Category Archives: Education

On Hold

I’ve been on hold for almost 30mins now & have run out of Twitter updates and Facebook statuses to read. After a moment of pondering, blogging was the obvious next course of action!

Life has felt like it was kind of on hold for a while…by a while I really mean the last two years. Right now is a really exciting, albeit scary, time for me. It’s mostly little things, but it’s still pretty awesome!

I’m in a toothsmithing program and loving it! What is toothsmithing?, you ask…it’s making teeth. Dentures, crowns, bridges, implants: the whole shebang! It’s the perfect combination of art and science. It’s also the first time I’ve been a full-time student in 8yrs…totally scary!! But I got my first two tests back today and both were 100% A’s! I think I maybe can do this whole student thing!!

I started teaching swim lessons last week. As a kid, when I was learning to swim, I remember wanting to one day teach kids to swim. It’s kind of a weird early memory I suppose, being that I was about four at the time. Now with diabetes though, holy moly, it’s scary. But I’m determined to prove I can do it!

Why is swim teaching such a big deal with diabetes? Lots of reasons! I’m in the water for 5hrs at a time with kids depending on my ability to help them and keep them safe. My insulin pump is waterproof (thank you Animas!!!) which is incredibly helpful. Dexcom is not…meaning my ability to monitor my blood sugars during that fairly active time period of 5hrs is pretty challenging. Testing on a meter is also hard, since my fingers turn to raisins and my hands are covered in chlorinated water. BUT, thus far I’ve made it work and am determined to keep making it work. Gatorade has become ny new best friend and watching what I eat before teaching has become a much bigger deal. It’s exciting and scary; which means it’s totally awesome!

Yeah, I’m still on hold…lame!

I’m also taking this hour long hips, thighs & ab class this semester and it kicks my butt! And makes it hard not to be paranoid. I’m a control freak and exercise makes my blood sugars anything but stable. So far things are going well, which is great! Even better, things have been going well even without wearing my dexcom!

Like I said, it’s nothing too big or amazing, but it’s awesome anyway.

At this point I kind of want to hang up…but I’ve already invested all this time…and mobile battery.

This Summer has been pretty trying on my emotional sanity. And I’ve managed to keep things mostly in control diabetes & Crohn’s-wise. Minor issues yes, but overall pretty okay. I’m hoping the catalyst for my issue has been removed & I will try to be smarter with my relational choices from here on out.

I’ll be headed to Montana for a few days in 2 and a half weeks. I’m totally stoked! I’ve missed the West so, so much.

Life is exciting right now…and pretty “boring.” It’s a totally new concept for me. Usually life is not so pleasantly exciting and I’m being pulled in a million directions. But now it’s exciting and normal; I have a routine & it’s working!

Before I go…because let’s face it, blogging from a smartphone is a pain & makes your fingers tired…I’d like to point out how I started with my life being on hold & I’m writing while on hold…pretty clever, right? Hopefully I’ll be ending with no longer physically being on hold, since my life isn’t really anymore.

One can always hope, right?

…I think so, since I had on tattooed on my wrist and all…


Wow

My life has changed a lot since mid-May.

June 5th I got my new dog, Moyer. I love him to death. He’s adorable…and huge. Think Clifford the Big Red Dog, but black and an actual life size. Standing on his back two legs he’s taller than my 5’7″ sister.

I go to church again and am loving it. It was time, and I am grateful for grace.

I no longer have three jobs. I have one, full-time job. Moyer gets to come with me to work every day and it’s relatively close to home.

It’s been since late May since I was in the hospital.

I’ve now been diagnosed with Crohn’s for a year. It was a rough, rough year. Adding school, work, church & a social life into my routine hasn’t been easy. Almost two weeks ago now I saw my GI…I cried after. He put me back on flagyl, cipro & entocort. I felt like I was taking so many steps forward, only to take three steps back.  It didn’t help you could see the terror in his eyes when he found out I lose my insurance in March.

With the new meds and the Crohn’s acting up, my sugars have been all sorts of everywhere. It’s really quite annoying.

Toward the end of September I cut all my hair off. Not a buzz cut or anything, but my mother called it “butch”. Then toward the end of October I dyed it brown. I love it. It’s liberating.

Navigating a social life shouldn’t be such a challenge for a 25 y/o. But, between feeling completely un-cool and terribly socially awkward I don’t feel terribly comfortable socially. I love people…which is why I work with them, but at the end of the day I like my peace and quiet. Humans are social by nature though, so I feel it’s best to maintain some form of a social life…well first I need to start one. I’m not great at it, and usually feel quite weird and out of place, but I am trying. That sounds potentially very lame, I think I’m okay with that though. Between diabetes, Crohn’s, work, family, church, school and my own sanity, being social unfortunately doesn’t always rank high on my priority list after a long day or week.

Aside from hoping to become more comfortable socially, I’d really like to be able to eat again soon. By that I mean eat an entire meal and not feel like digging a 10ft hole to bury myself in within the hour. Currently, I can handle, barely, half a meal MAYBE twice a day. I eat so I can take my meds, otherwise I get even MORE sick. :( It’s really very annoying.

Also, I’d like to take a class on social implications, expectations and perceptions…apparently I’m not great at them.

