Still Alive

Okay.  So I know I haven't updated in a very long time.  There were a couple of occasions where I felt like I could have said something but the past several months were marked with such unpredictability I couldn't say precisely where my life was headed.  Then I realized that I will never know for sure and that's exactly what my life is allowed to be at this moment.

When I say that a lot has happened in the last several months, it's an understatement.  I left a job I was extremely secure at and found a new job in downtown Philly.  I moved out on my own to an apartment not far from my work and began a new chapter in my life.  A new volume, perhaps.

It was a more difficult adjustment than I imagined to live completely on my own. I am lucky enough to be financially secure, but I wasn't prepared emotionally for what that type of drastic change would bring.  I felt like a million things happened at once and it was overwhelming, but I got through it. I am still getting through it.  I am working full-time, living on my own, paying my own bills, going to school full time, and still dealing with chronic illness. The truth is, no matter how healthy I am, I will always deal with Crohn's.  That will never change.

I should mention the small problems I've had with my ostomy.  I've been having a lotttttt of issues with my stoma and saw a surgeon at the University of Penn last month.  He recommended I make some changes, which I did, with little positive result.  I've basically been complaining about my stoma since I first had surgery in 2009 and none of my doctors have ever listened to me.  I was actually shocked that the surgeon at Penn looked at it and agreed, basically telling me, "They set you up for failure with this".  I could go into detail about what a stoma should look like and how it functions, but it's not important.  Many surgeons are reluctant to make such a minor operation to correct the mistake of another doctor, so it was impressive that he listened and sympathized with me. In his words, I have to live with this the rest of my life so I might as well have a stoma that functions exactly the way it should.  The next step will be to schedule a minor outpatient surgery in December or January when I am on break from school.  It's not a big deal at all and it won't require a huge recovery time like past surgeries.  

Otherwise, the last time I posted I talked about how I came off my anti-depressant, but recently I went back on another form.  It was hard to admit to myself that I still needed medicine, but I've been better since I started back on it and while I know it is not a permanent situation, it's what I need for right now.  I'm okay with that.  I went through so much to get my body healthy, it would be shameful to let my pride stand in the way of keeping my mind just as secure.  I know a lot of it has to do with the ostomy issues and feeling like I lost control again in the same way I was when I was really sick.  So I'm looking forward to getting all of this straightened out.

I think I also realized how active I need to keep my mind.  I took the summer off from school and felt like I made a lot of bad decisions in that time because I had too much idleness that I couldn't bear.  I need the structure of school, the discipline, the mental stimulation, and the tremendous challenges each of my courses brings.  While it's stressful, it's also what makes me tick.  I love learning.  I love being challenged.  And I love that every time I leave class I feel like I am a better person because of the knowledge I've gained.  Through school I've also become more confident in myself.  Throughout every job I've ever had, other people always believed in me more than I believed in myself.  Now that I am in a truly competitive academic environment, I understand how much this is true.  I am learning to accept the praise that accompanies my hard work.

Perhaps the most difficult lesson of the past year has been understanding that healthiness doesn't equate to happiness.  I always thought once that part of my life was restored then everything else would fall into place.  But life is a lot more work than that. And I'm willing to work my ass off for my piece of happiness.

Till next time...