Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Finally, my fibro story.

I’ll make this as short and sweet as possible.

I don’t know exactly when it starte, since the beginning of my pain was very sporadic and isolated, and I didn’t experience a full flare until November 2011. I'm not too sure if all of this is fibro related, but I did have various conditions I was diagnosed which are definitely similar to symptoms of fibro. So here’s a bit of a time line.

Age 12: I am diagnosed with ADD. I would slip up in weird ways, such as doing my homework, but forgetting to turn it in. Medication helps immensely.

Age 13: I begin to experience extreme knee pain during basketball and dance. No one can figure out what’s wrong. I adjust and push through it.

Age 14: I begin experiencing joint pain not only in the left knee, but in both shoulders and right ankle. Again, no one can figure this out. It is assumed to be something genetic, since my father has had surgeries on both of his shoulders, one of his ankles, and has knee problems.

Age 16: I begin having intense jaw pain which often causes headaches. My jaw also begins to pop and lock up frequently. I am diagnosed with TMJ and purchase a $1,000 splint to help, but unfortunately lose it at work two weeks later when taking it out to speak to a customer (the splint gave me a crazy lisp). Due to how expensive it is, we do not purchase another splint, and I figure out how to adjust by quitting certain habits that noticeably aggravated my condition.

Also diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease (I find this worth mentioning here due to MD symptoms overlap with Fibro symptoms).

Age 19: Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Like MD, I mention this due to a symptom of Fibromyalgia being irritable bowel syndrome.

I also begin experiencing excruciating hip pain. I am an assistant manager at my job and on my feet all day and the pain is interfering with my work.  I can hardly stand up straight after a few hours. Go to the doctor, and no dice as to what it could be.

Then I begin experiencing pain in my hands and wrists, all the while still experiencing pain in the previously mentioned joints. Finally, a Rheumatologist declares it arthritis associated with my UC. Medications do not seem to work.

I am having difficulties sleeping. I will lay in bed, eyes closed and covered with an eye mask, no sound, and will not be able to fall asleep until 1-4 hours after lying down. Once asleep, I wake up frequently.  This is due to reasons unknown and also due to pain in my wrists and hips. Sleep studies are ordered. I am diagnosed with insomnia.

Age 20: Wake up sick with a fever. After a week, the fever breaks, but still feel sick. Become winded just putting on my make up and drying my hair. Same day, standing up in the shower exhausts me and causes me to feel faint and the feeling of water against my skin hurts. Go to UrgentCare.  Doctor says it’s my UC flaring up and prescribes predisone.

While he said it was due to a UC flare, I had been in near-total remission of my UC for nearly a year and was currently having no UC symptoms. Feeling the same after finishing predisone, I head to my primary doctor.

He orders blood work, the results of which all come back immaculate. He suggests, mainly due to my pain when showering, fibromyalgia as a possibility. Initially, I refuse to accept this diagnoses, as I am one who needs to see evidence, so I push for further testing.

I have frequent appointments with my primary doctor, and seek a second opinion from another family doctor who also suggests fibro. I go to my gastro to see if he thinks my joint pain is arthritis associated with UC and if my current symptoms are just a flare up as the UrgentCare doctor suggested. He says arthritis associated with UC is not as widespread as I am experiencing, and he also suggests fibromyalgia upon hearing my symptoms and checking for trigger points. Go to a neurologist. She has no clue what’s going on, but orders test after test to rule out diseases such as Lupus, MS, ALS, and Parkinson’s. All tests come back negative. Go get a second and a third opinion from two other Rheumatologists. Both suggest fibromyalgia, and one is sure of it after ruling out Lyme Disease.

I did not inform any of these doctors that fibromyalgia had been suggested (mainly because I was so stubborn to accept the diagnoses myself). All sent me through an ungodly amount of testing and I was going in for blood work on a nearly bi-weekly basis.

January 2012
: I finally accept my diagnoses of Fibromyalgia.

In less than a month I went from running 3 miles 4-6 days a week and lifting weights 3-4 days a week, to being bedridden and bound to a wheelchair or walker my entire Christmas break. My social life consisted of my parents and my doctors appointments. And all of it happened before my last semester of university.

