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Finding Yourself through Struggles

Finding Yourself through Struggles
Speaks for itself

Getting through the Hard Times

Getting through the Hard Times
Believe that you can Accomplish Anything!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How This Disease Affects Not Just Us but Also Others

Upon being diagnosed with Graves' Disease and severe T.E.D.s (Thyroid Eye Disease, which includes the eye bulging and constant double vision) back in 2009 about this time actually, I started trying to learn as much as I could about it. I read about all the signs, symptoms, potential causes, possible treatments, etc. and how it typically affects us, the ones who actually have to suffer through this (horrible) disease. I also read about how not only will Graves' impact us with the disease but how it may also affect our family, friends, and significant others. You know, while trying to understand that, which was also hard at the time because of everything I was and have been going through since being diagnosed, for awhile there I don't think I was able to fully comprehend that and especially with the eye/vision issues just how much more that would put on Jeff. It's actually really sad when you think about it and lays a huge burden & a bit of guilt on my heart. It's one of the few things that can actually make me sad. I mean, I know how much he loves and cares for me, it's pretty obvious. Aside from the fact we've been together for nearly 16 years now, he shows it to me in so many ways and even more so since being diagnosed. However, just seeing how much this disease, MY DISEASE, puts on HIM, hurts. With my symptoms, vision, all these surgeries, etc. I am currently and have been unable (advised by doctors) to work or drive. Once, I was even trying to babysit for friends of our family, and the only reason my doctor at the time allowed it was because it was only for a few days and my grandmother lived just next door. Now thankfully, after having to hire a lawyer and my doctors submitting over 500 pages of documents proving exactly what was wrong and as to why I couldn't work and/or drive, I do receive disability although it doesn't add up to much after helping with the utilities, food and our dogs cost, not to mention these surgeries are starting to add up. It is nice though to be able to help somewhat. For instance, Jeff's truck was parked in front of our house and someone who didn't have insurance and also drove off, totaled it, so fortunately I was able to help him purchase our used van which is awesome and we both love it. So that's good at least. :)
It just breaks my heart, however, seeing how now he has to be to the driving everywhere and how much harder it seems that things are put on him. Here's an example of a day in the life of Jeff: Anywhere from 5-6am he gets up (depending on what and where his work schedules him for each day). For that next hour until he has to leave, he will take a shower if he didn't go the night before, then lets out whichever dogs are up, takes care of himself, eats breakfast because sometimes he doesn't have the time to eat lunch when he gets busy, then comes to check on me to see if I need anything and to remind me to take my medicines (I'll be honest, sometimes I forget), and then usually has to race off to work which isn't too far thank God. Then after nearly a full, sometimes stressful and demanding work day due to the heavy lifting, getting on his hands and knees, occasionally having to deal with difficult people, I'm telling you he works his butt off. His work is really great about recognizing and appreciating all his hard work. Well, then around 4pm-ish he gets off, and gets to come home, and that's only if he doesn't need to stop at the grocery store, run other errands, etc. Usually when he gets home he might sit down for a few minutes, then gets up to feed and take the dogs outside, if it's a nice day. If not, I feed them inside, then he takes them out. I just can't them all out at the same time like he does. . Then comes in, takes a shower, lets the dogs back in, and then if lucky can relax for the remainder of the evening until he has to repeat it all the next day (unless it's a weekend). Oh and that's also if he doesn't any paperwork or anything else to do. Also, on days that I am either not hungry or don't feel well/can't see enough to, he will make something to eat and even offers me something, saying that he'll make/get whatever I want, even if just something small.
Needless to say, he does so much more than he should have to and it hurts me so much seeing just how much more is put on him. My only hopes are that he can and does realize that I do see everything he does and has to do, and I really do admire, love, respect and appreciate him even more for that, and also that hopefully one day I will get better and/or be able to see well enough to return the favor to him. I really do love him so much and he is my everything. I thank the good Lord for him everyday. I just never realized after being diagnosed with this disease and hearing how much it could affect others, just exactly how much it would. I've asked him if it's too much and if going our separate ways would be easier on him, especially since I know him having to drive me around everywhere and occasionally having to miss work for my surgeries, doctor appointments that I can't get rides to, etc. and he said NO, that he loves me and still wants to be with me! Although that does make me feel really special, loved and extremely cared for, when he says stuff like that and still continues to do all he does on top of caring for me, our dogs, himself, our cat, along with other stray cats in our neighborhood, and more he does, it still hurts and makes me feel guilty. I mean I am still human lol. Regardless, I love him so much and do plan on making it up to him somehow, if even can just take him on the vacation, the break, that he so badly needss and deserves. Not to mention, out of nearly 16 years together, other than a mini trip to Indianapolis, and then to Akron for his cousin's wedding, we have never been on vacation together lol! Either health, work or even just timing around surgeries, or other things got in the way. He has mentioned through the years about never getting to see a beach or the ocean so I'm hoping I can start to feel better soon & get all these surgeries done with, then maybe I can make it happen for him, for us! :) Jeff is truly one of the greatest, noblest, strongest and so much more, men I have ever met. Truly a gem!!! :)))

