Finally , an answer!!!!

That is right folks – I have an official diagnosis!!! No more Meganitis, I have been diagnosed with Stills Disease.  Now, all of you are probably saying to yourself, what the heck is Stills disease?

“Adult Still’s disease is a rare type of arthritis that features a sore throat, a salmon-colored rash and a high fever that spikes once or twice a day. Joint pain tends to develop a few weeks after these initial signs and symptoms”

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This is a disease that is ruled in once everything else is ruled out.  I am also happy to report the Humira that I have been been on for a little over  a month is working wonders! It has been such a long road, but it looks like I am finally in a place with a treatment plan.

I was so excited, I had to go tell my mother.  Yes, I drove from Boston to her grave to tell her.  I mean, I know she knew already , I feel her around me all the time, but I had to go tell her myself.  It was my routine , go to Boston , then leave , call my momma.  Tell her  the good, the bad, the frustrating,the infuriating, just the way I was feeling and what the next step was or what the plan was.  It is hard to leave these appointments now and need to call her and know that she will never be on the other end again.

In fact, it blows. Hard.

The reason I chose Brigham and Womens Hospital for my care is because of my mother. For 30 years my mothers surergies, transplants , ( yes transplants, plural) and several of her doctors were all at Brighams.  I was very familair with the hospital due to all the visits over the years, and the fact that it is a world renound hospital didn’t hurt either.  It was something I trusted due to the fact that my mother was so sick for so long and I feel , besides her larger than life spirit, that this hospital had a part in that .

When I moved a coupl of years ago, we are only about 20 minutes from the hospital, barring traffic. I would go see her during her various stays at the luxurious ” Brigham suites ” as we would call it.  It sucked that she was in the hospital butit was closer to me than her home was so, I took it.

Now that I am starting to feel better and have an answer, I owe it to her to Be Better.  I need to get back into my routine, which seems like I am forever saying . But I really need to.  Need to get some consistncy. I am also anxiously awaitng my sleep study results.

So, onwards and upwards.

I am getting in a much better frame of mind.  Trying to figure out who I am , what I want in my life, who I want to be – for me and for my family.  I want to actually achieve some goals in the next year.

Gotta just keep swimming and don’t stop believing

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The Bittersweet Dance

I have been working on this one for over a week, forgive me for the past tenses.


 

 

After my mother passed away, my sisters and I decided to enroll all our girls in dance class.  The same dance studio that my mother went to , the same dance studio that we went to.  For years on Wednesday afternoons, we would make the half hour drive to Amesbury for our tap, ballet and jazz lessons. As I sat there waiting during my daughters class, so many memories flooded back. It didn’t  help that literally amongst the picture collages on the wall were some pictures of my mom.  Looking at her pictures, she was so full of life!  She was so happy. She loved dancing, she loved dancing school, she loved the family that owned the studio.  Its funny, so many people at her services commented on what a great dancer she was and how much she loved to dance, but honestly, I can’t remember when she was well enough in recent years to actually dance.  I bet it had been 10 years or more.

It was so bittersweet,  heartbreaking actually.

It seems like this week everything has been crappy.  I am still dealing with armpit issue.  They hurt so darn bad. Still.  I went to the doctors on Monday. More blood work.  If my levels were high, then Pet scan would be ordered.  My levels are elevated by not high enough I guess.  My doctor is also trying to get me on a different medication that may help me better.

In the meantime, I am still in pain and I am still sore.

I am struggling with my disease, that’s what the doctor is calling it.  Though the whole thing isn’t fully named, I am really having  a hard time.  I don’t know even how to explain it.  Just being is difficult.  It is hard getting out of bed, getting dressed, all my daily activities.  I have faith that I  will get an answer eventually  and that I will have a regimen that works for me. In the meantime though, Things suck.

I want to feel better, more than anything.  I am terrified that I am cursed with my moms poor health and that I am doomed to follow her path. And I know, I know, situations are entirely different , and yes, I am most likely being dramatic, but  I don’t want that. I don’t want to deal with this crap the rest of my life. I want to live the best life possible.  I just don’t know how to do this.

