Look Beyond the Medication.

The other day I couldn’t help but see a negative comment from a struggling person that is dealing with PH in their life, or someone else’s. It read along the lines of, “PH already has you, and it will kill you” and yada yada yada. Does anyone think that this person kinda sounds like Peter Van Houten from Fault? Yea…

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Besides just being caught up in our bodies that fail us, we are caught up in medicine. A medical way of thinking, being by the book, and paying attention to statistics. We get sooo caught up in our outward images, and what we are being told all the time that we never strengthen ourselves inside out. We’re so used to adopting this “weak” lifestyle and image. People ask me why I’m at peace, or why I have a good attitude about seventy-five percent of the time, and it’s because I preach preach preach on mind over matter, and on spirituality. I’m not perfect, and there are definitely sucky days. Overall the spirit will always dominate the body. Our body will sometimes get its way, but that doesn’t mean we have to be miserable.

The more I immerse myself in my native studies, the more I discover exactly how amazing it is. Native American culture is good about stepping back, and appreciating things a lot of people dont…like the earth for example. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously, it’s awesome. When digging the other day I happened across this man comparing Western medicine with Native Spirituality in which he said The idea of wholeness is paramount in understanding Native-American perception of disability. Unlike many cultures that shun people with disabilities, Native Americans honor and respect them. They believe that a person weak in body is often blessed by the Creator as being especially strong in mind and spirit. By reducing our emphasis on the physical, which promotes our view of separation from our fellow man and all that is, a greater sense of connection with the whole is created, the ultimate source of strength.” -Laurance Johnston

Honor Song good sir!!!! Yes yes yes. The differences in how people view themselves, and other people greatly affects their life. How people choose to live, how to seek and find their true selves, their gifts, and cleansing their spirit greatly will affect their life. Another great example of how we are taught to think versus what we should be doing is proven by Kenneth Bear Hawk Cohen; Western Medicine – “How can I destroy my disease?” Native American Medicine – “What can the disease teach the patient? Is there a message or story in the disease?”

jingleFun Fact: The Jingle Dress (as pictured above) is a healing dress. It originates from the Ojibwe nation in which a girl was sick. Her father prayed to the Creator, offering tobacco, and seeking a vision. That night he dreamed of a dress with rolled up tobacco snuff lids, and a certain dance. He constructed the dress for his daughter, made her dance, and she recovered. To this day the Jingle is a competitive dance in Pow-Wows, and a lot of women will dance for those who need to be healed who still follow their traditions associated with the dress. Love love love it, as it is a powerful dance.

I’m not saying you need to start wearing feathers, and attending Pow-Wows (actually you should) but maybe this will give you a different perception, and outlook on your health. Summing someone up into a disease that we define as “it has you, and will kill you” is such an insult to our Creator. He made such beautiful things, including you; like you. Not just your body, but you.

-haley.

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Got Oxygen?

From day one, I was the patient that pretty much did everything they were told not to do. I gave my doctors almost more anxiety than I have, because I was so rebellious. However, I love my primary doctors, they are always very truthful with me, and I know when to be serious and actually listen. A good doctor is very hard to find. The doctor that finally listened, did my first heart cath, and diagnosed me was not a good doctor. I will always be grateful, he is great in the operating room, but he will not listen to you. He will tell you the worst, and hand you a plastic bubble to live in, which is what most have done. “You have maybe two years to live” are some of the first things he had said to me. From there on out it was “you have to be on this medication” “No you cannot do that” “You probably have a blood clot” yada yada yada. After comparing with two other doctors, I got pretty good at being a BS sorter, and fired him. He wanted me to not live a life, but just live under my diagnosis, and in his office with his rules.ย  While it’s important to listen to your doctors who know your situation, you have to be really good at not putting yourself inside of a medical prison.

