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But you don't look sick...
A blog about the life of a 28-year-old on a journey to being well while living with chronic illness.

BYDLS Has Moved!Oct 29, 2015

 BYDLS Has Moved
BYDLS has a new home and I'm looking forward
to posting more often and sharing my stories with you all.
Head over to the new page and feel free to comment
and let me know what you think and what you want to see on the new site!

A Different Kind of SummerJun 25, 2015

I have a lot going on in my life right now and I thought now would be the perfect time to update you all.

I think I mentioned this on my Facebook page but if you missed it: My dad has cancer. He actually has Multiple Myeloma, the same type of cancer that Tom Brokaw has. It's a fairly rare type of blood cancer. He's been undergoing chemo treatments for the past 5 months but we are now moving on the next step – a bone marrow transplant!

Just so you know, Multiple Myeloma never goes away. He will never be cured but he can go into remission. The transplant helps patients be healthy for an average of 5-8 years before the Multiple Myeloma returns and treatments have to begin again.

We live in a very small town in Southern Oregon. His oncologist who has been treating him is in Eugene, which is about 3 ½ hours away. We've been going up once a month since December. The transplant, however, will take place in Portland. Portland is 5 hours away. My Dad will have to remain in the hospital for about 3 weeks and then will have to stay within 20 minutes of OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University) for 30-45 days afterwards. In that time he will need a round the clock caregiver in the form of my Mom. Luckily my Mom is a teacher and has the summer off.

My parents will be leaving me, our pets, and our home for this journey on the 6th of July. We are more than ready for this to happen but it's still quite stressful and requires a lot of planning. They will be staying in an extended stay hotel for the duration of their time again. Thankfully we have great insurance and wonderful friends and family members who donated to our GoFundMe account to help us with expenses.

I'm so excited for this next step because it means my Dad is on the road to recovery. Cancer truly effects everyone involved and not just the person with the diagnosis. It's been a rough year but I'm hoping the second half of 2015 will be incredible. It will be a long road to being fully recovered though. It will take a full year for his immune system to be built back up. I'm sure it will be difficult for all of us. He won't be able to spend time outdoors or do many of the things that he loves. In fact, he can't even be very affectionate with our pets. I was planning on taking them back and forth while he was recovering because animals are healing but he can't be in contact with them for a while.

We usually go to the coast a couple of times over the summer but, of course, this year is going to be a bit different. I'm bummed to have to be separated from the two people I love the most in this world. I'm also a bit nervous that I'll have to take care of myself. Sometimes when I'm having a terrible attack I'm unable to do so but I know I have to be strong for my parents, and especially for my Mom who will have enough to worry about with my Dad.

I apologize in advance if I don't post very much this summer on this blog. I'll try to get new content up when I can but I can't make any promises.

Missing OutJun 09, 2015

I keep trying to picture what my life would have been life had I never gotten sick. I'm having a hard time imagining who I would be, what I would be doing, and what I would expect out of life.

I got sick at a time when everyone else my age was figuring out what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. They got to look toward the future while still being able to try different things. They got to meet new people, try new things, fall in love, and be young with years ahead of them to get serious and figure it all out. Some were continuing their education while others were finding the career path they wanted to take and others were starting families.

Getting sick changed all of that for me. Instead of getting to be free and in my early twenties I had to put everything to the side and learn how to live while being ill. I can't lie and say that I don't feel like I missed out on a lot but I do feel like I made up for it in other ways.

If I magically got better, I wouldn't even know how to start living a "normal" life. What skills do I have? What do you put on a resume after being ill and unable to work for 6 years? What skills have I developed in that time? I guess I could put things like:
· Able to show extreme patience while waiting in doctor's offices for appointments
· Has good veins and is able to have blood drawn quickly and easily
· Has learned how to push through pain and only take painkillers when pain is beyond unbearable
· Excellent at binge watching television shows when too weak to do much of anything else

So there we go, even if I was well enough to work, what would I do? It's a scary thought, although it's obviously not one that I need to worry about now. I'm just too sick to work and at the rate my illness is progressing I can't see myself ever entering the work force again.

There's so much more to it than just not having a career or a specific path that I want to take. It's also about who I could have been and all of the things normal twenty-something's are supposed to do. What about all the boys I didn't get to date? The friends I didn't get to make? I can't go back but I also don't know how to do those things now. Did I just completely miss out of my twenties because I'm sick? What are my thirties going to be like without getting to experience all of that?

Loss of ControlJun 03, 2015

My body isn't working like it should, and it's scary. I guess my body hasn't worked properly since I first got sick 6 years ago but it's getting worse. I'm losing control over my muscles and it's upsetting. I'm angry about it. I'm also sad.

I'm getting weaker with each passing day and the control I have over my body is becoming more and more erratic. I try to do things and find that I can't. I have to work really hard to make specific motions. I've nearly lost my ability to text on my iPhone and typing on my keyboard is becoming increasingly difficult. My fingers and my brain aren't connecting in a way that makes it so I can do what I should be able to do.

I have so many spasms that I'm afraid to handle delicate things made of glass or anything fragile. I throw things when I'm trying to move them or I drop them and lose my grip when I'm simply trying to hold something. I tried to pick up a glass yesterday and I couldn't open my hand and hold it. Today I tried to rip off a piece of foil to cover something with and I was unable to tear it. Instead the entire roll fell out of the box and unraveled on the floor. A couple of days ago I tried to put some leftovers in a bowl and I ended up throwing the bowl on the counter and then I couldn't pick it back up so my Mom had to do it.

Walking is becoming more difficult. I have to focus really hard on where and how I want to move. I have to move slowly in order to get where I want to go. Going up and down stairs actually hurts, which is an awful thing to experience when you live in a 3-story house. Today I missed a stair and ended up on the bottom but couldn't pick up my feet so I just kept kicking the ground.

My brain is able to understand how abnormal it is and what needs to be done to correct the movements but my body can't. I'm having a hard time comprehending my loss of coordinated muscle movements. I'm in my late twenties and I should be able to do these simple things.

What's really going on?May 28, 2015

You all might probably know, if you're reading this blog, that I was diagnosed with Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I'm not entirely convinced that this diagnosis is accurate. Lupus is an illness that has remissions and flares. I have not once even been in remission in the 6 years that I have been sick.

While I do think Fibro is a correct part of my illness I think my symptoms like up more with Multiple Sclerosis, or MS. In the beginning every single medical professional thought that it sounded and looked like I had MS but my MRIs all came back showing no lesions on my brain. I wonder if I were to get another MRI now, 6 years later, if the lesions would show up.

I'm only getting worse and it really makes me wonder what is actually going on inside of my body and brain. Maybe I have all 3. Who knows?

