Strong (adj.)

Today I would like to dissect what it means to be “strong.”

This has been a word used to describe me by so many people since I graduated college, got POTS, and went through a number of difficult trials, but it still feels kind of funny when I hear someone throw this adjective next to my name.

Dictionary.com defines strong as,

“Mentally powerful or vigorous,”

but it doesn’t offer any tips on how to be strong or what kind of trials make you strong.

I was made strong. I didn’t choose to be strong and I am in no way admirably resilient. Before getting sick I was used to a fairly comfortable life, and never in a million years thought of myself as tough or someone who would face trials well.

Almost 4 years later, though, and here I am. I had a choice to make when I got sick. I could take what the doctors said, admit defeat, and recognize that my life would never be the same, or I could fight for the best life I could possibly have. I quickly chose the latter. This involves keeping an open and optimistic mindset, being incredibly dilligent with my doctors appointments, physical therapy, and diet, and finally — learning how to rest.

When I first got my diagnoses I asked through tears whether I’d ever get better. The nurse laughed and told me I wouldn’t and my mind immediately went into a dark abyss, thinking about a long life of dizzy spells, fainting, and feeling miserable. I was incredibly lucky to have my incredibly encouraging mother with me, who followed me to the parking lot and said the nurse didn’t know what she was talking about. She said I needed to take each day as it came to me, and think positive thoughts. To this day I believe this is one reason I am slowly getting better and have been able to make peace with my new life.

I’ve had POTS for three-and-a-half years now and haven’t had a week off from going to visit some sort of doctor. I typically have 2 physical therapy appointments and either acupuncture or a massage to work on managing my chronic pain, as well as regular visits to my cardiologist, neurologist, and endocrinologist. I go to the gym 5 days a week — even when I am feeling awful — because the worst possible thing for a POTSie to do is get deconditioned. This involves a short 30 minute recumbent bike ride, as I could easily faint if I am in an upright position. I get B12 shots every other week since I am deficient in it and B12 seems to be a link to chronic pain. Then I have to take a lot of time to rest so that my body can settle down a bit. I get worn out incredibly easy, and a trip to the grocery store turns into a long ordeal because of the recovery time afterward.

Lots of POTS patient develop adult allergies, so I can’t eat many of my favorite foods anymore. I have given up nightshade vegetables (Potatoes are my favorite food and I miss French fries dearly!), gluten (Now I am the butt of so many jokes), and I really limit my dairy and sugar intake. I don’t drink coffee at all, partly because I can’t have caffeine, and partly because I just can’t have coffee, period, and I don’t drink alcohol at all anymore. The coffee is definitely a million times more difficult.

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Lastly, I have had to learn to listen to my body and rest. This is such a hard thing for me to do, as my mind is incredibly active. Anyone who knew me before I got sick knows I love to work and play, so sleeping and rest were never really a big part of my vocabulary. I joke to my friends that I’m just catching up on all the time I missed in my life before, but it really is a difficult thing for me to wrap my mind around. I always have a million and one things I want to do and write about, however my body isn’t very kind to me. Writing hurts after ten minutes, and the dictation software I have used is grueling. I can’t sit at a desk chair very long without having a lot of pain in my shoulders, and some days I can’t stand without feeling dizzy. Sometimes all I can do is rest, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to spend time listening to podcasts and watching HGTV when I really can’t do anything else. Yes, I would much rather be working and making a living for myself. I wish I could live in New York and write for a magazine, I wish I could have a paycheck to save for a new car or fun wardrobe, but that’s just not in the cards for me right now. Right now it’s my job to focus on getting better, keep taking care of myself, and trust that God will make something beautiful out of my struggle. 

The best advice I could possibly give anyone going through something tough is to take each day as it comes to you. Worrying about things in the future that you cannot control won’t help you change them, and looking back on the past won’t make your present any more satisfying. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and I know what it’s like to feel like life isn’t fair. The greatest feeling when your world is crumbling in on you is when you finally learn to give your problems to God and let Him take care of the things that are outside your control.

Today’s lesson: If I can be strong, you can too. I’ve always thought I am an incredibly average person in most regards, which should offer an incredible amount of encouragement to anyone reading this. If I can do, so can you.

b l a c k o u t.

