Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Tips and Info From My Friend with Coronavirus

Tips and Info From My Friend with CoronavirusEven at the rate things are progressing, I hope and pray that you are lucky enough to not know someone with the coronavirus. Sadly, that’s not the case for me.

My friend from high school is currently battling it. And she’s been sharing information, advice, and tips over the last couple of days because she wants everyone to be informed. I’m not giving her name, as requested, but she wants us all to hear relevant information, and also understand the seriousness of the situation (if you don’t already).

I know many of us have underlying health issues, including me, so consider this our PSA to keep you all well and healthy. 🙂

Here are a few things you might not be hearing as often that we wanted to make you aware of. These are her first-hand experiences, and what the doctors have told her. Keep in mind that she is 43-years-old with no underlying health issues. And she and her family were already staying indoors for five days or so when she started exhibiting symptoms.

March 21st is day five of COVID-19 for her, and she’s still unsure of how she got it. Her family is active, but she already homeschooled her kids, so she wasn’t in a traditional office/group environment.

– My first sign of symptoms was that I took a deep breath and noticed a little gunk on deep inhalation. I felt fine and chalked it up to allergies. A few hours later, I had the tiniest fever of 99.6. I went to bed, woke up next day, and felt much better. Thought it was odd, but no big deal. A few hours later, it hit like a ton of bricks. It’s a crazy virus, because I’ll feel like garbage for hours with 103+ temp, aches, chills, headache, and sore throat from the constant cough. (You constantly hear about a dry cough, but mine has a bit of gunk. The doctor said it’s not unheard of, especially if you have allergies, or things have really started to settle.) Then, it will magically resolve, and I’ll feel really good, but a few aches. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was okay to leave isolation. Then it’s back again. I can absolutely see how this spreads so easily now.

– The doctor reiterated to everyone in our house: Do not leave your house. Do not have anyone go shopping unless supplies have dwindled. Put a note on the front door that says you are not taking visitors. Do not treat this like the regular flu. (Tips for handling groceries and takeout) 

– The coronavirus is nasty, but I’ll recover. The lungs are already inflamed before you even realize it—possibly for weeks. Hot tea and honey does help.

– The virus lives on surfaces up to 9 days—including mail! If you get packages, open them outside and leave the trash. If you put the mail in the freezer, as some people are promoting, you risk it contaminating everything in there until it dies off. After touching anything that has come inside the house, immediately clean your hands. And if someone you are close to needs supplies and are unable to go out (and you have some to spare), drop them at the front door, call them, and leave. (More on packages/mail.)

– If you go outside, pick a pair of shoes—these are now your outside shoes. Keep them outside of the house (garage or backseat of car, if it’s not used for kids or food). When you come inside, change clothes immediately, and take a shower. Toss your worn clothes directly into the washer or laundry basket. (Don’t forget to disinfect things like laundry baskets, too.)

– If you are having breathing issues, do not diffuse essential oils or do anything that puts more particles into the air (even hair spray). The slightest thing you breathe in can worsen your already irritated lungs. If someone in your house has it, they should also follow this rule for you. Run a humidifier with plain water only.

– If someone is coughing a lot or struggling to breathe, making them talk worsens the issue. If you need to check on them, text so they don’t have to use their voice.

– KP note: It’s March 21st (Day 5 of COVID-19 for her) and her breathing is improving a little bit. She said when it’s bad, it’s a struggle just to breathe. Under normal circumstances, she said she’d be in a hospital. They do have her on some medications, though. She also said days 5-7 are when it either gets better or worse, so she’s right at that point and feeling a little better than yesterday, but as noted above, it can change fast. She’ll be isolated for at least 10-14 days.

– March 22nd (Day 6) update: She’s right on the expected timeline, and is having definite improvements. The steroids and inhaler make it hard to sleep, so she’s been up since early hours, but only one major coughing fit! Other small coughing fits at times, but she looks and sounds WAY better. (Day 4 was the worst.) She’s getting lots of questions, but a common one is how to isolate someone in the house. So, I’m putting her instructions below that she wrote to her dad. You’ll see that she always maintains a great attitude and sense of humor.

