Monday, June 8, 2015

Times flies when you're having fun

The last couple of months have been packed...in the best possible way. Blogging is actually pretty important to me. I definitely like the ability to look back at the good times..and reflect on the perhaps not so good. But, I'm glad it crossed my mind to write a life update, so here goes.

In May, my mom, dad, sister and I went to Italy! It was an absolutely amazing experience. We got to visit a number of amazing places, including Tuscany, Rome, Florence...It was all simply breathtaking. I feel infinitely blessed to have been able to go on such a trip. The fact that a good friend of my dad owns a house there and we had a place to stay as well as someone to take us around was absolutely phenomenal!
Florence Italy by Night
Mmmmm Pizza from Move On in Florence

San Grimignano
Gelato in Florence on my Birthday!

Mom, Me, and my Sis in Rome


Mom, Sis and I in San Grimignano


I basically can't wait to go back, This was my absolute favourite vacation ever! When it was time to come home a couple of weeks later, the first of our two connecting flights got cancelled. Now what?? Luckily, my Dad spoke to the people at the airport and they were able to make alternate arrangements for us. We went from Florence to Amsterdam to Detroit to Toronto. Phew! I would have been content leaving the airport after we found out our flight was cancelled. Maybe this was a sign that Florence is supposed to remain IN Florence! But, for the first time in probably my whole life, I was actually looking forward to getting home. Why, you ask?

Because I had this face waiting in Toronto for me

Greg and I are still going strong. He is such a delightful and kind soulwho accepting of me, ALL of me, as I mentioned in my previous post about him. He speaks a lot about the future, but in a good way. He talks about our future together, our goals, our lives, and his determination to make it happen. He tells me all the time that he will be here and IS here to take care of me in any way, shape, or form. He's ready to face any and every obstacle that may come...and I don't know how else to describe it except by saying that he makes me feel so safe and so beautiful. Only a short while after we first met, he called me one evening after 10pm and told me he wanted to come and see me. About 5 minutes later, he was outside of my house. I went out and got into his car and we chatted. I was only in his car for a few minutes when, without hesitation, he told me that he loved me, and how happy he was to be in love with me. Everything about him and me was just...right. The feeling was absolutely mutual...and since that evening in his car, we never let a day go by without sharing this feeling, this emotion each other, whether over the phone or face to face.

He embraces my silliness and I love and encourage his...and it's absolutely amazing.

Ok, I'm done gushing.  But I'm not done sharing pics of my love.







And now, here's me, smiling like the Cheshire Cat with glee.






xo

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My friend's wedding

I'm here lying in my boyfriend's bedroom at his parents' house. Yes, I met his parents for the first time yesterday. They're absolutely delightful and kind. Their two dogs, Primo and Bella, are delightful too. Bella is sweet but Primo is still unsure and curious about me. I'll win him over soon enough I'm sure.

Anyhow, the point is this post was to share pics of my friend Joy's wedding last weekend. It was a wonder and beautiful wedding with a beautiful bride, groom, and wedding party. And, my dad performed the wedding ceremony! That said, it was a large wedding and therefore I didn't have the pleasure to get a photo with the bride, but below are some of the photos from that night. (Greg cleans up well, no?)






...when you leave your phone unattended and you turn your head, this is what happens.






Sunday, April 5, 2015

All Your Curves and All Your Edges

I've blogged through tears way too often.

I've felt sad and without hope way too often.

The strange thing is..even though those past situations and occurrences hurt so bad, I think they were necessary. Not only have they taught me that I, at the end of the day, have to honour me and put ME first, but they also taught me that I deserve more; I deserve better.

You know what I thought? I thought that because I have an illness/condition, that I have to..."put up" with things, like perhaps not being treated as well as I should be treated, because I did not have the right to be "picky" about men. I should be so happy/lucky that someone wants to be with me in spite of the fact that I have a tricky and often unpredictable condition. I felt like I was either going to have to put up with that kind of shit, or I was going to need to "date down". When I say date down, I mean that I would have to date someone that I actually had little in common with and wasn't really attracted to simply because they wanted or was willing to give me the time of day.

Crazy, huh?

Having learned to talk to others about my feelings and having learned to be open to and accept the (unbiased) suggestions of others, I began to heal. I healed enough to feel like I was ready to "put myself out there" again.  I was guarded-very guarded, but I did it.

I went on many first dates. Many of those first dates would also be last dates, but I did go on many dates and met many nice people. But, while dating these nice people, I had to keep in mind that I'm allowed to be a bit picky. I had to keep in mind that people could be nice people and still not "be for me".

I met one guy in particular-he was great. Our first date was to a local pub for dinner, then out for coffee after dinner. On that first date, he baked me gluten free red velvet cupcakes from scratch. They were quite good, too! We sent text messages back and forth several times a day.  We went out a second time, this time for dinner and a movie. He was super nice and I very much enjoyed his company. Pretty cool, huh?

Not quite. Yes, he was a wonderful, kind, and thoughtful individual. But...just not for me. There were certain things about him that I didn't like.  I didn't like that fact that he was sometimes...negative for no good reason.
"That movie looks terrible. I wouldn't be caught dead watching that."
"Only an idiot would watch "

Aside from that...it just didn't feel right. I knew that he really liked me. When I became distant and pulled away from him, he chased. But I let him go.

Just as I was letting him go, I met another guy. We texted back and forth and spoke on the phone daily for about a week before going on a first date.

The day we were to go on our first date was a day with near blizzard conditions. Undeterred, he picked me up right on time. When he picked me up, he came armed with sour peach candy (I had mentioned that sour peach candies were my favourite type of candy) and had in mind exactly where we were going to go for dinner. Much to my delight, he pulled into the parking lot of a pizza place that I told him was one of my favourites. The fact that he was not only listening, but incorporated these things into our first date was quite impressive if I do say so myself.

We chatted and laughed over pizza, often pausing without words while exchanging shy smiles and giggles.

I like this guy...and this was only after the first date! And what's more? He lives, literally, without exaggeration, about a 1-2 minute drive from my house!

We went out a few more times and I realized that I really did like this guy, and it was very clear that he liked me too.  When this realization began to sink in, I knew that the time for me to tell him a little bit about me and my condition was here.

So I told him.

I told him that I had lupus. I told him about my kidney transplant. He knew about my knee surgery, as the scar on my knee is very apparent. I drew my breath in and let it out slowly.I was scared. I was scared about what he would say or how he would feel about it.

What he said next is something I will never forget.

He told me that he wanted to be there for me no matter what.  He told me that he would take care of me.

He told me he wanted to be my rock.

I couldn't help it. I burst into tears. No one has ever said anything like that to me. They way he looked right into my eyes when he said it...I don't know how else I can describe it except to say that it was powerful. We sat there for about half an hour, me crying quietly in his arms.

As my tears began to dry, he asked me a few general questions about my condition that I was happy to answer. He asked me if I had any limitations he should know about, or anything that he should or shouldn't do. The fact that he asked these things because he wanted to make sure that I was well and comfortable...it was just plain thoughtful and amazing.

