1

That Time I Got Married

Reader, I married him.

(When in awe, why not go with a little Charlotte Bronte?)

Three and a half years after our first date.

Two years after our first apartment.

One year after graduation.

Thanks, baby sister, for capturing this ;)

Thanks, baby sister, for capturing this ūüėČ

We made it! We survived the craziness of driving 3 hours with our loony dog talking away in the back, last minute table decorating, and (the crowning achievement of the evening) nobody forgot their pants. Somehow I even managed to keep my anxiety in check and was able to enjoy the food and drink (yay wine!).

A lot of credit goes to our wonderful photographer, Danielle Vennard, who honestly made my day as stress 11182143_10153733597864239_2616020139747808658_nfree as possible by keeping things moving and having fun with our photos. I knew that the special moments were going to be preserved. I mean, look at this picture of my best friend and I.

—>

That’s like our whole 13 years of friendship wrapped into one gorgeous black and white frame.

 
My family (the new and the original!) and friends who traveled from near and far truly made our day. There’s just something special about having everyone gathered in one place and it wouldn’t have been the same without them.

Now that it’s over, however, I am looking forward to getting back to my blog. I still have a mound of “Thank You” cards to complete, but I’m hoping to sneak away and throw out a few posts. So keep an eye out because I’m back!

Advertisements
3

Tis The Season For Withdrawal

Fa la la la laaaaa la la la laaaa

Happy New Years Eve! As the holiday season comes to a close, I wanted to touch on something rather important. As hectic as the holidays are for the everyday person (A fever? Why, you shouldn’t have!) and the amount of time spent with family is often cited as the reason for madness (Grandma got run over by a reindeer…or a chevy), individuals with chronic illness face unique challenges that mean the holiday season is filled with both joy and pain.

10888510_10203506115877759_1336063370743715650_n

For example, Maverick is joyous over the attention and yet almost painfully afraid of Santa.

The insane switch from Thanksgiving to Christmas leaves even the most sugar-rushed individual feeling tired and in need of a drink or 3. When your own body is fighting against you and 7-8 hours of sleep a night are non-negotiable, those 4 weeks become a marathon. In spite of proper rest, monkey wrenches might just throw themselves in ones path as well. You wanted mom’s homemade kielbasa? Here’s a flare instead. Until you can’t eat, you don’t necessarily realize how much¬†socialization is centered around food. When one can’t partake it can leave a bereft feeling. Especially if it’s a tradition that holds value to the individual unable to participate.

This year, my own holiday hurricane came in the form of a medicinal withdrawal. I’ve been weaning off of an old medication for weeks but 2 days before Christmas Eve was day zero. I was completely unprepared for the symptoms that were to follow. At work I was dizzy and nauseous with a rather annoying headache. When the symptoms first appeared, I thought that I must be hungry or suffering from one of my awesome migraines. And then came the strange disjointed vision. Followed by an inability to regulate my body temperature. I called my doctor, but alas they were already closed for the holiday.

Despite my fiance’s wise advise, we drove 3 hours to see my side with the assistance of Dramamine. After product-detail-dramamine-drowsy-packagea¬†visit from ole Saint Nick and taking pictures where I look abnormally large due to bloating,¬†the night ended with frequent sprints out of bed and uncontrollable shaking. But I’m what many people would possibly describe as stubborn, and I was determined to have a great Christmas. Desperate, I thought, perhaps it was a weird stomach bug, but the symptoms didn’t cease. Things were temporarily easier upon waking but any attempts to eat or drink ended in miserable failure. Luckily, God said let there be¬†Zofran and that shit is good¬†(This is the Bible according to Sam).¬†But, sadly, even Zofran can only do so much. On the verge of needing ER care the day after Christmas, my doctor was able to contact me and wanted me to alternate my med for another week to lessen the symptoms. To clarify, that would be my terminated med that was innocently sitting at home 3 hours away.

