Invisible pain

Tonight for some reason the invisible pain is on my mind. I have been suffering so bad (as I am sure you have too) and it is sometimes so frustrating that people don’t see that pain.  Tonight, I felt that pain so bad as I was getting ready to present my internship experience. It was hard enough going after two people who practically said everything you want to say, but then to try and pull my brain together to make some sort of sense.  The whole time I’m telling myself is a small voice..just keep focused, think, think, and think.

Pain is isolating, pain is emotionally draining, and pain takes some instances of your life away. I say that because there are many times I feel so isolated with my pain. I say that because it feels as if no one understand it, and while i know that is totally not true…sometimes I cannot get my mind around that concept.  I would not know what to do if I was to wake up with no PAIN! I honestly think I would die and go to heaven! Seriously, no pain would be so awesome.

Despite the pain feeling so isolating, I will say in those moments I have to cry (and I do/did) because I have realized I have to let myself hurt. If I hold all my hurt inside, I end up feeling even more pain. Pain is part of my life that won’t change, but I have to find a way to be positive no matter how much pain I am in.

Good news, classes are almost over! 🙂 Positive thinking right! 🙂

 

Home Sweet Home

It is sooo nice to be home!! This weekend I left Friday morning to drive up to my school’s main campus. There I sat in a statistics class for 6 hours. It was soo fun, and I learned a lot.  We were talking about Canonical Correlation Analysis, a very cool way to break apart concepts but oh so hard to write up!! And I got to work on my paper! I made some major APA edits, and now  I think it is getting better. I will have to have that turned in by Thursday (my goal is by Tuesday). I want to walk away from class on Wednesday and be 100% done with the semester.

Tomorrow night starting at 5:00p.m., I will have my final internship class! We will also share what we did this semester, I will have a power point presentation. I hope it goes well, I practiced it tonight and I think it will be good. But do say a prayer! I can always use all the prayers and encouragement I can get. It is especially hard to present when I’m tired and in tons of pain. I did a presentation on Saturday, I used 8 of the 10 maximum minutes. I think it went well but I did see some things I want to work on when I present the presentation on Wednesday. I am explaining a new concept that my class will not understand so I need to be clear and report what I have done in a clear (yet professional) manner.

Wednesday will feel so good! To be DONE with another semester!! WOOOHO!! 🙂 I cannot cannot wait! 🙂

Then on Friday, I am at the airport bright and early! Gosh I think the shuttle is coming to get me at like 6:05 in the morning!! 😦 BUT that will hopefully get me to the airport in time to check in, clear security and get to my gate. And then a few day of girls weekend! I am looking forward to it. The days of vacation from class will be extremely busy, I have a lot going on but I am going to make sure I get some time of rest!  I don’t want to burn out!

But on my to do list is so more RESEARCH (woohoo) into my RG study, more research for my CA study, and working on a conference proposal for SERA. 🙂 Yup I know that is lot but the good thing is that I am working my way through it and if I do a little bit each night I will get it all done.

In the Fall, I am set to take Higher Ed Finance (OMG!!) and then Curriculum. I am honestly not sure what I think about these two classes. I am not sure if I would say these will be tough or fun/tough. I am hoping the later! BUT regardless taking these two classes means I am 4 classes away from being DONE with my coursework!! 🙂

I know I am jumping up and down! These past few years, completing an MA and a doctorate with RALF….it has been rough. MANY many nights of extreme pain, little sleep, and major stiffness of my joints. Although I think all the typing is helping my fingers stay working, I cannot tell you how many times my knuckles and finger joints have gotten so swollen it hurts to close my hands (I”m sure you know the feeling). My hips are so bad, honestly from the waist down it feels like every joint (hips, knees, ankles, and toes) are just RA taken. BUT you know what I have made it this far, and my goal is to finish strong!

And now is the time of my education where I can spend some time thinking about what I want to do next (SCHOOL WILL BE OVER!!). That is a cool idea, I have for so many years (10 years now) thought, ok well when is the next degree and how am I going to do that, but now it is not “when will the next degree start” it is “let me work on getting the job I have always wanted.”

