029 // Tonight, I’m a Mess

I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through the week yet, and this godforsaken month seems determined not to end. Why don’t the weeks of April through October ever feel this long? I suppose times slows to a crawl when you’re miserable.

I spent most of the day dealing with medical professionals, staff, and drug companies. There was good news, or, rather, there was information which did help put my mind at ease. But, moving forward with new treatment means a battery of new tests and appointments and it also means more anxiety. I’m trying my best here but it’s hard.

So, tonight I came home, claimed a corner of the couch as my own, wrapped myself in my comfiest blanket, and let my girlfriend know that is where she could find me for the rest of the night. Tomorrow I’ll be strong again, but tonight I’m a mess, and that’s okay.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // The Art of Worrying About Worrying

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

The sun is shining this morning but it won’t be for long, according to forecasts. We’ll be going from a high over 50 degrees today to one of only 28 tomorrow. We’re looking at snow, again, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for another snow day but the chances are slim. So, I’m soaking up the sun while I can, before I’m forced out into the cold tomorrow. I’ve got the blinds open and a few windows cracked, letting the crisp air in.

So, pull up a chair and help yourself to a cup. I’ve got plenty of cold brew ready or I can put the Moka pot on if you’re craving something warmer. Let’s talk about last week.

“Life isn’t sugarcoated. Why should coffee be?”

— Tommy Wallach, Thanks for the Trouble

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it was a wintry week here in Colorado. This week, in fact, felt like the very first time winter had made an appearance at all. We had blizzard conditions, icy roads, freezing temperatures, and stand still traffic across the city. But as much as the traffic, the snow, and the cold inconvenienced us all I was glad it finally arrived and not just because of the resulting day off of work.

While most of the worry over climate change focuses on the coastal regions, and rightly so since their homes and businesses may be underwater as a result, we sometimes forget—here in the middle of the country where mountains fill streams from snowpack and cool air rushes over peaks to cool our cities—that we are just as vulnerable. Our mountains are not the strong and steady defender we imagine them to be.

We’re seeing less snow, warmer winter temperatures, and less water in our rivers. We’ve been seeing hotter and hotter summers and higher and higher chances for wildfires. A warm dry winter might feel nice, but it’s troubling too. I sincerely hope we see a lot more snow in the coming weeks and months—and a few more snow days spent cozied up on the couch wouldn’t hurt either, you know?


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the snow made the short week an even shorter week which threw everything and everyone off at work. Then, we had more snow, which made for even more confusing and anxious conditions. We made a lot of mistakes and we all, including me, had to take a moment to admit our shortcomings and resolve to do better, to slow down, to pay closer attention, and to make better choices, no matter what.

For my part, I have to ask more questions. I have to get more involved, double-check, and see for myself more. I know that my coworkers are smart and capable, but I have to remember that they aren’t perfect. I have to help them out, and all of us in the process, by being a second set of eyes and ears and picking up the slack where they will from time to time undoubtedly drop it—as they would do for me.

At the same time, we all, especially me, have to learn to separate the big and dangerous mistakes from the little baby mistakes. We have to separate the mistakes we might have changed from the ones wholly out of our control too. I saw a lot of people stressing about things that had no discernible impact and that could not have been avoided. All that stress is contagious, and we were spreading it around like a bad rash, making a bad situation worse for no reason.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I leveled up in my anxiety when I managed to make myself sick by worrying too much about not worrying too much.

I talked a bit about it already but last Friday I received some bad news. The medication I am on to control my ulcerative colitis is working, but it’s damaging my liver. So, I have to be moved to something new. Something new means a whole lot of “what if’s” and worrying. Worrying that actually triggers my symptoms.

After my initial freak out, I tried really hard to calm down, and I tried really hard not to worry about all those “what if’s” but I ended up triggering my symptoms anyway when I couldn’t get the consequences of all this anxiety out of my head. So, now I’m just trying to think of anything else. I’m trying to occupy my mind with books and writing, and getting out of the house later for shopping and sun.