– March 23rd (Day 7) update: She had a shallow, constant, dry cough all day, which still made it hard to talk. Her fever was better, but it was still a hard mental day because her symptoms cleared up for a few hours and then came back. But she is getting some of her strength back, as well as her sense of taste. She said sometimes it’s hard to focus or think because of all the coughing, which is the lack of oxygen to the brain. And, weirdly, she’s noticed more gray hair!

– March 24th (Day 8) update: Cough is still there. Not terribly deep, but gunky and fairly constant. Otherwise, she’s feeling pretty good, like day four of the regular flu, she thinks. Not a ton of energy, but she’s getting by. And today is her last day of two of the meds. The Tamiflu and one of the steroid cough meds are for five days only, but she has another cough med for 10 days, and then an inhaler as long as she needs it. She’s hoping to get an X-ray in a few months to see if there is any permanent damage to her lungs, and she would need to retain an inhaler. (KP note: By the way, at this point, I feel like I’m writing the captain’s log statements from Star Trek. 🙂 )

– March 27th (Day 11) update: A slow, uphill climb, but she’s still improving. The meds make her loopy, but she’s okay with it! She’s heard new information about the virus “shedding,” meaning even when you start feeling better, the virus can shed off of you and infect others. This is why the two-week isolation is super important, and for this reason, she’s considering a 20-day isolation, to ensure that no one in her family will get it. (more here and here)

I know some of you are still out running errands and doing things as normal, but please take every precaution and follow the advice to stay indoors. And, of course, listen to your health care professionals and information from the CDC.

Also, if you’re looking for some more positive things to see/do, I put together a previous post for making the most of the coronavirus at home.

Please take care! (And sent good thoughts and prayers to my friend!)

 


HER ADVICE FOR ISOLATING SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE:

“This is an email I wrote to my dad. They are lucky enough to have mine and my sister’s old bedrooms and bathroom, so they might have more space than you. Or if you have small children, clearly this would not fully apply either, but if you can manage, these are our methods that we are putting into practice.

I have many medical professional friends who might add something that I’ve left out because they are awesome. I’m too lazy to type it out, so it is a cut and paste. Here you go:

Hello, Daddy! You get this because, if mom gets sick, well, you’re turning into Suzy Homemaker. It will probably be closer to an Amelia Bedelia situation, though. If you don’t get that reference you should read more children’s literature or just ask Mom.

We’re calling present time DEFCON 4. Since you are currently in DEFCON 4, you might consider going ahead and using separate bedrooms. This doesn’t entail any lock downs or anything, but just an extra layer of security. After TWO WEEKS is up (since the last person left the house), then you can move back down to DEFCON 3. No more crazy hand washing like you’re a raccoon with a handful of ice cream. Hurray.

IN THE EVENT OF DEFCON 5:

If one of you even thinks you are getting it, immediately use separate bedrooms. It’s so nice that you have the space and two bathrooms to do this. In fact, go ahead and get a couple of changes of clothes for both of you, towels, extra toothbrushes, and stock the other room now. If you have a humidifier, go ahead and get it ready so it’s easy. Water only!

If you aren’t already separated, then the bedroom door gets closed. No hugs, no kisses, no lingering. The well person goes to the laundry room, clothes straight in, and use the clean bathroom to shower. Lots of soap, and change into clean clothes. Set up a tv tray OUTSIDE the sick door. Do your best to wipe down commonly used surfaces. No vacuuming. This puts crap in the air.

You will not see each other for two weeks. The sick person is not allowed out for midnight snacking or drinks, so go ahead and put some crackers or whatever, toilet paper, bottled water, etc., on their table. All meals will be on paper products that will be thrown away. You can give them a box of plastic forks to toss as they go or regular silverware but then they will be washing it in the bathroom sink and that is now their fork for the duration.