I was very unhappy in my hometown; like addicted to Xanax and didn’t want to live anymore unhappy. I knew where I wanted to be, and I already could hear everyone’s opinions. “You won’t be able to breathe!” “You won’t be able to even live!” “The altitude is too high!”ย  Even then, this is the place that called to me. When I broke the news to my primary PH doctor who I love, I built up my defensive side ready to beg him to see the good side to where I was wanting to move. He said, “When you vacation up there, do you have trouble breathing? Will you have an O2 sat reader with you at all times? How far away are you from a hospital?” After answering all his questions, he said, “If that’s what you want.”ย  My mouth dropped. My doctor grasps the concept of my mental happiness.

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Yes, I live in 10, 350 feet elevation. No, I am not “barely living”, and yes I do get short of breath here and there. I get altitude headaches, and some days, walking around the town is just enough. But I am absolutely loving it! No, I’m not saying you should go live on the top of a mountain to love your life. What I am saying is that you should be doing what you love, despite what your crappy lungs think. Hazel Grace still flew to Amsterdam with Augustus despite her doctors yelling about it. Do not let your crappy lungs be an anchor within your body.

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Moving here was no more rebellious than what I was doing everyday in my hometown. Five years ago they said I wouldn’t live another two…so I guess I’m just not quite inside the lines of what a PH patient should be in their eyes. I’m very grateful for my doctors, and their support in my new life! Sooo, my loves, if you follow me on Instagram you saw that I am giving away a water bottle (pictured above) from my store! I think it’s perfect for PH patients with the little phrase “Got Oxygen?” on it. Whoever wins this bottle, I don’t want you to think about the risky altitude, but the mountains in your life, the challenges, the new risks to overcome, and of course maybe starting a new life. Plus, it’s really freaking cute. If you want a chance to win this super cute bottle then follow the directions below:

Follow me on Instagram @haleyann92

Follow my store! ๐Ÿ™‚ @mainstreetmercantileredriver

Then shoot me a DM on Instagram (or email haley.ann.92@gmail.com) saying you followed both, so I know to look for you!!

I will pick from who follows both, and the winner will be announced Monday July 27!! Have fun lovelies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Song of the week is Colour My World by Chicago.

-haley.

Medicated Lungs and a Healing Heart.

There are two versions of Haley Ann; Calm, forgiving and accepting Haley, or as I like to call the other side of myself, Hurricane Haley. When my insurance company notified me that my copay for the medication that lets me keep breathing is two thousand and three hundred dollars for a ninety day supply, I really thought we were going to have to rebuild the house; Hurricane Haley was an understatement. At this point, I really shouldn’t be shocked. Healthcare is an over rated, over priced and screwed system that is basically unrealistic, but they know they can nail us anyways because healthcare is necessary. If you have insurance, don’t have insurance, Medicaid, whatever…we’re fucked. Lets just admit it.

Asking a twenty-two year old to pay two grand for a medication makes me laugh. Seriously, lets just start designing my headstone now because I refuse to pay that much. Yea, these companies are brilliant for saving my life, they deserve their part, but I also intend to live my life. Not just to devote my life to my medication that also gives me red patches, swelling, and migraines. I have dreams, like living in New Mexico, buying a new car, moving out, and maybe just maybe attaining a college education. But nah, I’ll just devote my life to my medication…no. Yea, I’m mad that the medication I actually have to have is that expensive, and most people were surprised to find out that if I didn’t find some way to pay for it then I didn’t care. “But Haley, this will heal you!” Yea…it makes my lungs feel better; but Adcirca will never heal me, or make me happy.

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As I have sported on my shirt many many many times before, and repeated myself, it’s an act of Mind Over Matter. Despite how many times you want to deny that, its true. Your medication can only go so far, because scientifically it’s programmed to do such. It doesn’t care about your mood that day, your goals, your loves, or dreams. Its pumped into your body, and does its job until another dosage is necessary. My medication improved my life, and yea kinda saved my life, but I had to save my own life with a different kind of healing. My medication was doing the best job it possibly could, and I still wanted to die for a long time, so I refused to take it. See? Your mind is in control. Patients; it really is all in your head. You are not crazy, your disease is not some “illusion” but if you cannot keep yourself emotionally and mentally happy, and at peace your body will not follow. It has to work together.