For Jeff:
When you found me
I felt like I was no one
now after almost 16 years together
I feel like "the one."
You've been there for me
you held me, and held my hand
even with your own problems
with mine, you still try to understand.
You made me a better person
the person I always wanted to be
you didn't do it for yourself
but did it for me.
How can I repay you
can it even be done
I don't know, I will try
all I can say is for me
you're "the one!!!"
-Jessica Gabbard, April 1st, 2014

I love you JEFF!!! Thank you for everything! :)))


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ignorance and Getting Past It :))

A little bit hurt right now and trying to not let ignorant comments get to me too much. I am so sick of people automatically assuming because I am overweight that I sit and eat all day. Matter of fact, my doctors have actually said I need to eat more or at least more regularly. Most days I can't even get hungry and don't end up eating until dinner time, if at all. And Lord knows how many people have suggested I need to get a gym pass or start exercising. How am I supposed to do that when majority of the time I am in pain, can't leave my house or the lights are bothering me and my eyes, not to mention the double vision! I have a great idea, why don't you come to my house and just watch how much I ACTUALLY eat. I have had food go bad because of how long it sits on the shelf by me not eating. It really makes me sad though, and I do try to remain positive & just ignore the comments. I would never wish this horrible disease on anyone ever but how would you like it if you got a disease that affects your health, weight and pretty much all the other aspects of your life?! I'm sure you wouldn't like it. The hard thing for me is when I was younger I was just tall, never actually what you would consider overweight. That didn't happen until after I was forced on medications after something horrible happened to me, and the medication interaction didn't mix too well and then caused me to start gaining weight. I had even been asked to join a modeling agency. And then when I first started having symptoms for this disease, other than the eye bulging, the other big one was me losing lots of weight in a very short amount of time. Then they were forced to remove my thyroid due to my condition not showing any sign of getting better, so now depending on my thyroid levels, I can go back and forth between hypo and hyperthyroidism, so the hypo kicks in, making it very hard for me to lose weight. At least that's how my endocrinologist explained it to me. I would love to lose weight but how am I supposed to lose weight with this disease?! Especially with my levels constantly being up and down! I don't know but I'm going to try my hardest because I'm sick of this, and people looking at me funny when I say I don't eat. Please, please anyone who reads this, be careful before you assume and judge people based on something not only do you know nothing about, but also something you don't want to or can't even try to understand. Mean, ignorant, non-productive, judgmental comments DO hurt people and their feelings. Seriously think about what you want to say before you do it, and if you think it could upset someone, DON'T say it. Thank you for letting me rant. Normally I am very happy and try to always stay that way but every now and then, yes I am a human being, my feelings DO get hurt and I do cry. Just not for too long. There will always be haters, people who just don't care. The important thing is to not let them get to you and stay positive and keep moving forward. At least that's my plan. God Bless you all & please always try to stay happy! :))

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oh the Pain...