I am wrestling with my emotions and reality.  What am I supposed to be or do ?

I need to lose this weight. I need to be better and I need to move. But I can’t while I feel this awful on a regular basis . I need just need to have faith that answers and treatment plan will come soon .  Its hard .

My mother always saw the light through the dark.  The positive through the negative.  The love above loss.   I wish so much I could be like that , and I swear I am trying .  I just at a loss on how to execute it.

Hopefully one day I will rise above and be able to live this life the best way I can .

Until then, I will just keep swimming.

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Signs on a Saturday

Hi everyone. How’s the weekend treating you ?  I had a very busy Saturday . Which I am already paying for . My body is screaming today . And I slept pretty darn awful . But let’s focus on the positives of yesterday . 

I made what is becoming my weekly pilgrimage to see Mum . This week my daughter picked out a red heart balloon that says ” I Love You” and we picked out a bouquet of various colored roses .  It’s hard for me to go to the cemetery. I guess it’s the part where I leave her there . All alone . I feel like putting in a couch there for us to go sit and talk to her , lol. I think though I want to get her some of those solar lights so it’s not so dark for her . 

I’m trying to deal with my mothers death in a healthy way , but really , how fucked up is that ? A healthy way ? What does that even mean ? How is any of this healthy or right ? Healthy should of been what she was . And right is definitely , what this is not . 

I also trying to get my emotions under control because the more upset I am, the more prone to flares I am.  I seem to be in a flare state since my mother died and I am in a lot of pain , physically and emotionally. I am hopeful my recent change in meds will help with this, but so far no . 

So ,back to my day . We go see Mum , then head for a quick visit with my dad . Then we head to get our hair done . My desperate need for cut and color and my daughters back to school cut . We get there early so we  walk around hunting Pokémon . Lots of walking around . We get our hair done , head to pick up my oldest from work and head home . The hubs and I went out for the night to celebrate our 18 year anniversary. 

We get home late and I am so exhausted. I’m trying to get to sleep when my daughter comes in upset about Nana. She is crying and inconsolable.  She’s clutching her bunny Pinky which her and Nana made together at Build a Bear . Seeing her like this just breaks me . I’m trying to comfort her and myself at the same time . So I tell her about the Signs . Signs that Nana will show her that she is there and with her . I tell her a story about how a cardinal came in the yard the other night while I was talking with my dad . How I know it was Nana . I tell her how even though she can’t hear her say “Hi Maddie , I am here ” she will let her know that she is there with her . I give her a blanket of my mothers for her to sleep with and I head to her room to tuck her in . When I get to her room she holds up 2 Beanie Babies . 

Wouldn’t you know ? ONE WAS A CARDINAL ! I burst into tears again . I told her that Nana was letting you know she was here already! I don’t know who it comforted more , me or her . 

Even in death, Mum is still looking out for us and giving us what we need . Absolutely incredible. 

One of my most favorite movies is The Crow. We even named our dog , Draven , when I was a teenager after the main character, Eric Draven. Mum loved that dog .  This is one of my favorite quotes from that film :

” If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.”


Real love . Real love extends beyond a significant other . Real love extends beyond our children , our parents . Real love is love we have for those in our life we would do anything for . Regardless of blood . 

Signs are real . Weather or not it originates in your head , if it comforts you , it’s real . For now it’s what I will believe in . 

Weekend Wrap Up

I had a pretty good weekend !  How about you ? 

I was up really early on Saturday , 4:30 am , had to be to work for 6 am .  Then it was a 10 hr day . Usually after working on Saturday  I need to take a nap . I was pretty exhausted when I got home but it was almost 5 so I just kinda relaxed . 

We had dinner then I decided I wanted to try and go for a walk . There is a rail trail about 10 mins from my house , so the hubs and I headed there .  

Lo and behold , I walked and survived. I survived all 2.4 miles !!! 

2.4 miles !!!!

I was dying at the end of the walk but I am so glad I did it . 