So now, with graduation looming near, I am determined to graduate. My fibromyalgia is severe, and I’ve yet to find an effective treatment, but I will do it. I pinky promised myself I would - so you know it's serious.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ulcerative Colitis.

At the end of my freshman year of college, just hours after having moved out of my dorm, I began feeling sick.

And I was sick for two whole weeks. Very sick. Given that I have no spleen, I have to be extra cautious, so whenever my fever hits 101, I have to go into the hospital for monitoring. During this particular sickness, I was in and out of the ER on several occasions.

Alas, the fever finally broke, and all was returning to normal. Well, not completely. I was still having diarrhea. I figured it'd pass soon, so I thought nothing of it.

One month later: Still having diarrhea on occasion. Now with more urgency. And a little constipation thrown in just for fun.

Three months after sickness: All of the above, plus severe abdominal pain. More irregularities in bowel movement and habit, I was going more frequently and texture was different. I also experienced irregularities that I've yet been able to efficiently explain.

At five months, it became obvious to me something was really wrong. But given the content (is that the word?) of the situation, I told no one.

My sophomore year of college, I was in a school apartment and had no relationship with my roommate, so keeping this problem a secret was no problem since I had my own bathroom. My parents were also able to remain oblivious, but I had to let my boyfriend in on what was going on. I told him I was having bowel problems and we left it at that. It's the only time I ever spoke of it.

I knew I needed to get checked out, but I knew that meant I'd have to have a colonoscopy.

Being a psychology major (and someone who studies psychology more on her own than at school), I am well aware of the process of desensitization. But I swear it only makes it worse for me. When I lived in the "city" I was never around bugs, but when I saw them, I loved them. All of them. I picked them up and played with them without hesitation.

Then I moved to the country. Bugs. Everywhere. All of the time. The same bugs I'd always been fond of. Suddenly, instant phobia. Even of, and especially of, bugs with wings - not excluding butterflies or lady bugs here, either.

As I began to study psychology and become familiar with desensitization, I worked with my roommate to overcome this phobia. Efforts were futile.

With some things, however, I'm unable to even truly try to desensitize. An example of this would be surgery.

In the hospital, I underwent nearly 20 surgeries. I am no stranger to this. But with each surgery came more fear. Anything resembling surgery and I lose my shit (no pun intended).

Well, a colonoscopy is certainly no exception. Not that anyone really fancies colonoscopies.

Regardless, I dealt with my pain alone for a year and a half after first experiencing the symptoms, which were relentless and progressively growing worse.

Then, one day, I arrived home from work. It was around 9 a.m. I had worked the night shift and spent the entire night up on the roof with one of my employees/friends.

I was ready to crash when I got home, but I wanted to keep my best friend, Kayla, updated on the night while my memories were still fresh. The "employee/friend" was also a target for me in more personal matters.

I wrote out the message and sent it to Kayla over facebook. I then closed my laptop.

"Boop" - someone IMed me on Facebook chat. Usually, I'd ignore this and keep the laptop closed. But this time, for some reason, despite being exhausted and after some hesitation, I opened my laptop back up.

It was my other best friend, Sarah: "Do you know what's happening with Kay?"

I won't go into detail now because I know I'll make a few posts about this at some point, but basically, Sarah had just found out that our dear friend Kayla had been in an accident.

We spent the next few days in hospital waiting rooms and at the Kayla's bed side until she passed.

I was devastated.

Almost immediately, I experienced a new change in my bowel habit - blood.

I ignored this at first, until there was finally enough blood to alarm even my aloof self. I googled it, and Sir Google seemed to think this a fairly urgent problem. So, I begrudgingly let my mom in on what was happening and what had been happening for the last year and a half.

Appointments were made with several Gastroenterologists. I quickly decided I did not want a male, meaning my mom's gastro, who is also attractive, was out. Thus, we turned to a doctor we had no experience with, but who was highly recommended.

We were paying the rates of appointments with the actual doctor, yet every time we were sent to her P.A. (I think that's what they're called?). The colonoscopy was scheduled for two months from then.

I never even met the doctor performing the colonoscopy until the day of. She was an older, tiny, silly lady. She was straight and to the point, but also very silly, which is a good thing because I do nothing but joke when I'm nervous or in any sort of distress.

Turns out, the procedure was a breeze - the prep, well, that's another post for another day.

