If We Were Having Coffee // It’s My Birthday Month, and I’m Starting Again

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”

— David Lynch

Hello, dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. I probably shouldn’t be having coffee, the caffeine and the acid are probably the last things my stomach needs, but I’m at home today, and coffee means a lot to me, so I will drink and deal with the consequences later. I know it will be worth every sip.

I know I haven’t  been around much lately, and we will get to why in a bit, but before we do I wanted to warn you that today’s post might contain some TMI subjects and descriptions and a bit of bad language. If you don’t want to hear that kind of thing maybe skip ahead a bit or skip away, I won’t mind I promise.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week was fucking awful.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I know you, and everyone else, me included are probably tired of hearing me talk about my health and my medication and my anxiety and my hope that any day now I will start to feel better. You are probably tired of hearing week after week that I am still sick, but here I am telling you once again that I am still sick. Not just still, I’m actually worse and getting more and more worried as each day goes by.

Since my ulcerative colitis diagnosis, my whole life feels upended. All I can think about now is my stomach, and bathrooms, and what foods I can and can’t eat, and whether or not I can work today, and when my next doctors appointment is, and if this new pain is due to the disease or my medication, and what medication I am on and what medication will come next if this one doesn’t work, and whether or not I should call my doctor, and whether or not this is serious, and if I’m sleeping enough or too much, and oh god I have to go to the bathroom, again, again, again, again…..This is my life now, and there has been no room for writing anymore.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I feel overwhelmed by all the things I haven’t been able to do or finish because of all of this. I haven’t written a new post here in days, and the comments are piling up. I failed the Blogging A to Z Challenge before I was able to really get going. I’ve missed submission deadlines, and I haven’t sent a newsletter in weeks. I’m so far behind I don’t know where to even begin to catch up, but I want to.

I want to find a way back to doing all the things that made me feel good. I want to find a way to get back to telling my story and spreading my message. I want to finish what I started, so I am starting again.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I think my first two Blogging A to Z posts turned out pretty good, and even though I couldn’t keep going I haven’t gotten over my need to talk about all the bad things in the world. So, I am picking up the project again and combining it with another project I can never seem to get my shit together enough to finish. I am going to make a zine/chapbook from the posts!

I have no idea when the thing will be done, now that I have given myself permission to work outside of the April deadline but I’d like to have a draft done by the middle of may. This will be my first physical thing I am making so please be patient, but I am promising that this thing will be a thing and I will keep you posted if you promise to keep me accountable.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my birthday is coming up this week and despite everything, I am still excited. It’s not a big birthday, I’m just turning 32, but it’s my day and I take it very seriously. I like to think of the entire month of April as the time to celebrate me. I mean, your birthday is not just the day to mark when you came into the world but a time to celebrate another year that you got to be on this Earth. What could be more important?

I always think about how each birthday could be my last and it feels wrong not to make each one meaningful no matter how hard aging is or how depressing or bad the year has been. When you consider that there are so many people who won’t be getting a birthday this year your perspective changes. You realize that each one is a gift and worthy of celebration.

This year, like every year, I’ll be making time for dinners and drinks with family and friends and a bit of quiet reflection on the past year and planning for the next. I don’t ask for or expect gifts, I just want to see all the people who make my life meaningful but I know my girlfriend got me something good, she always buys the best gifts, and I’m anxious to find out what it is.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have come to the end of my cup of coffee and, sadly, the caffeine has done nothing for my energy levels. I need a nap. Thank you for chatting with me, it’s been good for me to get up and get typing again. I hope to keep the momentum going.

I hope you had a good week, and that your weekend was a relaxing one. If you have a minute drop by the comments and let me know how you have been and what you have been up to.

Until next time :)

An early birthday present to myself, from myself 😊 #sagavol7

A post shared by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

***

Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps? 