Then today , my daughter and I headed to my sisters house . First off was some Pokémon Go , my daughter and nephew had a blast . We walked around for a while, had some lunch , then headed back to the house for swimming . 

It was definitely not as warm as I would have liked but , I wanted to get some water aerobics (or my version of them ) in .


I was in the pool for about 45 minutes , running , walking , did high knees , jumping jacks and some actual swimming .  

Man , was I tired after that , honestly, still am .  But – again , I did it ! 

Not only did I get in exercise this weekend , I am down 8 lbs since I got back in the wagon ! 

Cheers to a great week everyone! 

Trying Something Different

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Hello Big World! I know , I know, its been months.  It’s not  you, its me, lol.  So, if I’m being honest, I have been a lump.  I am dealing with chronic illness ( fibro and still undiagnosed “Meganitis ” )  and all the joys ( NOT ) that go along with it and basically just trying to stay afloat in this crazy world.  Long story short, I am in pain everyday.  And fatigued. Good Lord, the exhaustion !  I wish I could find a way to combat it.

So, I have been wallowing in this pit of dispair and honestly , its been 2 years I have been down , if we are counting .   I have let it hold me back and control me and I need to break free . I have read several times that exercising , while it will hurt, in the long run , I will feel better. I think I owe it to myself to explore these options.

Nothing in life would make me happier than returning to Coach Jane and Crossroads .  Unfortunately that is not in the cards right now, but I am not writing it off down the road a ways.  I need something I can do when I have energy, which means working out at home.  I need need something low impact while my body adjusts .

So, I have decided to try something new to see if it helps me. I could be completly wrong and this could blow up in my face, but I am going to give it a go. I am currently on Gabapentin for my issues and let me tell you , I thought I was nuts when I had gained 40 lbs, but it turns out , lots of folks gain weight with Gabapentin. I need a way to combat it, cause honestly , I am less sore when I take my meds and really don’t want to change that up right now.

I joined some Fibro support groups to see if I could relate to some folks and get just some general info.  Its a real great forum .  Here and there folks would post about if they were working out and the thing that came up more and more was Yoga and Piyo . Piyo is a Beachbody program.  After a lot of research and speaking to people, I decided to give Piyo and the Beachbody programs a try. I am a bit nervous since even when I was working out, yoga was not something I was into, but I kinda need this is going to be my wheelhouse for a while.

I plan on diving in tomorrow .  I gotta get a yoga mat.  I will check in and let you all know what I think .

Hopefully, I can find the balance and shake this funk.

Thanks for coming on the swim folks!

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Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year Everyone!

I’ll admit, I have been quite miserable the last few months.  Throwing a personal pity party for myself.  I’m sore, I’m cranky, my appetite is horrendous, medication makes me sick….I have been just ugh.

Welp, I am really going to try and change this around.

I need to honestly, or at least dedicate myself to dealing with this chronic pain better.

For those keeping track, we are on 2 years of my body telling me something is wrong and no doctors being able to figure it out.

Current symptoms include: all over body soreness, painful arm pits ( yes arm pits) , side pain ,chest pain,  my  ” necklace of pain” ( my throat and collar bone area ) , crazy night sweats, fire skin and crazy appetite.

First off, gotta get my meds under control . The metheltrexate i am on is really helping my knees and the arthritis that developed in them , however the medication makes me soooooo nauseous every day ! like every day! i wake up and just want to barf, but i never do, its awful. I just sit and wait for it to pass.  Then there is the Prednisone…. ugh, why do they make it so it helps you feel better but you become a ravenous pig?

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Anyone else have that issue with metheltrexate?  Or Prednisone?

So, my doctors solution to that was changing it to an injectable one, however since i have no “official ” diagnosis and Meganitis is not a recognized disease anywhere, my insurance rejected it.

Ugh. So i was going back and forth with my doctor in messages and getting no where, so I have an appt this Weds. Hopefully I can get on the right path here.

I also am DYING to work out. To say my weight has increased would be a complete understatement, I don’t even recognize myself. I was going to get back at the gym, but then I needed another PET scan and my doctor told me to hold off starting back up .