That’s kind of a 6month wrap up. It’s more a “late on a Saturday night and my head has a million things going on and something needed to be spit out” wrap up. Let’s pretend I was trying to be more diligent with my blog and give an update though :)


Piercing Has, Tubing Death

Two of my top searches here. Rather odd if you ask me, but whatever floats your boat.

I have been wanting to blog for a while now, but I just haven’t created the time for it. I’m not entirely sure what I’d like to say. Over the last few weeks I’ve been contemplating what this blog is…it’s not a health blog, it’s not a sports blog, it’s a me blog…not that I know exactly what that means.

I guess on the topic of piercings, I’ll go with my year in retrospect and hopes for the next.

I turned 25 on March 12th, officially definitely mid-twenties, officially uncareered, unindependantly housed, uneducated…all those good things lol.

24th Year

March – I think I had my last three wisdom teeth out in March. Did I have my nose pierced at 23 or 24? Went to Southern CA. Met George (yay DOC meetups). Hung out with Liz…haven’t seen her since. :( Hospital visit #1 of the year. Embarrassing birthday celebration. Discovered the world’s best medication…Ondansetron ODT – AMAZING anti-nausea med.

April – Visited my grandma in AZ, hadn’t seen her in nearly a year. Finally got my side tattoo, it’s a pine tree. It took about four hours…SO painful, my others were not…ribs hurt! Moved to Idaho. Hospital visit #2, after my first day on the job, walked 3mi (I think) to the hospital at 1-2A and stayed two full days.

May – Played with axes and crosscut saws. Got my WFR certification. Played in the snow. Started working toward the end of the month. Started my, I think, third round of antibiotics since April.

June – Worked in the forest!!!! First anesthesia experience, first surgery, lost my tonsils. Also lost my nipple piercings – I had to take out all my piercings for the surgery and was too sore and distracted to put my nipple piercings back in. My dad visited me in Idaho to drive me to and from the hospital and a couple days of recovery. I think I watched/bought more movies, watched more TV series during recovery than I had in a year! I called my mother in tears more than once in pain.

July – Tonsil wound got infected…more antibiotics, more pain medication. Worked in the sun daily…in a chair. Worked on environmental non-profit stuff (a ton of fun). After the pain subsided a bit, I started taking forest/river walks in hopes of re-joining the field. Had a brief Grave’s disease scare. Congratulated on my diabetes management (I miss my MT endo)…(actually I miss most of this stuff, not glad it happened, but I miss it anyway…making me tear up…stupid emotions lol) Brief scare about blood in my urine. Tonsils were cleared. By this point I was WAY out of shape…being sick sucks.

August – Almost ready to join the field…only to get sick. Final trip to the hospital…as an admitted patient. Surprise problem, that would require specialists. Could go to Hamilton, MT for at least one of the specialists…3.5hours away. None of the tests for “wilderness” illnesses came back positive, so their best guesses were Crohn’s (winner, winner lobster dinner…if I liked lobster). UC, or maybe celiac. Realized it was time to call it a day…boss & I decided it was best I go back to CA; I wasn’t working and was going to need to be running more tests and seeing more doctors…it just made sense to be in CA. Parents drove up with my dog to help move me back. Visited Janelle (!!!!) and my aunt and uncle in Ogden, UT. Was heartbroken.

September – Doctor visits, feeling and being sick, trying to go to school, occasionally working for my dad’s work, sleeping, sweatpant wearing…overall not handling everything very well.

October – Official Crohn’s diagnosis (yay?), was happy to have answers. Start the adventure of finding the right medication regime. Got a CGM…LOVE my Dexom! Finish working for my dad, his company merged at the end of the month. More feeling crappy. Sleeping, trying to work, trying to go to school, etc.

November – Drop out of school (medical reasons). Attempt at the SCD diet…didn’t go well…used too much almond flour. More feeling sick, sleeping, etc. Looking for a job. Highlighted my hair. Thanksgiving meal planning…was awkward.

December – 2weeks after I highlighted my hair I dyed it dark, dark brown with some red highlights. Christmas. My mother started paying me to leave the house. She also had a stroke. Family paid me to stay home from vacation…sounds worse than it was: I wasn’t going to go so they paid me to watch the dogs. To be honest, I don’t really know what else happened.

January – Thought about returning to beauty school, but that didn’t work out (like so much else over the last year it seems lol). Started school again. Kind of got the medication regime figured out. Had an at least 5 trip root canal/tooth pulling, I don’t recommend that either. Felt really good about things getting better…and me getting better.

February – Made it just over 6months without a trip to the hospital…turns out I had kidney stones. Surgery #2 for the year…and for my life. Peed blood, peed blue and finally peed normal again. Had a stint put in (while under anesthesia) and pulled out (while awake)…I don’t recommend getting one of those. Recovery sucked. It hurt to move, pee, walk…anything. Got a job!!!! The surgery happened my second week of work and I had to take a whole week off. Thankfully they were really nice about it. Fell behind in school. My sister got a dog…a 10month old Husky, Kaya…I’m now her nanny.

March – My mother and sister threw me a surprise party, that I demanded not be a surprise. It takes a lot of planning to prevent me from getting sick. School graciously allowed me to drop my classes without Ws again, due to the surgery. (WAY annoying…it could be a whole post all on its own)

So, not many tattoos or piercings. I’d like to get my nipples re-pierced, but when I have more money and can come up with a good time to have them pierced. I’d like another tattoo or two, but I can’t exactly figure out what I want…and I also need more money before that becomes a good idea.

