Leaving Alabama

At the end of February life took a complete 180 degree turn. My husband suddenly lost his job and therefore we lost our health insurance. With the frequent hospitalizations I required we knew we couldn’t be without insurance. Plus, we needed income from somewhere to pay our bills.

Will looked for jobs in Alabama, but the market had little to offer. We also were wrestling with the fact that we didn’t have family left in Alabama to help us through difficult times. I was frequently facing hospital trips alone, while Will tried to carry the weight of everything else by himself. This all required us to take a hard look at our options and make a big decision.

My family encouraged us to move back to California to receive familial support, greater job opportunities, and a social safety net that offered health insurance.

Moving across the country seemed daunting, so we decided to visit for one week and decide from there. We put on masks and gloves (before it was required for COVID) and traveled to San Diego. It was frightening to travel that far while I was so fragile, but it was important to figure out what our options were.

Within a few days of arriving in San Diego I required a trip to the emergency room. My heart rate was uncontrolled and I was emptying my bag 12+ times a day. It was apparent my dehydration had gotten worse. Upon arrival to the ER, my blood pressure dropped to 75/40. I was admitted to the step-down ICU and monitored closely.

During that admission the attending physician decided to run basic blood work and stool study tests – something she assumed had been done many times before it Alabama, but was standard practice for these symptoms. To her shock (and mine!) the stool studies came back irregular. I was positive for C. Diff. For more information on this admission and C. Diff read “Wasting Away.” Within two weeks of receiving this diagnosis and being treated with the proper antibiotic, my output was solid again, I was able to eat regularly, and I felt strong.

Through this experience, it became apparent moving to California would be the right decision. So we flew back to Alabama, packed up our house, sold it, and drove across the country with two U-Hauls, three pets, and nothing but new possibilities.

The drive was long, but beautiful. And with my increased stamina and health I was able to do it without any medical issues! We ran into minor inconveniences due to COVID (like all the restaurants being closed.) But it was a terrific experience to see the country with Will.

Within two weeks of moving to California Will got employed at an HVAC company that truly values its employees. He feels supported, appreciated, and valued already. We are beyond thankful for his company and the opportunity they’ve given him.

With the improvement in my ostomy output, I was able to get the mediport removed from my chest wall. I cannot express how grateful I am to no longer require maintenance fluids to sustain hydration. Having the port was scary and dangerous. While the obvious benefits outweighed the possible side effects, I suffered multiple rounds of sepsis while my port was in place. It feels great to no longer have that risk looming over me. Soon I will be back in the work force, with the physical stamina and mental capacity to handle anything.

We will always be fond of our time in Alabama, and of the friends who became our family there. But we truly believe this was the best decision for our health, happiness, and future security.

Wasting Away

It’s been difficult for me to write another post. I started and stopped more times than I can count. Each time I began I felt tremendous sadness and disappointment. This was because I couldn’t read anymore. I couldn’t write. My brain fog had gotten so bad that I lost control of my most basic functions. I would start a sentence and forget the point I was trying to make. I could no longer think of simple words, let alone write paragraphs. I had to let go of things that used to make me happy, like writing my blog, because my brain wasn’t processing at my usual rate.

This brain fog was due to severe malnutrition and dehydration. My symptoms were so bad that I couldn’t walk without the assistance of a walker. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of food. My output transit time was less than 30 minutes. I had to receive IV hydration twice a week to survive. I was hospitalized every few weeks. I was wasting away in front of my husband’s eyes. And he was fearful I was going to die.

Truthfully, I was scared I was going to die too.

For months I advocated for myself with doctors, pleading with them to figure out what was wrong with me. But no one could figure out why my output was straight liquid. They couldn’t figure out the source of my severe pain. They tried to treat the symptoms with hydration fluids and pain medication, but the underlying cause was still unknown. I tried every medicine they threw at me. I even went on TPN to try and improve my nutritional status. But nothing changed.

As time went on I began to believe it would never get better. I began to feel the crushing weight of my medical problems (and the crushing weight of the medical bills piling up.) I was scared, my husband was scared. and my family was scared.

At my wit’s end, my family flew me to California to receive treatment from a renowned hospital. I was discouraged that anyone could figure out what was wrong, but knew my care in Alabama was subpar. So I agreed to fly out and be treated at Sharp Hospital.