Written for to the Weekend Coffee Share link-up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Unsplash

Advertisements

If We Were Having Coffee // I Slept a Whole Day Away, Again

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Hello, dear readers! Whew look at the time, I’m so sorry it’s late. Then again, coffee in the evening can be just as nice as coffee in the morning, you know? Coffee that you drink not because you have to but because you want to because coffee isn’t just for keeping you awake but actually tastes good too, when you take the time to make it right, serve it right, and sip it slowly.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was actually up early this morning as I always am now because Of my stomach and my medication but I wasn’t feeling well and as, after I had eaten, I fell right back to sleep on the couch. I fell asleep for about hours, waking here and there and trying to will myself up and around the house and losing every time.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it is very unlike me. I like naps, don’t get me wrong but not that early in the day and not for that long.

My new medicine still isn’t working yet, and my body is just tired. I’m working on accepting that this is my new normal, at least for now. The doctor said I needed to be patient and wait five or six weeks to see if this medicine will help and it hasn’t even been three, yet so I have a long way to go still. In the meantime, I’m being taken off the steroid which is contributing to this yucky, sleeping feeling.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am so bummed to have to return to work tomorrow. This past week was our spring break, and while I did have to work a little, a very, very little, and there was some bad weather, we did manage to get out and have some fun.

Thursday we went to the Denver Art Museum for the Star Wars costume exhibit which turned out to be much more in depth and interesting than I thought it would. I was glad for that, I didn’t feel so guilty dragging my girlfriend to it.

It should have been called the Padmé Amidala exhibit, though, since she had the most costumes throughout the films and each was more elaborate and more beautiful than the last. If you have no idea what I am talking about you need to stop here and go start a Star Wars marathon.

Afterward, we tried out a new seafood restaurant, one we had never heard of but had received a Groupon gift for. It was in a hidden part of town I had never now about before, with a few blocks of shops, dining, and bars surrounded by housing. I’ve lived in this city nearly my whole life and never knew about this gem. The food was great, and I can’t wait to go back to the area for more exploring.

Friday we were supposed to head up to Boulder, CO but the weather went to shit, and neither of us wanted to visit an outdoor mall in the rain. We ended up at the movies instead, my favorite thing to do anytime, and saw Raw, an artsy coming of age horror film lots of cannibalism and gore. Then we went for sushi and shopping :)

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my first post for the Blogging A to Z Challenge, A is for the Arctic, Which is Melting, turned out pretty well I think, but I’m sitting here quietly panicking because I have nothing else written, at all! I’m the worst blogger ever I swear. Like, sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing here, but I can’t stop?

Anyway, I have notes for tomorrow’s post, and some vague ideas for a few other days, but that’s it. I don’t know what I expect you to do about it, except throw me a few ideas if you have any? I’m looking for catastrophic failures of humanity here. News stories about our inability to save ourselves or any other life on this planet. I want to know about all the ways we are destroying whatever is right and good inside ourselves. You’d think I have plenty of ideas, and I do, but I need them narrowed down to specifics.

But, whether nor not I get help, I am determined to do the best I can all through April and during this challenge. It’s important to me to tell these stories.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, sadly, I have to go. In the short time, we have been here I have switched from coffee to red wine, and my lovely girlfriend has finished making what looks like the best lasagna I have ever seen. Tonight is a bit of a special night, we are watching the finale of Big Little Lies, and I don’t want to miss a moment.

I hope you had a wonderful week and a very relaxing weekend. SLEave a note in the comments below and catch me up. I’d love to hear how you are and what you’ve been up to.

Until next time :)

***

Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps? 

Written for to the Weekend Coffee Share link-up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // I Feel Great, but It’s Probably Just the Meds

“Isn’t hot coffee a wonderful thing? How did people get along before it was invented?”

— Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Hello, dear readers and thanks for stopping by again for another round of coffee and catching up. It sounds silly but, I’m so glad to be here and be back to some sort of writing schedule. This past week was a strange one, not bad, not good, but things have been strange. Even the weather was crazy. We started off in the 60s and 70s and ended the week with snow and a deep freeze. I hear this week might be more of the same. Sigh.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still feeling better. The medicine the doctor put me on has been a godsend for my symptoms. I’m not 100% better, but I’m very close. The only problem, which I suppose isn’t a real problem at all, is the side effect. I’m on Prednisone, a steroid, and last week I was taking 40mgs a morning. At first, I hated it. I couldn’t sit still, and my heart would beat so hard, but then I had so much energy and focus. I was getting so much shit done!

The downside is I can’t stop eating, and my moods have been a little unpredictable. I’m not angry or even sad, I just have things to do, and I can’t be bothered with anyone. I want to be left alone to write and to work. It’s nice to have that kind of focus, but I know it can’t last. I’ve already started to taper off of the medication, but I am trying to hold on to that focus and energy so that I can bring some of it with me when I am off of it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that if it isn’t the medicine that is focusing and motivating me, then it has to be this new app I started using. I don’t usually endorse apps or services, but this one is really helping me build habits and keep my mind on what I need to do every day.

It’s called Fabulous, it is beautiful, and it’s free! I think it’s only on Android right now, but it’s on its way to iOS soon. The idea is so simple. You start with suggested tasks, like making a to-do list, doing focused work for 25 minutes, or blocking distraction, every morning, afternoon, and evening. You can add your own tasks too and then you set your alarm times.

For me, every morning at 7 AM my phone reminds me to do things like drink water, take my medicine, and write a to-do list. I can add tasks, reorder tasks, and there are built-in timers. In the afternoon I get another reminder to do things like block out distraction, study something new, do focused work, and take my vitamins. In the evening, I tidy up the house, I drink tea, I write in my journals, and I reset my goals, then I remember to floss and read just before bed.

I can’t tell you I do all of these things every day, but I try and every day it is getting easier. I like being reminded, and I love having built-in timers and chimes to alert me when to start and when to move on. It’s not a radical idea or plan at all, but it’s presented in a nice, easy to use and useful way.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been trying again/still to read Plato’s Republic. I made it half-way through this week, but it was hard. Some days it’s not so bad, but most of the time I hate it. I’ve already devoted a lot of time to it, so I don’t want to quit. I have to see this through, dammit! I have good news, though, I have given myself a little motivation to work a little harder to read the damn thing. I have put a carrot in front of my nose in the form of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and, and Orlando by Virginia Woolf.

I’m hoping I’ll try harder now that I know that after this bit of unpleasantness I can move on to more interesting and exciting things!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last night I saw the movie Get Out and it was so, so, good! I’ll write a proper review later, but for now, I will tell you to stop whatever you are doing and go buy tickets to see it. You will not be sorry.

I mean, yes, it looks a little strange and controversial but even if you just love film, especially if you love the horror genre, go see it. All the race stuff aside it is just plain creepy and so well made.

BUT I will also say, if you are a Person of Color, this movie is made for you! The issues we face were shown in a realistic way. Not overly done or “in your face.” It felt real and relatable. Some of your worst fears taken to an extreme. The kind of fears only people who have experienced if you’ve been the only person of color in the room or been caught out at night in a neighborhood, not your own, where no one looks like you, will understand.

Go see it, tell everyone about it, and support it because it really is one of the best horror films and pieces of social commentary I have ever seen.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, sadly, we have come to that time when I have to go. There is more writing to be done, and the laundry is piled up, and the dishes too, and the dog is begging for a good long walk. Thank you so much for stopping by and please, please, drop a note in the comments and let me know how you are doing. I love hearing from you all, and I like to know you are well.

