Month: July 2015

Worry, and The Friendly Spider Dad Killed.

I can’t sleep. I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately. But there was also a huge spider crawling next to me in my bed about an hour ago (I woke my dad up to kill it, thanks dad, may said spider RIP, but I’m convinced there’s more of them crawling around) so I really can’t sleep. I told you in my last blog post that I start my senior year in a little over a week, I’m not nervous I’m more excited really but I can’t stop reflecting back on my life. Maybe that’s what happens when you start growing old. (Grandma I know you’re reading this, do you reflect on life often?) (Sorry grandma I didn’t mean to call you old!)

It’s really weird for me to think about high school coming to an end because high school is really the time in which my health declined. I remember being a happy little middle schooler, okay maybe not a happy one because middle school was terrible, (it was full of weird eyeliner and braces) but never then did I ever think I would be who I am. I guess that kind of goes back to what I said in the last blog post about things changing.

Anyways I’m here now, I’ve made it, and I’m only 10 months away from being on my own in the world. My diagnosis has never been terminal, in fact nothing about my illness ever really has, except for my fall. (If you aren’t familiar with my big leap of glory or lack there of I had a cheerleading accident in December of 2012 where I fell 10ft out of a cheerleading stunt and landed head first on a basketball gym floor. Resulting in the beginning of my one sided friendship with POTS.) Somehow though my brain and I are still hanging on. But back to the point nothing about my journey has had a terminal label on it and I spend a lot of time thinking about what impact that has had on me.

I’ve met a lot of people along my journey that are currently/or have gone through situations where their odds haven’t been as promising as mine. It really has affected how I’ve carried on, I’m similar in a sense of the sick kid club but I’m also very different.  The goal for many life altering and chronic illnesses is being ‘cured’. I say ‘cured” in ‘ ‘ because even after the thing is gone you are still forever changed from it, in both good and bad ways. POTS doesn’t have a ‘cure’, you can treat it and manage it but there’s not like chemo or radiation where you work to eliminate this thing inside of you that you can clearly see.

With Cancer, or Cystic Fibrosis, or even Lyme Disease there is this ‘thing’ that shows up, there is physical visible evidence of the thing that is attacking the fighter. I struggle with that a lot, because with POTS there is no physical beast inside, of course there is a beast but you can’t see it (hence the reason for the term ‘invisible illness’). This has really messed me up because I’ve always struggled feeling as if I have needed to prove or validate me saying that I am sick. I know that people aren’t trying to beat me down, or prove me wrong, and could care less but I have always felt the need to stand up for myself and prove that I really am sick.

This seems really silly that a 17 year old girl is worrying about proving her right to call in sick days amongst the billion other things there are to worry about (like spiders). Maybe it comes from the fact that for so long I was overlooked and told I was fine. Maybe it comes from the lack of education and resources for rarely diagnosed disorders. Maybe it comes from being told that I was making everything up in my head. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter to me, I just know I’ve spent a lot of my life the last 3 years trying to justify to others why I am the way I am and that’s really not the way it should be.

Like I said I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately as senior year approaches and I prepare to be on my own adventure with college, adios madre and padre. I’ve only now begun to realize how much I’ve missed out on because I’ve spent so much time worrying about what others might say or think about me, because of how I do things and manage to live with POTS. I’ve spent too much time trying to prove that I’m a sick kid, rather than just embracing it and not caring what everyone else thought about it.

I hope that whatever you do in life you do without worrying about what others will think of you. I know that’s so much easier said than done, but when you think about it at the end of the day all we are ever doing is wondering about what so and so is thinking about us. Plus I can guarantee that they are probably doing the same worrying about others opinions of themselves as well. Unless they’ve managed to be one of those super awesome people that just lives their life regardless of others input, but even those people still worry too. Look at me I’m even worried about a spider that can’t even talk back to me. We live in a world of worry, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Living LIFIER.

The blog is 2 YEARS old this week. That’s such a terrifying thing to type on the blog because it well, it means a lot of things. It means that for 2 years now I have been rambling on about things, but it also means that for 2 whole years I have had things to say and address. Which while we are at it we might as well address how this 2 years very much feels more so like 5 years.

I think as humans we often (or at least on my behalf) start things with a certain intention of where they will end up and we much later realize that it didn’t exactly end up that way at all. If you take the time to look way way back to the start of this blog, which I wouldn’t necessarily encourage doing, you will notice that it started as a place for me to update others on my health (to put it politely, but really it was just me complaining about things, but you know we all start somewhere I guess.) So now that we have fast forwarded (is that a word) 2 years it’s turned into a dumping place for the many thoughts that run around inside my head. Definitely not what I thought it would be, but then again things don’t happen that way remember.

I’ve learned though many times, that things almost never, (in Merideth world) EVER go how I plan. Now is when I would tell you a story about how things didn’t end up right but I can’t think of one. [Insert inspirational life changing story about how something Merideth planned didn’t go as it was planned.]

So what is the point to this rambling this time?  I think it’s that we need to go into things with open minds more often than we go into things with set decided minds. I think that when we leave room for change we also leave room for growth and learning and sometimes even new.  I’ve never been a fan of uncharted territory, I much prefer to have set plans and know what’s happening, it’s a comfort kind of thing. However it seems that when I don’t have everything planned out I end up having a better time. [Now is when I would tell you a story about how an unplanned event turned out to be really great.] It’s sometimes nice to leave life up to life.

