A Very Special Someone

I am going to end up with someone very special.

Do you want to know why I think this? Because I have a chronic illness, which makes dating me worlds more complicated than the average person.

I have been dumped because of things I can’t control — like my skewy autonomic nervous system, which often makes me feel sick or unable to do normal twentysomething activities. People don’t always sympathize with the struggles I go through every day, and I know it is incredibly difficult to see someone you love hurting.

My guy doesn’t just have to be a physical supporter for me, but he also has to serve as an emotional rock when I get frustrated with life. Some days are more painful and exhausting than others, and sometimes I just can’t think straight through the dizziness and brain fog. I need someone who will be patient with me and remember that I have a good heart.

Some days I will be cranky, but I don’t mean anything by it — I’m just not feeling well. So the last thing I need in a partner is someone who can remember how much I love him, even on the hard days. I need someone who will keep in mind that I’m still the same person, even when I’m incredibly sick and some of my best traits might be hidden behind pain. He will need to be able to remember that I still love him with all my heart, I’m just sometimes too darn tired to show it.

People like this aren’t a dime a dozen. Unconditional love is really difficult to find, and meeting someone who is willing to start a relationship with someone who already has complications isn’t always easy. The people I have met, though, who have been willing to go through the hard stuff in the beginning of our relationship are so incredibly special. These are the people who will be there for better and worse, and this is the kind of guy I eventually want to end up with. I guess in some ways I am lucky that I’m not always the easiest person to love since I have no choice but to weed out people who won’t stick around through tough times. I will end up with a 1 Corinthians 13 man.

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Today’s lesson: Take whatever it is that makes you feel different or unlovable, and realize that you are beautifully unique and you are stronger because of the struggles you have gone through. Realize that not everybody will love you with them, but the right person will absolutely love the entire package you have to offer. Just because you have a disability, baggage from your past, or struggle with something today does not mean you will never find love. It just means you need to wait for someone really, incredibly special to be a good fit for you. People like us kind of lucked out in that regard, I guess, because we can’t settle for an ordinary love. We have to be patient and wait on one that will hold the test of time and make it through the crazy curveballs life throws at us.

Keep On Keeping On

Sigh, one of the most difficult things about having a chronic illness is all the new things you develop. My illness started with POTS, but has expanded into an array of new symptoms and syndromes. The most recent thing we are looking at is whether or not I have nerve damage. I’m actually really quite nervous about this, as I thought I was in the clear since I had some skin biopsies last December that came back negative.

Now I have to go get some new tests done, though, and am praying hard that the numbness and tingling is merely a lack of circulation (or something less) and won’t cause any lasting damage. It’s always scary being presented with the idea that something new — something foreign to you — might be wrong. The best thing I’ve learned, though, is that Google and online forums are not my friend. It’s kind of similar to the way people joke about Web MD; every person’s illness presents itself so differently that it doesn’t help to look at the terrible things someone else may have. Instead, I’ve learned to focus on myself and try to remain positive while getting as many answers as I can.

In the meantime, I would so appreciate prayers from y’all that none of the new pain I have been feeling will be anything lasting. I would appreciate prayers for healing, and for finding the right doctors to help treat me. Thank you for being such an amazing support system for me! ❤

My Shade Of Blue

I have a disability.

Growing up I never would have thought I would hear those words come from my lips. I was always an exceptionally healthy individual; I exercised very regularly, ate well, and excelled academically.

Even in the very worst points of my illness I wasn’t able to comprehend that this word is attached to me now. I don’t have a normal life anymore, and I do need a lot of help with tasks that most people my age wouldn’t even think twice about because they are so mundane. I have to tell myself this over and over again to understand that asking a friend to carry a “heavy” water bottle will not make their arms hurt for days after or that having someone drive 30 minutes to see me isn’t going to bring them any sort of physical pain like driving more than 15 minutes down the road does for me. This is a difficult concept to grasp after living the way I have been for three years now.