But, now I NEED to do something. So , I am hoping I can get the ok to start back up , even if its small, and hoping he can do something to offset the appetite.

I never realized just how many people out there are dealing with chronic pain, be it from fibromyalgia, RA or any type of Arthritis , MS, cancers, its really nuts how many people are in the world suffering right now. It’s incredible .

We all find our way to get through the day.  One thing that I have found to help with my daily routine is Plexus. It has been beyond incredible.

They only have a small amount of products, but they have been awesome.  The Plexus Slim, The Ease , The Nerve ,  they are all so helpful to me daily. My pain has yet to be eliminated but, it definitely takes the edge off.

Honestly, I catch a lot of shit from people for promoting Plexus, but if they had any idea how much it has truly truly helped me, they would understand. Thats why I share it all the time, if there is someone out there like me ( based on my research there are thousands) that could benefit from these products, as a human , It is my job to share it.

 

Since I am hoping to be able to start doing some sort of exercise again, looking for feedback from the folks out there suffering from chronic pain. What do you do ? Or do you find that it is too difficult to do anything ? There has got to  be something I can do .

Here’s to making 2017 a great year!

Blessings and love to you all!

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Things have changed

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Things have changed drastically in my life since I started my journey.   When I started this, it was a fitness journey. Now my life has become the quest for diagnosis. Not exactly what I wanted out of my life, but this is currently where I am .

So, what does that mean for my blog?

It won’t be as much about weight loss , but rather more about my health issues and daily life. I have to imagine I am not the only one with ongoing medical issues and no diagnosis.

I hope I can share my stories and maybe see some too.

So this is where things currently are in my life medically :

After my disastrous ortho appointment where he basically pressed “repeat” on all the other things doctors have said to me, I went back to my Rheumetologist.  I gotta say, I do really like my Rhumetologist, Dr. Dellaripa.  He actually is very up front with me  and pays attention.  Out of all of the ones I have seen, I feel like it is just as frustrating to him that we cannot figure this out as it is to me.

Dr. Dellaripa wanted to do an MRI.  My knees were in excruciating pain. So , I was down for whatever. I go in for the MRI and the person at the desk asked how my veins were for the contrast.  I told her good, I ,had had  contrast several times before. They call me in.

I’m sitting on the table waiting for the IV.  And he starts to get me into position for the MRI. I questioned , wasn’t I supposed to have the contrast? He goes back and double checks the order, nope, not supposed to have it. We proceed with the MRI. He puts my knee in this boot type thing to keep it down. I thought I was going to scream. It was so painful not being able to move my knee at all, it being locked down in this thing was just horrible.  I was just about to hit the ” help ” button they gave me to stop if I needed to, when it was over. Thank God!

Fast Forward to the next day, Hospital calls me and apologizes profusely that they screwed up and I need to come back to have the MRI done again …..WITH CONTRAST!

To say I was upset and pissed is an understatement. This was complete bullshit.

It was so hard to walk after the first one, I am so glad I had my husband go with me. I was literally hanging on the railings in the hallways to help me walk. So, I was really not looking forward to this one.

This time, they gave me the contrast and it was not as long, thank goodness.

Results – I have arthritis in my knees apparently . It wasn’t there 6 months ago. Also still have enlarged lymph nodes everywhere. Even my knees. Who even knew you have lymph nodes in your knees?  And of course mine are messed up . Dr Dellaripa decided that we are going to treat me with Metheltrexate for the arthritis for the time being.  I had already been tested for Rhumetoid Arthritis and everything came back negative, but he knew I needed something. The plan was to start the meds and go back in a month.

It was definitely a rocky road starting the meds.  Took a few weeks to kick in, to the point where I am now  on a low dose of steroids. But it has been about  4 weeks and there has been a lot of improvement. My right knee is currently pain free. My left knee is still sore, but it is way better than it was .  I even did 5 flights of stairs last week – and survived.  Crazy, right?  Able to fully walk when done.  Don’t get me wrong , I was sore , but I was able to keep pace with everyone for the most part. A victory!

