Thursday, June 30, 2011

Open Expression Of Hard Feelings But Always Grateful

I was recently kind of criticized for how I have handled my recovery in the sense that I am ungrateful. This could be farther from the truth. The reason for this criticism I think may have been sparked by my last post about how I was unhappy with my doctor's next game plan of taking a break for 6 months before continuing on with the reconstruction. In that post I spoke of how it made me feel, which was unhappy and wanting to keep moving on and moving forward with the reconstruction so I can get on with what I'm going to do with my life. Evidently, that came off as ungrateful. So let me talk about that since I have chosen to limit what I post about my emotional feelings and hardships on Facebook. But this is my blog and I will not censor what I say here.

To shout it out to the world, I AM GRATEFUL!!! I am grateful for MANY things. I will say that I am grateful for being alive first and foremost, even though there are days, I'm sad to say, there I do actually wish I had died in the fire and I am so very grateful for my incredible family, who have endured so much alongside me and my awesome friends (those that I can truly call my friends) who have backed me up and stood by me through thick and thin. I am grateful the accident only involved me and no one else. I am grateful that the fire didn't get my hands so I can still play piano and while we're on that kind of subject, I am grateful the fire also didn't get my eyes or nose for those can be the hardest to reconstruct and irreversible if I had lost my sight. I am grateful the fire didn't take my legs or my arms. I am grateful for the paramedics that initially saved my life when they came to my home that night, for the doctor that was on call that night who continued the fight to save my life once I was in his care and for the plastic/reconstructive doctors who have gone on to help reconstruct me and get me my life back as well as the nurses who cared for me when I first came in, talking to me even when I couldn't hear them because I was in a coma and every time I come back to the hospital after a surgery. I am grateful for the OT's and PT's who worked so hard initially to combat the contractures and who continue to work with me when needed. I am grateful for how hard my mother and the social worker at the OBC, Sharon, worked to get me on the insurance that has saved us or we would be buried in medical bills. I am grateful to have that insurance! I am grateful that I have a wonderful, dear friend that is going to see what she can do to get my voice back since the smoke from the fire damaged my voice and diaphragm. I am grateful for the readers and followers of my blog that I started two years ago not sure what I wanted to do with it or if anyone would read it for that matter so I am in addition grateful that I did get readers and followers and am able to inspire people with my story and my journey. I am grateful for all the support I have been given by family, friends, readers and followers of my blog and even people who contact me that I don't even know! I mean, do I need to go on about everything more I am grateful about to show you that I AM a grateful person! And I mean these things, these are not just words for show.

Many survivors process their recovery in different ways and how they choose to do so is how they choose to do so. For me, as a survivor of a horrific accident that may not have taken my arms or legs, it did take away my life as I knew it. I have had to relearn a new way of life and rediscover myself, particularly rediscovering myself as a survivor. I didn't look in the mirror when I was initially hurt for months. And when I finally did, with one of my PT's and my brother Jake by my side, I didn't recognize the face that was looking back at me. I just looked at that messed up face with tubes coming out of her nose and a lip that was melted inside out and then finally, I cried. And I cried and cried and cried. I never thought I was beautiful before the accident but when I looked in the mirror that day, and I don't say this or mean this with great ego, I knew I had been beautiful once and now it was gone and I wasn't gonna get it back. Was I going to look like this forever? To this day, even though my plastic/reconstructive doctors have done wonders on me, I still avoid looking in the mirror as much as possible and when I do look in in it, I still don't recognize the face looking back at me, or the body that I see all mangled up in scars. And it still makes me cry.

