Where Oh Where Have You Been?

When I started this blog, it felt like I had time. Time to write. Time to share. Time to breath. But alas, that is not always the case. After my fall into the rabbit hole with my health setback, I took a break from social media to seek out more connection, to myself, those around me, and in nature. For me, recovery  this time (for body and soul) included a change of surrounding, and I challenged myself by signing up for a travel course at my school based on Celtic Spirituality.

With classmates, professors, and new friends, I visited the Isle of Iona in the outer Hebrides in Scotland. I added to this experience by tacking on almost an extra week in Scotland with my friend and colleague (Yes, she’s both! Aren’t I lucky to work with friends?) Kerri. We were like a couple of (youngish) college kids, taking on the Scottish Highlands by train, bus, and ferry. It was FANTASTIC!

*I’ll write more about my trip in a separate blog, for now, I want to continue sharing with you why I took time away.

Both before and after my trip, I had been working in a summer internship placement at our local Dress For Success. Certainly a wonderful learning opportunity that lasted six full weeks upon my return. By the time my internship was over, summer almost was too.

There was the ever present work-life rush, and I just couldn’t find the time to come up for air. Scotland was a much needed respite, though I’m certain my body was still healing from the failed infusion. Almost as soon as we arrived, the cold and rain brought with it the need for steroids and out came the old reliable prednisone. Makes my body feel great, but my mind and my appetite go berserk.  Of course, jumping from work, to travel, to work, my body still had no time to rest.

I still didn’t take the hint.

I planned for us to take a trip to the Outer Banks of NC, where I was certain I could finally rest. The heat tires me out, but the beach begs to relaxation. However, a power outage on the islands the week before left had us changing our plans last minute. Our high school friend Jessica came to the rescue! She and her wonderful family live just north of Washington D.C. and they kindly opened their home to us and saved our vacation.

DC did a number on me though. Have you been to DC before? So you know (and if you don’t), there’s all that walking. Let me repeat. All. that. walking. You walk and walk and walk to get where you need to get and in early August, with a body that hates the heat just as much as it hates itself, that was a really stupid idea.

I had fun, oh tons of fun, but with each night came terrible aches. By the time we made it home a few days later, I needed another week to recover from the week I had just had. But there wasn’t time for that because school was starting back again.

It’s right about here where you say, “Woman. You are dumb. Don’t you get it?” And it’s right about here where I say, “Woman. You are dumb. Don’t you get it?” Okay, okay, well maybe dumb isn’t the right thing to say. But I should get it. After ten years plus of living with chronic illness and moderate to severe rheumatoid disease, I should know better. That brings me to now.

I’m three weeks in to my final year of divinity school. I’m trying to navigate my first unit of CPE (clinical pastoral education) at our local university hospital and family and school. It’s not going very well. Yet. I also, need to begin another treatment option.

All that time this summer when I thought I was over doing it, was really my body just not healing with the new meds I started after my failed chemo. I knew I wasn’t feeling good. I never let that stop me from having a wonderful summer though. Yes, my body fails me sometimes, I don’t let that keep me from living my best life. The best I can under the circumstances. So next week, I’ll start back on a new infusion.  That’s three med changes in less than a year. Next week, you’ll find me hooked up to an IV reading a book about grief and dying or pastoral care trying to fit it all in. I’m still learning to navigate too life with chronic illness. I will always be learning that because I will always be changing.

I’ll do my best, which is all I can do.

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