The Struggle

Find a comfortable spot, settle in, and get comfy because this is going to be a long one...

Many of you know I have been struggling lately with some health-related issues. I think it is time to talk it out because as of late, I am not super confident in my coping skills. I hope it's not too much of an over share but I am thinking it will help me get over this stage of what I think is anger. First comes denial, right? Then anger. I am hoping to move towards acceptance. Here goes...

As a little background I will just tell you I have always been a bit of a clumsy, somewhat sick kid. I broke my left arm around age 3, got scarlet fever around that time (I mean, really?), stitches at 4 and then again around age 7. I severely sprained both of my ankles at age 12, age tonsillectomy at age 15 to be followed with septoplasty at age 16. I know these aren't any diseases or conditions that are super remarkable but let's just say it was enough to not feel super graceful (I guess I am probably not alone, most kids probably don't feel graceful). In addition I always thought I was heavy and was self conscious about my weight. I also found I had something a gastroenterologist called "Runner's Disease" where I have abdominal cramping when I run and if I don't stop I pass out. I also found out I have a spastic colon leading me to not eat red meat for about 6 years (TMI I am sure but whatever, this is cathartic right?).

Around age 14 I started to get what I thought was ezcema on my scalp. If I didn't wash my hair everyday with Tea Tree shampoo I would get scabs on my head that were really painful and would bleed. Come to find out 6 years later what I have is in fact psoriasis. Next, at age 24, I noticed my fingers would turn white and go numb when I was driving home (this was in January so it was cold). I also noticed that when I held cold beverages i.e. beer, like during my beer tour at Old Chicago, my fingers would turn white. That summer I was diagnosed with Raynaud's. Also, that summer I got pneumonia followed by multiple episodes of bronchitis leading to the diagnosis of asthma. I also was diagnosed with sleep apnea (due to a small mouth which is genetic. I also am predisposed to high cholesterol too. Thanks mom! just teasing, we can blame it on my father). Then it was Degenerative Disc Disease, Osetoarthitis, Autoimmune allergies, and most recently it is looking like Rheumatoid Arthritis (totally 7 Autoimmune disorders).

Last November I noticed my knuckles starting to ache really bad when I was holding things. I would let the object go, close and open my hands, and it would go away. Then it started to become my wrists. I had already been having hip and knee pain, which I attributed to exercise. When I was out running in December is when I fell for no reason at, which you can read about here. It worried me so I made an appointment with my Rheumatologist. He is unsure whether it is Rheumatoid Arthritis or Spondylarthritis because my symptoms are appropriate for both. My blood work is all negative but an ultrasound of my hands read "Active Inflammatory Process" and my symptoms all contribute to the idea that there is some sort of arthritis. We tried one medication, which mostly just made me feel crazy bloated and now we are trying Methotrexate, which fortunately I have had no side effects from but I also don't feel any better. It can take up to 12 weeks to kick in and I am 7 weeks into it so I am still trying to be hopeful. With this medication though I have to be careful of alcohol consumption due to the medication's effect on the liver. Not that I drink a ton these days but hello, Tyler brews beer and we both love it! So, that has been pretty lame.

Basically, it sucks.  I think I am mostly frustrated because I am only 28 years old and I just fear there is still more to come. I know that's crappy to think negatively but I do wonder. Also, I am trying so hard to be healthy. I have lost 65 lbs in the last 2.5 years, I no longer eat meat or dairy, and I exercise regularly. I sleep well, I drink a ton of water, I don't smoke, I drink no more than a drink per day... I feel like I am doing everything "right".

I think about YOLO (you only live once) and wonder I am being too hard on myself? But then I think what if I didn't take such good care of myself? How would I feel then? Honestly I know that I am more graceful now that I weigh less and am more active. There are times when I know I would have fallen (um yeah, I have 3 cats and a dog who trip me daily) and I know I am more agile due to the changes I have made. I can actually go to the bathroom (I warned about over share), which I know is thanks to the dairy and meat free diet. My psoriasis is under control, I am physically able to do all of the activities I want to do (I know RA sufferers that are not able to do active things). I do think that in the long run, it IS worth all of it, but sometimes it sucks to be different. It gets old wearing a winter coat and gloves when it's 70 degrees out in the shade with a little wind. It's lame to have to order hot beverages in the middle of the summer to go along with my beer so that I don't get too cold holding it. It sucks being in pain every day. It sucks having scabs on your head when you get your hair done (thank you Kayla for being related to me and not passing judgment!).

And there are moments, hours, days, when yes, I have a pity party. I feel down on myself for being different. The worst part is feeling guilty about pitying myself. I know there are so many other people who are worse off. And who knows, maybe things will get harder. But at the end of the day I know I don't want to be one of THOSE people. You know the ones that only talk about what ails them? The medications they're on? All of the excuses they tell themselves to prevent them from really living? I want to be a happy, joyful, fun person to be around despite basically all of the crap I have written in this post. I want to live and never give up on feeling my best. And if that means I only have one beer a day, so be it. If I never eat another animal product in order to feel my best, let it be so. If I have to push through a run or yoga because I know I will feel better after, I will do every trick in the book to make it happen (put on work out clothes, have a buddy waiting for me, reward myself with a trip to REI after....).

Of course I do it all for myself but I know my loved ones make it so much easier. My dad tells me to "own it". Wear my gloves with pride and forget about everyone else. Tyler pays so close attention to me by getting me warm drinks, offering me his jacket, making sure I have gloves with me before I go anywhere. My mom is always thinking about what I am going to eat at family gatherings. And other family members and friends are always thinking about me in terms of where to go eat, how I am feeling before a run, checking in on my spirit and how I am coping... seriously, it's incredible.  I don't want to be a bother and I think that's that denial piece I was talking about. I downplay it all and now it's got me feeling really blue, which tells me I haven't accepted it. The last few weeks I have been sort of living in that "blue" space... the sadness. Interspersed with some anger and frustration. I don't want to be here. It feels like more days than not I have to pump myself up to get ready for the day, because it hurts when I wake up. The weather definitely doesn't help... I long for summer. I know these feelings are temporary but glossing over them and trying to pretend to be happy doesn't make them go away. So, in spite of the fact that this is an incredibly public forum, I decided to share what I was feeling because I know there are others who can relate. I know that there are people who love me and would want to know if I was feeling sad. I know there are others out there that feel sad too and sometimes just knowing that other people feel the same, I don't know, helps. Also, if anyone had the idea that I have my shit together and my life is all rosy, well now you know :)

Anyway, I will take it one day at a time. I know everything will work out, I do truly believe in that. I will keep fighting to be in control because I don't want to be a victim.

Now I am off to do some yoga before I head to bed. I hope you all have an incredible week and hope I didn't make anyone too blue. I promise my next post will be uplifting... say pictures of our new bedroom? :)


  1. You are an inspiration to more people than you will know, including myself. I hope, one day, that I take care of myself as well as you do. You are the bestest.

  2. Thank you. I love you!!! I appreciate all of your support :)

    1. I think I should of read this AFTER I went to work today. I heart breaks for you. I wish I could make all the pain and sadness go away. You ARE doing everything right. I hope you knowing you are loved will help with all my heart. Sending you my tears. Let me know if I can help in anyway. Love u.

  3. Thank you mommy. I know I am loved and have all of your support. I am sorry to make you cry. Just by offering helps makes me feel better. I love you too!


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