I was blessed with an amazing physician and outstanding nurses who really listened to me! Within a matter of just a few days on the floor the doctor determined what was wrong with me. She diagnosed me with C. Diff. She was confident that with proper treatment I would make a full recovery.

C. difficile (or C. Diff) is a severe infection that causes people to become dehydrated and sometimes need to be hospitalized. Signs and symptoms of a severe C. Diff infection that I had include:

  • Watery diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Increased white blood cell count

Those symptoms plagued me for months. I continually was admitted because of my unsafe heart rate and low blood pressure. Somehow the doctors in Alabama missed this infection, or didn’t treat me properly if they did test me for it. At first I was frustrated, but I realized that being angry would help nothing.

Instead, I am choosing to be excited about the improvement in my health status; I am thrilled to say that after two weeks on the oral antibiotic I am finally improving. I have color in my face again. I am eating three meals a day. I am walking without assistance. I can read and write again. I am no longer wasting away.

I am proud of how hard I fought this past year to stay alive. I am proud of my husband for staying positive and staying with me throughout the hellacious period. I am grateful for my family for never giving up on me. And I am thankful for every one of you who helped us through this.

Moving slow; healing in 2020.

I am moving slow. My bed time is early and I sleep in late. I am healing. I push myself when I need to and let myself rest when I should.

It scares me… the slowness. Because I have by been conditioned by our society to believe that if you are not constantly busy that you are failing. I have been taught that career is most important, often at the risk of ruining yourself.

Because of my frequent flare-ups, I have to make some major lifestyle changes. I am using the new year to reestablish my good behaviors and encourage some new ones to better heal.

My first lifestyle change, career:

I left full time work over one year ago. I had a stressful, exciting job I loved, but couldn’t maintain while I was sick. After my surgery I decided to step back to part-time work. But even those reduced hours were still too difficult to maintain with months of hospitalizations last year. So I left my career completely to instead focus on myself.

Both the idea, and the act, of not working are stressful. On my good days I feel guilty that I am not providing in the same way I once could. On my bad days I stress out that I will never be healthy enough to work. But now I know that if I do not take this season to rest and recover, I may never be healthy enough. So instead I am moving slow.

My second lifestyle change, sleep:

I am allowing myself to sleep as often as I need to. Instead of feeling guilty for letting go of the “go-go-go” mentality, I now rejoice in my body’s healing ritual. I take naps, which are especially rewarding when the dogs snuggle up with me. I am grateful I do not have a job that demands I wake up early, because this rest is rewarding.

My third lifestyle change, social support:

I struggle with isolation when I am sick or depressed. I tend to spend time by myself and distance myself from those I am close to. But recently I have tried to reach out to my friends, family, and support staff when I am in need of help. Or just to hang out. Asking for help when you have a chronic condition can be challenging, because it seems like you always need help. But I am working on transforming my mindset to realize people want to help and that social support is a vital function to humanity. So where I can give, I will; and where I need it, I will ask for it.

My fourth lifestyle change, cooking:

I feel tons better when I prepare home cooked meals. It’s often easier to pick something up, but even “healthier” quick eats can be loaded with tons of junk. Eating home cooked, good quality ingredient meals is better for my gut and for my mental health. I have more energy and time to make my meals since I am not working, which I know is a blessing.

It’s been a grueling road to recovery. And I am not yet healed. But these changes have made the process better. All of these lifestyle changes build on each other. I am not advocating everyone adopt these changes, because I know they can be challenging for numerous reasons, and may not be what your body needs. But I am encouraging you to evaluate your life and determine what may be adding to your chronic illness.

December update.

It’s been a hell of a month. Just before Thanksgiving I was hospitalized for sepsis (a bacterial infection in your blood.) I had a high fever, low blood pressure, and fast heart rate. The pain was unbearable too. My whole body ached and I felt so weak. I cried for two days, partly due to the pain, but mostly from the frustration. Questions like: ‘Why am I sick again?’, ‘What did I do to deserve a life of constant illness?’, ‘Will I ever be recovered?’ circled in my head, spinning around like an uncontrollable top. I felt hopeless and completely discouraged.

While the sepsis improved through nightly IV antibiotics, my nutritional status continued to fail. At the time of my admission my electrolytes were dismal. For example, my phosphorus level was undetectable and my magnesium, calcium, and potassium all had to be replaced. As the doctors tried to replenish these, they found the oral route was insufficient. So they moved on to replacing it through my port (intravenously.)