When I first got POTS it came with an electric blue handicapped parking pass. This was to accompany me everywhere. I took it to my doctor appointments and to the gym — the only two places I could muster up enough energy to go to when I first fell ill. I was determined to get better, and although I wasn’t able to go out with friends, I would force myself to go on these necessary trips with the hope of having a normal life again one day.

My mother lovingly called my handicapped pass my “VIP pass,” but my brain couldn’t comprehend that this was something that was okay for me to use. I was so used to being able to do everything by myself and having an independent lifestyle that when my working body was torn away from me I didn’t know how to react. I felt guilty using the pass, but when I didn’t I would often feel too dizzy to walk to the back of the parking lot and someone would have to come pick me up. I had moments when I had to lie down in the middle of the parking lot so I wouldn’t pass out on the hard concrete and get sent to the hospital again because of a cracked head or something. I remember my heart freaking out on me so many times while I was merely trying to decide on something like whether I wanted to try vanilla or plain almond milk. I would lie down in the middle of the grocery aisle and put my feet on a low shelf to get the blood flowing back to my brain (Hence, the “postural” part of POTS). The girl who was literally passing out from just standing up felt like she couldn’t label herself as disabled.

A lot of this had to do with my chronic optimism and hopefulness that I would one day be better. The other half, though, had to do with the way I thought about disability. The handicapped pass says it all with the picture of a wheelchair as the symbol for the disabled. I do not look like someone who has a physical disability. I look like an average run of the mill girl you’d see on a college campus or studying at Starbucks. If anything I actually look like an athlete, as I am tall, thin, and wear my sneakers almost everywhere I go (They’re a lot easier on my knees than any of the cute boots or heels I loved wearing just a few years ago). I do not look sick. You absolutely cannot see my pain; even doctors have to feel different parts of my body or rely on complicated tests to see that I’m not just an average twentysomething.

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I’m always surprised when people tell me they’re “glad I’m feeling better” when they see pictures from photoshoots or nights out with my friends. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but without the context behind the photo it’s impossible to get an accurate story. The story behind this photo that my friend Audrey took would be about how blessed I felt to have a “good day.” It would include that I had a hard time turning my neck for some of the photos, and trying to overlook the sharp pain in my arms and shoulders so that I could have a fun day with my best friend. Despite some pain and difficulties, this is an overall happy photo for me to look back at.

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This photo tells a different story. It was taken two years ago by my cousin Kristin. A bunch of my relatives were visiting for Thanksgiving and since Kristin is a photographer, we decided to take a few family photos outside. I was freezing and wore a giant puffy coat until we got to the bridge across the street from my house. My head was spinning, so after a few shots I shivered all the way home where I promptly went to my room to take a nap in hopes of sleeping off some of my POTS symptoms. I didn’t get to help make the dessert — one of my favorite Thanksgiving activities — and I missed out on a lot of quality family time because I wasn’t feeling well enough to sit around and visit with everyone. I stayed in my room much of the visit, sleeping or watching Netflix, as there wasn’t a comfortable place for me to sit in the living room with my family. Even sitting up can be exhausting with POTS, as the blood rushes away from my brain and makes me dizzy.

I still don’t think of myself as being very different than anyone else. I have been sick for so long now part of me feels like my life has always been like this. I don’t really remember what it’s like being able to go to a store by myself without planning where I can get water with electrolytes, as I cannot carry my own water bottle for more than a few minutes at a time. Sometimes I feel like the rest of my life was a beautiful dream; I remember so many of the good parts of not being sick that I almost glorify regular life now. I think back to being able to go clubbing with friends and feeling carefree rushing around the streets of New York City. I remember how amazing running felt and miss the burning in my lungs from training out in the cold, crisp fall weather.

