Spreading Awareness or am I Finding Purpose

I began this blog a while ago. I had zero direction other than I had something to say…. about just about everything! And I found my words to be an endless river of complaining, ranting, and purging what I felt was wrong in any given situation in my life.

When I slowly lost interest in keeping up with “blogging” I also lost interest in sharing anything because I had become a big downer.

It’s one thing to feel overwhelmed by sad events, bad news, poor prognosis, loneliness and feeling as if the universe had finally got to my place in line, it had now become my turn. The universe had looked over my resume and found me to be quite ungrateful for the wonderful life I’d been handed and was really mucking it up with all these negative posts, and woe is me stories.

My purpose for writing a blog had always been to share my stories about becoming ill later in life and great, positive words and thoughts to write, share? Inspire and help. Boy did I ever miss that mark!

Gosh, I can really complain and blame. So I stopped writing. If I had nothing nice to say, then stop writing it! And I did.

It was a good decision to do so. Because I’m not a writer, number one, and number two, it was bringing ME down!

Fast forward to now. After three years of struggles with Achalasia under my belt, I found my voice in vlogging. I’m able to express my self the best and in the truest form of me through speaking about my life.

Maybe I’ll find a happy in between point. I think I’m starting to.

I started my YouTube channel eleven years ago, it was about learning to play bass guitar as a form of doing something therapeutic for myself after my Lupus diagnosis. It was fun, helpful, and indeed therapeutic.

During this time, my health went down hill but I’ve learned a lot about coping with everything associated with illness. The most important lesson I’ve learned was what works for ME specifically. That would be by combining my love for music with the challenge of learning to play bass guitar, which is my favorite musical instrument, I could escape my dark thoughts of “why me,” “why am I constantly getting new and worse symptoms,” and, will I ever be well again?

Getting to the point here, my answer is yes. Yes it will help and I WILL, not meaning to, find purpose.

I’m enjoying making videos discussing my Achalasia and Lupus. I feel my personality is better expressed in talking about it, rather than writing because that’s how I’m wired.

So, my channel was restarted, but with a new theme, Achalasia. I don’t honestly care about the number of visits or subscribers. I enjoy sharing my story and hearing other people’s journeys.

I’m happy having this place to talk, even if it’s just to myself. I honestly am.

So, like they say, visit my channel! I’m just getting going. It’s about my diagnosis of Achalasia, lupus and eventually will discuss how playing the bass and music in general helps me heal and helps my soul.

Visit it at


Click on my Achalasia playlist, there are also playlists of my bass guitar attempts!

Thank you and here’s hoping that if you’re finding yourself down or lonely, remember there’s always a positive to be found. Always.

It’s OK to Not Be OK

Giving Myself the Grace to Be Honest

The profound affects of having Achalasia, Lupus SLE, MCTD, Esophageal Spams, Tooth Infection resulting in oral surgery, Shingles viral Meningitis, CSF Leak, Blood Patch and having a PEG Feeding Tube resulting in malnourishment of my body, my emotional and mental health and how I’m learning to advocate for myself, I’m feeling the burdens and finding that the fight is never over, the names, the diagnoses and the participants just change.

So, let’s work together! No one likes to be sick or have serious illnesses and no one taking good care of us wants to be stretched to the limit and stressed. I say open the dialogue and learn from each other. Because I honestly do appreciate your knowledge and your expertise.

Remember that we’re the ones feeling bad wearing a hospital gown five sizes too large, feeling stripped of our control, our humility and eventually, for some of us, our ability to find hope.

The best care and treatment I’ve received from months of unrelenting illnesses, one after the other, has been from the nurses who’ve cared for me around the clock. Or, at the clinic appointment, have taken the time to say, “hi Susie, how have you been? I’m glad you’re out of the hospital.” Words, simple words. the hospital nurses? All I can say is wow, I don’t know how they do what they do day after day. I’ve been very fortunate to have met some wonderful nurses who I didn’t even need to ask anything of them, they just saw the look on my face and next thing I knew they’d pulled up a chair, sat next to my bed, and just chatted with me. They make me feel human again. And I know they pay a heavy price for the extra time they take to spend a moment talking to me, asking me about my family or where I’m from. They get it, that many of us are burnt out fighting our illnesses and everything that comes with them. They see it all and must hold it all together until they finally get home to their family, their life, with a load of sadness in their heart sometimes or pure exhaustion from working for hours, a highly demanding job.

