Reflecting on 2017

Wow I can’t believe 2017 is drawing to a close! I wanted to write another blog before the year ends and I meant to write a couple since Thanksgiving and well life got in the way and I was sick. I guess you could call this procrastination at its finest but at least I am finally blogging again. I have missed it more then I thought I would. There are still many things I want to talk about but because today is New Years Eve I thought I would just take some time to reflect on this year and update on a few things.
  2017 has definitely been a year for me. It has been very emotionally and physically tiring at times. It has also been rewarding and I have learned a lot. I have lost friends but in that process I gained deeper friendships. I lost a lot of my independence this year due to my illness and doctor orders that I truly can’t walk much and have to use the wheelchair. On the flip side of that I have had my eyes opened a lot this year. I appreciate my family and friends SO much more. I am extremely thankful for the things I can still do even though I miss walking and exercising the way I want to so much! I have gained more doctors with new diagnoses.
       This fall I got diagnosed with POTS which stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome say that three times fast πŸ™‚ I have come to appreciate medical abbreviations and I have learned many! POTS is a form of dysautonomia. So basically my blood flow when I stand up doesn’t work “automatically”. When I stand my heart rate increases at least 30+ BPM which in turn can cause me to pass out which was happening before I got the ramp in the house. I get really dizzy sometimes when I stand up so I have to be careful and listen to my body. I never want to endure another Tilt Table Test (which is what they use to confirm a POTS diagnoses and for other diagnoses) it was miserable. The best way I can describe the feeling of POTS is to imagine you’re running and your heart rate increases while you’re exercising –  you don’t feel bad when that happens because your body is supposed to do that. When you just stand up and your heart rate is beating as fast as when you’re excising it doesn’t feel very good because you are stationary and there is no exercising going on.  So far I have not had any other new diagnoses. Doctors are still trying to piece this all together and get to the bottom of it. During the summer my endocrinologist wanted to do a regular thyroid ultrasound just to check my thyroid  because of having Hashimotos since nodules can be common, and because it has never been checked. I was totally expecting that appointment to go extremely well and that I wouldn’t have to be seen as often (funny how life works sometimes) – they found a small nodule on my thyroid and it wasn’t too concerning but he wanted to check it in 6 months to see if it would grow or anything since we didn’t know how long it had been there. I got another ultrasound done in December expecting good news. He found another small one growing on the other side of my thyroid. This is nothing urgent just something we have to monitor now. I just have to get an ultrasound every year now for a while to monitor it which I was bummed out about because I just wanted to drop some doctors which sounds bad but if you understand -you understand why πŸ˜…. I got referred to some more doctors when I went to see Dr. Gota at the end of October, and at that point I was so over doctor appointments I had a few coming up in November and December and wanted nothing more then a break. So I haven’t turned in my referrals yet which I know you’re probably thinking c’mon Abby get your life together! I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing but I needed a break! Then at the very end of November I got into a really bad flare up hence no blog posts for awhile. I had some horrible migraines and headaches. My joints and muscles hurt so incredibly bad. My knees would swell up and get bright red extremely fast and I would barely be standing. My feet swelled up and everything just hurt. Then I got hit with a stomach bug and a cold and now it’s the end of December and I am dealing with more migraines but hoping this doesn’t mean another flare up. Funny how dealing with this for almost 2 years you get to know your symptoms pretty well and the pattern of things. In January I see a neurologist to hopefully get some relief for the everyday headaches and migraines I get. I was referred to the neurologist because my rheumatologist just wants to make sure he isn’t missing something and to see if he will have any insight as to what’s going on. Based on how that appointment goes we will then send papers to Mayo Clinic. That is the plan we made with my rheumatologist locally.  I will eventually visit another pain doctor locally and get a sleep study done. (Those are the 2 referrals I need to give to my doctor.. oops). I will go back to Dr. Gota at Cleveland in the spring some time for my Fibromyalgia.  Its crazy to me that in January  a year ago I had my first appointment with Dr. Gota. I have really appreciated Dr. Gota.
   Even though at times it can be so frustrating without answers this year, I have really appreciated most of my doctors and all the time/care they put into me. I have learned to become patient although at times it can be VERY challenging. I have learned to (try) and not fear and rely on God more, to just “suck it up buttercup”. I hate getting all the tests done because I never feel good after them and I dread blood draws even though I am so used to them my skin is super sensitive. Every time I remind myself to just “suck it up” it will only last a little bit and then be done. I remind myself these are done because the doctor NEEDS this information I can’t stand in the way. I have just got to push through it. Normally its over before I know it. I have made quite the friends in the 2 labs I get my blood drawn from- they got to know me pretty well because I have such fun veins😏.  I don’t really call it strength I just view it more as well what’s my other option when it comes to getting through each day with a good attitude and relying on God. I have learned that it.s ok to not volunteer for things and to say no and to be okay with it. I have learned that working less days is better for me, which I am so thankful that worked because it has been one of the best things for me.  I have also learned that blogging is helpful for me and for the people reading it. (THANK YOU)
 Its hard to plan the future because there are so many unknowns with me but as 2018 approaches there are some very exciting things happening next year.  I can’t wait for the adventures, and new memories, and new experiences, I hope for more answers. I hope to work on not caring about what other people think of me out in public because I “don’t look sick”. I am excited to write more blog posts. As I saw somewhere on Pinterest with the new year you have 365 new days, 365 new chances.
  Thank you for taking time to read all of my blog posts this year and all the support you have shown. I try to keep you all updated and write helpful blogs. Thank you! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year. πŸŽ„πŸŽ†πŸŽ‰
             “You crown the year with Your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance.” -Psalm 65:11

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