Oh my gosh how this pain in my right arm is hurting me so! It like literally sucks the life right out of me, almost making me pass out. It was really bothering me yesterday too, so much that I actually went to bed much earlier than usual. I say that I'm strong, I know that I am but boy how much does this hurt & I hate it!!! It usually starts in my upper right arm and then moves throughout & radiating my entire arm with pain before making its way to my shoulders and across my chest, ending with me aching all over. Fortunately, now it's just in my right arm, am hoping it will just stay there or go away all-together. The worst part about this pain or any pains I ever have it that I HAVE TO endure it, all of it! I cannot take pain medicines or aspirin so unfortunately for me I just have to suck it up. I actually have rips in our mattress on my side of the bed from me gripping it so hard from being in so much pain! I never used to have these pains until I was diagnosed with this disease, Graves' Disease and had to have my thyroid fully removed due to myself & condition just getting worse, with no medication change, steroids or any of the other options my doctors had tried would work. And then from then on it seems as if at least half the days of the week if not more, I am suffering from this very pain I have described. I do wonder, however, if when they were removing my thyroid and accidentally damaged my parathyroid glands, if that could be the cause?! I do know I now have to take calcium supplements and vitamin D2 because of that damage to my parathyroid glands. My calcium levels get low, occasionally too low and I am unable to even lift my feet or depending on where it's affecting me, I will have problems there too, sometimes not even being able to move or get up without being in pain or falling over. Another reason I'm thinking could be how my levels are constantly up and down. My doctor has had me undergo bone density scans, x-rays and I believe some other tests to see what could be the cause, yet so far we don't know for sure. I don't know. I guess I'll continue to try to remain strong and optimistic. I refuse to let this pain win and overcome me. All that does it take away my happiness & prevent me from doing things I love such as spending time with the dogs and Jeff, and of course from trying to raise awareness for this disease & funds for education and research. Hopefully one day there can be a cure. At least that's what I'm working so hard for. I don't want to have to suck up this pain anymore. I will because right now I have to, and I want to be able to go out and do things with friends and family, or even something as simple as church or to the store. We have actually been out and this pain will start, and people say if you don't feel good I understand if you want to go home. I simply tell them that will not make the pain go away, I'll still feel it there, at least I can go out and still try to enjoy myself and have a normal life. I refuse to let it get to me too much. So far, at least as far as we know for sure, I have had this disease for about five years now, and as bad, as severe, as my symptoms have gotten, my doctors and I suspect longer. That's why it's important to get tested and seen as soon as you suspect something may be wrong, if not before even. I honestly can't imagine having this disease and all the pain & everything that comes with it for the rest of my life. I'm only 32 years old. I have a great admiration for those who have had this disease for a long time, and some even when they didn't even have the medical options/techniques we do now. God bless the many out there who have this horrible disease &  please for all our sakes, let there be a cure someday!
Thank you so much to all who read this and please remember to get tested if you haven't already! :))