The doctor told us a bit about what she'd found, and explained she took a biopsy of the lesions. At this point, we didn't know much.

Finally, we received the call confirming the results about a week later. I forget exactly what they said to my mom, but my mom did specifically ask, "Okay, so she doesn't have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's or anything?" The caller then confirmed that I tested negative for any diseases. Cool.

We still had a follow up appointment the following week after the call. We go in, and of course, no doctor. Again. Despite the payment to see the actual doctor.

The nurse begins going through what was found in the colonoscopy and after a few minutes she nonchalantly says, "So you have Ulcerative Colitis and this is what we're going to do."

Say what? Run through that one more time for me.

I had little knowledge about UC, so my mom took over the conversation with a stern "We were told she tested negative for any diseases." Again, nonchalantly the nurse says, "No, she tested positive."

"But when your office called with the results, they said negative. I double checked on that fact and even specifically mentioned Ulcerative Colitis."

"Well I don't know anything about that."

"So my daughter has a disease, and because of your office, we thought she was in the clear for the past two weeks. And if we chose not to come back because someone at your office said she was fine? What then?"

You see, my mom made sure to ask this because two of my aunt's have UC, one has Crohn's, and another has Colon Cancer. One of them even has a j-pouch. So, my bloodline is not exactly equipped with healthy colons.

Despite the doctor being so nice and friendly, none of her P.A.'s were pleasant at any of our appointments. This particular nurse was not bothered at all by the fact that false information was given to us. I know the mistake was probably not hers and that she was likely not the woman who called with the results - but still, show some remorse, or some worry that we were given false information about something as important as an autoimmune disease. That is a PROBLEM. At least act like you want to fix it.

Anyway, so there it was. Disease number two. I was 19 at the time of the official diagnoses, 18 when the symptoms started.

A bit on a rant about this doctor - At this same appointment, I was given a lot of instructions as to what to do. I was prescribed suppositories and some other huge pills, which I was to take three times a day. Then, I was told to change my diet. I was not allowed to eat fruits or vegetables or anything wheat or with grains. The nurse told me I was to be on this unhealthy (her words) diet for 6 months, at which point I would come in for another colonoscopy.

Two huge problems with this diet.

First, I am a vegetarian. You take away fruits and vegetables, and you're basically leaving me with mac 'n cheese and mashed potatoes here. A subproblem here is that I also have food neophobia, meaning I don't eat much variety to begin with.

Secondly, I was raised on wheat bread and brown rice, and anything of the like. My parents raised me on the healthier alternatives of things, and I cannot even stomach white bread or white rice.

This diet was ridiculously unhealthy.

After a few weeks on it, I was actually losing weight because I simply did not eat. There was nothing for me to eat! I was absolutely miserable and felt awful, so I finally conceded to give my mom's male gastro another try.

My mom's gastro is... about 6'6", blonde hair, blue eyes, athletic build, pretty face, fairly young, and armed with intelligence, wit, gentle hands, and genuine kindness. Every time I see him, I have to do everything I can to refrain from gazing into his dreamy eyes over a foot above me and saying "You're pretty" to him.

This is not the sort of man I want searching up my butt and talking to me about my poop. No sir. Add all of this on top of the fact that I already have an issue with male doctors (which will probably be explained later), I did not want to go.

But I didn't know what else to do. So I dragged my feet to his office. He looked over the results of my colonoscopy and we told him everything that happened with the other doctor. He immediately took me off the lousy diet, and told me to simply listen to my body and what makes it react unfavorably (he suggested a food journal). Then he took me off of the million times a day horse pills.

He told me to stick to the suppositories and one other, once a day pill, and basically said I don't need to have another colonoscopy unless my condition worsens or something new occurs. Other than that, I may have one as a check-up sort of thing, but not for at least two years.

I told him that I had nothing against him, but that I would feel uncomfortable with him doing a colonoscopy, at which point he said I could have my appointments with him, but at the time of a colonoscopy he could have his female partner in his practice do it.

So, there you have it. The frustrating story of my diagnoses of Ulcerative Colitis.

I like to think that, in a way, Kayla was pushing me to finally seek help. If not for the blood, I would have ignored this problem for who knows how long. I know it was simply the stress of losing her that aggravated my ulcers enough to produce blood in my stool, but Kayla was going to nursing school, so I just like to believe this was her way of knocking some sense into me. :)

Meniere's Disease.

