Transitioning to a holistic way of life

I am a recovering Web M.D. addict.

For the past several years, I have suffered from a variety of autoimmune disorders. Medical professionals have met my concerns with irritation and often rush me out of their office with bottles and tubes of medicine. Not once have these so-called experts thought about me as whole person. The last straw was this April when my primary doctor diagnosed the  constant tingling sensation throughout my legs, arms, and hands (that often keeps me awake at night) as stress from school and so he prescribed Zoloft.

Here I am, almost four months later, with persistent tingling accompanied by occasional pain in my spine and lower abdomen. My hair has continued to fall out. I’m more tired than usual, even when I have had a full night’s rest. I have constant headaches, a throat that seems to always be hoarse, and splotchy skin that feels drier than normal. Did I mention that I suffered through a traumatic miscarriage at six months pregnant last year? Surely, there is something going on with me but do you think he cared? I’ve had enough of receiving shoddy healthcare.

In the past, I have tried to be as mindful  as possible (especially for a twenty-three year old) about healthy versus non-healthy choices. However, I can do much better. Forget about what my medical doctor thinks of me, I love me. It’s time for me to advocate for myself. The first step is to be honest about the state of the entirety of me and how each system (i.e integumentary, endocrine, digestive, ect.) is dependent on the balance that I do or do not strike in my life.

I know that I will not be able to turn everything around overnight but what is most important is I want to change. I’m more than prepared to make it happen. For me.

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yes, I’m officially homesick…

It has been about a month since I last posted because I am interning for an organization that deals with food policy. Simultaneously, I am working on my thesis research. Oh, I guess I should have mentioned that I have reversed my decision to dropout. I will explain in a later post.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of an issue with housing in the city where I was interning and ended up paying a visit to the place that I have been trying to avoid–my hometown. So here I am, twenty-three years old, staying in my seventy-two year old grandfather’s apartment whose longtime girlfriend lives above him. Yes, you really did just read that. They live separately…in a duplex. Makes absolutely no sense.

Anyways, my hometown is conveniently located an hour and forty-five minutes from my internship’s office so it worked out it my favor. But now to the real reason for this post. Being home has been nice for several reasons including meeting my nephew. However, I’m ready for this to be over. I am so mentally and emotionally drained, that I cannot even begin to express it in written word.

Little did I know that my alcoholic, heavily-medicated, bipolar, Operation Desert Storm veteran uncle and his life partner would pay a visit (he drove 15 hours from Oklahoma!). Nor did I know that I would have to troubleshoot ways to get my grandfather out of the debt that he has been trying to hide from me and my oldest sister. Mind you, his aforementioned son paid a visit this weekend but as you can see, he is in no position to offer help and my mother is deceased which leaves me and my oldest sister (our middle sister is also a hot mess, eek!). But wait–there’s more! My oldest sister is not in the position to help as much as she would like because she just had a baby and is now a single parent trying to get back on her feet which leaves…me–the youngest and arguably the most financially vulnerable (okay, maybe not?) to bear the weight of his stubborn ways. These “ways” include living in a dusty, cluttered home which I clean daily while muttering obscenities. Fun fact: Yesterday I disposed of a Ziploc bag containing rotten meat which was haphazardly positioned between his block of cutlery and the wall on his kitchen counter.

As you might imagine, I haven’t had a lot of time to just work on my remote internship assignments or research. I’m sure you, dear reader, will understand how incredibly exhausting this all is. Especially for someone who struggles everyday with anxiety and a host of autoimmune disorders. So what can I do in the meantime? Well, I am trying to figure out how to approach my grandfather with a proper game-plan to help him rise from the ashes of impending financial ruin.

But you know what? I have a deeper appreciation for my humble apartment, my guy, and our huge, yet lovable adopted puppy. They really do bring me so much joy. I cannot wait to see them (and New York State) again!

Until next time,

D

 

And then I saw him…

This weekend, I went home to visit my family. It’s been a year since I left and a lot has changed. In fact, last July I found out that I was expecting a little girl. If everything had gone according to plan, she would have accompanied me on the visit to meet her older cousin (only by several weeks). So I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it was to arrive empty-handed, with no one to greet him.

But then I saw him, in all his twenty-something pound glory. Technically, I met him during video chats with my sister but it was nothing like the little munchkin sitting in front of me. At first, I struggled to fight back tears. Okay, honestly the entire time I struggled to “be okay”. But in spite of that, I was just so happy to meet the fluffiness that is my nephew. Did I mention he likes me?

Which brings me to the point of this post. I can’t even believe I’m saying this but..I guess I do want a baby after all. Perhaps in my haste to “get over” the loss of my first baby, I forgot that there might be hope for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I want to try tomorrow, nor am I saying that I’m ready for another visit with him. Honestly, it was emotionally exhausting. After they left, I gave into what seemed to be my grieving alarm which had been going off for HOURS. It was overwhelming to think about all the milestones that my daughter would have reached by now. She would be teething, smiling, slipping things into her mouth, curiously scratching on surfaces to figure out their texture, enjoying breezy evening walks in her stroller, and learning to hold herself up. But she will never do those things. I’m incredibly happy for my sister that he can but it still doesn’t change that Marième never will. I just need everyone to understand what that feels like for a woman who has lost a child.

Anyways, I close this for the first time with advice for folks with children that are close to someone who has lost a baby (or babies).

  1. Don’t push your children on them, realize that no matter how far they are into the grieving process, the hurt will always be there (even if they had children before or after their loss).  Do not assume that just because they express interest in your child one moment that they will always want to be with your child. Grief works on a moment-by-moment basis. It comes in waves. That’s just the nature of the beast. It has nothing to do with you or your child.
  2. Remember important dates (or at least a round-about date). It’s great that your child has birthdays but do you remember the day that your loved one lost their child? What about their original due date? I’m not saying you need to send a card or anything but realize that anniversaries and birthdays will always be extremely difficult for them. Maybe they won’t make it to your child’s party next year (or ever) but yet again–this should not be taken personally.
  3. Remember their child’s name (if they had one) and use it when you refer to them. It’s more personal and frankly, your loved one will probably be happy that someone acknowledges that their child still exists.
  4. Finally, let them know that they don’t have to move on. Whatever they feel, when they feel it, how they feel it is valid and you care.

Do you have additional tidbits of advice or questions of how to ‘deal’ with a grieving friend/family member?  Let me know!