NOTHING LEAVES THAT ROOM.

They will have a trash bag in their room, and all the trash stays in there for the full two weeks. Same for laundry. Do not touch it. NOTHING LEAVES THAT ROOM. Did I mention that?

That door is to stay closed 24/14. (Two weeks, not one. No, not even if they feel better. They are still shedding cooties like a dog with fleas.) The only exception to that rule is when patient zero (not you) opens that door to retrieve meals. You can holler and let them know it’s there (or knock if they are mostly deaf and/or listening to the TV at levels to make the neighbors deaf). Make sure you are well clear of the door (minimum 6 feet). If sicko cannot contain themselves and must speak, then they need to back up 6 feet into the room and cover their mouth. That keeps their funk from spraying into the safe zone.

Talking makes the cough worse, so texting is best. If you need to get each other’s attention and the coughing one isn’t answering, the door can be knocked on loudly from your own side. No peaking your head in to check unless you think they might be in distress. You best have a mask on if you do that, though. No going in still. The floor on the other side is lava.

Any books, crafts, laptops, phones that go into hazmat area now live there for the next two weeks. So if there is something you really need out of there, go ahead and get it ready now. Make sure it all gets extra cleaned when you’re doing the big clean. This counts double for your phone.

You are now a positive house in the most negative way possible. Congratulations on winning the Suck Contest. No opening doors for visitors (NOT THAT YOU WERE DOING THAT ANYWAYS, RIGHT!?). Put a sign up that says you are infected. I would say that would keep everyone away, but there are some truly idiotic people out there. Bless their hearts.

Love you. Try not to go crazy. What a story this will be in 20 years when we’ve all had therapy.”


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Monday

papaver-rhoeas-63741August 28, 2017

What’s so special about this Monday? Or any Monday, for that matter?

I worked from home. I had a lot to do. I didn’t speak to anyone. In fact, I worked straight through the day.

But it was a very special day!

Other than a short while in the morning after I woke up, I felt NORMAL. I had ENERGY.

I didn’t realize how quickly time had passed, how much work I’d completed, or how I didn’t have to take a pause and decide if I should take a nap or not.

Those things are a real rarity for me since my chronic health issues started five and a half years go. I’ve certainly had many good days since that time, but I’m always reminded during the day at some point that I don’t feel well. That I need to take it easy. That I need to compensate in some other way. That I am sick.

By the time 5 o’clock approached, it hit me what a special day it had been. And I still wasn’t tired! It was so exciting!

I’m still not sure exactly how that day happened, other than a lot of prayer. Nothing else was different leading up to it.

Sadly, I haven’t had another day like it this week.

BUT I HAVE HOPE.

Hope that I’ll have another day like it in the near future, and many more after. Hope that my body is healing.

And after struggling so long with all of these health issues, that hope is worth everything.

Here’s to my next Monday!

 


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5 Years of Chronic Illness

freestocks-org-126848April 30th marked five years of chronic illness for me. I’ve improved, for sure, but I still feel like I have a long way to go. Some days, that thought gives me hope, and some days it pains me more than I can say.

I got sick when I was 35, and last September I turned 40. There is, of course, a flood of feelings about hitting that milestone regardless. For me, most of them revolve around the realization that I spent the last half of my thirties—half a decade—sick. I mourn what might have been.

Sure, I made some great memories. A lot of them, actually. I know that I am extremely blessed. And I accomplished some big things, like starting my own business. But I am also deeply saddened by the people and places I missed, either knowingly or unknowingly. I skipped parties, occasions, trips, coffee dates, and numerous other events big and small because I just wasn’t physically or emotionally up for it. I’ve spent so many hours in bed or on my couch that I sometimes joke that I should’ve created my own line of lounge wear by now. At the very least, I should’ve bought stock in Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.

I also know that some of these feelings can be part of the territory that comes with turning 40. I am certainly not immune to the baggage that can come with turning that corner, while looking behind you. But, obviously, I have to factor in my other extenuating circumstances as well.

