Ready for a roadtrip

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Ready to go (they have less to pack)

I’m headed to the clinic of St. Jude tomorrow. I’m ready for this to be my last trip but I’m excited to see Bethany and Alana and my favorite musician.

Then I’ll get to go on my first cruise.

So much more exciting than today. Or at least more fun and relaxing.

I found out this afternoon that one of the reasons I had been feeling particularly terrible these past few days is because I had a dislocated femur. Ugh, some days I hate having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Anyhow, after I got home from getting that reset, I found that Alana had just got home from the ER where she had been treating after smashing her head into a slab of concrete. I guess that can also be considered exciting but it’s the kind of drama I can live without. Seriously, I think it’s time for a vacation. Don’t you think?

Back to packing,
Abigail Cashelle

Sewing and more

I’ve been rather absent from the blog for a number of reasons, but one of them is because I ran my finger through a sewing machine making a wedding gift for two of my close friends. Using my right index finger was out of the question for a while there, so updating the blog wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

I’m still healing in that respect, but I also finally got a smart phone which means that I can actually post pictures to instagram! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, its much easier on my healing finger.

I’ve posted a few pictures of my first sewing project since the accident. I made a beach coverup from some vibtage sheets I got at a thrift store a while back. You see, on one of my bad fays last week, I decided that I needed an actual vacation that didnt involve doctors and hospitals and all of that. So I convinced Alana to book a cruise with me that leaves fairly soonly. That meant all of a sudden that I needed beach & pool attire. And since we prpmised each other that we were doing this on a budget, I’m trying to avoid spending too much money on supplies.

Which means time to move past that trauma of the accident and sew again. So I successfully made an article of clothing (which is itself its own miracle) and am therefore closer to being set to go. Now I think I’m just waiting for my barhing suit to come in the mail to see if I will have the retro look or the color-coordinated one. ‘Twill be interesting for certain sure.

Be sure to check out those instagram photos. I know that Molly would live your feedback & patronage.

With love,
Abigail

A day in the life

What Molly observed today when I ate my chocolate fix before my post-work nap:

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Nice try, Dove. Unfortunately I have an early shift tomorrow as well. Maybe it’s talking about sleeping late in the day? Now that sounds like a plan!!

Abigail

The Provider

Kelly suggested that I look into yet another personality test, so I took the 120 question over at learnmyself.com. It’s unbelievably accurate, just like she said. Except for one thing. It says that I turn my nose up at the arts. And I feel incredibly the opposite about arts.

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I think this description captures me to a T:

You do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find yourself tempted to overindulge; however, high levels of stress can lead to you feeling panic or confusion, but usually you cope with day to day pressures. You tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. You often need privacy and time for yourself. You prefer the security and stability brought by conformity to tradition. You find helping other people genuinely rewarding and are generally willing to assist those who are in need. You find that doing things for others is a form of self-fulfilment rather than self-sacrifice; however, you are willing to take credit for good things that you do but you don’t often talk yourself up much. You take your time when making decisions and will deliberate on all the possible consequences and alternatives.

Some more food for thought.

Abigail

In Honor of Robert & Heather

It’s interesting how citizenship in the kingdom of the sick works. Almost always you get inducted without permission (or even your knowledge) and citizenship is irrevocable. With time comes knowledge that only an insider can gain. As time passes, one becomes more and more connected to other citizens even if your journey to citizenship is vastly different.

I write today as part of the effort to give a voice to those who have fallen victim to asbestos poisoning. Heather asked me to spread the word about mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. What she didn’t know was how close to home this hits.

As a young high schooler, it was my first real connection with death and mortality. I remember visiting my friend’s house one summer and spending a lot of time with her family. I remember being there every day for a week, and laughing and making fun of her dad who was so tall that he had to duck to come through a doorway. We even have pictures of our two families together.

I later learned that he got diagnosed with mesthelioma that week. It was the beginning of a very difficult journey for this family. Robert was given only months to live and deteriorated very rapidly. At his funeral, hundreds of people talked about his service to the church and to the community. I knew him as a hilarious father and a Sunday School teacher, but I realized that there was a whole other side of him that I never even encountered. I remember learning that he was exposed to asbestos as a high school graduate when he spent one summer working in a warehouse. I remember wondering what he did to deserve this. Did God not reward those who were hard-working and God-fearing? How could this illness so insidiously break up this family? How could someone who wasn’t even “old” die?

I wish I could tell my young self that that’s not how life works. Doing good and being pious don’t guarantee immortality. As humans, our days are numbered. It’s more about making the days we have count than the quantity of days we have. Citizenship in the kingdom of the sick doesn’t come by choice. We don’t have control over when we are naturalized and why. Sometimes there are things that could theoretically be controlled (like exposure to asbestos). Sometimes deficiencies are in our genes.

