Entyvio and Other Health-related Drama

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This post is for those of you who want to know.

This isn’t my favorite subject. I don’t enjoy talking about my disease but as I’ve been scouring the Internet lately, searching for people who have gone through similar experiences as me, I figured I should return the favor. I should contribute to the vast array of blog posts out there to share about my UC over the past 6 months. I should put myself out there in order that someone else can know they’re not the only one.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis almost 8 years ago (2009) and have had two big flares and a series of drug failures since that time. My UC is classified as “moderate to severe” and while it’s been worse than some, it’s much better than many others. Over the course of my disease, I have taken countless doses of Prednisone, failed on the oral drugs including 6MP and now cannot tolerate any of the anti-TNF agents (Simponi, Remicade, and Humira). Currently I’m on to Entyvio, which is a relatively new immunomodulator drug that is gut-specific. Because it doesn’t have the same risks of body-wide side effects, it’s safer and hopefully just as effective as the systemic agents. I’m still in my loading dose period and waiting to see how effective it truly is for me.

For about four years, I enjoyed a glorious remission. I didn’t have any symptoms, I didn’t have to change medications, and I even forgot that I had this disease. Conveniently, that was during my first pregnancy and my child was successfully born without two heads or anything crazy (I was on Remicade). I got to enjoy my pregnancy feeling wonderful, which is ironic considering most people feel dismal. In some ways, I think I took it for granted, as if it would last forever.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. After I stopped nursing my daughter, my hormones went haywire and sent me into a slow flare, which culminated during the holidays this year when I could barely drink anything but chicken broth and lost about 8 pounds in only a month or two. With a toddler and grad school in the mix, it was a really difficult time for me. I questioned God’s goodness. I wondered if my symptoms would ever abate. I felt very scared and uncertain about the future. My husband stood next to me as the voice of reason, whispering the truths that my heart believes: that God really does love me; He does have a plan for all of this, and I’m not dying.

During my most recent flare, I completed a 40mg Prednisone taper, which took several weeks to take effect but eventually got my flare under control. I experienced most of the typical side effects including insomnia, mood swings, and a consistent feeling that I might be going crazy. I have a love-hate relationship with Prednisone because it wrecks your everyday life and simultaneously gives you that everyday life back. It’s a frustrating oxymoron. After two months of feeling like I just might not make it, my symptoms miraculously stopped, I started to eat normal food again and I was warily convinced that the worst was over.

But I had more complications in store. A few weeks after that, I developed a serum sickness reaction to my monthly injection, Simponi. Serum sickness is a condition that occurs when your body builds up antibodies to an unnatural substance, like this drug, and can vary widely depending on the person. For me, this reaction consisted of overwhelming fatigue and debilitating joint pain that lasted for weeks. I could barely do the dishes or type on the computer because it hurt so badly. So I spoke with my doctor, told her about my reaction and we decided Simponi was out, done. Actually, I don’t feel like it ever worked well for me to begin with, so I happily waved goodbye and we moved on to the next drug.

Because of my undulating medical course, I had to have a colonoscopy in February, my third one since my diagnosis. Usually I wake up crying and vomiting, but this time I woke up groggy but peaceful, probably mostly due to some wonderful pre-procedure Versed and the glorious drug Propofol (apparently in my post-procedure haze I kept telling Seth that propofol is the best drug on earth and everyone should get it.) Only an ex-ICU nurse would say that. My scope didn’t look terrible (I didn’t have overt cancer) but the words “precancerous polyps” were enough to convince me that I needed to get back on another biologic med and get this inflammation under control. Not exactly the words you want to hear as you’re coming out of a conscious sedation fog in the recovery room.

So, after about a year and a half of being off Remicade, we decided to try it again. I had gotten off of it mostly due to insurance and convenience reasons, but it was so effective for me previously that my doctor and I figured we could attempt another dose. While there was a possibility that I had developed antibodies to the drug, it wasn’t certain and that chances were good enough to experiment and see. I went in for my infusion that day, hoping to be greeted by a long forgotten friend, and instead felt like I had been betrayed, stabbed in the back by a distant love. A few hours after the infusion, I experienced nearly the same symptoms as my serum sickness with Simponi: overwhelming fatigue and debilitating joint pain. I cried bitter tears, not necessarily because of fear or pain, but because I had such high hopes for the resumption of this med and those hopes were left behind in the infusion chair that day.