Spring 2012: I was under a lot of stress and working really long hours. So, I just assumed that not feeling well more frequently was due to those two things.

April 30, 2012: I finished up my big work project the week before, and was headed into the office on Monday morning. Shortly after I arrived, I realized just how bad I felt—and it was bad. Like being hit by a tsunami and a 18-wheeler at the same time. I turned around and went home immediately. That entire week I thought I had the flu. I had a lot of the signs, and was more exhausted than I knew was possible. After it didn’t get any better, I went to the doctor. Turns out I had mono, a really bad case. Adults aren’t supposed to get mono, especially a 35-year-old.  I still don’t know how it happened, but sadly, it wasn’t the fun way. 😉

What I knew about mono is that it felt a lot like the flu, except for making you a lot more tired, and that it lasted for several months. So, because I’m an adult with a job and bills, I chose to work from home in May, and a good bit throughout the summer. I was just waiting for this thing to pass. Meanwhile, my symptoms improved only slightly. I still had extreme tiredness, aches, fever, and more—every day.

I just keep my routine as best I could. And I didn’t really feel like I had any options. (I only found out last fall that I could’ve applied for FMLA.)

September 12, 2012: I had a work trip to Tampa for an event with a bunch of my co-workers. It was just an overnight trip, so again, I thought I’d just tough it out. That night I began to feel pretty, well, horrible. In fact, I had to miss most of the next day due to just how bad I felt. I worked a little bit at the event the latter half of the day, and then we got back on the plane. One of my co-worker even remarked that I looked a little “green” to her. That weekend, no improvement. At this point, I knew something was wrong other than the mono, but it was the weekend and I couldn’t see my doctor. But, you know me, I waited it out.

Understand that, up until this point in my life, I’ve never really had anything wrong with me—not even a cavity. Maybe the occasional cold. So this was all uncharted territory. Monday morning I called my doctor, only to find out she was on vacation. Then I thought that maybe I should go to the ER. But again, I had no idea what it felt like to make that decision. I’d never been to the ER! However, I thought at this point I should go see exactly what’s wrong. So, I got up, grabbed my keys, and headed for the door—until I realized that I didn’t even know where an ER was. Yep, no reference. So, I Googled one nearby, and went there immediately.

I was actually pretty certain now that it was a kidney infection since I’d had those once or twice before. My back and side had really started hurting. That, on top of the mono, seemed like a bad recipe. An hour or so later they started running tests. Yes, it was a kidney infection—oh, and my gallbladder needed to come out immediately. WHAT?!?!?!

I was checked in and put on some sort of “standby” list for the operating room. They wouldn’t even let me leave to go pack a bag. Sadly, I had to wait a few days for the gallbladder surgery, but it eventually came out. I actually lost about 10 pounds that week! Not the diet I recommend, but it is extremely effective. So, my first case of mono, my first trip to the ER, and now my first surgery. That’s when I concluded that 2012 was trying to kill me.

November 16, 2012: I’d seen my naturopath, Nelli, about a year and a half before. She actually helped me with a gluten intolerance. I was gluten-free for over a year before I started seeing her, and haven’t had any problems with it since. So, now post-surgery, I wasn’t feeling a whole lot better. In fact, I was pretty much a walking zombie. I knew it was time to call her up again. She could see immediately from looking at me how bad things were. Actually, even not being an expert, you probably could have too. I kept thinking about the quote from Bilbo Baggins, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

The mono was still really bad, and now my body was coping with losing an organ, even a damaged one. And I was getting sick all the time from every little bug that floated by.

So, I began regular biofeedback treatments with her, accompanied by supplements. To be completely honest, I think she and biofeedback saved me. Biofeedback is utterly amazing. I’m such an advocate for it. The healing progress was incredibly slow, but it wasn’t getting worse, and I believe it totally could have. I have read horror stories about people becoming bedridden over similar conditions.

