Monday, 13 August 2012

Sometimes the right words are your own.

To You: 

Just when I think I am drowning,
You remind me that I can swim.
Just when I think I can’t make it through today,
You remind me that there is a tomorrow.
Just when I feel like quitting,
You remind me that I am not running a race.
Just when I think that I can’t do any of this anymore,
You remind me that I am not alone.
Just when I lose hope,
You give me some of yours.
Just when I feel cheated by it all,
I look at you and know that I am blessed.        



Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Our Story...

King of Hearts… no, Jack of Hearts… King of Hearts.  The cards seemed to blur into one another as I contemplated my next move.  Relieved that I realized that it was a King, and not a Jack before I made my play.  I threw down the six of Hearts against the Queen of Hearts my father had played.  I stared at the cards left in my hand.  They glared back at me mockingly as they morphed into each other.  My heart sank as I realized that something was not right.
I woke up the next morning unable to see the Christmas tree that just the day before had been surrounded by presents.  The day progressed and slowly my world blurred.  My head felt like someone was pushing at hot poker through my left eye.  As I sat in the darkness of my bedroom with an icepack pressed to my forehead, I begged God for the pain to lessen and my vision to return.  When I lost 100% of my vision in my left eye in the early evening, I knew that I had to go to the ER.  The pain was unbearable. Even worse, the fear that something was wrong had become overwhelming.  The ER doctor was as brusque as he was efficient.  He swept into the room, threw around words like Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis.  He referred me to a specialist, wrote me off as not his problem, and returned from whence he came:  The land of insensitive medical professionals who often forget they are dealing with people’s lives, I can only assume.  I was left alone in a cold whitewashed room to contemplate the fragility of my life, as all around me everyone else’s life remained unchanged.  I was poked and prodded, medicated, re-medicated, and re-re-medicated.  The ugly positive for one of those tests would come a few years later.  But for now, all the big bad diagnostic tests came back negative.  The final diagnosis of Optic Neuritis was given.  My hospitalization for intravenous steroid treatment to treat the illness began the same day as what would have been my final semester of college.  The doctor recommended that I take a two month break from school and any other visually strenuous activities.  I had no other choice but to do nothing. 
The treatment threw me for a loop, and what I mean by for a loop, it made me completely loopy.  It got to the point that I could not listen to the radio when I was driving.  I found myself screaming/crying/laughing so manically that I would have to pull over.  Luckily, it only took about 30 seconds for the emotion that I had so passionately felt only moments ago to pass.  After it took me an hour to drive to a location that was normally only ten minutes, I made it a rule that the radio would stay off.  Sleep offered no solace.  I would wake up in the middle of the night so drenched in sweat that I would have to change the sheets before I could go back to bed.  The worst part of this whole situation was that this was not the illness that was making me crazy.  It was the drugs and their side effects that were making me go completely off the bend.  To help counteract these side effects, I was given assorted pain killers and anti-anxiety medication.  I am not so pleased to tell you that these gave me an attention span of a small child and a vocal filter of a drunken sailor.
With no school to go to and no serious job to work, I was fortunate enough to have my older sister take me in a vain attempt to better my situation.  Waking up at noon, watching TV from the time I woke up until I went to bed, and doing little else in between.  My life was as stagnant as my academic career.  All that I was began to spiral out of control.  I have always been a religious person, never doubting that there was something more to this life.  Depression, boredom, and anger are a destructive emotional trifecta.  I found myself angry at God while simultaneously doubting that he/she/it existed.  I desperately wanted to save myself from myself; but I had no idea where to begin.  Not feeling sure that there was a God, I could not look above. Not having faith in myself, I could not look internally.  Everyone else around me had lives to live, so I could not look externally.  I was searching for answers, never expecting one would fall into my lap the second I stopped looking.
It is the modern fairy tale of drunken-messed-up-in-the-head girl meets sober-has-it-all-together-boy.  We talked of nothing important and I made him smile.  I lost my glasses and he went with me on a journey to try to find them.  We stayed up all night to watch a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marathon and talked of cartoons past.  He waited until 6AM to kiss me, so that our first kiss would not be a drunken one.
When every part of my life was standing still, his was running at a pace that would win any race.  I knew that there was a real connection between the two of us.  I just did not see how messed up me could possibly fit into his disciplined life.  I would only bring chaos to order, drama to stillness, storm to quiet.  I liked him, maybe even loved him that early, but I did not want to be the person that stood in his way.  My life was being held together by a string whose tensile strength was weak at best.  He did not need to drag me along as he tried to do all things that he needed to do.  I knew that once he realized I was just dead weight with nothing to offer, he would cut me lose more quickly than a man jumps from a sinking ship.  If I gave him my heart, and he decided my life was too much for him to handle, I knew that would push me over the precipice that I was already dangerously toeing.  That was our life; him valiantly trying to get me to open myself up to him, me selfishly guarding myself with all that I had.  An uncomfortable dance of two people that loved each other but were caught up in a dramatic whirlwind of a girl that was completely lost within herself.
One night we were driving back from dinner when a particular song came on the radio.  Before I could stop myself gut-wrenching sobs were pouring from me like a river that had been held back for too long.  The only words that I could muster were, “I am just so angry.”  I watched him look forward, grip the steering wheel tightly, and sigh deeply.  Here I was sitting next to this beautiful 21 year-old man who wanted to be with me and I was nothing but a big ball of crazy.  I kept waiting to hear the words that he was done with me.  The thought of which only made me cry even harder.  I knew that I had lost him, not because of my craziness, but because of my unwillingness to let him know me.  We pulled up to my house.  He put the car in park and uttered words that I will never forget, “This is not who you are.  I can see who you really are in your eyes.  You are destined to be more than this.  I want to be the person that helps you find it.  But babe, you have got to let me in.  I am not going anywhere.”
Two years late I married Andrew in a small chapel in Colorado Springs.  Standing at the end of the aisle on my father’s arm; I saw a statue on the wall that truly took my breath away.  The Patron Saint of the chapel was Clare of Assisi, also known as one of the Patron Saints of Eye Diseases.  The tiny remaining silvers of the questioning and anger that had been ever present in my soul melted.  My illness was not an ending.  It was a beautiful beginning to the life that I was always meant to live.  To this day, I do not truly understand how to love.  Trying to understand how to perfectly love another is one of the greatest quests that life has to offer, and is a skill that is never truly mastered.  Love is never completely defined, always dynamic, as it ebbs and flows.  We should always strive to learn how to love others better. What I do understand, is what it feels like to allow someone to love me.  I feel that every morning when I wake up beside… not the person that saved me…. but the person that believed that I could save myself. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Hello Wellbutrin My Old Friend...

