Ups and Downs

Since day one, I had medical issues. For as long as I can remember, and even before that, I saw a cardiologist who monitored my growth, my capabilities, and my strength compared to a normal growing child. During the past few years, I have been waking up each morning with a small handful of pills and have been struggling with symptoms a lot of people cannot relate to.

This week, I had been told there’s a possibility of fixing one new health issue, regarding my heart, that has become a new problem to add onto my list of growing conditions. At 19, who would’ve guessed this would be my life? It seems like it is. And despite seeing everyone’s relief when hearing there might be a chance of taking care of the issue without another open heart surgery, I refuse to get my hopes up.

Let me explain:
For the past 2 years, my chest pain and the medications I have to take in order to make the pain tolerable have been growing without any kind of resolve. I’ve been to doctor after doctor, have tried medication after medication, and have been told in every which way that I will have to try something else. I have been told countless of times how sorry they are for not being able to help me despite how many attempts they have made. I have been turned away and I have been brushed off. I had began to lose faith in doctors because there wasn’t a solution in sight.

Then, one day, the nerve block injection worked. After nights of waking up to immense pain, tears rolling down my cheeks and my entire body frozen with fear due to how much it hurt, my specialist wanted to try the injection. And it worked. It made the pain tolerable, or as tolerable as it was before it began to flare and wake me up again. That, that day of relief, is when I was hit with the news that the pain I feel every waking day will never go away. It was permanent, and there was nothing they could do but give me medications to make it tolerable.

When my new cardiologist continuously said how I might still need open heart surgery after this procedure I am going to go through, I doubt the new doctor who claims he can fix me with this simple tube. But, I get it, I should be grateful that I do not have to immediately go to open heart surgery; I shouldn’t be freaking out; I should trust my NEW doctors (complete strangers). But I don’t, and I am.

I have woken up nearly screaming from a nightmare in which I am coughing up blood in the ICU after my procedure. I have woken up crying. I have woken up shaking, stone cold with fear. I have woken up several times for the past couple weeks with a broken heart.

I don’t know what to do…

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Weak Spot

We all have that particular love whose flame will never burn out. People say it’s your ‘first love’; others say it’s the love that changed you the most. I say, it’s every love that forced you to grow.

Don’t get me wrong, loving them and being in love with them are two different things. Loving them and wanting to be with them are not always correlated. This rings true when I look back and realize how many people I still love.

Khang – We had the most unhealthy relationship I’ve ever experienced, in friendship or in relationship. But, in some twisted way, I had believed we would still make it through. Looking back, I can still say there’s a fire in me that burns for you. I hope you have the best life you deserve. I hope you find true happiness without your demons following in your head. I hope you find forgiveness in your heart and learn to love yourself; you deserve at least that much.

D.J.M. – We were stuck in a fairytale-like honeymoon whose end was inevitable. Somewhere, deep inside, we both knew we were not meant to be but I had wanted to fight for us because it’s in my nature…I fight for what I love. And, in doing so, I hurt us both more than either of us deserved. Being with you shined light on a part of me I hadn’t known was still there. You showed me I am capable of being forgiven and loved once more. Thank you. I hope you find that good Christian good who will be there with you until the end of time.

To both of you, whether it had been under or over a year since I’ve seen you, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for you. It scares the hell out of me, but I know it’s okay.

You see, these particular loves changed me. I learned things about myself I probably wouldn’t have learned elsewhere in such a manner. I got shown things I thought I wouldn’t have seen. I went into each of these relationships a little different and came out of each one of them as someone different.

Whether it had been that I learned that I was truly not alone, living a life I only thought I was going through, or that I learned I was capable of forgiving myself for things I thought I’d never let go, I changed. Now, looking back, I wonder if I had changed them somehow. But, more importantly, I wonder if they’re in a better place in their lives by now.

For those who still hate their ex to the bone, I can’t understand what you go through. I couldn’t imagine looking back at those who hurt me so and have that blackhole of pain still inside me. I have been hurt and my heart has been broken, but I look back and see the young men I had fallen in love with. These of the people we once loved for a reason, the people we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with at a certain point, the people we would do almost anything to spend one more day with to see them laugh and be happy. These are the people who made us feel irreplaceable, the people who gave us strength to face the world when we were down on our knees, the people who loved us to the moon and back. When I remember all the unforgettable memories we had created together, I realize that I wouldn’t regret or take back that love for anything in the world because, in that moment in my life, they meant the world to me and they still are a treasure I hold close to heart.

