Month: June 2017

A Day with the Dogs: Outagamie Dog Park

A Day with the Dogs: Outagamie Dog Park

Sometimes taking the time to do nothing but sit and enjoy the day and surround yourself with furry friends is the best place you can be.   There are many places I have been but none that can hold my attention and fill me with joy the way a good dog park does.  I love being able to walk around and meet all the furry friends running around enjoying themselves.  Recently I visited the Outagamie County Dog Park, and it was such a treat.  This is a really nice park and great for someone needing low key exercise, but who has trouble staying focused due to boredom.  There are trails that wind through the park with mild inclines and declines.  Due to the dense patches of foliage there is always a path with shade and plenty of places along the trails to sit and rest if you need to.  There are a few common areas which are mostly open but with lots of seating in both the sun and shade.  I truly loved my time here and spent nearly four hours just interacting with the people and their dogs which ranged in all sizes, breeds, and ages.  This is a no fee park but one that does take donations to help maintain it.  I even had the chance to see some service dogs come in to blow off some steam.  I highly recommend taking the time if you have a dog to find a nice well maintained dog park in your area and spend a few hours here and there disconnecting from the regular dramas of life and learning to enjoy it the innocent way our four legged furry friends do. 

If you live in the area take some time to come and visit!


Fight for a Job I Love

Fight for a Job I Love

Never in my life have I been told I didn’t get the job after I had been basically guaranteed it.  Never has my medical history or medications been an issue.  I work in EMS, and I’m good at it.  I love to help people and work with patients.  I know how to make someone feel better when they are experiencing one of the scariest times of their lives.  Never did I think that I would not be able to work in the field I was put on this earth to be a part of. 

But sometimes life has a way of kicking you when you’re down, and turning you in a different direction.  God knows it’s happened to me more then once. Every time I get kicked I somehow manage to pick myself up and start over.  I don’t know how that this point because if I was humpty dumpty there would just be to many tiny pieces to try and put back together again.  But there is also an ancient Chinese practice that says when something is broken you do not throw it away as though it no longer has value, you mend it with gold, and make it better.  So I guess I can also be seen to be made of mostly gold from the number of times I have been mended.  

Today after feeling like there was no way I could pick myself up again I had a few things happen that renewed my strength in the fight I have to live my life fully and help others to do the same.  

The first thing was having a Lidocaine infusion this morning and even if the effects last only a few hours, I got the chance to remember what it feels like to live without pain.  I was so happy I could have cried because I didn’t realize how much pain I had been carrying around with me for so long, and how heavy it had gotten.  I smiled and it felt good, I stretched and nothing hurt, I napped and didn’t wake up with something in pain.  So I am grateful for this day because it reminded me I still have some fight left in me.  

The second thing that happened was I came across a young woman, deaf since the age of 18 from a connective tissue disorder, competing in a singing competition of all things.  As I watched her video I could feel the hairs all over my body stand up.  She sang beautifully on stage barefoot to feel the vibrations from the bass to keep time, and took ques from her interpreter down by the judges.   This is someone who gave up on something she loved for many years and then somehow found the strength and determination to make it work and reclaim the love she had lost so long ago.  I decided right then that this would be the video I would watch the next time I got kicked, the next time someone told me I couldn’t or wasn’t able to.  Because this girl is living proof of living life without limits!

Watch this girl and know you can do anything!

Being a Victim of the “Opiate Crisis”

Being a Victim of the “Opiate Crisis”

I am a victim of the opiate crisis.  No I have not lost any friends or family to drugs, and no I am not, nor have I ever been an addict.  But the war on opiates has more than one type of causality.  I have spent the last year trying to get a job in my area (so within an hour drive) in the field that I have dedicated my life to, emergency medicine.  I have gotten a bachelors in health sciences, taken many classes pertaining to medicine, obtained my AEMT certification, and worked for multiple fire departments as an EMS provider.  But all of a sudden I find myself unable to become employed in the field I was put on this earth to be a part of because of the medications I have PRESCRIPTIONS for to help control the chronic pain I have from a rare disease.  I do not want to go on disability yet, I am just not ready to admit that is what my life has come to.  I am able to work, I want to work, but no one will hire me because I have prescriptions for and take on occasion opiate medications.  I have worked for several years in this field prior to this year with no issues, an exemplary record for care provided and letters of recommendation from employers due to my ethics, ability to function under stress, and provide excellent care to any patient in all situations.  However, now because of the war on opiates, pain medication and chronic pain have become an extremely taboo issue in the workplace.  

The FDA uses a lot of different adjectives to describe everything from A to Z when it comes to opiates.  What I find interesting are all the things that seem to be ignored such as:

This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Sit or lie down if you feel dizzy. Stand up carefully.