This all happened at the beginning of February. We have spoken to and/or seen each other every day since then.

He's always very complimentary.  He makes me feel like the prettiest girl he has ever seen. He never makes me feel self-conscious about my scars or my less than perfect body. He's loving and accepting of all my perceived imperfections...all of my curves and all of my edges. When he looks at me...the way he looks at me..I can tell that he feels just as lucky to have me as I feel lucky to have him.  In fact, he tells me this often. I tell him too.

Since our first date, I've told him whenever I'm going to a doctor's appointment, what it's about, what happened at my appointment, etc. Since then, he's been nothing but kind, gentle, caring, and attentive. He has been perfect. There is still much to tell and much to learn, but we're in no rush. I tell him new stuff about me often, and he always impresses me with his amazingly supportive responses.

Is he my knight in shining armour? Is he the guy I'll end up with forever and ever? Who knows. But what I can say is that it's absolutely extraordinary to know that there are (still) amazing people like him out there...and I just feel privileged to call him my boyfriend.


Oh yeah, meet Greg, my boyfriend.



xo

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A few small updates

It has certainly been a while since I have posted an update...so here goes!

The last couple of months have definitely been months of change-months of growth, so some time of sharing is definitely overdue.

My scleritis went away with continued treatment, but shortly after stopping the treatment...it came back! I'm currently seeing the eye doctors at the hospital who are keeping a close eye (no pun intended) on my scleritis and are making sure that they taper me off of the prednisone drops more slowly.

I'm sad to announce that I'm still searching for a job. I've been applying regularly, but it seems that every single job I come across, even ones that appear to be "entry level" require 1-2 years of experience.  It's a real bummer. I'm thinking that at this point, perhaps it might be a good idea to start attempting to make lateral moves within the organization that I'm currently in as opposed to focusing so strongly on HR jobs. I have come to the realization that these HR jobs are few and far between, and once someone does get an HR role, they tend to stay there for a long period of time. All I can do is keep trying...and hope for the best.

I had been attending boot camp last year on a free trial basis.  I really liked it, but number one it was expensive, and secondly...I wasn't too fond of travelling to that location. Much to my surprise and delight, a boot camp opened up close (closer) to my home, AND it offered a grand opening discounted price. I have been going to classes there and it has been amazing. It is an all women's boot camp and it is such a positive environment. It's not the type of boot camp where a drill sergeant-esque individual screams in your face as you struggle through 5 more pushups...no.  It's nothing like that.  Yes, we work hard, but it's more an environment of encouragement and support than anything else. All of the other girls are so supportive of one another, and this is also a factor that encourages me to get up and get there. My instructor is super sweet, supportive, and always ready with modifications for me to ensure I do not injure myself.  So far so good!

There is another topic of importance to me that I would like to get into..but I'll get into that tomorrow, as I feel that it probably deserves a post of it's own. 

xo

Friday, February 20, 2015

Focus groups!

On a couple of occasions, I've received phone calls from various market research firms asking me if I wanted to participate in a focus group. Ive been to 3 in total. The topics varied-one was about a new food product that was soon to be released, another about ads for a new travel agent. Various things. Each of the groups I have participated in had about 10-12 people in them. There was also a moderator. The moderator would ask various questions while the rest of us spoke of our experiences, opinions, and thoughts. At the end of there sessions, which usually lasted between one to one and a half hours, I would receive an honorarium for my time. I have received between $75-$110! Not bad at all!

I received an email the other day that I wanted to share with you. A firm called Focus Pointe Global is looking for individuals with lupus or caregivers of those with lupus to participate in focus groups. Based on the email I had received, the focus groups conducted by this market research firm pay anywhere from $75-$200. If you're on the Philadelphia or Chicago area and wouldn't mind making some extra cash, check out the links below!

Philadelphia: http://bit.ly/83994CO

Chicago: http://bit.ly/83993C

Xo

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ringing in the new year...with Scleritis!

So I did have an amazing new year. I pretty much rested on New Year's Day and prepared to go to work the following day. 

When I woke up, I felt a dull ache in my left eye. I thought perhaps I had slept with my watch on my eye and it was aching. So, as usual, I headed into the washroom to wash my hands and then to brush my teeth. Trust that I was shocked (and scared!) by what I saw in the mirror:

What the hell?? What happened to my eye between me going to bed and me waking up in the morning!? There was a bit of water/tears, but no excessive "gunk" in my eye, so I don't think it's pink eye..? And pink eye doesn't "hurt", does it? 

Well, I was concerned enough to want to go to emerg and get it checked out. I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I really didn't want to call in sick to work, especially on the first day back after the new year. But seriously-something was wrong. 

I got to emerg and was seen rather quickly. Oh, side note-did I mention that some weird cyst developed on the underside of my tongue a week and a half or so ago too? Also uncomfortable. So, while in emerg, why not get that checked out too? 2 birds? 1 stone? So as a side note to this story, I ended up having an ENT come see me in emerg. He reviewed my tongue and I believe he said it was a mucosa. He drained it, but warned that it would likely come back. If it did and didn't disappear on its own after a month, I should see my GP to get referred to an ENT and perhaps it would have to be cut out like another cyst I had on my inner bottom lip a few years back. So there's that. As I type this post, the cyst is slowly but surely returning. 


Anyhow, the ER doctor saw my eye and referred me to an eye clinic at a nearby hospital for an appointment that afternoon. Overall, while I don't enjoy being in the ER or in the hospital at all for that matter, this was one of my more enjoyable ER visits. The ER doctor was amazingly pleasant as was the ENT doctor. Boy I lucked out. 

After hours of waiting (luckily my mom was with me to keep me company) I saw the eye doctor who diagnosed me with Scleritis. What's that!?! Well, it's this. 


One percent!?! Ha! My luck for sure. 

Anyhow, I was given eyedrops to use 4 times a day


and my prednisone was increased from 5mg daily to 30mg daily for 7 days. 

This whole fiasco began on Friday January 2nd. Progress has been excellent. I have included pictures of my eye on Friday January 2, Saturday January 3, and today, Tuesday January 6. Seems like my scleritis responding well to treatment. 
 
Crazy, right? And yes, I have to put alarms in my phone to remind me to use my prednisolone drops. 

:)





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Holiday Season

This holiday season was just about family, friends, and having a good time. No stress, just smiles. Hope your holiday season was good to you too. 












Thursday, December 18, 2014

Crazy Few Months

The tears haven't stopped, but they flow less frequently. The hurting hasn't stopped, but I'm managing to find joy in things all over again. 

I love to write-I love to blog. And when something happens in my life that is so...strong that it takes me to a point where I don't feel like doing things I love...I dunno how to explain it. It's just amazing and terrifying how you're so sad, so hurt, that you don't even want to ATTEMPT to find joy in things. 

I had gotten to a point where I felt so overwhelmed, so hopeless. And the thing is...whenever something negative happens in my life, I need to find something to blame. I blame my health-I blame it a lot. I have said this more than once-I strongly believe that if I didn't have to deal with all of these hurdles, I would have certainly been at a point in life where I would already be married, with a house, and at least one child by now, if not two. 

