Monday, September 21, 2015

Where My Demons Hide



Caution Mature Content******************************************Caution Mature Content




The hospital. The doctor’s office. Backrooms, exam rooms, being alone with doctors, asked to lay down. The sexual assault and then the many medical appointments that followed did not coexist peacefully.
Upon telling my two ‘big brother’ friends what had occurred, they insisted I go to the police. It felt very out of my control and on the second day I did. A trip to the ER followed. The rape test. I saved my clothes to give to the detectives. I remember having to change into a gown, lying still on a birthing bed, my legs spread apart as the nurse did it all over again. She had to touch me everywhere he had. Everywhere. And I had to let her. I could tell her to stop, but then the exam would be incomplete. She took DNA samples from under my fingernails, up and down my arms, my throat, lips. It took hours. I just wrapped my arms around my stomach and stared at the wall toning out the crisis counselor who was ‘there for me’. She called me a few times in the months that followed to check up on me but I always told her I was fine. I didn’t live there anymore anyway.
The next appointment I had was in January. I’d hurt my toe country swing dancing two months prior and the pain hadn’t gone. It wasn’t too bad. The doctor seemed surprised when I told him I was a theatre major because I was so quiet and reserved. He seemed to sense something was off with me and upon asking if he should stop teasing I just nodded.
I had to get an xray of course but ended up laying down on the table. It was practically the same position as the hospital...
Then the testing began. I was honestly scared. I wasn’t sure if there had somehow been a way for me to become pregnant. Was that why my stomach had become worse? I could have passed out for a bit while I was with him. He could have done so much to me in the two hours that though I remember even now so clearly, could have been mixed into a blur easily. However a baby would have shown up in a CT scan especially after two months. It was a relief.
I had to get used to laying down for doctors to do what they needed again. It didn’t used to be a problem. An ultra sound, a HIDA scan.
I was worried about the scopes and being put under anesthesia. I’ve heard the stories of doctors raping people and other such things. All went well however.
Then there was the EKG to check my heart. That took me by surprise as a male nurse had me lay down and without a thought stuck wires to my breasts and under my shirt to my bra line. I was very tense during it all, trying my hardest to relax as he instructed me.
Since the police and working with a detective I was able to sign a paper saying I didn’t have to go to court, yet I receive updates on the meetings. I never wanted to hurt him. I never wanted anything to happen to him. I fear for him, that I’ve ruined his life. It frustrates me that I don’t know where he is, what’s happening to him.
I had my first panic attack several days after the incident. I’d blocked his number of course, yet unblocked it to see if I could retrieve his texts. He’d texted me that night and I’d stopped breathing.
I still get panic attacks at night, being alone in my bed in the dark. They range from not being able to sleep because I’m remembering to curling up in a tight ball unable to breathe because I can feel it as if he’s touching me again. I feel terrible on the few nights I end up texting or calling a friend to help me through it. I’ve lost friends that way, yet I can’t blame them. There are things that trigger flashbacks. It frustrates me that my body and mind takes this so hard even now over nine months later when people have gone through so much worse and hardly bat an eye.
I’ve worked through counseling, I’m dating again, slowly my life is returning to a form of normal that I must now accept. Because this is never truly going to go away. This is my trauma that haunts me as others have their own.
I want to share this out in the open. What I’ve gone through, knowing that so many others have gone through the same and worse. Know that you’re not alone. Know that everyone gets through things differently and everyone has different reactions to things. Know that the third ‘f’ is usually forgotten: Fight, Flight and (freeze). Know that it wasn’t and is not your fault. I’m still trying to convince myself. Most importantly know that someone will love you when the time is right. Someone who will be willing to face your past with you as it portrays in the present and future. Stay strong, amazing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Left Behind