I got mad about my two thousand dollar copay, and for a moment actually worried. But I know that I heal myself in a completely different way. I know that dancing for my creator, thanking him for the food he provided, the new life, the four winds (ridiculous Texas winds) that he gave us to maintain all four seasons, and the beautiful animals and nature is healing to me. I know he listens to not only the drumming, and the rattling on the dance floor, but my prayers as well thanking him for allowing me to physically do these dances with people I love despite the aching in my body I feel towards the end. Yes, my body hurts, my heart works harder than it should, and my lungs want to cave in; but I am thrilled. I know you all have different ways of feeling spiritually satisfied, and alive; well then act on it, and actually live within it. I am healed spiritually, and will depend on my medication to do its part; but my soul will lead the way.

-haley.

@haleyann92

Song of the Week is Thirteen by Big Star. My heart just needs to process it. Check it out under the tab!

Exit Here.

I’ve had some people contacting me over a subject that seems to scare them in this scary time of year; I am no longer PH centered. I know, its shocking to you, but it’s not to me. I think no longer just focusing on PH has given me a breath of fresh air into other subjects that have consumed my heart.

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You see, I’ve been passionately writing since I was in the fourth grade. I remember the exact day that the lesson “clicked” and this writing thing became easy. I was scoring Fours (four being the highest in Texas) while everyone was struggling to make it halfway down their little notebook pages. My thoughts have flowed onto a paper naturally, and I’ve enjoyed it. I stopped writing around sixteen. I have no idea why, but really I had nothing interesting in my life, in fact I was sleeping most of the day. After I was diagnosed, Pulmonary Hypertension gave me an angry and emotional trigger, and just like a bullet, I fired. All of my thoughts from years of silence flowed out onto this blog. I can’t believe I gained an audience, and I am forever grateful for my PH family, the conference, the wonderful thank you letters, and my award sitting at the front of my room.

My PH writing itch has mostly been scratched. There will always be more to cover as new challenges approach, but I have other things on my mind. I am an activist at heart. I don’t want to be the ugly, screaming activist, but I do believe in justice and broadcasting the truth that people mostly miss. That simple statement has a lot of you upset. Some have contacted me asking why I’m not writing, some of y’all refuse to support and voice your opinions on such, and while I respect that I can’t understand that. I cannot live and breathe PH daily because PH is a disease that does not believe in giving “breaths.” I have nothing against my disease, or my PH lovelies, I just don’t feel a desire anymore. I am currently at peace with my disease, but not other subjects that come to mind. I want this page to be something you can come to reflect on for new articles, or search old PH issues that I might have covered in the past. But lets just get one thing across about Haley Ann; I am not a people pleaser. People pleasing is one of the weakest things others can succumb themselves to. You simply cannot please everyone, so what is the point of trying? Please yourself, and do what is right.

So I hope that with all this being said, you can support the blog after the PH years that hopefully it supported you in. There are stages in a disease process, and all are different just like the patients themselves. I am merely exiting one phase, and transforming into another. Thank you (hopefully) for your understanding.

-haley.

Song of the week is “You Sent me Flying/Cherry” by the lovely Amy Winehouse.

Human Hurricanes.

My life is so full of physical limitations, but I still become that person where if you tell me I cant do it, I will. But sometimes when I find myself breathing harder, or losing consciousness (oops), I realize that maybe working my physical body is not my calling. While looking at someone who is physically appealing (those fabulous abs, and arms) it shows this discipline and strength that radiates off of them. But what about when you choose to constantly work on or workout your soul, and heart? Yea…what? A renovation, or working on your soul is probably one of the hardest things a person can do. To change themselves internally, to change everything they think they’ve ever known, or to work on something that is not tangible. It sounds insane, and most of the time you feel insane when you realize that maybe something things in this area will be, um, hard to reconsider. Understatement.