I do think about that a lot, but at the same time, if my life's path had taken a different turn, I certainly wouldn't be the person that I am today, nor will I have been able to establish many of the friendships in my life that I cherish. I may not have been so caring-so sensitive. If someone that I love/care about is hurting, I'm hurting too. When people tell me the rough things they have gone through in life, I cry for them and with them. I care SO deeply for others, and I hate to see others sad or down. Sometimes I think of things that a friend had told me earlier in the day, something sad, and I'll go home, go into my room, close the door...and cry. Is it because I'm a crybaby? Nah. It's simply because I'm an emotional person who...who loves those around me. I'm thankful for those around me. 

I know I've said this before, but it's on my mind so I have to say it again. I often wonder if I care TOO much for others. If I care about someone, LOVE someone, trust that every inch of me, every hair on my body, every cell, every inch of me, cares and loves for that someone. I've often thought to myself that I should stop doing that. Stop caring so much. 

I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to "not" care, or even to care less. After this last...blow that I suffered, I've learned that everything isn't always what it seems. I've learned that actions speak louder than words, and if I'm being honest with myself, the actions that I often witnessed were telling.  I need to stop...settling. Don't get me wrong-in spite of the great disappointment that I suffered because of this guy, I do still care about him. He did treat me quite well in the beginning. He did chase me. He did text when I didn't. But then, when I was "got"- when I was no longer a challenge, when things flipped from him really going out of his way to see me to the other way around, what's what I began...holding on for dear life. How stupid. I don't hate him, and I don't think he was being malicious and set out to hurt me. But he did make poor choices, and he did put me through some shit that just wasn't necessary. But...I knew that. And I didn't run for my life. How stupid. 

I think I'm a pretty cool person. I'm kind, I'm funny, I care about others, I help others, and I think I can safely say that I'm not ugly. I think that I sometimes need to just...step back and remember these things. I think that if I can do that, I'll be ok. And if you're reading this, and you are going through some shit, whether it's related to your health, relationships, life in general, just remember that a single "setback" doesn't define you. You're allowed to be sad. You're allowed to cry. You're allowed to feel like.."why does crap like this always happen to me?"  Do it. Take the time you need to take to mourn. Once the acute pain and sadness has faded, you may still have your ups and downs where you think about that "setback". 

Just remember, no matter what, you'll be okay. Wounds heal but scars remain-but even those scars fade to a point where they are so faint that they're just a distant memory of a past pain. It's alright-you'll be okay. WE'LL be okay. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Get By With A Litle Help from my Friends

It's a good thing to talk. Talk about stuff.

I go back and forth when it comes to the above statement. Sometimes...I don't want to talk about stuff, because I know, mid story, it'll make my cry. At the same time, if I don't, the tears that need to be "cried" simply remain inside. That's not good either.

This weekend was one of catching up with friends-good ones.

On Friday evening, it was date night with my close friend and confidant, Mikey. Mikey and I have known each other and immediately connected as friends soon after we met each other back at our first job in a ritzy Italian grocery store. He was 14 and I was 16. Mikey is one of those friends that I can tell absolutely anything and everything. My most embarrassing of stories, even my secret embarrassments..nothing is too embarrassing for me to tell Mike. What I also like about our relationship is the way it has evolved. Back then, we were kids with not a worry in the world. We spent most of our waking moments together, whether it was going to the movies, out to dinner/dessert, or just aimlessly driving through the streets without a destination or a care in the world. Now, we're adults. We have responsibilities, and oftentimes these responsibilities prevent us from getting together as regularly as we did. In spite of this, what I do know is that things will be exactly as they were when we last saw each other, regardless of how many hours, days, or months have passed.

Anyhow, Mikey came by to pick me up so we could go and do one of the many things we enjoy doing together- grabbing some dessert. I wouldn't believe the following story if I hadn't been there-as we drove down the street, did we NOT see the car of the gentleman I was dating and have been whining about these last few posts driving almost right beside us??

"That's his car!!" I yelled at Michael. He, rightfully so, instantly thought I was crazy. Yes Flo, that car, which looks like a million other cars, just so happens to be HIS car? I didn't have my glasses on, but I could see some distinct characteristics which lead me to believe that this was, in fact, HIS car. The back of the vehicle was damaged from a previous fender bender. The license plate wasn't one from my city-it was from another city from another province...just like HIS.

We both got caught at a red light. There was another car between us, but it was clear it was him. I noticed he had a passenger. I'll admit it-I went mad for a moment and contemplated jumping out of the car, opening the passenger door of his car, dragging the occupant out, and spreading her across the street like jelly on toast. "Relax, it's a guy" Mikey told me. Even if it wasn't...I really had no jurisdiction to attack his passenger. But, I won't lie-the thought went through my mind. Since HIS car was on Mikey/the driver's side, I turned my head to look out the passenger window in an attempt to not look "obvious". I say this because as I noticed the vehicle and told Mike, we certainly did...adjust our speed to get a closer look. Very obvious indeed.

Anyhow, we went our separate ways and headed off to enjoy our dessert. What I enjoyed about talking to Mikey is the fact that he gives my advice based on his own experiences. He relayed advice of his own, as well as advice given to him from others when he needed it. I was tired that night, but was sad when the night ended, as I could have stayed there and chatted with Mikey for hours.

Last night, myself and my friend Sadia met up for dinner, dessert, and, of course, debriefing. She also another amazing person to speak to because her experiences and thoughts have been similar to mine, but in a different way than they are with Mikey. See, Sadi and I met in the hospital system, as we both had kidney issues and both eventually received kidney transplants. She knows what it's like to go through these emotions, especially with the health aspect attached to it. Since meeting, we've gone on many adventures throughout the city as well. Again, one of my favourite things to do. Trying new restaurants and just "hanging out" is something I really enjoy doing with Sadi. She's also someone that I can share my inner most secrets with-and trust me-there are few people I can do that with.

She also gave me some perspective based on her own experiences.  In a previous post, I talked about wishing that I was the woman I was a number of years back-I was "tougher", "stronger", and "less willing to put up with shit". There was one factor that I didn't consider that Sadi brought to my attention: Prednisone.

Prednisone is a medication I've spoken about before. It's an evil drug side-effect wise, but works well to control my lupus symptoms as well as minimize the chances of rejection of my kidney. But, that said, take a look at these side effects:
 
  • Aggression
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • dizziness
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • headache
  • irritability
  • mental depression
  • mood changes
  • nervousness
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • weight gain


Being on a medication like this coupled with some of the low lows I've been feeling...it could very likely be an issue as well-one that should be explored.

It's ok to be sad, but it's also ok to reach out to those you love when you are feeling sad. This is still a concept that I'm struggling with, but I'm getting better.

xo























Monday, October 6, 2014

A-ha moment?

I may have had one of those the other day.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I wear my emotions on my face-there's no hiding. Sometimes, when emotions are low, I can fake it. I can smile, I can laugh, and I can make believe. Other times, when I'm REALLY upset about something, my facial expressions as well as my overall attitude changes.

I was at work the other day and was so upset. I'm so upset that I was lied to, hurt...deliberately, and that I'm so upset that I'm so upset.