They are…those loves whose fire will burn for eternity.

Particular

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Confused and Exhausted. Physically and Mentally.

Having to remember you truly do not know the person you are falling for is definitely difficult when he is constantly the person you want to share your life with. When I get to a point where I want the entire world to disappear around me in order for my mind to rest, I would rather be in his arms and in his bed than my own house and my own room. When I get excited, it’s most likely because I am going to see him later that day. When I feel emotions other than exhaustion and overwhelmed, he seems to be related somehow.

Sometimes it feels as if I trusted him way too fast and gave him parts of me I would have never given someone else. Sometimes it feels as if I invested more than I ever meant to at this point in our relationship. Because when I look at him, I see the adoration and I see the desire, but I am not sure if I am the girl he wants to devote his life to being with.

Whenever he reminds me how many days it has been since we first talked, it feels like a slap in the face. In the moment, we are sharing a part of our lives with the other and I feel like I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. But when he says that, and when he says he doesn’t know what he wants, it scares me. I know what heartbreak feels like; I know how he must’ve felt when he got betrayed in his last relationship; I know what pain feels like; I know what it is to be scared to trust someone with your heart again. But his actions say he’s in this, with his whole heart, but when it comes down to is and he says the words that cut deep…I don’t know what to say or feel anymore.

I don’t want to pull away from him because he does not deserve that. I want to be there for him and continue to show him love is not always painful and full of betrayal or drama. I want to show him that someone can love with unconditionally. I want to show him that he deserves the love like in the fairytale books. I want to show him that love can be ‘forever and always’.

But I don’t know if he’s ready.
I have a lot on my plate and he’s been insanely understanding and thoughtful. But at the same time, I feel as if I don’t have time for him at the moment. He’s still trying to learn of the person I am. I am still trying to learn everything about who he is. But when that is intertwined with events in which I need someone who absolutely knows me, it’s exhausting. I don’t know what to do because we both feel as if we’ve known each other for months, or even years, yet it’s only been 20 days? I’m putting too much on his shoulders but I don’t want to walk away and look elsewhere, possibly making him feel as if he did something wrong or as if he is not wanted anymore.

-goes back to sleep-

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Sorry Not Sorry

I am sorry I care about what other people think. I am sorry I grew up in an environment in which all that mattered was what other people thought. I am sorry that is how I was raised. I am sorry that is how I have become. I am sorry you have to deal with me.

I get worked up. I get emotional. I get bothered by people’s reactions. I get nervous to see what people think. Doesn’t everyone? Apparently not you.

I am sorry I got so worried when you sister fractured and broke her wrist that I felt nauseous enough to vomit. I am sorry I got worked up and annoyed when my sister gave me a weird look that told me she didn’t want me to go to the ER with you and your sister. I am sorry I got annoyed when you kept laughing off her injury as if it were a joke. I am sorry I yelled at you when my emotions built up. I am sorry I got sensitive. I am sorry I got hurt. I am sorry I was 100% myself.

I am sorry I am pleased to hear my sister likes you and is happy that I am happy. I am sorry that it bugs me when you cursed ten times more when you were around her students…her co-workers….her boyfriend….her! I am sorry that I talked to you about the cursing afterwards. I am sorry that I want my friends and family to like you.

I am sorry that it bugs me when I think you’re being rude to your mom. I am sorry that it sometimes feels as if you just want my body. I am sorry I got upset when you called me as if I were a dog. I am sorry I can’t simply laugh everything off. I am sorry I got ticked off when you didn’t let me study when I specifically told you I had a lot to do.

I am so sorry if all of this bothers you.

Oh, wait, I shouldn’t be apologizing…but, I still do.

Dubious

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Will It Fix Me?