Thursday, November 28, 2013

30Things I Am Thankful For

A little late on this. Sorry, my eyes have been bothering me so can't get on too much 
30 (for each of the days) Things That I Am Thankful For: (Try doing this with double vision LOL...FUN!)
1. My life/the air in my lungs
2. Jeff, for he is my everything!!!
3. Our babies (our 4 dogs, Emily, Billy, Lucky & Charlie, and our cat!) They really make each day worthwhile and are true friends who love us much!
4. ALL of my family, even ones I unfortunately don't get to see as much as we'd like! Same with ALL of Jeff's family!
5. ALL of my friends!!!
6. Our home, it's not the most extravagant but at least we are happy & have a roof over our heads
7. Our FREEDOM!!! Some aren't so lucky
8. The many men & women who fight/work for our freedom everyday!
9. The police who work hard on little pay to keep us civil & safe!
10. The firemen & women who work to keep us safe & risk their lives for that!
11. Our doctors and nurses who without them, I'm sure there would be some big problems!
12. Our teachers who work hard to teach the children with sometimes much less than they deserve pay and conditions.
13. Our preachers & pastors Mike Gabbard who in a society that seems to ever be changing, and seems to be lacking in Christian values, still try to teach us the Good Word & try to help us live with good values, and the road to Heaven (if that makes sense lol)
14. Our van/transportation. Some don't have that, and with Jeff's work, doctor appointments and all these surgeries, this is something to really be thankful for, plus it's comfortable
15. Theo Rossi, Kim Coates & Jimmy Kay, with fellow Sons of Anarchy cast, for helping, inspiring & believing in me & Graves Disease & Thyroid Awareness. They changed my whole life in such a HUGE way! I will ALWAYS be thankful for that!!!
16. My eyesight. Although I do see double, and have for 4 years now, it's better than no eyesight!
17. Music. It's there for me all the time, especially since I have vision problems. No matter how feel, music is just there and makes me happy and feel all different emotions, reminds me of times/experiences/people. I love it!
18. Our neighbors. We all watch out for each other & work to keep the riff raff away lol
19. Our ancestors. If not for them and all their hard work, knowledge and determination, where or who would we all be now? Would we be different? I don't know but I've read about my ancestors struggles and how much they've done, and it makes me proud, and thankful.
20. Food, and the fact that we live for the most part to be able to eat whatever our hearts (or stomachs lol) desire. Some people & other countries & people don't have that luxury. I love being able to have sushi one day, Indian, Mexican, Italian, etc the next, or even a down home country meal, or dessert, or cheese. I just love it! So much good food to choose from!
21. All the children, for they are our future!
22. Although sometimes rough, everything I've been through, and memories, good or bad, and mistakes made for they have taught me to be the amazing & unique person I am today!
23. Little moments. They might not be all that exotic, and may seem insignificant at the time but just the moments that "just happen", whether it be something you see, hear, experience, could be someone, anything. Just those little moments that make you sit back and think to yourself "I really love my life. I'm so happy to be alive & am just where I want to be!"
24. Tomorrow. You never know what's going to happen, who you may meet, or what new things/experiences life will bring to you. It's a mystery, and I love it! Plus, no matter how rough today can get, there's always tomorrow!!!
25. The Graves Disease & Thyroid Foundation, and other advocates like Mary Shomon or Gena Lee Nolin, etc, and the many researchers/doctors who are working to bring awareness & hopefully a cure someday to a disease that unfortunately so many have, yet also so many are unaware of. Same with all other disease and organizations dedicated in helping.
26. The sky, horizon, everything we are able to see. No matter what just know there is always so much beauty out there!
27. Being able to be aware. Despite how rough life/people etc. can get, there is always good out there. Sometimes it's right in front of you, or will jump out and surprise you. But to be able to know that, and never give up on it, and hope, now that is something to be thankful for. Sometimes life can get hard and make it easy to want to give up or think everything is bad but it's not. It's really not
28. Like the days, this ever-changing weather. I love how especially where we live in Ohio it's always different. I love having my clothes for different seasons. For some reason it makes me happy. I love the snow, and how on chilly days you can curl up under a blanket with a buddy or four (of five of them including Jeff and all our dogs lol in my case), and have a cup of hot chocolate or a yummy drink from our Keurig that Jeff won from work. I love the spring, and the rain, the air moderate, birds chirping, and flowers starting to bloom. I love the summer, and eating ice cream cones or slushies on super hot days, or swimming all day, or even just relaxing in & appreciating the comforts of the air conditioner. Then to fall, with the beautiful picturesque colors, streets lined with leaves of those same different colors. I love it & really thankful to experience it.
29. Everyone, both students and teachers, I met in school at William Mason-High! Despite going through so much back then, and being somewhat different lol (the occasional sadness from circumstances, and being hyper lol, or being a goofball, class clown type ) at one point or another they were each there for me when I really needed it. They helped me, taught me, inspired me, helped me grow, kept me sane! Because of them I never fully gave up. Because of them & their generosity, understanding & friendship, I was always able to keep a glimmer of hope.
And 30. GOD!!! For if it weren't for HIM, none of this would even be possible. Nothing on this list, or anything else I'm also thankful for would even exist! SO thankful for that!!!
~So thank you all my friends and family! God Bless You ALL & Have a Safe, Happy, Joyful Thanksgiving! Go make those special memories! Peace be with you ALL! See More

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding Out That I Have Graves' Disease & What Proceeded After

