I have lots of thoughts being an RN with chronic illnesses and a compromised immune system during this time. But that’s for another post when I have more time and energy. Today, just remember, cliche it may be, we are all just taking this one day at a time. If today finds you sad, that’s okay. If today finds you anxious, also okay. Ten bucks says if you reach out to someone, they’re likely feeling something similar. Deep breaths. Here we go. We got this ♥️
For whoever needs to hear this right now:: your pain, suffering, fear, disappointment, and anxiety is just as valid as anyone else’s. This pandemic has us all struggling in different ways. I’ve had multiple people in the past week tell me about some way that they are suffering, and then promptly discount their own suffering by comparing themselves to other people stating other people have it worse. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from chronic illness, it is that you can hold both gratitude and grief at the same time. You don’t have to choose between the two. Hold them both. There is room for it all. We are more in touch now with the human experience than we’ve ever been. We are humbled by our fragility and encouraged by our perseverance. We don’t have to choose one specific feeling. They are all valid.
Updates! There’s so much. I just got back from visiting my family. It’s been heavy since my dad passed. There’s a lot of logistics we are still figuring out, and the nature of the current COVID situation isn’t helpful. I love my family dearly ♥️
I’m an RN, so I’m still going to work. As someone who has a compromised immune system, this comes with a lot of concerns. I’m working to join a COVID-19 screening task force that basically acts as a remote triage nurse screening patients before they come in for outpatient appointments. This would be easier on my body and would create less exposure to potential COVID patients by getting me out of the hospital for a bit. We will see how that turns out.
Anona has been having migraines with vomiting again. And her newest complaint has been seeing flashes of light. Given the COVID crisis, all of her upcoming appointments/screenings have been cancelled until further notice. It’s hard not to worry and I feel a little stuck. Also, Winnie has started losing her right eyebrow. Given my history of alopecia and endocrine issues, it could be either. That brings up a whole other onslaught of feelings and thoughts.
My online classes/homework are business as usual so it’s gonna be tricky balancing that with both girls home all the time and limited places to go. I might write my professors an email as I can’t be the only one experiencing the hardships of parenting quarantined kids and needing to complete homework.
Trying to hold gratitude with my grief. There is still so much I am grateful for. My heart just feels a bit weary. Remembering to breathe. Been having “Candle Song” by @EarthPracticeMusic (go listen to them you will feel better) running on loop in my head. “Even though there’s darkness around the candle, focus on the flame 🔥 You get to choose what you pay attention to.”
:::Paying attention to sunshine. Warm fresh air. Deep belly breaths. Food and water. Slowing down:::
I’ve had a lot of people asking me how it’s been going back to work.
In short, it’s been awesome and challenging at the same time for a few reasons. My body is still recovering from surgery. It’s healing much slower than it did when I had the same surgery on my right hip in 2015. 13 hour shifts leave me in a good deal of pain (on top of already having chronic pain) by the end of the day/next morning. I know this pace isn’t sustainable for my body forever.
But, for my spirit? Holy crap it is SO GOOD to be back! I legitimately love my job. The days leave me tired by content.
I think the hardest part right now is that I started online classes last month too. I’m getting my School Nurse Certification to eventually slide over into a more sustainable nursing position. Between working full time, school/homework, parenting two kids, and chronic illness/doctors appointments, I have very little time & energy for anything else. But it’s all an investment for things to be a little simpler in the near future 🤞🏻
SO, all that to say, life is good, hard, full, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time. I’m sure many of you can relate 🤍
That’s how long it’s been since I worked my last shift. Until today! First day back at work since all this stuff went down. My colleagues and friends at work are so supportive and the transition back couldn’t have been smoother. It feels good to be the nurse again, not the patient. This season has taught me a lot about receiving help from others. However, I’m soaking up the opportunity to care for others again while I can 🤍…
🙌🏻 More good news 🙌🏻 • My gastroenterologist just wrote saying all the biopsies were benign. No signs of cancer! No Barretts Esophagus (phew!) just a ton of chronic inflammation. The polyps were benign hyperplastic polyps. All my blood work came back normal too. So he wants to go over all my medications, prescription and OTC to see if they could be contributing to some of this. But as it stands, all of these things can be addressed/potentially fixed! • Shouting good news from the rooftops if I get some. Thanks for all your prayers, good words, and support. Hoping you got some good news today too ✨ . . .
::GI UPDATE:: ••• After many years of abdominal pain, cramping, and other GI issues, I finally got around to having an endoscopy/colonoscopy. The doctor found three ulcers, polyps, and signs suggestive of something called Barrett’s Esophagus. He biopsied all of these and I should have more information when those results come back. ••• I don’t really know how I feel about any of this honestly. I’m so emotionally and physically drained. But I’m sure I’ll have some feelings about it in a few days. ••• For now just grateful for validation and answers to explain my pain 💫 . . .
New endocrinologist appointment today. Went pretty well. Lots of labs I’ll hopefully get done next week. Overall she was nice and thorough. She spent 1 1/2 hours with me. Following up with my Hashimotos disease- but she agrees my symptoms can’t all be explained by thyroid disease. Ruling out Hyperparathyroidism (based on previous abnormal labs), adrenal tumors/pheocromocytoma (based on symptoms), and getting clear catecholamine plasma levels which I’ve never had any doctor do before. Hurray 👏🏻for 👏🏻decent 👏🏻doctors 👏🏻…
I survived. This year has held adventure as well as a lot of loss and hardships.
TONS of physical therapy.
I was diagnosed with EDS, MCAS, CCI, hyperPOTS, and a few other things.
I went to California to visit wonderful friends and see Paul McCartney (!), my musical idol for decades.
I discovered two cysts in my wrists that needed surgery.
I visited my brother and family in Florida to welcome them there and celebrate my sister n laws birthday.
I took many walks in the wissahickon with my dog and celebrated the beauty of nature, stillness, water, and trees.
We discovered we needed masons to complete a very expensive chimney rebuild.
We also discovered we needed an expensive gutter replacement.
We found a new church congregation with some amazing people.
My hip stopped working. I had a torn labrum with cysts, a partial dislocation, and free floating cartilage. I got my 2nd surgery of this year.
My 6 year old needed doctor appts for migraines, anxiety, ADHD, and sleep apnea.
I learned to ask for help.
I applied for disability.
I started online courses for my School Nurse Certification.
We visited my 92 year old grandma.
My parents drove me back to Philly on 12/16 after recovering from hip surgery. It would be the last time I would see my dad.
My dad died unexpectedly 4 days before Christmas 💔
My husband and I still made Christmas happen for my 3 and 6 year old while planning a trip for my dads funeral.
I spent hours on end on New Years Eve with my siblings going through paperwork and getting affairs in order. Everyone developed a fever between 101-104 which we found out today is the flu 🤘🏻
This year may have been one of the most challenging of my life. I have hopes for 2020 easing up a bit. Enough for us all to come up for air. I’m sincerely so happy if this year was kind to you. But if it wasn’t, know you’re not alone. I see you. We’re there too. And we’re holding out a piece of hope for next year for all of us ♥️