After this unfortunate setback, I had another discussion with my GI, a frank one where she communicated that I was done with the anti-TNF agents forever (I never even tried Humira because it’s the same class of drug and I would most likely have a serum sickness reaction with that too). Now I was left with one remaining option, the only other drug available to me outside of clinical trials: Entyvio. I had actually read an article about Entyvio a few weeks prior (God does work in mysterious ways) and so I was somewhat familiar with it, although the drug has only been on the market since 2014. When I started Remicade in 2011, it didn’t even exist as a treatment option yet. Because it is gut-specific, it doesn’t carry the same systemic risks of cancer (!!!!) or immunosuppression, so it actually may be a safer and more effective option. We can only hope. So only a few weeks after my Remicade reaction, I found myself back in the infusion chair and ready to try again.

The jury is still out. I’m still waiting to see if Entyvio will work and really the only way we will know is if I stay healthy for the next few months while I’m eating my Paleo food and taking my supplements. What happens if Entyvio doesn’t work? I’m not asking that question right now because I don’t want to know and it won’t do me any good. My worse-case scenario syndrome doesn’t need any encouragement.

There’s a reason that I placed that picture of my family at the top of the post. Yes, we look cute in our holiday red and black, but that’s not the point. This photo was taken on my worst day, the day after Christmas, the day that I thought I might just crawl into bed and never get out. I didn’t eat. I could barely catch my breath I was so anemic. I physically had to keep from yelling at everyone to leave me alone. It wasn’t my finest moment. But I look fine, right? That’s the tricky thing about IBD- no one can tell from a photo. I successfully hid my sickness from strangers, people at the grocery store who look at me and think my life is normal. Only those people close to me knew the extent of my sickness and how it was tearing me apart inside.

This photo proves two things to me, lessons that I hope I won’t forget anytime soon. That I really can make it through most anything, even a flare to go to Christmas (that’s the nursing you-can-do-anything-for-12-hours mentality) and that my family is the best blessing I have. Without my husband, I would’ve ended up in a dark place emotionally and spiritually, throwing a temper tantrum to get God to hear me. Without my daughter, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to get up in the morning and work really hard at getting better. They’re the reasons that I want to be healthy and they’re the ones who support me even when I’m not.

There are a million other lessons that I could describe but that’s enough for now. Everyone has trials they must endure that play crucial parts in their story. These difficulties mold us, shape us, make us who we are meant to be. Often, they’re the most trying times of our lives but they’re necessary and ironically, life-giving. Looking at the narrative of my life, I want my story to be for God. For his kingdom. For his glory. So despite what happens to me in this physical body, I will preach that I have Jesus and that He’s not leaving me. And while I continue to pray for miraculous healing, I know someday I will have a perfect body in heaven and not even remember what UC is.

It’s taken me some really long, lonely nights to be able to say that confidently but now I can. That’s pretty much a miracle in itself.

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The Danger of Motherhood

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Sometimes I struggle to understand this strange, mysterious love I have for my child.

Becoming a mother changes you, most everyone knows this. You discover new sides of yourself, conquer challenges you never thought you could face, and endure more than you ever thought humanely possible including sleepless nights, mountains of frustrations and several rather serious injuries after stepping on legos. You had a capacity to love beforehand (yes, we all love our spouses, truly we do) but when your child is born, your capability for love takes on new dimensions. You develop an impossible love for them, impossible because you care about them more than you care about yourself and sometimes that tears your soul in two. When they hurt, you hurt too. When they run to you in tears, you feel the weight of their embrace like a freight train crashing into your chest, reminding you that they won’t always be so little. You cry with joy. You weep with a sense of loss. You experience the whole range of human emotions, sometimes in only twenty-four hours. You would do anything for them. And you do.

The other day I took my two-year old daughter to the playground, hoping we could have some late afternoon fun as we passed the time until my husband got home from work. We swung on the swings, collecting twigs, and chased a few other toddlers around in the grass but then I caught sight of a most frightening and terrible sight: a giant wasp. You can laugh, I know they’re not that big of a deal, but when you’re responsible for another tiny human who could possibly be allergic (oh gosh, even anaphylactic allergic) to this bug, you assume a whole new level of protection over them. So when this gigantic wasp with it’s stinger glistening in the sunlight emerged and started to relentlessly chase me, I went into a panic, clutching my daughter close to me as I got that fierce feeling inside my bones that told me I would fight this thing with my bare hands if I had to. Eventually it stopped harassing us and flew away and I stopped to catch my breath, reeling from the shock of something so seemingly inconsequential. I didn’t care that I had made a fool of myself in front of the other moms, dodging the flying bug like a crazy person. I would’ve taken a sting a million times over rather than watch her cry hot salty tears over a swollen bite wound. That’s what you do for your kids, whatever it takes.