I was really hoping 2011 would be hospital visit free. Maybe I can just hope for a hospital visit free 25th year.

I’d like to be able to stay in school long enough to actually finish something. I’d like to move out…I have doubts that’ll happen by the time I’m 26 (a little sad :-/), but I’d like to be kind of close to that happening. I’d like to feel normal more days than I feel sick. I’d like to be productive, I’d like to feel like I’m getting somewhere.

I don’t know, I don’t think I want anything too complicated. If I could have my health and life back, I’d be okay with the rest of the shit life throws my way. Maybe I wouldn’t be okay immediately, but I’d get there.

Not having my health at 25 makes me feel all sorts of ways. Angry, sad, hurt, disappointed…maybe I’ll post about it soon.

But, really, Year 25, please grant me a year of health.


S-A-T-U-R-U-R-DAY NIGHT

Except it’s Sunday night. Mike Myers was on SNL this week (on Saturday night – see it’s sorta relevant). My favorite Mike Myers movie is So I Married An Axe Murderer, which has this song. So, it’s not entirely random.

It’s become apparent to me how much I’m stressing over this coming week and month. If I take every appointment as it comes and each day it comes, I’m fine. Seeing doctor appointments set Monday, Tuesday, next Tuesday and the Tuesday following AND the dentist this Monday too.

The dentist I’m not too stressed about.

My endo – I’m terrified. I know I have an endo complex, but I haven’t been this worked up for a while. My first and second endos were intimidating, one made me cry and the other told me they wouldn’t help me if I didn’t log my sugars. I should have logged my sugars, but I’m stubborn…and I’ve never been good at it. My endo in Montana was wonderful, I loved him. He was respectful and willing to help, but didn’t force things on me. I got a new endo when I moved back to California. He has been good. My first appointment he gave me Symlin and a Dexcom for a week. My second appointment he told me I was the most compliant patient he had and did amazing on prednisone. The day before that appointment was an amazing day, had one low and didn’t go any higher than 160 or something. Today, the day before this appointment, I’ve been 42, 140, 70, 160, 55, 275, 48, 300, 220, 270, 240 and now holding steady around 310. I have no way to explain it. It was just an off day of extreme zigzags. Until late in the evening it was just a lot of over-corrections in both directions. Now, I KNOW I’ve over-corrected, but I’m not budging. I have 15U in my system and I’m still not dropping. I swear, once I’m out of range it’s hell getting back. If I’m too low I really can’t function, if I’m too high I’m a big grumpyface prone to bitchiness. I feel like I need to be able to explain myself. I just don’t know how or why it really happens. It would make sense that this stupid ibuprofen is wreaking havoc on things, so maybe that’s it. Who knows if he’ll believe it though, he won’t believe me that Entocort EC is a steroid.

Tuesday I’m seeing my PCP. I’m happy to go there…except that it’s at 9:15a, but still happy to go. I can get my bloodwork done there. Also, I need to ask her about my shaking hands. It’s been really odd, I get really shaky hands. Not when I’m low, not when I’m high, just during the day. It’s slightly concerning. I really like my doctor. She’s nice to talk to about not just diabetes, not just Crohn’s, not just neuropathy…just about me.

I also have my second interview at the dog daycare/boarding facility on Tuesday. If I am hired I will most likely start this week. It’ll be nice to have a purpose for getting out and nice to be around dogs all days. Dogs are easier to be around than people…or at least they are for me. I’m a little nervous of handling school and 20hrs of work a week. It sounds lame, I know…but I really am so limited in what I can do. I get worn out SO easily. I hate being so limited, but it’s reality for me right now. Hopefully it’ll be great, not too much stress, fun and a good fit.

Next Tuesday I see my gastroenterologist. I already wrote about that appointment. I think they’ll be calling me tomorrow. We played phone tag about my dentist’s desire to put me on an anti-inflammatory medication. If they pull my tooth tomorrow, we’ll probably have to talk about what I can take for that too. It’s not worth it and probably not justified, but I feel like it’s my fault things aren’t going better with Crohn’s stuff. Or maybe that I’m not feeling what I’m feeling. Weird, I know…it’s just WHY can’t I get it together?!

The following Tuesday is my neurologist appointment. We need to talk about my muscle spasms and my shaky hands. He and I have only seen each other once and it wasn’t for very long. He doesn’t seem too interested in figuring out why I have neuropathy, but he seems to think I do in both hands and feet.

Eventually I need to see the eye doctor. But, I want to wait until I have a job so I can pay for at least something.

The one positive and even a little bittersweet part about all these appointments is that I can transfer over to my insurance’s mail order pharmacy. It just saves so much money. I LOVE my CVS in Castro Valley. I really don’t want to leave. But when you have meds that are $10, $25 and $40 every month and the mail order pharmacy charges the same for a three month prescription, you just can’t justify it. To make myself feel a little better I tell myself that I can still fill my temporary prescriptions at MY CVS…I’ve been on four or five already this year. I might have withdrawals if I don’t get to see them.