With minimal improvement even from the IV electrolytes, it was determined I was a candidate for total parenteral nutrition (also known as TPN.) This type of nutrition is not processed in the gut, therefore is better absorbed by people like me. It is composed of broken down lipids, proteins, vitamins, and electrolytes. The nutrition runs for 24 hours a day through a port, which is as disrupting as it may sound. Even things like using the restroom and taking a shower are affected by the bag.

I struggled with thoughts of despair, inadequacy, and fear throughout this time. I felt like I was at my wits end with my health status. I was tired of being sick, tired of endless doctors appointments, tired of only having the energy to move from the bed to the couch, and tired of not working.

While recovering from all of this, we received news that my father in law passed away unexpectedly. It added sadness, stress, and more emotion to an already difficult season. We will miss Jack and his infectious laugh. His presence was always warm and friendly and he had a great way of telling stories.

Jack’s passing from an acute health condition made me appreciate the life I have and the chance to do all I can to improve my own status. I will continue to eat well, exercise, and get restful sleep as a way to combat the fact that life can end in a moments notice. I want to do what I can to remain healthy, even if I can’t control everything that happens to me. 

In total I completed TPN for just over a week, then had my electrolytes rechecked. Luckily everything was good and I was able to return just to my regularly scheduled maintenance fluids instead of the full nutrition. The lactated ringers are much easier to manage. I only have to hook up to them for a few hours a week, instead of 24 hours a day as with the TPN.

Great news is I may even be able to stop the fluids in a few weeks! My doctor is going to discontinue me after 5 more weeks and see how I do. I am hopeful I am moving in the right direction and that I will not need the fluids in the future.

Overall I am feeling much better. I have started exercising again, which is an activity I truly missed over the past year. I am going slow (and not lifting any heavy weights above my head) until I feel stronger and healthier. But having the ability to go to the gym and feel productive is an amazing feeling. I don’t feel like I am at odds with my body anymore. I am working on talking to it better, feeding it better, and resting when I need. This combination seems to be facilitating healing.

Dysautonomia, POTS, and IV hydration.

My whole life I have struggled with syncope, or passing out. During these episodes my blood pressure drops and my heart rate skyrockets. While I have experienced this for many years, it wasn’t until August I finally received a diagnosis: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or POTS!

According to doctors, POTS is a type of dysautonomia* that is defined by “orthostatic intolerance”, which means when a person stands up, a large amount of their blood pools in their legs instead of circulating back up through their heart. While blood pressure decreases, their heart rate goes up. A healthy individual usually has a slight increase in heart rate, by about 10-15 beats per minute, within the first 10 minutes of standing. POTS is considered present if the heart rate increases by 30 beats or more per minute for adults. I wore the Zio Heart Monitor for 48 hours. Over the course of two days my heart rate was recorded at >190 multiple times after standing indicating a severe case of POTS.

In order to be diagnosed I went through a battery of other tests with a cardiologist. I had a stress test in which my heart rate elevated to 202bpm, a tilt table test which resulted in my blood pressure dropping to the low 80s/40s, and an echocardiogram. Luckily my echo was normal, showing no structural defects.

POTS can be extremely dangerous. My heart rate averages 100bpm and is frequently much higher. I have made some life style changes and medication changes to deal with the orthostatic tachycardia and hypotension, but still have syncopal episodes and have hit my head multiple times. First, I am now on a low dose beta blocker three times a day. Most importantly, I always sit up on the edge of the bed for an extended period of time before standing up. Next, I wear compression stockings – especially when walking a long distance. I take salt tablets in the morning and salt my food. Lastly, I drink a LOT of water. But because of my high ostomy output that causes severe dehydration, I have to get IV hydration too.

My IV pole.

I have a home health nurse that comes twice a week to access my mediport and hook me up to a special kind of fluid called lactated ringers. They have added supplements, like potassium and glucose to help with my malabsorption issues.

The process takes about 5 hours total. I simply sit up in bed while the fluids rehydrate me. I do activities such as drawing and blogging, or when I’m feeling bad I’ll just nap.

My IV setup.

The fluids help immensely with my symptoms. Before receiving a bag of lactacted ringers my heart rate can be 130-150bpm and I can feel lightheaded, weak, and shakey. Then I have the fluids infuse and my heart rate will resolve to 90bpm and I feel better.