My recovery has been just that, MY recovery. And I have chosen to express any feelings I may be having whether it's through a status post on Facebook or through a post on my blog. I have chosen to express any feelings because I cannot (and refuse) to sugarcoat my life now. I am not a recovering survivor who goes around being thankful everyday that I'm alive with a smile on my face and sun shining out of my ass. Yes, I am thankful, but that doesn't mean I can't also be angry, frustrated, sad, lost at the same time. Because to be honest, those kinds of feelings, those feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, loss outweigh the better feelings most of the time at this stage of my recovery. No, I didn't lose my legs or my arms but I did lose a lot in that fire. That fire took a lot of things from me that may not be tangible and it took some things away from my family. I mourn the life that I once had everyday and I mourn the dream for my future that the fire may have taken away from me everyday. I mourn the some of the person that I was before the fire: bigger than life, full of laughter, a healthy body, courageous to have actually gone after the dream I always talked about doing, and happy for the most part. There are some parts of my character before the fire that I lost that I am happy to have lost for I do believe, and have been told, that I have become a better person now. There is also the change in independence I have had to become accustomed. I am now a very dependent person on my family and friends to do the most simplest of tasks when I was once a very independent person. This is one of the hardest things to deal with because not only does it frustrate me that I can't do such simple tasks but I also feel bad for the people, particularly my mother who is my main caretaker, who have to help me almost 24/7. But just because I may express any of these kinds of feelings that I harbor never ever means that I am ungrateful. I have chosen to be real about what I'm going through and I can bet that even those survivors that seem so happy and "grateful" all the time despite what happened to them, even if it's worse than me, that they too have the same harder feelings that I have and the kind of bad and very bad days that I also have.

There are so many things that I go through on a daily basis that you don't even know the half of because I don't share it with you. So many things. In fact, there has been something that I have kept to myself that only my family and a very few select friends know and when this whole thing blew up, I happened to mention it to a friend in a message and she told me that she knew of everything else that had happened to me but never knew of this because I never talked about it. Well, here it is. When I was initially hurt, my chest was burned so badly the doctor wasn't sure if he was going to be able to save my breasts. When he came out to talk to my parents about my condition and what was to be of my future from now on, my mother asked him if he was able to save them. He told her he had tried but he wasn't sure if it was going to work. Well, it did work but they're not exactly "good looking" breasts, I guess you could say. I should also tell you that I completely lost my nipples in the fire before I even got out of the house. There was nothing he could do about that. They were already burned off. So, there it is. I haven't talked about this because it's such a very personal part of a female's anatomy and it's quite frankly, embarrassing. But it's very hard to deal with because it is so much of being a woman and I don't have that anymore. I may have the breasts, but they are mangled in scar tissue and contractures and I have no nipples so they don't exactly feel like having a woman's breasts. One thing that makes me tremendously sad about it all is that if I ever do find a partner in life and have kids, I won't be able to breast feed them. And that makes me very sad because I think that's such a special and important part of bonding between a mother and her newborn. I will never get to do that. I did have a major reconstructive operation on my breasts in maybe, 2009, to do some contracture releases that had formed on my breasts as well as inside them. That was a very hard surgery. They didn't really look better after the surgery, but at least the contractures were gone. However, as you well know, my body did not keep it that way for long and some contractures have started to form again, pulling my breasts down and somewhat to the side so I will probably have to have another major surgery on my chest again. That doctor who initially worked on me almost performed a mastectomy on me because I was so badly burned on my chest but decided to try and save them instead, and he did. But to be honest with you, they don't feel like a woman's breasts to me and I almost do wish he had performed the mastectomy on them so I wouldn't have to deal with the releasing surgeries and I basically almost feel like a man when it comes to my chest now anyway. This has been very hard for me to deal with since I was hurt and continues to upset me every day when I am getting helped dressed and I look down at my chest and see nothing womanly there.

So in closing, I have chosen to let you see the realest and rawest of the moments, feelings and hardships I am going through as I go down this journey of MY recovery. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything and blow sunshine up my own ass just so you may be able to read this a little easier or sleep better at night. And I know that every survivor has their good AND their bad AND their very bad days. Some choose to show just the good, some choose to show a little of both, and then there are some like me who have chosen to show you it ALL. And I have chosen to share it ALL with you because I want to inspire you to be better in your own lives, to be a better you because it can all be taken away from you so fast, just like it was taken from me. And I want you to see how I grow from my darkest of days to hopefully someday, achieving a great future again because that's a real survivor's journey. But never, ever in my darkest of expression of feelings am I ever ungrateful for I always am grateful. Always. And I'm doing the best I can right now with the emotional tools I have at this part of my recovery and my journey.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Conflicted Doctor Appt - 6/28/2011

I had a doctor appointment today in Portland and I have been worrying about it for awhile because it was to check on my graft take from my last two surgeries and as you all know well, I don't take grafts very well. So I sat there in the doctor's office in a gown waiting for the doctor to come in getting more and more worried as the minutes ticked on. Finally he came in and asked how I was doing. I told him about how in all my donor sites that I've ever had, and I've had a lot of them, I have never had one that hurt this bad. So his PA began taking apart the wound dressing on my leg to take a look at it while my doctor took off the dressings on my neck.