Nobody is perfect. But, I do feel that some of these relationships that I shed so many tears about, and these relationships that upset me so bad that I can often go an entire day without eating, or an entire day without getting out of bed about...are often not even that great.

When I'm with these guys, they treat me well.  They take care of me, they make me laugh. But, is it normal for someone to not text you back? Is it normal for someone to cancel plans on you at the last moment with no real reason? Is it normal for you to care so deeply for someone while they're out there still searching for something you thought that the both of you already had?

One guy would simply not text or call me back when he said he would. He would often go days without messaging me. Once he went more than a week without messaging. And I took it.

Another guy, I knew he was out there, dating other girls, even though he had committed himself to me. Like...he wanted to do what he wanted to do, but didn't want me out there meeting other people. Sometimes he would avoid or ignore me for a few hours a day. He would admit it sometimes-he'd say he was just having a bad day, or he was down, or depressed. I'd take it.

What is it about my self worth that I continue to accept bullshit like that? Why am I so afraid to speak up?

Well, someone figured it out for me the other day. I kind of knew...in the back of my head. But the fact that someone ELSE could read me like that caused me to immediately break down into tears.

What is it about me/my self worth that I feel I have to put up with garbage? Well, it's because I, quite frankly, feel damaged.

I'm a woman with a chronic illness. I thank God for the blessing I received in terms of having received a kidney transplant, but that by no means is a "cure" or anything-it's a treatment.  There have been times that I've been admitted to the hospital for days, sometimes weeks. There have been times where I have been so tired that I could barely CRAWL from my bed to my washroom/en suite. Yes, I have a bathroom right in my bedroom that is barely one step away from my bed. Sometimes it's hard.  I'm a woman whose body has been marred by the knives of surgeons, with one major scar being from my kidney transplant, and other scars from my perforated bowel. I feel much better about the latter scar now that it has been revised. But, no amount of plastic surgery/scar revision surgery can "fix". It can make you feel better about yourself-sure...but it can't "fix" you.

That said, when I find a guy, a half decent guy, who is willing to give me the time of day after I have told him just a fraction of the things that are "wrong" with me and he doesn't run in the other direction...I had better hold on for dear life. I feel so "damaged" that I perhaps don't feel like I have the..."right" to comment about how I'm being treated, or what you did to make me mad/upset.  I feel like crying 3 out of 7 days of the week over my wonderful relationship, while not normal, is just what I have to do if I don't want this guy to leave me.

Why.


I'm still..so sad. Rejection kills me, especially since I try SO hard to NOT be rejected, and perhaps it is in that "trying" that is causing these "rejections" in the first place.  This last situation in particular really did a number on me. It hurts to be told that you are loved, and let's get a place together...to have a discussion about your future kids, hell, to even be asked if you were willing to move across the country, as a job opportunity for him came up. Guess what? I thought long and hard about it...and was actually considering it.

I went to a wedding this past weekend, He was supposed to be my date. I can't tell you how overwhelming...sad I was. There was an empty seat at my table-it was for him.  It was so humiliating for me to have RSVP'd as just one, then contact the bride to ask if it was ok to bring a date...then just a few weeks before the wedding, contact the bride AGAIN to tell her to remove my previous RSVP, and that I was coming alone.  My two boys at my table, especially Matt, said the nicest things to me as he knew that I was feeling extremely low. Everything he said was just...right. He told me how I had impacted HIS life by helping him "come out of his shell" and be less shy, especially on the dancefloor.  He told me what an amazing person I am, and how hot I looked that night. In fact, it got overwhelming and I had to excuse myself to go to the restroom to ball my eyes out-both at his sweetness and at my sadness. In the end, I still had a great night-the venue was beautiful...but I couldn't help but wonder how much...MORE amazing my night would have been if he was at my side.

What an idiot.

I don't know what to do in order to try and...attract the right person. I avoided dating for so long-nearly 9 years, because I didn't feel I was ready to devote myself to someone else. After that period ended and I was all healed from my kidney transplant, I felt ready. I felt comfortable.

Why does it have to be so...hard?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hurting

I only just logged onto my blog today and saw all of the wonderful comments that were left on my last post. They honestly made me cry, and I really appreciate the fact that there are people out there, strangers in fact, who care so much that they would leave such kind comments. I really appreciate each of them. I also apologize for the recent collection of "not-so-uplifting" posts.

I suffered another setback. The gentleman that I was dating, as of last night/this morning, is no longer mine.

We had a beautiful dinner that he prepared while I performed sous chef duties. We watched a movie over dinner as time quickly passed. Before we knew it, it was almost 10:30pm. That was normally bedtime, as he has about an hour+ drive just to get to work in the morning. I had been feeling distance between us on and off, and I knew something was wrong. We were supposed to hang out this weekend, but he said he wasn't feeling well.  I knew that wasn't true.  I later learned that he just wanted to be at home..by himself...because he was down, and because he was scared.

I knew that he too was going through struggles as it relates to his career, family..life in general. I met him on a dating website online about 2 months ago. We had talked about removing our dating profiles a couple of times after we had dated for a while and figured out that we liked each other. But, I had noticed that he had never removed his profile...and in fact, signed into it quite frequently.

I asked him about it for the third time yesterday. He finally told me the truth-he wasn't ready.

I was confused, as he was the one who pursued me, asked me out and continued to do so even though I blew him off a bit. He was the one who said he wanted to be in a relationship with me. He was the one who said he wanted us to move in together. He was the one who said he wanted us to go on vacation together in November. He was the one who talked about meeting my parents sooner rather than later. He was the one who caught me off guard when he used the "L" word as we dined by candlelight at a lovely quiet restaurant late one evening. He told me that he was a liar, and didn't mean those things. He told me that he was a bad person, and he didn't know why he did the things he did. I know that his experiences in the past with women haven't been favourable ones, and he explained his fear to me as relates to commitment.

I knew his struggles-his ups and downs. His past unfavourable relationships, his "cons". And still, I was wanting and willing to be there for him as he had been there for me. He would tell me that I was too good for him, and that I was too good for him. At first I thought it was cute, but as he continued to say it every so often, it troubled me.

He apologized.

As I layed there in bed, my head still on his shoulder in complete darkness, I cried quietly so he wouldn't hear. I didn't know what to say or do. I thought of getting up and going home, but it would be a long trek for me-at least 30 minutes by cab, or an hour and a half by public transit.  I wondered, again, why me? What is so terrible about me that relationship after relationship ends in the same (or similar) way? Commitment issues? I decided that I would just stay until the morning, and let him take me home. We shared a few words, as he tried to talk to me, make jokes, etc as we drove down the highway. I didn't say much. I was stuck on the fact that his passenger side seatbelt smelled like women's perfume- perfume that wasn't mine.

It was what I read in his dating profile in the first place that attracted me to him. He spoke about being tired of being in relationships where he was the only one trying. He spoke about looking for someone who could share everything with, which would hopefully result in a long term relationship. Did he lie about that too? Did I "fall for it"?

Honestly-where did I go wrong?