Have you ever had that feeling in your gut that something may be wrong with you? You can feel a change within yourself and how you feel but because you know you're a hypochondriac, you convince yourself that you're just crazy & try your best to push those suspicions aside, even though the obvious signs are right there?! Well, that's exactly what I did. Now because of that, I almost died. I could've died. I could be dead right now. At least that's what I found out when I finally did go in to an actual doctor after my family, more specifically my mother, forced me to go. They said my blood pressure was 200/40 and that I was going into what they called a thyroid storm, which can be very life-threatening and most likely the result of the Graves Disease they suspected I had, going untreated for so long. They said if I had waited to be seen even just a few months longer, I would've been dead. To think, I would've never found the true happiness and purpose in life that I now have if I would've kept ignoring the signs, or not listened to my family, I would've missed out on so much.
It all started I'd say in the summer to the winter of 2008, I could feel my heart constantly racing, even when just sitting for periods of time. I remember always asking everyone to feel my heart just to see if I was imagining things. They always agreed but by the time Christmas came, it was bad. I was making cookies with my mom and sisters, sitting there and my heart literally pounding, going so quickly, and I remember then asking if they thought my heart felt off. They agreed it definitely didn't feel normal, and I'd say that was probably one of the first times I was told to go to the doctor. Big mistake, because I didn't. Some months went by, my heart still constantly racing, having pains I couldn't even understand or explain in words at the time, starting to become super-sensitive to light and was also losing a lot of weight in short periods of time, yet still not going to the doctor. Fortunately, and unfortunately there were some other changes, big ones appeared that more people started taking notice to. Apparently my eyes were beginning to protrude (bulge out), yet I never seemed to realize it and because Jeff saw me every day, he didn't seem to notice it either. I remember in the spring of 2009 getting picked up by my mother and sisters to go to a baby shower, after not seeing them since Christmas. Immediately, my family it seemed were in a state of shock. My sister, Erica, literally started crying right then and had to look away because it was so hard to look at me. We sat there for a moment, and then proceeded to the party but then after my family confronted me, urging me, pleading with me to please go to the doctor. A few days after my mother called to let me know she had made me an appointment and wanted to take me which brings me back to where I had left off, at that first initial doctors visit. From that point, the doctor urged my mother to rush me to the emergency room. The doctors and nurses there also suspected Graves' Disease. They ran more tests, got me on medicine to try to lower my blood pressure & heart rate. The tests came back & it was conclusive, it was Graves’. After finding out I had this illness that will apparently affect me for the rest of my life, I knew I had to find a doctor since no doctor would see me without insurance they said, and fortunately found out I could be seen by an ophthalmologist & endocrinologist at the area’s best local hospital which is also used for learning purposes. From then on, I went to all of my appointments and started getting frequent blood tests as my health continued to worsen. My right eye started turning inwards which eventually led to my now constant double vision (of 3+ years now), my heart was still racing & blood pressure high, my eyes were super-sensitive to light & were also continuing to bulge out more, I was still losing a lot of weight, was tired all day but seemed to take forever to fall asleep at night, & my blood tests were constantly up and down they said, not to mentions the pain & lots of other fun stuff. The steroids, iodine, nor did any dosage change in my medicines seem to help. It was just really rough & each day brought new challenges. So, finally in December 2009 although my heart was still having complications & even after having a mild heart attack just days before while at my pre-op resulting in having to get an angiogram and stay in the hospital until, my doctors were forced to do a full thyroidectomy (they said it could get worse whichever direction we chose to go). During surgery, they accidentally damaged my parathyroid glands so now I have issues with my calcium and vitamin D levels getting low. Matter of fact, right after surgery, my calcium levels were pretty low, and even though I knew something didn’t feel right, a few days after my surgery, I was released from the hospital. Well, literally the next day the doctors advised Jeff to rush me back to the hospital after me having severe tingling going through my whole body up to my mouth area which is really dangerous they said. At the hospital, the doctors got me in immediately & said my calcium levels were dangerously low. I was hooked up to an IV and had to stay another night & day until my calcium levels were safe & where they should