full-blown panic attacks; air hunger, vomiting and tachycardia joined the party. I pulled my car into the breakdown lane, rested my head on the steering wheel, sobbing and feeling completely helpless.

Now, if you know me personally, you know I have an incredible tolerance for pain and discomfort, and a stubborn complex about admitting I’m in pain or asking for help. But I surely believed in that moment that I was not going to make in off that highway. Most of the symptoms I deal with are tolerable when they happen individually, but on days like today when it’s a smorgasbord of crazy, it becomes utterly terrifying.

I pulled it together enough to get myself off the highway and back home. Boy, was I glad to get out of that car! Once home, — mind you it’s only 8:30 on this lovely Sunday morning — I cancelled my plans and began to succumb to my overwhelming morning, but quickly anticipated where that would take me and tried to overcome it. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t meditate, I couldn’t be alone, but also didn’t want to be around people; I was just so uncomfortable. 

After spending a bit of time with essential oils, some tunes and a cool shower,  I did the unthinkable, got back in my car and headed to a local yoga studio. Granted it’s a space I feel comfortable and spend plenty of time, it took an unbelievable amount of willpower  to get myself there. Still being harassed by anxiety and pain, it was the best choice I made all day. Suddenly a wave a relief took over as I mastered a new pose, mudras and breath work.

I didn’t spend my day with friends, I didn’t hike the mountains, or get anything productive done today like I had planned, but at the end of the day I am calm and have a smile on face.