I landed my dream internship in Washington DC. A lot was learned, in and out of the office. I left the summer with a job offer going into my senior year of college, which I know is quite the anomaly.
College was fantastic, and I graduated from my beloved Presbyterian College with a degree in English. I moved off to Washington DC to pursue my dream job through an entry level analyst position.
After completing my first year of work in DC, I learned so much on the job. It was a fun and exciting time to work there. I made so many wonderful friends, too. Oh, and I got to catch up with old friends at weddings!
Sadly, during the Spring of 2011, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. My body hurt all over. I had terrible migraines and lost range of motion in my neck by the summer. You can read more about my thoughts on pain here.
During the summer, the neurologist told me that I had Cervical Dystonia. You can read more about the diagnosis here.
A year after my symptoms began, I transferred my job to be closer to family. So that's how I ended up in a suburb of Charlotte. Being near my family helped me rebuild my strength tremendously because daily activities like cooking and cleaning can leave me sick for days. In all honesty, once I moved to my new job, I really didn't make many friends. It was kind of a picture-less year.
Oh, but highlight (!) I got a dog.
After an excessive number of doctor visits, treatments, and trying to keep my life together, I somehow managed to make a few friends and meet the love of my life.
Did I mention that Josie and I have birthdays very close together? We celebrated our birthdays just before I met Brian!
Our first trip as a couple!
And our beautiful fall wedding!
This year has presented a lot of challenges, in addition to all the ones that come with being newlyweds. I started blogging in February as a creative outlet. Since then, it's really turned into a great community of friends. My health has steadily declined for 8+ months. I have been incredibly blessed to have an understanding and helpful husband. My parents are super heroes. Oh, and we got another sweet puppy. I want to continue to blog about the challenges that people with dystonia face. Chronic pain suffers do not hold a monopoly on pain, but I want to raise awareness that people with invisible illnesses live around you every day.
I realized it was June of 2015, so if I was going to have a chronological "About Me" page, it was time to update it, since it hadn't been updated in close to a year. The last year have brought a lot of changes for me. Most of the changes stem from negative changes to my health. I don't get to write as much as I used to because the passion to share and connect is gone. The life has been zapped out of me by medications, pain, and negative life circumstances.
I'm more worried about how I'll get out of bed to get water to take my pills if I don't have any or how I'll line up someone to take me to an appointment than I am worried about debating the finer points of a clothing company with someone who found my blog through a search engine, to be honest. I like to connect with readers and other bloggers, but I channel the little bit of energy that I do have into reading books that I enjoy, writing about them, and trying to cultivate a life worth living. There isn't a lot of energy for that, but I have poured energy and effort into this blog, which is why I keep it up with the hopes of bringing it back to life one day!
[Sorry for the poor quality shots! Getting out the "good" camera hasn't been a top priority these days, although I would like it to be.]
First (and last) time trying to have a "night out" with my walker.
Night "in" meant that it was easier on my body, plus the dogs could join for 100 selfies.
On the first day of 2016, I was diagnosed with EDS III, which is a genetic condition that I have suffered from my entire life. The diagnosis explained a lot of my medical issues. You can read about that here.
After I was diagnosed, I didn't blog much. In fact, I blogged a few times that month and then called it quits. I stopped reading, so I didn't have books to review. I mostly watched Netflix while I suffered. I used knee braces and a wheelchair in order to leave the house and have any type of social life with my husband. Skinny jeans, while cute, don't accommodate the massive knee braces that I need, I appreciated the 3 weeks that I could wear linen blend pants.
A huge shout out to the band Judah and the Lion. Not only are they one of my favorite bands, but when I mentioned on Instagram that I had anticipated going to their show for my 28th birthday, but the venue wasn't accommodating for my wheelchair, they gave me VIP tickets and put my wheelchair in the best place in the room. I skipped the braces and hobbled up for our group shot that I'm including below because they are STAND UP dudes, who make amazing music.
I continued to not blog during the summer because I was EXHAUSTED. PT twice a week, plus more doctors appointments! I was so tired that I was a hazard driving, so my poor mom had to drive an hour from her house to take me my appointments. It paid off because I got to dress up fancy and attend my brother-in-law's wedding in Mississippi. I did enjoyed slow dancing, remembering some group dances (wow, those are exhausting), remembering the words to every classic song ever, and made sure that my husband fulfilled his best man duties by decorating the car. I felt so sick the next day because my husband stepped on one of my bare feet and I kicked myself in the ankle on the other foot. I was glad that I had a wheelchair!
The fall past quickly with more doctor visits, homecoming, and our regular fall rituals. A new one, though, was getting anniversary photos taken. While I loved our wedding photographers, I wasn't very happy with how I looked on our wedding day, so we hired a local friend to do a take 2!
We ended the year by flying into New Orleans, where we stayed for a few nights, seeing the WWII Museum, getting beignets, visiting an old friend, and using Uber more than a normal person should--I really should have started a walking program to build up more endurance. Two days before Christmas, my in-laws, who live nearby picked us up and took us back to their home for the rest of the holidays.
Overall, 2016 was a tough year. I dealt with getting treatment with something that should have been being treated for 27 years. I had to make the decision to walk away from the one place that I kept trying to make friends because I realized that it was hurting me and no one there really cared.
We are looking forward to 2017. We are hoping to move and find community, better medical care, and be closer to family and friends who are in similar situations to what I am in. My shoulder is getting worse, so I can't play my flute, but I am going to try to find the energy to pick my oboe back up. Hell, I'm going to try to shower regularly. Life is an uphill battle, but I have a really good team on my side. So, as long as I still have that team, I'm winning.
Connecting with readers just like you is why I keep pouring myself into this online space. I hope you'll come back!