Just one illness for example has caused me not only pain, malnourishment and the inability to eat or drink orally. But has caused me months of financial stress, phone calls, collection agencies suing me for unpaid medical bills that, while in my sick and weakened state, I fought by investigating why my health insurance hadn’t paid, finding billing errors, calling to point them out, but not getting any help. Until having to hire an attorney because I was being summoned to court for the foreclosure of my home, my only asset, to pay a $12,000 hospital bill that had finally been paid in full after the claim was processed correctly. I’m just a person, disabled, fighting to stay alive and afloat. I didn’t ask for any of this. I’d always taken care of my body, never drank or smoked, very active until Lupus hit.

I now know what it feels like to be invisible. I’m a bar code on a hospital bracelet asked to repeat my name and date of birth numerous times a day, a security protocol so I’m not given the wrong medication I guess.

I’ve found that having to be the person, in the huge gown, laying in a bed, looking up at the well groomed doctor, in a suit, looking down at me, asking me the same questions I’ve repeated day after day, is humiliating for me because the line of questioning borders on an interrogation. Much like questioning whether I’m really feeling this or that or could it be any stress I may be experiencing in my life. My only saving grace is the invasive diagnostic test done that clearly shows that it’s not stress or some odd love of hospitals that brings me in and admitted, but something actually not working right, a problem. But the trust and respect I used to have for doctors has already been tainted by one dismissive, cocky, hospitalist. I remind myself that there ARE “nice” doctors that I’ve had, they’ve just all retired unfortunately.

Nobody is immune to what this life can throw at us. Schooling, money, status, has zero effect on many diseases and illnesses that can hit us. It’s best to remind myself that even if I make it through this rough patch and life becomes more about what camping spot looks best and less about when will this pain stop and am I going to make it? Who must I pay first this month to continue treatment or get on the surgery schedule? That appreciating each day and the people in it that have compassion and empathy are the role models I respect.

I’m guilty of my years working with horses in film and television while still keeping my other job, a legal clerk in circuit court, feeling like I’m fine! Sick? Never! I’m doing everything right and life is my playground. Feeling agitated when my mom began to get sick more often, then start to fade, not able to do all the activities we’d enjoyed. Come on mom! Stay positive! Why all the worries and sad face lately? She’d entered into the abyss I now find myself, and I was too busy being superwoman to stop and look into her eyes to see her fear, sadness, confusion and frustration. I was, however able to get my act together in time to find compassion and empathy for my mom and show her she mattered no matter what. That she was my hero whether chasing down a runaway steer or fighting the cancer that would eventually take her from me.

This past year has been difficult but has taught me a lot. I’m better for it. I don’t particularly like some of the ridiculous, absurd and dismissive situations I found myself in. But, those made me appreciate the good folks more. Those that have made their passion for caring about and for others their life work. Thank you all. You honestly rock and if you haven’t heard it today, I hope you find this after your long day caring for all of us and realize many of us who are hitting the nurse button don’t take that power lightly. We know it comes at the expense of a skilled, qualified person on the run but compassionate enough to find a way to answer it.

Intuition, it’s a Beautiful Thing



Intuition is a beautiful thing.  It’s that faint feeling that what you feel or hear may be more than what you think is normal, or what someone tells you it is.  It’s that little voice that tells you that something is not what it seems.  Intuition is knowing yourself better than anyone else knows you to the point that what may sound reasonable enough when told to you, still has you thinking otherwise.  But you move forward, go on, and you live your life accordingly.


Image Courtesy of Google Images

There’s a misconception that questioning what your told, or not “buying it” can put you in a class of people doctors and others like to call hypochondriacs.  It’s then you may just shut up, ignore your intuition and messages your body sends you, and move forward, go on, and live your life accordingly again.

Intuition is always right in at least two important ways;
It is always in response to something.
It always has your best interest at heart.