Vrrrroosh.

My pulse is racing and I feel the floor beneath my bare feet become colder, harder.


Have you ever fainted before? It’s scary.

I’ve become kind of a pro at passing out, mainly because I have had a lot of close calls, rather than eating the floor on a regular basis. Ever since I got sick with POTS three-and-a-half years ago I’ve learned what it’s like to faint.


My heart can’t stop. It keeps speeding up and feels like I’m going downhill in a car and my brakes just failed. Instead of being able to pull an emergency brake or slow the car’s roll, it speeds up at a terrifyingly alarming speed.

Thudthudthudthud.

Shit. I crouch to the ground as soon as my brain catches up to the rest of my body and realizes that I am going down, whether I want to or not.

This is what I’ve trained for.

My body has been trained for fainting. I have done it so many times that I know how to respond. Everything always happens so fast. Racing. Dizzy. Blackout. Nausea. Sweating. Falling. Ground — always in that order.

Ground.

As soon as I am down on the ground I feel the cold tile behind me. I’m cold and wet, but don’t really notice until my hand slips. The bath was a bad idea. It helps with the pain, but my heart can’t handle the heat. I feel around behind me, blind, just to be sure my head won’t hit the hard floor when I lie down in my postural position. I close my eyes and brace myself. There’s no change in my vision yet, but I hope it comes back soon, as my spatial awareness isn’t so great. This can pose for a dangerous problem when I’m on hard ground. Usually I black out on the plush carpet when I get out of bed too fast, but sometimes it happens in places that are a lot scarier than that.

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This is what blacking out looks like. It starts off looking like a crackly television, then turns to this.

My hands slide slowly behind my body as I sit on the floor and ease the rest of myself to the ground. I close my eyes, praying I won’t vomit and reminding myself to take deep breaths until it’s all over. I don’t know if one ever really throws up when they’re about to faint, as it’s never happened to me, but it always feels like I will.

Ten seconds go by. Twenty. An hour?

It feels like my time on the ground before my vision finally starts turning slightly colorful and blurry again is lasting a lifetime, though I know it couldn’t be more than thirty seconds. First it’s as if I’m wearing high prescription glasses that my 20/20 vision isn’t used to. Then everything gradually comes in to focus. I can finally see again and the blood rushes back to my brain.

Stupid, stupid, I think to myself as I realize what I had done. The water in the bathtub was too warm for a POTS patient, and I stood up way too quickly when I made my move to get a razor. I had hurt myself on accident by taking a high risk for a minimal reward. I hate not being able to shave my legs in the shower (because of the postural change that occurs when I do), and all I wanted was to have a smooth finish after my bath. I should have known better than to stand up quickly from a warm bath, but I want so badly to be normal again and not to think about every little move I make and how it’s going to affect me for the rest of the week.


Sleep.

Any time I have a close call with my heart acting up it makes me incredibly tired.

As soon as I gather the right amount of energy to safely stand up, I shut my eyes tightly and push lightly with my hands to lift the rest of my body up. I throw on a robe — not bothering to dry off — and walk with a blank mind and body into my bedroom and ease into my warm, soft bed.

Soon I am out again, but this time the darkness isn’t scary — it’s peaceful. My brain feels like it can’t function again because it needs rest, but that’s okay. I’m finally safe; I’m in the least likely place for my body to attack itself again.

 

My Biggest Insecurity

Ooh, juicy Krista gossip! Things like insecurities are so interesting to other people because they’re often very private things. You usually don’t know what other people in a crowded room are worried about because you’re too focused on your own things.

My biggest insecurity is weird. When I was younger I would have answered something purely physical. These are still very valid insecurities, but thankfully I have been able to get past beating myself up for my imperfections.

Today, though, I have something new in my life — my health.

For the most part this isn’t a crippling insecurity; it’s something I only notice on rare occasions, but the more I branch out, the more it hits me that I am different now. When it comes to dating or making new friends it’s still so weird introducing myself and explaining that I have an autonomic nervous system disorder, which is why I am (insert whatever odd action I am doing to keep myself feeling well). POTS is an invisible illness, which means people can’t tell I’m sick from just looking at me, but if anyone decides to spend even a short amount of their day with me they’ll find that I do things that clearly set myself apart from the average twentysomething.