This brings us to last week.  Knees aside, I have not been feeling all that great.  My armpits have been killing me – big indication that I am in the middle of a flare up .  I have not felt any enlarged lymph nodes, but I guess this is their way of letting me know, they are still here.  So, doctor is sending me for another PET Scan , went for more blood work and now
I need to go see a Hematologist.

I flat out asked the dr if its possible that this is cancer and its a slow developing one or if its possible that it could turn into cancer.  His response was ” absolutely “.

Call it naive, call it frustrated, call it fed up , but I thought cancer was off the table.  I guess its on the table, I guess everything is on the table.Bone marrow test too is on the table.   Its like a viking table. Huge and ginormous and full of crap.

I’m looking at things differently than I did before. I am sick, no one knows how sick. And some days are better than others. But I can’t stop living my life.

So, I am not going to stress. I can’t.  I just gotta go day by day and enjoy things as I can .  I know some days will be better than others . And some days is better than no days. I’ll take what I can .

I have a busy week ahead.  Hoping for minimal to no flare ups.

Hoping everyone has a great week !

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A New Approach

Hello Everyone!

I know its been another 2 months since my last post.  When I started this blog it was to share my chubby girl in the gym stories, feelings, struggles and what nots.  That was in 2013.  And honestly since the end of 2014, my health has been an issue that keeps popping up, rearing its ugly head.  Current status : head being reared loudly.

I love to write, I love to get out my feelings, I can’t hold shit in and I can’t act as if nothing is bothering me. I just can’t , I’ve tried, believe me, and in the end, I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s just who I am.

So, I am going to be here more often, and maybe not necessarily about fitness as my body allows, but maybe just about life and the way things are , are going, and how I am feeling.

I hope you will continue to join me.

So, where am I at today ?

I have come from enlarged lymph nodes, to removed lymph nodes, to no cancerous lymph nodes, to abnormal lymph nodes, to abnormal blood work, to lit up thyroid, to prehashimotos, to lowest IG-2 the immunologist has ever seen in someone who is not on chemo, to whole body soreness, to even more blood work, to still no answers.  All we have concluded is I have immune deficiency.

Fast forward to this year, the whole body soreness  is gone other than my knees. I started taking my Plexus . 

To say that Plexus helped my soreness would be an understatement. I virtually erased it after 2 weeks.  I am so beyond grateful for discovering it.

Now, once my whole body was not sore, my knees felt left out and decided they would start acting up.  At first it was my left knee, then slowly the right, now its both. Feels like bubbles on my knees. Like in the Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible sets off the tracker and he is hit by all those black blobs, yeah, so it feels like that , I would imagine.

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Yeah so that is what my knees feel like. Sucks, cause everything else, was good!

Ugh Freaking City.

I went to my doctor because my legs were getting swollen too, and I had gained some weight, so I thought I was retaining water. They put me on Lasic. Yeah, did not do crap other than make me pee like crazy. So it was not water in my knees.

Went back to the doctor.  Now, obviously I am extremely overweight and my thought was this is because of that. Doctor gave me referral to an Orthopedic dr and also gave me a prescription for something to help me jump start my weight loss while I really could not exercise , or even go for a walk. Stairs are the enemy.

That stuff was Amazing.  But it was only for 15 days. Deal was,  I got to orthopedic, then go back to dr after that to discuss what was planned and further discussion on the weight loss pill.  Thing  was that my appt was for July 5th, in my line of work, taking off the day after a holiday or even taking time off on the day after a holiday is just not feasible. It honestly causes more problems than its worth. So I tried to reschedule. I was on vacation in the middle of July, of course they could not get me in. Leaving me with an appointment this past Friday .

I went into this prepared to recount my past almost 2 years of issues just incase it was important, but honestly had prepared myself that I am a Fatty McButter and this is the latest in my self destructive path I seem to be stuck on.

They did my vitals, they took my X Rays, they listened to my story about my quest for answers for my unnamed disorder/disease/ what ever.