If you're sick, like me, do you feel like you have the right diagnosis?

A Loss of Control and OCDMay 13, 2015

I originally had a post scheduled to go live today about the clothes that I wear that are comfortable even during my most painful days. Believe it or not, clothing is especially tricky when you're ill and in pain. That post will still go up, maybe next week, but an issue came up that I think is more pressing.

As I have lost control of my body and of my health I have developed OCD. I want to say, quickly, that I truly believe humans are creatures of habit and ritual and that all of us have OCD to a certain extent, however small or large. My OCD is growing increasingly more pronounced as my health becomes increasingly worse.

It makes sense, when you really think about it. A loss of control is really hard to deal with, in any sense, and so trying to make up for it in any other area is a totally normal and understandable response. The fact that it's normal doesn't make it any less embarrassing.

I can't stand germs. I can't stand being dirty. If someone is smoking near me (side note: eww) I need to come home and shower right away. If someone is hacking and coughing near me I need to come home and shower right away. I need to wash my clothes right away. I don't like the idea of touching things that many strangers before me have touched. It's not every single time, but it's enough to be something I need to work on.

Maybe we can chalk that up to being immune compromised. I can get sick very easily so maybe I just don't want any chance of catching something. That would be a good idea, except…

I can't go to bed without washing my face, feet, and hands. I can't stand the thought of bringing the dirty world and all of its germs into my bed at night. I have to wear fresh clothing to make sure everything is clean.

Sometimes I shower, go out, and then have to come home and shower again. This isn't every time but it's enough that I feel ashamed. Yesterday, for example, I went to the grocery store with my Mom after I showered and I had to come home and shower again. I had shampoo drip all over me and the smell was bothering me and people were coughing all over the store. My Mom knew I was showering again but I was so embarrassed about my Dad finding out that I got dressed quickly and blow-dried my hair so he couldn't tell.

I even feel embarrassed telling you all this, but there's a reason. I think it's okay to feel like you have lost something when you become ill and it's okay to try to make up for it in other ways. Have any of you felt like you've lost control being sick? Or dealt with OCD?

Ice Ice BabyApr 29, 2015

I think one of my scariest symptoms is when I'm struck in the head. The pain is always so immense and unbearable. I usually lose the ability to speak properly and I get really confused and upset. I also get migraines but these 'lightning bolts" are something else entirely. It's so hard to describe them to people, doctors or otherwise. Sometimes it's like getting struck with a lightning bolt or having a knife being forced into my brain or the other night I had to ask my parents what the grim reaper carries with him because that's what it felt like. By the way, it's called a scythe or a sickle. I swear I could even feel the curve in my head.

We made a discovery a couple of weeks ago, well my Dad actually did, and when this happens my neck and head are usually on fire. I develop a crazy fever so my Dad decided to try icing my neck in order to cool me down. It helps so much! I don't understand why my blood boils and my brain starts to fry but cooling my body down is one of the only things that truly helps. It helps me regain my ability to speak, tones down the pain dramatically, and eases my confusion. This might be why hanging out in my pool in the summer has a tendency to make me feel better.

Have any of you experienced anything like this?

I have a collection of ice packs and wraps but I'm planning on buying one of these Ice Kaps soon. It's a bit pricey and I'll look pretty silly wearing one but I'm okay with that and will do anything to find some relief. I love that it has a place to put a pony tail through! 

All is NOT Fair in Love & IllnessApr 22, 2015

Let's talk about dating and relationships. This post is something I debated on writing about because I don't think it applies to everyone but it does to me. So please keep in mind that I'm only talking about my personal opinion about life as it pertains to me and no one else.

I don't date. I don't have relationships. I don't even flirt.

The last time I had a boyfriend or any type of romantic relationship was when I was 21 and I don't plan on changing that any time soon. Part of the reason is the fact that I have much higher standards than I did when I was younger and haven't met anyone who has made me want to change my relationship status but the biggest factor is that I don't believe that it's fair for me to date.

When you're ill it's hard to commit, period, to anyone or anything. I never know how I'm going to feel so I can never make plans. I am also progressively getting worse so I don't think it's right for me to form any bonds and make someone else become part of my world. I'm in pain all of the time. I can't always control my body and/or my brain. I lose the ability to speak and/or walk. I have panic attacks and anxiety that keep me home. I have such extreme headaches that I cry for hours. I'm so exhausted most of the time that I'm not capable of doing the things that I wish I could be doing. All of these things combine to equal a situation that I have learned to accept, and that my parents have accepted, but it's not something that would be fair for someone else to have to deal with.

My Mom was speaking to one of her friends about this theory that I have about not dating and the friend said, "tell her to watch Sweet November and A Walk to Remember". I like both movies and I get the point that it's better to have love even if it's not the normal, traditional kind of love but I just can't stand the idea that I could be holding someone back from experiencing life. I feel bad enough for my family, who love me through sickness and in health.

I just realized this sounds kind of like a cry for attention but I promise I'm okay with my decision to not date. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything because my life now is different than the life of someone with no illness.

As for flirting, I've never been capable. My family and friends always point out guys who check me out and I just don't get it. I never see people looking at me and when I do catch someone staring at me I always assume that it's because I have food all over my face or something. LOL! I simply don't understand any of it.

I have the only men I need in my life – my Dad, my dog Cooper, and my cat Hunter.

Different does not mean better or worse. It simply means different.Apr 15, 2015

Someone once asked me how I stay so cheerful and positive while living with illness and the answer is really simple, life is good. Despite all of the crazy ups and downs that accompany being sick, I am happy because my life is wonderful and as long as I'm breathing I will continue to be happy.

Of course I get sad and feel down sometimes but I'm an extremely firm believer that life is what you choose to make it. I can be miserable and unhappy and feel sorry for myself but why? Life is short and I want to be happy every second that I possibly can.

I am not the person I thought I would be and my life might not be what I imagined it but that doesn't mean it's bad. I am in a totally different place than I could have ever dreamed of when I was a kid but different doesn't mean better or worse. It simply means different and once you realize that it's all about how you decide to feel about life as a whole. Enjoy the detours in life. You are who you are, so embrace it and love yourself and love your life because you don't get to do any of it over.

I like who I am even though I'm not the world famous news anchor that I had dreamed of becoming. I like who I am even though I'm not perfectly healthy. I like who I am even though I live with my (wonderful) parents instead of owning my personally designed dream home. Dreams are nice but plans change and it's okay to be happy with the version of you that is currently real instead of the version of you that you dreamed of becoming.

Whether you're ill or not it's important to remember that it's okay to love yourself and accept who you are right now. You are perfect as you are.

And if all else fails simply remember my motto:
Different does not mean better or worse. It simply means different.