And then the time came. The dressings were off my neck and my doctor was looking at it closely and the longer it took for him to speak, the more I knew it wasn't a good take. Finally he said that it was probably about a 90% take, which you are gonna think that's pretty good for a body that doesn't do well with taking grafts. Well, yeah, it is pretty good. Problem is, how is the rest of it that didn't take going to heal since my body loves to scar and contract. So I'm going to have to be hyper vigilant in wearing my soft collar and doing neck stretches. And still, even doing all of that does not guarantee it won't scar and contract with the blessed genes I have in my body when it comes to healing. As for my donor site, they didn't say much about it. But I can get it wet now so I can shower with it which is much easier than fastening a garbage sack on your leg so it doesn't get wet.

However, the rest of my appt did not go as well. My doctor's next game plan was not what I had in far. He wants to give me a 6 month break from all surgeries and doctor appointments...basically get away from all health care facilities for awhile and take some time off. Honestly, I wanted to start crying right there but I held it together and listened to him. He also wants me to start thinking about what I'm going to want to do with my life. He said that he wants to take this time off not only for those reasons given above but also because reconstruction on a burn survivor like myself who was burned so badly and who also does not heal properly is basically a life long process of surgeries. So, to take some time off right now and let my body rest would be the best for me. However, I do not want to take this time off. I hate the waiting game and 6 months of waiting around in this body is my own personal daily Hell. I want shit to get done. Particularly my mouth and lip that I've been waiting and waiting to have done and after it was unsuccessful and my doctor tells me he's going to talk to the burn specialist on the east coast that he worked with for a time about ideas on how to successfully fix it, now I've got to wait 6 months. I want to keep plugging on so that I am able to get going on with my life. His response is that I don't have to wait to get everything fixed before I can start living my life again. Well, I'm not asking for everything to get fixed before I move on with my life. But my reasoning is, the more I keep going on, the more I get done and the sooner I am able to get on with my life because until more reconstruction happens, like for mobility, I won't be able to move on with my life because I have to be taken care of right now because of such issues. I will be staying in this house with my parents, even though I love them and appreciate them very much. There are also insurance reasons that I can't just leave and go on to the next chapter in my life. So I've got 6 months to sit around and wait till it's time to go on with the reconstruction.

Don't get me wrong, I understand, I do understand his reasoning behind this 6 month break. But do you get where I'm coming from in my reasoning for NOT having a 6 month break? I pretty much let tears silently fall down my cheeks the entire ride home. I do have to go back in two weeks to check on the healing of my graft but then after that, it's break time. I almost feel like I'm having one of those relationship "breaks" with my doctor. This is truly going to be so hard for me. I don't know how I'm going to get through it.

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." ~Frederick Douglass

Friday, June 24, 2011

Change Of Plans For Surgery #28

Well, I am home from my surgeries and stay in the hospital. Got home on Wednesday afternoon and it was a long ride home trying to get through the pain. So I guess I should explain what I have been through in that one and half week stay in the hospital that was originally only supposed to be about 4 days, as well as only one surgery which turned into two. Okay, from the beginning...

(Checked in, gowned up, waiting for the IV team and holding Whiby, the white blood cell)

We check in at 7:30am and all is going as usual, including taking several, and by several I mean 5, sticks to finally get an IV in. Five sticks is not my highest, I've been stuck higher than 5 times in other surgeries. I first saw Steve, my doctor's PA and he came in to see me and how I was doing. Then my doctor finally came in, already scrubbed up cause he had just got done with another surgery before mine. I gave him a pretty hard time about not ever getting back to me after I didn't see him at my Pre-Op appt. We got some good laughs in about that together. In fact, as he was leaving, I yelled out to him: "Don't forget to come to my surgery!" haha. When I told one of the nurses who first saw me after my surgery and I made it back in to my room, I told her about that and she thought it was awesome, actually praised me for it.

I don't think I have ever been put out faster from an anesthesiologist in all of my previous surgeries than I did at #28. Usually, I feel the sting of the anesthesia (yes, it stings pretty good. for those of you who have had surgery, you know what I'm talking about) and I get a few breaths and blinks in before the lights go out but this time, I felt the sting start, looked at the nurse who was holding the oxygen over my mouth and that was it. I mean seriously, never that fast before, never.