Gavin de Becker

That is what I have done for many years, at least since my early 20’s.  It’s wayyyyy back then when I’d lean down to get a drink from a water fountain and end up standing there trying to make the water go down.  Most of the time, I would just calmly walk to the restroom and spit it out.  Because it just wouldn’t go down, and it hurt in my chest. Not bad, but enough to make me think to myself, “well this can’t be right…” so I would tell my mom, and she would say “we need to get that checked,” and a doctor’s appointment would be made.  I didn’t like doctor appointments, only because they reminded me of the only times I saw a doctor was when I broke my arm in 2nd grade PE, or I broke my collarbone in 6th grade recess playing football with the boys, or when I broke my tailbone numerous times from tripping while jumping rope, to falling on the balance beam in gymnastics.  A doctor’s visit surely meant something bad had happened and I was going to either get a cast or have x-rays while the technician pulled, twisted, and manipulated whatever was broken in such a way to get a good x-ray, which was always painful.  Maybe it was the subconscious memory of the auto accident I was in when I was 2 years old where I was trapped under the truck, 7 skull fractures and weeks in an ICU, my parents told if I survived I may be what they used to call “a vegetable.” But miraculously I survived after surgery to relieve the pressure and went on to not be a vegetable, but rather an A student who was clumsy.  My parents didn’t tell me about this accident or my brain injury because the doctor told them at the time it was best not to so that I wouldn’t be afraid to do things in life that might hurt my head. Yes, sounds silly but that is what mom told me when I learned myself about the injury in 6th grade while sneaking a peak at my health records during PE health checkup.  I read all about a traumatic brain injury when two years old.  It didn’t upset me at all, I was intrigued by it, and asked mom when I got home.  She became near hysterical that I’d learned about it and while crying told me the story.  I asked why is it such a big deal? I’m fine! She agreed, stopped crying, told me she was sorry and yes, I was fine and had no lingering problems from the injury because children’s brains heal much better than adults.  All I can slightly remember is I had to wear a football helmet (San Diego Chargers).  Why? Because they didn’t have seizure helmets back then.  I had to wear a kid’s football helmet for a year, with my little dress on, I remember that helmet and just thought I must have loved football when I was little. The main though here was, I didn’t like hospitals, doctors, or San Diego Chargers. I now know why.

Protein Smoothies are my Life these days

A Smoothie a Day Early On

They did a good job of keeping this from me because I had no intuition that something may have happened to me as a child when I was older and had migraines. Not once was I told that maybe they were due to a head injury.  I just assumed hormones and would lay in a dark room.  Fortunately I no longer have them.

Back to this swallowing water and intuition thing.  Through the years this problem persisted.  Slowly getting worse, with food getting “stuck” or me having to take small sips or bites and just wait for it to go down.  It wouldn’t go down though. Every few years I would make a doctor’s appointment and go in to explain this phenomenon.  Each time the doctor would tell me it’s nothing, it’s normal, just take smaller bites and smaller sips.  I’d leave the appointment mad I’d just spent money hearing something I’d already been told but my intuition had me thinking I really needed to have it checked.  No one else I knew had this problem, and those I told would just shrug and say I don’t know, never had it.

It wasn’t until much later in my life that this problem had escalated to the point that I wouldn’t eat sometimes because I just couldn’t handle the pain of those times the food would get stuck, it wouldn’t budge. It didn’t happen every time, but enough that it became somewhat of a funny issue amongst my family and friends.  How I would take a sip, then hit my chest, hold one finger up and try to say, “give me minute” with a mouth full of water and we’d all wait until I’d run to the bathroom and spit it out. It was so second nature to me to do this but my friends and family thought it VERY odd.

It was “odd” enough that the fact I’d leave the dinner table, go into the bathroom and shut the door, then come back out and excuse myself had my dear late mother telling my dad and sisters she thought I had bulimia and was making myself throw up. I can honestly see why they thought that. I had lost a lot of weight and many times I’d not eat dinner. Because I’m the early stages, this problem didn’t happen with every meal, but enough that others would think I had an eating disorder. I did…. but it wasn’t anorexia or bulimia.

During this time I was losing weight. A lot of weight. I had several “attacks” where the pain in between my breast bone was so severe I’d be taken to the hospital, then admitted for possible pancreatitis or unknown abdominal pain. Actually, one time I really did have pancreatitis because the lipase test came back severely high and the scans showed a pancreas about to burst.  So, my swallowing problem got lumped together as a pancreas issue.  No science or explanation behind it, just told, when the pain hit it is probably your pancreas.

But I just didn’t think that was it. Still I was seeking an answer from doctors about the swallowing problem and being told nothing is wrong there, its your pancreas now.  I would keep mentioning it to the point where doctors and others would think I’m being a bit of a hypochondriac.  Just believe what they told you about your pancreas and let it go! Are you “stressed?” When this happens, they’d asked. Yes, I was stressed because in my mind I thought there is something blocking my fluids and solids from going down and I bet it’s a TUMOR. Why else?!