I’ve gone through two open heart surgeries. I’ve gone through two surgeries to repair my chest wall – pectus excavatum repair. I’ve gone through a cardiac catheterization. I’ve done all the labs for my surgeries. I’ve gone through countless x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, echos, stress-tests, etc. I’ve done it all.

I’ve ran until I was blacking out, almost fainting. I remember the stress tests I had to do when I was younger. I remember vividly how nauseous I would be the day before. I remember dreading the sight of that treadmill. I remember running until I couldn’t breathe. I remember barely being able to walk to the chair a few steps away. I remember blacking in and out.

I’ve worn a cardiac monitor multiple times for various periods of time. I’ve had some bad cases of nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and migraines. I’ve had trouble breathing. I’ve taken handfuls of medication.

I’ve woken up scared to move because my chest hurt so much. I’ve fallen down unable to get up because it hurt so bad. I’ve done pain blocking injections. I’ve been to physical therapy. I’ve had multiple pain management specialists. I’ve dealt with the side effects of multiple medications, testing out to see which one actually helped. I’ve discovered that it may be impossible to make the pain go away. I’ve learned that I have nerve damage…and it can’t be fixed.

Why am I so terrified when it comes to this new procedure I need to go do? Worst case scenario, I stay in the hospital for a few days and go back to school in a wheelchair a week or two after.

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Make It Go Away

She walks through her life with long strides, a little more confident than in her mind. She takes deep breathes and goes after what she wants, ignoring the pain or the fear she feels inside. She doesn’t know where her decisions will take her but she realizes she does not have the choice to hesitate to make up her mind. She continues through her life and faces everything that comes into her path but fears she will never truly have the answers she is looking for.

Almost every breath is getting harder to breathe. She feels her heart struggle and race as she walks just a little faster paced. The pain in her chest remains everyday despite the amount of medication she consumes on a daily basis. The symptoms continue and cause her to struggle throughout her days. The dizziness, the nausea, the headaches, the difficult breathing, the lightheadedness and the seconds of blacking out all drain every ounce of energy she seems to have left.

She doesn’t know who to turn to. Her doctors have done countless tests, sent her to many other doctors, and have found nothing that could be a solution to her pain. One of her doctors even said one day, “It’s permanent…I can ease the pain when it gets really bad but I can’t make it go away.” And that was before, when it was just the nerve pain, and now it’s her heart…again. She doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t know who to go to.

If the pain would one day go away, if the symptoms would just one day vanish, if she could wake up one day and feel one hundred percent better, she would be living the dream. But that day isn’t going to come until the doctors find something else to do.

Panacea

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Despite knowing my writing is an insight to the person I am, despite wanting you to have a deeper understanding of some things that still affect me today, despite wishing for an easier way to express my thoughts, I hesitate to give you the key to my mind. This is, after all, the place where I am the truest version of myself. To connect a simple ‘author’ title to my actual name and the person you can physically see every day, is to have the power over secrets I may still hold.

If you, the person reading this, know who I am beyond the complex screens we call computers, you mean something to me. And whether you still read my posts still to this day, may say something about where I stand with you…or maybe not.

-> To the obnoxious young man who wears a ring on his hand, I’m happy for you as I’ve always been since we had the talk that night. I know you are an amazing father just as you are an incredible husband to a very lucky young woman. I wish you the best wherever life may take you. I hope we stay in touch.

-> To the special young woman who can never bother remembering her classmates’ names, as she refers to each and every one as “that (other) guy”, I hope you never change. As our lives seem to overlap more and more, I look forward to becoming closer to your family. And, no matter what happens, know that I’ll always be here for you.

-> To the strong, independent young almost-graduate who had made the last two years of my high school career easier to live through, you know I would do anything to help you if I could. I wish you the best as you decide which paths you want to walk down as you exit high school. I wish you the best when you have to face telling your family of your decision. Do know I will always be here for you.

-> To the sassy young woman who had been there through my very painful last heartbreak, and who prays for me to be a little more selfish, I miss you. The busy schedules we both have clash way too much and we never get to see each other anymore. But, despite, like you said, we’ll never stop being there for the other. I wish you the best, and I hope we keep in touch even if I move.