Note: I’m going to double post today because I’m eager to start writing about Fibro. While UC and MD are devastating illnesses, I have more experience with them and Fibro is still fairly new to me and has affected me more than the other two. I’ll still talk about UC and MD periodically, but this blog will primarily address my fibro. :)

I have a relatively large (Italian) family. In fact, I have more than 70 second cousins. Italians - they're family people.

 I am the product of the babies on both sides and the youngest of the first cousins (and most of the second). My family is very athletic and I always felt the need to follow suit.

We are a family made up of basketball players. At first, I resisted this and stuck to my love of dance, but eventually, I gave in around age 10.

I worked really hard at catching up to my peers, since they’d been playing much longer than me. I strived to make the “A team” my first year of middle school by competing in every league and attending every camp.

And I did it. I made the A team.

From that point on, I found myself in 3 leagues at a time, and at least two year round.

So what does this have to do with Meniere’s Disease?

Well, after a few years of playing, there came a point when I was no longer improving.

During one game, my mom noticed I was making odd swaying movements in the huddle, and afterward, she inquired about it. I explained that I was dizzy, and that swaying helped. I’d already been going through this for nearly a year, and I figured it was completely normal. One is bound to become a bit out of sorts when hauling ass up and down a court.

Regardless of what I thought of it, my mom became alarmed and took me to see a specialist. After a series of tests and questions, it was determined that I had an inner ear disorder. My “dizziness” was actually a manifestation of a migraine, and there was a lag between what I saw and when my mind perceived it.

At first, this only happened when I was strenuously exercising, but soon enough, it progressed to real, chronic migraines, and vertigo. Vertigo is when the room feels like it’s spinning out of control and is much more debilitating than dizziness.

These bouts of vertigo often occurred mostly when I woke up, and migraines seemed to have no particular pattern.

Upon explaining this to one of my aunt’s, a revelation was made. My aunt remembered my grandmother suffered from Meniere’s Disease, an inner ear disorder which causes imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, migraines, nausea, tinnitus, hearing loss, and ear pressure or pain.

After more tests and with this new information, my doctor diagnosed me with disease number one. I was 16 years old.

Every six months or so I’d go back into the specialist for these super boring hearing tests. I’m unsure as to exact reason why, but I assume it was to make sure I wasn’t significantly losing my hearing.

There is no cure for Meniere’s Disease, but treatments are fairly effective (for me, at least). Reducing sodium has helped me a lot, and mints do wonders with migraines. For the most part, I’ve been able to keep this in check with diet, medication, and certain exercises.

Aside from the occasional migraine, I was symptom free until being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Continuing from BURNS

While I remember more than I normally admit to, I could never remember everything at once or in any sort of order.

What I do know is I was in the hospital for 6 months, and I was in ICU for 5 of those months.

After the helicopter, I had to have my spleen removed in an emergency surgery since it had ruptured from the blast when I was thrown back. Because it was an emergency surgery, it left a big, long, severe scar reaching from right below my breasts to a little past my belly button. It’s right down the middle and about an inch in width. This is one of the things I’m most self-conscious of.

It would be two months before I'd wake up from my coma. When I did wake up, I was heavily drugged.  In fact, I was building up tolerance to the drugs so quickly that at one point I was on enough morphine to put down a stinkin’ BABY ELEPHANT! Pretty good for a 90 pound girl, eh?

Aside from the burns, I experienced a lot of internal complications. I’m bad with the terminology, but there was basically a hole between my wind pipe and esophagus, so anything I swallowed caused me to choke. For more than 5 months, I had to suck out my saliva from this sucker thingy, I often referred to as Mr. Sucks. As you can imagine, without even being able to keep your saliva, you become quite thirsty.

Well, for almost six months, I could not eat or drink anything. I was constantly thirsty, and I had nothing to do but think of all that I craved.  It was terrible. I firmly believe this would be a very effective form of torture.

My first memories of the hospital are quite unpleasant. I was in a lot of pain – indescribable pain. My internal injuries had me in and out of surgery so often, I couldn’t keep track.