Everything's so different from what it used to be. I've always been very independent. I went off to college on my own and lived in a family's basement by myself. I know how to cook and all that stuff. Since I moved back home however, I've become very dependent on my dad. I struggle if he's gone for even a night. I just feel so alone because he's usually all I have.
One such night recently, my dad was away and I decided to read through my journals, find out where I was this time last year. That was quite depressing. Seeing everything and everyone I had that I lost just three months later. I wanted so badly to go back and warn myself of what was coming, but I can't. It's hard feeling that I don't matter. I try on occasion to get back in touch with the friends I had, but they never respond. I haven't heard from them since January or February. I've slipped from their life and they don't intend to put me back. I even find myself wanting to push those I have now away, cut off communication before they do because it will be less painful if I do it instead of waiting for them. So many people have told me they'll always be there and I can always go to them. Whenever anyone tells me that now, my immediate thought is 'for how long?'
I feel like such a financial and time-consuming burden. I feel like no one cares. I see people sharing and aiding in little things that don't really matter on Facebook. There are fundraisers at school all year. Don't I matter? My gofundme medical support fund has stopped last month at $478. With a goal of $12,000 it just doesn't add up. At times I honestly wish I would just die. Please note at this time I am not suicidal and will never take my life. I just wish something else would do it for me...I don't have any desire to go to Hell, however I sometimes can't help feeling I'm already there. I've been there for a long time and how truly lonely it is. A place where people forget you even exist. Where you're not surrounded by people at work or school, where you are truly and nearly constantly alone. Nine months now. People say they understand how I feel, that they're lonely too. But they're not and they don't.
People tell me I've been like this for a while, done. Given up. But I'm still here, I'm still going. That doesn't mean anything. Only that my torture continues. It doesn't mean I'm overcoming or enduring. I'm just existing and only barely. I've long lost wishes and hopes for better days because nothing will ever be the same and perhaps I'm doomed to remain in this little town with no one but my dad and doctors, a tube sticking out of my arm and medications that make me sick. No support, no help, no love. Just this. 
I think it's driving me crazy because I am getting better. Sometimes I have more energy, I'm not feeling as sick as I used to. Yet there's still nothing to do and no one to be with. A wild animal shouldn't be confined to a cage. I want to live again.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

In with the New

So I have lots of different things that have been going on since my last post. Let's start with that DGL stuff. My doctor, being a naturopath, has made it our goal that I won't be dependent on harsh drugs and medicines for the rest of my life. I've been sort of living in denial since I was diagnosed and found out that there is no cure and I will have this forever. I'm finally starting to face that, it's been hard.
Anyway my dad found a way for me to be able to crush the tablets and put them in capsules so that I don't have to taste them :) So the DGL along with Ginger Root and Slippery Elm have really helped minimize my nausea along with being natural remedies. I'm still taking the multivitamins and biotin as well. Nothing harsh or possibly damaging to my body.
 Next I finally got my PICC line installed! It was slightly painful but doesn't hurt any longer. A thin tube entered in my forearm and went through a vein into my chest. It's a major vein in my chest connecting to my heart so we have to be careful when we change the dressings and ensure no air gets into the IV drip, however I no longer have to get poked by needles. The dressing needs to be changed once a week or if it gets wet and we use a saline flush every day. This will also be super beneficial if we can find a way to get my IVs done closer to home.
 
We also were shocked and surprised to discover that an anonymous individual donated $700 to my doctor's office that is currently being held for credit toward my IVs. This is such a blessing for us and will last about three weeks (2 IVs a week). Whomever you are, if you ever read this, thank you.

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Venting Machine

This is a vent, not a pity train, not an attention seeker, you've been warned.

I moved back home December 24th, 2014. A result of sequences that came after sexual assault. A time in my life where there was no one there for me. When I finally for the first time asked for help and was turned away. I'd never before felt so alone, unloved. I was a burden that no one wanted to deal with, forced upon my father because he had to love me. With no mother for support in a time when I really needed it I felt very lost.
 My amazing daddy has been there through it all, the counseling and recovery from the trauma and now the new battle I'm fighting with my illness that has recently been diagnosed. He loves me unconditionally and tries his very hardest to make sure I have all I need and even a bit of what I want. The only person in the world I had during my darkest hour and the only person in the world I know will always be there.