Tuesday I have an appointment with my GI to discuss my future medication and hopefully, she will answer some of those “what if” questions and put my mind at ease. She’s usually pretty good at that.


If we were having coffee, I would have to bring up the current state of politics in this country. I don’t know where you fall on the political spectrum and I certainly don’t want to argue. I’m not here, today anyway, to change minds. I think many of us are past that. I think right now most of us are just tired. I am tired.

If you are one of the federal workers who has struggled through this government shutdown, with the loss of pay and, in many cases, with a lack of options to express your frustration and needs, my heart goes out to you and I hope with all my heart that this two or three-week reopening can be made permanent. I hope this will never, ever happen again, but I confess, I am almost certain it will.

Earlier this week I read an article about the way politics functions in this country and how it leads to situations just like this one and may lead to worse and deeper deadlocks in the future. I think the tide needs to shift. We need to find a new way to fight each other that allows people to give in for the good of the country!

But I fear this shutdown, rather than waking us up to the worst parts of our politics has only further desensitized us.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can see the sunlight beginning to creep through the westerly windows. If I don’t get up from this seat, get moving and get out the door soon, I’ll miss it. I’d like to have a little bit of Sunday before Monday, you know?

I hope you had a good week. I hope you made some progress and that you made time for you. Try not to stress too much and I won’t either. Try to breathe, to take it slow, and I will too.

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

025 // Bad News Day

It’s a lot to get into, but some news I had been dreading to receive, news I had just begun to hope wouldn’t come after all, came today. Long story short, my medication is damaging my liver and even though it is keeping the inflammation in my colon at bay, I will have have to cease taking it and start something new.

If you live in America and you have a chronic illness you’ll have some idea how stressful it is to deal with insurance companies during treatment changes. First, there must be a cost analysis done to find out if, and how much of the cost they will cover. This medication will more than likely cost thousands of dollars a dose, the same as my last medication. How much my insurance will cover and how much I can get assistance for the rest will take time to work out and there is a possibility that it won’t.

In the meantime, I a ball of stress and anxiety, a state that actually triggers and worsens my symptoms. What if we can’t afford the new medication? What if I am allergic to the new medication? What if the new medication doesn’t work? What if, while I’m waiting for the cost analysis and the financial assistance, my symptoms return or worsen? What if, what if, what if…?

Of course, worrying does nothing, and like all things, I just have to wait for answers to come and deal with them as they do.

But that is easier said than done.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // Strong Enough to Examine, and Change

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

Waking up was a little easier today than most Sundays. I think knowing that I have an extra day away from work tomorrow makes it easier for me to get this day going. A three-day weekend really makes it clear how much a four-day work week would do for the human psyche and soul.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining and the temperatures are rising fast. It’s going to be the warmest week of the day and I plan to get out and soak up the sun while I can. So, quickly now, let’s talk about last week.

“Presently the small of coffee began to fill the room. This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten, and the soul is inspired with faith in the future…”

Halldór Laxness, Independent People

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was good, I think. It was certainly not bad, but it was long and tiring. I’m beginning to believe the problem is with me and not with work or the world. I’ve been feeling especially tired for weeks now and as someone who has a chronic illness, I have learned to pay attention to my body and to take action when something is wrong. Better to make a few appointments and run a few tests now before things get bad.

I’m at the halfway point between last months infusion day and next month’s. I’ve had a theory now that my infusion days are set too far apart and that I would do better at six-week intervals rather than eight. This month I’m tracking my symptoms and energy levels so I can present my case to the powers that be and get my treatment plan revised.

In the meantime, I’m taking one day every week to simply rest. I got the idea last week from Eclectic Alli’s Weekend Coffee Share post and gave it a try myself yesterday. I talked about it a bit last night already but I want to say again to anyone that needs to hear it, acknowledging that you need to rest, giving yourself permission to do so, and even seeking a little reassurance from loved ones as I did with my fiance, can really go a long way.

