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Thursday, August 17, 2017

She's Back!

I realize it has been a long time since most of you heard from me. Too long. For many years I enjoyed being honest and transparent with my readers as I gave you a glimpse into my ridiculous world. However, I don’t just consider you my readers. You’re more than that and you deserve more than that. I want to apologize for having kept you in the dark regarding my health journey over these past months. You are my supporters, my kindred spirits, and my back up when I’m in a jam. Your loyalty means the world to me.

So here goes.

I woke up one Saturday morning in September 2015 feeling very strange. I had a fever, swollen joints, and severe fatigue. This day was very different from the get-go and would turn out to be the first Saturday in a long time that I didn’t begin with a seven-mile run.

When my symptoms didn’t go away I was referred to a specialist and diagnosed as having an autoimmune disease. I started treatment right away despite the fact that my doctors were going back and forth trying to determine what specific autoimmune disease I had. Treatment was rough. Without going into too many specifics, I was placed on several medications to suppress my immune system.

Immunosuppression, while necessary to treat my disease, put me in a position where I had to avoid crowds and people with known illnesses. The reason for this was simple. I didn’t (and still don’t) have the ability to fight off the simplest of infections. When Lucas got a cold I caught it, as well. A few days later when he was better my condition had progressed to pneumonia. You get the gist of it. Immunosuppression causes little illnesses to become bigger and more difficult to treat illnesses.

This forced me to lead a somewhat solitary life for my own well-being. For a social person like myself it wasn’t easy. Not only was I dealing with how rotten I felt from the disease and the treatment, but I was also lonely from the isolation it involved.

There were lots of times when I wanted to blog. I really missed the interaction with my readers. However, I felt I couldn’t write anything without addressing what I was going through and I was NOT ready to talk about it. I’m actually still not sure I’ll even have the balls to publish this. There are two things I cannot stand- vulnerability and whining. My desire to avoid both of those things played a major role in my continued absence. However, to be honest I didn’t need much more motivation to continue the radio silence that had become Loripalooza. It’s hard to write humor when the last thing you feel like doing is laughing.

I still find myself getting angry with God, or the world from time to time. I miss a lot of things I can no longer do, or attend. I miss work. I miss running. I miss how good I used to feel before I got sick. I miss the body I used to have before treatment wreaked havoc on me. Mostly I miss the kind of fun I used to have.

I’m learning to adjust to a new normal. I’m not one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason. I think that sometimes in life shitty things just happen and we have to learn to deal with them. I’m lucky to have a strong support system. Family and loyal friendships mean everything to me. I enjoyed several weeks of remission in spring/early summer and had some amazing, quality family time.

If you hang around me for very long you’ll hear me tell you, “I’m not a great person, but I am a great friend.” It’s true. In the past when I’ve had friends in crisis I’ve dropped everything, driven for hours, crossed state lines, and even hopped on a last minute flight so I could be present during whatever they were going through.

I bring this up because there’s nothing like a chronic illness to help shine a light on the people you surround yourself with. That light will either make them scatter like roaches, or it will illuminate their love for you. It wasn’t a fun lesson to learn, but I’m a lot better off knowing whom I can and cannot trust. My illness has definitely taught me to make better choices regarding the company I keep. I’m thankful for that and the realization that I deserve friends like me.  

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of where I’ve been (hospitals & doctor’s offices), what I’ve been up to (no good), and you have a glimpse of what I deal with day to day. I’m not dying by any means (but I’m not afraid of dying either and when I do my tombstone will read ‘Great friend. Nice rack.’).

We’re the same normal family we’ve always been. Lucas is still passionate about freestyle rapping and spends most nights sleeping in a cardboard box in his bedroom. Brantley still doesn’t know how to relax. If he isn’t at the office, then he’s under the house fixing something he just broke (probably on purpose). He’s still my moral compass and the only reason I’ve never been to jail. Knock on wood. When I’m not contracting Giardia from our dog I’m jumping (figuratively) from one little project to the next. In fact, I’m currently working on a project that involves me water ballooning as many people as I can while they stand outside looking at the sun a few days from now. I didn’t create the easy targets, but if they’re there I’m definitely going to utilize them for my entertainment. (FYI: the moral compass doesn’t know about that particular project because he can be a buzz kill if you let him.) And like a lot of you I still just have the one parenting goal. I don’t care what Lucas does as long as he doesn’t become a scream sneezer.

You know? Just regular ol’ family stuff.

Now that you’re up to speed on all things Wescott I’m going to try and go back to business as usual. That means being present for all of you and not leaving you hanging without something to laugh about. It’s good to be back. 

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