Greater UnderstandingMar 31, 2015

My 28th birthday is in 11 days and I'm so glad to be celebrating another year of life. I think most people only get better with age and I'm one of them. I love my fine lines and the gray hairs I find atop my head (I actually have quite a lot but they are so white they look blonde). I'm grateful to be turning another year older, because not everyone gets to.

I can't tell you how many times I have gone to bed, since I first got sick at 22, thinking I wouldn't make it to the morning because of the amount of pain my body and mind were experiencing. I was either in so much pain I couldn't imagine how I could possibly make it through and live to see another day or I felt like something was so wrong inside of my body that it was my time, the end of the line. Even though those moments are really terrifying they are also eye-opening. There are lows in life but there are many more highs and reaching those rock bottoms lead you up to new places you didn't expect. Each of those bad moments have led me to a place of enlightenment and while I still don't know the answers to the biggest mysteries of the universe I do feel like I'm smarter than the average bear, and for that I am thankful.

Sometimes I think back to my pre-sick days and I just didn't have the outlook on my life that I do now. I feel like I understand life and what it is all about a lot better than someone who has never been ill. Nothing makes you realize what really matters in life more than getting sick and all of the ups and downs that go with it.

I appreciate the little things as well as the big ones. I deeply and profoundly appreciate when I'm having a good day and I feel almost physically and/or mentally normal, but I'm also okay with the bad days because even though not every day is good, there is always good in every day. I am thankful for my family – human and furry, how much healthier (minus the cancer) my Dad is since he received his heart valve replacement, the way my Mom lights up when she talks about her students and how much she loves teaching, the two furry little guys who make my every day a little brighter, each breath I am lucky enough to take, every new thing I learn, the nature around me that I get to look at and enjoy, sitting on the patio enjoying the sunshine with Cooper at my feet and feeling the warmth on my face, the laughter of my loved ones, the snores of my little furry ones while they sleep, getting a letter/card/package in the mail, inside jokes, laughing so hard it hurts, fresh flowers (until they die, and then I get a little bummed), receiving a thoughtful post on my Facebook wall or a friendly e-mail… Some of those are slightly random and that's just a small sampling of things that make my life beautiful but the point of the matter is that I am so grateful for all of the things, regardless of how big or small they may be, that I get to experience in my life. Life is what you make of it.

Some people tend to get lost in thinking that some things matter in life when the truth is they don't. Things don't matter. The car you drive or the designer bag you carry, they don't matter. What other people think about you doesn't matter. People who don't love you or like you don't matter. All that matters is living life, loving the ones you want and need around you, and how you think and feel about yourself. I'm not saying that I'm an expert on life or what the meaning of life is but I think I've got a pretty good handle on it.

I really wish that everyone could truly understand the world, the way I do, without having to get sick. I'm so happy that I am able to see the world in such a special and unique way.

I'm thankful to be alive and I really couldn't ask for more.

My HeartJan 27, 2015

When I was 20 years old I had heart surgery. It was a fairly simple cardiac ablation but it was still a really big deal in my life. After years of being in and out of the emergency room and cardiologists offices with no relief from a heart condition that was a huge part of my daily life I was finally getting fixed.

It started when I was in my second year of college. I would get really dizzy, light-headed, and unable to breathe. It continued for the rest of the year, progressing with each passing day. It got so bad that in my junior year of college my parents started taking me to the hospital when I had really bad attacks. I would stand up and fall over, unable to catch my breath or slow my heart down. My resting heart rate was around 180, which is more than double what the average heart rate for someone my age was. When I was having an "attack" it was upwards of 210.

So many doctors told me in the ER that there was nothing wrong with my heart since I was a 20-year-old girl and 20-year-old girls don't have heart conditions. After more ER trips than I can count I finally saw a doctor who diagnosed me with Supraventricular Tachycardia. In the most basic terms PSVT is essentially when the heart beats so fast that the heart muscle cannot relax between contractions and in turn can't supply enough blood and oxygen to the body or the brain.

I was put on Beta Blockers, which caused me to sleep the majority of my days away. I had the surgery that February (Valentine's Day, to be exact). Cardiac Ablation is where the doctor goes in through the femoral artery and cauterizes heart muscle and tissue to allow it to pump better. My surgery went well, with the exception of my artery bursting while I was in recovery. They keep firm pressure on the incision for a certain amount of hours after the procedure before you can get up and when my nurse helped me up my artery opened up and sprayed blood everywhere so I had to stay longer than expected.

Yes, that's me shortly after my surgery. I slept in this exact position for hours.
I woke up long enough to eat a roll and then went back to sleep. 

My heart was "normal" for several years after my procedure and I'm thankful for those good years. However, my heart is getting worse and worse. I'm not sure if it's the same condition – actually, I don't think it is because it feels completely different. My heart stops, never for very long but long enough that it hurts and I lose my breath. I can't walk very far or up and down the stairs because I get very faint and can't breathe. After it stops it continues in a bird like fashion. I describe it as "fluttering". I have a hard time standing up and often fall to the floor and have to calm my heart and take in oxygen slowly before I can get going again.

In other words, I think I have the heart of a 90-year-old woman who is extremely out of shape. Since I'm still feeling angry and disappointed in doctors as a whole, I'm putting off going to a cardiologist but I have a feeling that one day I'll need another surgery. I'm enjoying the non-fluttery moments for now though.

15 for 2015Jan 01, 2015

Stop shopping online so much.
I spend so much time shopping online, whether it be "window" shopping or actually clicking purchase. There are better things to do with my time than online shopping!

Keep up with laundry.
I always get overwhelmed with laundry. It would be so much easier to do each load as it becomes ready instead of waiting to do 20 loads all at once.

Take Cooper on more walks.
He's a good boy and good boys deserve lots of walks.

Take up a new hobby.
I say this every single year. I don't know why it never works out. Any suggestions?

Find ways to keep calm and have less anxiety, or develop new ways to cope.
Anxiety is a big jerk and I need to figure out how to keep it from bullying me.

Push myself outside of my comfort zone more often.
This goes with what I said above. I get such bad anxiety that I tend to just stick to what I know. I like to be home and in my safe place. You can't learn and grow, though, if you never push yourself and leave your comfort zone. I think I have been getting better at this since I've been making more of an effort to do things and interact with strangers but I still have work to do.

Read one book a week.
I love to read but when I'm in a really bad flare and I can't see right I have a really hard time reading so we'll see how this one goes.

Cut back on watching YouTube videos.
How dumb is this one? I honestly spend way too much time on YouTube and I'd like to cut back.

Make some new friends.
Easier said than done at my age. Anyone else think that making friends after college is one of the toughest things ever?