Here, let me help you gain some perspective. Since December 24th, until today, August 21st, I have spent the majority of my time isolated in my house, sleeping, just laying in bed, watching tv... I have on seldom occasion been able to spend a few hours with a friend or even go on a date, however this usually consists of several hours of travel on my part which has grown harder with each passing month. I get tired so easily and it has become dangerous. This also makes me feel trapped as I can't just go for long drives or escape.
I live in a small town where the biggest store is Walmart, where everyone, upon graduating high school, makes a quick getaway to college. Hey, I did too.
I'm lonely often. I can't help but feel forgotten. I sort of just vanished from everyone's life and they all seem to accept and be ok with it. Yes, I have people I text, I use facebook, I even have the dreaded Tinder (kind of pointless as there's no one within a 50 mile radius of me). But these cannot and will never replace a good afternoon spent talking and laughing with someone. Social media is anything but social. I get depressed seeing only my dad and doctor for weeks, especially when I can't make church.
I've been reminded so often of how weak I've become, what I can no longer do. Things I took for granted. Going to school, having a job... How I can no longer pick up a bucket of cat litter when I used to be able to carry two.
When I went to Lagoon for the second time in my life, remembering the roller coasters with excitement and anticipation, I soon discovered any and every ride made me ill. The chair lift even.
My fascination has always been water, swimming in lakes, rivers, and pools. But now it's so cold to my body that I'm confined to the hot tub. Going for a long walk no matter how gentle and slow paced can leave me tired and ill for a couple of days.
Then there's always the catch when I get to eat out. Chuck-a-rama or Costa Vida or Golden Corral... Buffets or places where I love the food. Where I want to eat as much as possible. Where I become very violently ill. But how can I justify paying $15 for an all-you-can-eat buffet and only eating five bites? When I want to try everything and then go back for seconds on the things I liked and finally have dessert. Life has lost its joy.
I feel ugly. My face is so riddled with acne, sores and scars. It's a constant battle of if I should focus on ridding my face of the acne or healing the sores? I can't do both at once. Putting healing creams on creates more acne, getting rid of acne creates more sores. The never ending cycle.
So I cake on the make-up and get all fancy. I take pictures of myself and have fun modeling.
Only then do I feel beautiful when I've posted them on Facebook and people like and comment on them. 
I try to stay positive and keep going, sometimes becoming discouraged when I realize I've been receiving IV therapy for a couple of months now with little improvement. How the three hour round trips twice a week really wear me out and the fluids make me nauseous.
This is me. A 19 year old who has never had a friend for more than two years, got asked on her first date only after she'd lost weight, has never had a mother... A girl who is easily forgotten.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

GoFundMe

I've started a GoFundMe page so that people can help with funding for my medical needs right now. 
http://www.gofundme.com/g8c4bh7y4m
My goal is to get around $12,000. The IV therapy is expensive, at least $110 per IV (twice a week) and consists of around 6 hours of road time each week as well. Currently my dad and I only have enough funds to continue the IV therapy through the end of August, however I need several more months in order to get back to full health and strength.
It would be beneficial to get a midline in my arm which is around $400 not counting the dressings and saline flushes etc. My doctor also recommends counseling. The catch is that none of this is covered by insurance. I'm very grateful to those who have already helped.
For more information you can look at my previous posts and also check out my GoFundMe page. Anything helps, thanks :)
http://www.gofundme.com/g8c4bh7y4m

Friday, August 7, 2015

All About Me

 For your entertainment and to really get to know me here are 100 little known facts about me:
(I('m)('ve), my)