You protect them so fiercely because you love them so much. You love them so dearly that you’re willing to sacrifice yourself for them. You wield a sword of protection for your kid, fighting off bullies and strangers and choking hazards, and yet you often bear the brunt of its blade, the willing victim as you feel their pain more acutely than your own, as if they possess the ability to transfer their pain to you. It wouldn’t hurt so much if we didn’t care so vastly.

On the second night after my daughter was born my husband and I sat in the hospital bed staring at her, wondering how in the world we had gotten so lucky. She was so tiny it frightened me, knowing that she was the most fragile thing I had ever held and that I was responsible for keeping her alive. I was her person. She was my miraculous new purpose. So when she refused to nurse for the next few hours, I started to get nervous. I was a first-time mom with no clue how to do this. Then as the clock passed by hour after hour and she continued to refuse, I started to panic. It had been much longer than a newborn should go without milk and the sounds of both of us crying filled up the hallway, drowning me in fear. I didn’t know what to do, how to help her and I nearly burned down that hospital with my shrieking, taking everyone else down with me in a fiery blaze until I finally found someone who could help me. Someone who could help me feed my tiny, helpless baby. I’ve never felt that way before, like something had been unlocked inside of me when she was born. A fierce and impossible love.

Becoming a mother changes you because your love for them runs so deep inside you, as if part of you is living outside your body, going to preschool and eating goldfish and throwing dirt. You look at them and see your own blue eyes or your spouse’s expression and you marvel that such a miracle can throw a temper tantrum wild enough to send you reeling out of Target. It’s an impossible love because you’ll never fully be able to grasp it, never be able to fully understand how much you whole-heartedly devote yourself to this tiny human being. It’s beautiful and mysterious and life-changing. It’s the most enjoyable sacrifice I’ve ever made.

We bear an impossible double-edged sword, the blade forged out of love, welded together by the holy calling inside of you. And you know that it carries a unspeakable significance but also a beautiful danger; the fine line between joy and pain. The blade is sharp and it will cut you. Every mother who has held a feverish child in the night knows that to be true as you weep bitter tears and mutter fervent prayers. The pain means you’re living out your purpose, exercising your muscles under the weight of the metal in your hands. You’re trying to be worthy of such a gift.

But for all the sleepless nights and skinned knees, the victories make it all worth it. It’s a magnificent miracle, watching your little person be kind to another or crawl up into your lap for a kiss. A compassionate word. A brave act. A brief inkling of vision, all the possibilities for the life you’ve tried to cultivate in them. You only have so many years to be their mother beside them, and you’re making the most of it.

And so for all these reasons, you continue to pick up that sword. Every single day, however heavy or cumbersome it feels, however tired you are at the moment, because your child needs you. You can only protect them so much, but you will give that task everything you have. You will love and protect and recognize that you will get hurt too in the process, taking the cuts for them or because of them. It is indeed a holy calling.

It’s weighty. It’s incomprehensible. It’s a strange, mysterious love.

The Double-Edged Sword

This is a re-post of a blog post I did years ago when I was working at the bedside in the ICU and I’ve had several requests to post it again on this site. It’s also related to another post I’ll be doing next week. Enjoy!

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Sometimes I wonder how to maintain a balance.

Just the other day I watched a man in his early forties, who had come to the hospital after an accident, bleed to death. With his leg wrenched off, a mess of shreds of flesh and coagulated blood, he had reached the end. The doctors took his wife to the bedside and calmly but firmly explained that there was nothing else they could do. The damage was too severe, the injury too great. The dripping blood collected in a pool underneath him like a morbid summary of the sad tale.

I watched for a few seconds like an unattached observer, noticing the inconsolable wife and other family members with a haze of self-protection between us. With only a ting of grief, I watched as the wife laid her body over her husband, begging and pleading into the air for him to live. Her desperate requests fell upon a silent room as she screamed and wept. Her tears wet his face but he didn’t move, already drifting in the middle place between alive and dead. Finally he passed away slowly and quietly and the family was left with some privacy to grieve. After such a commotion, the silence was deafening.