..this sucks. Like...why me?  This. Sucks.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Maybe it just wasn't meant to be

I wish the "me" of 10 years ago could have a conversation with the "me" of today.

Let me tell you about the "me" of 10 years ago.

She was a strong woman who had been through a lot. High school was blur, as she spent a good deal of it in and out of the hospital. I don't know how she did it, but she did.  

She was fearless. She did what she wanted, and she didn't put up with your crap, her crap, his crap, or anyone's crap. She would cut you off at the drop of a dime. She would think of you after cutting you off...maybe once or twice. But that was it. 

She handled her struggles with grace and courage. Life was unpredictable. She often went to sleep not knowing what news she would get the following day. In spite of that, she still "did her thing". She went clubbing, to bars with her friends, and she met people. She maintained a decent level of self confidence, even though the high doses of prednisone altered her appearance. It didn't matter- her personality and confidence shined through.

I wish I could invite her from the past, as a lot has changed. The old me wouldn't cry 6 out of 7 days of the week, She wouldn't be sad all the time. And if she did get sad, she would remove whatever it was in her life that was making her sad. Today's me doesn't do that. I don't do that because I'm too scared to lose what I already have...even if it's not the most positive thing. Does that even make sense?

I often wonder if certain things in life, for me, are simply just "not meant to be". Maybe I'm having a hard time finding a job because...it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe my ability to have a nice, semi-normal life (whatever that means) is near impossible..because it just wasn't meant to be. In Christianity, there is no such thing as a "previous life". But, if they did/do exist, is it possible that I was a really, really shitty person back then, and I'm paying for it now?

Not EVERYTHING in life is shitty-of course not. I have amazing family and amazing friends. But, as I've mentioned in the past, there are major facets in life where I'm either failing or just beginning, and this makes me sad as hell.

It's hard to get a "linkedin" notification showing all of the friends that you love and went to school with doing so well while you're in the same place you were even before going to school. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for my friends and want them to do well..I just wish I was doing well too.

It's hard to sign into facebook and see all of your beautiful friends with their beautiful families...knowing that you're really nowhere near that point in your own life.

My life is difficult already-I have health issues to keep an eye on, which means multiple doctor visits, blood work, lab tests, etc. Why does it have to be even...harder?  I wish the universe would give me a break for once...I'm already having a hard time here.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Bad Luck Comes in Threes?"- Revisited

Nearly two years ago I blogged about some struggles I was going through. I talked about what was making me sad at the time as it relates to my health, my physical appearance, and my heart. If you haven't read it, here it is-"Back Luck Comes in Threes?".

I read back on that entry today. In fact, I read it at least a few times a year.

I talked about how upset I was with my appointment at the plastic surgeon's office. Let me be 100% clear-I was wronged.  I was left with a horrendous scar because of the negligence of hospital staff.  In spite of this, they didn't want to help me. Nobody wanted to help me.  I appealed to the plastic surgeon and was told that because this was strictly cosmetic and not "medically necessary", it wouldn't be covered by the government and I would end up paying out of pocket. I appealed to patient relations-I was also told that they would not be assisting me, and maybe I should consider getting psychiatric help to deal with my body issues. In the end, I found a plastic surgeon who charged me much less than I had expected, and I was "fixed". Am I 1,000% happy with the results? Yes-based on what we were working with, the improvement is phenomenal. Am I happy that I had to go through this in the first place? No.  I often wonder how things would have turned out if I had stayed at TGH and didn't go home, then head to TWH the following day. Would this same mistake have been made? Perhaps this is the way things were meant to be-maybe if I had stayed at TGH something far worse would have happened to me. A blessing in disguise I suppose...disguised as a once grotesque, now acceptable vertical line scar below my belly button.

My struggles as far as my career haven't changed much. I'm still working in the same role that I was in two years ago, and I'm definitely more frustrated now than I was then.  Being in school full time, home dialysis, lupus, and multiple doctor's appointments? Guess what-NOT EASY. I busted my tail just to keep up. On top of that, I never was, nor will I ever be, good with the "middle of the pack". I had to either be at the top or very close to it. My refusal to just be "ok" of course made things difficult. Couple regular course work with studying for the NKE with everything else? Dang-crazy. My argument is this-I've worked hard to pass the NKE, go back to school, finish it with Deans List honours and academic awards to boot...and yet, no one wants to hire me.

Lucky for me, a company did take me on as an intern in an HR capacity, so there is progress. It's still a bit difficult for me since I'm still not exactly where I want to be, nor do I feel like I'm progressing...fast enough, but still, I'm further now than I was two years ago.

A funny thing happened.  In the above post, I spoke about a guy I was dating. Let me tell you-this guy was MADE for me. Nobody could tell me NOTHING about him. He was cute, funny, charming, easy to talk to, easy to listen to...and most importantly, I just felt great when I was around him. Butterflies in my stomach were on 10 out of 10 every time I'd hear the special ringtone or text tone I had set special for him. I cared for him more deeply than I've cared for anyone in a long time. I hadn't made an effort to get really close to anyone while I was dealing with dialysis, so meeting and hanging out with this guy made me feel so...brand new. We had an amazing and hilarious time together every single time.

Then, he left. He disappeared.

I had no idea what happened to him or why. He just...disappeared. I called, I emailed, I texted. Nothing. I didn't know what to do, but I know how I felt. I felt like a piece of shit. How could I be so blind? Was there something in our relationship that I didn't see? What was I missing? Why did he just up and leave me like that? Then ignore me?

I can't even begin to describe how sad I was. I blamed myself. I went over every conversation we had in my mind with a fine tooth comb, thinking of all the things I should or shouldn't have said. Heaven forbid someone should say something very simple and otherwise normal to me at that point in time-I would burst into tears. I was the definition of a basket case.

I never FULLY got over it. But then...a year later, he and I reconnected. We picked up where we left off, and everything was well in the world again. "Don't do that to me again!" I exclaimed. "I won't" he said happily.

Until..2 months later...he did the exact same thing. Again.

Fucking. Shattered. Even worse than before. And...so mad at myself. Mad that it happened again. I really believed things would be different this time-I really did with all of my heart.

They weren't. What's worse?

I prayed.  I prayed for God to bring him back into my life because I simply could not see myself with anyone else. But that prayer fell on deaf ears.

Until yesterday.

He sent me a text to apologize.  He can't stop thinking about me. He wants to pick up where we left off. Again.

This is what I prayed for. I wanted him back.  I was speechless because this isn't want I thought would happen-I never expected to hear from him again. But I did. And here we were.

I took me a long time to really want to date again. I didn't trust. In fact, I still have trouble. And yet, here I am, with him wanting to give it a go for a 3rd time.

I'm seeing someone else now. He makes me laugh, he has a good heart, he's generous, and he gives good bear hugs.

In spite of the tears and disappointment, I will always hold him in my heart. I loved him. This is why it was so hard for me-I loved him SO much... and yet he was so easily able to walk away from me, never looking back.  Even if I wasn't dating someone...how can I go back to someone who admitted to me that he left me because of his own commitment issues? He said he has changed..do people change?

What I know is this-I'm sad. I'm sad that he left me like that in the first place, and I'm sad that I felt so...damaged after it happened.

I don't know what the future holds, but right now I'm content with the gentleman that I'm with. We have a good time together and we both have a silly sense of humour. I think I'll keep him for a while.

It's crazy how things change, people change, and circumstances change. Who knows-maybe I'll revisit this post again and I'll have a job in HR and I'll be announcing my engagement or something-who knows. I just hope that "luck", if such a thing exists, gets a bit better for me moving forward.

xo

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Life

The last number of weeks have been busy. Let me try and brief you on what's going on:

Last month, I was successful in securing a part time, work from home HR Coordinator internship with a not-for profit organization. If you keep up with my blog, you'll know that I have been a bit frustrated and at a loss as to what or how I should go about securing an HR role, with my main obstacle being my lack of experience.  Thankfully, this company decided to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity to gain some valuable experience which I can put on my resume. This will hopefully help me in the future when it comes to getting a paid, full time role.  So far so good- I really like it. There is a lot of research and learning involved, and I look forward to the next number of months of work with this organization. I am doing this internship in addition to my current/previous job at the bank.

Next, just 2 days ago was my father's official last day on the force-he has finally retired! My dad has been on the force since 1978 and has accomplished such greatness in that time-the type of greatness that could take several lifetimes to achieve.  His work in the community has helped bridge the gap between youth and the police-a relationship that can sometimes be strained due to preconceived notions about what "at-risk" youth OR the police are about. It makes me so happy to have such a positive, strong, and selfless man as my very own father. His retirement party is coming up in a couple of days and it's going to be a big one for sure. After retirement, my dad will still work with the police, but in a chaplaincy capacity.

What a great man.

What a proud daughter.

If you follow me on instagram, you'll likely already know that I went to Florida with my mom and dad in July. It was an absolute great time.  We drove down in the RV. It was amazing for me, as this is the first time I've done something like this since the transplant. What a blessing to be able to do such a thing and not need to worry about coming up with hundreds, even thousands of dollars for dialysis, or worry about getting sick. I didn't get sick once while we were in Florida, on our way there, or on our way home. Again, what a blessing.  The only hiccup we experienced was an issue with our transmission on our way home. We were in Tennessee in the middle of the night when I was woken up by the sound of my mom yelling my name, telling me to "come come come!" The RV was full of smoke. It turns out there was a leak somewhere near the transmission so we were leaking oil...so essentially, we were driving this huge RV with no oil in it. We were lucky enough to have been towed to a great repair shop with lovely, honest mechanics who got us up and running in a little over a day. It was an adventure to say the least, and I actually look forward to going back to Tennessee to visit our new friends at the repair shop in the future.

One of the most important updates-I'm an aunt! My brother and his girlfriend brought my lovely niece, Mia, into the world exactly one month ago. She's an absolute gem-I'll share pictures in the near future! :)

That's all for now I think!

Where did the summer go?? :(

Friday, August 1, 2014

Prescription for Disaster!

Let's face it-the main topic of conversation for my blog is a topic that isn't necessarily the happiest of topics to discuss. In spite of some of the horror stories I've shared, you'll find that often times, I take a humorous approach to my stories. But why would you take a humorous approach to such a thing! This is serious! Well, there are a few answers to that. One, sometimes, some of the stories of things I've been through are so ludicrous that I actually find humour in them. Secondly...to me, at the end of the day, Lupus is something that I'm just going to have to deal with, and if I can't laugh at myself sometimes...c'mon!

This is why I was happier than happy to get my hands on a copy of the book Prescription for Disaster, written by Candace Lafleur!


If you have a chronic illness or a loved one with a chronic illness, you will definitely identify with many of the topics Candace touches on.  I couldn't help but chuckle at some of her stories, as many took me back to times when I've went through similar things.  Candace talks about being in the ward of a hospital and all the characters she has come across because of it. Screaming, complaining old lady? Yup-been there, done that! Dealing with student doctors? Hospital food? C'mon, if you've spent 5 minutes as an in-patient in a hospital, you've dealt with all of these things!

Now, what I really like about this book is the humorous approach that it takes.  Yes, chronic (and acute, for that matter) illnesses are serious, they're bad, they're awful...yeah...we know. But if you've lived it and have experienced the things that come along with it, you'll find that there is actually quite a bit of humour to be found in a lot of the situations we go through and experience.  I talk a lot in my blog about doing your best to remain positive in spite of everything. To me, it's SO important. That said, to me, this book is great for those who can find humour in some of these crazy things that happen, and also to those who perhaps have trouble looking past the negative side. This book will help you see that you're not the only one that these crazy things happen to, and maybe if you looked at it in a different way, you might let loose a chortle which will perhaps lift your spirits a bit! :)

Check it out-you won't be disappointed!

http://www.amazon.com/Prescription-Disaster-funny-falling-apart/dp/1499595719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402667166&sr=8-1&keywords=candace+lafleur

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

And today I accomplished...

...nothing. Nadda. Ziltch.

Today was one of those days that were doomed from the get go.
I woke up today at the time I would normally wake up if I was gonna get up and go to work-5:45am-ish. I realized that my stomach was absolutely KILLING me. Why, you ask? One of the many benefits of being a woman-terrible, terrible CRAMPS.

Now, I discussed my awful cramps with my gynecologist when I went to see her last month. She suggested I take a small dose of naproxen to help with the pain. I did this last month, but my creatinine has been on a steady increase- my baseline is in the 90s (or 9.0ish) and has gone up to 120-ish (12.0ish). Not normal. Now, my transplant coordinator thought that me taking the naproxen might have had something to do with the sudden spike in my creatinine, but I disagree. It seems like my creatinine was on a steady increase ever since I stopped taking that horrid drug known as prednisone.

But, as usual, I digress. I woke up today with the thought that I would do some blood work today, but not so. I cancelled my blood work appointment at the local lab and decided that I would go on Thursday (the day after tomorrow) as my cramps seem to settle down after the first couple of days of my period have passed.  So, I took one single OTC naproxen pill this morning. Let me tell you how that pain got up and left within 30 minutes. It was a thing of beauty.

Now, what's the big deal with taking Naproxen, you say? Well, naproxen, along with advil, are NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs and kidney issues don't seem to go hand in hand. I think it might be because NSAIDs are metabolized in the kidney, whereas drugs like acetaminophen, or Tylenol, are metabolized in the liver. Now, the above paragraph may be completely made up and I'm still in the "I'm too lazy for this" mode, so I'm not really into doing too much research right now, but feel free to correct me if I'm totally wrong. The same goes for proofreading this post.

So, the whole point of me taking them was to take it sparingly.  It has been well over 14 hours since I had taken one single pill and I still feel good in terms of my cramps. It's crazy how the one drug that can very quickly and easily resolve this pain is not the "best" for me.  And no, taking a Tylenol for cramps is not sufficient and is, in fact, an exercise in futility.

Oh, I was also a crying, dribbling mess today.  Just because.

  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gyne-NOOO

So first, let me get this out of the way.

