A Passer-by

My favorite poem: À une passante

The deafening street roared on. Full, slim, and grand
In mourning and majestic grief, passed down
A woman, lifting with a stately hand
And swaying the black borders of her gown;

Noble and swift, her leg with statues matching;
I drank, convulsed, out of her pensive eye,
A livid sky where hurricanes were hatching,
Sweetness that charms, and joy that makes one die.

A lighting-flash — then darkness! Fleeting chance
Whose look was my rebirth — a single glance!
Through endless time shall I not meet with you?

Far off! too late! or never! — I not knowing
Who you may be, nor you where I am going —
You, whom I might have loved, who know it too!

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

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Buying a house when you’re single

Hey friends. It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I hope that things are about to slow down and I can get into a regimented plan that involves blogging on a consistent schedule.

I have some exciting things going on! As of yesterday, I am officially under contract to purchase my first home! Although I’ve owned before, this is the first time I have bought a home by myself. I was married before, so this is new territory for me.

Part of me thought I should wait until I marry again. You know what I’m talking about. That little voice inside that whispers things like … “what if you meet Mr. Right and have to sell next year, but the market sucks?” or “You really shouldn’t be doing this by yourself.” Well — I put that voice to sleep, lol.

I refuse to wait on a man before making big decisions in my life. I am single by choice. Mainly because the right man just hasn’t come around yet. And honestly, I hope he does — but if he doesn’t, that’s ok too. I would love a companion. Someone to share life with. Someone who accepts me for who I am. Someone with good intentions that doesn’t take me for granted or use me. But, if it never happens, it’s not the end of the world either.

My point is. I can’t put my life (and my boy’s lives) on hold simply because I’m waiting on a relationship that may never happen.

I made a list of goals back in January 2013: Graduate College, get a new job, buy a house. …

I had hoped to accomplish all these in 2014. In fact, I did accomplish them all — except the part about buying a house.

Main reason, without getting too far into the details — I faced a mountain of financial issues as a result of my divorce (which was finalized in 2012).

I left him the house, which he quit making payments on and it landed in foreclosure. I also had thousands of dollars in medical debt, both from my illnesses and of course the fact that I have two boys, one of which has made it a goal to break every bone in his body by the times he’s 20, haha.

So, long story short — for the last two years I have had a plan in action to get my credit straightened out. I knew I had to wait until 2015 to buy due to the foreclosure. So I focused on paying down all the medical debt. I’m not gonna lie, it was tough. It meant taking every extra penny and instead of eating out, going to the movies or buying new clothes — paying off debt.

It took me two years, but I finally did it.

Exhausting and frustrating — YES.

Worth it? — EVERY PENNY.

I have been in a town home the last two years with my guys. It’s a two bedroom that’s gotten us through, but it’s small, less-than private and over priced. The idea of paying nearly $1,000 each month that’s just being thrown away has been a tough pill to swallow. I would much rather be investing those payments in a home.

So — although the keys aren’t yet in my hands. I can say now that I am officially under contract.

It’s a cute little ranch, very open floor plan and 1.3 acres filled with trees (not just pine). It’s on the corner of a culdesac. Small neighborhood (just one street), but within walking distance of the town, which is filled with antique shops, boutiques and restaurants.

It’s also 5 minutes from the highway that goes straight to my work.

I’m praying that the next month of appraisals, inspections and the loan process goes smoothly. Feel free to lift me up in prayer, because either way — my lease is up June 27 — whether this deal goes through or not.

The stress has been a struggle. I had approximately 1 month to find a house and have spent night after night (when I get off work) searching with my agent. This is actually the third house I’ve made an offer on. The other two fell through.

As those of you know with chronic illness, the stress is not helpful. In fact, my shingles pain is back and I was so sick yesterday, I could barely stand up. I’ve been nauseated and dizzy. I’ve had stomach issues and migraines. I’m also under slept and exhausted from all the long days. It has not been easy.