Until next time :)

***

If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering (:

Written for to the Weekend Coffee Share link-up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Aldrin Adira

If We Were Having Coffee // The Hardest Month of My Life

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”

― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

Hello, dear readers. It’s been a long while since we’ve sat and had a chat and I should start by making my apologies for that. I wanted to be here, and I am sorry I couldn’t. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t do anything. BUT I am back now, or, I hope I am back. It may take me a while to get back on a schedule so let’s just say today I am back, and I hope to be back tomorrow too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since out last chat so much has happened, I am unsure where to begin. I believe that was just after my doctor’s appointment. I went in for joint pain and previous stomach issues. I explain to them that for my whole life I had experienced, off and on, bouts of extreme pain and other unpleasant and TMI symptoms that I’m sure you don’t want to hear about over your coffee.

He sent me away with a referral to the gastrointestinal department and assurances that it was probably irritable bowel syndrome.

Since that appointment, when I was experiencing very mild symptoms, I went down hill very quickly. I was worse than I had ever been. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was a ball of anxiety and pain and frustration. I cannot begin to tell you how scary it was watching my body fall apart this way.

I set up an appointment with the GI department, but the soonest I could get in was February 14th. Yes, I spent Valentine’s day sedated while a doctor took pictures of my colon.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that despite that, and somehow because of that, it was the sweetest Valentine’s day my girlfriend and I had spent together in all of our nearly 15 years together.

I remember none of the procedure and very little about what happened immediately afterward. I know that my girlfriend waited for me in recovery. I know she helped me get dressed and helped me understand what the doctor and nurses were telling me afterward.

She helped me through the preparation and took care of me afterward. She had been so supportive, sympathetic, and understanding I was nearly brought to tears the way she took care of me. She brought me home afterward, fed me, and put me to bed, just what I needed. She went to work while I rested and when I woke she was on her way back home with pizza, chocolates, and strangely, new bed sheets with phases of the moon on them. Probably the weirdest gift and the cutest gift I’ve ever received. Here’s what I wrote for her on Facebook:

I wish this Valentine’s day could have been all flowers, and chocolates, and fancy dinners but when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time you know it can’t always be that way. Today I spent the morning in the doctor’s office and the love of my life stayed in the waiting room until I was out of sedation. She helped me get dressed, helped me understand the results of my tests, took me home, made me a little lunch, and put me to bed. That was the best Valentine’s Day I could’ve hoped for. Real love is being there for someone when they are sick and never making them feel like a burden or an annoyance. It’s letting them do what they can and helping them when they can’t. It’s worrying about them, comforting and supporting them. It’s making sure I take my meds, eat the right foods, and have plenty of fluids. It’s helping me figure out what’s wrong and then helping me get well again. Thank you [honey], for everything you do for me. I know the last few weeks have been tough and you are feeling stressed but just know I appreciate you being here so much. You are the the sweetest and kindest person I know and I’m so lucky to have you in my life. Happy Valentine’s Day baby! I promise when I’m feeling better we will celebrate it right.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the diagnoses wasn’t IBS, turns out, I have ulcerative colitis. Which means my immune system just doesn’t know when to stop. My body thinks that food and beneficial bacteria are foreign invaders plotting to do harm to me and so they have gone on the attack causing inflammation and ulcers. I’m grateful those little white blood cells are trying so hard for me, but I wish they’d learn what is meant to help me and what is meant to harm.

I still have to go back to the GI department for a chat about what this means and what treatment will look like, but from the research I have done, it seems this will be a lifelong problem. I hope the symptoms will come less often and go more quickly if I keep on top of whatever plan they have for me.

For now, I am on steroids to suppress my immune system and reduce the inflammation. It’s only day two, and I’ve already noticed a difference. I am hoping by the end of the week I might be feeling more like myself. Able to work, write, and do my part at home. I hope I can have the energy to get back to doing the things I love and taking care of the people I love too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while I was not doing so well physically, it was the psychological effects that took the biggest toll. My body was betraying me. My body wasn’t mine. My body was getting in the way of everything my mind knew it needed to do. I wasn’t myself, and I was afraid I would never be myself again. I have never spiraled into a depression so quickly before. I was in tears every morning and night from pure frustration and exhaustion. I stopped talking to anyone.