I was able to rest without anxiety and without guilt. I was able to really rest.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week was an okay writing week. It was better than last week, but I’m still struggling to finish the drafts I start and I still haven’t begun work on my larger projects. This coming week I’m going to keep on doing what I am doing and trusting that I will keep getting better as long as I keep stringing words together either on the screen or on the page. I have to trust in the long run and broaden my focus from the day-to-day.

I’m not really disappointed though because even though it might have been a less than ideal writing week, it was a stellar reading week! I finished both Homer’s The Iliad and On the Genealogy of Moral by Friedrich Nietzsche, two books I had failed for months to get through in 2018. I started The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s very different from my last two reads but I think that is how I proceed best through books by jumping from one genre or time period to another radically different.

Next, I’ve got The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, then a couple of volumes of Saga comics, and then The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that we’re over halfway through Dry January and I am finally seeing some benefits. I’ve lost weight, a surprising amount of weight and I do feel like I am sleeping better through the night than I have in a long, long time.

I’m starting to think now of if, and how, I will return to alcohol once the month is over. I’ve broken my dependence on the need for alcohol to trigger a relaxing response after a hard or frustrating day at work. I no longer need to come home and pour a glass of wine or make a margarita on those especially hard days. I no longer feel that social gatherings or events require alcohol to be fun. I feel like I have a little more choice about when I drink, and I don’t want to lose that.

Going forward, I will regulate alcohol to the realm of “special occasion”. It will be a once a week or less indulgence. When I purchase alcohol I will buy in smaller quantities so that I don’t have so much to “get through”.

Drinking alcohol isn’t inherently a bad thing, and while I did indulge regularly, I didn’t and still do not, consider my relationship to alcohol to be problematic. It’s like sugar or fast food, or coffee even, it just became a habit and I want for all my habits to be a little less automatic. I’m proud of myself for being strong enough to examine and change.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I enjoy chatting with you the morning is moving on toward midday and I’ve got shopping to do and maybe a lunch date with my lady if I can leave soon enough.

I hope you had a wonderful week. I hope you made some progress and if you experienced any setbacks; I hope you know you can start again as many times as you need. Get out and see the sun if you can, and rest without one iota of guilt if you can’t, okay?

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

019 // Permission to Rest

I got to spend the day on my own doing all the nothing I wanted. Last week I read a post from Eclectic Alli where she mentioned giving herself a much needed whole day of rest per week to help cope with her chronic illness. I was inspired.

So, I finished my book and started another one. I watched a few shows and wrote a few words on this draft and that, and when I was ready I got up, reorganized some cabinets in the kitchen and showered. That was it and that was enough.

I’ve had plenty of lazy days before but this was the first time I didn’t feel guilty about it. This was the first time I gave myself permission and acknowledged the reason. I too have a chronic illness, and chronic pain and chronic fatigue have been kicking my ass lately.

It’s good for my body and for my piece of mind to make room to recuperate regularly. I just wish it was easier to allow.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // One Last Busy Week

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I got up late this morning, but I made coffee the first priority this morning so I’m moving fast. I sure wish I had a good espresso machine, or even a little Moka pot, though. This cold brew is good and strong, but I need more “on demand” options for these higher caffeine concentrations. There’s a lot to do around the house today. Cleaning, laundry, and dishes mostly, and in between, some writing in too, obviously. I was too tired for any of it yesterday and feel the need to do double the work today, after chatting with you.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining, and the air is warm again today. We’ve been 10-15 degrees above average temperatures for weeks now. It was nice at first but it’s beginning to worry me a little. Still, best to make the best of it right? Best to throw the windows open, let the fresh air is blow through, and take full advantage of these perfect conditions for some good conversation I think. Let’s talk about last week!

“Whenever I drink coffee I love being alive.”

creamysmooth

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was exhausting!

Part of my job, when not riding the school bus with the students, is teaching other people how to ride the school bus with the students. We had a new class of employees start and it was a bigger class than I’ve taught in a long time. I was out of practice and off my game at the start. I injured myself twice and struggled to stay positive and motivated, but I got through it. I hear there will be more of the same in the coming week too. This time I’ll be ready.