So what employers and their legal teams seem to ignore is the part where it states these meds MAY have certain affects, as in they MAY also not affect you at all.  Or how you should not perform certain activities UNTIL YOU KNOW how it will affect you, as in you are good to go if you already know how it will affect you.  This is what applies to my case.  I do not process most medications the way the average person does and as a result it means the combination of medications I take for various things is a bit odd.  However I also know after years of being on these medications exactly how they will affect me, for how long, in what manner, and even how long they will affect me based on what I have eaten or drank recently.  The websites basically give all the worst case scenario information which is what companies and legal teams grab onto.  

I find it very hard to be told that I should find another field to work in, or to let it go and apply somewhere else and just don’t put down my medication list.  I want to get a job in the field I love and I want to do it honestly.  Why should I have to hide my medication list, or give up the thing I love the most after already doing it for years?  I understand that rules and regulations are put in place for a reason to protect the patients.  Personally I would never endanger a patient by taking something that affected me so severely it could cause them harm.  But when advising physicians are making recommendations based on one aspect of the medication it can be very hard to for those few who have no issues to make it through.  There is a “black box” warning on almost all medications state that they can impair you in some way, and for good reason.  But again that is there because a few people reacted that way and now it must be put on all prescriptions regardless of the person taking them.  I have met people who respond so poorly to caffeine they are unable to function on even the smallest doses present in things like chocolate.  Just an example of how something benign can have a profound affect on someone the same way it can have none. 

I will not give up, I work every day to find a way to do what I love.  I am always looking into new research and new methods of pain control that do not involve medication or at the very least opiate medication.  There are people out there every day showing that you can do what you love despite all the odds, you just have to believe and work hard enough.

Fight Song

Fight Song

Sometimes, in the late hours of the night, we feel alone.  When the pain of the day becomes to much and we can no longer distract ourselves from the depression of the situation we are in.  Our minds spin, swirl, leap, bound, wander and never stop.  We fall deeper into the abyss of depression because each of us is just one person and what can we do?  Some think they’re a burden to the ones they love, a failure because they can not achieve the basic goals they set before themselves.  The biggest fight we deal with every day has nothing to do with the chronic illness we suffer with.  It’s the fight to find the will and strength to make it through another night, another day, another hour, another minute.  It’s the fight to beat the battle we fight inside our own heads.  We who live with chronic illness are the best chameleons you will ever meet.  We can fit into any situation and my any person think we are just fine, even when we have lost a battle we make you think it’s fine and that we can win the next one.  But inside is a whole different story.  Much of the time the only person who see’s the real us is the person looking back in the mirror at us.  I hate showing the sad and upset side of myself to anyone, even the ones I love because they only look back at me with more pain because they suffer for me.  

Some days, it’s all I can do to get up and have a cup of coffee and watch the dogs run around the yard.  On those days I am disgusted with myself.  I know I shouldn’t be, but just because I shouldn’t feel something doesn’t mean I don’t.  I have to work each time to tell myself it’s okay.  It’s okay you didn’t get the job because of your illness, it’s okay your behind on the laundry because of the emotional hangover from the night before, it’s okay to just sit and watch the world go by because tomorrow is another chance to do more and be better.  I work every day not to let the day before win.  I fight every day to make it one step closer to being the person I really want to be inside and out.  And I will be the first to admit that I get really tired of fighting.  Tired of fighting for better health, for a job I love, for the life I want, just tired of fighting for everything.

On those days, in those hours when I feel like I just don’t have any fight left in me, I turn to music.  I put a few songs on repeat and just lose myself in them trying to embody every word and find some kind of strength.  If every battle I have fought was illustrated on my skin, there wouldn’t be an inch of me uncovered.  But that’s the truth of it isn’t it, no one can see the battles you have fought, the ones you won, or the ones you lost.  They see the “healthy” looking “happy” you standing in front of them.

This battle, this fight, this war, that each of us suffers through every day, may never end.  But as long as we keep getting up, and finding a reason why each day is worth living, we can win the fight, one year, one month, one day, one hour, even one minute at a time.  I read once you can stand anything for ten seconds, so when you sit in the darkest of places, pain coursing through every fiber of your being, remember you can do it for ten more seconds.  Then scream, or cry, or throw something, find a way to release the poison building in yourself because only you know how quickly it will build up again. 

So I sit outside, listening to the anthems I tell myself I have to follow, believe in, and follow.  I feel the sun on my back and hear the birds sing nearby.  It is a beautiful day outside, but its a ragging storm inside me.  I try hard to find a way to bring the peace and calm and beauty that surrounds me inside me.  I try to find a way not to let the enemy I am fight today win.  Because if I can win today, maybe I can win tomorrow too.