When you have a chronic illness/are immunosuppressed (lupus/kidney transplant, for example), it is absolutely a good idea to get your pap smears on an annual basis. Do as I say and not as I do, with the "as I do" being that it has been about 4-5 years since my last pap.

Well, I had one just a few weeks ago.

So, why did it take me so freaking long to get another pap??! Good question! I'll tell you.

Let me be clear when I say that my first 1-2 paps were the things nightmares are made of. They were the most uncomfortable experiences EVER.  I prepared myself well before going to see my gyenecologist to have my first and second paps done. I did everything that google told me to do-I took a tylenol or two about 45 minutes-an hour before my appointment. I practiced taking deep and calm breaths in the waiting room before I got called in. I did all of that. But, once I got called in, dis-robed from the waist down, and put my feet into those stirrups, I was a ball of tense-ness, and all of the relaxation techniques I did in the waiting room did absolutely nothing for me.

And this was BEFORE the pap even started. Once it did start..man. I got as tense as tense can be. And some advice-don't "get tense" while getting a pap. It's definitely one of the things you don't want to do. What should have lasted less than a minute lasted much longer through my screams and cries (so embarrassing). For my second pap, the doctor had to use the "mini callipers" to do my pap. Trust-it still hurt.

We're not even going to get into how uncomfortable a transvaginal ultrasound is. Google it. I'm afraid that the pain and discomfort might come back if I blog about it.

Anyhow, fast forward to two weeks ago. After having to cancel and reschedule my appointments a couple of times due to my knee surgery, I finally made it to my appointment to have my pap done.

I checked in with the receptionist, sat down, and began to do the crossword in my free newspaper. Then, about 20 minutes later, it hit me. I hadn't done ANY prep. No tylenol, no breathing exercises...nothing! I tossed my crossword aside in a panic and grabbed a tylenol from my purse and gobbled it down. Oh man, oh man...I've been sitting here for 20 minutes..they're going to call me any second...how could I forget to PREPARE MYSELF!!?

After about 10 minutes, I was called in to see the doctor before the doctor. She was a pleasant doctor, and made me feel at ease. We went over my history, and she asked me why it had been so long since my last pap. I was honest.  "Searing pain" was my response.  Welp, speaking of searing pain...time for your pap!

I got prepared and got into the stirrups. I felt more comfortable this time-I'm not sure why. When the doctor came back, she told me what she was doing as she did it, and reassured me throughout. This time, what google told me was true. I felt pressure. Not pain per se, just a bit of pressure. No where near the nightmare I remembered from years back. When it was all over in about a minute or less, I was actually surprised at myself. What the heck was MY problem the last few times?!?

My "doctor after the doctor" came to talk to me and reiterate the importance of having a pap done once a year due to my condition. Based on my most recent experience, I will have no problem in maintaining this schedule for the good of my health.

So that was my most recent experience with having had my pap smear.

The moral of this story is this; stop being a baby and go get your damned pap done. It's important!



















Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wish Me Luck?

So as I've mentioned many times, I went back to school and took HR. Finding an HR role has been difficult to say the least, but I've certainly been looking.

Recently, a few entry level HR roles have come up within my current place of employment. I've applied for them and have put my best foot forward. So, I'd ask you to keep me in your thoughts. Cross your fingers, pray, whatever it is that you do...please do that for me!

You know, I've been here looking for a new role for a while now, as I really feel like it's time for me to get out of what I'm doing right now. I've been doing what I do now (CSR) for nearly 11 years...and I think it's time to move on.  But, at the same time, I feel almost...paralyzed with fear when it comes to moving to another department, or another job.

I'm afraid of getting sick. A day here and there isn't bad. But lupus is so unpredictable, and my hemoglobin levels have been less than stellar these days. I really, REALLY want to get out of what I'm doing right now, but, I know that if for whatever reason I had to take time off from my current role due to illness, my role would still be there for me when I return.

I know that It's not really a good idea to live in the "what ifs", and just go for what you want. But, when you have a chronic illness, it's always something that lingers in the back of your mind. The last thing I want to do is fail, or have to give up my role. All I can do it my best, I suppose, and hope that wherever I end up has management and colleagues as understanding as they are in my current role.



Wish me luck.

xo

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ouch, my STOMACH!

Yes, I know-I've been slacking. Sue me!

Now that THAT is out of the way, let's get back to business.

First of all, my birthday was on May 11 *sings happy birthday to self*

Now, let's REALLY get back to business.

At the beginning of last year, after being diagnosed with c.diff, I began experiencing weird stomach pains that my specialists did not equate directly to the c.diff. These stomach pains were mainly activated by my eating pretty much anything.  It was awful, because I was so hungry, but I knew that once I ate to satisfy the hunger pains, these other, different pains would come about. I would eat my meals fast, as the pain would often begin before I could even finish my meal while eating at a normal rate/speed.

Now, I seem to be having similar pains again. They're not as severe, but they're close. I've decided that I should keep a food diary to see if any specific food triggers this response. What I know for sure is that the one meal that I can rely on that won't cause this response is my usual work breakfast- oatmeal with almond milk.  I wondered if it could be gluten related, but these pains seem to be triggered by almost anything. I can't even eat a salad, nor a green smoothie any more-it kills my stomach. Now, when I say "any more", I mean since having my knee surgery. I wondered if it was the raw greens that was affecting my stomach. At my desk at work, I have a small container of almonds. I ate maybe 3 or 4, and I was in absolute agony. One day after a post-op appointment with my ortho surgeon, I bought a small bag of almonds from the drug store. I ate a few.  AGONYYYY.  Like, what the heck?

What makes this difficult is the fact that it appears to be so random. I'm really going to have to make a good note of my meals for the next little while, including ingredients and spices. I need to figure this out because I'm really missing certain things...ESPECIALLY my raw greens/green smoothies.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Full day back to work

Today was my first 8 hour day back to work since my knee surgery. It was a long day because I had a lot of complicated and time consuming client problems to deal with, plus next week is casual dress week for those who donate money to a charity that my employer is working with. My manager is away, so it was my job to go around and get the donation money, create check lists, etc. All in all, I made it through, but I'm glad to be home to relax. In any other situation, I'd have been back to work at full capacity by now, but for some reason, my hemoglobin has been very stubborn! It's lingering in the 92-93 level (9.2-9.3 for my downstairs neighbour American friends). It's been like this for months, in spite of suffering through months of iron pills (iron pills are the devil when it comes to your stomach). Looks like it's more spinach and steak for me..!

This weekend will be a busy one; I'm doing birthday related activities with friends (my birthday/mother's day is on Sunday). I'll be meeting one set of friends tomorrow for lunch, and another set for dinner. With Sunday being mother's day, that day will likely be more geared towards mother stuff :)

Well, the very act of leaning on one arm to type this entry is making me lazy/tired, so I think I'll end it here. Let the birthday weekend festivities begin! (Can't wait to get my free starbucks-mmmm!)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fabulupus!

Ok, I know, I've (again) been slightly MIA these past few weeks- but I definitely had to hop on today to talk about a great book that's coming out soon.