The thing I’ve been afraid about most in my dating life is that I’ll keep whoever is with me from doing fun, normal activities. I can’t travel super-easily, I don’t drink, and I sometimes have to take several days to muster up enough energy to just go out to dinner with friends. My full-time job is “getting better,” which involves going to a million different appointments every week, regular trips to the gym, resting a lot, and taking a class for my Masters to keep me sane. I try to be positive about things for the most part, but I do sometimes get worn out and frustrated with the very slow progress (Or sometimes taking a step or two in the wrong direction).

I’m not used to missing out on things I want to do. I still feel disappointed when I realize I can’t do things like go to the WMZQ fest at the last minute or when I have to watch my friends go surfing while I sit and sunbathe on the beach. If I’ve had this illness for three and a half years now and am still not used to everything I have to miss out on, how am I going to find someone who is okay with missing out on so many of the great things that life has to offer when his body works just fine and he can still enjoy the activities that I miss so much?

It breaks my heart that my mind works this way, but I’ve slowly learned that the people who are in my life don’t love me because of the activities we do together — they love me for my mind and for my heart. The people who are close to me know that I am a kind, caring, and thoughtful person, and the many different character traits that I do have to offer in a relationship. I’m a good friend, I often put other people before myself, I am genuine, and I love others deeply. These are the qualities that really matter in a relationship anyway; POTS is just something that happens to come along with the whole “Krista package” now.

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Today’s lesson: Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of our strengths, rather than honing in on the things we don’t have. The past three years I’ve realized that we don’t give other humans enough credit. There have been plenty of people who still want to be my friend or date me, despite the laundry list of things I can’t do anymore. People often do look at your heart above all else, and it has been so beautiful learning that our souls mean so much more than the physical bodies we have been given.

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.

My Story Part 2

The next morning I woke and went to grab breakfast with my mom. I had been excited the night before, as we were scheduled to go paddleboarding. I felt slightly nauseous, but dismissed it as nerves for the anticipation of learning something new.

I gnawed on a donut with one hand as I slipped on my swimsuit with the other.

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By the time we got to the paddleboarding hut I was feeling pretty ill (And regretted giving in to the temptation of Duck Donuts). I wondered why I was so nervous about something that was on still water. I am a good swimmer and wasn’t afraid of falling in; it made no sense. I sat outside and tried to focus on how good the sun warming my newly freckled skin felt until we were called to go to the dock.

We all took turns hopping onto our boards in the calm bay and pushed off the dock.

Thirty seconds in I felt the seasickness setting in. How is this happening so quickly? I wondered to myself. I always get nauseous on boats, but it usually takes a little bit of time for everything to set in.

“Am I supposed to feel dizzy?” I asked the instructor as my vision blurred slightly.

“Uh, I don’t think anyone’s ever mentioned that before,” he casually replied with a minor look of concern splashed across his face. “Keep me posted on how you’re doing.”

I nodded. I hated more than anything being high maintenance so I wasn’t about to make everyone turn around for me, but I didn’t remember feeling that sick in a very long time. I tried to make the most of things as I paddled close behind the instructor. My brother and I giggled about the showoff who had left the group and gotten stuck in the marsh, but I felt like I couldn’t focus on anything. The fogginess in my head made this almost feel like a dream.

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Realizing I was close to actually getting sick, I told the group I was going to turn around and went to sit on the dock. My head spun, but I figured I would acquire my land legs again soon enough.


Later that night I felt a little better, so we went out for dinner to a local homestyle BBQ joint. I was excited; I love ribs and couldn’t wait for our meal. Once we got our meal nausea set in — hard.

“I think I’m sick,” I announced to my family. My head was spinning and I didn’t laugh at any of the jokes that everyone had been telling. I rested my head on the table as we waited for the check. Great, it’s just my luck that the one time I get the flu we are at the beach, I thought to myself. I had gotten sick a lot living in New York City the spring before, but other than that I was a pretty healthy person; I couldn’t remember the last time I had the flu.

We went home and I rested on the couch. I asked my brother to get a 32 ounce Gatorade from the fridge and sipped on it as I gazed past the television while The Office played in the background.