Another, oddly entertaining and somewhat pathetic event happened this weekend. My mother told me it’s been heavy on her heart I need a social life. Yes, a social life…as in getting out of the house. So she intends on occasionally donating $10 to my social life fund. Having no job and no money does play a part in my staying home so often…why leave to pay for gas, pay for wherever I’m going and whatever I’m doing? I can use the internet at home. While doing homework and studying outside the house would be nice…it’s cheaper to stay home. But, getting out will allow me to have some space from our already strained balance in the house. …Plus, I wore a short sleeve shirt today and I seriously need to get some sun!

Well, I started this on Sunday night, it’s now close to 1A on Monday…whoops.

I’ve added another reading assignment to myself…Last Child in the Woods. My roommate in ID had the book and I’d meant to read it but never got around to it. He told me about it and it sounded incredible. THEN my sister had to read the book for one of her classes in the Fall. She gave it to me tonight. Yay :)

One last thing…I’ve added another shower injury to last week. I bruised my toe REALLY badly, it’s black & blue and hard to walk, as I was getting out of the shower. I hit it on the door track. I’ve used this shower off and on since 1998…you’d think I could manage to use it and not injure myself.


Diabetes is a big fat liar

After you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, medication has a whole new definition in your life.

Insulin is not an optional medication. It’s optional if you consider death an option, and I don’t.

As a kid our doctor (on the rare event we went to one) would write scripts, my mother would tell the doctor she’d fill them, never fill them and not return to the doctor until the law required it. Type 1 isn’t that lenient.

I see my doctors as often as they’d like to see me, or as close as possible. And I diligently take my medications as directed. I think at last count I was on 11 or 12 meds. When you’re on that many drugs your options are limited for additions, there’s a likelihood some meds will counteract others.

I haven’t had a paycheck since the end of October. The government is paying my tuition. My family is helping me with the rest. Diabetes and Crohn’s are expensive and require constant attention. Knowing money was tight for my parents I opted to take two of my medications twice a day instead of the prescribed 4 times.

My thought process was that I can cut those, at least I’m still getting some of the medication. Insulin is not an option. Metformin I have some backstock. Welbutrin, I’m not messing w/ my antidepressant usage. Imuran, it’s been the most helpful and I only take it once a day. Entocort EC…I’m almost out of that too. Nortriptyline, I’ve had BAD experiences weaning on and off my nerve meds so I didn’t want to do that & there’s no way to take a half dose. I can’t think of the rest but Pentasa and Dicyclomine got the cut. I am supposed to take 2 pills four times a day of Pentasa and one four times a day of Dicyclomine. I can live without that, right?

Well, I’m alive. But between my mouth, clusterfuck of sugars right now and the reemergence of severe cramps and nausea I’m not alive very happily.

And I know it’s not their fault for the timing, but with the stupid CWD forum from yesterday (and today? I’m not sure) I feel inadequate. It’s me, it’s not them. I’m allowing myself to feel this way. But, I feel like I’m saying “poor me” and I really don’t mean to. Everyone’s life is different and everyone has different shit they have to deal with. I don’t have a great family network to be able to vent and express, so here it is. It may not be the smartest idea to divulge so much information of how I “feel”…in person that’s the last thing I talk about. I prefer fact.

…which pisses me off more, I don’t like all this feeling crap. Feeling sick, feeling damaged, feeling useless, feeling behind, feel, feel, feel. I’d prefer to not feel, thank you very much. It’d be really nice to NOT feel like I’m a failure at trying to figure out my dumbass digestive system, how and when it digests and metabolizes what and knowing what my sugars do and are supposed to do. Why can other people figure it out and I can’t?

Off the feelings topic and now to why diabetes is a liar:

Diabetes tells you it’s the most important, it’s first. You MUST take your diabetes meds over any others.

Crohn’s meds are just as important. If your digestive system decides not to work your insulin regime is going to be all over the place. Sometimes the carbs peak at a “normal” time, some postponed…without any real regularity…unless you count a different story at every meal as regular.

Diabetes may be a big pain in the ass, but don’t let it fool you into thinking it’s more of a pain in the ass than certain other diseases, in my case Crohn’s.

Sometimes Crohn’s has to win…ex: my pain med options
Diabetes gets to win other times…ex: eliminating some pain med options b/c I NEED to use my dexcom and refusing to add ANOTHER steroid to the regime. There’s no way in hell I’m taking two steroids at once again…all the help the steroids do goes to shit if I can’t keep my sugars fairly moderated b/c it makes my stomach cramp with EVERY damn food.

Diabetes, you’re a big pain and I hate you. I hate you for the kids with T1, for the people trying to be a responsible and “normal” adult, for the parents who have the kids with T1.

Despite diabetes being an attention whore, I’m kind of scared to go to my GI on the 15th. It’s an earlier than originally planned appointment and I can’t see my regular PA. She said I need to meet with the doctor because she honestly doesn’t know what to do anymore. So, awesome, that’s encouraging. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? ..aside from being scared.

And I’ll shut up right now, or I’ll just add more profanities.


San Jose Sharks

I would say 95% of the people who read this didn’t know me in high school. Had you, you would have known I was a huge fan of hockey and the SJ Sharks aka my potentially unhealthy obsession. I mean, I don’t think it was THAT bad…but my mother definitely did.