You see, for a long time I really didn’t care about people. I floated through high school on a very unhappy cloud (I have no regrets) and didn’t give two damns. I’ve always cared to an extent, but not once did I exercise a bit of patience with anyone or myself. Working with young children was a turning point in my life. I was working with tiny, and happy souls, some more than others, and they felt everything so deeply. They were brand new, empty of judgement, and they hadn’t reached this adult stage yet; they were not broken. I saw the humanity in their eyes as I felt their tiny arms wrap around my knees. Everyone was here at one point. We are still human, and despite how much we choose to cover it, we are so worth loving. Extending past my Pre-K and first grade experiences, and onto fifth grade, these tiny humans were hormonal devils. They were going to show you how insane, mouthy, experimental and defiant they pretended to be before they were ever funny, or told you how much they cared about you. Despite the fact they were leaving me for middle school, I still saw them as a version of my pre-k kiddo’s with a few bumps, and scrapes society left upon them. But the days they buried their faces into my shoulders crying, screamed my name down the hall because they were excited to see me, or felt the need to deliver me Valentine presents were worth the awful human hurricanes from time to time. But, I believe there is a hidden beauty in each person, and I so deeply want to find it, and teach them how to radiate it. Seriously though, it’s there in everyone.

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Overall, that job worked me internally. I might not have abs, but my heart has been strengthened more than I thought possible. I felt things beyond deeply, my stomach fell into itself sometimes, and you never knew when you had to step into an empty classroom to cry for a second after handling a situation that blindsided you. That job made me see the humanity in this society (sometimes the inhumanity as well) and showed me that every person is so worth loving. It taught me a lot about my disease, my life, and how much I choose to love others. People will often say, “I just don’t like that person” , “They are so difficult to deal with” and I find myself loving that person the most. Why? As I’ve heard many times “the people who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.” My response? Everyone is So Worth Loving.

Check out the beautiful company that I am beyond a fan of, So Worth Loving, and their blog post about my story. I hope they show you the worth that exists in you, and other people.

Dedicated to all my wonderful students. Even though I was the teacher, believe it or not, you taught me too.

-haley.

Instagram @haleyann92

Internal Explosives.

Life is full of so many demons. Some we encounter, and others live inside of us which sounds like an episode of American Horror Story. Its been really hard to stay focused lately, to slow down, or to do anything productive other than my full time job. Why? Because I am the literal demon in this situation.

Anxiety was never a thing I took seriously, in fact, I didn’t even know it was a diagnosis. But as I sat across from a Doctor, and described my daily routine and thoughts attached, he diagnosed me with severe long-term anxiety. What? But as a flip back through family memories and pictures, certain moments come to mind. The thought of even rain sent me into a crying fit, throwing up before performances, feeling sick whenever I had to leave my dad, and having to have someone at the house with me all the time. As we get older, its not just storms but people, certain songs, walking around the house a certain amount of times before I know I can leave it, and all of this just adds up to be little emotional triggers; triggers that launch a explosive anxiety bomb in my brain.

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Whats it like to have anxiety? Its like seeing something that bothers you, and replaying that situation over and over again in your mind, thinking about all the horrible outcomes and what could happen, and either acting on that stress and venting to someone only to annoy them, or choosing to live with that sickening feeling. Its like laying in bed awake at night because you know the rare disease you have causes blood clots, and your worst fear is to die in your sleep, and you just know that even right now one could pass through your heart or brain and kill you instantly. So, you decide to stay awake. Its like worrying about your family’s safety because they didn’t answer the phone, you think you left the coffee pot on, and you cant focus at work because you just know you will come home to a house that was burnt to the ground. Anxiety takes away my peace of mind, my will to do things, it wants to me stay at home where I’m comfortable and not have to deal with anything that could trigger anything else. Yes, thats how bad its escalated. Dealing with people that have anxiety, I could only imagine is not fun. But your actions unfortuntely play into theirs. We need you as support, and a calming ressurance, not someone who makes us feel crazy. You doing that could actually make us crazy. What exactly do we need from you?