I remember how life was before I got sick and sometimes wish I could go back and fully enjoy the time I had. I wasted so much time worrying about the future and my plans that I didn’t even realize that whether or not I like it, I might not be in control of my own life — at least to an extent. I can’t work, and I act like going to doctor appointments as often as a full time job is a normal thing. All of my college dreams were shattered the day I got sick. I still do dream of being better one day and being able to write for a living. I want to be independent again one day, and I would love to be able to train for even just a 5K.

You can’t see my disability, but it’s there every minute of every day. Having POTS has been a great lesson to me that just because someone looks healthy or looks happy doesn’t mean that they are. Looks can be deceiving. You never really know a person until you hear their story.

A Day In The Life Of Pain

6:15 PM
Shit, I mumble as my leg gives out from the shooting pain striking through my body like a lightening bolt.

I rarely curse unless it’s when I write about something that upsets me or when I’m in terrible pain. “Rarely” changed to “several times a week” when my chronic widespread pain came about.

6:20
I make my way over to the couch, carrying my premade dinner in one hand and a salt shaker in the other. My pain dictates where I sit every night. Sometimes my neck is killing me and I need to perch at the dinner table where I probably belong. Other days my shoulders hurt or I am dizzy from a skewy autonomic nervous system disorder and need to recline further on a couch. Not long ago I had a lucky streak and thought things were taking a turn for the better. Those days I got to choose where I wanted to sit and whether or not I wanted to get out of the house.

6:24
It’s hard to eat when you’re nauseous, but severe pain rarely comes without a guest. The headaches are the one I dread the most, but neither symptom is a fun one to deal with. I think about my physical therapy and how it’s three days away. I don’t feel like I can make it that long without having needles stuck in my arms and wiggled around in the giant, painful triggerpoint knots until it hurts so much I want to scream, but the aftermath of dry needling is worth the pain I go through of getting it done. My arms stay painfully sore for 24 hours after, but my chronic pain levels do drop significantly for several days when I do get needled.

6:27
I should document the pain I am having in my “symptom journal,” but quickly stifle the thought. It’s ironic after all; it hurts my arms to write down the problems I have all day, and frankly I am in pain almost all day, every day, so what’s the use?

6:45
I can’t take it anymore, and decide I need some sort of relief. It’s either doing my postural series, or taking a hot bath. Going to sleep early isn’t an option, as it just means lying in bed several hours before my body lets me drift to sleep. I’ll opt for the bath. Again.

7:00
I used to love taking baths to unwind after a long day at school or work. My eyes graze over my past sanctuary, and I think back to how nice it was when the calm, warm water felt relaxing over my skin. Tears well up in my eyes as I write this, as I don’t remember the last time I have felt “relaxed.” The last time I sat on a fluffy bed I thought about how nice it was that I could actually fall asleep somewhere other than the bed at home I have taken years to improve as my symptoms got worse. I don’t remember the last time I genuinely felt comfortable somewhere.
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7:03
I slip into the hot water and quickly decide I need more cold if I don’t want to pass out. POTS can be very finicky, and I don’t want to have a new problem — possibly drowning — on my hands. I have enough medical issues to deal with right now, thank you very much!
The water cools down quickly and I lean back onto the towel-pillow I made at the edge of the bath. Gossip Girl is playing softly in the background, but I quickly find that I can’t get comfortable enough to watch the screen in the tub. I turn off the iPad and on The Kane Show Podcast I had been listening to for the past several years.
I close my eyes and lean back. Pain shoots from the base of my neck to my head, and I twist and turn until I find a spot that doesn’t hurt as much. At least this will be good for my arms, I think to myself as I float them back and forth in the warm water.

7:16
Everyone tells me water is therapeutic, and I finally start to agree. My muscles are slowly calming down and I feel like I can actually think.

7:50
My 47 minutes in heaven are over. I have to get out of the bath now, unless I want to look and feel like a prune the rest of the evening. Plus the position is terrible for my aching neck, and I don’t want to trade one pain for another. I have learned a lot about ergonomics in the past two years, and wish I had known about them before my first several bouts of chronic pain.
Now I am very careful to prevent any kind of pain I possibly can. I feel pretty high maintenance when I go out with friends, but they at least understand and can forgive me for it; pain, on the other hand, can not.