With the patience of a saint, my fiance drove with me in a ball huddled beside him in the passengers seat in day-after-Christmas traffic for almost 5 hours. I was then instructed to sit on the couch and stay. Considering I felt like a zombie, this wasn’t really a hard command to follow. It took over 2 days, and therefore 2 doses, for me to be able to eat without a nausea aid or intense abdominal cramping. The shaking ceased slowly over time and eventually I was able to remain awake for an entire day without severe consequences.

The point of my story isn’t to inflict guilt on the healthy individuals of the world, but simply to raise awareness. Chronic illness is a ripple, a difficult, uncommunicative, wave that touches family, friends, and even acquaintances. The strain from being sick is felt, for me, most poignantly during this time of year, and I know I couldn’t have made it through Christmas alone. Without my family and fiance I probably would have landed my pale, shaking ass in the hospital, but in spite the pain I was able to remain home for Christmas.

There are amazing resources and support structures popping up every day for individuals dealing with a vast array of illnesses, visible and invisible. Some of my favorites are Spoon Shares and Just Mildly Medicated. You may notice, I prefer a heaping of humor along with any advice. Have a safe and happy remainder of the year, and cheers to whatever 2015 may bring!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoy what you read? Check out More!

Malevolent Maladies:

Tips for the Anxious

Being a Young Professional with a Chronic Illness

More Fun:

I’m Tired and I Don’t Want to Cook!

The Night Before Puppy’s First Christmas

Other Sites I Recommend:

The Magical World Of: For the Disney fan in your life. She’s funny, sassy, and you don’t want to miss her March Madness series in the spring.

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

1

Tips for the Anxious

Nightmares claw at the fringes of daylight and walk alongside me¬†down the street, at the grocery store, while I’m working. Oxygen becomes a precious gift and not an every day commodity. This is what anxiety feels like to me. Just like many other disorders, anxiety is an invisible ailment. While someone may not advertise their daily struggle, it does not make the mental, emotional, and physical side effects any less severe.

an

Everyone experiences their anxiety differently. My own experience is personal and I share it to try and convey what anxiety¬†could mean to someone. While I was in college, there was a time when anxiety almost exclusively controlled my life. I was ill, I was undiagnosed, I was scared, and somewhere between midterms and my mother’s heart attack anxiety crept into my life and never left. But over the years I’ve learned a couple of tricks that have helped me cope and maybe, just maybe, they’ll help you too.

1. Lists-¬†If you haven’t noticed from my blog, I have a thing for lists (2014 booklist, Things¬†You Shouldn’t Say to¬†a Bride, etc.) I find that there is something calming about laying everything out there and then slowly checking it off. There are tons of ways to create and organize lists. Find what works for you! As I finish tasks, I feel some control over my world returning. It gives me agency and agency is power.cab

2. Dive into a Good Book- Books are not for everyone but for me they are magical, and if you haven’t tried it I strongly recommend it. I have lived hundreds of lives without ever leaving the comfort of my couch. It’s amazing and incredible. Words paint and build new, strange,¬†and familiar places the reader can touch, smell, and see. While in the middle of an attack it may be hard to focus at first–don’t give up. Breathe in the moment and continue to concentrate on the words. With a bit of time they may come into focus and allow you to escape.

 

3. Friends & Family are Key- Don’t keep it bottled up inside. If you’re scared, angry, depressed, confused¬†tell someone. You don’t¬†need to know the why, where, or¬†what¬†of your emotions. By confiding in someone you trust, you’re¬†giving¬†them insight into the crazy clockwork going on¬†in your head. And they might just have something wise to say that will make you feel better.

cm

4. Create a Go-To Habit- Sometimes I chew gum, like a cow, really hard. And it really helps. It annoys people around me, but it helps. Now, obviously, I can’t really do that at work. It looks a tad unprofessional, so I substitute by sucking on sunflower seeds. I’ve picked up these habits trying to avoid the more detrimental anxious habits like butchering my cuticles. My poor nails just don’t deserve it. Also, the comfort of a habit helps me to relax and focus on “the moment” that cookie monster mentions. I’d beware of making cookies your go-to, though. In all seriousness, food crutches can be just as destructive for your mental and physical well-being as other anxious habits. While cookies might give you that happy sugar rush in the moment, you might wind up feeling sloth-like later, which probably won’t help your anxiety when you need to get things done.