My primary doctor was also supportive of the process because she knew that there was no magic pill for me. There is actually no pill at all. So she encouraged me to do whatever I could that might help—and she knew it wasn’t going to be her. (Side note: Emory is now starting to look into biofeedback. My doctor is a part of the Emory system.)

I also learned about adrenal fatigue at this time. It was actually the “egg” to my mono “chicken.” Adrenal fatigue isn’t recognized in traditional medicine. But I am a big fan of natural medicine, and with some of the things I’ve dealt with, alternative medicine was the only thing that could explain, and treat, them. Anyway, I learned that severe adrenal fatigue had already set in early in the year from the stress and long work hours, so that’s what opened the door for mono. And it’s the reason that I still felt as bad as I did months later.

Everything in my life had changed at this point. I rarely left the house unless I had to, because I was so tired all the time, and also usually felt bad. I went into work late, left early, took a nap, and continued working as much as I could. I was like a toddler who couldn’t make it through a day without a nap at this point—sometimes two per day.

September 2013: After seeing Nelli for almost a year, I was still seeing only incremental progress. That wasn’t due to her expertise, it was due to what my body was dealing with and other life conditions. However, naively, I just kept thinking I had to push through and time would heal the wounds.

It was this month that I developed a thyroid problem. Yay—now, I’m a triple threat! I gained about 50 pounds in a little over four months. Again, my body was revolting against me. And I could feel the additional strain. I was still taking daily naps, and though, not feeling like as much of a zombie now, still dealing with how badly I felt on a daily basis. I was also still getting every virus, cold, and infection that came along. And, of course, with the weight gain, my self-esteem took a big hit. In researching mono, as I have done all these years, one of the bad “side effects” is that it can lead to depression (something I already struggled with) because you just feel so useless and unable to live a regular life. But again, I did what I always do, and just plugged along.

(Side note: I never took thyroid meds for two reasons. First, I absolutely refuse to take a pill for the rest of my life. Second, the meds would stimulate my adrenals, making them work even harder, thereby potentially causing even more harm than good.)

I also had some conversations with co-workers around this time who knew of people with, not exactly similar, but not completely dissimilar conditions to me. And, sadly, I learned from them that with the hits my immune system had taken in those long months during 2012, it could take me years to rebuild it. I was devastated by this news, but it also made sense. I had obliterated my immune system in three, huge stages, and now, despite the time that had already passed, I was still looking at a very long road ahead.

January 27, 2015: Nelli moved to a new clinic now, which was a good move for her because she’d been practicing solo the last few years. So, now she’d be working with a team of holistic practitioners. In my first few visits with them, they told me the same thing Nelli had been telling me. They were all shocked that I’d been able to carry on as much of a normal life as I had until this point with how sick I was. In fact, they were surprised I was still able to work full-time. I don’t believe that’s any real kudos to me, but a nod to how remarkable and adaptable the human body can be.

I also started using an essential oil brand, doTerra, at this time. I loved the ability to live even more naturally. I’m a big fan, and use them daily for all kinds of things.

Over the next two years, I saw my team of naturopaths frequently. (Yes, it is extremely expensive because it’s not covered by insurance. My health is the reason I’m still in debt, but it’s also the thing I can’t afford to lose.) We slowed the biofeedback down in favor of some of their other techniques, to see if we could get different (better) results.

I was still napping almost daily, sometimes just for 15 minutes, and sometimes for up to two hours depending on how strenuous my week had been. I love traveling so much, but it was/is very hard on my system. So, effort like that or a really busy work week would take a lot out of me, and it could take me a week or more to return to my new “normal.” Everything was a battle between me and my immune system, because we certainly didn’t seem to be working in tandem.