8:03
I’m in my PJs and ready for bed, but can’t go to sleep yet. It gets tiring flipping back and forth, as I never have a comfortable position, and I don’t have enough energy to do this for more than two hours. My body doesn’t usually let me fall asleep until after midnight, so I go downstairs to wait.

8:05
I open the Facebook app on my phone to take a look at the world I was once a part of. I’ve always realized life on this website isn’t really realistic, but I believe my guess that the majority of my twentysomething friends don’t face chronic medical issues every day. Some of them do, though, and many of those people look like they are normal. I know that better than most.

8:06
My arms hurt. I snap my elbow and realize I need to go back to my world. I close the app and turn to the television.

8:08
I realize nothing has helped as much as I had hoped. I heat up my herbal neck pillow and rest it on my neck.
Different nights call for different activities, but on really bad evenings I can’t really think and will tune in to an audiobook, catch up on whatever reality TV show I’m into, or visit with friends. Almost everything hurts — I can’t read or write, as both of those involve some sort of use of my arms — but I always try to stay optimistic and realize that one day I will have a day where I feel good again… Just not today.

I searched the document and the word “pain” was listed 21 times in the 2 hour time period I documented. Instead of editing it to make it more readable, I left the number because I felt it touches the surface on how hard it is to deal with so much pain, day in, and day out.

22.

“Did You Add Me Yet?!”

Ugh! Creepers are crawling all over the suburbs of DC.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I have an autonomic nervous system disorder and spend quite a bit of time visiting different doctors. I have a primary care doctor, two cardiologists, two neurologists, a physical therapist, and a bunch of people I have been to for a wide variety of medical testing. A little joke some of us POTSies have is that we’ve seen more doctors than movies this summer. #TRUTH.

Anyway, this obviously means there are also nurses and people who check me out before I meet with the doctor. I was at the cardiologist recently and there was a new male nurse who took me back to record my blood pressure, heart rate in several different positions (lying down, sitting, and standing), and a bunch of other things that never cease to confuse me. The heart test involves putting a bunch of electrodes on my chest that are hooked up to a giant machine that records all of the information for the doctor to look at. As I pulled up my shirt and he began placing the sticky circles in the proper places, he started chatting about how much he enjoys lifting weights. I told him that I used to love running and that it was a goal of mine to get back into it again one day. He told me that running was great, but lifting weights is much better. To each his own! I know weight lifting has a bunch of great health benefits, but running is just so therapeutic for me and is genuinely one of my favorite activities.

We kept talking a little longer and he told me that I should follow him on Instagram. I asked him if it was a fitness account or something, as I figured he was probably just trying to grow his fan base, but he told me that it was just a personal page.

Weird, I thought. It didn’t seem like a super-professional move, and I had literally just been talking about a guy I was dating, but I didn’t think too much of it. I figured he realized I wasn’t really interested, as I didn’t ask for his handle or anything else about his account.

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This guy actually looks SUPER similar to the nurse I met, haha!

After he was done writing down my numbers he led me to a second room for more tests. He left for a bit, and appeared fifteen minutes later to hook me up to another machine.

“So, have you followed me on Instagram?” he asked casually.

“No,” I replied, confused. “I’ve just been playing chess on my phone.”

I purposefully didn’t say that I would or ask for his handle, as I really wasn’t interested in mixing my cardiology friends with my personal life. He went on to give me the little tube to breathe in and stuck me on the bike. Here is a picture of what the contraption looks like for reference; do you think I look like Bane too?

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This was my first time doing this test a few years ago; I had my mom take a picture, as the crazy contraption reminded me of “The Dark Knight.”

Anyway, he rambled about a few of his favorite foods and then told me I just had to follow him on Instagram when I was done with my exercise.