Most junior high and high school girls had posters of NSYNC, 98 Degrees (that was the Nick Lachey band, right?) or Backstreet Boys…I had one poster I bought with some friends at the mall of Backstreet Boys. I didn’t purchase it because I liked them; I purchased it because as far as I could tell most of my friends were Backstreet fans over NSYNC. In addition to my one Backstreet Boys poster, I had a wall and a half (if I remember correctly) covered, no white wall showing through kind of covered, in hockey pictures.

My high school English speeches were almost always hockey or Sharks related. I studied the game: its history, rules, changes, expansions, player contracts, player association-league relationships. In my planner I had every game color coordinated (I’m still a girl lol) schedule written in, at the completion of the game I’d fill in the new team standings as well as scores, basic player stats, hits, shots on goal, etc. On game days I made sure to wear Sharks memorabilia and usually donned something Sharks related on other days. I begged my parents to let me go to as many practices as possible, they’d let me around 2 times a month. I have ALBUMS of player pictures. Albums wouldn’t be such a big deal if I had enough other pictures to create albums of those too…but I don’t. The ONLY full albums I have are filled with Sharks pictures.

In high school I was not at all in the “cool” group of kids. I wasn’t really in a group. Kind of a loner I guess. I had a couple close friends the first two years, a semester in a different school and acquaintances the remaining year and a half. My parents were also pretty strict so I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to enjoy extracurriculars…outside of school sponsored extracurriculars. Now that we have a basic understanding of my “fanship” and lack of a social status in high school…I would regularly be stopped by jocks to discuss Sharks news/scores/standings. Yep, that was how people kind of related to me…well the jocks, not so much other people lol. People really didn’t know much about me, which was sort of my fault I suppose, I was pretty quiet…aside from my teal clothing.

THEN…I moved out. And then moved back in. It’s a whole long story that really shouldn’t be blogged about. But when I moved out I left with a hockey room, when I moved back in I had yellow walls, porcelain dolls displayed daintily and a floral bedspread. Upon my return it was loudly expressed that hockey was too much of an obsession. I watched games, but I wasn’t allowed to yell/cheer/talk at the TV or at the games. AND, I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my hockey friend anymore. That was during the 02-03 & 03-04 seasons.

The strike…it was horrible. I was diagnosed with Type1 diabetes in August 2004. The lockout began Sept 2004. Then came the onslaught of medical confusion. And in May 2005 I moved to AZ. I didn’t have a tv for most of the 05-06 season. For the remainder of the 05-06 and all of the 06-07 season I didn’t have cable.

In May 2007 I moved back to California. By the time hockey season started the Sharks were almost an entirely new team-the albums of photos I had hardly resembled the team…AND I was working CRAZY hours. I was working on the campaign, there was no time to watch. There were the late night highlights and newspapers, but that was it. January 2008 I was out of the campaign and I no longer got Fox SportsNet. Thankfully the guy I was dating at the time was a sportsfan too and I could watch with him.

Between the end of 07-08 and the start of 08-09 I kind of took a break from sports in general. I guess I was worn out. As avid of a fan I had once been before, I guess I was worn out from paying attention to so many and scheduling around it. It was kind of nice not to care about every college football team…it helped that my Michigan Wolverines were PAINFUL to watch. By last Spring I was ready to end my break. It’s weird, I know, I don’t really know a better way to explain it. I think I just needed a break from NEEDing to know what was happening in the sports world. It was nice to just not know for a while, but because I really do love sports, I didn’t need too long of a break. In early 10 I wanted to know what was going on again, I missed sports. So lame…I don’t think any guy sportsfan would really think that way or have that issue, but whatever. I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to be exactly “normal”.

April 10 sent me to Idaho. I kept a few tabs on baseball over the summer and followed the NHL playoffs as best as possible. This past August I came back to California: sick and unemployed. Just in time for hockey. :) The NHL didn’t fail me this time. So, despite my lack of ability to watch my (VERY different) team on TV, I’m glad to listen. I’m happy to have the opportunity to follow them, just because they’re the team I’ve loved for nearly 15 years.

So it’s taken me a couple hours to type this, not because it took a lot of thought, I get distracted easily. But I can promise you I didn’t really mean for this to sound as sappy as it has come out. lol, oops. I’ve mentioned sports movies are the only ones that can make me cry, right?

Anyway, the real point to all this: it’s SO easy for people who regularly identify with being a “patient” to get caught up in just that, being a patient. We go on and on about how there’s so much more to us, but it’s taken a lot of effort lately for me to think of myself as anything but a patient. I see friends a couple times a month, usually hiding how crappy I feel; see doctors regularly; talk to the state and schools about disability related stuff – SO much of me is about being a patient.

Last Saturday (the day the Sharks broke the losing streak!! & my first full game all season-watching) was one of those days where I bucked up and saw a friend. I saw a friend I hadn’t seen since high school – before I was a T1, before I had Crohn’s…or a stupid root canal that won’t heal. Halfway through watching the games (both football and then the Sharks) I realized how much had changed, but sports hadn’t. There was still that. It seems a little silly and more sappy than I like to admit, but it was nice. If you’re a sportsfan, it doesn’t matter if you’re a diabetic, accountant or bodybuilder.