On several occasions, my father was told that I would not make it through the night. Once, they even told him that I only had a few hours left and that all they could do was make me as comfortable as possible. And, there came a time when my heart stopped for more than two minutes. I hope that I will never know what my dad went through with this when I become a parent some day. He is indeed, a very strong man - a big, strong, bald, burly manly man.

Speaking of parents, since both of mine were in the accident, I went a few months with no one there with me. I was 9 years old and going through this horribly traumatic experience and I didn’t have my parents. All the family I did have was in Connecticut or in Italy. They tried to fly down when they could, but only if funds permitted and, hey, they had their own lives.

So, my parents friends tried to replace them as much as they could. I mainly only remember visits from my mom’s best friend, though. She’d read me the Secret Garden. :)

In ICU, everyone that comes to see you has to be covered from head to toe. Their shoes are covered, they’re wearing long sleeve gowns, they have on gloves, a face mask, and a cap for their head. Whenever I did receive visits, I could only see their eyes. After a few minutes, I could tell, by the little skin visible, that they were sweating profusely. And I always felt guilty about that.

I was too young at the time, but in later years I found out that said mom's bff has a very weak stomach as far as “medical things” and pain are concerned. She never let it show when she would come read to me. She was like a second mom to me growing up, and her daughter was my first and best friend. I know seeing me with tubes, and IVs, and staples and all of my wounds couldn’t have been easy for her. But she still came to see me more than anyone, and I will always love her for that and I appreciate her more than she could ever know.

I think I’ll stop for now, as things are beginning to intensify over here on my end and I don’t like it! I’ll post from time to time about stuff from the hospital. I’ll indicate these blogs with either “burns” or “hospital”. It’s just too much and too emotionally draining to write in one post. Hopefully from now on, it'll be more organized and focused on one particular topic.

I’m going to go watch funny youtube videos now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shock, Lock, and Barrel.

Sitting in class, I found myself pondering about my last post.

I suppose putting it into words made me realize the extent of shock I was in. I've always known that when it happened I felt no pain, nor fear; but I never realized how amazing that function of "shock" can be. The processes of our minds and bodies are so incredible.

I sustained great injury - near-fatal burns and internal (and mental/emotional) trauma - yet I felt calm, almost peaceful.

I was lying on the street next to my home completely obliterated, as well as the homes of my neighbors, who were frantically doing everything they could in the mess of burning debris to help my family and I - and even our dogs - as much as possible.
At the time, I saw this chaotic picture. Yet all I registered was how all of my "grown up" neighbors were in their pajamas (it occurred a little before 7 in the morning).

The body and the mind are truly amazing. So long as we take care of them, they'll do what they must to take care of us in our time of need.

Never put much thought to that until now.

Huh. I suppose this blogging thing may have more advantages than I originally anticipated.

BURNS - Going Out with a Bang.

I suppose I should ‘start’ from the beginning.

I was 9 years old when my parents picked me up from after school day care. I had pink eye that day.

In the morning, I remember waking up the before school. I can’t remember if I was actually going to be attending school or not that day, though. Both of my parents had to work, so I might have been dropped off at my grandpa’s house for the day due to the pink eye. Or at least that’s what might have been intended.

I was wearing an over sized t-shirt, and some underoos. I went up to our “bar” (counter) to eat some cereal.  At this point, everything was fairly normal to me.

What I didn’t know: When my mom woke up, she smelled propane. We had recently made an addition to the family -  a golden retriever puppy named Jewel. We were in the process of potty training Jewel, and at night we kept her in the laundry room with newspaper covering the floor.  Jewel didn’t fancy this isolation. She began to bark her little heart away at night and started scratching up the door.  To prevent further damage to the door, we used her dog cage in front of it to block her it.  Being the trouble maker she was, Jewel found an alternative way to gain access to the door. She squeezed behind the washer and dryer.

When my mom woke up, she noticed a smell. After some investigating, she realized it was propane coming from the laundry room. Since Jewel seemed to be totally fine, she figured it hadn’t been leaking long, so she and my dad opened windows and turned on fans. Turns out that when Jewel went behind the dryer she brushed up against a loose valve causing the leak.

And they thought Marley was bad...

I had just started eating my cereal when it happened. No one knows for sure what set it off. It’s surprising that the fans or lights never did. Most plausible theory investigators came up with – the refrigerator cycle.