Functioning as the charge nurse that day, I was aware of the situation but because of the hectic pace of the unit at that time, I didn’t have the mental energy to soak it in fully. I cognitively understood but I held back my emotions for the sake of the job, for the sake of keeping the unit functioning at the highest level. Patients needed to be admitted from the  ER or OR, nurses required help with bedside procedures, and some of our other patients were declining at a rapid pace, requiring all hands on deck as we hung blood pressure medications and put in chest tubes. If you’ve ever been the charge nurse, you understand the feeling of the weight of the hospital world on your shoulders, the responsibility of life and death weighed around your neck. When you’re the charge for the trauma ICU, with everyone in the hospital calling you to fix a problem or make room for a patient, in many ways those are accurate assumptions.

There’s a fine line between entering into the emotions of the situation and preserving yourself for the sake of the job. A conundrum common to any area within the hospital realm. Nursing can be a diabolical and equivocal profession for this very reason: the maddening crux of self-protection and compassion. It’s a double-edged sword that boasts both danger and power.

On one hand, I consider myself to be an extremely sensitive person who relates to my patients and families on an emotional level. In my job working with families, I sit and listen as they vent about frustrations or griefs. I cry with them as we turn off the machines and let their family member drift into breathless silence. My heart aches inside of me as families have to make impossible decisions about the future of a loved one’s care. Few choices are straightforward and easy, and most require all they have left emotionally, mentally, and physically. Sleep, proper nutrition and self-care become obsolete as families focus whole-heartedly on the task at hand, the healing or demise of their loved one. I’ve gone home and cried helplessly because of a devastating patient situation, the grief and loss too much to bear. Seth has listened as I relate some of the horribly unfair circumstances that are inherent in a broken, fallen world. I function in deep compassion for my patients and families, empathizing with them over their heartbreaking situations.

Regardless of the specific area, nurses are not strangers to the unlucky, unfair circumstances that plague humanity. From oncology to NICU to outpatient clinics, we all encounter the unexpected test result, the unbelievable diagnosis, the unexpected and tragic turn of events. We experience on the ground level variations of pain and loss that many people can’t comprehend. We are exposed to some of the most triumphant and desperate situations, watching people defy the odds or succumb to the inevitable. Nursing is a highly emotional profession with the pendulum swinging between hope and loss, pain and victory, life and death.

On the other hand, I felt completely unattached to the man dying that day, knowing that if I let myself indulge, a deluge of tears would follow. I went to a party after work that night and as my  mother asked me, “how was your day?” I related the incidences in a matter-of-fact tone that seemed to shock her. I realized abruptly that it wasn’t normal for someone to say they watched a patient bleed to death while sipping iced tea at a wedding shower. In my callousness and self-preservation, I hadn’t even stopped to wonder at my own disillusionment with the situation.

But as nurses, we can’t always allow ourselves full depth of emotion at a certain time. It’s one of the disadvantages and hard boundaries that come with the job. If I imagined Seth lying in the bed as the patient and me, the desperate wife, weeping over him, I surely wouldn’t have been able to continue with the day. I would’ve been overwhelmed with inconsolable grief at simply the thought. I would’ve sat down dejectedly at the bedside and ignored the other duties required of me.

Nurses get very extensive training in assessment skills, safe medications practices, and the scope of our license. But treading the fine line between emotional indulgence and self-protection is something you have to learn on your own, in your own way, so that you can go back to work the next day and be satisfied with your profession. Everyone comes to that place, the place of peace with difficult circumstances, at their own pace and in their own fashion. And it changes as you move through various stages of life. You constantly have to reevaluate yourself, your calling, and your emotional reserve to adapt to the situations before you.

Sometimes I’m amazed at my ability to push my emotions aside and continue in the job of saving lives. Sometimes I’m surprised as I can’t seem to stop ruminating over a seemingly routine but difficult situation. I shock myself with how I react to some predicaments and not others, or the degree to which I react.

It’s an impossible double-edged sword, the blade of self-protection and compassion. It gleams at you, waiting for you as you walk into work everyday. You wield it as best you can, trying to make the wisest choices, but sometimes it cuts you when you least expect it. Then you remember it’s both your weapon and your downfall, and you grow in respect for it.

We pick it up before a shift and lay it down afterwards, but we all know it’s never far from us.

Then and Now.

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Once upon a time, my life was really hard.

When I was in nursing school eight years ago at TCU I had so many hurdles to overcome. I had to get up, walk to get my breakfast that I didn’t cook and didn’t pay for, and then go to class. I had to read during my hours when I wasn’t in class in the quiet library with no interruptions, studying for those long periods with no one asking me to get them milk or see what they made in the backyard with sand. I had to get up at 5am ONE day per week and go to a SIX hour clinical where I basically did nothing since real nurses barely even let nursing students play with the kids in pediatrics let alone actually take care of patients. I had to take summers off and rest my tired mind while going on vacations and dreaming about what kind of nurse I would become. Those days were full of trials and hardships consisting of endless time, few encumberments and FREEDOM.