Spend less money.
I try to be a saver but tend to be a bit more of a spender.

Use up the products that I have and wear the clothes that are in my closet.
I have a tendency to want new products before I've used up my old ones and new clothes even though there is nothing wrong with the ones that I have. I think we all do this but I want to make a solid effort to use what I have.

Set a Beautiful Basics schedule and stick to it. Pick a set time to write and edit photos every day, like a real work schedule. Stick to a regular posting schedule as well.
I've been terrible at being consistent with my blog this year and I want to do a better job in 2015.

Make more of an effort to write and post on BYDLS.
It has been a struggle to keep up with BYDLS and I need to try harder to keep up to date.

Be kinder and more respectful to myself.
I am my own worst critic and I need to be kind and gentle with myself. We all need to be nicer to ourselves.

Cut back on salt.
I'm a saltaholic and salt isn't very healthy. I seriously salt everything and I want to cut way, way, way back on sodium. I think this is going to be tough. I've tried before but I constantly crave salt!

Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2015?

ComfortOct 21, 2014

Since I live in a state of chronic pain I need a lot of help where comfort is concerned. I made a list of things that are imperative for my comfort and why they help. This list might not be very unique or too far off from what you would want when you're not feeling well but here it is:

Baths – I get so cold and sometimes the only way I can warm up is by taking a hot bath. It also helps with my aches and pains as well as offers a calm place to relax. I often throw in a handful or two of Epsom salts to help relax muscle pain.

Fuzzy socks – Fuzzy socks are a must have. I have Reynauds so my feet have very poor circulation meaning they get to be so cold they turn purple and I can't feel them. This doesn't only happen in the winter, or when it's chilly outside. It happens all year round pretty much on a daily basis. It happens to my hands and fingers as well, although not as extremely as it happens to my feet, so mittens are also important. Ear muffs and beanies are too.

Heating blanket and heating pad – The heating blanket is necessary in the fall and winter but the heating pad is something I use all year long to help ease muscle pain and keep me feeling toasty.

Sweatpants and sweatshirts – There's not a lot to say about these two must haves. Clothes often hurt me so wearing soft and comfy things are essential. My favorite sweatpants are from the C9 by Champion line at Target. The medium longs fit me perfectly. I'm not picky about sweatshirts but they do have to be soft.

Tank tops with built in bras – What can I say besides regular bras hurt?

Blankets – I like to be cozy and use a lot of blankets. I have a stash of blankets that I alternate between.

Pillows – I need lots of pillows in my life. I need pillows on the couch, on my bed, and in the car (I can't sit in the car without a small throw pillow or two) behind my back. Pillows are important to my comfort. I have special pillows in all shapes and sizes all over the place.

Ice pack – I have a kids "boo boo" ice pack in the shape of a tiger. I also have a really cute retro looking ice pack. When I get a serious migraine or an ice pick through my brain ice helps the pain decrease.

Valium, sleeping pills, painkillers, and Pamprin (to relax my muscles) – need I say more on this subject? And no, I'm not a drug addict. I only take these (well, besides the sleeping pills which I take every night) when absolutely needed. Even when I'm in a lot of pain I try to avoid taking painkillers but there are moments when I have no other choice.

What things are important to you as far as comfort is concerned?

Meet the CatsSep 23, 2014

Losing Parker was one of the hardest things I have experienced in my 27 years of life. I loved him with all of my heart, and I still do. I miss him each and every day. I still hope that he is alive somewhere out there in the world and that one day he finds his way back to me but I'm afraid that is no longer a possibly. We, as a family, also lost our beloved Sebastian after 15 years of love, friendship, and loyalty. This summer was tough because we had to do it without our beautiful fur babies.

We are a family full of animal lovers though and we knew our family was no longer complete. On July 30th we decided it was time to start considering getting a new cat so we headed for the local animal shelter expecting nothing more than to look at the cats. Instead, we met MoMo and fell in love. He went home with us the next day, although we changed his name to Finnegan James or Finn.

Finn stole our heart by being an absolute cuddle bug. We brought him home and our relationship with him was slow to build but now he is a very important and loved member of the family. We aren't sure about his past life or what he went through before becoming a Harris but he has come to realize that this is his home and we are his family. He's a sweetheart who loves nothing more than to be held like a baby, upside down and cradled in our arms. He is very vocal and likes to talk. He is also very independent and loves dividing his time between the great outdoors and our home.

He is one of the most stunning and beautiful cats I have ever seen. He's a very unique buff color and has amber colored eyes. He is a year old and lean, tall, and very muscular.

On the 15h of September we added another furry little face to our family. My parents could tell that my heart was still hurting from not having Parker in my life anymore so they decided to do an internet search for Turkish Van Rescues. Without any luck they ended up, on accident, at a local cat rescue website where they found a picture of a 5 month old Van named Harpo. My Dad and I went to the rescue place the very next day.

I can't even begin to describe how cool this place we went to was. It was a big room full of cat furniture with 40 or so cats. We went and sat down and were mauled by kittens and cats climbing all over us and each other to receive a little affection. We had SO much fun. I don't think either of us have ever smiled more or had more fun. Anyway, back to the story. The moment I sat down a little boy, Harpos brother Harper, came and sat on my lap and gave me so much love and affection. He ended up picking me and Harper went home with us.

Harper is now named Hunter. Hunter Parker Harris to be exact. He's a 5 month old who looks and acts so much like Parker, but he is not a replacement. He is absolutely in love with me and I am with him. He refuses to be away from me for long and likes to kiss, cuddle, and snuggle. He's an absolute sweetheart and is such a mamas boy! He's very calm and lovey. He has only been with us for 8 days but he is already so loved. I hope Parker gets to meet him one day because I think he would really enjoy having a mini me.

Cooper and the cats aren't friends yet, nor are the cats friends with each other but no one seems to hate each other yet either. I have high hopes that they will all soon be very close.

Would you like if I shared photos of them once a week on the blog Facebook page?

End of Summer Catch UpSep 08, 2014

I have received a couple of really thoughtful messages from readers in the past couple of months and I just want to say that I am so thankful for the kind words. I am grateful to have all of you here on BYDLS and I want you to know that I would love to hear your stories as well. Just because I started this blog as an outlet for me to share my story and talk about the ups and downs of living with a chronic illness doesn't mean this blog has to be all about me. I would love to interact with you all, personally, on the Facebook page or in the comments section. We don't have to be sick and alone. I know you're all hear for me and you should know that I am here for you as well.

With that being said I want to do a little update post. If you follow BYDLS on Facebook you probably saw my "time off" post. I received some terrible news about the disappearance of Parker and it sent me into a tail spin. Fortunately it turned out to be a misunderstanding but it broke my heart into a million more little pieces and I essentially shut down. While he is still missing I am slowly healing, although I know I will miss him for the rest of my life.