I wake up in the recovery room and of course, as usual, the first thing out of my mouth is, "Did anything go wrong?" or "Were there any complications?" The nurse told me that everything was fine but when I asked what time it was, after asking for more pain meds, she said it was around 1:15pm. Fuck. I knew something did go wrong right there. I'm not stupid, not that the nurse thought I was, she didn't know, but this is how my brain went, and it worked quickly: They were late with my surgery and they didn't finally come get me till about 10:15am, then wheeled in to the operating room and I'm put under from the anesthesia probably by 10:30am, the surgery was supposed to be about 4 hours plus an hour to wake up and all that jazz in recovery and the nurse said it was about 1:15pm? Even if they got done with the surgery in 3 hours that would put me in the recovery room around 1:30pm plus one more hour for recovery puts me at around 2:30pm waking up. So the surgery was only around 1.5 - 2 hours? Yup, something went wrong or did not go as planned. And I didn't find out just what had happened until I was finally back in my room at the OBC...

I am just in my room now at the OBC with my mom and my doctor comes in and gives me the lowdown on all that happened...or more like did NOT happen. Turns out there wasn't nearly enough skin in my tissue expander to even get close to doing what they had hoped. I immediately began crying as soon as I heard that news come out of my doctor's mouth. He told me that they decided to just work on my neck some more and make it more mobile, flexible and have more contour. I continued to cry as my mom held my hand, tears running down my cheeks. Ever since my accident I lived with the most contracted neck, a chin basically non existent that was attached to my chest, staring down at the ground and looking up at people. But I have also been battling the problem of this lower lip. Every time I would go in for a neck surgery, that
bottom lip would pop back into place and we would all get so excited and then days later it would start pulling out again. Don't get me wrong, my lip is nothing like it used to be, but it is still pulled inside out and bothers me a great deal. Since my neck flap last year in August, I thought we had made such advances with my neck that now I was so focused on finally getting my lip fixed. And to have the expectations that it might finally be fixed going into the surgery and waking up to find out that they couldn't even get close to working on the lip was devastating to me. So I just went in for another neck surgery, my 5th to be exact. I also was told that I would have to go back into surgery the following Monday to replace the allograft they had placed underneath my
chin and on some of my neck with my own skin was just another bomb dropped.

So my one surgery to fix my lip turned into not just one surgery to work on my neck some more instead, but two surgeries and my 4 day stay in the hospital was going to turn into 2 weeks. I was highly upset and cried a great deal. I'm used to disappointments like this but it had just been so long since I had one, that I couldn't remember how to deal with it, not that I ever really dealt with any of my complications without there being tears.

(The right side of my neck and the allograft after Surgery #28. You can see there's quite a bit more contour to my neck)

(Front view of my neck and allograft after Surgery #28.)

(Left side of my neck and allograft after Surgery #28)

My mom had to leave on Tuesday afternoon, the next day, to go back to work and I absolutely hate it when she has to leave. I hate being left at the hospital. I love having my mom there, sitting in the chair next to my bed. So having her leave was just another big upset added onto everything else I was upset about. But it ended up being a pretty good week. I had a few visitors, one of which was a girl that I had met over Facebook through Jen and Clay Andrew and we suddenly got to know each other purely over the internet and through Facebook and we were finally going to meet when I was down there for my surgery. So I got to meet the great Jessa Eagan Gray and it was just utterly fabulous. It was like meeting a sister I didn't know I ever had. Yeah, yeah I know that sounds cliche but it's so true. We just connected instantly and so deeply and I had the best time with her. It was wonderful. One of my dearest friends, Michael Koopman also came to see me. He's so good to me and such a good guy. Whenever I'm in the hospital, he's always there to see me. My mother absolutely adores him and always says, "If only he wasn't gay..." ha ha. Funny mommy. But Michael and I always have such great conversations and of course, we always have some good hearty laughs. I also got to see Stephanie Shufelt, a girl that I went to college with. We were never close or really much of friends at all but she connected with me through Facebook as well when I finally let everyone know of my injury and we have gotten to know each other the same way as Jessa and I did. So she came one day and we also had a blast just talking and talking. I mean, it was like we had been close friends back in college and were reconnecting. She was wonderful. My most important visitor though was one of my older brothers, Jake. It was completely awesome having him come see me. We had a good time. Then much to my surprise, Jake came back (the next day, I think?) and this time he brought one of his friends with him, Sandi. They have become good friends since the troubles in Jake's life. She also goes to Pharmacy school with him. She was very cool and I really enjoyed her company as well. They even came back that evening for a short bit! I couldn't believe it! I was being completely spoiled! Before I knew it the week had passed and Jessa AND Stephanie both came back on Saturday and hung out for the morning and that was quite a morning! Jessa brought these stick-on costume mustaches that were all different shapes and sizes and us three put on o
ne of our pick and took pictures, laughing all the way through and so hard that I thought I was going to pop a staple on my allograft. It was hilarious and I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I also had a few burn survivor friends come say hi for a little while so that's always nice. So thank you to all of my visitors. You made my week go by faster and I didn't feel so alone without my mom being there, though I did still miss her very much.