Understanding. You may not get how our brain works, but its locked up in our body. We don’t appreciate how it works, and you definitely don’t, but we need you to be that relaxed force for just that moment.

Genuine Concern. When you tell me to calm down, you’ve just evoked the powers of an anxiety hurricane. You made me feel stupid, out of control, over-exaggerated, and you’ve just triggered every other emotion along with that too. I know you do want us to calm down, and we do too. Think that all you want, but talk to us. Why are you feeling this way? What can I do to help? Lets take a couple breaths, and talk about this. Now that makes all the difference.

Don’t make fun of it. Its a serious problem, and I wish my brain didn’t function this way, but it does. It has since day one, and making me feel stupid and crazy doesn’t help. In fact, it makes me distance myself from you, and it makes me hate me. I’d rather overdose on anxiety pills than deal with this feeling. You merely get to hear about how my brain works, you don’t actually feel the internal thoughts. Its exhausting.

So this loves, has been a huge hindering factor on my life right now. One that I’m trying to control, but as stated before, its exhausting. Its no surprise that anyone who might’ve been diagnosed with something would have anxiety. If you feel like you do, then please talk to your primary, and a therapist. We already live with a chronic fatigue, so why add to that? Free yourself.

-haley.

Hollywood is Still Hollywood, and I Am Still Sick.

Being a sick young adult in this world is not straightforward path. It’s a winding road full of surgeries, painful treatment, people who might not believe you, and even companies demanding money for saving your life and threatening to not save it anymore. With that being said, anyone who isn’t sick will not understand the sick. How could they?

The first thing I say when someone is experiencing a situation that I have never personally dealt with is, “I really don’t understand what you are going through, but I am here.” Why? Because it’s the truth. I think it’s a high form of ignorance to try to relate understanding when we really do not understand. How can we be understanding when we’ve never stepped into that world, we’ve only had a slight view of it? It’s completely different to see something, then experience it. You can watch someone chug vodka yet remain sober, but its different when you are the one chugging it too.

Lately I’ve spent some time reading very well written articles about how this is the year that social media is portraying “sick kids” and how it’s in style. Often I catch myself thinking, “no this isn’t a movie prop” when I walk around in public with my cannula up my nose. I definitely feel the anger as movies like The Fault in Our Stars rise to fame, and people become obsessed yet fail to realize that these sick kids are real, not just lovely on-screen actors. I’ve felt that ridiculous anger, believe me. These articles go so far as to say, and quote:

“But teenagers with illnesses do exist. I am one of them, and it hurts to see movies and television glamorize our suffering.”ย  –Lillie Lainoff at Yale University

But amongst this rage, I had a lovely realization that is much easier to deal with than that annoying anger which I have every right to feel.

When I noticed the white and black clouds of a bright blue book at Hastings, it succeeded in triggering me to read the back. I didn’t have seventeen dollars at the time (I know, ridiculous) but I ran back into the store on payday, and immediately made it mine. The minute I read about Hazel’s cannula I laughed and screamed. I was hooked, which is an understatement, just like all of America. I wasn’t enthralled because Augustus is “so cute”, or Amsterdam is romantic, but I was enthralled to read that someone could describe my feelings on paper. It was refreshing to read of an illness which you think I would be sick of; pun intended.

I can’t say for other TV shows, or movies, but I’d like to think that The Fault in Our Stars was anything but glamorous. So many people, including myself, described it as emotional death. Yes, it needed a little glamor because it was in fact a movie, and it was nice to experience butterflies for just a bit before impending death. I think what I love about John Green is not only his intelligence, but how realistic he is. His writing is real, and TFiOS is raw. John Green was a chaplain in a children’s hospital which inspired TFiOS. As John Green has stated a long these lines in an interview, “What struck me about these kids was the fact that they weren’t always smiling, they had no amazing wisdom just because they have cancer like everyone thinks, but they were just kids who happened to be sick.” Exactly. As I saw Augustus’s missing leg, Hazel’s hospital visit, her rapid breathing, a shitty author with a twisted view of sick children, and the raw yet horrifying scene of Augustus throwing up and screaming that he “hates himself” days before his untimely death was not glamorous. A lot of people actually hate TFiOS because it wasn’t perfect. But those scenes, as many tears as they provoked, and as much my heart hurt, I smiled. Those feelings were so real; those scenes were amazing. I hate myself when I have to sit down because my body is failing me, and everyone else gets to do what they want yet I am once again reminded of my own fault.

