Category Archives: psychological

No D Day

No D Day…being that I rarely blog specifically about D, I thought this would be easy. Then I realized it’s always brought up some way, because it’s a huge part of my life. So here’s my attempt of a no D day post…

Consequences are a you know what. I don’t believe in karma, but I fully believe in consequences and fully support them. Coming from that perspective, consequences are really frustrating. I made a poor choice, which led me to more poor decisions, and things progressed from there. I am dealing with the consequences. It’s unbelievably frustrating to know it’s completely your own doing that puts you in a crumby place.

It’s fairly common for people to think I’m a cold person. I don’t get emotional about things, I can be rational to a fault. Seriously, I get myself in trouble way too often. Yet, I made irrational decisions; I knew better. Not that there’s anything I can do about it at this point, but I’m disappointed in myself. All I can do is pray for grace.

I have a friend whom I admire greatly. When I was in high school he told me whenever asked how he’s doing he’ll always respond “better than I deserve”. I understand not everyone can identify with that statement, but to me, it’s an incredibly humbling perspective. Because, honestly, I am always doing better than I deserve to be. Yes, the world is full of injustice, and life is cruelly unfair; but it’s still better than what I deserve. By this I mean, I don’t deserve to be with God in my life. None of us do; it’s really only by His grace I have the choice to have a relationship with Him. (I know you may disagree, and I’m not trying to argue, I promise)

The last few months have been incredibly emotionally draining. But it’s a position I put myself in, by choice. It’s been so hard, so much harder than I expected. And I’ve spent a lot of time asking “why?” And, yes, someone else’s choices and behaviors could have made this less draining; but people are free to make their own choices. When you involve yourself with others, you put yourself at their mercy.

When you tell a friend a secret, you’re trusting them to be kind with it. When someone chooses to open up to you, they are being vulnerable. My past has made me very weary of allowing myself to be vulnerable…and I’m clearly not great at identifying the right people with whom to share. But, you live and learn.

I guess that’s why I’ve been able to remain joyful, despite the challengingness of this Summer; perspective. I’m still alive, still learning and have a life so much better than what’s deserved.


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.


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.


Maybe I’m Weird

When I was diagnosed with T1 I had been showing symptoms for a few months prior, but came up with explanations from “I’ve been trying to drink more water, now I’m used to it, that’s why I’m thirsty.” to even “God is trying to teach me something”. Unlike most of my childhood though, I had had bloodwork done as close as maybe 4 months before diagnosis. Wouldn’t that have shown if there was something wrong? Regardless of that though, I was HORRIBLY ill the couple weeks up to August 4, 2004. So sick I could hardly walk or stand or even sleep and I STILL didn’t go to the doctor. The only reason I even went to the hospital was because I was unconscious!

Now that I have another diagnosis on my hands, Crohn’s Disease, I feel like it’s the same thing. I went to the hospital August 5/6 because I was terrified. My sugars were below 50, I couldn’t get them to come up, I was absolutely exhausted (worried I was too tired to be able to babysit any longer), anything I ate either came up or out almost immediately and I just didn’t know what to do. Had I been in CA when this had happened, I’m not sure I would have taken the trip to the hospital. Being that I lived so far from any type of medical care I thought it was best to head in, after I spoke with the ER nurse over the phone. I was afraid of some diabetic hell occurring NOT that I had some other medical problem. They’re the ones who asked for a stool sample and then told me there was something wrong with it. It was news to me. Yeah, I had had some gas/discomfort/nausea/getting sick/visiting the hospital/going in between constipation and diarrhea for maybe the last year. Nothing too big or irritating. And I came up with explanations for all of it. Over the weekend my mother asked me if I’d had symptoms before going to Idaho. I said that I supposed so, she countered with “Then why did you go?” Continue reading


Identity Crisis

It’s a little bit strange, but I think it’s really happening. I’m not sure I ever really thought I’d have an identity crisis. And especially not one about a disease! Not that I know what you’d usually struggle with when you’re having an identity crisis.

