Friday, May 23, 2014

What to do/not to do when Kara is flaring

I like to think I'm a pretty easy going and nice person.
It takes a lot to get me angry and if you've read any of my blog posts before you know I'm a pretty positive and happy person.

Well, I have my good days and bad days just like everyone else.

Most of the time though, my bad days are caused by a flare up (if you're just now starting to read, go back a few posts and you can read the details of what this is) and not something anybody did.

Please don't think you did something to tick me off (you didn't) yesterday, I was flaring and I couldn't not come to school because of it.

Let me explain what was going through my mind yesterday...

I was sick earlier in the week and that turned into a flare which started on Tuesday and then by Thursday it had reached it full potential and the poor people in my classes/groups had to put up with me.

So I get a temper when I'm flaring and once again this is not caused by anyone.
I can't speak for everyone who has a chronic illness, but most of my frustration and anger comes from within. Basically, I'm mad at myself.

Why are you mad? You ask.

Well, I'm mad because not only can I not put on the lid to my tumblr, but I can't pick it up with one hand, I can't tie my shoes therefor I have to pretend to be in middle school again where I just put my feet on the laces and pray that my foot doesn't slide out of them as I walk, I could barely put on my bra, let alone my shirt, then putting on my backpack was difficult because I can't bend my elbow, forget doing my hair and makeup....and that's just all before I'm out the door.

Then I have to open my car door, drive to class with limited mobility in my wrists, sit through class for nearly 6 hours, listen to a professor talk about something that you can't even remember because you're trying to hold back tears because you're back is hurting so bad and you just want to SCREAM.

So you have all of this going on but this is nothing to what the little voice inside my head is telling me. Taunting me to give up and give in and just go home. But no, you have to prove yourself wrong. You have to prove that you can make it through the day, you can sit there and smile and laugh with your friends because you know it makes you feel better....and it does!

Side note: Humor helps! Make me laugh, always make me laugh and I guarantee it'll help. Not just me either, it helps anyone who is in pain. Pinky Promise.

Anyway, so you've got all the physical stuff going on and all the mental stuff trying to psych you out all while trying to pay attention in class and participate in group activities when all you want to do is tell yourself to just

And you can't.

So you sit there in your own little world just thinking about it all and trying to pass the time till you can make it back to your sweats, bed, and pain pills again.

Like I said earlier, I'm normally a pretty happy person and will talk to people pretty much all the time.
When I'm flaring, I'm quiet and I will go off alone or just look like crap basically.

It's better this way because I don't want to lose my temper and go all hulk on someone.
It's happened.
It's not pretty.

But that's not me, it's the pain and my point in disclosing this information to you is because it helps you better understand that if you interact with a person who has a chronic illness and they are in pain and say mean things or don't talk to you....don't take it personally. They don't mean it (ok, they might...I don't know the person...but in my case...I don't mean it).

Try and make them laugh.
That always always always helps me.

Just remember how you are on your bad days and how you would want to be treated.
And if all else fails, just ask the person if there is anything that you can do to help.

Side note #2: Don't get offended if the answer is no. In my experiences, sadly, there is nothing you can do to help with the pain or help me out (other than making me laugh!). That's just the perks of having RA. It happens and it's something my friends and family have a hard time dealing with because they want to help, but they can't.

Just ask though. It's always appreciated and thoughtful when you do.

While I mentioned helping and since I'm still flaring so I tend to be more straightforward and honest when I'm hurting....

I'm a very stubborn person and some people who have chronic illnesses can be. I tend to enjoy doing things for myself.

For example: If you see me struggling with (let's use the example from above) my tumblr lid and you want to help me out. It's much more amusing to watch me do it (because I have a chronic illness I can joke about these things hahaha) than it is to help me. I say this because, if I'm flaring, I'm not going to let you help me until I've tried with every ounce of energy that I have...then I will hand it to you without saying a word, you open it, and then give it back. DON'T take it from me or do it for me without me giving it to you or asking me first if I need help.

That's one for sure way to tick me off.
That's a no no.

Basically, when I'm flaring I'm like a 4 year old. (not really, but in terms of describing this situation, I am).

When in doubt, just ask hahaha!
Ask me if I need help (most of the time I'll say no then come to you in 5 minutes)

Laugh about it with me, unless it just freaks you out and if it does then let's talk about it.

Flareups are normal for me and I will always apologize for how quiet and withdrawn I get when I have them, but it's a part of life for me and I just want people to understand that it's nothing personal.

Next time you see me (or someone with a chronic illness) flaring, don't think "oh my gosh I can't talk to her today or I need to avoid him", instead strike up a conversation to get there mind elsewhere.

They will appreciate the effort, thought, and time you took to make us smile...
and so will I :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

& we danced all night to the best song ever

Ok, so not only has it been a while since I've written anything. Buuuutttt it's been a while since I've written anything happy or remotely close to myself. 

So here it goes.

Let me recap this past weekend for you because we all know when Heather comes to town, stuff is going down (totally going to be our hashtag for the next time)

Anyway before heather came I had a wonderful Friday being productive and talking to my former TA about phd programs. 
I love this girl, she's great, and totally helped me out with information.

Side note: I'm 92% sure I want to get my doctorate. 
I would like to work as a psychologist in a children's hospital working with kids with chronic illnesses (go figure) and possibly doing research with them.

Back to the recap. 

She told me one great piece of advice that can apply to any situation: Remember what you're doing it for and why you're doing it. 

I was sold. 

So Friday night I was a lame person and rented redbox movies while doing homework. Little did I know, my Saturday night was going to be a cross between an episode of Girls and the hangover.