 

Have your own tips for dealing with anxiety? Share them!

 

0

Get Your Working Butt in Gear!

You know what isn’t great for your body? Sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day¬†5 days a week, and yet many of us do it. And somehow, despite the fact that¬†I am¬†sitting down for most of the day, I am still¬†exhausted when I get home. I’m far more likely to reach for a book or the remote than decide to go for a walk or (miracle of miracles) a run! But that’s in the past starting today!

I’m in my early twenties and therefore still fairly fortunate in regards to my metabolism but it’s never been an easy balance between diet and weight. Often times the pounds would win over the power of youth. However, my fianc√© and I have taken a vow to get healthy.¬†(He has declared that he wants to have¬†a six pack¬†by our honeymoon. I’ve declared that I’ll be right beside him…in a t-shirt.)¬†¬†But in all honesty, it’s less about our weight and more about creating a permanent lifestyle change. If we¬†work on it¬†now,¬†my hope is that we’ll be able to set a great example for any little ones that may come around in the future

So what’s our plan of action?

3 Days Cardio, 3 Days Alternative Activity, 1 Day of Rest. Ironically we’ve labeled Sunday as our day of rest or “cheat day” where we can order Chinese, lounge around, and I can¬†read on our patio without the guilt of being stationary. For our cardio, we’re just good ole fashion running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (for a longer run!). I’ll be the first to admit I am not exact Speedy Gonzales. Nor do I enjoy the feeling of my lungs on fire, but it’s good for me so I’m going to do it.

0c98d4ed04766fa6e597123376eeea5b

When it comes to alternative activities I’m looking at pilates and pinterest. Mind you, I’m going to have to be careful not to get distracted while on there, but that’s something I’ll work on and why my fianc√© and I are doing this together. Because he’ll get distracted by something on Yahoo, I’ll get distracted by pinterest, and¬†then we’ll both guilt each other into getting up and doing the activities we’re meant to be doing. It’s great for couple bonding!

What kind of activities do you squeeze in? How do you find time in your busy schedule?

1

Being a Young Professional with a Chronic Illness

Being young and being ill are not mutually exclusive. Most people look at me and see a perfectly healthy young woman. I have no obvious outward ailments, but that’s the problem with illness. It doesn’t always show on the surface and even when I am feeling symptomatic I may not allow others to see how much pain I am in.

I suffer from a chronic condition¬†dubbed IBS, which means that I have bouts of extreme pain and nausea that can come on suddenly¬†at any time¬†for no known¬†reason. My doctors are constantly attempting to find triggers or natural aids¬†so I can remain functional. But, of course, there are flare days. These days are filled with stabbing pains, fatigue, sweats, chills, nausea, fog, and¬†maybe a few unpleasant tangos in the restroom. It’s hard to function in an office environment when you feel like your organs have been brutally beaten and mangled.

As a young professional I don’t have the same flexibility as my older peers. I haven’t yet earned the additional personal days, flex time, or established a long-term reputation as a dedicated responsible employee. All of these things mean that I need to¬†go to work regardless of my physical condition. If I’m not contagious I’m dragging myself in.¬†But,¬†reality check,¬†sometimes I don’t have the energy¬†after an attack to make myself soup more or less wear heels and walk into my office building smiling all day.¬†So what do¬†I do? I haven’t figured it out yet. So far I’ve managed to abate¬†the attacks and confine them to weekends and nights¬†with a carefully balanced regiment of 409080Stomach Ease tea (thank you, Yogi, you have saved me!!!!!), soup, and¬†Ritz crackers. I could probably single-handedly maintain the Ritz empire with my consumption of crackers alone.

For me, the support of my family and friends has been invaluable as I’m trying to find the work-life balance I need in order to maintain my health. Surrounding myself with people that want me to succeed has made a large difference in my motivation to find new ways to help¬†manage my illness and take back control over my life.¬†As I continue to¬†find my way I want to share anything I learn with my readers, and I’d love to hear about how you’ve managed to navigate the rocky road to work-health balance!