In seeing them, Nelli, and my primary care doc, one consistency kept coming up in every conversation. My job circumstances had to change. I had a fairly demanding job, as is the nature of marketing and sales. And I wasn’t the same person who’d started that job only seven months prior to acquiring mono. My capacity had changed drastically and I was fighting to keep my head above water, despite the fact that the events I was responsible for marketing were all doing great and growing. But it was taking a bigger, personal toll. And, you know the effort that it takes you to get ready for the day when you have something like the flu? I felt that every single morning. I woke up every day like I hadn’t slept. Between the severe adrenal fatigue, mono (my levels were still insanely high), and the thyroid issues, my body was so worn out, and worn down.

December 7, 2015: It was on this morning, over breakfast with my mentor, that I decided to leave my job. (I chronicled a bit of that, and the impact of planning a personal retreat, in this guest post for the Yellow Conference.) I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired, and my job was one thing I had control over. And that’s when I started making big plans to launch my own business. If you’re still hanging with me, some of you may be thinking that there is still a ton of work and stress involved in starting your own business.

While that’s true, I also have the ability to tailor it to my own needs. I don’t have to get dressed and go into an office. I can work during the hours I feel best. And I can take off on the days/hours I feel really bad. And I desperately needed those things.

May 25, 2016: This was my last day as a full-time employee. I even took off during the month of June to rest. I had never taken that much time off before, and hadn’t even had an unplugged vacation in over six years! Yes, it has definitely had it’s challenges, but I wouldn’t trade them. I’ve seen the greatest leaps in my health, for the better, since making this change.

Up until this date, I’d only gone two stretches of seven days without having to take a nap. Two weeks out of four years! I’d get maybe up to three or even four days at a time now and again, but really infrequently. Most every day required a nap, and yes, some of them still required two. Unless you have dealt with something similar, you cannot begin to imagine the toll this kind of sickness and tiredness can take on your life.

May 13, 2017: I now rarely need naps, at least by my previous standard. But I still haven’t had a single day where I felt normal. I wake up every morning feeling the symptoms of my sickness.

I’m also still a virus magnet since the mono is remains at abnormal levels, but it’s much better than it used to be. I’ve had mostly minor, but a few major cases, of the flu every other month for the past 16 months. Luckily, I am able to treat it solely with essential oils, and sometimes over the counter meds.

Being able to work from home, and set my own guidelines has allowed me to get more rest (a key to my three ailments), sleep longer at night (when those three said ailments aren’t cause insomnia, as they do), and exert less effort each day by not having to get dressed and made up. There’s still a lot of stress, and a whole lot of work, but the tradeoff for my health improvements has been totally worth it. And I love working with a variety of amazing clients who are improving the world.

I’m still friends with a lot of my co-workers, and my old job still hires me for contract work now and again. I love the work they do. I absolutely support the work they do. But I needed the change.

What now?

After leaving a full-time job (hear: full-time salary with benefits), I had to slow working with my naturopaths due to the cost. I still take supplements daily, but less of them. And I only see Nelli and the naturopaths every couple of months. However, due to the other big changes, it seems to be ok for now.

Another change I made last December that I know has made a positive impact is that I started taking doTerra‘s Life Long Vitality Pack daily. I also internally take a few additional immunity boosting oils, including Melissa, every morning. These, coupled with the other supplements, have made a difference.

As I mentioned in the beginning (and thanks for hanging with me), I am not out of the woods yet. I still wake up with the weight of this three issues every day. I feel them throughout the day. I fight their urges. But I do know how far I’ve come over the past five years. With the distance I still have to go, it is unimaginable to think of how bad things might be if I hadn’t walked into Nelli’s office, and started using natural treatments. There are still no real answers in traditional medicine, and I could’ve very well ended up one of those bedridden individuals otherwise. I thank God for Nelli!

You can see that the progress has largely been slow and incremental. It’s like mono, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid issues are all a Catch 22 for each other. And the learning curve never ends.

I hope that I write another post before too long about my first symptom-free day. I hope shortly after that I write a post about complete healing. I don’t know how long either of those things will take, but they are much closer than they used to be. And I cling to that hope.