So yes lots going on BUT I can do it! 🙂

Thank you all for your encouragement, stay tuned for an AWESOME week 🙂

#spoonies, #wecandothis, #rheumatoidarthritiscannotkeepmedown, #iamawarrior, #nevergiveup, #futuredoctor, #iloveschool

 

Good News

I also have some GREAT news to share with you all! As you know Molly, our 3.5 year old Jack Russell Terrier was killed in tragic accident over the Memorial Day holiday.  We have given up getting any reimbursement from the Vet’s office, they are throwing as many road blocks as possible to not take responsibility for what they did to our dog.  We are still trying to process how we could leave our precious doggy daughter, healthy and full of life, with our vet and we got back a box with her remains. Their negligence in our opinion was unacceptable.  Other than leaving reviews stating our experiences, we are not sure what else to do but we are determined to move on and find joy in our doggy daughters.

This brings me to the good news, a short time ago we were made aware of an adorable French Bulldog mix that was in need of a home. She was originally found pregnant in a shelter and almost put down. She was rescued by a no-kill organization who were determined to find her and her puppies a home. When we came into the picture she still had three puppies left, they were sooo precious.  Leia had obviously had some rough patches in her life, her two major front teeth are almost worn down to the gums.  Our new vet said it is as if she had to chew rocks :(. She also has a bb ball in her side, she was likely shot at some point in her three years of life. We brought her to our home, we just couldn’t keep looking at an empty doggie bed, or know there were unused doggie toys in our closet.

Through her probationary period we were determined to find good in having her in our home. She is completely opposite Molly’s personality which I think is a good thing. We found as family, the kitty girls included, that we all could become a family. Precious has developed a relationship with Leia, they can sit next to each other and sleep next to each other. Pepper is working on a love/hate relationship, Pepper prefers to play with Leia when Leia wants to sleep.  Overall, all three girls get along well.

Leia does have major separation anxiety, so we are working through those issues. I’m putting my counseling skills to use 🙂 We also have Leia being socialized with other dogs as she goes to doggie day care. We investigated a few places in our area and found one that we liked the people, the facility, and what they offered. It was so hard for us to leave her on her first day of doggie daycare, I think I called almost every hour. But we have realized, we have to get up and look to good. We cannot be boxed in because of a horrible tragedy. We can raise awareness of it, and warn others from the location but we hope that this place will only bring positive news for us. Leia is making friends and loving being socialized, it is helping us right now with her major separation anxiety (she is not alone while we work all day), and we know someone is watching her that we believe we can trust.

We definitely found ourselves doing more this time than we did that day with Molly. We meet with people, we inspected the room she would stay in (it is thankfully not a crate, she gets her own room with a glass door), and we inspected every side of the fence in the back yard.  We did not take for granted that she would be safe, and we find ourselves checking things even when we park.

I know it probably sounds so funny..doggie day care! Never thought I would ever have the experience of this but for now it is helping Leia and us! We are learning to work through our fears and Leia is learning to be a better socialized dog. If you have suggestions to help with her separation anxiety, send those in. I’m not sure if that is due to her French Bulldog breed? I have never had one so I’m not sure.

But that is our great news update! We do ask you pray for us all, as she is still adjusting, the girls are adjusting to a new sister, and as we  daily drop her off.  Pray our fears ease, that we can learn to trust someone else with our doggie daughter. We have decided though if we do in-state (car) travel she will be coming with us. The Marriott chain allows pets in the rooms, that is our new  travel policy. Only when we are both out-of-state will she need to be boarded or if we can find a pet sitter we will do that do. Our preference will be to take her with us as often as possible. Any one ever travel with your pets (like to another city/state)? Any suggestions?  Trust me if I can fly her I probably will! 😛

 

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Ahhh almost!!!

The semester has flown by so quickly…the countdown is on….less than seven days and the semester will be OVER! WOOHOO!! Starting tomorrow I will leave in the early morning for the main campus. I have class all afternoon (literally) on canonical correlation analysis! I’m excited!! And then Saturday morning, I will have class again and I should also have the opportunity to present on my research findings from this semester! I always get so nervous before hand! Pray for me to have peace and to be able to articulate my results in a professional and well-spoken manner. I am getting better at presenting, but I always could use some work.