I did let it go but the problem got worse and worse. My intuition turned to an all out belief that something is wrong right HERE (me pointing to the area where my esophagus meets my stomach). The doctors would humor me by prescribing heartburn medicine, or chalky liquids to drink when I felt the pain only to have the heartburn medicine and chalky drink get stuck along with the water I drank to take it.  It didn’t help, only added to the problem.


A HONEST selfie…. poor me… All I want is a hamburger

When you go to a doctor or are in the hospital, they always schedule you for a two or six week follow-up.  I went to those follow-ups and would tell them, I’m no better, no I do not have heartburn, I’ve lost more weight, and the attacks are getting more frequent. Each time from then on, I was told many different things, like changing my diet, journal the foods I’m eating to identify which was causing me “discomfort.”  I couldn’t get it through to anyone that it was a swallowing then getting stuck then bad pain then throw it up problem.  It wasn’t heartburn. It felt like I’d eaten an elephant and now it was passing through trying to push into my stomach.  I would have visions of snakes that eat big rodents and the outline of the rodent they’d just eaten was halfway down and I’d wonder how in the heck do they tolerate that pain?  Every time in the hospital, when asked by a doctor what it felt like, I would use Sigorney Weaver’s character in Alien, when the alien comes out of here stomach or wherever.  I never saw the movie, just saw that part.  That there was enormous pressure right HERE and now it’s extreme pain and vomiting.  Yep, must be your pancreas.

I thought about videoing my attacks but that’s hard to capture, taking a sip and then staring into the camera and I hurt and it doesn’t go down past my sternum, then spitting water out. That video doesn’t show anything really. So, that wasn’t an option.


So Thin, So Sick

With each new doctor run in, my intuition turned to “your missing something and I don’t have an x-ray machine at home to look so your hypothesis that I’m stressed therefore I’m having nervous gut problems” is wrong.  I wish it was right, really I do, but I’m not liking your dismissive attitude and your suggestion I make an appointment with a therapist to discuss what deep seeded trauma is causing my nervous gut issue.  So, I shut up and decided not to mention it again, just deal with it because I didn’t want to be labeled a hypochondriac.  No intervention was ever held but my family probably all figured I was indeed bulimic or anorexic and just didn’t want to hurt my feelings as long as I didn’t lose too much weight.


I’m On My Way Up

All this time, years of choking, begging, feeling like maybe it is all in my head, being at odds with family who felt I was a hypochondriac, that my problems were self induced and most likely because I liked sugar too much, since I ate a lot of it when I could.  Now that suggestion is correct, sugar is bad and I did eat a lot when I could swallow which probably didn’t help matters. Thousands of dollars spent at doctors, therapists who would sooner or later tell me that I didn’t really need to keep coming unless I wanted to, that they saw no mental issues. All those tests coming back “normal” you are as healthy as a horse, giving my doubters even more reason to doubt me and view me as an attention craving, nervous stomach women.

I'm Getting There, Stablized for Now

Stabilized for Now

All this I put up with and lived my life as the swallowing problem revved up to pain I’d never before experienced but had no one who would really help me.  I’d been diagnosed with Lupus 7 years prior, so that was now the official diagnosis, “your lupus must be causing some kind of nervous stomach issue.”  Until that one day in the city, when I had an “attack” after eating a real meal, that rivaled no other.  Admitted to the hospital, I finally was assigned a GI Specialist.  Specialists love to do procedures, thankfully, to take a “look see” at what might be happening.  Since my pancreas was given the honor of being the cause I was scheduled for an EUS (Endoscopic Ultra Sound) to be performed by  the God of EUS’s in my state.  A GI Specialist who practically invented the EUS! He was to put me to sleep and using the endoscope go look around my pancreas to see why it was causing me problems.  What he found was a very healthy pancreas but an esophagus that was closed off at the bottom, a diagnosis called Achalasia.  Where the bottom of the esophagus is abnormal and closes off, not allowing food and liquid to pass through easily at first, and over time, not at all. Therefore severe pain ensues and food hangs out down there, fermenting and causing nausea until it either got through some how or I got sick and vomited.  The doctor wrote on my pictures of my EUS the word “achalasia?” and I was told that I may have achalasia. But, after years of being told nothing was wrong, I blew it off and was just glad my pancreas was ok. I didn’t even ask what achalasia was, but it was written next to the endoscopic photo of  a tiny, tiny hole which was the inside of my esophagus that should have been a large opening.


