Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Guys, I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT!!!!!!!!

Before I get to the REAL reason for this post, let me just say that I almost deleted that last post. Almost...

I thought deleting the post would be a good idea until I realized it has a purpose. 

That brutally honest post should stay on my blog forever so that I can be reminded of my story and how far I have come over the years❤︎

I run away from my story sometimes. It's hard for me to accept what has taken place over the last fifteen+ years. It's hard for me to understand why certain things have happened and keep happening regarding my health, and it's even harder for me to accept the fact that none of it can be undone or rewritten. My whole journey is just too hard to comprehend at times, but when I wrote that last post, I ran toward my story instead of AWAY from it. 

And guess what? It felt frighteningly marvelous. Writing that post was almost like the written equivalent of jumping off of a diving board into the deep end of a pool: completely scary at first, and then totally satisfying in the end. I have actually never been a huge fan of jumping off diving boards, but after writing that post, I think I know what it feels like now. ;) 

I'll be first in line to jump off of the diving board next summer.❤︎ Not into a Word document, but into an actual pool. :) 

I should probably also mention the real reason for this post, which is the fact that I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. I freaking did it!!!!! After seven long years of hard work, relentless dedication, countless speed bumps, a stubborn refusal to quit, and an unwillingness to let my body win...

 I finally reached the finish line on December 18, 2016, at exactly 8:36 pm. 

I hit the "submit" button and then I immediately broke out in tears. I was flooded with a sense of relief. It was the most magical sensation in the world. Reaching the finish line hit me harder than I ever anticipated. I was so emotional. Actually, the whole process of completing my senior project (AKA having to re-do the entire thing over the course of the last TWO days of my college career) affected me physically as well: it sent me into a horrific flare. 

My pain levels were THROUGH THE ROOF. 

However, submitting my final project essentially put out the raging fire in my body that was triggered by the stress of it all at the end. It was like flipping a switch. I submitted my project and then BAM: my body suddenly stopped putting up a fight. Hall-le-freaking-lujah.   

{Who knew that stress could have such a powerful impact on our symptoms, eh?? It's a good thing for us to keep in mind when our stress levels rise to unhealthy levels!}

The reason I am sharing this ENORMOUS piece of news with you now instead of sharing it with you on the evening of December 18th is quite simple: I was literally left without words or the strength to come up with any after I submitted my project!!❤︎ Seriously!

I was too overwhelmed with joy, relief, shock, disbelief, blissfulness, denial, euphoria, peacefulness, contentment, and numbness to come up with the right words for such a monumental announcement. 

Now that I have had a chance to wrap my mind around this mind-blowing event, I do not feel so tongue-tied anymore. :)  

In actuality, I feel inspired and ready to embrace this new MAGICAL phase of my life! 

I'm ready to make the transition from student to college graduate.  

I'm ready to shift my focus from homework back to my health, blog, and fight against Chronic Lyme.❤︎ 

I'm ready to show myself that I can continue to do WHATEVER I put my mind to, no matter what my body has to say about it. 

I'm ready to accept the fact that I earned my Bachelor's Degree and I beat Chronic Lyme at its own game, despite all of my body's vicious attempts to hold me back.

I see that being a Lyme warrior does not mean that you cannot graduate from college Magna Cum Laude. 

I see that I can BEAT LYME now, if I refuse to give up on my dreams; I don't need any more proof. 

Basically, now that I have my Bachelor's Degree under my belt, I am ready. ❤︎

I'm ready to reconnect with myself and my hobbies, such as reading, coloring, baking/cooking, spending time with loved ones, watching movies, swimming, skimming through nature books, practicing yoga, and countless others.

I'm ready to take what I learned in college and apply it to a job

I'm excited to see what will happen NEXT.  

In the meantime, I am cherishing this "limbo". I'm enjoying the absence of any and all deadlines. I'm loving the fact that I can be fully engaged in any fun activity with Hon, family, or friends because school is not on my mind anymore. I'm appreciating the chance I now have to refocus on my fight against Lyme. I'm embracing this part of my story, even if it's completely uncharted territory for me. :)❤︎ 

This is what I have worked toward since I began my college career back in 2009. This is something I thought I would never be able to achieve because of Chronic Lyme. This is what I have dreamt of since I was young. This is it!!! This is the moment I have been waiting for, and I am sure as heck not going to let it pass me by without... 