Our house exploded. Yes, like BOOM! Our house – our home – was completely leveled. The blast was heard across miles and miles of our small town and over 40 houses in our neighborhood were damaged and several were even rebuilt.

I tell everyone I don’t remember what happened that morning and that I hardly remember the hospital in the months after. But I do. I remember it quite clearly, actually. I say this so that I don’t have to talk about it and so people won’t pester me about it. It's just easier that way.

But what I remember is my entire vision became consumed by the image of fire. Since it was an explosion, it was basically a flash fire, and that’s exactly what I saw - a huge, all-consuming flash of fire. Every inch of my vision was filled with fire.  As it came toward me, it lifted me and threw me backward (If you’ve ever seen Mouse Hunt, there’s a scene very reminiscent of this). I swear I ended up hitting part of the couch behind me, but that could be a false memory. Regardless, it was quite surreal, and still is. It happened so quickly at the time, but I can see it so clearly in slower motion in my mind.

The next thing I remember is waking up to my mom’s voice desperately calling my name. I was laying on my stomach under a ton of debris. I remember my mouth was full of dirt (or whatever it was) and I spit it out. I tried to reply to my mom, but I suppose I had junk in my lungs, so at first I couldn't speak more than a whisper. It took a few minutes of spitting and coughing to finally find my voice again. I frantically started calling back out to my mom.

Our neighbors were the first on the scene, doing everything they could to help. They’d been looking for me for quite some time at this point. My dad had already got himself up and walking around, but my mom’s ankle was pinned and everyone was doing what they could to put out the small fires near her. I tried to lift myself up but efforts were futile. I kept calling out hoping someone would find me. Finally, I felt relief on my back. They were digging me out.

After a minute or so, I looked up and saw my dad’s face. He helped lift me out and somehow I ended up in the arms of our neighbor – who also happened to be the father of my best friend since I was 3 years old.

He carried me out to the street, where his wife would sit with me until the ambulance arrived. I might have been in shock. I don’t recall freaking out. In fact, I remember feeling completely calm and simply observing what was around me.

My bff’s mom was trying to talk to me. She was telling me everything was going to be okay, that I was going to be okay. She asked if I knew what happened (as in what caused the explosion).  Other than answering her questions, all I said was “Are my parents okay?”

To be honest, I didn’t feel pain. But I noticed the horror in the face and eyes of my friend’s mother as she looked down at me. It took a bit to register this reaction, since I was oblivious to the magnitude of the situation. So I lifted my arm up to my view.

Folks, being burned isn’t like the movies. Don’t ever believe what you see, it doesn’t look nearly as gruesome (even if the experience is).

What I saw was that my arms were very pink. They were neither profusely bloody, nor deformed looking. They were just very, very pink and had a lot of dead skin hanging off of them. It wasn’t that morbid. It grayish and looked akin to when a snake sheds it skin. It wasn’t that bad.

I took a moment to try and look behind her. There it was. My house - my home. Nothing left of it but burning rubble and debris. The pink frilly room I slept in, the kitchen I practiced ballet in, the living room I wrestled my dog in, my mom's wall which I had drew an elephant on in anger once when I was "serving time" (time out)  - all of it was gone and destroyed in several brief seconds by an impact so great 3 of our neighbors had to rebuild their houses, and 46 others in the neighborhood were damaged. This hellish scene was once my big, safe, and comfy home.

Our "house" later that day.

Finally, the ambulance arrived. I was put on a stretcher and wheeled into an ambulance, and my dad was sitting down next to me. The first thing I said to him, was “Where’s Shadow?” Shadow was my 3 year old dog. He told me she was (shockingly) alive and was going to the vet to get treated for her burns. I then inquired about Jewel, and she surprising was also alive. Sadly, all of my other pets didn’t make it :(

I was still calm at this point and calmly answering questions. My dad explained that we were being taken to one of the best burn hospitals in the country. I asked where my mom was. He told me about how her ankle had been pinned and that it caused a really bad injury so she was getting the hospital by helicopter in order to receive quicker care. Not long after the EMT's began checking me out, they began discussing something with one another and then said some things to my dad. My dad turned to me and said that plans had changed and we were about to pull over and I was to be taken to the hospital in the helicopter with my mom. Of course, I didn’t put much thought to this at the time, but it turned out when the EMT’s were tending to me, they realized something inside of me had ruptured, so I, too, needed emergency (well, quicker) care.