be. I even had to get up and walk around to prove I was well enough to leave. After that, my body recovered and I continued to be seen by multiple doctors. Some, but not all, of the swelling around my eyes was gone but there were still more surgeries needed to try to get rid of any more. So in June 2010, they performed an orbital decompression surgery on my right eye, which helped with some more of the swelling. Then the following month, in July, they performed the decompression surgery on my left eye. That one was a bit harder on me. Since my right eye was the one turned inwards and also the one I had the most trouble seeing out of, and then that I had just had surgery on it one month prior, patching over my left eye after the next surgery was done only added more headache & it was pretty rough for a while but with time comes healing, and so I did.
Over the next couple years, my levels would be stable, then up and down again. The double vision got worse, my doctors said it, along with other symptoms, made it so rough that I couldn’t work or drive anymore which was really hard for me to accept so the depression I had experienced for majority of my life so far due to several traumatic, life-altering experiences, got worse. It seemed like everything was being taken from me. Now it took me awhile but fortunately, after what seems like a miracle to me after a chance meet and greet (will talk about in a future blog), I no longer see things in that sense. I look at everything I have and have been through as a blessing & I feel fortunate. At least I get to see twice the beauty of this crazy, yet amazing adventure we call life. Some can’t see at all, or aren’t even here to, what’s some migraines, dizziness, pain etc. compared to that?! At least I’m here and alive to bear that I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore nor do I let anything get to me too much. Funny how it took me getting sick to realize that but hey, better late than never! Now I can enjoy my life and just try to occupy my time when I feel well enough to while waiting for my remaining surgeries, with trying to help others and raise more awareness for this disease that so many of us have, yet so little actually know about. Before I was diagnosed, I’d never even heard of it or anything like it, and really never even gave it a thought. That’s why I’m trying so hard to help make a difference and hopefully help entice others into getting tested.
Now on October 9th of last year, a great doctor from Children’s Hospital, after months if not a year or so of planning & getting everything in order, performed my first of what they said will be many, eye muscle surgery on both my eyes at once. It was also rough on me. Apparently I woke up during the procedure from what they tell me, trying to fight off the anesthesia and they accidentally scratched my cornea on my right eye and then after took a long time for me to wake up. After that, my right eye had to be patched over, and I had to see the doctor later that day after I rested, then again was seen about every 2-3 days after that. I was still recovering as I should be over the next few months and was able to get out of bed about 3 weeks after surgery because of all the pain and dizziness I was experiencing. It was really hard for me but my doctor said it would take some time each surgery for my brain to get used to seeing like this, and all the changes. I still had the constant double vision but the object doubled wasn’t as far to the right as it used to be, if that makes any sense. They recently, like earlier this month, performed my second eye muscle surgery. This time the surgery went a lot smoother, and seemed to have less of a recovery time. I still have the constant double vision, as I should, and my brain is again getting used to the changes. The double is just now in a newer spot, as it seems with each surgery, the double is just getting closer to the original so I'm optimistically hoping that the surgeries are working. I saw my eye doctor again a few weeks after the surgery, and will see him soon to see how things are coming along. He did say, however, that it will require at least one to two more muscle surgeries just to correct the double vision if they even can, not to mention the surgeries after that but that’s down the road. The next eye muscle surgery is planned for late this summer. So now I’m just enjoying what I can of each day until it comes, and planning our Graves Disease & Thyroid Awareness Ride & Party. Lord knows I have a lot of patience! Why spend my days worrying, I'm happy now and have to much to look forward to! :)
I hope what you can take from this is to please learn from my mistakes, don't ignore your instincts. If you think something may be wrong with you, even if it turns out you're fine, please don't hesitate to be seen by a doctor. I can't help but feel that if maybe I had gone into a doctor much earlier I never would've gotten the eye bulging, or the double vision, all the pains and muscle weakness and other fun stuff I have been experiencing, not to mention, I may even still have my thyroid. So please, I urge you, GET TESTED FOR GRAVES/THYROID-RELATED DISEASES IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, it may even save your life!!! Thanks so much & have a great day! ~God Bless :))