We, in the DOC, always talk about meeting so many people we wouldn’t have otherwise. We come from different places, do different things, are different ages, have different family’s and a lot of different interests. It’s something I think about all the time. But the Sharks or Wolverines or whatever team fans have that in common. You can be SO different, but it brings you together.

Going to practices so long ago, you met SO many different people. Old, young, in between. I went to a Sharks practice with a friend and my sister where the team was away traveling but the injured players were still skating; they invited the three of us and the couple others there to skate on the ice with them. I mean, it’s cool. You can go to a different state and meet a fellow fan and suddenly have a great conversation.

Maybe it’s me and I’m blind and just completely missed the similarity. I think the difference with the DOC and Crohn’s patients (I swear I need to come up with a word b/c it sounds stupid and cold…the other option is I could just move on…) is that we initially connect because of our disease and become friends; and then mention their disease casually as you discuss life. Reality is, our lives are filled with our disease. Not that it’s who we are, but that it’s something always on our mind. That’s not to say it’s always on the forefront of our minds, but it’s there. Knitters, sportsfans, gamers, athletes, car people (can you tell I’m not one? lol), whatever you’re into: most of the time you connect to “do” whatever it is you’re interested.

Does that make any sense? Maybe, hopefully, it at least does to people with chronic diseases.

Before I got on the second mushy-yay-DOC topic, I meant to say: I hope I start writing about more than my health. It doesn’t look like that’s getting any better ANY time soon (or in the long run), I should expand my horizons. I mean it kind of (actually REALLY does) sucks right now. Doctor told me on Friday that “we’re not actively controlling” my disease. She also said I should probably see the actual doctor in a couple weeks; I typically see the PA. Also my mouth is still swollen, still hurts and is still infected, I’m on a new, stronger, antibiotic. I guess for a while the Sharks had a bit too much attention and now I feel like my stupid health has too much attention. It isn’t going anywhere, so I’m just going to have to expand my attention giving capacity.


Remember When I Bought THREE Books

Not just any three books. Three books that cover a topic NOTHING like their titles.

In an effort to escape some family grouchiness and impending arguments my sister and I took a trip to Barnes & Noble before our family movie viewing. Completely off topic (it happens a lot, what can I say?) we saw True Grit and it was AMAzing. Bonus was that not a single family member was offended the whole movie…it made the post-movie dinner and drive home MUCH better than usual.

Back to the topic at hand…

Last week Barnes & Noble emailed me recommended readings based on my prior purchases. I had written down two titles to check out the next time I took a visit. I was intrigued by their titles having nothing to do with the subject they explore.

Firstly, A Gate at the Stairs. This is its synopsis: “Twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, the daughter of a gentleman farmer, has come to a university town as a student. When she takes a job as a part-time nanny for a mysterious and glamorous family, she finds herself drawn deeper into their world and forever changed. Told through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a piercing novel of race, class, love, and war in America.” Maybe I haven’t been doing much intelligent reading, but the last sentence piqued my interest. I like the idea of reading a novel, fiction, that explores social issues. I love my chick lit from time to time, but it usually doesn’t have a strong focus on social challenges.

After reading the description of A Gate at the Stairs (which won Best Book of the Year) I noticed another piece of work from the same author…

Birds of America. The title would lead you to believe it covers the various speeches in this part of the world. The very first part of A Gate at the Stairs’ description on Borders.com read: “In her bestselling story collection, “Birds of America,” Moore wrote about the disconnect between men and women, about the precariousness of women on the edge, and about loneliness and loss.” Maybe I’m weird, but I am VERY fascinated by human dynamics. I like to understand people. We make so many generalities or we let one difference dissuade us from seeing a commonality. It’s a bonus that it looks like one thing on the outside and are something completely different inside – I like things like that. That age-old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” – it’s overused in some respect, but is wise. I only say it’s overused because its popularity has in some respects lessened the power behind the few words. People get so accustomed to hearing something they forget its real meaning. Kind of like violent video games or the violence seen on the news today – constant exposure has desensitized us. Maybe I’m underestimating my peers, but it certainly feels this way. I am excited to get started on this and is the first I’ll be reading of my day-after-Christmas-bookstore-run.

Perhaps the cause of this misunderstanding is due to my looking at books with such unrelated titles. I think it’s that and my disappointment in fellow Republicans. Yes, I said fellow Republicans. In California I feel I’m considered a moderate Republican. In the Midwest I think I’d probably be a conservative Democrat. Since I live in California, and have never registered as anything but Republican, that’s what I’m claiming as my political identity. Sadly, I think the definitions are so personal, to a fellow “moderate Republican” I may sound more like a liberal Republican and others a conservative Republican. I almost feel like there is no point in identifying with a specific party. Hell, some people may think I’m a Democrat. The reality is that the two predominant parties in the US seem to want to be polar opposites. Parties often forget the majority of Americans are somewhere in the middle. The extremists are the ones making headlines. Reality is we’re all somewhere close to the middle, some right middle and others left middle. It’s my firm belief that either extremists are crazy. Maybe not need to see a psychiatrist crazy, but irrational and often too opinionated to even try to see the other side. ESPECIALLY in the Republican party these days, Republican extremists are so frigid in their positions they feel like they’re the only correct ones in the world and anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye has no place in the Republican party. Granted, I don’t pay much attention to the Democrats and their party infrastructure, I am just disappointed in my own party. If I were a Democrat I think I’d probably be disappointed in them too – probably for other reasons, but disappointed just the same.