Even so, as a diabetic what do we always say:
– I HAVE diabetes, I’m not diabetes.
– Diabetes doesn’t control me.
– I’m more than just diabetes.
– Or any number of “diabetes isn’t all of me” sayings

Taking that to mind I’m a little disappointed in myself.

Am I a T1 Diabetic with Crohn’s Disease? Am I Crohn’s Disease-d with T1 Diabetes? Or am I Ashley with a seriously screwed up and confused immune system and thus have Crohn’s Disease and Type 1 Diabetes? Continue reading


Mother Says…

My mother and I had a spat today. Or a discussion. Or an argument. It really depends on who you ask. But call it what you want.

One of the things that came up was my life. Yes, broad, I know. But she seems to feel I live two lives. My “real” life and my “blogging” life. She made no direct mention of who I am in “real” life, but told me my “blogging” life is my “wild side”.

I cannot say I agree with this. The last several months have been downright depressing on my blog! It’s been a struggle to write ANYTHING remotely resembling my typical upbeat, sarcastic and jovial personality. I have only a small idea of what could be really going on with my body, my bloodsugars have gone batshit crazy, I had to move….Am I wrong? Is that wild? By ANY means?

I call it sad. A little pathetic. And most unfortunate. I’d like to be on a fun, maybe a little wild adventure, not a medical war zone with a faint light of answers through the current dark ominous muddle of clouds. I have three tattoos and a few piercings, I’ve had many different hair colors and I like change. But I’m at peace in the outdoors, in a book, wrapped in a blanket in front of a window and love taking time to myself. Tattoos, piercings and hair color don’t make a person wild. In today’s world, I’d venture to say they’re normal.

Or maybe my blog is wild in other ways. Frankly, I’m too tired and trying too hard to grasp tightly onto the smallest piece of togetherness still in me to really care and to put in the effort to figure out what she means. In my mind this blog could use a little wildness and a little less sadness. But, that’s just me. Maybe I’m wrong.

*Thank you everyone in the DOC for sticking with me. For listening to my sad rambling. For listening. For being friends. For being honest. For everything. I have no idea what I’d do without you.*


Stuck

I’m at a loss.

I’m not sure I had any other options though. I’m not sure this could have played out any other way. Moving to CA with my parents was the only choice, the only option.

But I’m so boxed in. The environment is so stressful. Fighting the idea of losing my job was much less stressful to handle than this. I’m constantly under a microscope. Constantly being surveyed.

My room here is the room I came back to in the Summer between Sophomore and Junior year of high school. The room with eight crosses, multiple framed “photos” of Jesus and framed Bible verses on the walls. There are stuffed animals from my childhood on the shelves and a few photographs from “the years I didn’t care.” My closet is full of Barbies that I’m not permitted to toss. Clothing I’m not permitted to donate.

If I throw any of that away or box any up, I’ll be confronted on the lack of my “godliness.” If I keep it all up I keep all of me out. Currently this is where I sleep, but it represents no part of me. In the less “mental” way of speaking…I don’t have anywhere to put MY things with all of this around.

It’s not just the room either. I am expected to act a certain way. To respond a certain way. To mind my Christian manners. The result is silence. Speaking only when a response is necessary. No humor is allowed, at least none of MY humor which is on the WAY clean side of crass. My opinions are often shut down and seen as heathen/secular/whorish.

What did I get myself into? Did I have a choice?

Not that things are any different from when I left. I guess I grew accustomed to not being in such surroundings and I am having serious issues readapting. I feel like a terrible friend…I have nothing to say but stories of the craziness in my house. I get so caught up in my head I sometimes forget to pay attention to the happenings in my friend’s lives. And, even when I do manage to pay attention, I can’t imagine I’m much fun to be around at this point. Which is terribly sad…I like to be a good friend and I like to be fun company, it just makes things worse to know I’m not capable of such right now.

What happens when you’re this stuck? Where do you go? What do you do?


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