I’ve had flares in my wrist, right shoulder and left ankle.

And the hardest part is despite all the physical ailments — I knew I had to keep going. I don’t have a husband to pick up the slack or even vent with. I couldn’t miss work and I had to find a place within a short time, which meant the only time I could look is from about 6-9 p.m. Then, if we found something, that meant filling out paperwork until 11 p.m. and then waiting to hear back.

Then there’s the issue of the loan. Knowing that I had been pre-approved helped, but I also knew I needed a monthly payment that I can pay by myself if for some reason child support stopped or other major financial issues hit. Let me tell you, not having that second income to fall back on is a little scary.

But I’ve never let fear keep me from doing what I need to do, so why start now.

I feel good about this move. I know God has his hand in this. I felt at home at this place and I can’t wait for my boys to have their own rooms. I feel blessed to be able to do this. And I trust that God will allow everything to fall into place — even if it’s not what I expect.

Also, it’s like 10 minutes from our church. :)

So, that’s what’s going on with me. I love my new job so much. I’m moving in 30 days (Lord willing) and I have to start the process of packing. (UGH)

I didn’t even mention that my 17-year-old is in a National Guard program (YCA) until August. I miss him dearly and we will actually move while he’s away. I’ve been keeping him in the loop though and he comes home for a visit next weekend. Can’t wait to see him! <3

And my youngest officially is out of middle school and starts high school next year. (crazy)

God is good. I am content. And I have never felt more like I’m on the right path than I do now!

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Until next time friends

~ allie

Here’s some photos for your enjoyment ;)

Also — took my youngest to see Brand New in Raleigh, NC May 9. Great show, amazing venue. Had such a good time. You can see a video from the show below! :)

Brand New Tickets

Brand New takes the stage in Raleigh, NC

Brand New takes the stage in Raleigh, NC

Me and T-bear <3

Me and T-bear <3

Me and Trent when I got to visit him last month <3

Me and Trent when I got to visit him last month <3

Trent and his buddies this past Saturday after the mud run! :)

Trent and his buddies this past Saturday after the mud run! :)

Myrtle Beach last year. Heading back in July for a week and can't wait!

Myrtle Beach last year. Heading back in July for a week and can’t wait!

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Waking up sore

This entire week has been a struggle.

I’ve woken up in pain every morning. My joints are ridiculously sore. I’m exhausted.

But I refuse to give in.

I think if people felt the way I feel every morning, they probably would stay in bed. Seriously. Yet I made it to work every day this week on time and completed every task.

It was a battle every morning, every afternoon and most evenings. I kid you not.

But the weekend is nearly here and I am beyond ready for it.

Just wanted to send a reminder out to those of you who suffer from a chronic illness.

Don’t let your illness define you. Don’t let it have control over your life. And never give in.

Until next time friends,

~allie

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Things are finally falling into place

I know it’s been forever since I’ve blogged. I’m so sorry. I have been super busy. Just figured I would fill everyone in so they know I’m still around and doing well

Since I’ve last posted, here is what’s been goin on in my life:

  • I graduated from the University of Georgia with an ABJ in Magazines and a minor in Comparative Literature
  • I left the world of newspapers after 10 years to take on a media relations management position
  • I got a new vehicle
  • I took my boys to NYC for vacation
  • We took a week-long trip with the whole (extended) family to Myrtle Beach

So as you can see, I am blessed! I feel like all of my hard work and dedication is finally paying off. 

I still have some health issues, but nothing that is deterring me from accomplishing my goals. I’m learning to just live with it. My wrist has gotten worse in terms of appearance, but the pain is manageable, so I opted out of surgery. 

My most painful issue currently is my right rotator cuff. I probably will eventually end up having surgery on that, but I’m waiting. I try to carry things with my left arm and use ice packs and a heating pad when it flares.