Now that we’ve had more personal political ideology discussion in one paragraph than in the history of this blog, it’s time to head back on topic.

As I searched the rest of the tables in Barnes & Noble I found a misplaced book – “I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican”. Now, I had JUST been looking at books with mismatching titles AND I have not been too pleased with the Republican party as of late I misinterpreted the subject matter. Under the title reads: “A survival guide for conservatives marooned among the angry, smug, and terminally self-righteous”. What I read was: “A guide to survive conservatives – the angry, smug, and terminally self-righteous”. Obviously I need to pay more attention to what I see. Aside from that, my interpretation of the reading front cover gave me the feeling it was from a liberal point of view. As sad as it may be, I think of the far right as angry, smug AND terminally self-righteous. I guess I just sort of read what I wanted to see.

I was SO excited to read how the “other” side interpreted conservatives. In working with others of different mindsets I feel it’s important to understand the opposition. I’m a nerd and really like reading about political ideology. As a Republican, I want to know how Democrats see the GOP. In any tiff don’t you want to see how the other sees you? I do, it helps you understand and overcome your difficulties.

When I got home I re-read the books cover and backside. It should have keyed me in when I saw FOXNews.com gave a raving review….one which is completely exaggerated. ‘Author Harry Stein has prepared a primer for people who are locked in political exile in their very own homes.” – FOXNews.com’ Statements like this are what piss me off about Republicans. Really? Political EXILE??? Could we overreact ANY more?!?!

Guess I’ll be heading back to Barnes & Noble to return it. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I found out the true meaning of the book. While I can only make general observations and base my opinions on those, since I will not be reading the whole thing, it sounds nothing more than a “poor me” commiserating piece of work. Republicans don’t need to throw a pity party, whining to the world and exclaiming the awfulness and outrageousness the other side.

Since I have no intention of adding the book to my library, I feel it wouldn’t be right to read it first. Since I purchased it…not borrowed from the actual library. And maybe I’m being too judgmental too quickly. (Yes, I realize this goes 100% away from my ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ comment earlier) I only feel it’s the right thing to do. I HAVE read the long backside description…which I should have read more thoroughly IN Barnes & Noble. Based on the little investigation I’ve done, I have no interest in reading it. If there’s someone out there who thinks I SHOULD read it and am misunderstanding its true purpose – PLEASE correct me. I have no desire to sound arrogant or rude or so opinionated I refuse to accept any other idea. In reality, I rarely share my opinions because I don’t want to dissuade someone from sharing theirs. It’s very important to me to be open to other ideas, methods and beliefs – no ONE answer is 100% correct – we’re human, not a one of us is perfect. Wouldn’t you want to be given the opportunity to see another way? To learn something that may change your opinion? To potentially avoid looking ignorant and arrogant?

…I’m fairly certain no one wants to look like a moron. So please correct me if I sound like an asshole.


My Heart Told My Head: This Time No

Don’t you just LOVE Mumford & Sons? I fell in love with their music a while back.

I’ve loved this song (Winter Winds) since first listening. “My head told my heart ‘let love grow’ – But my heart told my head ‘this time no, this time no’. How many times to our head and heart contradict themselves? I feel like it’s a constant battle. Sometimes it’s best to listen to your heart and others your head – and a lot of the time you can’t tell which.

Anyway, I’m listening to them right now, thus the inspiration.

It’s pretty fitting too. I feel like I’m always contradicting myself. Listen to this or to that. Do this or do that. Try this or try that. But, life is not lived well when you try, listen and do this and that. If you do, you spend your life in a constant race. Don’t get me wrong, I am opposed to complacency. There is a time and a place for change. It doesn’t need to be constant, especially when it’s your only consistency.

It’s been a LONG time, long enough for me not to remember anymore, since I’ve finished something. I’ve finished books, blogs, movies (sometimes), makeup, showers, days, etc. What I mean is that I haven’t made a decision and STUCK with it. Relationships – I get bored or I am so closed off for too long for it to turn into anything before it’s over. School – it’s an embarrassment to even try to divulge the whole story there. The longest I’ve stayed at a job is 14 months. The longest I’ve lived in one residence continuously is six and a half years, from my birth until December 1992. I’ve taken lessons in six different instruments, but am great at none of them. I’ve taken classes in German, ASL, Latin and Spanish and am fluent in not a one. I change my hair color all the time, I’m going to try keeping it this color for a while, I like it and hopefully will not get bored. You could say I have commitment issues. It wouldn’t be a far off assessment.

People are usually awed by my “life story” that’s far from over (as far as I can tell). They usually make the observation that I’ve lived a lot of life in not so much time. It’s true. I have many many stories and experiences, none of which I would trade. Some of it has been hell. And some make up my fondest memories. Because I’ve lived a lot of life over a short period of time it means I’ve lived a lot but lack a great deal of experience. It’s pretty ironic that I have two incurable diseases – those aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

I’m going to try my hand at being a “good” patient and call the neurologist. If we’re able to come up with a remedy to my hand issues, I may consider finishing my esthetics program. I have just under half my hours. I’m not ready to commit to the idea, especially since I don’t know if it’s possible yet. It’s about time I finish something. And, really it’s something I enjoy. Maybe there’s some type of therapy I can do to keep the pain away? Who knows. It would be really nice to accomplish something.