I spent the weekend healing a pulled muscle, some sore joints, and a couple of deep cuts on my hands. I rested, ate well, drank plenty of water, and rested some more. I got out of the house. I saw some friends for a “pancake cook-off” and a couple of strong mimosas. I did a bit of window shopping and got some projects done around the house too. It was a good weekend and I feel physically and emotionally ready for the next 5 days of dark mornings, long days, and early nights.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last Tuesday was “infusion day”, the day every 8 weeks where I hang out at the clinic and get my ulcerative colitis medication through an IV drip. Because I had been tolerating the infusion process so well the nurses and I decided to start doing them a little faster so I can get the heck out of that place as soon as possible.

Not that it’s awful, especially if my girlfriend stays, and if I have a good book and plenty of snacks, but being there makes me feel like a sick person and when I leave, no matter how I actually feel, I’m well and normal again. 

The one-hour infusion went well but there was some bad news too; I think. Before every infusion, I have to get blood work done. Two months ago my liver panel came back with some concerning numbers and looking at the results from Tuesday things are looking even worse. I expect—hope!—to get a call from my doctor this week letting me know if it really is bad news, or if we will continue to “keep an eye on it”.

Either way, I am sure she will tell me not to worry, she always does, but I know that if my liver continues to be damaged by this medication, I may not be able to take it anymore. There is a chance of getting sick again while we try something else, and greater and greater financial burdens too. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have failed completely to do any of my Christmas shopping before the deadline I had set for myself, or before it would be too late to ship them. I just keep forgetting that it’s the holiday season at all. I don’t have my tree up or any Christmas lights either, plus, like I said, the weather has been beautiful and having no kids of my own the holidays simply slip my mind sometimes.

This is my last week to get it done though. I know Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but it’s kind of all about the gifts. I’ll have to do the shopping every day after work when the sun has already gone down and I’m already tired. Knowing me, I won’t make it and those gifts are going to end up arriving at their intended destinations and recipients very late. I hope everyone is feeling rather patient and grateful this year.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that one of the many perks of working for a school district is getting to end the year, and begin a new one, with a nice long rest. This coming week, though it will be busy, will be the last busy one for a good long while. Schools will close, and buses will stop running until the second week of 2019. I’m so looking forward to resting my body and mind and having time to prepare for the new year and to reflect on the last. 

Of course, this long break it isn’t great for the paychecks, so I’m not taking all the time off offered. I’ll go in for at least half of the break—along with the rest of my team—to check our buses and make sure each bus is stocked with supplies and set up in accordance with policy and law. It will be easy-peasy work. Half days and half or less of the stress and I get to put my headphone in, listen to podcasts, walk around in the sun, and take all the breaks I need.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s getting dark outside. The sun is coming in low through the west windows and that means it time to switch from coffee to tea—and later, wine—else risk fueling my anxiety late into the night, and speaking of anxiety, I’d better get a move on and finish up these work week preparations, else risk a light night wide awake with worry.

I hope you had a good week. I hope that you are excited for the fast approaching holidays, not stressed or depressed. Do not forget to make time for you and to reflect and remind those around you occasionally what the true meaning of the season should be. Do not forget to show love and look always for ways to be kinder.

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // The New Year Begins Now

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’m moving slowly this morning. I’m ambling about unfocused, scattered, and distracted. My schedule was thrown off by the cancellation of a group brunch this morning and now I don’t know what to do with myself. I did all the cleaning yesterday (thinking I wouldn’t have time) and writing—the thing I know I should be doing—is proving too difficult to be enjoyable. I’ve just now been able to pull myself away from my phone, and I’m hoping a cup of coffee and some good conversation can motivate me to get back on track before the day is done.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining today and the temps are warm enough to open a few windows and let some crisp air in. Let’s talk about last week.


“The best Maxim I know in this life is, to drink your Coffee when you can, and when You cannot, to be easy without it.”