1. Have a hamster that's litter box trained 
2. always travel with a pillow
3. Love earthy colors. Forest green, autumn red, sunset orange 
4. Moths creep me out
5. eat and throw with my left hand
6. love water, swimming, wading, watching
7. was born in Florida 
8. favorite lotion is called toasted sugar
9. have eczema 
10. never had braces
11. Can't stand nail polish
12. Collect necklaces
13. Still have my wisdom teeth 
14. Make people wear seatbelts even in their car
15. hair and eyes are my favorite physical features
16. Love Totino's pizza
17. Chocolate chip muffins are my breakfast of choice
18. Still have my tonsils 
19. Love tomatoes on sandwiches and burgers 
20. Hate peanut butter
21. Used to be allergic to fruit
22. Finished writing three books and one screenplay
23. toothbrush is orange
24. Want to be a good mom more than anything (when the time comes)
25. Want to be a second grade teacher
26. Hate bananas 
27. Failed the written drivers test the first time
28. Never been asked to a dance
29. Was asked on my first date several months after my 18th birthday
30. Love climbing things
31. Love thunder storms
32. favorite song is 'when can I see you again' by owl city
33. favorite movie is 'wreck-it ralph'
34. Love macaroni and cheese
35. Love seafood
36. Pretty flexible (can't do the splits though)
37. Always wanted to learn dance or gymnastics 
38. Pick the skin off my lips
39. room is nearly always clean (I might not keep it as clean at times I'm not feeling well)
40. Hate school
41. Only ever had one job
42. The most I ever weighed was 182lbs
43. Have the same birthday as William Shakespeare 
44. Have pretty low self esteem
45. Tend to be happy when I'm with people 
46. favorite Disney princess is a tie between Mulan and Rapunzel 
47. Don't have tv or Netflix 
48. Love ice cream
49. Feel alone often
50.    ()
        ('')
      :(    ):   <--- platypus 
         () 
51. Favorite emoji 🐙
52. Been cooking since I was 12
53. Favorite book is 'clockwork prince'
54. Feel that I'm a burden 
55. Favorite bird is the chickadee 
56. Obsessed with ocean life
57. have panic attacks, sometimes stop breathing
58. Favorite drink is chocolate milk
59. Favorite candy bar is snickers 
60. Know the difference between their, they're, and there
61. Love fake flowers
62. Love listening to people and hearing their stories 
63. Love dragonflies 
64. Was born in Florida 
65. Lived in Germany (until I was about 2)
66. Have 4 pillows on my bed
67. Favorite stuffed animal growing up was an elephant
68. 5' 9"
69. Prefer others are happy even if it takes away from my happiness
70. Want nothing more than to feel loved and cared about 
71. Love writing in my journal. I'm on my 5th
72. Favorite season is spring
73. Favorite place to eat is costa vida
74. Hate any cake but vanilla
75. Hate wearing socks
76. Can't stand the smell of coffee
77. Like the freedom of pants and looking fancy in skirts
78. Love the feel of family
79. Love all animals
80. Have depression
81. Love Zelda 
82. Want a corgi 
83. Enjoy clothes shopping 
84. Don't drink pop
85. Superpower of choice is breathing under water
86. Enjoy taking pictures of nature
87. been sexually assaulted (reason for fear of the dark)
88. Make many wishes
89. Still suck my thumb
90. Favorite number is 3
91. Often feel I'm not good enough
92. Hate being alone
93. Guess I'm easily forgotten 
94. Middle name is Lyn
95. hate heat and cold
96. only been bowling once
97. have real swords
98. like modeling
99. never had a guy treat me with respect for long
100. wish I wasn't so 'attractive' 'hot' 'sexy'

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

From Delightful to Disgusting

Yes, I take Flintstones Multivitamin Gummies. They happen to be delicious. These are all of the medications that have been tried and used since February of 2015. I luckily do not take this many on a daily basis, mostly only taking vitamins.
We recently got two different flavors of DGL which is supposed to coat my stomach to help food pass through better, however the two flavors are Black Licorice and German Chocolate. I hated both. My dad seemed amused as I spit them out and ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth after gargling a glass of water.
Dulcolax and Miralax have been used to try relieving my near constant constipation. Omeprazole is being used to heal the lining of my stomach as it was found inflamed from the Endoscopy. Ginger Root seems to have been helping a bit in allowing me to eat more and soon I'll have Slippery Elm capsules as the powder mixed with liquid tastes like tree bark... I mean I get that it's Elm but still...
Sometimes I realize that I could be getting better faster if I just force myself to chew up two tablets of DGL 20 minutes before each meal every day. It's a tricky situation because I hate it so much. Just as I was prescribed some tablets that are supposed to dissolve in my mouth to help alleviate nausea, but they actually just made me more sick because they tasted awful.
I'm still trying to decide on taking medications prescribed by the University of Utah that could have extreme side affects. The bottom line is that I don't want to be dependent on drugs for the rest of my life.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Testing Breakdown

(I don't really have pictures as most of the tests electronics weren't allowed)
My first test was a CT scan February 17, 2015. No food or water after midnight. It made me very sick having to drink two bottles of nasty 'fruit flavored' liquid that would help them see my insides better. I was about done with my second bottle when a nurse came out with two new bottles for me... I quickly explained that I was almost done. I was NOT putting myself through that again. She disappeared and returned to give them to the gentleman next to me.
The nurse took me back to change. The hospital pants were huge! A baby elephant could have fit. The strings were hanging down around my knees after I'd tied them in a bow... I got my first IV, the tube was thick and it hurt. They shot iodine into me after some pictures. It made me really hot and I felt awful. A side effect of it, they explained beforehand was that it would feel like I'd peed my pants even though I hadn't. That was a lovely sensation. I was very sick for the rest of the day.
Results: Other than a small rupture they found which should go away on its own, nothing was found.

March 5-6, 2015
Today I got an ultrasound and they took bloods. The ultrasound kind of hurt as she was trying to get the pictures she needed and would jam the tool under my ribs or deep into my side. They took so much blood is was as if I had donated.

The HIDA scan followed the next day. No food or water after midnight again. That's hard as my stomach gets sharp pains when I'm hungry and my appointment wasn't until 11:00am. I didn't have to drink anything or change my clothes though. I got to keep my phone and had been encouraged to bring an ipod or some form of entertainment. My dad even came back with me. Another IV... they poked a vein on the side of my arm instead of the center. That hurt... The first hour was fine. I just had to lie still. The doctor had even gotten me a blanket. The second part I got really sick. He injected what would be the equivalent of a three course meal to see how my gallbladder reacted. So that was done in three parts and each time I felt so violently ill. My dad is amazing. He put his hand on my head for comfort.
Results: Everything is normal

March 16, 2015
Colonoscopy and Endoscopy. No solid food after midnight... ok, I slept until 2:00pm trying to ignore the hunger. I made some broth for dinner. I felt dizzy and lightheaded but that seemed to help a bit. It's just that drinking liquids on an empty stomach has always made me feel sick, my whole life... Then I had to drink the prep stuff. I tried just chugging it but it was so horrible I only got a third down. I was so sick and so hungry and I just started crying because I couldn't do it and it was so frustrating. My appointment wouldn't be until 11:00am tomorrow and I just couldn't make it that long. I'd have to wake up at 6:00am to drink the second part and two bottles of water on top of that. Dad called to cancel it and made me some macaroni and cheese. I finally started feeling better apart from a headache. However if I'd tried to continue, I might have ended up in the hospital that night.

March 23-24, 2015
Instead of the prep stuff, my doctor had me OD on laxative pills to clean out my system. 10 Dulcolax gel capsules twice. I was throwing up all day. The only plus to that was that I wasn't really hungry. To finish it I drank some Magnesium Citrate which I mixed with lemonade. I drank so much that I felt very bloated after. I couldn't really sleep that night.
The nurses had fun with the IV drip. The tube wouldn't go all the way in my hand. They kept trying to jam it in. Talk about painful... They finally gave up on the hand and tried again a little further up the arm. I was sort of crying by then... However before they could do the scopes they had to have a urine sample to make sure I wasn't pregnant.. Since I'd been throwing up all day yesterday I was kind of empty so I had to wait for the fluids to start kicking in. I'd started feeling lightheaded and hot so I closed my eyes for a minute and kind of passed out. When I woke up I thought it was all a dream for a second until I looked down and saw my IV. I almost started panicking.
I was taped up with heart monitors and they gave me oxygen after they wheeled my bed into surgery. They attached the anesthesia into the IV and had me roll over on my side before I was out.
Next thing I knew I was being helped back into my clothes and walked out to the car. A nurse had to help me walk and dad helped me inside. I asked for a muffin because I was hungry, but was still kind of out of it so I didn't notice the paper cup until I bit down on it..
Dad also told me that I'd given him a full report of all they did to me and how I had to take my IV to the bathroom. All that good stuff. Well now I know how my body would probably react to an overdose and perhaps what I would be like if I were intoxicated.
Results: The biopsies all came back clear. Other than a bit of inflammation in the lining of my stomach, all is normal.

I was referred to Primary Children's as I was still 18, yet they said they could only see me once since my birthday was coming up. So we were sent to the University of Utah.

June 16, 2015
Gastric emptying study. I had to eat two slices of toast and a cup of disgusting egg whites. They said if I didn't eat it all they couldn't do the test. There were small amounts of radioactive chemicals in the food that they then watched over the course of the next four hours with an x-ray.
Results: Food isn't moving through my stomach as fast as it should. This is called Gastroparesis or 'lazy stomach'

Thursday, July 23, 2015

One step forward, two steps back

Well this week has been crazy. I became very lethargic Saturday and spent the whole day in bed sleeping. I hardly ate and this continued through Sunday. I almost managed to attend all three hours of church but had to slip out during the last half hour suddenly finding myself exhausted. Along with that I could only manage a few bites of dinner and for the first time in my life, even though I was at first hungry, could not finish my small cup of freshly made cookie dough. I couldn't even finish half of it.

