Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014, A Recap

As I sit back and ponder 2014, all I can say is wow. 2013 was extremely scary for me in terms of medical drama. Although 2014 did have a few scary moments, it was filled with so many amazing moments. I continued to prove to myself and to prove to the world how I am Clearly Alive. Below is my month by month recap.

January

Goofing off in the Desert during our Engagement Photo Shoot.
January 2014 started out much better than January 2013. There were no emergency room visits or near collapses. In fact, I actually traveled to Arizona and California to take care of some wedding things and meet my husband's family for the first time. I also participated in the very first Adrenal Insufficiency meeting in Addison, TX where eleven of us gathered for food and fellowship. I was reminded of how beautiful it is to be able to chat with others who can relate to my journey. We might live with a rare disease, but we do not need to live with it in isolation!

February

Too Cold To Hold.
SO MUCH COLDER than last year.
In February, I ran the same five mile race that I did last year. But this time my running buddy was at my side. In hindsight, I should have increased the total amount of HC I took for the race because that evening was rather rough. Given all of the stress that was rapidly approaching (a wedding, an international move, a new job assignment), I increased the total amount of HC that I took daily. And guess what? My constant stomach pain went away. Food no longer made me feel sick! My blood pressure and POTS stabilized. Symptoms that I was told repeatedly did not relate to my Adrenal Insufficiency did indeed directly tie back to improper cortisol coverage. I can now stand up without fear of blacking out! That in and of itself is a major victory.

March

The Husband and I.
On March 1st 2014, I married my best friend. We had purposefully chosen to have an outdoor wedding in the desert, but the desert had other plans for us. However, the wedding was absolutely perfect and the desert down-pour made for a more amazing story. Because my husband and I are insane, we left America exactly three days after the wedding to begin our six month adventure on the other side of the world.

April

The Husband and I in Singapore.
April 19th marked the one year anniversary of my nightmare. I had no concept of how long it would take me to recover and I can still openly admit that I have not regained my full strength. I also don't think I ever will. Each time I head towards an adrenal crisis, a bit of my life is stolen from me. However, I am in a much better place health wise. My husband and I also took a spontaneous trip to Singapore where we had the pleasure of meeting Kieara of Glee Kitchen. If you ever go to Singapore, I highly recommend you try her food!

May

Dinner in Hong Kong with a fellow AI'er and her support network.
In May, I began to show signs of too much cortisol and started the wean down to appropriate levels. Cortisol is a very interesting drug. The medical community must understand that those of us with Adrenal Insufficiency do not want to overdose or under-dose our medicine. I want to take the right amount for my body and my body will show me what that amount is if I listen. There is not one magical textbook dose. I also had the ability to meet Wendy and her family in Hong Kong. I used to feel isolated and alone in my journey, but that is so far from the truth! If you feel alone and isolated, please take courage in the fact that you are not. There are others who do understand.

June

FYI: IV's in the wrist or hand are one of the most painful spots for me.
But I was so dehydrated, this was the only spot the doctor could get.
In June, I had the opportunity to return to Korea for the first time in five years. While it was fun showing my husband some of the same spots from my study abroad, the stress of the trip (emotional, physical, mental) eventually caught up with me and I narrowly staved off an adrenal crisis with an emergency injection and IV fluids in the airport. One of my biggest fears actualized. And I survived.

July

Living a Dream in Thailand.
In July, we traveled to Thailand, Kuantan, and Myanmar. The trip to Thailand felt like a dream. We rode elephants, played with tigers, saw countless Buddhas and tasted amazing food. Yet the entire time I had to be extremely mindful of dehydration and physical exhaustion. In Myanmar, I had the ability to deliver a speech to a small village about my life mission to be Clearly Alive. We almost canceled that speech due to another scare at the airport. Through process of elimination, my husband and I finally realized that it was the Malaysia Airline's water that kept making me sick. I am not a fan of that airline.

August

At some point I'll share with y'all this experience.
Very thankful for my husband, my Malaysian Endo, and the A&E that recognized the urgency of my situation.
August marked the end of our six months in Malaysia. Just when I thought I had a handle on Malaysian food, I ate bad chicken. My last weekend in Malaysia was spent with a three day hospital admission. I must admit, this was not exactly how I wanted to end my six month international work assignment. However, it did make me all the more ready to return home and begin the next chapter in my Texas life.

September

The Olive Thief is happy I am back!
September marked a month of readjustment as my husband and I unpacked and settled back into our American life. Confession: every now and then, he and I still find ourselves walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk due to Malaysia. I also started in my permanent role as a Validation Engineer for integrated circuits. Although I am unbelievably grateful for our six month adventure abroad, I cannot express my gratitude enough to be home in Texas. The husband and I have no plans on leaving any time soon.

October

Got to see Big Tex for my birthday!
In October, I celebrated my 25th birthday at the Texas State Fair with friends. I had to actively monitor my self talk. State fairs are known for the glorious amount of fried foods. Because I am required to eat gluten free, I cannot enjoy any fried food. But guess what I can enjoy? TURKEY LEG!!!! May I continue to focus on positives and remember that no matter how many times my body tries to kill me, I am Clearly Alive. I also want to give a shout out to my husband. In October, he started at his amazing engineering job. He put his career on pause in 2014 so that we could wed and move to Malaysia. I am unbelievably thankful for his sacrificial love and support. I would not be where I am today without him by my side.

November

Little did I know that burger on my plate would make me sick just a few hours later.
November marked the two year anniversary of my blog. I am extremely thankful for the continual support from y'all. Thank you for investing in my story. Thank you for your encouraging words. I am not sure where this journey will lead, but I promise that I will always continue to fight to remain Clearly Alive. I also ate an under-cooked burger at a restaurant which lead to food poisoning and another emergency injection. It is a bit unnerving at how good my husband is becoming at stabbing me and saving my life. Turns out he would like me to be Clearly Alive as well! I am happy to report that we took the lessons learned from my August experience and I was only knocked down for 24 hours instead of the three days in a hospital. I am constantly learning how to live with Adrenal Insufficiency and constantly adapting so that the super scary experiences of the past need not repeat themselves.

December 

Want this shirt? Order here.
All proceeds will be donated to either AIU or NADF.
In December, my husband and I relayed the Dallas Marathon with three others. I ran the last leg which consisted of 5.7 miles. During the run, a woman approached me and asked where I had gotten my sweatshirt (I designed them, by the way. Want one?). She was running the full marathon and had been diagnosed with Addison's Disease in 2007. How awesome is that? Even when I thought I was running alone, I found someone who could relate to my journey.

We will always be diseased. There is no cure, and I will be on life-saving steroids until I die. But my disease does not define me, and I am far from isolated. I am so much more than the 251.44 code that I see written on every single one of my doctors' forms.

I am Clearly Alive.

I cried tears of joy as I sprinted across that finish line of the Marathon. I did it. I finished 2014 strong.

Bring it on, 2015.

I'm more than ready for you.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Amber, for sharing your experiences. I always enjoy reading your posts, and as a fellow AI, I gain experience through your experiences.

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  2. I am encouraged when I read your posts. I have addisons and 2014 had me not absorbing the oral meds and now I am on a cortisol pump. It saved my life and I am greatful, it is different and I feel alone in my trials, as I don't know anyone with addisons to compare notes. You are strong and I love seeing you live. You go girl!
    Mikki Hyde

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    1. Oh I'm so thankful you feel encouraged when you read my posts! I write to encourage and share hope :) That's not promising that every day is perfect or without trial, but as a whole I work really hard to remain optimistic.

      And how exciting about the cortisol pump!

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