I reached for my drink and was startled to find that it was empty. My mouth felt dry and I couldn’t swallow. Why wasn’t there any spit?

I chose another Gatorade from the fridge and drank it reluctantly. I didn’t want to puke yellow Gatorade all over the couch, but I also felt like I needed more to drink. Two Gatorades down, still no spit. My body began to panic as I realized I was disturbingly dehydrated. I took a deep breath and drank a solo cup filled with water. Then another, and another. In total I had 14 different drinks and noticed absolutely no change in my hydration. Tears welled up in my eyes and I wondered why my body was letting me to expel water from my eyes, but keeping it from my mouth. Something wasn’t right. In fact, something was very, very wrong.

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A few hours later I lay in bed and still felt my heart racing. It was getting worse. I had noticed a rapid heart beat a few weeks ago, but pinned it on feeling restless about the problems my boyfriend and I were having. This time was different, though. It wasn’t just a short spurt; my heart was racing and wouldn’t stop. I was nauseous. The room was spinning around me. My limbs felt heavy and numb.

This is the end, I thought. It may seem hilariously dramatic to everyone reading this, but before I knew what was wrong with me — a very sudden onset of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome — it really felt like my body was quickly shutting down on me.

My life flashed before my eyes, but it wasn’t the way it does in the movies.

Instead I just felt a sense of regret. God, if I live through tonight I promise I’ll make something of myself and try to honor You, I bartered. I’ll get to know You better. Please don’t let me die. I don’t want to find out what happens when I die yet.

I hadn’t taken enough time to focus on my faith and prepare for what would happen when it was my time to leave the earth. I wanted to feel more comfortable with my ending; I hated how unsettled I felt with the fact that this might be my last night here.

I wasn’t sure about much, but I was certain that something was very wrong with my heart. A 22-year-old shouldn’t be having a heart attack, but that was the only explanation I had for the sensation I was feeling. I called for my mom. She rushed downstairs and came into my room. I told her how I was feeling and she crawled into bed next to me. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t want to go to the emergency room so far away from home. I felt like I was on my death bed, but I also didn’t feel like anything was adding up. I was healthy. I took care of myself. Logic told me it couldn’t be anything serious, but I felt otherwise.

That was the longest night of my life. I turned on the television in an attempt to drown out the sound of my heart racing against the pillow. I tried to ignore everything that felt wrong; I didn’t want to rush around a foreign town to find a doctor at 2 in the morning. If I lost consciousness surely my mom would notice and take care of getting me the help I needed. I just wanted to make it through the night to go home the next day to my familiar doctor.

The room shook. I looked around, startled, and noticed it was just me. I was suddenly freezing. I wrapped the fleece blanket and fluffy white comforter around myself and began to cry. There were so many new sensations I had never felt in my life and something was definitely wrong. I thought of my family, and I thought of the little girls I babysat. I hoped people would miss me if I wasn’t around anymore, but I also wanted them to be okay. I began thinking more about my own mortality and shook harder. My relationship with God wasn’t near where I wanted it to be. Now that I felt so delicate I wanted to be certain of what was going to happen to my soul. I prayed to God, asking for another chance at life. I was scared and I certainly didn’t feel ready.

The nightmare continued until the next morning.

I drifted off a few times until my heart beat or the uncontrollable shaking would wake me. I focused on my breathing, expecting it to stop at any second, but prayed it wouldn’t.

The next day we piled into the car and I tiredly leaned against the front window. My body was weak, but had made it through the night. Despite being exhausted and sick, I was very thankful that it was finally morning.

I noticed the rapid thudding in my chest and wondered whether I had some sort of new superpower in which I could recognize every single thing that was working in my body. Is it weird I’ve never noticed my heart beat before? I wondered to myself. I knew it shouldn’t constantly feel like I was running a marathon as I was sitting in the passenger seat, but I also knew I wasn’t dreaming and that terrible life-changing things just did not happen to me. My life was good. My life was normal. The biggest struggle I had going into college was actually coming up with a hardship to share in one of my school applications.


I didn’t know it then, but I wasn’t just sick with the flu or something that would go away after a week or two of bed rest. My life is forever changed, and I will share my experiences running from doctor to doctor and how I learned to cope with this new lifechanging news on Tuesday.