Then I come home on Saturday..sometimes and prepare for a presentation on Monday night. This presentation will be a little less formal but still I will have about 15 minutes to talk about what I learned through my internship. There is so much to share, I’m not sure how I will get it all done! But I will try! Again pray for peace, professionality, and that I am able to clearly present what I have learned.

Speed up to Wednesday, my major paper (currently almost 30 pages) is DUE!! OMG!! And then Wednesday night I will again present my results. Wednesday will hopefully be easier because it will be a follow up presentation to what I am doing either tomorrow or Saturday. But still this is for a grade and I want to do well!

I am as always concerned because….travel/stress/finals week are always sooooo stressful and that tends to flare my RA and Fibro really bad. It is SOOOO hard to present when you are hurting and much harder to think clearly and present well when you have fibro fog.

I had this goal to be done with everything, packed and ready to go for the morning….hahhaha yah that didn’t happen! Oh well!! 😛 I tend to function best about this hour..mornings are incredibly rough 😦

After classes are done I am prepping for a short girl vacation!! I will definitely be sharing pictures of where I am headed. I cannot wait! I am praying there is good weather and great company. Then when I’m back from vacation work will kick up because we are going to be in AUGUST (where did the year go!!!).

While on break I have some major research goals to accomplish, the work never ends but hey that is the way to get done QUICKLY! And I”m all for that, I don’t want to pay for any more tuition than I have to! 🙂 So sometime after Wednesday, I will work out a plan for organizing stuff for my research while on “break.” Don’t worry I will take a few days off to let myself recoup! I love that part of the between semesters!

Once fall starts in August, I will be taking Finance (UGH!!) and Higher Education Curriculum, both will be tough for me I think. One I can forese as being a lot of reading/writing/researching (gosh you have to to see where HIED has come from!) and the other..finance is not my forte…I will need to do a lot of behind the scenes work! But at least I also know these two classes get me closer to the end goal! I will have Higher Education Law and Program Eval in the Spring,  take my comprehensive exams in May, and take my FINAL two classes June – July! Essentially this time next year I will be ABD…I will have completed 11 years of taking classes!!! OMG!! And then one more year to finish my dissertation, my goal is to propose in Sept./Oct. and do my final defense no later than Feb.  So YES lots of work but that is alright I am excited, I just have to keep focused, and balanced!!

Your encouragement is always soooo appreciated! Stay tuned for the next several weeks of fun! 🙂

 

Watching

Do you ever stop and just listen?? I used to be a person (this was when I was WAY younger) who loved to talk and be the center of attention (sad I know)!  It was not until college that I realized the VALUE of sometimes just sitting around and listening! My goodness you learn so much about people, about yourself, and about the world. When was the last time you went for a drink, say Starbucks, and then just sat down in the shop, closed your eyes, and let yourself just sit their quietly.  You hear the rustling of paper, the shuffling of people, the conversations that start when people open the door and end when they leave with their drink in hand. I have done this before both here in the United States as well in foreign countries that I have been in including India (that was so cool), Africa (aww I miss it) and Central Europe.  I love hearing the many different languages, watching the different interactions with people, and sometimes just being a little fly on the wall that people might not notice or remember is there.

That peacefulness that comes with silence sometimes is so refreshing.  I am a person who loves to always have something going on in the background.  From noise coming from Netflix, I say noise because often I will have something running that I am not even watching, to something on the radio. I have always hated the silence when I am home or somewhere, silence for me seems so sad and lonely.  But here recently, like tonight, I turn off Netflix or the radio and I just listen.  I listen to the typing on the computer, I listen to the meow of my cats, to the creaking of the house, to the fan in my office, or to the sounds from the street as my office faces the road by my house.  Our ears are so good at picking up so many things, I wonder how many cool things I have missed because of noise?

The same goes for life, sometimes we let our life get so full of “noise” that we forget who we are….or what we want from our life. I wrote today in my final Internship journal how we have to have a goal and a focused plan for life and things within our life.  From a project at the office, to redecorating the house, or even just planning what/where to go on vacation.  We can go through life with just a plan….but with out a goal what are we shooting for? Or we can go through life with a goal but with out a plan how are we going to get there? We need both combined to get through to the end goal and to fulfill our dreams. All to often, myself included I spend time “figuring out what I want to do” and little time just setting a plan and going for it.

