Monthly Archives: April 2012

anger

feeling frustrated with the american life lately. overwhelmed with grad school. hit my wall 2 weeks ago and since i haven’t fully recovered. when i think about my life all i can think about is how i am failing at it right now. i am failing as a partner, as a friend, as a student, as an employee. failing at all of it! it should NOT have to be this way to get through school!

today i looked into switching over my health insurance to the school plan so that when i cut down my hours to per diem at work i won’t be uninsured and won’t have to pay nearly $1000 for COBRA each month. i was willing to give it a shot, even knowing that i would likely lose my doc’s and have to start all over again with a new neuro…until i inquired about prescription coverage. $500 a YEAR. that’s it. wouldn’t even cover half of one month of medication. useless!! how is this legal?!

if you know someone who thinks that universal healthcare is an infringement on thier rights, you can refer them to me: a gainfully employed, non drug-addicted, intelligent, and hard working person who has had the misfortune of being handed one shitty diagnosis. then that person and i can have a nice chat about whose rights are being infringed upon here.

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so thankful

i have been reading off and on about dog DNA testing today. we have often wondered what birdie’s true genetic make up is. while we are quite sure that there is at least *some* pit bull in there, it seems that there is good reason to doubt that we can accurately determine her mix (or lack thereof) based soley on her looks. when i began entertaining the idea of getting a support animal, it seemed that there were so many possibilities as far as which dog breed i could get. should it be a pure-bred and adorable french bulldog? should i go though a rescue? the SPCA? get a mutt?

i have always favored the bully breeds and i have wanted one for as long as i can remember. but i wondered if living in a small apartment, working, and commuting an hour each way for grad school was too busy of a schedule to make a fair life for a pit bull. i mean, they are big. they are terriers. and they need to expend ENERGY. the last thing i needed was to come home and find my couch eviscerated by an overly bored dog.

so even though my mom had an incredibly sweet and gorgeous red-nosed pitty girl in her backyard, i hesitated on the idea of a pit bull. as you can see, from the posts in the blog, i clearly talked myself into her. i can say that it was not a decision without risks. i was so nervous we wouldn’t be able to make it work. for a time, we weren’t even sure if it would happen.

in late january, she was stolen out of my mom’s backyard and was gone for just about 3 weeks. we were so disappointed and sad over losing her. we truly didn’t think we would ever see her again. but we did. it was literally a spur of the moment decision to bring her home when we did. and the whole experience was quite serindipitous. since then, things have been rocky at times but now we all seem to be settling in nicely.

i’ve had a lot of time to think about where she was during those three weeks and also how getting a support animal went down for me. i could have chosen just about any dog from the shelter, gone to breeder, or found one through craigslist. but i’m so thankful for our pitty girl. not only is she a great dog, i also feel like i was in a unique position with my illness to secure forever a home where she was safe (never stolen again!) and loved for a very deserving dog.

rescues screen potential homes for thier dogs very caerfully, and even shelters with limited budgets do what they can to prevent dogs from coming back but times are tough. plenty of people who thought they were in a position to offer a dog a forever home are losing thier homes, or trying to find a place in a rental market that in general is not pet-friendly, especially not when it comes to bully breeds. consequently, good dogs especially pit bull type dogs are ending up homeless.

since she is my support animal, she has a legal right to stay with me in just about any living situation. at least in that sense, i don’t have to worry if i am foreclosed on and cannot find pet-friendly housing. in these times, that is about as secure of a situation as a dog or thier person could hope for. in a way, it felt like this was an opportunity for me to do some real good for at least one pit bull out there who needed a home. if you are in a position as i was–looking for a support animal, get a pit bull! they will be so thankful.

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me and you vs. us

for me, being diagnosed changed ALL of my future plans.

at the time i was diagnosed, my partner and i had only been together for about a year. things were good but still at a point where we could take it down many different roads–were we partners? were we just lovers? was it growing into more or receding into less? i had no idea if she would want to stay, i mean, its a pretty hefty diagnosis. so i had no expectations. for her it seems there was no question, or least not one she needed to deliberate on for long–she stayed. right now we are struggling. i am not sure how much the diagnosis plays into that. i’m sure she gets tired of feeling like MS dictates what we do and when we do it. i really try for it not to be like that. i really try to continue to be the same person i was before…but the truth is i’m not.

a lot of times she doesn’t understand how i’m feeling and there are times i really wish she could be more supportive and less quick to assume that i am intentionally doing things to upset her. but then there is also a part of me that remembers how hard it must be to love me, someone who faces every day with the knowledge that all bets are off for my future, and by proxy for hers too if she stays. i have to remember that she is adjusting to this too and she, for better or worse can’t feel what is going on in my body.

it must take incredible amounts of empathy to be a partner to someone who has a chronic illness.

and i’m trying to remember that she is doing the best she can too. and that most of the time she is very helpful and understanding. i just wish i knew how to make things more normal.

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just the start

one year ago, k. and i boarded a plane to puerto vallarta. i didn’t know it then, but my life would change on that trip. i came down with shingles, which caused a MS flare, which caused chronic tingling in my legs that took 6 months to go away. eventually, it led to my diagnosis.

i had no idea what i was walking into when i got on that plane. quite literally and figuratively, i was leaving behind my life as i knew it. the cascade of events that would follow changed me.

forever.

this is just the start of an entire year of anniversaries.

since that spring break trip (my first and only in a shamefully L O N G college career) i can feel the difference in the me before diagnosis and the me after. last semester feels like a dream. it is the bridge between the two me’s–the months where i transitioned between them. it’s not that i don’t believe in the same things that i did before, or that i can no longer relate to the hopes and dreams that i had before diagnosis. it’s just that life in general feels different.

last semester was 4 months of sadness and fear and loss. and now i’m past the initial shock and i no longer have tingling legs (although i still do get tingling occasionally when walking). but i haven’t lost that sense that sometime soon the other shoe will drop. i am learning that i will probably always feel that way.

maybe next year i can learn to be ok with that.

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