I am very thankful for finally having a diagnosis, although the symptoms are hard to manage sometimes.

*Dysautonomia is a term that refers to group of conditions that affect the automatic nervous system. October happens to be Dysautonomia Awareness Month! If you have any more questions please visit the contact page.

Mental illness and steroids.

I have a long history of mental illness, carrying multiple diagnoses including bipolar, eating disorder, OCD, and PTSD. I have had my fair share of experiences with psychiatrist visits and even inpatient mental institutions. I am not ashamed of these facts. But the diagnoses I carry are hefty and cause extreme turmoil in my life.

I have spent many years in therapy, working through past traumas and the altered thinking I sustained because of those events. I had made incredible progress and was off my anti-anxiety medications and only required two mood stabilizers. I felt confident in myself and in my thought processes. I finally felt stable and that I had reached a place of “normalcy.”

Then three months ago my adrenal glands shut down and stopped producing the natural steroids your body makes to keep you functioning. This required me to start an oral steroid regiment twice daily.

It is heavily documented that corticosteroids cause mental health issues to develop or worsen. According to leading research, symptoms of hypomania, mania, depression, and psychosis can occur during corticosteroid therapy, as can cognitive changes, particularly deficits in verbal or declarative memory.

The full list of possible side effects that are related is daunting:

• Difficulty sleeping

• Increased appetite, weight gain

• Nervousness, restlessness

• Anxiety, depression

• Sudden mood swings

• Avoidance of social situations

And I am unlucky enough to be suffering from all of the above. I cry for no reason — just an intense and overwhelming need to cry multiple times a day. I can fluctuate from fine, to irritable and cranky, to completely sad within the hour. I am trying to find joy in my daily life and focus on the moments of happiness and clarity, but then this intense fog comes over me and I am left helpless.

The steady weight increase from steroid use has also been very stressful. I have a history of anorexia and bulimia, and while I have not acted on those urges in a long time, I still have the loud thoughts telling me I am a failure because of the weight. I try and exercise a little or eat healthy, but I am so fatigued and depressed that just getting out of bed is a true feat of strength; therefore working out or cooking meals is too daunting.

What is really upsetting is when I compare myself to where I was just a year ago realize I am broken now. This makes me sad. I’ve exhausted every effort to stop the disruptive thoughts. But the healthy coping strategies I developed over the years do not have the same effects they used to.

I have a terrific support system, including a loving husband and nurturing parents, not to mention a kick-ass psychiatrist/therapist who helps me immensely. BUT I NEED MORE HELP. And that’s where you come in! If you have experience with depression or mania due to corticosteroids and have advice I would love to hear it. Drop a comment on this post or contact me privately through my contact page. I am in need of support, guidance, and advice.

Sex with a chronic illness.

Lots of things change when you have a chronic illness; everyday activities like having sex with your partner may become overwhelming, difficult, or painful. With a chronic illness, sex often involves a complicated mix of feelings, emotions, and practical considerations. For some, the challenge of accepting a diagnosis can reduce sex. For others, sex is difficult because of the lowered self-esteem that comes with being sick. Some may have less energy or desire for sex. Merely the act of can be painful, too. Whatever the reason for the decrease, there can be physiological and psychological turmoil from it. Sex is not just for fun, but an important biological component that can be vital for comfort, pleasure, and intimacy. It is also hugely important in a relationship so when the future of their intimate lives becomes uncertain, both partners can feel that loss.

Things you can do to combat the issues include talking to your doctor regarding pain, erectile dysfunction, and other direct causes of your sexual function. Some medicines diminish sex drive or inhibit sexual function by causing changes in your nervous system. Drugs may also affect blood flow and hormones, which are two important factors in sexual response. Talking to your partner is also very important. Expressing what you need and your desires in a neutral setting often accomplishes a lot. Experts note that using sentences that begin with “I” instead of “you” are more effective – for example, stating “I feel loved and cared for when we have sex” will garner a better response than “you don’t have sex with me anymore.”

Communicating with your partner about what you feel and what you need is important, however, sometimes just talking can’t fix the underlying issues and problems need to be addressed from multiple angles. Before I had my ileostomy surgery me and my husband (Will) talked about how things would change for a time after the procedure. We maturely talked about, and agreed, that sex would be painful and potentially damaging for a while. What I didn’t plan for was that almost a year out from surgery it would still be such a challenge for us. With my adrenal failure and my continued rectal pain, sex can be damaging and has to be avoided regularly.