I have lost about 30 pounds over the last 10 months and have about 20-25 to go to reach my goal weight. Last month I did no meat and I’m currently detoxing by only eating veggies and fruit (as much as possible). I hope to do this through the month of September. I’m also looking into a gym membership near the office that offers group classes. I find it motivates me and I’m hoping to meet new people in the process!

I’m loving my new job, which is half the commute and pays generously more than my previous career. After a meeting I had this morning, I’m really excited about the direction things are headed!

I’ve also found my energy levels have improved and I’m guessing this has to do with my dietary changes and weight loss. Either way, I have more desire to get out and do things, which is something I haven’t felt in about three years (since the divorce).

I guess that’s about it. I just wanted to share and I will try to be better about posting. Hope everyone is doing well and I’m posting a few photos for ya.  

Until next time friends, 

~allie 

I am an aunt again through the blessing of adoption! <3

I am an aunt again through the blessing of adoption! <3

I won a prize pack from Cine Bistro in Atlanta to go see the movie "If I Stay"

I won a prize pack from Cine Bistro in Atlanta to go see the movie “If I Stay”

I took my friend Denise to see the movie. :)

I took my friend Denise to see the movie. :)

My company took me to see Aerosmith and Slash! Amazing show and had soo much fun!

My company took me to see Aerosmith and Slash! Amazing show and had soo much fun!

We hung out at a rooftop bar at the Glenn Hotel before the show :)

We hung out at a rooftop bar at the Glenn Hotel before the show :)

Me and my guys in a Taxi in NYC :) It was their first NY cab ride ever!

Me and my guys in a Taxi in NYC :) It was their first NY cab ride ever!

We saw "Of Mice and Men" on Broadway and I fell in love with James Franco, Chris O'Dowd and Jim Parrack! (Swoon)

We saw “Of Mice and Men” on Broadway and I fell in love with James Franco, Chris O’Dowd and Jim Parrack! (Swoon)

Us bein goofy in NYC

Us bein goofy in NYC

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Subway

Subway

The Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry

Ran into this guy, lol. I've always wanted to meet The Naked Cowboy! ;)

Ran into this guy, lol. I’ve always wanted to meet The Naked Cowboy! ;)

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Just me :)

Just me :)

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I love Netflix and Sons of Anarchy, so there!

I don’t get much down time, but when I do, it’s typically spent feasting on all that Netflix has to offer. 

My schedule doesn’t allow for much more than that. 

Whereas a lot of people use Netflix to watch movies, I tend to utilize it in other ways – namely TV series. I’ll start one and sometimes get so hooked that I’ll hold marathons, watching several episodes in a day and entire seasons in a week — or less.

My latest love: Sons of Anarchy

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I wish I could tell you I still had several seasons or even episodes to watch, but that’s just not the case. I’m all caught-up — through season 6 and anticipating season 7, with the rest of the Sons fans!! 

WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER!!!!????

After seeing Charlie Hunnam on Undeclared, I decided I would give Sons of Anarchy a chance … and well, the rest is history. 

Here are a few other of my favorite Netflix picks. Most of which I watched back-to-back in the same fashion as Sons. 

And I’m looking for my next series to get hooked on — so I’m open to suggestions!! :D

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Not to mention my favorite oldies-but-goodies:

LOST

Dawson’s Creek

One Tree Hill

Freaks and Geeks

Family Guy

The Office

Scrubs

… and the list goes on. 

So, now that I’m finished with Sons of Anarchy, until the next addiction arrives, I will be rewatching Jax Teller and Opie <3

Until next time friends, 

~allie

 

 

 

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Can I stop my hands from getting deformed?

A new very large knot has appeared on my left hand to the left of the small tumor. It’s probably triple the size.

I’m at a loss here. I really don’t want my hands to look like my grandmother’s did.

I take all my meds. I do all the hand exercises. I do everything the doctor tells me to and I’m over here freaking out because despite it, I feel like I’m still suffering permanent damage.