Today I choose to remember Robert for who he was and for what he did for me and for my friend. I encourage you to take a look at Heather’s story and become familiar with the continued presence of asbestos in our life. Most of all, know that illness strikes all kinds of people in many different ways; every one of them could use the support & encouragement of community.

From my heart,
Abigail

Good Grief! The Interwebs have spoken

Given my penchant for personality tests, I took one that “determines” which Peanuts character you are most like. In my sixth grade class, I had a very minor part (aka “the pitcher”) in our production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. It was the highlight of my senior year. I still remember that my dad had the flu and wasn’t able to come. My sister’s class only got to see a dress rehearsal (which wasn’t even in costume and didn’t have the “real” Schroeder!) And, I didn’t have any lines, so I convinced the music teacher to let me introduce the play. Yeah, it was a highlight of my elementary school performance.

Anyhow, ::drumroll:: character analysis puts me at Charlie Brown. At first I was offended because, hey, I got really good grades in school, and I don’t have a dog. But, come to think of it, I’m not very good at dating, have no idea how to actually play baseball, and probably would forget to feed my dog if I had one. This is their summary of Charlie Brown’s characteristics:

You’re a classic over-analyzer. You’re charismatic, have a core group of friends who are very loyal to you, and are highly intelligent — but that intelligence often leads you to overthink most things in life. To feel satisfied, you have to consider everything from every angle, from Christmas to crushes. This way of thinking makes you highly intuitive and emotionally aware, and also gives you a great sense of humor and ability to view situations objectively.

I have to say, I can relate to a lot of it. So maybe they do have a point.

Abigail

P.S. I am actually very good at writing book reports, and I played the lead female character in my first grade class’s production of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, just in case you were wondering.

Severely Depleted Currency

I had an interesting phone call today with my physical therapist. (Did I mention that I started physical therapy??) He was following up from an email I had sent him earlier this week, so his call wasn’t surprising. But it put into spoken words one thing I’ve been struggling with for the past few weeks: having to blindly select from a bunch of options.

The current issue is whether or not I should continue physical therapy and if so, why. In other words, what is the goal of physical therapy for me specifically?

I think my therapist became pretty defensive about how therapy could help things get better and that change could take a while. Perhaps he thought that I was concerned that therapy was making things worse.

But after a lot of time thinking through it, I think I’m grappling with a totally different issue. Is physical therapy really a priority for me right now? Time, energy, and money are all limited for me. Some of those variables I control; most of them I don’t. My question is not whether or not physical therapy is contributing to the problem, but whether it’s the best use of my resources at this point.

Right now, I’m only able to go to work. All the rest of the time I spend in bed, mostly asleep. If I’m lucky, I get to watch TV, do laundry, eat meals, read my mail, etc. I do get out to weekly counseling and now physical therapy once a week. It’s a major goal of mine to make it to at least one church meeting a week, but it doesn’t always happen. And it sucks because that’s really important to me; even in graduate school, I made it at least once a week.

So if we think that the long-term benefits of physical therapy are barely measurable and I can’t get out of bed for almost anything, is it really that important for me to be in physical therapy right now? My youngest sister would argue that it’s more important that I actually eat three full meals a day and that I eat those meals on a regular schedule. (Otherwise, it’s 4 pm and she’s knocking on my door wondering why I haven’t eaten yet.)

I think that’s one thing the doctors at the Clinic of St. Jude haven’t picked up on yet. Lack of proper stamina is a huge component of this. They’re very cognizant of a central sensitivity syndrome, which implies that pain is a big factor and that things cannot be done in a jerky fashion. What they seem to be missing though is that there is severely depleted currency. And that is a determining factor in everything. As much as outsiders might be tempted to ignore it, for the consumer it’s a real limitation.

The nurses and staff at the Clinic of St. Jude encouraged me very much to take ownership of my treatment and my illness and not to let professionals boss me around. They told me that a patient knows what is best for him and his needs. Only you can know that. That was very helpful.

The tricky part is that I’m being thrown a lot of options. Most of them are being proffered by people who aren’t sure what will be useful but are trying to be helpful. And my limited currency forces me to choose. I feel like I’m making these decisions in the dark, and I’d rather make informed decisions since many people (including medical professionals) will be demanding explanations for the decisions I make. I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and seek out as many resources as I can. But sometimes it’s helpful to have practitioners talk to each other about what’s really going on. Because they’re trained in the vocabulary and think of things that I don’t even know about. It’s been tricky though having to convince people that I’m trusting and relying on their expertise, not questioning it.

All in a day’s work,
Abigail