I remember when the ambulance stopped.  My dad told me he loved me, that he would see me soon, and that everything was going to be okay. I was put in a space blanket and I could hear the helicopter from inside the ambulance. When they opened the doors, I remember the sound becoming so much louder and thinking about how simultaneously scary and cool it was. I remember feeling the strength of the wind from the propellers as they rolled me into the helicopter. I was completely calm the entire time.

In the helicopter, I was moved next to my mom. She, like my father, told me she loved me and reassured me that everything was going to be okay, and the women in the helicopter began to put me in a neck brace type thing.  She then began pressing on my stomach. It didn’t hurt. It felt like it would any other day if someone were to press on my stomach. But the woman asked me if it hurt, to which I simply responded no.

I do not at all recall receiving an IV, but I remember suddenly feeling tired and slowly falling asleep. I’m unsure if I just don’t remember the IV part and was given something, or if I simply fell unconscious, but I was out, and I would not wake up for weeks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Short Introduction.

If I stumbled onto this blog, I would most likely skip that last post due to its length. It was a rant - it doesn't really need to be read, anyway. So this post is going to have more to do with future content.

To start, I am a 20 year old female currently enrolled in college. The next few posts will likely address each of my issues individually, but in short, when I was 9 years old, my house exploded. I was burned and in the hospital for 6 months.

Apparently the trauma my body went through back then has caused problems I'm experiencing now. These include Meniere's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and as of late, Fibromyalgia.

Out of the three, Fibromyalgia has been the most devastating, especially with college.

I hope with this blog I can learn to open up more. I also hope that perhaps maybe I can shed some light on what it's like to live with these conditions, primarily as a burn survivor and someone with Fibromyalgia. I hope to at least bring more awareness to someone, or maybe even help someone suffering from any of these issues.

I am an extremely upbeat person, so we'll see how writing about all of this goes. I also hate technology and figuring out websites annoys me, so it's likely I'll be inconsistent with writing. Fibro fog will also probably affect my writing, so please excuse errors.

I'm a student of psychology, political science, and philosophy. I'll keep the politics out of it, but I know the psychology and philosophy aspects are going to affect my writing here. Especially the philosophy part, as that's usually the source of my rants.

And while I'm aiming to write about my medical conditions, I will most likely rant about other things every now and then. Who knows, we'll see where it goes.

Also, the first few posts are going to be downers, but once I get past explaining everything, it'll definitely lighten up a bit. I'm going to try and get the 'downer posts' out of the way as soon as possible. :)

My anxiety about personal issues reaches to a far extent when it comes to privacy. Nothing on the internet but my school account is under my true name. Sometimes when I meet new people, I even give them a random name without even thinking about it. I am c-r-a-z-y about my privacy (Ah hah! Clue #1 about my anxiety issue!).

So I won't tell you my real name, but you may call me Fiona... whoever you are :)

The Blogging Experiement.

Warning: This is more of a rant. It's long and tedious and probably not worth reading.

I've started this blog after receiving advice from my doctor to do so.

"Your doctor told you to start a blog?" Yeah, I know. I went in with breathing difficulties, I came out with instructions to start a blog. What gives?

Well, I'm having anxiety issues which are caused by my Fibromyalgia, and anxiety causes my illnesses to flare up horribly. Long story short, my mom opened up her big mouth and went on a rant about how I've been through so much but have never spoken about it and refuse to talk about anything that might stress me out. She and my doctors are worried I might develop one of the most common symptoms of Fibro I've thus been able to avoid: Depression.

It was suggested that perhaps my lack of speaking and "properly dealing" with my issues was adding to my fibro. When I was younger, my mom sent me to therapist after therapist. I would either refuse to speak to them, or I'd speak to them about how wonderful and fabulous everything was and how happy and carefree I was.

For the most part, that's been true. But most of the time, I was aiming to troll since I wasn't happy about being there. It is my belief, and always has been, that it is fully possible to be mentally healthy without needing to "get things out" in the conventional sense.