A Dizzy Blonde

I just woke up and it is almost 11 PM.

It was strange, too, because I happened to wake in the middle of taking a shower. I stood there in the center of the clean glass box while a few songs hummed on my iPhone, letting the water rush over face and hair. All of a sudden my eyes opened and it was like lightening had struck my brain and woken it up.

I looked around, wondering what time it was and why I couldn’t remember what had happened the rest of the day.

This is a day in the life of the chronically ill.

After being sick for three years I have progressed so much. I feel so blessed to be where I am today, and that more of my days are good than bad. In fact, many of my symptoms have disappeared completely! Today, though, was rough. I was so dizzy that I had to spend my time lying on the couch or resting in between packing a few items in my suitcase for my weekend beach trip. The view from my couch reminded me of my illness three years ago when that was my entire life. It reminded me of how thankful I should be every single day, despite the symptoms I do have. I am so blessed that my brain functions normally most days (My symptom along with the dizziness today would have been called “brain fog” by the POTS community), and I am blessed that I am getting better, even though I’m not there yet.

I will write more later, as I am still “waking up” from my fog, but I just wanted a reminder to myself to be thankful most days for the health that I do have.

 

A Little About Me

I have been surprised at how many new people are following my blog, so I thought I needed to introduce myself a little better so y’all can get to know the person behind these goofy stories.

I had a really normal and comfortable life all the way through college. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Washington DC and have a wonderful family and great friends.

August 2012 was a really weird year for me, though. I ended up getting diagnosed with something called POTS, and have collected a few new diagnoses since then (Because apparently once you get one weird thing several others must follow). A lot of my symptoms have significantly improved, but one that remains is chronic widespread pain. POTS is an invisible illness, so I look normal even if I feel terrible. Now that I’m not passing out or needing to lie down in the middle of the grocery store, you would never know that anything was wrong with me unless I told you.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have only had one serious relationship so far. I started dating my best friend my sophomore year of college, then did the long distance thing for two years after graduating. The distance wasn’t the reason we broke up; I don’t believe that can be the ultimate reason a couple ends things. I won’t give specifics to respect the privacy of all who are involved.

I am a Christian and my faith is important to me. I am definitely still growing, and my relationship with God has been all over the place since I got sick. I do strongly believe He is going to make my story into something that will ultimately glorify Him, though.

My sense of humor has always been something that helps me get through rough times in my life, and I really value that in all of my relationships. Not everyone gets me, but the people who do seem to appreciate it.

I’m maybe about 65% basic. I love Taylor Swift, own a North Face jacket, Instagram pictures of my Starbucks orders, and often wear leggings as pants. To counteract my basicness, I am a big fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Seinfeld.

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These are a few of my favorite things.

Writing this post was a lot like filling out a dating profile. I was definitely all over the place, but I feel like I’ve covered a decent amount about myself for now. You’ll learn a lot more about me through the stories I tell than these little bullets, but I just thought it would be a fun little post.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts and send me messages! I’ve had a lot of fun with this so far and look forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for us.

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve is has been strange for me a few years now. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays, as I love making resolutions and having a fresh start.

Many of you know that I was diagnosed with a chronic illness about 3 years ago now, but I’ll write a little bit more about that another day for those of you who don’t know my story.

I’ve learned that NYE is actually a really hard time for young twentysomethings with chronic illnesses. Most of our friends are out drinking and celebrating, while it’s not always quite so simple for us spoonies. There is a lot of planning ahead for a night out in the town, and even if we get out there can be other complications.

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It’s really difficult sometimes feeling like my life is so vastly different from my friends, and although it’s a lot less frequent, I still get frustrated that I can’t have a “normal” life.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus more on what I can do.

It’s hard each year seeing health resolutions that are not met, but this year I am going to make resolutions I can actually control. Instead of saying that by next year I am going to be without chronic pain, I am resolving to be more diligent about my exercises and going to the gym. Instead of saying that I want to be able to move to a crazy city by myself next year, I am going to make the resolution to write more and be creative about making adventures for myself around here until I can venture off on my own.

Making more realistic resolutions is going to be rewarding and I am excited that they require daily work that I will do every week to get closer to my ultimate goal of getting better.