Health wise, it's the same old story. I was actually feeling alright for a little while but I'm back to not doing all that great. I'm so exhausted all of the time and can never seem to get enough rest. I'm also always riding this weird line of being really sick and being okay. I mean, I'm always ill, but I seem to flip flop between coming down the flu and then being okay. My status can change by the hour and it makes life really difficult. I never know what to expect. Right now I'm feeling drained, I am so sore my skin even hurts, and my glands are swollen and tender. Oh, did I mention that I've been dealing with a kidney infection?

I have had chronic nose bleeds since I was 11 years old. I'm not really sure what the deal with that is but they haven't stopped. I have been dealing with an average of 2 bloody noses a day for the past few weeks. It's not very fun. I should really go to the doctor and have them cauterize me but that sounds absolutely dreadful and I think I would rather deal with the gushing nose bleeds instead.

I don't think I have mentioned that fact that I think I am fully recovered from the hell that Cymbalta, and Cymbalta withdrawal, put my body and mind through. I finally feel 100% myself again and life is so much better than it was a few months ago. I cannot believe what that drug did to me and how long it had a hold of me. It reminded me though that I am strong enough to make it through anything. I'm so glad I kept fighting through the darkest of those days and I am now free again.

What else is new? Well, I guess I failed at sharing my life with you all over the summer. The loss of 2 of my beloved furry family members made this summer a difficult one but I was lucky enough to get to travel around the state with my wonderful Parents and for that I am so grateful. We went on 2 coast vacations, 1 camping trip, and countless day trips. Up until the past year we haven't been able to travel as much as we would like so getting to go on so many adventures this summer was really awesome. I plan on doing a separate post about the trips we took with lots of pictures included but here is one photo from our Neport, OR vacation. Cooper went with us and loved the coast!

I also spent a lot of time in the pool (although I'm sad because it's too cold to float around now), read some good books, watched a lot of movies and binged on One Tree Hill (also sad about this one because I finished last night).

The weather is changing here and although I prefer to feel the sun warming my bones I am excited about the colder months. There is something really beautiful and special about fall. It's such a cozy season and I love to snuggle up under a soft blanket and read a good book. Not looking forward to winter though. I can't pretend I like snow. I don't. I don't like snow even a little bit.

Oh goodness, I just realized that I never introduced you to Finn. I did on Facebook so if you're following me there you already know about him but if you're not then you don't know about the sweet little buff Tabby cat we adopted from the local animal shelter in July. I promise I'll do a post all about him soon! Here is a photo of Finn:

I guess that's all I have to share for right now. Sorry for the excessive rambling in this post. I'll start getting my vacation and Finn posts ready so one of those will be up next. Also, I was thinking… would you like me to do a Q&A? If you have any questions for me, about me or my life personally or about my illness please feel free to ask. If I have several to answer then I might do a post but if I only get one or two then I will answer them on Facebook. Let me know what you think!

Oh, one last thing. I would love to know what you have been up to so feel free to share your update in the comments (sorry about the captcha!) or on Facebook. See you all soon!

ParkerJul 29, 2014

I was a 19-year-old college student living away from home, my parents, and my pets for the first time when Parker became a part of my life in December of 2006. He was 7-months-old and came from a bad situation in which he was starved, abused, and locked in a bathroom. Naturally he had some bad habits but we all would if we had been forced to live in such awful conditions. The moment I met him I fell in love but the sweet little kitten I loved from moment one vanished and he became quite the handful. We had our ups and downs during out first year together but he was my fur child, my son and he grew to be such a huge and important piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am. He went from little hellion to perfect cat and made my life better each and every day he graced me with his love. There was no doubt in either of our minds that I was his and he was mine.

I don't know where he is now. All I can do is hope and pray that he is alive and uninjured, choosing to believe that someone has taken him into his or her home or trapped him somewhere he can't get out of. We spent 8 years together and in that time we went through so much. I leaned on him through good times and bad. I loved him with all of my heart. He brought me so much joy and love and affection. I know there are people out there who don't truly understand and think that "he's just a cat" or "a pet is just an animal" but Parker wasn't my pet. He wasn't just an animal. He was family.

I've experienced loss before but having an old, sick loved one pass on is difficult but not knowing what happened makes it even harder. I have lost my son, my parents have lost their Grandchild, and Cooper has lost his brother and best friend. It's unbearable and I don't think I will ever get over the pain or losing Parker.

May UpdateMay 29, 2014

I'm sorry that I have (temporarily, hopefully) lost interest in this blog, but I have been posting on Facebook but I know that not all of you are on Facebook so I thought it would be a good time to write a little update post.

2014 has been a rough year so far. Things are really starting to look up though.

I hit rock bottom in regards to my Cymbalta withdrawal and have slowly but steadily crawling out of the hole that it left me in. I was doing some more research and I found that for some people it can take up to a year after quitting to get back to normal. There were some pretty dark days in my life since I last posted but it's getting better. I'm not back to the Kassie that I was before I went on the devil drug but I'm getting there.

I quit the rest of my medications too. All of them, with the exception of my rx folic acid (because one of the meds I was on, Methorexate, made my hair fall out and the folic acid is supposed to help so I'm not quitting it until my hair gets better) and vitamin D. I realized that I wasn't any better with the meds than I was before I started taking any so I would much rather be unwell and unmedicated than unwell and overmedicated. It seems like the right decision. When I posted that I quit all my meds on the BYDLS Facebook page I said I hadn't experienced any side effects or withdrawal but I lied. I have been in more pain and had a lot more swelling but it's nothing that I can't deal with.

I got approved for disability, which is such happy and amazing news. I know I've been disabled since 2009 and my friends and family know but it's nice to have that affirmation from the government, especially since they're notorious for being tough on people who apply. Does that even make any sense? It's just nice and reassuring. It's also a huge relief to be able to pitch in so my parents don't have to carry the financial burden alone. Money isn't everything but it sure is nice.

The final news I want to share is that my dog, Sebastian, died on the 10th of May. It's been incredibly difficult to deal with for my entire family, Cooper and Parker included. He was 15 years old and such a special and integral member of the family. He was only 5 weeks old when we made him part of our family in 1999. We all remember the day perfectly – we drove from Naples to Stuart (we lived in Florida at the time) and picked him out of the entire litter. He was the runt. He had been through so much in his life - being hit by a car, losing an eye, going blind in the other, and having lymphoma but none of that stopped him from being amazing. He was my little brother and I miss him deeply every single day. Obviously as time passes it gets easier to deal with loss but it hits me so hard every once in a while. I loved him very much.