-> To my last heartbreak, I hope you’re happy and you’re okay wherever you are in your life right now. You deserve a good Christian girl who shares your passion and can walk through life with you no matter where you go. I hope you started your path to teaching, like you’ve always wanted. I wish you the best as you continue down your journey. Never forget to stop and take a breath.

-> To the awkward young man who I can constantly call up to have some company while studying at school, I really hope you discover what it is that you want to do with your life. I know sometimes ignoring the elephant in the room can lead to a more pleasant lifestyle, but you will have to face the question you hesitate to answer. I wish I could help, but your life is in your hands. Good luck.

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This Is She

The girl running from the pains of her past suffocating on the blood her heart had poured when wounded and broken.

The young woman yearning for a chance at a better future while getting through the tough times of the present day’s society.

The fighter not willing to give up.

The survivor who is still surviving.

Identity

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Day In, Day Out

“You might need surgery again.” He said for the second time after taking maybe an hour listening to my history. This was the first time I met with my new cardiologist; he had no current tests; he hadn’t done any CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, etc. on me. Maybe that’s the part that scared me the most.

At thirteen-year-olds, I underwent my third surgery to help my breathing situation. At eighteen-years-old, I was greeted with the line, “Wow you have a large medical history for your age!” the first time seeing a new pain management specialist versus the normal “Hi, my name is…” Now, at nineteen-years-old, I had not thought the mention or surgery would phase me but it sure did.

I remember the last time I got the news that I needed to schedule my next surgery. I hadn’t understood why tears were forming in my eyes. I hadn’t understood why it felt as if my heart was breaking as I watched my mother melt into tears and breakdown. I remember only panicking because she was. In my mind, it wasn’t a huge deal that I was going through surgery for the third time. But, that day that I saw my cardiologist, it was the mirror opposite of years ago.

One night, I just broke into tears and cried until I fell asleep, exhausted from weeping. I had wanted someone close to me to just hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay. One evening, I was briefly mentioning the doctor appointment to a friend and couldn’t stop the tears from forming in my eyes. One night, I fought back the tears as much as I could as a close friend stood by my side but the second someone came and asked if I was ok, I broke.

Day after day, the daily tasks of life seem petty in comparison to the thoughts that continue to run through my mind. But, what did I expect, this has always been my life…

Expect

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My days have been hectic. My days have been busy. My days have been…some of the best ones I’ve lived.

You see me running to work early just so I can have fifteen minutes to just breath. You see me staying in the library or finding some abandoned study room for some quiet time to study. You see me fidgeting with my pens anxiously, running my hand through my hair in frustration, rustling through my papers panicking, and filling this body with more caffeine than it should take.

But, honest, when my friend told me he hasn’t been as happy as he is now when his life is consists of an insanely busy schedule probably built to exhaust a human being the second their eyes open, I didn’t believe him. I thought, how is that even possible?! I watched him come to class late almost every session. I watched him drink cups of coffee each and every time, eat his lunch or dinner during class, and then hurry off to wherever the hell he goes afterwards (no one ever knows because he is always too busy to answer his phone). I mean, honest, how can someone be so, so happy with a life like that?

Then, I saw him standing outside one of the school buildings briefly talking to a small group of friends before our class. He was early, for once. He was smiling and laughing, and I could just feel the happiness in his voice. I saw how his eyes lit up when he laughed, and I couldn’t be any more happy for him.

During that small encounter with him, I was the one rushing around. I was checking off one thing after another that I needed to get done before class started. I was running from one end of campus to the other and back. I was exhausted and I could feel my body yearning for some rest, but I was so happy.

I was being so productive. I was being in-control of my time. It was the best feeling. Usually, I’m not as busy as I was that month. Usually, I have time to watch a show or two during the weekend. But as I got busier and as I watched myself get so much done, despite how much my body screamed for me to stop working, I was proud of myself.

And, in all of that, I had set a side some time for my close friends. Every other day or so I respond to one of my friends and continue our email-like conversation through WhatsApp. Every once in a while, I write and look back at old photographs. Sure, I am not insanely busy as my friend has been for the past two years of his life but I’m managing to live a life that most people wouldn’t volunteer for. And that is great.

I am so proud of my friend, and I’m starting to become proud of myself.

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