Saturday was here and Heather, Liz Lemon, and Gabbie were heading over to hangout before going out. We decided that we were going to do a Lip Sync battle like the ones done on Jimmy Fallon.

If you've never seen Jimmy Fallon's Lip Sync here it is:

Ours was NOTHING like this, however it was pretty awesome and for those of you who have seen the video, you know what I'm talking about ;) (hint hint: I rapped and heather did some 1D)

Then we decided to go out and dance and yes we danced to every single Ke$ha song that Liz wanted to hear! Gabbie some how ended up in the middle of a few dance circles too. 
Well, we met some guys while we were out. 
They played Frozen, 1D, and other Disney songs and Heather and I were in heaven.
Oh, did I forget to mention that one of them was British? The minute we heard his accent we all knew we were in trouble. 
Yes, and he of course, sang the One Direction song for us. 
Then I had my turn of singing an Aladdin song with a guy named Trevor. 

Keep in mind that we are all young twentysomethings and this is how we spend a Saturday night....
singing Disney Duets with guys in the Whataburger parking lot.  

The night ended around 4am when we decided to go home and then started the next morning with Waffle house (where else would we go?!)

My weekend was adventure filled and crazy.
But it's what I needed. 

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't feeling the repercussions this week. 
Sorry guys, but you don't know what it's like trying to put on a bra when your hands don't work.

It's very very tricky. 

Not to mention I have a full schedule, I think I have strep, and mountains of readings I need to do. 
But, I needed that time to let loose and have fun.

Self care. It's all about taking the time to have fun and relax. This can range from netflix (which is my go to) to going out to dance.

If we don't do that, especially people with health issues. If we don't take the time to go dance and enjoy the fact that you can indeed stay up until 4am, then how can you say you lived life to the fullest?

If you don't have those crazy stories and at least wake up with a headache, then how can you enjoy the days when you're lying in bed sick. 

Now, sometimes those crazy stories do make you sick, but you have to realize what's worth it and what's not. 

I know that if I didn't do this occasionally, then the days where I couldn't walk would be extremely hard to get through. 

Balance fun time with relaxing time. Either way though, make sure whatever you're doing is not only for you but make sure that it's worth it. 

Monday, May 5, 2014


3 words.
Three fingers that were held up every single time we left him.
I Love You.

Over the past few weeks my patience, brain, emotions, health, faith, and every part of me has been tested.

But one thing never ceased to amaze me and that one thing was the amount of love that my family has received.

What kind of love, you ask?
Well there are many definitions of love and many ways love can be shown to others.

-Love is when you put other's needs before your own
-Love is when you drive or fly from out of state to be with your best friend because you know she needs you...whether she admits it or not.
-Love is when a church is filled with 803 people over 2 days waiting nearly 2 hours to say just how much your papa meant to them
-Love is sitting there holding hands with your family while they cry
-Love is bringing food over and sitting there to visit just because you don't want them to be alone
-Love is driving out of your way for lunch with your best friend just to talk for 2 hours because you know she just needs you to listen
-Love is going out to have a margarita in honor of papa because you know he wouldn't want us crying over him.
-Love is doing everything in your power to make someone smile
-Love is when you sit there and take the anger without arguing back even though you know they don't mean it.
-Love is showing compassion and strength when others need you to be strong for them

and most importantly

Love is being good to people whether you think they deserve it or not, because being good to people is best thing you can do.

Papa always told me that.

"be good to each other, because one day, the two of you are all you're gonna have left"

Every single time my brother and I would fight he would tell us that.

He wanted us to love each other (not that I don't love my brother already).

I lost 2 really important people within 12 hours of each other. Both my papa and Meeme were wonderful, compassionate, honest, and loving human beings.

If I could be half of the person that each of them were, I would be happy. They were both so proud of us all. One thing that I was so impressed with was how they treated others. They not only treated others with respect, but they saw the best in them. They believed in them and they loved them.

Papa loved his students.
Want to know how I know?
They came to his memorial and visitation.
They wrote him letters about how he thought they would go somewhere in life when others didn't, they signed their safety glasses and put them on the table next to a picture of him, and one student who had just earned his eagle scout pin gave it to my grandmother because papa was the reason he had made it this far.

I'm so honored and proud to call him my grandfather.

Meeme loved all of her grandchildren and was so proud to see them succeed at what they had set their minds to. She loved Pop so much. I remember just seeing them look at each other and joke about how crazy the other one was. That's what 50+ years together will do to you. But boy did he love her right back.

Papa loved mommalane from the first day he saw her, well that's what he told me at least.

To know how much the two of them loved me and how proud they were of me, is just amazing.

They surrounded themselves with people they loved and who loved them in return.
That's what we need to do.
We need to not only be good to one another, but we need to love and support each other.

Papa told me that that's what I needed to do.
Now, I'm challenging you.

I for one couldn't have made it through these last few weeks without my friends or family. I don't know how I made it through exams, classes, driving back and forth every weekend...actually, I do. It was the phone calls and texts from my friends. It was me, knowing that I needed to be strong for my family, and it was knowing that no matter what, I had people who loved me...rooting for me.

I now have two more guardian angels up there in my corner.

This song has been stuck in my head for days (don't laugh at's the friends theme song)

"your mother warned you there'd be days like these. But she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees and I'll be there for you when the rain starts to pour. I'll be there for you like I've been there before. I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too."

I pinky promised papa I would love and look out for my brother and cousins no matter what.
I don't break pinky promises.

Every day is a good day...
When you're loving each other and you're there for each other.

Can you pinky promise me that you'll do just that?