The worst was not being able to write. I have fallen so far behind and it feels impossible to start again. I’m going to try, though. Slowly at first sure, but I am going to try. I want to go back, as much as I can, to the way things were. Even when I had been sick in the past, I could push, though. I could hide. No one knew I had been suffering on and off the way I was. I wasn’t so bad. I was still me. Not anymore. Everything seems changed now.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this has been some heavy conversation for what was supposed to be a light chat over coffee, I’m sorry. I felt you should have an explanation, and I needed to get it all out. I needed to say what has been happening to me and how I have been feeling. I hope to say more in the future but talking about chronic illness and particularly one that affects the bowels is hard. Part of the reason I never got help before was feeling so much shame. Shame, and our terrible healthcare system.

Don’t get me started on the healthcare system.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have to get going. I gotta eat, take me meds, and find the energy to do a little cleaning and visit with family. It was great to catch up with you all. I missed it more than I even knew. I promise next week will be more cheerful.

I hope you all had a good week, a good few weeks since I last spoke to you. Please, leave a note below and let me know how you are holding up.

Until next time :)

***

If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering (:

Featured image via Unsplash

 

 

A Most Embarrassing Thing

Today I want to talk about something I really don’t like talking about. I don’t like talking about it because it is embarrassing and frustrating and sometimes scary. See….something is wrong with my body, more specifically, something is wrong with my digestive system, and it’s really starting to affect my life in a very negative way.

I’ve had digestive problems for most of my life, but for the in the past they were pretty mild. By digestive problems I mean gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, urgency, bleeding, and fatigue. It’s all very gross and “TMI”, I know. Over the years the symptoms have come and gone and every time I hope it is the last time, but it always comes back. In fact it’s starting to seem like every time it comes back it is worse.

At this point I am planning my life around access to a bathroom. I don’t like to go do things where I will be away from a toilet for too long. It’s very frustrating to live like this and I hate being in such pain all the time. I want to go to the doctor to finally find out what is wrong with me and figure out how to make it stop so I can live my life like a normal person. The problem is an issue of money. I don’t have insurance right now and I can’t really afford to pay out of pocket for the tests and procedures I am sure I will need. I know my girlfriend is frustrated too. It can’t be easy seeing me live like this.

image

For now I am just trying to eat a more “bland” diet and be easy on my digestive tract. I am also doing a lot of research and I think what I’m dealing with is some sort of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, like Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative colitis. They sound scary but at this point I don’t care what the diagnosis is, as long as I finally have one. I want the reassurance, the confirmation, that I am not crazy, or lazy, that I have a real problem! That I have a valid reason for not being able to do everything everyone can all the time.

Doing research has also lead me to a few blogs, particularly on Tumblr, by people who suffer from similar problems as me. I was so excited to find other people who understood what it’s like to live their lives around toilets! I told my girlfriend I had found my people! She rolled her eyes but she is happy I found people who understand. Once I get an official diagnosis I will probably connect more with these people but for now it is at least a comfort. I don’t feel so alone or embarrassed, or scared….

Some times I am in so much pain I feel like my insides must be all messed up. I feel like whatever is wrong is going to kill me. Maybe not immediately, although I worry about that too when it gets really, really bad. I mostly worry that my life expectancy is greatly reduced. I assume my body isn’t functioning as efficiently as other’s and it can’t sustain that for very long. I imagine I will die early because I have crappy intestines. No pun intended.

I wrote this for two reasons. For one, I need to get this out. I have no one, besides Chardonnay, to talk to about this and I hate to make her worry so much. Two, I feel the need to join the cause to make things like this less taboo. Just like my post last week on periods this is something that I should feel okay to talk about when I need to. I shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell people why I can’t do things, why I am tired, and why exactly my stomach hurts, and nobody else going through these things should be embarrassed either!

image