That's really all I have to share at this time. Oh, wait. I bought a bed. That's big news. I've had the same bed since 1999 (also from Florida) and it was time for a new one. I have trouble sleeping but since sleep is so important to chronically ill people I decided to invest in one. All of the salespeople tried to talk me into getting at least a Queen but I sleep in a little tiny ball with a cat curled up in a little tiny ball on my feet so a Full is all I need. It cost $900! Does anyone else think that's totally nuts?!

Burney Falls HappiesApr 21, 2014

I have been fortunate to travel around the country quite a lot during my 27 years of life and have been to many spectacular places. Yesterday, my family and I spent the day at Burney Falls in California and I think it now tops my list of beautiful places. There is nothing more rejuvenating than spending the day taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature – especially when it's in a place as beautiful as I was yesterday!

We started the day by driving down to Dusmuir, CA and having brunch at our favorite little café called the Cornerstone Bakery and Café. We have been there twice now and we have really enjoyed both times. If you're ever in the are I highly recommend you stop in for a meal. We then got back in the car and headed for the falls. A local told us to stop at a different falls that was on the way first (I don't remember what they were called) but we did and they were really nice but not nearly as breathtaking as what we would later see. Burney Falls – well, I think I'll just let the photos do the talking. So beautiful!

We did the 1.3 mile "hike" around the falls and even though it was a bit strenuous we had a really lovely time. When you are down at the bottom of the falls you can feel the mist hitting your skin and it is such a wonderful feeling! I wish I lived closer because I would go there every single day to walk around, take in the sights, and get in some exercise.

I don't know why I feel the need to share this story but there was a man who walked by me with a huge cockroach on his shoulder and it was SO creepy! I thought maybe it had fallen on to his shoulder while he was standing under a tree or something but it turns out he had a bag full of them. Who has a pet cockroach that you take to state parks?! LOL!

After spending several hours at the falls we then headed into the town of Burney. We were starving again and nothing was open, since it was Easter, so we had to eat at McDonalds – gag! Do you know how hard it is to eat at McDonalds when you're a vegetarian?

We headed home after lunch and the drive was really nice. On the home way we also stopped in McCloud and drove around for a few minutes. They have a lot of really nice historical buildings. I loved being able to watch Shasta as we drove. I'm so in love with the mountain. Is that a weird thing to say? It's just so beautiful.

I love nothing more than spending time with my family, besides maybe spending time with my family exploring nature. I had a fantastic time and I suggest if you're anywhere near Burney Falls that you go and check them out when you can!

Oh, and just since this is supposed to be a "weekly" recap I'll tell you the other things that I did - on Thursday my Dad and I went to Medford for an appointment and did a little shopping. We got along well and had a fine time. On Friday the family went to see the spring play at the school where my Mom teaches. It was called "Cow Tippin" and it was hilarious! It was a good week for me and I hope it was for you as well!

Here are a few more photos from the day:

Sugar SensitivityApr 18, 2014

We made a really interesting discovery about my health recently and it involves sugar. Just so you know, there is no such thing as a sugar allergy but there too much sugar does invoke an inflammatory response similar to what the immune system considers to be an allergen. Sugar suppresses the immune system and creates an imbalanced body chemistry that can lead to confusion, depression, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.

I believe that I am sugar sensitive and it makes my illnesses worse. It makes a lot of sense because my immune system is already comprised. The sugar just causes spikes and attacks. I have decided to cut sugar out of my life and see how much it helps. I obviously can't cut sugar out entirely because there are a lot of natural sugars found in fruit, and I'm a vegetarian so fruit is important, but I can skip dessert and the treats that I often crave.

This newfound realization came about during my birthday celebration. I was feeling pretty good all day and several minutes after I ate a piece of cake I had a serious "attack" and was no longer coherent or feeling well. I'm going to test the sugar sensitivity theory out and skip sugar for the next 10 days (at least) and see if I start feeling any better. I'll keep you up to date with the results of this experiment.

Psychodiagnosis Disability AppointmentApr 17, 2014

I had my final disability appointment last Saturday morning (at 8 in the morning – gross!) and it was a completely different experience than my physical exam was. This one was the psychodiagnosis, for anxiety. I was honestly terrified for this, especially after the last disability appointment was such an awful thing to go through, and googling this type of appointment did nothing to help calm my fears.

The psychologist was so nice, the total opposite of the last disability doctor I had to deal with, and made me feel totally comfortable. It was a very simple process that lasted about 35 minutes in total. All I had to do was answer some questions about myself and my pain and anxiety as well as some test type of questions. Some of them were a little difficult and I got confused but it was pretty painless overall.

When he was finished asking me all of the questions he told me that he was sorry I was experiencing all of the health problems that I am and it sucks to be so sick at my age. He also told me that no matter what happens as far as the decision I receive back about my disability that I need to keep going with it and appeal it if I am denied. He also suggested that I see someone professionally to learn coping techniques for my anxiety. When I told him about my experience with Cymbalta he told me that I was a smart girl for no longer taking it.

If you ever have to go through a psychodiagnosis like this don't be too scared because it's not the worst thing in the world. I just wanted to put this out on the world wide web because all I found in my google searches were horror stories about what a terrible experience this is. My experience was nothing like that of those that I read online. My physical exam is a different story, but the psychodiagnosis was fine and hopefully I'll find out if my claim is accepted soon!

Birthday HappiesApr 16, 2014

Well, another birthday has come and gone. As I mentioned in my Birthday Blues post I couldn't help but feel down even though I tried my hardest to be in a good place. Don't get me wrong here, I had a really nice birthday but my mind wasn't in the right place. I think the reason is that I just feel so guilty for getting another year older and not being more independent or healthier. This is going to be my Birthday Happies post but I'll be talking about my weird bout of depression later on this week.

My birthday was on Thursday but we decided to wait until Sunday, when we could all be together, to celebrate. I didn't expect anything on Thursday but I woke up to a sweet card and a beautiful African Violet. My Dad also went and got me a caramel latte from Dutch Bros!

On Friday we spent the evening helping out at Mazama's (the high school where my Mom teaches) Spring Carnival where Sparrow Club (the club my Mom advises) has a booth every year. We then chaperoned the Sadie Hawkins dance, which was really very boring.

I had the final appointment for disability at 8:00 in the morning on Saturday. I'm not going to talk much about that now because I want to do an entire post on it, so keep an eye out for that. My Mom and I went out for bagels and coffee afterwards and did some grocery shopping. On Saturday evening we got dressed up and the 3 of us headed out to dinner at Mr. B's Steakhouse and then came home and watched About Time. If you haven't seen About Time you need to ASAP because it's fantastic!