But you know that takes us to another question that many have asked, how do we make plans and set goals with RALF (i.e., Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia) and many other invisible diseases. We are on horrible (sometimes it is the side effects that make the meds horrible) meds, we feel like we have been run over and thrown over a bridge, and we are so exhausted after opening our eyes in the morning…how in the WORLD are we going to make a goal or pursue our dreams??? I have found myself asking this very question. I have found myself wondering …how am I going to do this degree….how am I going to work a job to pay back my students loans (ewww but alas must be done), and how am going to stay active in the  things that I love to do in life????

These questions and more are so tough…because I know me…I want hard answers. I don’t want to hear maybe, I don’t want to hear “well you probably can”, and I don’t want to hear “well if you try hard enough it will happen.” It is so hard to bring comfort to people struggling with the many diseases that we don’t understand (they are MANY MANY diseases that fit this criteria).  It is even worse when we are young (sometimes infants) or young adults. And what if we are in our forties and have been enjoying a great life and then SMACK life changes? There is NO GOOD AGE to get sick and NO PERFECT TIME.

These are some major tough questions to work through, and I just want you to know that first of all is it TOTALLY ok to think these things and more. It is alright to honestly, brutally, painfully, and emotionally discuss/talk these things through with yourself and with those closest to you. Because you know we have our own normal, our lives are different, our paths are full of pain, medicine ,side effects, and doctors visits. We cannot change some of those things, the only thing we can change is our perception and believe that if we have dreams/goals…we can still find some way to do it.

Granted sometimes we have dreams and goals that we have to let go, I have dreamed of hiking major mountains. I know that probably won’t happen and that truly sucks. I let myself grieve (You have to grieve your loss) that I will not be able to do everything physically that I want to do. But I am going to let myself find new things or do smaller versions of my dreams. Answers to problems/questions are there…we just have to find them.

Be encouraged tonight, you are greater than your pain! At least that is what I am telling myself tonight 🙂

 

 

 

A Monday!!

You know you hear that Monday’ are typically crazy days! Today was one of those days! My brother-in-law was taken the hospital. You know there is a certain smell and sound in a hospital.  It is weird, at least to me, but we waited there today and just a short time ago he finally got into a room. It reminds me of the hospitals where I grew up.  You know people would walk for hours to get medical care, something people here don’t have to do (thankfully!).  In this country we have ambulances and treatment readily available (in many cases).  Thank God right! We are so blessed.

I sit back sometimes and think about where I started and now where I am.  Do you ever have those moments when you think back to all that you have seen and done in life.  I guess those pensive moments come every now and then. I had a long conversation with my boss about the future. It seems odd now saying that “this time next year.” It is scary that this time next year I will be completely my VERY LAST CLASS. Can you imagine…11 years of education will come to a a close. Then I will just have dissertation to complete, and hopefully done on time in 2015. It blows my mind. I think back to when I was in college, so young and immature. I dreamed of being a doctoral student…now I am one. Wow!  Sad that it is coming to an end….well it is sad but good too!!!

This week I am driving up to the main campus to spend a few days. I am going to learn on AWESOME statistical technique and I get to present on my research! Scary!!! 😦 I am nervous but excited, I have found some pretty awesome things but that means I have a lot of work to do too! Then next week is my final class week! I have a presentation on Monday night and then again on Wednesday night. Then Friday I am headed for vacation!! WOOHOOO!! I will post pictures 😀

Have a great night! Keep fighting, don’t get down! Know that you are stronger than your pain! You got this! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have got keep going

That is what I keep telling myself tonight, I have had a monster flare for the past two weeks. I am so drained from the pain, it seems like NOTHING I do helps. I cannot get comfortable, I am miserable sitting or sleeping. Sooo frustrating!!! And I think what it even more stressful is I have major homework assignments due each week!

The good news is school is over in just a few weeks!! YAY!! ! I am counting down that is for sure, and then off to Charleston! 🙂 I am soo excited for vacation, it will be nice to relax and enjoy some me time!!

 

Thank you everyone for messaging! The pain will pass, soon I hope 🙂