I’ve been dropping things a lot more lately. I picked up a candle at the store yesterday and it slipped right out of my hand and on to the floor. Broke into a thousand pieces. So embarrassing.

I dropped something else the other day at the grocery store that was glass. Does this get worse?

It’s gotten to the point I have a difficult time doing simple things. Opening a coffee mug or the lid of my gas tank.

And the pain. I try not to complain, but it’s getting worse. It’s excruciating at times. Lately it’s this strange burning sensation. Also, pins and needles. And then there’s the skin crawling, shooting pain up my arm and that’s just my left side. My shoulders aren’t much better.

Maybe the CT scan/MRI will tell more and ease my mind. 

I’m just venting. The stress of my health, trying to raise these boys alone and trying to finish school while working full time …

I guess I just sometimes get completely overwhelmed. I can’t tell you how worried I get. I don’t want my hands deformed. I don’t want my future grandbabies afraid of me because of them.

My hands are my livelihood. I’m a writer.

Tomorrow’s a new day. I’m certain of that.

Can anyone else with either RA or Psoriatic Arthritis or Mixed Connective Tissue Disease tell me what I can do to save my hands?

Until next time friends.

~allie

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Wrist surgery for tumor, cyst

Has anyone else had surgery post R.A., MCTD or Psoriatic Arthritis diagnosis?

I may be headed that direction.

I have had a small tumor/cyst in my wrist for at least a year now. They have tried steroid injections right next to it and have tried aspirating it several times with a needle with no luck.

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Above is a photo about 3 hours after a steroid injection and aspiration. The knot never got and smaller than this and is at least twice this size now.

Here’s a photo a couple of days later:

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And here is about last week:

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In the photo above you can see where the swelling has extended, which is how it has been for months.

Ok … now here is a photo of both hands so as to show you a comparison.

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My rheumy upped my dosage of methotrexate from 6 pills to 8 pills (take all at once) and I am still on my Enbrel injections along with Gabapentin (3 pills a day) for nerve damage from the shingles. Also still on medication for my Hashimoto’s and take Vitamin D (prescription strength) and Folic acid.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on the meds regimen of a 90-year-old.

Anyways —

I’ll keep this post short and plan to blog after my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.

They plan to do an MRI or CT scan or X-ray — or whatever it is they do — when I go in.

I joke because my specialist has now referred me to a specialist. sigh.

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The knot has caused my left hand to swell and it feels as if it’s pushing against a nerve that’s shooting pain all the way up my left arm. At times, the area directly above it and underneath my thumb is blue as if it isn’t getting good circulation.

My appointment with the hand surgeon is next Friday.

Next Tuesday I have an appointment with my sister’s doctor who takes a holistic approach. I plan to talk to him about my wrist, but a slew of other symptoms I’m dealing with too. I’ve been waiting for months to get in.

To top it off, I’m fighting off a bug today. Really sore throat, migraines and now feeling feverish. I may be headed to the doc even sooner than next week. Hoping my immune system can somehow fight this off without making me flare too bad.

Until next time friends,

~allie

 

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A quick rant about Shingles and some photos

Shingles suck!

Yup! Here I am months later and still dealing with shingles pain. Today it has been bad. Not sure why today specifically, but it’s been pretty significant. Just ready for it to stop!!!

Here’s some photos I took!

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Also. Here’s a song for your ears.

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That which is essential, is invisible to the eyes

“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” ~  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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The little Prince is by far one of my favorite literary works. And I have read a lot of literature being that my minor is Comparative Literature.

The quote above roughly translates to “One sees clearly only with the heart,” or an even closer translation reads “What is essential, is invisible to the eyes.”

I think what draws me to the book is its simplicity combined with its deepness.

That’s why when I read the article “46 Things I Learned Making Mr. Rogers and Me” I wasn’t surprised when I learned that Mr. Rogers had the quote framed and hanging in his office. I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, finding comfort in his calming voice and consistency.