88 lbs. and Not Happy in my UGHHHHHS

It would take two more stints in the hospital and a weight loss of down to 88 lbs to convince me that my intuition that something was wrong with my “swallower” later to be called my esophagus, was spot on.  I was told, after several more endoscopies to make dang sure, and other tests to measure the pressure in my esophagus to confirm achalasia, that this was a problem in the making for years. The fact that it wasn’t addressed and subsequently fixed had led to another diagnosis, Barretts Esophagus, a pre-cancerous situation where my esophagus has been fighting so long to do its job but couldn’t therefore it is pretty damaged.  You mess with something inside your body too much, it seems to develop cancer.  Fortunately I am told my Barretts is early, early and chances I get cancer of the esophagus are hugely low, they are there, but I’ve time to have it address as well as the swallowing problem which by now it epic.

There’s always that feeling of wanting to say, “I told you so” but to who I would say it I don’t know.  This was years in the making.  I can say I’m angry, I’m angry that years ago this was a minor fix and had it been found it would just be a small issue and once fixed I would have not had these health issues, I’m angry at the GI doctor who said there’s nothing he can do for me, that I have gastritis most likely and need to stay away from spicy food then told me I didn’t need a follow-up appointment.  I’m angry that my attempts to follow my intuition and get help for something that I felt was wrong was taken as attention getting behavior most likely. I’m angry that achalasia itself has destroyed my teeth, my ability to have a nice dinner or even go out to eat which I haven’t done in years. I’m angry that, through no fault of their own, friends and family felt I was bulimic or had “issues” and didn’t understand when I couldn’t come over for dinner or I was too tired or in pain.  Besides, who in the world has heard of Achalasia?! Only 1 in 100,000 people have it, a number I feel is probably higher because of people like me suffering through it and not being diagnosed correctly.

However, I am hopeful that the surgery that has only recently (last 20 years??) been developed to fix the esophagus by cutting the damaged muscles or sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus and wrapping part of the stomach around the bottom so that you can swallow will be done if I decide to go through with it.  Which, I will.

Since all this, I have fought to get the surgery, not because I don’t qualify or I don’t have achalasia, but rather because surgeons wanted to try other procedures that ended up not working.  It’s all in who ya get when you get that referral to a surgeon.  Mine, well I’ll just say he had a different approach.  But I’m free of that nightmare and soon to be back on track with the original specialists who first told me what I had and how he’d fix it.

Now, my intuition tells me that it all makes sense.  It agrees. There is hope where there used to be doubt and judgments. There is a chance for a normal life of eating food and going out to eat.  There is hope for health, no more pain, and a lot more years to make up for these last few that I fought constantly for someone to believe me and for someone to help me.  As far as the damage achalasia has caused my body, I just have to accept it and deal with it systematically.  I’m just glad that my mystery is solved and if the surgery doesn’t help, I’m going with my intuition that this is indeed the problem and I shall seek a different solution! I do not like nor do I agree with the notion that you shouldn’t speak of your health or be quiet if you are suffering, to get on Google and find that natural way to health because some things cannot be fixed naturally, I wish, but they can’t and I’m not ignorant enough to believe that not seeking help when your natural remedies don’t work is a bad thing.  Many things I’ve gone through have been helped naturally though, by naturally I mean by not taking pharmaceuticals, but utilizing natural products.  It’s just that nothing helped this, thus I continued seeking help wherever.

The moral of this story is, if you really feel they’ve got it wrong, and you are suffering, don’t give up.  We know our bodies better than anyone.  Doctors are wonderful, but there are still many illnesses and situations they have no idea how to treat or that they even exist.  Unfortunately it wasn’t my perseverance and fighting attitude that finally found my problem, it was me almost wasting away to nothing that brought me to the brink of death by malnutrition and to the attention of a GI Specialist who could tell something wasn’t right.  But the point is, it was figured out. I’m sure there will always be doubters but I don’t care.  I know what I know and I’ve got to be positive so my intuition will continue to help me when things seem off.