My silence is a result of traveling, writing for a couple of contests, (Anything submitted for consideration cannot be published in any other media, even in this lowly blog of rant.  But once I lose those contests I will be more than happy to share them here... you lucky dogs!).  And of course being off and on very ill these last two months, really has not helped things.  Thus far this fall, I have had three tiny tummy episodes (really not as cute as they sound), four instances of my back going out completely, and many days full of a feeling of pure crapiness.  And as much as you would enjoy reading posts that only consist of, "Fuck MS" over and over, I feel that even that is below my low bar of artistic integrity.  But today was a good day, and I definitely in the mood to share...

So I can definitely say that coming off of Wellbutrin  was an epic failure, well not epic... just a failure. For the most part it has been just... eh... I have been having a bit of a rough go of it as of late.  I really do not know if it is due to the lack of mood enhancers or if it is due to the fact that I really have been feeling so sick for the majority of the time.  For example, I was in Tuscany and I was too sick to leave the villa on most days.  So instead of going to Rome and Florence, I sat inside and watched Under the Tuscan Sun. Wellbutrin or not, that is just sad boarding on the mildly pathetic, and a hard pill to swallow for even the cheeriest of people.  So no big deal, I allowed myself to be annoyed about it and I moved on.  It really wasn't so bad, I still got to go to Italy, spend time with some family, and eat great food.  I was slightly sad but I still looked at my life as pretty great.

It was not until I was watching a Real-Life Documentary that I realized that coming off the mood enhancer ride was probably not a smart idea.  And by Real-Life Documentary I mean Reality Television.  And by reality television I mean the high-brow and intellectually stimulating world of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  

Okay, let's start with first and most obvious indicator that I was not okay, I was actually watching RHOBH.  That alone should have made me run screaming to the medicine cabinet.  But reality TV, I am sorry I mean Real-Life Documentary TV,  is a slippery slope.  It starts innocently enough with Extreme Home Makeover and the occasional Dancing with the Stars; and before you know it you are eagerly watching  a drunk Snooki running through the streets of Florence in the middle of the afternoon.  Even a month later,  I am still trying to figure out which one of us is worse; me the slightly perverse watcher of "How to Make an Ass of Yourself 101" or the one actually making an ass of themselves for a paycheck.  That being said, I am elated that there was never a film crew following me around in my early to mid-twenties.  I would have a lot of explaining to do to my parents, and even worse to my future children.  Extremely hard to deny it you were anything but a perfect angel when there is recorded proof.  I do know that reality TV is loved by millions, so I did not judge myself so harshly for actually watching it.  It was only when RHOBH (yeah, we have that type of relationship, made me cry, that I realized that I was "not in a good place".  It was not even a good solid reality TV crying moment.  It was when one of the Wives's kids moved to Houston for the summer.  That's it. There was not a spiral of thought that went into something deeper, like the fact that I have not seen my family in ages. It was just that I was genuinely sad for a "Real Housewife of Beverly Hills".  And not even for a good reason, her daughter was going on vacation...for the summer .... and that's it.  And that is a problem.

I would like to say that crying for the Wives was the only indicator that I have been having a hard time of it sans Wellbutrin.  But it is not, and it actually is a nice segue into a rant that I have been meaning to have for a very long time.  People that are sick and that are struggling with ill health should not be forced to look like they are struggling with ill health.   When it is a huge effort to get yourself out of bed in the morning, you should not be forced to look in the mirror and have a tired/exhausted/bloated/pale/asymmetrical face stare back at you.  One days that I am really feeling terrible, I avoid mirrors all together, 'cause odds are good I ain't gonna like what I see. (Who looks good with the flu? MS is like flu, except it is the gift only that keeps on giving...and giving...) So I petition this to the Greater Power that Governs us all, "If you are going to make me feel terrible all/most of the time, could you please at least let me look like Gisele Bundchen, or at the very least her "ugly" twin.  Is that really too much to ask? This is second only to asking to no longer feeling terrible all the time. That is definitely my numero uno request; but if you can't, do you think that the all-knowing, all-powerful deity, could make me a little more Bundchen and a little less Sloth from the Goonies. Although, I do like Baby Ruths...

I am not a terribly superficial person and I fully believe that judging people on their looks is one of the worst ideas ever.   But the other day, when the Subway Guy asked me what job I had that made me always look so tired, and I could only smile and say, "No job. I have Multiple Sclerosis."  All the while wondering: "How many freaking days has he thought that?  It must have been a lot if it got to the point that he actually said it to me. I bet he never would have said that to Gisele. It is like putting Baby in corner, it is just not something anybody does.  It is really getting to the point that I do not want to leave the house without my "I HAVE MS" sandwich board and orange bell.   I have also considered carrying a picture of me from my early twenties so I can say, "See my husband didn't just marry me for my personality."  Not that I care, that much...well maybe I care a little... 

It has been a rough fall.  I knew that I needed help, so hello Wellbutrin my old friend... I am proud that I tried, sad that I failed, and glad that I admitted defeat before it got worse than it did.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

So long, Farewell...To Mood Enhancers I say Goodbye!!

Betaseron is very effective drug in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Taken correctly it can cut down flare ups of Multiple Sclerosis by one-third.  Minimal side effects may occur, please discuss with you Doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

Okay drug commercial over... One of the more interesting side effects of Betaseron is that it can cause psychosis and depression in those that take it. So long story short, Doctors give a drug that can make someone depressed, or worse psychotic, to people that were just diagnosed with a terrible disease. I cannot think of a more appropriate circumstance to prescribe such a drug.  But as it says on the warning label of the drug; the doctor has prescribed this drug because they believe that the benefits of its use outweigh its risks.  This instills in me a great deal of confidence in this drug's legal department's ability to properly minimize liability, but not much else.  The good news is that these drug companies are able to develop drugs to counteract all the side effects. This leaves sick people with drug arsenals that would put Keith Richards' to shame and a feeling that every part of their life is controlled by all that is lab created. 

When I first started on Betaseron I wanted to do it with as little additional medication as possible.   My previous last true break with reality was the winter/spring of 2003; and was, interestingly enough, the result of medication. To treat the episode of Optic Neuritis, I was hospitalized and given intravenous steroid treatments. The Optic Neuritis was resolved, but those steroids left some interesting side effects.  To treat these little ripples, as one of my doctors jokingly called it, I was given Valium.  If you have ever taken Valium, or if you have seen someone on Valium, you know what it can do to people.  If I could speak at all, no thought passed through my brain on its way to my mouth.  I made those Jersey Shore fools look  like Super Geniuses.  I also got into this weird counting habit, where I would count to seven on my right hand using my thumb. "Why seven?" you ask.  Maybe for Jesus... maybe because it was odd... maybe cause I was just too tired to do eight... your guess is as good as mine.    I don't think I had one congruent thought in six months, by that I mean about 8 months. It took that long to get it all out of my system and return to normal.. Well what can only be considered normal for me.    So six years later, I was not thrilled to do all of that again.   That was until the Make-up incident of 2009.

All I remember about what I was doing that night is that make-up was involved in my evening ablution; so I must have been going somewhere for some reason. Things were going great, until my elbow brushed against my make-up case knocking onto the floor. At that very moment Hallelujah started playing on my iPod.  I remember thinking, "The symbolism of this is astounding."  From there, I do not know when I started sobbing. 

As the tears poured down, I collapsed to the floor, clutching the soulful iPod to my chest, and wishing that life could afford me the strength to carry on.  At this point, I should also mention that nothing was broken and the only things that fell out of my makeup bag was a mascara, two lip liners, and a no longer used foundation. Truly a travesty in need of its own telethon.

I did not hear Andrew come up behind me; or even know long he was watching me before he touched my shoulder and inquired as to what limb was broken/missing/bleeding profusely.  I held open hands to show him the fallen wares and said something that I will never forget, "I may be able to clean this up, but I will never have the power to fix the world." ummmm... yeah... I think I had a problem.  I had to stop worrying about what was going to happen if I did get on another drug and seriously consider what was going to happen if I did not get on it.

Andrew was kind enough not to discuss the exact details of Makeupolyspe 2009 with the doctor the next morning.  He politely suggested that I might be in need of a little more help from the pharmaceutical community.  Instead of diving straight into permanent mood enhancers, the doctor suggested that we start with episodic alleviation.  A pill to take right when I think I am going to lose my shit, before I actually lose my shit; or in layman’s terms, Ativan.  I was given 20 pills in the hope that once my body got used to the Betaseron the episodes would cease. 

“Honey, did you take out the trash?”
“It’s Tuesday, the trash does not go out on Tuesdays.”

… Five Minutes Later…

“Honey, did you take out the trash.”
“It’s Tuesday.”

…Four Minutes Later…

“Honey, did you take out the trash?”

I became a record running into the same scratch over and over; enriching Andrew with the same annoying song again and again.  I also left refrigerator doors open, faucets running, Emma outside, and would wear my glasses when I already had my contacts in (and be so completely out of it, I did not notice).  I would forget what I was saying mid-sentence, wander off when people were talking to me, and even, occasionally, drool.  The problem was no longer that I was feeling too much;  it was much worse, I was not feeling or thinking anything.  Consistent support of a mood enhancing nature was going to be required.

The next day, I left the office with a refill of the Ativan in one hand and fresh new prescription of Paxil in the other.  It was suggested that the Paxil may take a couple of weeks to be at full force, so Ativan would still be available as needed.  Within the next week I went from taking Ativan to four times a day to not taking it all.  Paxil was a glorious relief; in fact I had felt the best I had in years.  The Betaseron was keeping the Multiple Sclerosis from being too active, and Paxil was making taking the Betaseron worth it.  Then the hunger started.

Imagine eating an entire Thanksgiving dinner, all side dishes, desserts, and appetizers included, and still wanting something sweet.  That was my life… all the time...everyday.  If I tried not listening to the hunger, I would get a full blown migraine, complete with piercing pain, loss of vision, and yes even intense nausea. I managed to be simultaneously hungry and nauseous.  I know that this sounds ridiculous but it was either eat or be in pain. 

40 pounds or 20 kilos or 2 Stone 14 pounds later, I knew I needed to get off of it… ugh…

If I missed even one dose I would go completely off the bend. This made me completely petrified at the thought of going off it all together, no matter how large my ass got.  But I knew that I needed to take that leap and get Paxil out of my life.  I got my doctor to switch me to Wellburtin.  The first couple of weeks were terrible.  The combination of getting off of one drug and onto another drug left me nauseous all of the time.  Unfortunately, it also coincided with Andrew’s and I belated Honeymoon to Paris.  I was fine on the Eiffel Tower, at Notre Dame, and The Louvre; but Disney Paris was a completely different story.

When one gets sick at a theme park they always hope that it is after the ride or on a ride that is so quick that they can hold it in.  So after successfully riding Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Indian Jones ride (twice); I thought Star Tours, a motion simulator, would be no problem.

Have you ever been strapped into a large metallic pod crammed with the touristic representation of the world, at a temperature of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit?  If you have, then you know how long it took me to get sick.  Luckily, I only barfed into my own mouth and not the small child sitting next to me.  Unluckily for me I had about 4 minutes 15 seconds more of the ride to go.  Gagging and swallowing, eyes clenched, white knuckles pressed to my mouth, I made it through the seemingly never ending ride without closing down the ride.  Walking off that ride, I knew one thing:  I was going to do whatever I could to get off of this Mood Enhancement Ride permanently.

With the blessing of my doctor, I took my last Wellbutrin ever last week... I hope.  If I was going to blow, I knew that the only thing that would ever be truly harmed is my marriage.  As I love my husband, and would like to be married to him for the rest of my life; the first week of no mood enhancers occurred with my husband at a safe distance of 6,000 miles away.  It is tentatively safe to say, aside from the excess 40 pounds, I have gotten off this Mood Enhancing Ride relatively unscathed.  My brain has gotten used to the Betaseron, and I am honestly, the most content I have ever been in my life.  My thoughts and feelings are being regulated by the only thing that should be regulating them... ME! (Don't worry, pretty much everything else in my body is still regulated by the drugs!)  I have answers to why I always feel so terrible...I am married to someone that I love a little more everyday... I am just happy and life is awesome.  But in the event of a replay of Burger Smash 2010, I  still have one Ativan in an accessibly safe place. 

Writer's Note:
I would like to emphasize that one should only go off of any medication with the permission and blessing of their doctor.   Doctors are reasonable, and more importantly they are there to help you.  If you do not feel like your doctor has your best interest at heart, the only thing that you should be thinking about changing is your doctor.  That being said it is so important to educate yourself on every medication you put into your body.  Know its side effects, know what you can and cannot do when you are on it, know if there are different doses or options available.  Doctors appreciate a reasonable and knowledgeable patient. If yours does not, that is another indicator that you need to take your business elsewhere.  

Monday, 29 August 2011

Multiple Sclerosis... You are one weird disease

Multiple Sclerosis is not always painful and debilitating. For me, the majority of the time it is just... weird.

Before I was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis I would wake up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe. Every time I tried to inhale, my the muscles would turn into rubber bands tightening around my lungs. Again and again, I could feel my lungs pushing themselves futilely against the brick wall that was my chest, never being able to get large enough to properly inhale. I am just glad that I am the type of person who does not panic when I wake up not being able to breathe. But I am the type of person that freaks the hell out,and then convinces herself, and attempts to convince her husband, that she only has six months to live... at 4AM...

Not only did I have COPD, I had COPD coupled with complete congestive heart failure. Diagnosis: Imminent Death. COPD explained the inability to breathe and the heart failure was diagnosed as breathing was made more difficult when I was laying flat. Of course: This diagnosis was brought to you by the expert medical opinion of the database search engine of WebMD. WebMD really should be blocked to all users after midnight. Anyone who is accessing that webpage at 2AM is not a sane user and a message should just pop up telling them that the only thing wrong with them is that they are not asleep.

I now know that I have a lesion in the dead center of my upper back. I do not know if this lesion is the exact cause of this tightness, I just know that this lesion cannot be helping. This condition is common in with people who have MS; and is referred to in the MS Community the MS Hug. I am so special that even my disease wants to hug me... yay...

I can handle the occasional chest tightening episodes. I have some pretty killer muscle relaxers that can nip that in the bud very quickly. And as long as I am not operating heavy machinery or being asked complex questions like, "Why is the milk in the cabinet?" I am only a drain on my lovely husband and not on society. (In case you are wondering my answer was, "If you can think of a better place to put it... Go for it..." but that was on a day that included both muscle relaxers and pain killers.) It is the weird tricks that a slightly damaged mind plays on you that makes this disease a constant presence in your life.

Here are some of my favorites:

-Pins and Needles/Numbness just on the bottom of my feet. When I have the numbness, I feel like I am trying to walk in the middle of a giant bouncy castle. If it is really bad, then it is a bouncy castle being used by small children all hyped up on pixie sticks. And if I am really lucky it is accompanied by a strong episode of pins and needles. So in a bouncy castle on two feet that are in a a perpetual state of waking up from being asleep... Does that spell party to anyone else?