I don’t have a lot of answers. I still have a lot of questions. One thing I can tell you is that, if you’re dealing with chronic health issues, you’re not alone. And that both saddens and comforts me, as I’m sure it does you. I have a friend who dealt with mono and a few other things for 15 years before she found healing. But, she has.

It’s not the most fun club to be a part of, but it is a reminder how connected we all are. If chronic illness doesn’t effect you personally, you probably know someone who struggles. Show them kindness, grace, and love. Be someone who improves their lives.

But if you are suffering from a chronic illness or long-term health issue, and you care to leave a comment about your situation, I will be more than happy to say a prayer for your healing as well. I hear you. I empathize with you. I am one of you.


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A Look Back at 2012

Now that I have put up my Christmas decorations, I feel I can adequately reflect on 2012.

My word for 2012 was PRIORITIZE. I posted it prominently on my bathroom mirror so that I saw it a couple of times each day. I think I got off to a fairly good start, too. I thought about it frequently, and tried to live by it.

And then, mono happened.

And it kept happening. In fact, it happened for six months. During that time, I definitely fell way behind on my prioritizing. A couple of things I managed to pull along with me slowly, but overall, I just couldn’t keep up. Existing was all I could do on some days—my biggest accomplishment was getting out of bed and moving to the couch. Other days were better. Slowly but surely I was able to put more time in at work and have dinner with people again and generally leave the house for a few hours at time. Then, about five months into the mono, I had to go to the ER with what I thought was just a really bad kidney infection. Yes, it was, but it was also an inflamed gall bladder full of gallstones. What followed were three days of hospital stay and the removal of this funny little organ I knew almost nothing about. Then it was more days of rest and recovery. I feel like I lived mostly on my couch this year. I joked that I should’ve designed my own line of lounge wear because that’s about all I wore in 2012.

But prioritizing never left my thoughts. I tried to catch back up on it in pieces, but mostly 2012 was about prioritizing my health. I was sick and/or recovering for about eight months during 2012. I’m not fully over everything yet. Didn’t see that one coming, as I’ve typically been someone without a lot of health issues. Maybe it was a curse to open that FSA account last January? My lasik surgery went out the window—fingers crossed for this year, though.

Fortunately, I was also able to prioritize working with the local chapter of Not For Sale. That was about the only other thing I was able to squeeze in, but it was a great experience and I’m so thankful to have done some real work as an abolitionist. I look forward to seeing where that takes me in the future. It’s a wonderful organization that’s done amazing things, and it’s nice to be a part of it.

While the health issues were definitely the focal point for this year, I continue to wonder if perhaps that was God’s way of slowing me down. I’ve never been great at that. I’m usually go, go, go. And I’m sure I’ll continue to learn lessons from that experience as I reflect more and begin to enjoy my health again. (I hope, for both aspects.)

Luckily, I was still able to fit in trips to NYC, North Georgia and California while having mono and the latter two post surgery. I would’ve been really sad if I didn’t travel, so those were definite highlights. The relapses afterward were well worth it!

I continue to discover that life is a little like a game of Mexican Train, one of my family’s favorites. You can plan and strategize and get all your ducks in a row, but things will always go awry. Life happens. People around you make unpredictable moves. You have a bad draw. Realistically, I have no control. I just have to do my best with what I have. Did I do that in 2012? I think I did ok, given the circumstances. I can always do better. Unfortunately, most everything was ruled and determined by how tired I was or how I felt. I hated that, especially when I was full conscious of it, but I couldn’t do much else. I just couldn’t think outside of it. As I’m getting more healthy and turning my immune system around, though, I am slowly making changes.

I began preparing for 2013 probably about a month ago, maybe more. I am really trying to look at what I can do with what I have. Right now, what I have is someone who is still on the road to recovery—but that’s something I can work with. There are definitely things I can do now to be better in numerous ways, and I will. I am making flexible plans. Toward the end of 2012, I started prioritizing 2013. It’s here, and I feel I am ready. After all, it begins mostly in the mind. I haven’t lost that yet. 😉

So what will my word for 2013 be? Stay tuned!