UPDATE: it’s been awhile since my Achalasia diagnosis. I’ve yet to have surgery because there are many hoops to jump through for some of us. There is a lot to consider when diagnosed with something “rare.” You must make sure the doctors and surgeons specialize in this very specialized area of medicine. This isn’t an easy surgery. You must travel, more than likely? Out of state to the Universities or clinics who treat this exclusively. Then there is health insurance, I have excellent insurance but obviously not excellent enough to approve the two known surgeries for Achalasia. This is difficult because Achalasia’s symptom of a closed off esophagus and not being able to swallow is FIXABLE! They can fix it, I can wake up from surgery and be handed a cup of water and drink it right then! I’ve seen the videos of patients happily taking their first drink! To watch these but know my insurance has denied the surgery is heartbreaking. But, I’ve come this far, I’m honestly hopeful that somehow I will be approved. Having bake sales and car washes isn’t going to raise the $80,000 that this surgery costs. My go to statement is, “ahhhh I’ll figure it out” and I will. I’m just very, very grateful that there are specials who treat this and surgeries that FIX it. I’m grateful for all the people I’ve met online who’ve been on this same journey and are always readily available to share their stories and keep me positive. They’re the people who’ve pushed me to keep moving forward.

I still find humor in the fact that after 40 years of health, I would end up getting or having two illnesses with cool names like Lupus and Achalasia, although not a laughing matter, I chuckle at the thought of how these names would make excellent band names. “Flock of Seagulls” “Styx” “imagine Dragons” “NeedtoBreathe” now add to that list of bands, “Achalasia”! It would be an alternative music band I think.

One Mountain at a TimeLINKS:

Why is Everything I Want a Secret?


Source Google Images

While looking through quotes and inspirational affirmations I’m struck by the use of the phrase, “The SECRET to…”
The SECRET to being happy
The secret to being content
The secret to being successful
The secret to losing weight
The secret to gaining weight
SECRET? As if each one of these things really fall under the meaning of the word SECRET.
In the dictionary, the very definition of SECRET has nothing to do with how to gain the things, feelings, experiences we desire because SECRET means something meant to be kept unknown, or something meant to be unknown, such as where you hid the cookie jar from the children who happen to love the Oreos. Or “Hey Marge, what’s your secret to such shiny floors?!” “Oh Ella, it’s vinegar! I use it for EVERYTHING! But don’t tell, it will be our little secret.”

I think it’s rather smug of those who write books, give lectures, or advice citing they’re going to tell you their secret to happiness. That is the one that really gets to me.
How people choose to feel, or what they strive for in their lives is not secrets. It’s available to us all.

Below is the Merriam-Webster dictionary meaning of SECRET.
The use of the word, SECRET or phrase, “The Secret to…” sets us up to thinking what we desire or aspire to is so unattainable that it’s kept under lock and key, available only to scholars, the righteous, the enlightened.
No, these things we seek aren’t secret at all. They are for the taking, free, meant not to be kept “unknown” or hidden. Every human being has access to it, and once some of us realize this it’s easier to attain and for some may just lose its importance to us. As in, if there’s a secret to happiness, well maybe it will require covert activities and great difficulty in finding it and I’ve got dinner to cook, kids to bathe, groceries to buy, a house to clean, a job to do. I say No again, it’s not a secret. It’s attainable and may require work on ourselves. No one holds the key to these things we want, it’s a matter of what we aspire and then looking to ourselves for its priority in our life. If it’s very important to us, we live long enough, we’ll figure it out. Maybe what we want doesn’t even exist in its total, perceived form, so it’s a secret, that’s only for conspiracy theorist to figure out. Good luck with that.


Source; Google

Arriving at Acceptance, the Stages of an Illness


EmusedoneWith this new year has come a strange calm. A feeling that the control I thought I didn’t have I’ve never really lost. That being a healthy, active wife, mother for years to suddenly a disabled shadow of a person wasn’t because an illness came and took over, taking my control with it and making me a useless burden. But rather I was never promised the perfect life without struggles, and that is a good thing. Because it’s honestly is through the struggles of illness I have grown to be a better wife, mother and now grandmother.

There are hundreds of books by inspiring writers who are soldiering through illnesses, situations, troubles. On any given day I can turn the television on and accidentally end up watching an inspiring interview of a person who is beating the odds and thriving during adversity or scroll down my Facebook Newsfeed to see more inspiring stories, situations that are far worse than mine could ever be. It’s during these moments I realize that had I not “gotten” Lupus or struggled with Achalasia I think I would have just turned the channel, or just kept scrolling down my Newsfeed until a funny video caught my eye or a new recipe looked like something I should copy down. That my illnesses have made me more in tune to others. Their stories inspire me, some break my heart, some anger me and push me to join the cause. My illnesses opened up a world, one of compassion, understanding and strength. Continue reading