Perhaps it’s my now nearly six month long slump that has inspired this thought. Maybe it’s the guy who told me something I don’t know how to hear. Maybe it’s my mom’s stroke and feeling like I’m behind where I should and want to be in life. Maybe it has to do with seeing friends and where they are professionally and relationally. Honestly, I think it’s a combination of all of it.

In August my uncle told me I have a world of opportunity, I am young – that I have more opportunity than he did at my age, because of some of the choices he made. I didn’t really believe him when he said it. I’ve felt like I am so limited in my opportunity, that everyone around me is progressing and I am falling behind.

Three years ago I visited the Cal Poly Republican club and ran into a guy who had been a year ahead of me at the same high school. He made the comment that I was so far ahead of where he was and a year younger. My being ahead was very short lived. I have enough sense to know everyone is on their own schedule and it frankly doesn’t matter who has what when. Life is an individual adventure.

Really, I’m just behind where I want to be. It’s not that I feel my friends are ahead, it’s a self assessment. Honesty is a jerk. But, it’s good to know. And it’s probably good that I have set a high bar for myself. I don’t think I have too many unreasonable expectations of myself. It’s time I stop digging a hole in the dirt to put my head in…that only works for so long.

In all honesty, I like change. I like the adventure of change. But I also desire security. Adventure and security are not mutually exclusive. Though, that’s been my mindset for far too long. I think I might have a new year’s resolution this year, even though I think they’re silly. For me, I like to evaluate myself every so often and give myself something I’d like to improve. There’s so much unknown in the world anyway, why not try to know what you are able?

Sorry, late night/early morning blogs never make much sense. They’re usually the result of my brain reeling for too long.


Election Day!

I am a pretty decided person politically. Though, I am not combative argumentative with my political beliefs, as so many of us seem to be. It doesn’t mean I don’t care and it doesn’t mean my mind isn’t made up.

Last week my mother asked to see my ballot (I’m an absentee voter), to see for whom she should vote. I told her no. I feel it’s the responsibility of every voter to do their research. Voters need to take the time to know what they want and how they should vote. By giving my ballot to another person to copy is giving me two votes. I’m no more important that other people, I don’t deserve to vote twice.

RESEARCH your candidates and propositions! If you don’t know, DON’T VOTE.

The Get Out The Vote program is important, we, as citizens, have the obligation to be an active part of our country. Our country was designed around the idea of representation, if you don’t vote you can’t be represented. I think we all SHOULD vote…RESPONSIBLY. If you can’t vote responsibly, don’t do it. Don’t let one friend’s opinion decide your vote. Vote for you! Vote for your beliefs!

Everyone has an opinion and a voice, don’t be afraid to use them when it comes to voting! There’s no danger in voting for what you believe…no one will have to know how you voted (for the most part).

I’m not saying you need to dedicate hours upon hours studying. But THINK before you cast a vote! That’s why they mail us the sample ballots.

I know I’m not posting this until after all the polls have closed, but I think it’s something that needs to be said. My city hung a banner across Main St that said “Just Vote!”, it encourages irresponsible voting. I’d rather have a lower voter turnout with responsible voters than a high turnout with irresponsible voters. Maybe it’s harsh, but it’s true. It’s easy to be lazy and listen to the mudslinging commercials that slam the opponents or ask a family or friend how they’re voting, but it doesn’t take long to research. It’s okay to discuss how you’re voting or thinking of voting. My father and I discussed a few of the candidates and we researched the judge appointments together. I’m all for that, we didn’t vote the same, but we discussed the positions of candidates and reasons for our support.

As Americans we have the responsibility to vote intelligently and responsibly. I hope you did today :) …if not try to be next time.


Balance and Patience

There’s always a balance to fight for as a diabetic. And, as a human, I suspect. But, what I know is the balance of diabetes and life as an adult. I know nothing of being a kid with diabetes as I was diagnosed 5 short months following my 18th birthday.

I seem to be facing a struggle. How do I go to school when I’ve got bills to pay? Not just any bill, but medical bills exceeding $5000 AND monthly prescriptions to purchase. It would be irresponsible for me to ignore my financial obligations. Yet, how can I get my education, with which I can get a successful job, AND pay my bills. Oh, AND have a job with benefits. A part time position may be advantageous for a student with no medical bills. But that just won’t work for me.

My school has directed me to the Department of Rehabilitation. I am scheduling an orientation appointment with them for the upcoming weeks. BUT, I don’t know how I feel about living off the government while I try to complete my education. It’s looking like I have about 3 years left to meet all the prerequisites, I can’t justify that length of time. Wouldn’t it be irresponsible?

Should I just be patient? Wouldn’t it be better for me to work, take care of my financial obligations and be patient with my schooling? I want to go to school, but not in place of responsibility. I so badly want my degree before I turn 30. I want to feel less like a failure. A degree will help with that feeling, but wouldn’t taking care of my bills also help? Sometimes you can’t have the best of both, bake your cake and eat it too, etc. Right?


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