I was also a huge fan of Daniel Striped Tiger and the trolley car. Not so much King Friday, although I’m not sure why.

And was just downright scared of Lady Elaine Fairchilde, who reminded me of a mix between my grandmother (from my mom’s side) and a scary school teacher.

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Today is the 10th anniversary of Mr. Rogers death and the world has been a little less easy to bear without him.

There was just something comforting as a child to sit cross-legged on the green shaggy carpet of my “den” and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while watching a TV that looked eerily similar to this one:

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When things were hectic around me (yes, even as a child things could be stressful — in case you forgot), Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood seemed to make the rest of the world disappear around me. It felt as if he was looking straight through the camera and into my eyes and telling me that everything was going to be alright.

I was saddened by his death 10 years ago and today, I am saddened by its anniversary.

Fred McFeely Rogers had a knack for relating to people — and more importantly, children.

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I have this peculiar feeling that I will one day see Mr. Rogers again, only not this side of heaven.

Thank you Mr. Rogers, for spending your life recognizing those things which are essential.

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Image Source: Getty Images

Until next time friends,

~allie

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I have the autoimmune disease that killed Harold Ramis

“… you said before you were waiting for a sign. What sign are you waiting for?” ~Dr. Egon Spengler

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Harold Ramis died yesterday of complications from Vasculitis at just 69-years-old.

I also have vasculitis. 

It’s been a minute since I’ve dealt with a flare, but this all too well puts things into perspective (once again) for me. I’m amazed still that I survived my bout with anaphylaxis several years back. My vasculitis was soo intense that the backs of my legs literally looked like a road map for about three weeks following the incident.

For those who don’t know, I nearly died Thanksgiving of 2010 after handling wheat. I had never had an allergic reaction before. Long story short, I was already diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so hadn’t eaten wheat in years. I didn’t realize that helping my mom prepare cornbread dressing that year would put me in the hospital, twice, with anaphylaxis. I barely made it down the stairs to get help Thanksgiving morning, stopping about three times to try and catch my breath and gather strength. It was awful. Despite taking several Benadry, my lips and face continued to swell and my limbs and lungs were ON FIRE with hives. (Not only had I handled it for about an hour, but also breathed it in.)

Skip forward a week later and although the swelling is down, my body is covered in hives, I still can’t breath well and my veins are bleeding out, causing my legs to look as if there’s a purple-laden road map covering the back of them.

My diagnosis (well, one of them) — Autoimmune Inflammatory Vasculitis. 

It’s what what recently killed “Ghostbusters” actor Harold Ramis, a mere four years following his diagnosis.

Am I scared you ask … NO!

People come and go everyday. Some from health issues, others tragic accidents and others still are mercilessly murdered.

Only God himself knows the number of our days. I find comfort in that.

I choose to live above my illnesses. Define them (literally on this Blog) rather than allowing them to define me. Autoimmune issues are no different than issues that every other person on earth has faced since the fall of Adam! Whether that be Cancer, obesity, arthritis — or mental issues like ADHD, Depression or Bipolar disease.

DISEASE IS A PART OF LIFE PEOPLE!

Harold Ramis didn’t allow his disease to come between himself and his dreams. Even following his diagnosis he went on to write the screenplay to “Year One,” “The Real Ghostbusters (short)” and the “Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime” video game.

In 2012 he produced the documentary  Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance.

From 2006-2010 (in the midst of his diagnosis) he directed four episodes of one of my favorite shows “The Office.”

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And I’m not even pretending I’m going to list how many self-credited documentaries he participated in — or what side projects he may have been in the midst of.

My point …

Don’t stop living just because you have an illness. 

Yes, you might have to slow down a while or alter your hours or sometimes say no.

But make the decision TODAY to get out there and be the person you want to be. Our time here is short.

Like Dr. Egon Spengler — be the person that comes to others’ minds when they need to call on someone.

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RIP Harold Ramis

~allie

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