Doing graduate school has been a slightly different story.

When I was still working, had a newborn and starting NP school I would get up at 5am everyday of the week to study on the days when I didn’t have to go to work. When Evy went down for a nap, I studied. When she went to bed at night, I studied. When I woke up in the morning, I studied. I lived and breathed patho and my poor husband somehow kept us afloat, cooking and cleaning and oh yeah, going to his own job. But she slept a lot and couldn’t really do anything and I had more time to envelope myself in textbooks and watch online lectures. Then I quit my job because, as you can imagine, such a pace is unsustainable, especially when you have the option to knock something off the list. And since that can’t be my child and I didn’t want it to be school, work had to go.

Now I have a toddler. A beautiful, vivacious toddler who refuses to take naps most days and wakes up at 6:15 in the morning. So when she does nap, I study. When she goes to Mother’s Day Out twice a week, I study and try to throw something in the crockpot and fold laundry while I listen to lectures. Thankfully, my school load isn’t as heavy as it was with those first few intensive classes because although I have less time, I also have less emotional energy to give. Because in case no one has every told you, toddlers are fascinating energy-depleters of the cutest sort.

Let me explain. I tell Evy it’s time to take a nap. I lure her into her room with the promise of reading her favorite bunny book six times. She takes the bait, wanders into her room and I gently close the door shut. Aha, made it this far. Then I change her diaper, put her pajama pants on and we sit and rock and read and rock and read. Then I close the blinds, turn off the light and tell her in my quietest voice that she’s going to take a nap now. She thinks its a suggestion and I most definitely do not. She wants to get in her crib but I make her sit in the chair with me and calm down because all she wants to do is play with her animals for the next two hours instead of sleep. But mommy is too smart for that. I know her tricks. So I make her sit and rock with me in the dark.

Evy, be quiet. Time to go night-night. E-I-E-I-O Donald had farm, woof woof here… Child continues to sing Old MacDonald in her sweetest toddler voice, missing approximately every other word. Evy, no more talking. Time to go to sleep. She’s quiet for a minute. I close my eyes, hoping she will follow my lead. Then I get a tiny finger up my nose. Mommy wake up! No baby, be still. Close your eyes. Close ya eyes mommy! Accidentally slaps me in the face. Go to sleep baby. Be still. We rock and there’s a lull in her singing. Mommy does actually fall asleep then I get woken up by a round of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Oh goodness gracious, please go to sleep. Not so that I can do something fun or relaxing or even productive around the house, but so I can finish my paper on prescriptive authority for NPs in Texas versus other states. I would rather take a nap here in this chair and you won’t even let me do that. I luv you mommy. And then suddenly I wish I could sit and hold her in this chair forever and not miss one moment of her amazing little life. Every frustrating moment is worth it because I’m not going to remember this paper, but I will remember listening to her breath while she snuggles next to me.

Eventually she does either fall asleep or play in her crib for an hour while I sneak away to my computer, cram Paleo chocolate chips in my face and try to figure out how to properly reference this obscure government document in APA. Needless to say, my life isn’t as easy as it used to be. I don’t have hours of uninterrupted time to study or a carefree existence with no real responsibilities. In contrast, I have a husband and a daughter and a house and mouths to feed and errands to run and that’s nothing compared to the hoards of nurses I know who work full time, do school and have like five kids. They are the true heroes and someone should write a blog about them.

But this isn’t a post about my frustration at putting my child down for naps or even the difficulties of being a mom in graduate school. Its a post about looking at that little face or feeling that tiny finger in my nose and thinking about the example that I want to set for my daughter. I want her to be a strong leader who loves God and follows her dreams. I want those things for her because I want them for myself as well. And I think that despite the monotony of unloading the dishwasher, it’s all time well spent. Those days in nursing school were important because they were setting me up for when I am today. And these days I’m in now are important because Evy will know the depth and length and height of her mother’s love for her. And hopefully, she will have an example to live up to in a mommy who loves Jesus and works hard to help people.

And although my life is pretty amazing right now, sometimes I wish certain circumstances were easier. Even as I write this post, I’m sitting in a reclining chair getting my Remicade infusion at the hospital. It’s not ideal, but it’s my reality. But I know, even though I can’t explain how, that each second has a purpose and every moment has a reason. And I know that every nap time and every paper and every clinical shift will be be composed into a beautiful story that isn’t finished yet.