Jonathan Swift

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was another long one. It’s hard going into work when it’s dark and coming home, cold and exhausted when it’s gotten dark again. This is usually when I start feeling depressed. It’s like the world stopped existing and all there that’s left is work and home. I feel trapped, but knowing there is nothing I can do I simply resign myself to it. Winter is forever…

This year I’m trying not to let myself get too down. This year I’m trying to get out more, with friends if possible but even a walk around the parking lot at work during lunch will do. I have to remind myself that the world is still out there and that I can still do things, go places and be happy, even in these cold and dark times. 

I actually made all kinds of plans this weekend. We had the above-mentioned brunch and a birthday/Christmas party to attend too, both of which were canceled. Part of me is disappointed. I probably won’t have the time or the energy to get out again until next weekend, but part of me is relieved. The part that wanted to wallow on the couch, binge watch The Walking Dead and sleep way too much, that part of me won this weekend. I’m realizing now that, as usual, her promises renewed energy after so much “rest” have proven hollow.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you, honestly, that I didn’t accomplish much this week, but it’s ok, my priorities were a little different. I spent much of the week brainstorming ideas, reading, and practicing doing nothing at all. 

I’m about halfway through The Iliad now and on track to finish by the end of the month. That is my last reading goal of the year and I am determined not to fail this one too. I keep feeling tempted to pick up something else but I’ve set my expectations so low (just 10 pages a day) that there is no excuse, and at the end of the day when I read for 30 minutes before bed, if I still want to pick up something else, I have Emily Dickinson’s poems waiting on the nightstand.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that when I wasn’t reading I worked hard to avoid social media and instead worked on some ideas and strategies for next year’s goals. I’ve always believed that the time to start your new year’s resolutions is the December before. I want to hit the ground running on January 1st; you know? 

I’ve got my new body weight fitness routine just about figured out. I had to make a few modifications since I don’t have a lot of equipment and I have chronic joint pain. I still have to clear out the basement bedroom and convert it to my basic home gym but all that requires is a Saturday morning’s worth of cleaning, carting the old TV down there, and picking up a new area rug. 

I’ve also downloaded the Year Compass booklet to fill out this week. I was looking for a way to take stock of where I am and start planning for the year to come. I filled one out last year but I can’t for the life of me remember what I did with it. This year’s I’m going to keep in the back of my journal, and the next one too, and I’ll leave it in the last journal I use for the year before filling out another. 

I’ve also downloaded the new daily goal tracker from Elise Joy to use for a new year-long creative habit. I have been trying to work up the courage to start using my the art journal I made last summer, but for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to sully those beautiful, pure blank pages. Perfectionism and a fear of looking silly are keeping me from starting but I will not let another year go by while those pages stay blank. I’m going to start, and I’m giving myself permission to keep those silly drawing all to myself if it helps.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a very busy week coming up. I had planned to take it easy but much of what my week look likes is, unfortunately, out of my control. We’ve got a lot going on at work, and there have been hints we may have a lot going on for a while. 

I’m going to take it easy as much as I can though. It’s “infusion week” this week. For those new to my story, two years ago I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and my current treatment plan includes drip infusions of my medication every 8 weeks. That means every other month I spend the afternoon in an infusion center eating snacks and reading while a nurse makes sure I don’t have any adverse reactions.

After these infusions, I’m always exhausted. I think part of it is being anxious the whole time, and the fluids they give me make me feel cold and tense too. A nurse once told me dropping all the medication into the body at once contributes to the tired feeling too. I always take it easy during my infusion weeks. I figure it’s my body’s best chance to calm the immune system and give the medication a chance to work.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun is getting low now and I’ve finally found that energy I needed all day. I’d love to stay and chat through the evening too but if I don’t start preparing for the week ahead I know I’ll regret it. 

I hope you had a good week and that wherever you are winter isn’t rearing its ugly head. I hope you got out and made time for you. If not, there is still time and I urge you to spend it doing something that will make you feel good or at least a little more ready this coming week.

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash