Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Bad with the Good

The Bad

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy.  I will be having surgery, hopefully sooner than later, that will, hopefully, once and for all, get rid of this chronic breast infection that has ruled my life for the last five years. The surgery is terrifying to me, but at this point it is completely necessary.  I have been a lot sicker than I have let pretty much everyone know and I can't take it anymore.  So, I will be getting an MRI done on Friday, remain on a strong antibiotic, and based on the results of the test, the surgical plan will be set up.  It will either be a smaller surgery than expected to try and clean out the infected tissue and then possible do the larger surgery a bit later, or if the MRI gives the doctors the info the need and it all looks good, they will go ahead and do the bigger surgery. Neither course of action makes me happy because I hate surgery.

Surgery causes a massive autoimmune flare, during which, as I experienced in past surgeries, leave me in so much pain that I can barely move, having trouble regulating my body temperature, and running high fevers.  In short, I am incredibly useless during a massive autoimmune flare.  I should be getting used to it though.  Because of the infection my immune system has been on constant attack high alert. While it is trying to attack the infection, it is, unfortunately, also attacking my muscles and joints.  I am not going to sugar coat it:  It fucking sucks! So in my house, since we all have the same autoimmune issues, we try to have fun as much as we possibly can. For instance last week was National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Krispy Kreme doughnut shops had a promotion that if you came to the shop dressed like a pirate you got a free dozen doughnuts.  So what did I do?  I got up at the ass crack of dawn, dressed up like a pirate and got some free doughnuts! So, instead of a traditional pain scale that you see in hospitals (You've probably seen them. They are the smiley face pain scales that get really annoying.), we use this fun new pain scale.  With the new and improved pain scale as a guide, the pain that this persistent breast infection has been causing is, on a good day, a "6 - BEES!", and on a really bad day I only wish it was a "9 - Mauled by a bear or ninjas."  When it gets this bad, when medication doesn't even touch the pain, all I can do is cry or sometimes scream.  This is why I gave my doctor permission to operate and to do whatever he has to do in order to make this go away. I am terrified of it, but it is necessary at this point.


 


The Good

Something amazing that happened during these crazy few weeks.  Everyone who knows me well knows that I love Broadway shows.  I have been truly obsessed with "Hamilton."  Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius and he is, without a doubt, my creative hero.  There is a song in the show called "It's Quiet Uptown" and it talks about how the Hamiltons tried to heal after the death of their beloved son.  The first time I heard the song I was driving home from work.  I began crying so hard that I had to pull my car over.  It brought back all of the emotions of my miscarriage and I simply could stop the tears.  After it was over, I played it again, then again, and again.  I played the song about 10 times and cried each time. I listened to the song every chance I got because it was starting to help me heal.  It was the only thing that really helped and I am incredibly grateful.

For helping me, even though he had no idea who I was,  I wanted to thank him and the cast for helping me heal a bit and asked if I could photograph the set because I think it is beautiful.  I sent them months ago and forgot about them.  I just hoped that he got them so they would know that their work and his amazing music made a difference in my life.  Last week I got my mail and there was a card addressed from the Richard Rodgers Theatre and my name and address was handwritten.  I freely admit I began to freak out before I even opened this.  When I opened it, I saw a note with a handwritten note telling me that I am talented, then signed by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  I started shaking, crying and smiling ear to ear all at once.  My creative hero thinks I am a talented photographer!  I am still trying to wrap my mind around that one. So I did what any normal person would do with a card that important: I framed it and it is now hanging on my wall over my desk.
Here it is (For the record, I did not ask him for a job, I just asked if I could photograph the set.):



The Conclusion

I am still trying to wrap my mind around all of this, both good and bad.  I have had every possible emotion running through my head.  I'm scared of what is to come, and the uncertainty of what that will actually entail.  I am incredibly grateful that I have an amazing support system to lean on (Mom, Catie, Beth, Dan, Danielle, Anne Margaret, Marianne, Aunt Maggie, Kory, RJ, Kate, Ben, Nicole, Latika etc.). The rest is up to me. 


Friday, September 2, 2016

A Realization and a Step Forward

I came to a realization very late the other night.  To most of you it will sound silly, ridiculous even, but for me it is huge.

I used to wear clothes that let my personality shine through.  I wore clothes that fit my body perfectly and showed off my curves.  After the first rape I started to wear clothes dark enough and baggy enough that I went unnoticed. I spent years simply trying to blend into the background.  Once I got my legs under me again, I started dressing in clothes that made me feel OK.  Not great, just OK. Then the second rape happened, followed by the miscarriage, and I just gave up.  I wear baggy clothes that are pretty, but don't make me feel like me.

The other night, I started scrolling through this clothing site that I got a shirt from back in March.  It was the first thing that I put on in years that made me feel beautiful and sexy and like me.  I was just looking through the shirts and soon found myself adding items to a wishlist that made me feel like my fun, flirty, beautiful self; the self I haven't known in years. I started wanting to wear clothes that fit me again.  I got this overwhelming need to stop hiding my body, curves and all, underneath shirts, jeans and dress trousers that are a few sizes too big.

This may sound incredibly silly, but this is a huge realization for me and it marks the first step forward I've had in a long time. I don't want to hide anymore.  I want to walk tall. I want to dress like me again.  Now I just need to start buying new clothes.