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Getting to Know Me

Hello! I guess I'll begin my first blog by introducing and sharing a bit about myself, not everything though because this one would go on forever and duh, what else would I have to write about in the future? Obviously my name is Jessica. I am 31 years young, however, because I do suffer from Graves Disease (which I'll delve deeper into in a future blog), I feel a lot older like nearly elderly on my worst days lol. I love animals, nearly all kinds but especially dogs. I have 4 of them, a family of them actually as well as a cat and a bunny. I'm sure they will come up a lot because they are a huge part of me and who I am. My mom always said I'd have a lot of animals or work with the elderly. I have worked with the elderly before and still love to visit them, especially with our dogs when we can. I'll tell you about how awesome they are sometime. My favorite color is green, favorite color combo is green with blue, and sometimes even mixed with purple. My favorite number is 7, probably because I was born at 7:07 and weighed 7lbs, 7oz (no joke lol). I love to cook when my eyes aren't bothering me, especially pastries. My favorite food is sushi, but really am a food eclectic. I love trying different foods, especially Italian & Indian. Oh, I love Lunchables for real, will even eat them cold, each time I eat them I feel like a kid again, same with mac & cheese lol! What else?! Oh, I am also a music eclectic. I love pretty much all styles of music literally except for some of the newer country. I'm more of an old school country music lover for sure. Jeff, my boyfriend of going on 15 years now, is pretty much the same. We can listen to anything from Bach, Beethoven or Chopin, to Fats Waller, Bille Holiday & Louis Armstrong to the Shins, The Fray and the Lumineers, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Sr & Jr, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Who, Bob Dylan, Metallica, Linkin Park, Gotye, and really so much more! I mean literally the list is endless. Music is an escape for me in many ways, it can be very relaxing and especially now since I have severe Thyroid Eve Disease mixed  with Graves Disease & constant double vision, music is a good friend of mine. Anytime I need to be cheered up, music, my friend is right there, when I'm happy and want to celebrate, again, music is there for me. It puts everything in perspective for you and to so many can be an outlet. And to some, it's the air in which we breathe.
I live and have grown up actually minutes away from Kings Island, a popular Amusement & Water Park in Ohio. What can I say about living in Ohio?! Hmm...the best way I can put it, there are moments where I want to move away, get away, escape even to explore other options & experiences (with Jeff, of course), to a place a bit more exciting, different. There are several places we have considered, sometimes seriously. I think at times, Jeff wants to leave just as much, if not more, especially if it were to be in Chicago or New York, he loves it there like literally lol. Yet then there are the times when I want and am grateful to be here, love the fact that Ohio is what it is, a bit smaller, more recluse and spread out, I loved growing up so close to Kings Island that we practically lived there, and the fact that everyone knew each other in our small town (which depending on how small-minded certain people were, that wasn't always a good thing). However, here, I get to be close to my family and the many friends I have made through my life & also in the past few years. I have met & know so many amazing people, I know not only would I miss them but they would probably miss me too. You can't go through life, as crazy as it can be at times, without good family & friends, and a good support system. I'm fortunate enough to say I have that, although it sure took me long enough to realize just what I had. And despite all the heartache and pain I have been through, leaving will not change what's in the past or current situations either. One of my many favorite quotes is "You can begin to live the moment you begin to cease worrying about things beyond your control." So with the help of a few very amazing individuals who have came across my path nearly two years ago (I will talk about in a future blog), I finally decided to start accepting & appreciating everything for what it was. We literally cannot control anything except for our own actions, and how we react to circumstances. I know at the end of the day I don't want to have any regrets. I want to know that I took everything with pride, and turned what I can of the constant criticism I get for the way I look or act due to Graves Disease, into a positive. Possibly turn it into a learning and growing experience, not only for others but myself as well. I know that each day is filled with possibilities and can bring joy, laughter, pain, tears, and so many other emotions we're not even aware of at time, yet still I also know that I am grateful to be here, to be alive and happy. For that, I couldn't ask for anything else. When you really think about it, everybody suffers in their own way. Sometimes you can see it clearly, sometimes at a glance, others not at all. When you can actually grasp that concept, you can appreciate the miraculous life in which you have that God so graciously bestowed upon us. How beautiful is that?! That someone with this great power loved us so much to give us this life, and the choice to live how we want. Sure there are laws and rules in which we must abide, but when you think of the big picture and think of just how much we can do when we set our minds to it, especially with some great individuals backing you there is not a single doubt in my mind that life is truly the greatest gift. Home and family/friends being the next which brings me to my point. Appreciate what you have and don't waste a second from savoring in what and who you love. And always believe in yourself. Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. :))