(My now "sister" Jessa and I with our stylin' mustaches. I love you, Jessa.)

(Hahahaha!!! This one I just simply can't get over! Stephanie Shufelt is making the perfect face to go with that mustache! Whenever I look at this picture I just laugh so hard!)

Sunday rolled around and my dad was scheduled to come up for the next surgery and stay with me till I was discharged to go home. My surgery that next Monday was to replace the allograft with my own skin. Great, I was going to have a donor site. I haven't had a donor site for a long time because I've been doing free flaps, flaps and tissue expanders for quite some time now. I knew it was going to hurt, donor sites are the worst, but I forgot just how painful they are. My surgery was at 7:30am but since I was already in the hospital and IV'd up, they didn't come get me until around 7:00am.

This time, in my recovery, it took me quite awhile to wake up for some reason. They had a bit of a time trying to get me to wake. This surgery I knew would only be about 1.5 hours, not a big deal. I awoke to a big acticoat bolster under my chin and around the top of my neck and yup, the donor site was killing me. They took skin from my left lower leg, about on the shin. Back to my room I go and spent another three days there with my dad until I was discharged on Wednesday.

(Surgery #29: the Acticoat bolster. Underneath it is my skin, the allograft has been removed)

(Surgery #29: My donor site where they took the skin. You cannot see the actual donor site itself because it's covered and must stay covered for some time to protect it.)

My doctor told me he was going to have a discussion with this burn specialist on the East Coast (a doctor that my doctor worked with for a time) about options for not just my bottom lip but also increasing the size of the opening of my mouth. So we'll see what comes of that. Once again, he assured me he wasn't going to give up on me or stop working on me until I say stop. It just never seems like I can get ahead, or even catch up for that matter. It's always one step forward, two steps back, or even attempted steps forward but ending coming out of it three steps behind and this is not because of my doctor, but because I am a difficult patient when it comes to things going correctly in the surgery room and healing properly afterward, not to mention I was so badly and deeply burned that the people at the OBC hadn't seen such a burn like mine in a long time, if ever for some.

Well, quite an ordeal I had during those 1.5 weeks. The surgery I was hoping for did not happen, but I do have more movement, mobility, extension and contour in my neck so at least when the original plan did not pan out, my doctor was able to figure something else out and quick. Now, I am just hoping that nothing else goes wrong and the graft on my neck takes. We'll find out next Tuesday when we are back in Portland for a post-op appt.

I want to thank you all for your wonderful love and support. It has truly helped get me through this journey. Thank you.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh Yeah! Jack White Is Single Again! BOOM!

Ok, I know I already blogged today but I just found out something SO EXCITING this morning that I had to share it, since part of my blog is about my love for him, and by him I mean Jack White.

It has been officially announced that my greatest love, my greatest obsession, Jack White is getting a divorce from his wife, Karen Elson (never really liked her anyway). I was pretty sure they were happily married but I got lucky and was totally wrong. As many of the articles are talking about, Jack and his wife are doing something quite odd for their divorce, they are throwing a party. And their invite is fabulous. Some of it reads that they are throwing a "swing bang hum dinger" party and also it is only for very close, personal friends and family so "no plus ones or dead beats." Very creative, I'll give them that. And actually, hysterical. That's my man for ya.

I've got a problem though, Jack is pretty settled in Nashville and I'm kinda stuck in Oregon for awhile. So how do I get to him? (and just so you know I'm not actually crazy, I'm really half joking but half serious about what I'm saying) I have been totally obsessed and in love with Jack, not only for his total hotness but also for his amazing talent since around 2000, when I entered college and heard the album, De Stijl for the first time. I was hooked.