3, I noted to myself. I was huffing and puffing, and slightly annoyed this time. I don’t go to the doctor’s office to make friends or get dates. I’m there because I have a chronic illness and would like to get the best medical care possible. This isn’t a fun little trip for me; it’s something that I hope is another step towards getting better.

I finished my workout and he recorded my results. I was led to a third room where the doctor would eventually meet with me. “Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram,” he reminded me as he headed toward the door. “The name’s MurrayJeffersonLincolnGray.*”

What the heck?! I thought to myself. First, how in the world was I supposed to have found him before when I didn’t even have his first name, much less the three others that followed. Second, he really needs to take a chill pill. I am not adding this character on any of my social media sites, and he has clearly crossed a line of professionalism.

I decided to go to his page to see why it was such an urgent matter that I follow him. The first thing I noticed was that he only had 205 followers. This made everything that had happened just that much weirder, as it was clear this fellow didn’t push his Instagram to everyone — unless, of course, all the others were too creeped out to follow him as well, which is a very real possibility.

The second thing I noticed really gave me chills. He had posted photos in his underwear! Not just like a goofy selfie, but a weird pose and clenched butt cheeks. He had pulled the briefs to the side so you could see how much he had been working on his glute muscles.

YIKES.

I was speechless. I wasn’t brave enough to keep scrolling through his account, but at first glance he seemed to be really into post workout photos and his butt. If you want to do this, cool, but don’t try to get people in your professional life to follow you. That is so wrong and is a terrible idea on so many different levels. I also noticed that he had a girlfriend, which also seemed odd. He had been pretty flirty all day, and in all honesty I would be ticked if my significant other kept trying to get rando clients to add him on social media accounts.

After the terrible assault on my eyes had occurred, I hit the “Block” button at the top of the screen and clicked out of the app. I pinched myself, wondering if this was a strange dream, and jumped as my nails dug into my skin. Nope. This was an incredibly strange reality.

By the time I was leaving the office he had reached 5. He asked me 5 times to follow him on Instagram, and finally got rejected. I love that strange and awkward things happen to me so often because I have great stories to tell, but this one was just a little too out there for me. I don’t want to have to deal with creeps at the doctors’ office of all places, and felt uncomfortable enough that I will not be returning to this particular nurse anymore.

What do you think? How would you have reacted if you were in my shoes?


*Obviously I changed the handle around a little, but it was super-similar to this made up one.

Sometimes Plans Get Broken

The last three years of my life did not go the way I could have imagined in a million years. If you had told me when I was in undergrad that I would develop a debilitating chronic illness just weeks after graduating I would have gone into full-out panic mode. Despite typical teen struggles I had never really dealt with anything incredibly difficult in my life before.

My story certainly doesn’t mirror a typical twentysomething’s, but I have been able to learn firsthand how refreshing it is to focus on your own journey, rather than comparing yourself to others.

My Dreams were: to move to New York City, segue my editorial internship at Seventeen magazine into a job, pay off my own college debt, and enjoy a few more years in a teeny tiny apartment with a fun roommate while I was still young and unmarried. Towards the end of my time working in the city I felt like these dreams were so close I could almost taste them — after all, I was literally eating $2 New York pizza and garlic knots for dinner every other night, and I had become a pro in the city I loved so much.

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I loved incorporating some of my favorite clothing pieces from London into my New York wardrobe.

My reality is: I live at home with my parents in the suburbs, I physically cannot work despite spending so much time in school preparing for the real world (Where the fun should really begin in my field!), and I spend the same amount of time at the doctors’ office as many of my peers spend working. All of this topped off with the handful of POTS symptoms that remain and my chronic widespread pain make a perfect recipe for frustration.