My parents did such a good job of making me feel loved and celebrated on Sunday (although they do a good job of it every day!) and I'm so thankful for them. We just had a nice day at home, spending time together. My Mom made me bruschetta (my favorite!) for lunch and artichokes and fruit salad (my other favorite!) for dinner. My parents also made me a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. I opened lovely presents and a fun birthday stocking, which is a thing we started doing and it's awesome! We finished the day by playing rummy. I had a nice day.

Did you notice how bad at Pin the Tail on the Donkey I am? I suck!

Here's hoping that 27 will be my best year yet!

27 Random Facts About Me For My 27th BirthdayApr 10, 2014

I have lived in 3 states, 6 cities, 7 houses, and 3 college apartments. I have lived in Klamath Falls (in the same house) for longer than I ever lived anywhere else.

I am an actual tree hugger. When I was little my family and I would go on a walk before bed every single night and I would hug all of the trees on our street good night. I would also carry a bag and pick up all the trash I could find!

Finishing a good book or a TV series makes me really depressed. I miss the characters when they're gone.

I'm an animal person in general and really love cats and dogs but I'm scared of dogs that I don't know, especially big ones even though the only dog to ever attack me was a tiny (but seriously fat) Dachshund that belonged to my Grandparents.

When I was little I got 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over my legs. The first doctors my parents took me to said they couldn't do anything for me and that I would be covered in scars for the rest of my life but my parents thought they were wrong and took me to a specialist. I only have one visible scar remaining on my left foot and I like it. It's a constant reminder that my parents will always fight for me.

I have a lot of scars but my most memorable are the one on my chin from a rollerblading accident when I had to have 7 stitches and my friends and family called me Shaggy (as in Scooby Doo because it looked like I had his goatee) and the other is from a boating accident when I fell off a tube and got wrapped up in the rope and dragged under water for some unknown length of time.

I have a very large personal space bubble. I also don't really like to be touched.

I still have every stuffed animal that meant something to me and I can remember all of their names.

My eyes change colors – blue/green/gray.

I eat muffins and cupcakes upside down because I always have to save the best bite for last.

I'm afraid of spiders so my Dad got me a tarantula when I was younger and I hated it. I'm still afraid of them but I suck them up using my vacuum so I'm the one in control!

I'm terrified of frogs. Long story short, they used to come up through the toilets when I lived in Florida. Creepy.

My house burned down when I was 4.

I had a severe allergic reaction to my 1st MMR shot and almost died. The CDC actually wanted to study me. When I moved to Florida they wouldn't let me start school without getting another. Luckily, I didn't have a reaction to that one.

My favorite color is turquoise.

I've seen the movie Titanic over 50 times.

I was such a ham when I was little that talent scouts approached my parents many times wanting to sign me but they refused since they wanted me to have a normal childhood.

I like most veggies, and I don't eat meat, but I can't stand cauliflower or eggplant.

I have double jointed shoulder blades and arms.

I can't touch my toes.

I'm a big fan of writing lists, about anything and everything.

I've done 2 beauty/scholarship pageants coming in as 1st runner up in one of them.

I have had heart surgery.

I have only ever broken 2 bones – my arm and my tailbone.

I have never been stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet.

Stephen King and Dean Koontz are my favorite authors.

I don't drink alcohol, at all.

Disability ExamMar 29, 2014

Even though I have been unable to work for the past 5 years (whoa, I can't believe it's been that long!) I didn't apply for disability until recently. It took 4 years to get a proper diagnosis and I wanted to be armed with as much information as possible when I applied. Let me tell you, the process of applying for disability is insanely difficult. The paperwork alone is ridiculous but yesterday I had my physical examination and it was an awful experience.

First of all, the office was not the office of a doctor. It was a huge room with a single couch and then a small exam room. I'm not describing it well enough to paint you a creepy enough photo. Thank goodness my Mom was with me because I would have felt completely uncomfortable by myself. The man briefly acknowledged me when I walked in and said, "there is a form on the couch. Fill it out within the next 10 minutes." I filled it out but I don't know if I did a very thorough job. The questions were so confusing and difficult to answer.

Then he called me into the little side room and started asking me questions, aggressively. He made me feel very stupid and confused. He acted like I wasn't truthful and he didn't really let me speak. I missed out on telling him a lot of my symptoms like the weakness I experience, muscle spasms and tremors, losing time and the pins and needles I have in my legs. I even tried to tell him about the scary thing that happened to me at the coast (that I talked about in my last post) and he interrupted my story and didn't let me finish. Very few of the questions he asked me made sense and it was a really hard thing to go through. Then we did the physical exam. That part went as well as it could have, I guess. He hurt me a few times but all doctors hurt me when they poke and prod so that's not a big deal. He then walked out of the room and said, "that's it. Bye."

It was such an awkward and uncomfortable experience. I left feeling upset and mistreated. I keep dwelling on it and it's getting worse and worse. I really need to let it go, because I can't change what happened or the way I was treated. As my Mom keeps telling me, "the worst that is going to happen is that you're going to get denied and then we will have to hire a lawyer to help us appeal". I think most people have to do that anyway.

I think my biggest problem is the way that so many doctors have treated me. It is never okay to make someone feel small or stupid. I'll drop this now because I know I've talked about how I feel about the way some doctors treat their patients in the past.

I just don't understand how a doctor who obviously never read my medical file and spent 15 minutes with me can accurately judge my condition. I have an appointment with a psychologist for them to assess my memory and anxiety the day after my birthday. I hope that appointment isn't as terrible an experience as this one was.

Weekly Happies #4Mar 25, 2014

The beginning of last week was pretty rough but I'm happy to be able to report that the rest of it turned out to be pretty great. I spent a lot of time outside enjoying the temporary warmth and sunshine. My Dad and I ran a lot of errands but also did some fun shopping/browsing. My Mom and I went out early one day for some bagels and shopping and managed to find some cute stuff - my Dad later joined us and it was a nice outing. We also watched the new Bonnie and Clyde. I like Emile Hirsch but it was a fail overall.

It's Spring Break, which means my Mom is home with my Dad and I, and we couldn't be happier. We are taking full advantage of the time off and have some really fun plans. Yesterday we woke up super early and headed for the coast. When I say super early I mean we left the house at 6! Anyway, it was an amazing (albeit long) day from start to finish.