Doctor comes in and we go over my issue.  Looks at my X Ray and drops the bomb that , my knees are fine. Perfect. In fact the knees of a 20 year old.

Pump the damn brakes. WTF?

My knees are perfect. Perfect spacing, perfect knee caps, freaking perfect. No sign of any distress due to weight or anything else. At this point I just start tearing up. Cause I was expecting this to be – you are a fatty, lose weight and your knees will be better. You will be able to walk and feel human again .

Instead I am told my puffy legs  and knee pain are most likely due to inflammation from an ” unnamed disease ” that I most likely have .

He then goes on to list all the things I should be tested for.

Lyme Disease – Been there done that and all its variations

Lupus – yup

Rheumatoid Arthritis – yup

Sarcoid – yup

Among other ones, it was like I was sitting there and someone had recorded all the other doctors I have been to and this guy was pressing play. I was devastated. I know I have no technical diagnosis, I know that I am just trying to get by in life with some relief and I need to be conscious of my condition/disorder . I think from now on, it will be know as Meganitis, at least that is what the girls in my office call it. I think it works. But how weird is it that , this guy would come out with the same thing? How is it that they all have this same damn answer but no one can fix me? Talk about damaging.

So, as I sit there in tears, cause I just can’t with this shit anymore, he tells me I should see a Rhumetologist. Told him I have one already . Told him the meds he put me on for my soreness when I flipped out on them because I was beyond miserable, turns out it is just a glorified advil, which explains why I did not get much relief from it .

I am sitting there, utterly defeated and I said some folks told me a Cortisone shot might help me. He said we can try that for sure, it probably won’t work, but if it does, you come back every three months and we can do it.  I jumped on it. He did them in both knees. And confirmed there is no fluid in my knees . He told me it would take 24 -48 hrs to kick in. That was Friday, it is definitely helping, the extent I guess I will know tomorrow. I am certainly walking better. I am still calling the Rhumetolgoist on Monday , who will prob send me back to Immunologist so I can see what is up with all my crap.

I am hoping I can get to a point where I can get back into the gym.

GOOD LORD I MISS IT SO MUCH!!!!!

I am going to get self loathing here, but just let me rant.

I hate my body, I hate the way I look. When I am able to work out, I know I still look the same, but I feel better cause I know I am working on it. Not being able to even go for a walk is really just a killer. I had 2 weddings in July. I spent money I had no business spending on getting my hair , makeup and new dresses. All in an attempt to feel pretty. And I did, for the first time in so long I really felt beautiful . I got so many compliments, even from chicks in the bathroom, lol, not from my husband, but that is no surprise. When she was doing my makeup, I could not stop looking in the mirror. I just could not believe that was me. I wish Naomi could follow me everywhere, lol. Must be what a Kardashian feels like.

Here are a couple pics :

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I took a lot of selfies, I will admit it

 

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Me and my baby girl

 

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Typical full body bathroom selfie – Dress :Amelia, Lularoe – Love love love

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Me and my gorgeous sister Caitlyn

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Me, my Dad, Caitlyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On both of these days, I felt like a million bucks. I would really love to feel good all the time. I just need to get there. Hopefully I am on my way .

In other news, my kids are all growing up. It is hitting me like a ton of bricks lately . My oldest, Tyler is going to be a senior this year and has decided he wants to go into the Army. He has taken the Asvab and is working out so he can be in top condition for his physical . On one hand, I cannot tell you how absolutely proud of him I am . This is such an adult decision and he is working on things he needs to, to get there. On the other hand I am beside myself because my baby will be gone probably at this time next year. I see his face everyday. I know this is a part of growing up and getting older and this is the process of life. I don’t see my parents every day. I’m okay. But Ty, is my baby. All my kids are my babies. No matter how old , no matter anything. I know I have a year to process the gravity of this and I call I can do is pray that I created a good human who makes good decisions. I think so far, we have done a damn fine job.

All in all, I have been in a really bad place lately , I guess the good part is, I realize it. As opposed to before in my life where it would just swallow me whole.

Thanks for letting me rant. Hopefully I will have a better report tomorrow on the shots!

 

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