The funniest thing about everything, though, is I am the most content and secure I have ever been in my entire life. I see so many of my friends succeeding in their own lives and careers and I am genuinely so happy for each and every one of them. I actually really like social media because I feel like I get to celebrate small and large victories not only with my close friends, but also with people I haven’t seen in awhile.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes feel a little pang of jealousy that most of the people I spend time with have normally functioning bodies, but it’s never in a way that I would want to take anything away from anyone; I just want to have my own health back. All of my friends are able to go to concerts and on road trips without having a care in the world, whereas it takes a lot of planning for me to be even remotely spontaneous. So in this way, I do sometimes struggle with the things I have to miss because of my illness.

I still feel a little heartbroken when I think about New York and wish I could go out my front door and see the beautiful lights shimmering around me at night. I want to be able to live life again without paying attention to dozens of little details to ensure I don’t feel incredibly ill, but that isn’t my reality at the moment. Right now I do have to take lots of extra care of my body and I can’t do everything that my heart desires.

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This is literally the coolest couch ever. All the celebrities that come in sit here for their interviews!

So, how do I feel so at peace with my life? How can I be so happy for others when I don’t necessarily have the same privilege of a normal, working body?

My answer is actually really simple. I focus on the things I do have, rather than those that I do not, and I realize that there is enough room for everyone to be successful in their own way.

Here is the long list of things I do have in my life:

  • Amazingly supportive friends and family who love me very much. This already makes me feel like one of the most blessed and lucky girls in the world when I take the time to sit down and really appreciate them.
  • The best best friends in the world — this includes my little puppy, Macy.
  • My body works enough now that I can have some fun adventures, as long as I take it easy a few days before and after a big event.
  • I think there’s a good chance I might have found the best guy in the entire world and he likes me too (And is totally fine with the excessive amount of rest I need to feel good).
  • My heart has been broken into a million pieces and I still know how to love fiercely.
  • Even though I can’t be writing articles for Seventeen at the moment, I can share my thoughts with lots of young girls on this blog. At the end of the day I am still following one of the paths I really wanted to be on.
  • I may not have a snazzy New York apartment, but I have a warm place to stay and absolutely love my family — I actually think I am lucky to have a few extra years living with them!
  • The Office is available on Netflix (And so is Pokémon: Indigo League… I mean, what?).
  • And lastly, I have chocolate. I may have developed several new food allergies in the past few years, but I love chocolate and it loves me, so I think I can deal with any of the dietary restrictions that come my way.
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Macy is my sweet little guardian angel and has been one of the biggest blessings I have received since I got sick.

I really could go on and on about the things I am thankful for in my life. I’m not optimistic every day and I do struggle seeing the bright side of things sometimes, but my God is an awesome God and I know He is taking really good care of me. I have known from a young age that my purpose in life is to somehow help others, and the responses I have gotten from writing for this blog makes me feel like I am making an impact on people’s lives.

Thank you for reading what I write, and thank you for being so supportive of me. I love that so many of you have been comfortable enough to trust me with some of your struggles, and I feel blessed to walk alongside such wonderful people in their journeys through heartbreak or to find love. Each one of you has something absolutely amazing to offer the world. Just because your story might be vastly different, doesn’t mean that it is any less important or fulfilling.

My Story

I’ve mentioned having a chronic illness before and have shared about it quite a bit. I don’t remember how I told my good friends that I had become ill with something that would change the rest of my life, but I do know I’ve never really gone over the entire story of what happened during that trip to North Carolina. This time I want to share more details about the very real nightmare I had about three years ago.

Here is my story.


The sun was shining down on my face and grazed my blonde summer highlights as I watched the waves crash onto the white sand beach. I approached the water cautiously, dipping my toes in and closing my eyes to fully experience the chilling sensation. It was only my second time surfing, but I was a fairly gifted athlete, so I was confident I would do as well as I had in California a few years prior. The instructor had been impressed with my performance, despite it being my first time. I was excited to give it a go again; the beach has always been my favorite place in the world and I felt at peace being back at my safe haven.

It was my last summer at home before I went out into the world to chase my dream of being a journalist. I had just graduated college and was bright eyed, bushy tailed, and a big bundle of nerves. There were so many things I didn’t have the answers to yet. I wanted to live in New York again, but it was so expensive. I wanted to be near my long-term boyfriend, but he didn’t seem to take my opinion into account as to where we could live.