Before I get in to the recap, I just want to talk about something that happened to me when we were walking on the Bandon Boardwalk. I was totally fine and then suddenly, out of nowhere, I experienced the most painful/terrifying/debilitating sensation I have ever experienced and that's saying a lot since I'm no newbie when it comes to pain. I can't even use words to describe it because it was unlike anything I have ever felt. I was "struck" through the head and neck. The pain went through me and I collapsed on the Boardwalk. My parents were close by and I managed to grab on to my Dad. I don't remember much of the actual moment besides the pain I felt ((I'm still very aware of the feeling of the pain, even more than 24 hours later)) and the fact that I couldn't see. When the attack was over I lost it and cried for the next 15 minutes or so. I came through it though and the rest of the day was fabulous. I just wanted to mention it because this is, in fact, my sick blog and not just an online journal to share the fun things I get to do.

Anyway, we walked on the Boardwalk and throughout Old Town. The shops, honestly, were all kind of weird and Bandon wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be. We did enjoy our time there though. We didn't purchase any souvenirs, but we did pick up a couple of pieces of fudge! The area itself is gorgeous and the town is pretty cute, and after we walked around we ended up having lunch at Tony's Crab Shack where we chowed down on some fish tacos and iced tea. We then headed towards the cliffs and walked around, taking in the beauty of the ocean.

We then headed South where we accidentally stumbled across a walk-through wildlife safari and petting zoo and after slamming on the brakes, u-turning, and finding a parking spot we paid a small fortune and entered the park. This turned out to be the best mistake ever! All 3 of us enjoyed it tremendously. It was extremely silly and ridiculously fun. We got to feed all sorts of weird animals and check them out. I'm embarrassed to admit that I discovered that I'm a little bit afraid of deer, llamas, peacocks, and goats who are hungry and swarm you when you enter a pen with food. I quickly handed my animal food to my Dad because I was kind of freaked out. He was extraordinarily popular with them though and was followed by deer and llama throughout the park. They even started to nibble on his clothes.

We have a little thing for pygmy goats and there were 2 little babies! Check them out, aren't they adorable? I got to hold them but I have to tell you a secret – they're not very cuddly! I tried to get a picture of my Mom holding one of them but at the exact moment I went to snap the photo the goat squirmed out of her arms and I was headbutted by a goat… a goat with horns! Not joking. LOL!

I'm not a fan of zoos or places where animals are kept in captivity but I can't lie and tell you that it wasn't a lot of fun, because it was. We laughed, A LOT, and had a really fun time.

After that we headed back to the road and kept going South. The plan was to go to Gold Beach and walk on the beach and try to find a glass float. By this point we were running out of daylight but my parents are the sweetest and wanted me to get to feel the sand beneath my toes and find a float (which is what I desperately wanted to do). We got to the beach and it was so cold and windy that it was painful. We walked on the beach a little but I couldn't handle it.

In Brookings, we ate dinner and it wasn't very good. We were exhausted by this point and began the ridiculously long drive home. We ended up being gone from 6 am to almost 11 pm and we were so tired by the time we finally made it home but it was an awesome day and I'm so thankful I get to spend time with my family doing such fun things. We all agree, though, that our next day trip has to be somewhere closer and warmer!

Weekly Happies #3Mar 16, 2014

I really need to write things down in a journal or on a notepad because I missed last week and I can't remember much! So this part will just be a quickie – We went out to lunch as a family during the week, which was nice. We finished Breaking Bad and I'm so happy with how it ended. I miss the show but I feel fulfilled by the story so I'm not too sad about it. We went to a state championship playoff game for the girl's team where my Mom teaches. They won, and went to state, but lost in the final game coming in third place. I don't think I have anything else to report about the week I skipped.

This week I spent a lot of time in the sun. So much time, in fact, that I'm a funny shade of hot pink. Woops! I love the feeling of the sun warming my bones and how good it makes me feel and I can't get enough. My Dad and dogs joined me for a while and we enjoyed the rays together. I'm technically not supposed to be in the sun because Lupus and the sun are pretty much enemies. On a side note, I was seriously considering getting a tattoo but Lupus and tattoos are also enemies. In fact, Lupus doesn't have any friends except other illnesses. What a jerk!

Speaking of how nice the weather has been; Parker is a filthy animal and likes to roll in dirt. He comes in looking like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown more often than not. He likes mud too but nothing makes him happier than a big old patch of dirt. My poor Mom has crazy allergies thanks to my little furry love and the dust he brings in and I have to keep blankets on the end of my bed just to collect his dirt but check out how cute my baby piggy is:

My Dad went to Portland for training for Civil Air Patrol for the weekend so my Mom and I went on a sushi date. We tried a new (to us) restaurant on Friday night and it was pretty good. I can't believe I used to hate sushi! I love it now, although I don't eat fish… I pretty much stick to California Rolls, although I occasionally opt for Tempura Shrimp. This time I had my trusty go to roll as well as a Tempura Vegetable Roll, which was just fried broccoli, carrots, and zucchini wrapped with rice and seaweed. It was tasty!

On Saturday we took Cooper for a drive (he LOVES drives and prefers them to walks like a lazy dog) and had a really healthy lunch (just kidding!) of fried pickles, french fries, and salad. Don't judge me! I get major cravings for fried food sometimes and fried pickles are my absolute favorite! I eat healthy 98% of the time. We went on a crazy spring-cleaning binge. We cleaned. A lot. We also went on a nice walk and spent the day together being lazy and reading. We had one of my other favorite foods for dinner – artichokes! Wait… is this turning into a "What I Have Eaten" blog? Weird.

It's now Sunday night and I'm more than happy to tell you that my Dad made it home safely. I'm always worried when my loved ones travel alone and so relieved when they arrive at their destination in one piece. If you're wondering, he had an amazing time and learned a lot. He's really excited about taking what he learned and what comes next with CAP. My parents are so sweet and thoughtful! My Mom sent my Dad to Sephora, where he picked up a couple of amazing gifts for me! I'm very thankful for their generosity. I love Sephora and they picked out some awesome stuff!

Alright, that's it I am now going to plop my butt down on the couch and catch up on the last couple episodes of The Vampire Diaries. Speaking of which, this season is boring me like no other. I usually love the show but I'm just not feeling it. Anyone else bored with it?


Who Am I?

My name is Kassie and I am a chronically ill 28-year-old. I am also a natural beauty blogger, Mom to a kitten named Hunter and the enduring spirit of Parker, sister to pup Cooper and cat Finn, and daughter to the most amazing parents a girl could ever ask for. I love my family and my life, even though being ill makes things a little difficult.

This is my "sick" blog. Unlike my beauty blog, this particular blog is unedited and may be full of nonsense and grammatical and/or spelling errors. I do not proofread or edit these posts, choosing instead to vent and share the things that take place in my life involving my illnesses. I originally intended to keep these posts as positive as possible but have decided to share as much as I can in real time, which means I will include the ups and downs of being sick. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.


Read the very first post on BYDLS by clicking here.

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