So as the blog celebrates it’s 2 year anniversary and embarks on year 3 I embark on my senior year and so many more opportunities…including the Teeter-Totter-A-Thon (I will be sure to tell you all about it, stay tuned in mid September!). I encourage you to join me and embark on your new opportunities with open minds. Maybe we will live life a little more lifier (that is definitely not a word). Here’s to lifier days friends!

#LifeGoals

We live in a society that currently has an ideal image of the “perfect life” you know “#life goals”.  I’m heading into my senior year of high school and as I look back on the past three years my #lifegoals sure have changed. 

I went into high school wanting to be an artist when I was older, I was a cheerleader, I cared too much about what everyone thought about me, and I set ridiculously high expectations for myself. In between then and now I’ve done a lot of things; I’ve fallen 10 ft out of the air, I’ve learned that at the end of the day how you see yourself is the only things that matters, I’ve hit the curb and then reversed and hit the other curb, but most importantly I’ve learned that my #lifegoals should never be defined or limited based on anyone else’s opinions. 

I do a lot of things in my life now without thinking about being sick and that is such an accomplishment because for so long I couldn’t do anything without addressing myself as the sick kid. One of the most detrimental things we can do is put ourselves inside a box and keep ourselves from becoming anything outside of it. You see we set these expectations and these #lifegoals for ourself often without even realizing it so that when we don’t accomplish just that we consider ourselves a failure. Society has labeled what is acceptable and what is perceived as great and that’s where my little tiny self steps in.  

I am not an athlete, I may have once attempted sports but I am not an athlete. I am not a straight A student, I do well in school but I am not a straight A student. I do not have a musical talent, I do sing in the shower but I do not have a musical talent. I don’t have all the money in the world or the best clothes, or anything else that makes #lifegoals.  I however have struggles, obstacles, and barriers in my life. I AM someone that has the capability of achieving things despite any of my bumps along the way. I am not #lifegoals but that’s okay because I have an appreciation for life that only comes from being able to look beyond the ideal image of #lifegoals and create my own version of it. 

When we set standards for ourself and others we build a society that allows nothing less than perfection but it is failure that teaches us the most. Before we can learn to love and appreciate others we must first learn to appreciate and love ourselves. Our #lifegoals must be those that embrace both failure and accomplishment along the way. What are your #lifegoals, and what do you have to do to help yourself get there? 

After 4 Years, I Saw the Other Side of Life.

I spent the last 3 weeks at the OSU College of Medicine in a program focused on minorities interested in becoming doctors, and entering the medical profession. I spent the last 3 weeks on the opposite side of my life, for once I was no longer seen as the patient, or the sick girl, or the broken one. Instead, I was acknowledged as someone that was strong, confident, and determined. I’ve spent the last four years of my life as the patient, I’ve been the one picked up off of the floor when it was too hard to stand on my own, I’ve been the one visited in the hospital, I’ve been the one poked and prodded, I’ve been the patient. But for 3 weeks I spent my days on the other side of life, I greeted the hurt, I listened to the the need for help, I saw the broken, and I pushed for MY patients.

There aren’t words to explain really the feeling of being able to step outside of the sick shoes, there’s just happy dances, and happy tears (a lot of them). It’s the little glimpse into the future that gives you the tiny light that reminds you which direction you are supposed to keep running. I lose the little light all the time on my journey, I get lost in the comfort and normal I’ve made of being sick and I forget to follow the path that leads me to healthier days, but every now and then the light shines again and it’s so comforting to be reminded of where you are going. I spent the last 3 weeks as a normal person, and I have to keep saying it over and over again because it still does’t quite make sense that I was able to do so.

When I tell people around me I want to be a doctor many say “don’t you want to run away from all of the medical world?”. You would think any sane person would say yes, pack up their bags and head to brighter worlds with guaranteed happiness and easy work each day and just relax. But you see theres something so indescribable about giving back. To be able to stare at someone in a hospital bed and just instantly know what they are feeling, but to also be the one that gets to help them and watch them overcome what is keeping them there. There are many times that medicine fails, but there are also many times that medicine succeeds and when it does it ignites a spark that builds a fire to only continue to further the capabilities of it. There are times when medicine fails so poorly that you lose just about all hope in it ever doing something right but then you see something work and that, that is what it’s all about.

There’s something so rewarding about giving back because I am so much more than just a number of a patient with a condition that is defined by limitations, and giving back to prove the numbers wrong well that’s just bliss. POTS has a very big label attached to it as being a debilitating disorder and my goodness is that right but what people fail to recognize is that there are possibilities beyond the label and that there are ways to become more than it. I’m a believer that we all have the capability of becoming more than our label if we push ourselves hard enough and strive to prove the odds wrong. I’m a believer that there is good in each of us when we are given the chance to let it show. I’m a believer that even when we fail we still have the ability to succeed. I’m a believer in happiness, I’m a believer in overcoming. I spent the last 3 weeks on the other side of life, and it is only just the beginning, but it is so bittersweet.