Hello, is anybody out there?

*tap tap tap*

Anyone still out there?

I think I’m going to revive this space – at least for a few posts I have been brewing for awhile now.

Stay tuned.

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The Good, The Bad, The Downright Exhausting

The Good:

I am going to be paying only 61$ out-of-pocket a month for my 1700$ biologics prescription.

The Bad:

My RA is just not responding to anything we’ve tried so far. This disease is aggressive and unrelenting on my body. Every six weeks I see my rheumatologist and I tell her about new symptoms and side-effects that are making every day a little more difficult.

In my exam with her 24/28 joints are tender, with 9 that are swollen.

So we’re moving on to the biologics, which will hopefully suppress my over-active immune system. Problem with that? Suppressing your immune system means that you are more susceptible to infections so I needed to do some things to get ready for that:

– a TB test (negative)
– a shingles vaccine (which has led to an uncomfortable reaction. Live vaccine in immuno-suppressed patient = feverish, aching, sore, blotchy arm)
– chest x-ray
– having some “suspect” moles checked to make sure I don’t have melanoma (I don’t but I do have a freaky colourless mole)

Having a “clean” bill of health means I should be able to start the new drugs this week. A nurse from the pharmaceutical company will come to my apartment and show me now to inject myself and sit with me to make sure I don’t have some kind of freaky reaction and die alone in my apartment.

The Downright Exhausting:

4 days – 4 appointments.

Rheumatologist, Nurse, Plastic Surgeon, Nurse & Doctor.

Poking, prodding, blood taken, injection, swelling, pain, exhaustion…

Emotionally I’ve reached a point where I just don’t know how I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

#Scintilla – My list

1. Visit Paris
2. Read Les Misérables & Mme. Bovary (finally!)
3. Buy a car
4. Move back to my hometown
5. Get back down to 130-140 lbs
6. Make 1 new friend in real life
7. Meet some of my online friends in real life: M, D, K, O (can you figure it out?)
8. See a movie at TIFF
9. Attend Juste Pour Rire
10. Skate on the Rideau Canal
11. Visit every province (BC, AB, SK, MB, PEI, NL, YK, NU, NWT – I’ve been to the others)
12. Get a puppy!
13. Try skiing
14. Learn how to make an authentic Cassoulet & macarons
15. Finish a knitting project (so many have been started, none completed)
16. Reestablish my friendship with my best girlfriend A
17. Get my tattoo finished
18. Learn how to apply eyeliner without blinding myself
19. Buy and wear a bathing suit
20. Travel alone
21. Finally work through my therapy workbook (I’ve been avoiding it for months now)
22. Date again
23. Be happy with myself

#Scintilla – Lost

I’ve never been the social butterfly actually I’m quite the opposite, I’m that girl who sits in the corner of a party wishing someone would talk to her first.

That night, I lost a part of myself that was underdeveloped in this over-share, social-media-heavy, 24/7 interactive world, I lost my ability to meet new people.

It had been awhile since I’d been on a date with someone I didn’t know but really, Dave and I had chatted off and on for over two years so I didn’t consider him a stranger. Actually, I more or less viewed him as a test. If I could go out and be social with him, I could probably go out on a “real” date with someone more compatible. I’ve never been good at dating. I tend to oscillate from one extreme to the other – either I am aloof and distant or I over-share. One day I will find the happy medium but I digress.

My first date with Dave was nice. He was funny if a little dumb for me. He was a little too street and a little too obsessed with his suped up car for my taste but it was a drink; where’s the harm in that? He was sweet, complimentary and he held my hand while we walked. I’m a sucker for the small things. We had consensual sex that night.

Two weeks later, he takes me to a horribly boring movie, Apollo 18, we share frozen yogurt, popcorn and a drink. Later we went to a pub near my place for a late dinner. We chatted and I discovered he was even more odd than I’d thought – lots of rambling about UFO conspiracies. Eventually, we ended up at my place again.

It was different this time. He was rougher. Pinning my down to tickle me though I begged him to stop. Spanking me though I asked him not to. He threatened to use the flogger that was hanging in my room on me even though he’d never used one. I didn’t fight him. I didn’t even ask him to leave. I just asked him to stop. Again and again. He wasn’t much taller than me but he was muscular and teaches jiu-jitsu.

So I didn’t fight.

He held me down and used me. I faked it so it would end. I wanted it to end.

What happened that night causes me to question my judgement. It makes me fearful of meeting new people. No, I’m not afraid to make small talk with my baristas but the thought of interacting with people on a level that is anything but superficial is terrifying. I can’t date. I can’t make new friends. I have isolated myself even further because I am terrified that the next person I let into my life might take something else from me.

I know that I need to find away to get back what I lost that night – my sociability, my sexuality, my faith in others – but I’m just not there yet.

#Scintilla – A Letter To Pollyanna

Dear Pollyanna,

It feels some times like we’ve known each other a lifetime but it’s only been a few years.

You have become a constant source of love, support and encouragement in my life and there is really no way for me to convey my gratitude for this.

When you came into my life I don’t think either of us ever imagined where this relationship would go or what it would mean.

You stand on the sidelines day in and day out cheering for me. Offering me a sounding board, sage advice and a calming voice when I’m standing out on a ledge.

Talking with you, chatting, and emailing has allowed me to see glimpses of myself that you see: a strong, smart woman with incredible potential. You have helped me to turn some of that potential into reality.

When I stumble, you offer me a hand to lift me up. When I cry, a shoulder to lean on. When I’m happy, you smile along with me.

So much has changed for me in the few short years we’ve known each other. I am not the girl I was when we met. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t know I needed to grow. I’ve tried things and given things up as needed. No matter which way my life has taken me, you’ve rolled along with me on this ride reminding me always that you, “trust my judgement”. What’s funny is that I’m still not sure trust my judgement but I figure your trust in it makes me trustworthy. And while that insanely circular logic makes little sense this is how a lot of our relationship is for me. I throw something out there and you help me to validate it and this allows me to accept it.

And while I am sure your arms are tired from waving the pom-poms, I hope you never stop. I need someone in my life like you. I need someone who can help me see all of me the way you do.

Thank you so much for being my friend.

Lots of love,

A

#Scintilla – Who I Am…

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out who I am and I’m not sure that I have any answers yet.

I could cop-out and be all existentialist. I could say that I am not yet who I am and I won’t be until I breathe my last breath. And while I appreciate I will be the sum of myself in that moment, I am here, being, existing, now and I have been for the last 33 years.

So who am I?

The more I think of it the more I feel in conflict with who I am and the seemingly impassable distance to who I want to be.

I am a daughter to two people who tried their best to be parents.

I am a step-daughter to two people who probably never wanted to be parents.

I am a step-sister to a man I wish did not share my last name.

I am a niece and cousin to people, some of whom I’ve never met.

I am a best friend to the tiniest group of people who sustain me daily.

I am a diligent co-worker who tries to be proactive, cooperative and supportive.

I am the woman with depression, IBS and arthritis.

I am the woman who loves too hard and falls too fast.

I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

I am more stubborn than the average mule.

I am the shy woman in the corner who just wishes someone would talk to her first.

I am the scared little girl who still doesn’t believe she is worthy.

I am the woman who loves books, foreign films, all things Francophone.

I am the foodie who could eat mangoes, cupcakes, macarons, everyday.

I am so many things but no matter how long I make this list it will only ever show the slightest glimpse into who I really am.

Ultimately, who I am is a work in progress.

Losing the battle

I feel like my body and I are currently in the middle of a battle…one I am starting to get rather disheartened about.

Back in January I changed my diet in an effort to control my IBS. I’m happy to report that for the most part, my IBS symptoms have calmed right down. Yes, if I cheat and have gluten, lactose, high fat foods or alcohol, my stomach is not impressed with me but even then it doesn’t come close to the pain and digestive distress I had before I made those changes.

Around the same time some of the joints in my hands started to ache a little at first but within a week or two they were in almost constant pain. By the time I saw my doctor a month later (I was too stubborn to go before) my hands were quite swollen. Since that appointment we’ve been trying to get the inflammation under control. So far it’s not really improving. While the pain isn’t as severe, it’s still ongoing and the more I use my hands the worse it gets. Lately typing, lifting garbage and doing dishes are just some of my daily tasks that have become painful.

So far it doesn’t seem likely I have rheumatoid arthritis but I did test positive for the markers for lupus but so does 20% of the general population. So I’m waiting to see when the next round of blood tests say. Hopefully, I’ll have more news on Friday when I visit with my family doctor.

Compounding this is the fact that my NSAIDs are causing extreme nausea and heartburn. While I’ve been prescribed medication to counteract that I’m still experiencing far too much discomfort to continue with those drugs. Just when I got my stomach under control there’s a new irritant I can’t really control.

The choice is a happy tummy or hand so sore I can barely move them so it’s not really a choice at all.

So the swelling, throbbing and aching continues and spreads. It’s not longer contained to just my hands but has moved to my wrists, forearms, shoulders and this weekend my feet and ankles.

I know I’m not dying and that in the grand scheme of things this isn’t that horrendous but it’s so frustrating to know that I was making improvement to my health to my lifestyle only to be thwarted by my own body.

And In With The New

This year, I want things to be different. I need them to be.

I am fully aware that I am the only person in my life who can actually make them different so I’m making some changes because I refuse to be sitting here, in this same place, with the same complaints, concerns and issues in a year’s time.

I need this year to be the year I finally move forward. Move on. Move away.

This needs to be the year I finally believe I deserve better, more, what I want.

This needs to be the year where I finally let go of the people who aren’t prepared to give me what I deserve.

This needs to be the year of healthy relationships.

This needs to be the year I go to Paris.

This needs to be the year, I get my stomach issues under control.

This needs to be the year where I make new friends in real life.

So I’ve started saving for Paris; I’m changing my diet and I’m getting myself mentally and emotionally ready to try to put myself out into the world again. All this change is scary and overwhelming but wanting those things so bad, they keep me up at night means it’s time to do something about it. After everything that happened to me this year, I realize I could just keep letting life fly by me, miserable, alone and afraid but that’s no way to live.

Out With The Old…

2011 the year of bad decisions and awful experiences.

~ Went to Vegas cool but I don’t really “get” it. My favourite experiences involved maple bacon for breakfast, O, and the Hoover Dam.

~ I fought like hell to be made permanent at my job and I was – yay! Sadly, it took 3 of the most emotionally and mentally draining months to make it happen.

~ I learned that people and their online personas are just that. Dating someone who fashions himself a rogue, leads to exactly what you would expect and despite him being 12 years my senior, he acted like a child in the end.

~ I participated in an affair. Knowingly. And despite the nature of our relationship, he’s one of the best people I have ever known. Thank you.

~ I dated a man who raped me.

~ I spent a lot of time in therapy.

~ I went to Montreal and played the tourist: visiting Notre Dame, riding around in a horse drawn carriage and of course seeing that Habs (they lost but I loved it anyway!).

~ I went to Playground, which was an amazing experience. I can’t wait for next year!

~ I tried to seek refuge in the Ex-Boyfriend. That man is so far under my skin, I really worry I will never get him out.

~ I’ve started to get my finances in order – saving, investing, doing the appropriate grown up things.

I am going to try to put the unpleasantness of last year behind me, I have to. I have to keep moving forward. As much as there are some awful things that happened this year, somehow, once again, I’ve found the strength to just keep swimming.