So, now he's single again, am I :) And I've got an empty ring finger with Jack's name on it. Check out the link below to read the article about this wonderful happening :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Play, Anxiety Over Surgery and I Got My Psychology Degree

Well, there are some interesting things I want to talk about in this segment. First of all, I was proud of myself today for pushing through a "tired" spell for some reason today. And after messaging back and forth with one of my absolute dearest friends, Jamie Jacobson, she told me I was "off the hook" if I just couldn't make it tonight to the play again. Oh yeah, forgot to tell you that she invited me to a second play tonight over at the Elgin Opera House. So, I told her if I couldn't get myself together, I would cancel, but otherwise continue to count me in. Well, I held up on my end of the bargain and went through with it. She also had a friend, Renee, who was going to meet us and possibly go with us to the play as well. I did not know Renee so immediately I begin to tense up, get anxiety over meeting a new person. But as soon as I met Renee, she made me feel completely at ease and we hit it off. I hope that her and I can get to know each other better and develop a great new friendship, especially because I am losing two of my dearest friends here at the end of the month.

Thirdly, I went to another play! Can you believe I am going to these kinds of things that can only bring about depressive feelings about my future since what I am seeing is exactly what I want to do with my future? This time, I didn't think so much about my history with theater and what I may lose for my future in acting. I was with two extraordinary people that they distracted me from thinking negatively about what I was watching. And also, perhaps maybe, because I had already been exposed once it was easier the second time around. But I can say that I'm proud of myself, which is very hard to do.

Next, I want to discuss with you what has gone on with my Psych degree "mess." I had been given news that if I wanted, I did in fact qualify for a double major in a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Music. No, they are not related in my degree, though they can be in a career. But I was told that I could go ahead with a Double Major, under one degree, but I would in fact have the degree in Psychology and my undergrad would be done with. I wouldn't have to take any more lame ass ridiculous gen-ed credits to get the second degree. Now, the pride and desire in my wanted to go ahead and suck it up and do the extra credits required to get that second, separate degree in Psychology. But after talking to one of my professors that I am very close to and have known for a long time (I used to swim with his daughter and son so we were a tight swim family and then I of course took some of his courses in college) and he said that this was "good news." That if I decided to go on for a masters degree in Psychology that they would not look differently on my degree as a double major then they would if I had an actual separate, second degree in Psychology. Fact of the matter is, I am recognized for a degree in Psychology, it just happens to go with two majors instead of one major and one minor. So after some discussion and reflection, I decided to go ahead with the double major. So this means that I will be issued a new diploma that will read: Bachelor of Science, Major in Psychology, Major in Music. This DOES IN FACT mean that I DO have a degree in Psychology, it's just in one degree with another major, rather than a separate degree, which according to that professor of mine I talked about, will look the same as if I went for a separate degree in Psych all on it's own. So back to the bookstore I went, returned my books for the summer term, dropped my summer class I was going to take and declined the financial aid award to me that I applied for. I called Pat, talked to Chip and it's officially done. I will be issued a new diploma and will be able to apply for and hopefully go on to a Masters in whichever I field I choose, which is going to be Psychology.

Many have given their opinions that they think incorporating my two majors would be a great idea, like going into a masters program for Music Therapy. But that is not what I had in mind. I am pretty satisfied with my Music degree as it is, I do not plan on going on to teach it. But I have had this intense interest with criminology and all that goes with it like serial killers, crime scenes, behavioral analysis, etc. So, when going on to my Masters, I will be going forth with a Criminology Psychology Masters, also called a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. This kind of further education would help me in my endeavors to get into the BSU (Behavioral Science Unit) in the FBI and be a criminal profiler, if I chose to go that path. Right now, I am still heavily stuck on the path to being the greatest actress of my generation and perhaps succeeding others in the past but I am still going to go on with the Masters just in case Hollywood rejects me and my scars....

I have been extremely anxious about this upcoming surgery I have on Monday, the 13th and I'm not sure how to deal with it. I think part of it has to do with I haven't actually had a surgery in...6 months now? So getting back into the rhythm of the surgery thing has kind of gotten out of whack. Plus I absolutely hate the deserted feeling I get when my mama has to leave and go back home to go to work. I hate being alone in the hospital, even though I have a few friends coming to visit me, but no one can replace the feeling of having my mom there all day to be with me.

Wow, this post was like I just vomited out a bunch of random things but I guess I just needed to do some catching up. Lastly, I want to say that I think through my struggling I am becoming a determined soul to get things done in my life. And that feels pretty good. Now if only I can keep that determination going through the struggles of my life.