So let's get this straight: I am not "bottling things up." Not communicating about "bad" things that have happened to me does not equate to me being unhappy. That said, speaking about said "bad" things does cause me excessive anxiety and always has. I realize this. This is why I do not speak about them.

But it's not because of some form of "not dealing" with things. Not speaking about them is how I deal with it.

X bad thing has happened. Okay. I accept the reality and that which I cannot change. Speaking about X bad thing (understandably) causes sadness. Okay. I want to move on. I cannot do so by dwelling on X. Speaking about X is not going to change X or make it disappear. Not to mention that speaking about X is either 1. Going to cost me money to see a professional, or 2. Make the other person feel uncomfortable or awkward.

To me, it makes little sense to speak about that which makes you sad if you've not the power to ever change it. There are some things you simply can never "move on" from. Nothing can change it, and it's just something we need to accept. For those things, I say "Fuck you! I'm not letting you waste any more of my life than you already have!" My way of doing so is moving on, starting over, pushing through, and avoiding the sadness it brings me.

Time can't heal everything; but it has an incredible tendency to make things better to some extent. Time, to me, is more powerful than venting about something so much that you develop numbness toward it. You can go through time and avoid what makes you sad until one day you allow yourself to think or speak about it, and the sting of it has dulled; or, you can speak about it and thus become sad about it over and over again in the vain pursuit of attaining closure for something you can never truly achieve closure for.

There are simply things for which closure does not truly exist. Sexual abuse, for instance. Is it ever possible to ever disassociate pain from the abuse? Sure, there are things to make it better, easier. But let's be realistic here.

We're taught that if we don't achieve closure, we are somehow defunct, unresolved, unfulfilled, incomplete, unable to move on, ect... Bullocks. Acheiving closure after the death of a loved one is very different from achieving closure of an past relationship. Seeing the body in the casket may solidify some things, but the pain will always be there. Some experiences truly change you and stay with you. It doesn't mean it defines you, but it can most certainly become a significant part of who you are.

I am not saying closure is impossible for every case of sexual abuse. Every situation and every person is different. Nothing I EVER say is meant to be absolute. All I'm saying is that closure, for certain situations and most people, is incredibly unlikely. I'm also not saying that talking about bad experiences is a waste of time for everyone. For some people, it truly helps them.

But for me, it doesn't, and that doesn't equate to me not dealing with my problems and somehow being a fragile person unable to move on because of it. My bad experiences were bad. Speaking about them makes me feel bad. I want to move on and won't dare let any of it claim my life or any more time so long as it's in my control. Obviously, "sad episodes" do occur that I cannot help, but for the vast majority, I can control it.

I am so committed to being truly happy that any threat to that causes me severe anxiety. It's not the threat of the past event, it's the threat to my happiness that scares me. I will never, under any circumstances, be "okay" with the horrid six months I spent in the hospital and all of the aftereffects of it. Avoiding it and concentrating on positive things may not make it go away, but nor will speaking about it. Either way, I'll get the same result. I can spend that time reliving the sadness while wasting time, effort, and money, or I can spend it simple and happy.

But I'll admit; my anxiety is out of control and I want to reduce it. I am fine not talking or thinking about the "bad" things. Anxiety only kicks in when someone tries to get me to talk about them. I cannot ever, no matter how hard I try, get myself to open up to someone about almost anything I'm feeling - good or bad.

A month ago I told my doctor about how I could not speak to anyone about most anything personal. I explained how this included any form of communication and that while it's worse when it involves someone I know, it's still present with those I don't. After a few suggestions, he came up with starting a blog, something totally anonymous.

I'll write about my experiences and will probably focus mostly on my fibromyalgia, but this is actually a self-journey to reach the root of my problem. I want to find out why I am as anxious as I am about opening up, and I'm ready to test my limits. It may work, it may not. As we speak, I'm fighting off an anxiety attack and shaking fingers preparing to post this into nowheresville where it will most likely never be read. And it frightens me more than I can accurately explain.

Hopefully other posts won't be quite as long. I'm going to work on my "writing too much" issue through this, as well. If anyone is actually reading this, bear with me here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today, I started a blog. Today is February 21st, 2012.

Today is beautiful, but today is different.

Today is the day of what would have been my best friend's 22nd birthday. Today, I begin to face my fears for her.