My life isn’t as easy as it used to be, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

 

 

 

 

 

The Blog is Back.

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Blogging is a tenuous task.

As you may well know, I’ve had several blogs in the past and have enjoyed the art of putting together words and phrases, of telling stories that are unique to me. Those desires haven’t changed but this time I’m blogging on my own terms without worrying about stats or ads or timelines. I plan to blog when I feel led and say whatever is on my mind. That means that one day I might talk about being a nurse practitioner student while another I might be discussing the things that God is teaching me. I don’t want to be confined to a genre or a niche. Life is full of niches but life isn’t defined by them. Plus I don’t have the physical time or emotional energy to keep up with running a real blog.

I will say it again, blogging is a tenuous task.

In starting another blog I’m voluntarily putting myself in a position to reveal my deepest thoughts, my hurts and concerns, my views on my life and God’s purpose in it. And while most people would do anything to keep these things hidden away, I’m sharing them with the world. And in the most humble of attitudes, I believe that is a courageous task in today’s society of criticism and comment, of soap boxes and narcissism, of judgment for being truly honest. But I really think that honesty is what changes people and so I’m willing to take the chance.

This is what writers cannot help but do: share their words with the world. The older I get (the closer to 30 I get!) the more I’m discovering that writing is not only a pastime but a calling, a part of who I am. An integral part of my soul. I function better when I’m writing and I thrive off of the thrill of finding new ways to say something. I realize that all sounds dramatic (or nerdy) and it quite possibly is, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Whether or not I ever publish anything, I cannot help but be a writer and see the world through narrative. I feel like I’m finally coming into myself, so to say, and embracing these gifts that the Lord has given me and trying to use them for his glory. Oh, I love to write so much and I haven’t stopped over the past two years. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.

But enough about that. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately…

General life: I’ve been a SAHM for the past fourteen months (you get more cool mom points if you use the acronym) and have enjoyed it immensely, although it has been hard for me at times. I don’t do well sitting still and so, by divine appointment, I’ve been given a daughter who refuses to sit still either. We’re a perfect match. Seth and I are enjoying co-leading a home group (sadly soon to be solely leading) from our church and these people have become some of our closest friends in a relatively short amount of time. Being able to bare your soul to a kind ear is truly a blessing. We do homeowner things like yard work and get really excited when we don’t have anything planned for Friday night except watch This is Us. That’s the basics.

Family: Seth still works for the same company here in Dallas as a muscle activation technique practitioner and he loves it. Five years of marriage lingers on the horizon and we’re having more fun than ever (albeit sometimes fun equals doing dishes and having “healthy conflict”).  Evy turns two this weekend, which completely blows my mind, and I can honestly say she’s the most amazing human on the planet. I never knew I could enjoy having a conversation with a two year-old so much. I also never knew that kids started trying to drop their afternoon nap before two. I also never knew how much trying to put an obstinate child down for a nap zaps all your remaining patience and sanity. And so it goes. Yet, she’s still amazing.

Career: I have retired from ICU life and am looking forward to some colds and flu and routine vaccinations in primary care. I have 15 months left of my FNP program, which seems like a long time or maybe a short time but either way I feel like I’m nearing the finish line after making it over the hurdles of advanced patho and pharm. I’m gearing up for clinical and looking forward to the day when I will actually be a NP.

Health: ugh. Do we really have to talk about this one? The past six months have been particularly challenging as I’ve been in a massive UC flare that has consisted of scopes and steroids and eating absolutely  nothing on Christmas day. There are a few positives, like I’ve become very proficient at making bone broth and my doctor probably has me on speed-dial. But other than, it’s been hard, especially hard when I now have a tiny person who literally depends on me to live. So we’ve had days full of Daniel Tiger when I hope and pray that I’m not destroying my child’s brain by allowing her to imbibe pictures of colorful animals and catchy songs (songs that get stuck in your head, I mean). I’m fairly confident she’ll be fine considering she already knows how to say her full name and the she lives is “‘merica!” BUT thanks to Prednisone, my husband and my family, it looks like we’re through the worst of it. I’m still going to have to be on a biologic med, which wasn’t my preference, but I didn’t choose this disease and sometimes I don’t really get my choice in my treatments either. I have to be functional and this is what it’s going to take.

That’s about it for now. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please feel free to ask. Since I have about two years worth of blogging ideas bottled up, I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon.