|Moving into my new place on campus. SUU|
After High School, I went Southern Utah University. It was amazing there. I lived in a crappy, extremely old building on campus called Manzanita. I lived with 4 other girls with 1 bathroom, no dishwasher, the whole building shared a small TV, and my first ever coin operated laundry experience. I met the most wonderful people there. It really was a glorious experience. I dated a lot. It would annoy some of my roommates because I had a boyfriend at the time who was serving a mission. His name was Cameron and even though I dated a lot, I looked forward to his letters, emails, and packages. He was my first love. I met one of the greatest persons in the world there but sadly he moved away because of the missionary. So I had heartbreak as well. But before he left, it was because of him that we would go to Denny's at midnight for a shake and breakfast. He introduced me to the football team there. There was always a party to go to, or something to be involved with. I didn't have a car or a job down there, but I found ways to get places. When I first moved in, we put a banner with my phone number on our balcony. I made a lot of good friends that way. Only because they would holler from below wanting to know who would put their number out like that. I came out of my comfort zone. I wasn't afraid to meet new people or do new things. I had one of the best snow ball fights there. I made friends with some of the best people. They continue to impact my life to this day. (Matt, Fran, Kristalee, Ian, Taylor, Eric, Josh, if you somehow ever read this, your friendships are ones I'll always be grateful for. Especially when we all went out to the woods, had a campfire, and said our goodbyes to everyone.and then the night before the last day of school, we all put mattresses into my room and talked and eventually fell asleep.)
My second semester, I had missed most of the first month due to illness. I was having breathing issues. Most weekends, I traveled back up to my parents house, went to the hospital, then either hitched a ride with someone early Monday morning, or was brought down Sunday. Turns out, I'm really allergic to mold. And it was everywhere in my living quarters. Luckily that meant I could get my own room. Previously my bed was next to a really moldy window and no matter how much you cleaned you couldn't get rid of it. So having my own room allowed for a bed away from the mold as much as possible. Through out the semester I would have a few more spells. Due to the constant back and forth with a 3 hr. drive, my parents and I decided it was best to move back home after my first year and be closer to my doctors and I would finish school at Utah Valley University. Which was sad because I didn't want to leave my new friends. I loved school there and I had just started dating this really sweet guy, where my second date involved watching a movie at his parents airplane hanger. I really think that if I had stayed, that would have been a great relationship. But it apparently wasn't in the plan for me.
I came home, and the summer was going great until I started passing out. I felt week all the time and couldn't breathe. So back to the doctor I went. Shortly after, I noticed my left rib was hurting and poking out. I started having my flares that would last for 4-6 weeks. I felt bad because I had started dating a guy two days before the flare started. Our entire relationship was me crying in pain on the couch for weeks. He couldn't handle it, so he broke up with me via text and three months later married someone else. My classes were starting to slip. It was very hard to be sick for so long. At the time, I didn't imagine how anyone else could stand a 6 week illness every 3-5 weeks. After my doctor ran some tests, it showed that my ANA level was elevated. So he suggested I see a Rheumatologist up the University of Utah.
In the mean time, I had moved into a great apartment. I had the best ward, and the best time living life when I could. All my friends were so supportive. I even met more amazing people that when years go by without seeing or talking to them, its not weird and you pick up where you left off. Kenny, Shane, Nate, Brian, Ryan, Jorge, Mario, and Alec. To this day we still joke about naming my rib problem "the George".
After my first visit with the new doctor, they had diagnosed me with Lupus. One of my friends was determined to collect money from students at the school to raise money for a cure. The job I had at the time was supportive as well. People covered my shifts with no problem. So I took the medication provided and waited to get better. But I just kept getting worse. After a few months it was determined that I didn't have Lupus, but they also didn't know what it was. All they knew was some Autoimmune Disease.
It was finally decided after severe hydration and several E.R trips, that I would be admitted to the hospital at the U and a biopsy on my left rib would be performed. I'll just say, that I do not wake up well after a surgery like that. Also, the rib really hates being disturbed, so if I thought I was in bad pain before, the biopsy showed me a new level. of pain and then my recent surgery was 10 times worse. Anyway, all they found was a little bone growth. It appeared infected, but was not.
|Just had the bone biopsy of my rib|
A week later, I was doing better. I even met a guy. His name was Cameron (Cam) (this one was Canadian). I picked him up in his truck at the Wal-Mart parking lot. He brought back a lot of life in me. He was my second love. We were inseparable. He was so sweet to me. Every time I had to got the E.R. for my rib pain, he was always there. I knew he hated hospitals. He had watched his mom die of cancer in one. We dated for about 6 months. We looked at wedding rings, we were making plans, he took me home to Canada to farm for a week. That was an amazing trip and the furthest I had ever traveled. Then two days after I had another trip to the E.R, he came to see me. He said for one, that I was too thin to have kids and he refused to adopt, so that was an issue. ( I was really thin and stayed that way for while. I couldn't gain weight. I was 110 pounds at 5'9". One day, a couple years later I was suddenly able to gain weight and I gained a lot at once. As if it were overnight). Then he told me that if we got married, he would have to give up some of his fun with the family if I happened to be sick during that time. He couldn't handle my illness ruining his plans. I was sobbing at this point. He was the first break-up I ever cried over. He claimed I wasn't trying enough to get better. All because I was skeptical of trying this homeopathic treatment that his whole family said cured his dad of Cancer. So after we broke up, I called his step mom up and ordered the treatment he wanted me to try. Which by the way, it didn't work. A few weeks later he called me to get back together and that lasted another 3 weeks because I saw him at dinner with another girl. I had been sick yet again. All in all, the main reason for the breakup was because he couldn't handle my illness. It broke me. I didn't know how to trust people after that when dealing with my illness.
|Dustin and I waiting to see|
Phantom of the Opera, also first time
he told me he loved me.