Monday is when it really got fun. I suddenly got a massive headache that wrapped around my head, ran down to my ears and across my upper jaw. I lost depth perception in my vision. I grew scared as it didn't go away after closing my eyes and laying down. My dad took me to the ER where I was taken for CT scans. They were inconclusive. The doctor said he could see something on the right side of my brain, although as he couldn't get my head in the right position to confirm what it was, felt that it must be something from the scan itself. However he encouraged us to follow up on it with an MRI. My vision came back and I was discharged with the diagnosis of a migraine, although he was confused as to why one would show up at my age as I've never had one before. It finally went away after some medication and a nap. Again I couldn't eat much dinner and only a cookie and a half for dessert. Never before has my appetite been so restricted.
 
Tuesday I got some fluids and electrolytes to see if that was the cause, but it made no difference which was good according to my doctor, meaning that I'm not dehydrated. He also made a cocktail he makes for his cancer patients packed with nutrients and other good stuff that chemo takes from their bodies. It had to go in slow so that I wouldn't get sick. I slept in the back of the car on the way home.
By Tuesday night I'd grown tired of this and decided to eat all of my dinner no matter how sick it made me. After an entire hamburger and many fries around 5:30pm, I was confined mostly to the couch until nearly 11:30pm. I felt so ill.
Today I had another appointment with the University of Utah. They did an EKG to test my heart to make sure I could take some new medication as well as drawing more blood. That was fun... The nurse's hands were shaking so bad and she missed my vein the first time so I just started bleeding profusely. She had to bandage that arm and poke the other.
 
I do feel better today. That IV must be kicking in. The first day I haven't spent in bed sleeping and I've eaten a bit more. However I can't help but feel afraid with things like this as I don't understand what's happening to my body. The new medication should help food move through my stomach better and I hope my appetite comes back soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Captured Beauty

I've wanted professional pictures since I lost weight. All I've had to look at and deal with were selfies, mirror reflections and the occasional picture I took of myself using a camera stand and taking a video where I later cropped out the images.
I wanted to know what I truly looked like. It's strange because I don't see in the mirror what I see in a picture. I don't see my bones so prominently, I see each scar and blemish so clearly.
My dear friend, Tori Gilmore did a beautiful job not only in taking the pictures but she fixed up my hair and makeup as well. I for the first time in months feel beautiful again. I still can't help wondering though if this is truly what people see? My stomach sticks out when I sit, I pick the skin off my lips and am covered with scars on my arms and legs from my lifelong battle with eczema. Acne has left my face riddled with them as well. But in these pictures I see my golden hair and emerald green eyes shining. I see pure and true happiness that I'm only just starting to feel again. I see my collarbone sticking out at a sharp angle, my jawline, my hips.
 I've never had much confidence about how I looked. I've been told my scars and sores are ugly, that no one would ever want to kiss my lips, that I'm fat (which okay, I was overweight, but not the best self esteem booster for a 10 year old) Never asked to a dance or on a date in high school, always picked last for projects or sports. I was just never good enough. 
Now I struggle because I'm getting asked on dates and people are interested, but are they interested in me or my body? It's never been a winning scenario. What does it take to walk through the world with confidence? Not cockiness, but knowing who you are, what you stand for, and being comfortable with yourself. Just knowing that you are enough. Not having to prove anything or be anything.

 I wore makeup for the first time during my junior year of high school and specifically remember being called pretty three times that morning before the bell had even rung. That's what decided it and I never went to school again without it. Because I was suddenly pretty.
I'd been encouraged to suck in my stomach to look skinnier, whenever I sat down I'd tuck it into my pants, breathe through my chest, anything I had to do. Because people like skinny. But there comes a point when we all must realize that it's fine to wear makeup, so long as you're wearing it for yourself, not to impress anyone or stand out. That there's nothing wrong with feeling good about who you are. That you're not vain for being comfortable in your own skin. That it's okay to say thank you when someone calls you beautiful and if they're not okay with that then you don't need them in your life. But it's also alright to go to Walmart on a Saturday without anything on your face because you're human and you're not perfect, but neither is anyone else. So let it breathe once in a while and be happy with who you truly are. I feel that once this is accomplished, then maybe, just maybe, I'll be there.





The good, the bad, but mostly the ugly

Gastroparesis is the diagnosis after nearly half a year of testing. Each test made me very sick as I usually had to fast, the worst being the scopes. Starting with a CT scan, blood labs, an ultrasound, a HIDA scan, a colonoscopy and endoscopy complete with biopsies of my insides.



With nothing showing up on any of these I was recommended to the University of Utah where I was tested to see how long food took to get through my stomach using x-rays. A Gastric Emptying Study. That was where they found the answer. Food wasn't leaving my stomach as fast as it should, thus by the time it did go through, there was hardly any nutrients left for my body to take in.
By this point I was malnourished and my muscles were beginning to deteriorate. My hair had been falling out for a while.
 
 I bruise easily and my face is almost always covered in pimples and sores. I've been taking multivitamins, biotin, protein shakes, using special shampoos and conditioners. I permed my hair and trimmed and layered it to make it look thicker. I went to a dermatologist to get some help with my face but ended up having an allergic reaction like I usually do with new acne treatments I try. The joy of having sensitive skin.
I've mostly stopped driving, being too tired most of the time for it to be considered safe any longer. I spend most of my time in bed or on my couch. It's amazing how uncomfortable a bed can become when you spend all day in it. I've watched so many movies I've gotten sick of TV. Even at family parties I find myself having to sneak away from my cousins to take a nap.
 
I've been pretty lonely and somewhat isolated, moving back home to a small town where most of my friends have moved on and there is hardly anything to do.
The one thing that I hate is how the media almost glamorizes being sick, all the people that are always supporting you. It's been sort of the opposite for me. People who used to be 'friends' or people who wanted a date with me until they found out I was sick...That's what hurts. Like I have the plague and everyone must stay away.
There are also the side effects to what I have, such as burping often after I eat and having more gas than most people. I am almost always constipated with the occasional diarrhea. It becomes awkward and I feel bad. If I eat with someone other than my dad, if someone pays for my food or fixes a nice dinner I feel terrible for not eating it all or wasting it. I usually make myself sick trying to. Even drinking water can make me sick as my stomach quickly fills up.
I have no energy to do much of anything and tire quickly. Trying to go on dates or hang out with friends has been almost a nightmare when so much as a slow walk can exhaust me and make me sick most of the next day. I've struggled trying to go to church. I often get hungry at random times during the day and have to eat then as the pain is terrible. Also again being tired has made it a struggle. However I always try to make it to sacrament meeting.
I have luckily never been hospitalized though there were a few close calls on nights that I got especially sick. However people in my ward have come over to give blessings and put my name on the temple prayer list. My extended family held a fast for me. I've felt so blessed and loved at times.

The diagnosis was found just a few weeks ago and treatments have begun, starting with IV therapy twice a week to give my body the nutrients it has been lacking for so long. It's going to be a long path to recovery but I have high hopes and am grateful that we now know what it is.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weight on my Mind

Where to begin? This is me. I lost 70lbs in about 8 months. The part everyone gets jealous of is that I wasn't even trying.
Around January 2014, my senior year of high school, my appetite suddenly decreased and I found that I wasn't able to eat as much as I used to. I thought nothing of it. I was now eating normal serving sizes. Half a pizza instead of a full one etc. I didn't fully notice the change until I had to go buy new pants. My first size change was massive, from a 14 to an 8 but it didn't stop, dropping to a 4, a 2 and finally a size 1. My shirts went from medium to XS, 182lbs to 112.
I was enjoying my new body. For the first time I was being asked on dates and making friends. I felt more confident and happy. I remember being able to look in the mirror and like what I saw.
But then people began asking if I was anorexic. If I'd realized how much weight I'd lost. Yeah, actually. I'm the one who's been buying and giving away all those clothes. Do they realize how hard it is to find tall and skinny jeans?
Things seemed ok, I was active and eating healthy, and even unhealthy... Ice cream is my weakness and on payday I couldn't help sneaking over to Subzero for dinner. I've never counted calories or truly cared about what I consumed. If it tastes good, I eat it.
But then December happened. Eating started making me sick. What had started as fatigue after a few hours of work or a class at school turned into spending nearly all of my free time in bed sleeping. I had no energy or strength to spare. I could hardly eat five bites of food before I was full.
Despite this it took until February 2015 for me to finally admit that there was something wrong. I was so determined that I was fine. I'm not anorexic, I was under weight, okay, but no one batted an eye when I was overweight... By then I had moved back home, quit my job and discontinued college. I just didn't have the energy or ambition to do much of anything. I am so grateful to my dad for the support he has been to me through all of this.