-Electric shock that ends with a twitch. The weirdest part of this is feeling the shock and having to wait for the twitch. The twitch does not always happen right away. You know it is coming... you just don't ever know when...but it is coming...

-Imaginary Old Man Pants. By far this is the weirdest thing that is going on in my holey mind. I first noticed this a couple of months ago. I was laying in bed, reading, and by reading I mean watching TV, and it felt like my pants had ridden to high up on my waist. I only noticed this because I loathe the feeling, and I mean loathe the feeling, of anything bunched up around my waist. But when I went to adjust them, but there was nothing there. I was still feeling the old man pants, but I was not seeing them. I am fortunate that this feeling comes and goes and I am not in a perpetual state of wearing old man pants. Because that would be really annoying...

This hugging disease has me twitching, stuck in a bouncy castle wearing a pair of old man pants. And I am left trying to figure out whether it is God or this disease that has the sense of humor; all the while knowing that the important thing is that I keep mine.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Today... well, Today Sucked.

I knew that today was going to be a tough day before I even opened my eyes. My hands clawed themselves into tiny half fists that were so tense that even lifting them up caused a hugely uncomfortable sensation. As I tried to open them up into functioning appendages the pain traveled up my arms and settled securely in my spine. I would be content if from there it just parked itself into a dull ache. A dull ache is something that anyone can live with; but this pain can only be likened to a sharp shooting nightmare that radiates to every part of me that contains a nerve. My abdomen, upset with all of the attention that I was giving to the rest of my body, decided that it wanted to join the party. I can only describe that pain as doing a 1000 sit-ups and then getting punched in the gut. As I have never done 1000 sit-ups and then gotten punched in the gut this is just pure speculation used to describe something that hurts a heck of a lot. Sitting still was difficult, moving even more so, and trying to get back to sleep was futile. This was all before 6AM, yeah today was going to suck.

I got up to make myself a cup of tea, but only got as far as the living room. Luckily there was a half empty can of Mountain Dew sitting on the coffee table. It had caffeine, was there, and I was in desperate need of a liquid so I could take my pain meds; so I really did not matter that it was flat and had a couple of questionable floating bits. I swallowed the drugs in one gulp and prepared myself for a day of watching teenage moms and rich people fighting other rich people. Oh reality TV, you are a sick person's best friend and a lovely reminder that my life is not so bad.

I would love to say that I feel like I wasted my day; but I know that I did not. Life with MS is not easy; but more than anything I hate saying. "well I have good days and I have bad days." I much prefer the notion that, "I have days that are harder than other days." One of the greatest indicators of living a successful life is whether or not you have pushed yourself to do the best you can with the day you have been given. With MS, sometimes doing the best you can is simply brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and giving yourself a change of scenery by watching TV in the living room instead of in bed. I have to give myself the little victories and not mourn what I could have/should have done with my day. Yeah today was hard, and tomorrow may be harder; but the day after could be a day that does not involve reality TV and the couch. The day without pain killers, but more importantly the day without pain.

Ode to my 20's

I had my first episode of Optic Neuritis when I was 21, even though I was not diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis until I was 28. I do not know if I am the odd man out, but I was thrilled to finally be diagnosed. For seven years, I held the belief that I was just a lazy hypochondriac. But it wasn't all in my head, it was my head. It defined so much of my 20's without me even knowing for sure it was there, that this belongs with the rest of writing. I wrote this on the eve of my 30th birthday.

Ode to my 20’s

With you I graduated from college and I finally started learning.

With you I have changed my name and I changed my life.

Together we watched two wars begin and worried as loved ones went off to fight.

Together we watched my hopes and dreams shift to something brighter than I could have ever imagined.

You helped me find friends for life and friends that I will remember for a lifetime.

You helped me no longer worry about my weight; but the weight of my words.

We have seen some of the world, watched as it shrank and we began to dream of seeing more.

I have had a living thing depend on me for everything. She may have four legs but she will always be my first baby.

I have felt true loss; only to realize that it helped me become truly found.

You cured my fear of flying by making me live overseas for five years.

You cured my fear of needles by making me give myself a shot every other day.

You brought me sickness; but more importantly you brought me answers.

You brought me heartbreak; but more importantly you brought me someone to steal my heart.

So my dear sweet 20’s the time has come for us to part; as we have grown together and grown apart. It is time for you find that new special someone out there to take on this wild ride; but please think of me as fondly as I will think of you. So thank you, for I would not be the person I am today without you…