What’s frustrating is that most of the time I want to have sex. And many times I try to have sex. But Will stops my advances because he is worried it will be hazardous to my health. While he still finds me sexually attractive after my illness, he fears sex will be detrimental and therefore avoids it.

I spoke to him in length about our sex life and he said to me that what’s most frustrating to him is when he has to say no to me and I get disappointed. He pointed out that with my adrenal insufficiency and POTS he is concerned about my heart rate getting too high and causing issues. Of course consent from both parties is important, so I respect when he says no. However, it has led to self-esteem issues. I already feel worthless due to my pain leaving me physically scarred, under-employed, and unable to contribute at home as much. That, mixed with reduced physical intimacy, has led me to feel unattractive and undesirable.

My intention for writing this post is to help you, but also to help me and my husband with our issues. We are still seeking answers ourselves, so if you have any suggestions please comment or message me on the contact page.

In conclusion, there are definite things you can do to improve the situation, so don’t give up! The closeness you feel during lovemaking can help you feel stronger and better able to cope with your chronic pain.

  1. Communicate honestly about the problem.
  2. Reconnect emotionally by spending quality time together.
  3. Try masturbation and oral sex if penetration hurts.
  4. Utilize massages and touch.
  5. Talk to your doctor if problems persist.

Women in pain.

UAB ER (Current admission), 2019

Welcome to Chronically Juliann! I use this handle because I suffer from multiple chronic conditions, some of which interact and interfere with the others. Stress absolutely makes my adrenal failure worse, and therefore more dangerous. But bipolar disorder is stress inducing. As is colitis, which can flare without warning. Any one of these diseases can land me in the hospital, but when they work against each other it becomes clear that I will require a long hospitalization.

Current admission UAB, 2019

I am currently admitted to UAB for a myriad of symptoms and a cocktail of issues: Abdominal pain, check! Stomal swelling, check! Rectal bleeding, check! Low immune response, check! Tachycardia, check!

While I am grateful to be admitted and receiving IV fluids, pain medication, and frequent vitals checks, it is unbelievably stressful and aggravating to be here again. I feel like the doctors do not listen to me or take my opinion into consideration. I began to get scared and feel terribly bad for the patients that can’t advocate for themselves because they don’t have a medical background. Then I realized they may have an advantage, because when I speak medical jargon and specify names of sensitive tests, I truly believe the doctors think I google symptoms and webmd info to “get what I want.” When in actuality, I have worked in the medical field for 8 years and have suffered from chronic illness for almost 15 years. Therefore, my knowledge is from a lived experience and high level training.

Also, I watch the doctors (especially male doctors) take my husband’s opinion more seriously than my own. I can tell them about my pain and bleeding and they don’t seem to care, or come up with a plan to evaluate. But when Will mentions the same issues, suddenly new tests are ordered or consultations for different doctors are finally being placed.

I decided to look into this more and found some disturbing statistics. Consider this: women in pain are much more likely than men to receive prescriptions for sedatives, rather than pain medication, for their ailments. For example, women who received coronary bypass surgery were only half as likely to be prescribed painkillers, as compared to men who had undergone the same procedure. We women wait an average of 65 minutes before receiving an analgesic for acute abdominal pain in the ER in the United States, while men wait only 49 minutes. In regards to the issue of chronic pain, women account for 70% of the people diagnosed, and yet, 80% of pain studies are conducted on male mice or human men. One of the few studies to research gender differences in the experience of pain found that women tend to feel it more of the time and more intensely than men. The exact reason for this is still unknown, and more studies are warranted. However, as previously noted, research on female pain remains limited and therefore likely will not be completed.

Research indicates we are not listened to and feel our needs are subordinate to that of the “system” (which includes the insurance companies and hospital administrators.) It is increasingly apparent that hospital staff (nurses and doctors) are unable to be sufficiently patient focused because they are beholden more to shareholders and administrators than they are to their patients. This may not be a fault of the individual, but rather a systemic problem that is perpetuated by profit margins and lobbyists. However, it is the patient that suffers because of it.

While this all feels seriously discouraging, I am going to continue to advocate for myself. As stated in my previous blogs, I as a patient know more about my body than physicians. Today when my team of doctors come in to round, I am going to be firm in expressing my concerns and desires. I want to know where my bleeding is coming from. And I would like my pain better controlled. Not because I am hysterical, but because I am experiencing real pain.

DCH ER (previous admission), 2018

Success.

Work headshot, 2018

Today I scrolled through Instagram and saw friends and colleagues from college celebrating milestones at their job and posting about their successes. (All of them well-deserved of course!) I felt proud to be from the same program as these brilliant professionals, but then I felt a serious ping of jealousy because I want to be in their shoes. I want to be succeeding in the field I am so passionate about and advancing in my career. However, I had to exit my dream career almost a year ago to allow myself to heal. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, or one I even really made for myself. My health was spinning out of control and I began missing weeks of work for hospital admissions. I lost my ability to manage both a high-stress job and high-stress medical issues. Even though I loved the work and felt satisfied in my position, I had to accept that my health was more important.

Work attire, 2018

I left my job mid-September 2018. It broke my heart. I felt like a failure for being unable to keep up with all the work assigned to me. Through therapy and self-reflection I accepted that it was not because of a lack of intellect or will power, but merely the byproduct of being nutritionally depleted and horrifically ill. My last weeks of work was concurrent with the worst colitis flare of my life – I was experiencing such severe and frequent diarrhea that I required the bathroom 8-12 times a day. I could eat 5 foods total, knowing any deviation from that strict diet would increase that first number to 15 or 20. I was losing all my nutrients through my GI tract, therefore lost normal brain function. It was hard to hold my head up because I was so weak and it was difficult to find the words I wanted because my brain was foggy. My disease at this point was debilitating. So exactly one month later, I had my colon removed (November 13, 2018.) I knew when I couldn’t do the thing I loved the most -working in community health care management and development – I had to make a change.

Office Management, 2018

I took a part-time position at the company my husband is employed at. They needed help in the mornings and that gave me the opportunity to rest, heal, and follow up with doctors after surgery in the afternoons. I started slow, only working 12 hours a week, and gradually grew to being there 20 hours. The work was interesting and I felt good about what I was accomplishing, but it wasn’t in the health field and I actively longed to be involved in medicine again.

Only problem was that I still was not strong enough to enter the field in the same capacity. So I went back to something I am skilled at, medical scribing. I was a medical scribe all through undergrad and continued during my masters degree. Scribing offers incredible access to working with physicians and I grew a lot during college in those positions. However, it’s not what I thought I would be doing, but it’s something I am good at. The company I chose to work for has great benefits, like working from home. That helps me when I am exhausted and sick, because I just have to move one room over and I am at work. But even this job, that I am well prepared for and trained in, is too much for me. I can barely handle the small hours I am scheduled for now.

I have been off work for over a month because of my recent hospitalizations. My company has been more than gracious in allowing me the time off, but I can’t shake the feeling that I am not even healthy enough for this job right now. That thought carries further and then I fear I will never be healthy enough to get back to the type of work I dream of doing. I look at job postings for jobs I would love to do and would be well qualified for, if it wasn’t for the fact I can’t stay healthy long enough to be out of the hospital each month. It truly is a depressing thought that everything I worked so hard for and studied so long for could remain out of reach because of my health.

Society has conditioned us to believe our worth as a person is directly tied to the work we do. I admit I think this way too sometimes. Especially about myself. I felt important and fulfilled because of the work I was doing for under-represented communities in healthcare. Now that I am barely working and may require disability, I have lost my sense of purpose. I feel deep sadness and despair thinking back to the life I could have right now if I wasn’t plagued with being sick. It makes me want to revolt against my body. Sometimes I think “if I push harder, I can accomplish more.” But honestly I am pushing myself damn hard just to have enough energy to get to my doctors appointments and do small tasks around the house. I am actively battling my body and my brain to feel better, but healing is a long, arduous process.

I am trying to shift my prospective as to what “success” is. I am playing with what it looks like for me. It cannot, and will not, be a high-powered job with multiple meetings and strategic development anymore… But it could be this blog post. It could be showering tomorrow. The stability of my marriage. The joy I find in cooking. The little things that I used to not have time to notice or enjoy. And it definitely will be continuing to fight for my health to return to a state of normality.

Success tonight… getting fluids and laying in bed writing this blog post, 2019