"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First Theater Experience Since The Accident

My dear friends Jamie and Sam Jacobson took me out somewhere last night, something that I haven't done since my accident, over 3 years ago. They took me to a play at EOU. The reason why I haven't gone to see a play or musical since my accident is because that is part of what my accident took from me - my future in acting. I believed that if I went to see a play or musical it would only depress me because I would be thinking about my own history in acting and again, my possible lost future in acting. I would be wishing that was me up on there on the stage, in the spotlight because that's where I LOVE to be. And not knowing if I'm going to be able to do that again, going to go see something that's just going to throw in my face that very possibility was not what I had been ready to do.

But Jamie invited me to this student directed and student written play at my alma mater. I was hesitant to reply to her because I couldn't make up my mind if I would be able to do this, or even wanted to because of all those complicated feelings I described earlier. But I didn't want to say no to Jamie so, I said yes. I must admit, around 4:00 I started to get that rising panic and anxiety that I get when it comes to going out anywhere. I was not wanting to go.

However, as soon as I saw Jamie when she came to pick me up, I began to feel better, just at the sight of my dear friend and being around her wonderful energy. She kinda does that to me :) I walked into my old home of Loso Hall with a little anxiety still and we made our way to Schwartz Theater, also an old home. We settled into our seats and I am surprised at how I felt. Perhaps it was the company because well, both Jamie and Sam were making me laugh which helped put me at ease, I think. But then as I sat there, in between laughing fits, and looked out onto the stage, my mind began filling with memories of my days in the theater and on the stage. It was almost a feeling of homesick. It was also a feeling of loss and uncertainty if I will be able to be in the spotlight again on stage or in front of a camera. But with that feeling of loss and uncertainty came anger as well because those feelings of loss and uncertainty are because of my accident.

But all in all, I was glad I finally made that step and I did enjoy myself. I think it was a very important step in my recovery. I won't lie, I did spend some of the time as I watched the play thinking of old memories and wishing I was up on the stage, wishing I knew for certain if I would have a future in acting again. What will become of me if I can't do acting? If I can't do the thing that makes my heart pump and my blood flow through my veins? That which brings my soul to life with the brightest light and most powerful energy? Why did God do this to me? Why did He take it away from me? Is He really there or perhaps He has no power? I would understand more if He has no power anymore to intervene in people's lives but if He does, why didn't He prevent what happened to me? Why didn't He protect me? He took so much from me and I don't understand why. Perhaps because there is no higher power. I don't know anymore.

Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God. ~Augustine

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inducted into Psi Chi

I had an induction party for Psi Chi (The National Honor Society for Psychology) last night and around 4:30 I started to have doubts about going. My nervousness and anxiety started kicking in because I wasn't going to know anyone except two, maybe three professors and I feel so old now to be in school for an undergraduate degree, even though it is my second. But my mother pushed me to go and I'm glad she did, so thank you mama.

I walked in and was immediately welcomed by my old friend/professor, Chip Ettinger whom I have known since I was a little girl because I swam with his kids and if you know anything about the sport of swimming, we are a tight family. And then was welcomed by his wife whom was also one of my high school teachers for Spanish and also a swim mother, Senora Ettinger. I pretty much stood by myself for awhile as more students showed up and made me even more nervous as they all knew each other and were younger, "fresh" students. But then Senora came over to me and we just talked the hours away. Having her by my side helped.

Most people were having something to drink and eat and then finally Chip did a little announcement about what Psi Chi is exactly and what it can do for you. To get into Psi Chi you have to first be approved by the Psychology faculty and then they recommend you over to Psi Chi and then they have to approve you. So to be accepted into Psi Chi is quite the honor. Chip announced the people of this year who were approved and inducted into Psi Chi and when he said my name, he gave a little background that I actually already had done all my Psych requirements and had already graduated with another degree several years ago but I was coming back to finish my Psych degree. And then people clapped for me. I felt very honored.

When I did my capstone for Psychology, I was one of the few that year that my professor asked me to do a formal presentation during finals week for anyone who wanted to come. So I guess all that hard work in Psychology paid off and I was recognized for my outstanding work in the field of Psychology. I am now in Psi Chi, The National Honor Society for Psychology. I felt proud of myself last night for the first time in a very long time. It was a good feeling.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
~Eleanor Roosevelt