It's called Fabulupus! What's better is that a friend of mine is one of the writers! I had the opportunity to read a few chapters from this book, and I was really impressed.  As a teenager, when I was diagnosed with lupus, so many different things ran through my mind. I had no idea what the future had in store! Would I be able to work? Would I be able to finish school? What about relationships and life in general? Of course, being the person that I am, I turned to and read different books focused on lupus in an attempt to gain some insight into these concerns of mine.  While there were many books out there with a great deal of information, not many were geared towards ME as a young person. There were books geared towards the very young (like children) and for adults (married with children). As a teenager, there's so much to worry about as it is, never mind adding lupus on top of it. I wish I could have found a book that was "written by us, for us", so to speak.

Well, look no further, as Fabulupus is exactly that! What's cool about this book is that it's written by people who have (and do) experience the same struggles as I (and many of you, I'm sure!) did back then. 

Fabulupus is an easy to read guide, both for people with and without lupus.  The information in Fabulupus is practical, useful, encouraging, and fun! It reinforces the fact that life does not end with lupus-you can have lupus and still go on to do great things in life and continue to fulfil your dreams.

This book touches on important subjects that are catered not only to teenagers, but to young people all the way up to those in their 30s+. It discusses topics like school, working/careers, travel, etc. I wish I had a resource like this when I was younger, as sometimes I just felt alone and didn't know what the future would hold for me. Even as a 30-something year old, I still have those moments and thoughts of uncertainty. Having the support of your family and friends while coping with lupus is absolutely great, but there's something comforting about having someone who has experienced your struggles first hand say "Hey-I've been there..and it's gonna be okay".

Keep your eyes peeled for this one!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

OMG-has it been a month already?!

I promise, I'm still here!

I'm battling a cold/sore throat. I've been battling it since I went back to work a few weeks back (coincidence?).

It's also tax time...so tax time makes for a busy Miz Flow.

I'm also still quite tired...hemoglobin is just lingering in the 92 area (or 9.2 for my american friends).

Right now, I'm in bed drinking hot water with manuka honey and a bit of lemon. Yes, lemon. Is it the best for my reflux? Definitely not. But my throat actually gets so dry that it HURTS at night, so I thought I'd try drinking some of this brew before bed. Hopefully it doesn't turn into horrible reflux and wake me up in a panic..you know what I mean. You know when something acidic shoots up your throat while you're asleep and you wake up in a flash and jump straight out of a horizontal position into a vertical position like that girl on the exorcist?

Yeah, that.

Back to my manuka and lemon.

Xo

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

My iPhone started acting crazy yesterday.

I would be looking at an app or surfing around, when all of a sudden, several vertical lines would appear on the screen, then it would just shut off. After shutting down to black, the apple logo would appear, indicating that the phone had shut off and was restarting.

This is annoying, I thought. I take very good care of my electronics. I do plan on getting a new phone in the fall, though. But that's not because I had my current phone-I certainly do not. It's moreso because this phone was my first iPhone (iPhone 5) and I underestimated my shutterbug-ism as well as my app addiction. For this reason, I got both myself and my brother the 16gb phones. I would have been better with the 32gb, or even the 64gb. But 16gb just doesn't cut it-I need more space. So, I thought I would wait until the new iPhone comes out, likely in the fall, see what it looks like, how it operates, how many phones come out (I think two different kinds), then go from there. But-had it not been for the lack of space, I very likely would have held on to this phone for another year, making it 3 years..probably the longest I've kept any phone, except for my very first cell phone back in high school in 2000-my good ol' samsung sch 3530. Oh yes, I remember the make and the model.


I wanted this phone so bad that I sat on the phone for hours calling different Bell stores trying to find it. I tried to order it through Sears using my mom's Sears card, but then, even though they said it was in stock, it wasn't. But, they still charged my mom's card. Then, instead of refunding it, they charged it again. It was a nightmare. But, it did eventually get resolved.  But then, on that fateful day, I thumbed through the phone book and called a Bell store in Chinatown. 

"Do you have the Samsung SCH 3530?" I prepared myself to say "ok, well thanks anyway", and hang up, as I had done dozens of times before.

"Yes we do!" he said.  

..what?

"Well...how many do you have??" I asked

"We have six in stock" he said.

By the way, don't ask me how I remember all of this. I have a really good memory for odd things.

"Well...can you hold one for me?" I asked. He enthusiastically agreed. What a friendly fellow.

Now, it was time to get down to business.  I was too young to have a credit card, and a credit card would be needed to get this done. So, I called my sister at work. I had her fax me a letter with her signature, giving me permission to use her credit card, which was in her drawer, to get this phone. She promptly faxed it over to me. I then snatched up her credit card and TOLD my dad that he was driving me to China Town to buy a phone. 

Huh??

"A cell phone??" He said.

"Yes." I replied simply.  At this point, it didn't matter much. If he didn't drive me, I'd take the bus.

So, into dad's van we went and we were off to China Town. I got my new cell phone without incident. But, I'm gonna be honest with you. They actually didn't understand what this mysterious fax was that I was trying to give them. They just kept saying "ok, ok, ok". I knew they REALLY didn't get it when they thanked me at the end of the transaction and called me "Liz".  I have never been without a cell phone since, and my cell phone number has remained the same too.

Fast forward back into the present. I hope this issue that my cell phone is having gets resolved through this iPhone restore procedure I just completed. Prior to restoring my phone, I was sure to back everything up to my computer and also to the cloud.

The process was quite quick-no more than 20-30 minutes to back everything up, wipe my cell phone clean, then put everything back on.

Most of my apps and settings returned to the phone...except a few. Some were apps that I could very easily re-download, or, if the app no longer existed, there are tons of substitutes. But there were two that I was initially upset about: Note'd and photo safe.

Note'd is like a diary. I used this app to talk about heartache-all the things and people that upset me or made me sad. Lots of "why me's" and "this is not fair's". Photo safe was a collection of pictures under lock and key. pictures of people and things that made me upset.

In the end, it was probably the right thing for me to get rid of these destructive apps.  There was and is nothing wrong with these apps, but just what they were being used for.  I didn't use or go into these apps much-maybe once every few months to be honest. But the point is...they were still there. They didn't NEED to be there...and now they're not...and I'm not mad about that. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise- a forced "let go".  Even if my phone ends up not working for real and needs to be replaced, it was (and is) an annoying, but perhaps slightly hidden blessing.

xo

Update: I called Apple and they told me that my phone needs to be replaced, so I'll be heading to the apple store later on this afternoon to get a replacement phone. Out with the old, in with the new..?

Update 2: I got a new phone to replace the old/broken one. Upon physical examination by the "genius" at apple's genius bar, the top part of my screen seemed to be lifted, almost like my screen was in the beginning stages of popping right off.  The apple employee also asked me if I seemed to be having problems with battery life-I responded yes. He said that the reason my phone was shutting off sporadically and showing those vertical lines was because my battery was defective-it was "swollen". This could have happened for a number of reasons-just a defective device, use of non-apple approved charging devices, etc. But in the end, and thanks to AppleCare plus, getting my phone replaced was relatively quick and painless, and did not cost me a dime :)

 
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