None of that mattered today, though. I pushed everything to the back of my mind; today was all about me, my board, and the beach. I felt free — even if I had to go back to my normal life in a few days.

I shifted my gaze as the cold water pulsed over my painted toes, took a deep breath, and charged through the icy waves until I could get on my board and paddle. I glided through the water seamlessly until I was far enough behind the waves to turn around. The view of the beach from the ocean was peaceful and serene. I turned around to scout out my first wave. I saw the perfect ripple forming and paddled as fast as I could. I loved being in control of my body and the board beneath it. We sliced through the water together until it was time for me to go off on my own and stand up. The board remained faithfully beneath my feet, soaring across the wave. I hadn’t remembered smiling so wide in a long time. Anxiety seemed to plague my mind, as I was constantly nervous about my future. I was worn out and felt like I didn’t have any control over what was about to happen in my life.

The board shook beneath my feet and I crashed into the water.

I laughed as I wiped the salty water from my eyes and shook the sand from my hair. It was my first wave of the day; I wasn’t supposed to get that one anyway. I beamed as I flipped the board around and sprinted back into the roaring waves. They were just playing with me; they didn’t mean any harm. I tried and fell a few more times. This didn’t break my spirit, as I was happy that it was summer and that I could enjoy my time in the ocean. Something didn’t feel quite right, though. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I realized I needed to take a break from surfing. I had caught a few waves and crashed on several more. Maybe I just needed to sit and hydrate. I rode a wave in and struck the ground one last time.

I drug my board to shore and plopped down on my pink and yellow starfish towel as I wiggled my hips to get the rest of the sand out of my suit. I took a sip of water and noticed the unfamiliar purple wounds on my legs — bruises from falling. I didn’t think much of it, with the exception of being a bit surprised that the marks took so quickly. I was breathing a little harder than usual. I had just run a half marathon a few weeks before; should I really be that tired from riding waves? Whatever, surfing is hard, I thought. I need to just give myself a break.

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I knew it was silly to wear a cute bikini under a wetsuit, but I was so excited to break in my new suit that day, haha.

I stayed out of the water the rest of the day and figured I would give it another go tomorrow. After all, we still had a few days left; there was no need to rush.


Little did I know this would be the last normal physical activity I would do for upwards of three years. Come back on Saturday to continue on this journey with me.

GF’s Got Me Hangry

Salads are making me go crazy.

I recently started a gluten-free diet to try and reduce some inflammation for one of my chronic illnesses. A catch-22, though, is that I also recently found out I am allergic to tomatoes and potatoes — foods that seem to be staples in a gluten-free diet — along with a small array of other fruits and veggies.

I did this as I do many things and just went cold turkey. I didn’t try to ease into it, and frankly didn’t do any sort of research whatsoever before making this big change in my diet. I’m all about carbs, and actually need a lot of them to function with POTS.

Anyway since I’m so clueless, I’ve basically been eating a diet solely consisting of Greek yogurt, eggs, and salads. Throw in a lot of dark chocolate and that’s my day.

I’m beginning to get really frustrated, as I have lost some weight that I would have liked to keep, and feel tired and dizzy without my pretzels and crackers.

The other day I realized how grumpy going gluten-free has made me after I ordered a salad at the Nordstrom cafe and moved toward the checkout. My mom casually said, “Do you want dessert? Those cupcakes are beautiful!”

To which I replied with a loud and flustered, “Mom, I can’t eat that; it’s not gluten-free!”

I immediately realized how bratty I had been and felt my face turn red from embarrassment. I mumbled an apology to my mom as the pastry chef glared at me from behind the counter.

Now that I’ve gotten through a few weeks of this I am realizing I need help. What kind of GF items do you like? What websites might help me find new meals to cook? I cannot keep living off of salads!

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Sums up how I feel about my new diet.