We eventually married and it was magical for a while. I had even gotten my flares to not come so often or last as long. I had stopped making so many trips to the hospital as well. The times I was sick, he would stay up all night with me and hold me when I cried due to the pain. He did everything he could to distract me from the pain. I miss that. Especially now. Up until the last month of our marriage, he continued to be sweet when I got sick. That last month he was never around, he was mean, blamed me for being sick. Though now I realize it was a deflection from the choices he made that ultimately led to our divorce. But once again, I was broken. Only this time, I was divorced and broken.
After a while, I decided I felt well enough that I could go back to school. Best decision, because it opened up so many doors for me. I met a professor who has since become my mentor and great friend. Roger Blomquist. He got me an internship, allowed me to be in a documentary, and with his help, I had one of my papers published in the schools journal. I was making plans. I even decided I wanted to go to Grad School. My life was starting to be full again and though I wasn't dating at all, ( in fact since the divorce I've hardly dated at all. It's been 4 years) something quickly changed. I had to take another break from school. Once again, all my plans were put on hold.
I became extremely anemic. I had to do 2 months worth of Iron infusions each week. I had a painful cyst on my left Kidney. Now I know I have Poly-cystic Kidney Disease as well, and the cysts on my kidneys is what has been the Iron deficiency. Also, my flares had changed dramatically. There was less time in between them. That's when I first went on FMLA. After my cyst was drained I felt I was doing better. That lasted about a week. Since June hit this past year, nothing has been the same. I couldn't work anymore. I had to move out of my apartment and back in with my parents. The friends that once rallied with me to keep me happy and social have all disappeared. Except my married friends. There are very few who have come to visit and keep in contact since I moved. Most, I haven't heard from since I moved. Most didn't visit me in the hospital when I had part of my rib removed. Some came. A few of them were the same friends who never stopped contact. The rest, I hadn't heard from again until my 30th birthday. And now it's silent again.
Now, I have no school to attend because I physically can't make it, I can't work because I physically can't make it, I have no church to attend because I physically can't make it, I can't drive anymore, I can barely walk up and down the stairs, I can't read, I can barely type this up. It takes several breaks. I'm divorced, living at home, and most of my friends have deserted me. All of my 20's were mostly spent sick, but I always had hope and friends to keep me social and have fun in between. Now that I don't have any days of wellness, I'm mostly lonely. It's why I deleted my friends from facebook except for family, my health page, and my ward activity page. I couldn't stand to see that everyone was living life and enjoying it without me. It hurt too much. They stopped inviting me to things even though most likely I couldn't go, it made me sad to see them all at events having fun. So many people have left my life because they couldn't handle my illness. So many people forget that if someone is out of sight, out of mind, that their trust with that someone is being lost and the friendship weakens. Thanks to this illness, I've lost a lot and I've learned a lot about people. I know who I can trust and who I can't. I know who can handle chronic illnesses, and who shy away from them after a while. I'm sorry this illness has taken so much. I'm sorry that I can't be well according to other people's schedules, and I'm sorry that people are tired of an illness that has been 11 years and counting.
My days are spent in my bed. Sometimes I'll watch a mindless show like "GREEK" to get my mind off the pain. Sometimes I'll color. Sometimes I'll just lay there and think about my first year in college and how I had so many dreams and adventures waiting for me. I'll think about how I got to where I am today. The people in my life who impacted me the most. Most of it is filled with pain, but some happy adventures. My dreams and adventures are on pause. Maybe I'll never re-marry or have children, I mean who honestly wants to date me at this point? Maybe I'll never receive my Bachelors Degree. Maybe I'll never see some of my friends again and have a crazy fun adventure with them, maybe I'll never get to Europe, but I do have my memories and I have TV shows to watch and pretend that's my life. I have my faith that in the next life, it will be made up for. Still it's hard. And each day gets harder as no progression is made, except slowly getting worse. I understand more of people's loneliness, frustration, grief, pain, wanting to give up, and that having that first year of college was one of my greatest blessings. It all led to this moment now. I'm thankful for the people who have been in and out of my life. Whether they knew it then or know it now, their encounters gave me something and I'm grateful.
|It was a good day|
|The famous statues on Campus at SUU|
|Day after I got engaged, weight was|
starting to come on
|My friend Denny and I|
|I used to be on the lake nearly every day|
|Some of my very best friends|
|I loved adventures|
|More of my very best friends and I|