FULLY EMBRACING every sweet second of it. 

Before I go, however, I would like to thank you all for helping me reach this sparkly finish line. I would not have graduated from college without you, so, thank you from the bottom of my heart❤︎

You made one of my most PRECIOUS dreams come true and I will always be grateful for your support.

Love and healing vibes
Allie 
XOXOX

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Caged Animal: Part 1

For this post, I’m going to do something that is completely out of character for me. I’m going to tell you how I REALLY feel instead of how I want to feel. It’s never easy for me to disclose what’s really going on with my health; I’d much rather paint a pretty picture and leave it at that. I don’t want to be judged for having bad days. I’m supposed to be a superhero, and superheroes don’t have bad days, do they? But, I want to be honest this time. I don’t want to hide behind another pretty picture. I don’t want to be a superhero if it means I can’t be honest.

A caged animal. That’s literally what you begin to feel like when you have to live your life within such tight boundaries. I mean, I guess it’s OK in the beginning, when you’re still oblivious.
I was tested for food allergies way back in elementary school. After the test results confirmed an allergy to dairy, I immediately stopped eating dairy. I remember having sushi for lunch sometimes and all the other kids were like, “EEEEWWWW. What IS that????” Yeah, I was that weird kid who ate something unusual for lunch. BIG DEAL!!!! It bothered me a bit, but I didn’t have the capacity to consider having to be that “weird kid” all the way into adulthoodDespite our efforts, eliminating dairy from my diet wasn’t enough. It didn’t stop me from throwing up ALL of the time. In restaurants, out in the parking lots of restaurants, in public bathrooms, malls, shopping centers, in our friends’ cars, friends’ houses, family outings, anywhere in our house all night long…EVERYWHERE. Of course, this was in addition to chronic pink eye, chronic strep throat, endless trips to the school nurse, bizarre rashes, chronic stomach aches, the mumps, tons of absences, cyclic vomiting… The whole nine yards. There were even times when my family and I would get into our car to go out and once we reached the intersection at the end of our neighborhood, I would tell my mom to turn around because I was going to be sick. BUT, I was too young to see the big picture. My world was still so tiny. I only saw what was two feet in front of me. Then came middle school. More broken bones. More chronic stomach aches. A wicked case of pneumonia. A cough so serious that I was forced to get help from a speech therapist. I needed someone to help me stop coughing because the principal was angry about my disruptive coughing. Double ear infection. Sprained ankle. RSD diagnosis. Tick bite (that would not be acknowledged or addressed for another 10 years). Pain. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of pain. Humiliation. Misunderstandings. Frustration. Sadness. Anxiety. Confusion. Disbelief. Dropping out of the eighth grade due to the unbearable amount of pain I was in, plus the fact that it was hard for me to even walk. Homeschooling. No friends. Moving to Philly. A month spent at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in an inhumanely rigorous and intense physical therapy program (in an effort to squash my relentless RSD that was spreading throughout my body like wildfire). I remember my very first day. I was answering basic questions from some gentleman, and I remember telling him that I was so excited/happy to be there because it meant I could get better. The guy gave me a strange look and said, “It MUST be your first day.” I thought, why would he say that? What’s so wrong with me feeling happy about being here…? There were times during the program that I wanted to die. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t stand being alive. RSD is pain, so basically I worked out whilst in excruciating pain. I would tell my PT I was having my period so that I could get off the treadmill, but what I really did was run to the bathroom and call my mom. I lied on the floor of the bathroom and called her, telling her to get me the hell out of the program. And my PT would come to the bathroom, pull me out, and put me back on the treadmill. When I would come home in the evenings to our little row house in downtown Philly, my mom would have to basically carry me up the stairs because I was in too much pain to put one foot in front of the other. Every day was filled with EIGHT long, never-ending hours of hardcore, hellish, militant-like physical and occupational therapy. Every night ended in tears. Every morning began with tears and dread. Kids at my middle school thought I was dead. Food limitations? HA! Those were the least of my worries at the time. I was too worried about losing my ability to walk since the RSD had spread from one ankle to the other, as well as up my legs to the rest of my body. The pain was debilitatingI’d say it was almost paralyzing. It was like I was spending my life in a torture chamber, and there was no way out. 
*To be continued* 
Love and healing light, 
Allie 
XOXOXOX