The fault in people saying “Hollywood has it wrong, and is glamorizing my illness” is that they are looking to people for understanding where understanding is not due. Stop getting mad because you are searching for understanding which is beyond unrealistic, just like this show titled, “Red Band Society.” That show may be unrealistic, which from my research it does in fact sound like a shitty portray of disease, but I think its lovely John Green wrote this real book, inspired by real kids, and it ended very real. Dont attack TFiOS. He wasn’t looking for people to understand, or glamor, he just created a lovely work of art. I personally experienced a version of that story, but I know that a lot of people who saw that did not, and they probably never will. They wanted Augustus to live, and hated Hazel’s walls that she built around herself, but I have a version of those walls, and I accepted Augustus’s death. It still sucked though.

So yes, I am aware of the anger of feeling like my oxygen is a movie prop, and the possessive thoughts of feeling like TFiOS is “all mine” and that these teen girls are clueless. But I catch myself in remembrance that I am expecting understanding where it is not due. Those kids will not understand my story, they weren’t meant to, and they can’t help it. They can only see my story, and respect it. So appreciate this art, The Fault in Our Stars, rather than bashing it. Because when they buried Augustus Waters, and Isaac couldn’t even see that because he just had his one eye he had left removed, I felt anything but glamorous. I smiled though, because I knew that I was a rare person who has cried those tears, and had those exact thoughts. I understood, I felt it was meant for me, and it was beautiful.

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-haley.

Instagram @haleyann92

Two Years!

Happy Monday my loves!

I am trying to get inspired, but right now I’m enjoying some quiet time with Rocco Ricardo to reflect on art, read, and edit my book. Whenever I feel the need to write, I will definitely make a post, and try to this week. In the meantime, thank you to all of you who have made this blog possible. Without your support, curiosity, love, and eyeballs to read this text it would be pointless. So thank you again. Song of the Week will be I only Have Eyes for You by the Flamingo’s. Its very much the ending of summer, and all I can think about is that American Graffiti feeling. What a fantastic song to close with. In the meantime…

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-haley.

 

Too Much Pressure.

Hello August! I feel like I’ve made it over a crazy couple months of non-stop on-the-go Haley, and now things are slowing down. More writing, more calm, and more happiness. ๐Ÿ™‚

I finally had a two month PH checkup, in which everything is ok except for a high heart rate out of no where, and I’m being referred to a new specialist that is closer rather than going to Houston. Also, I met a new primary doctor to handle all other issues who blew me away with not only his looks (hehe), but him thanking me for choosing him, and taking almost an hour examining me from head to toe to establish me as a new patient. He was very precise, and already knew Pulmonary Hypertension inside-out, and was quite interested that I had it. A PH patient’s whole world is full of pressure. The word hypertension literally means high pressure, high pressure in the lungs, high pressure in the heart, and I also found out that the pressure in my eyes is even high. When my new primary said, “I think we need to check your kidney’s for high pressure” I through my hands in the air with the response, “if there is anything that could ever have a pressure in my body it is high.” He laughed, but I was not as amused.

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You see, with all this “pressure” existing within my body, it makes it extremely hard to deal with outside pressure from other unnecessary things and people. Someone said to me to other day, or more yelled, “I know you’re done” and that struck an angry chord. I walk around everyday breathing twice as much as you, with twice the pain, and other everyday issues (like almost passing out from just bending over) and I’m just tired. Why? Because I have a disease that just so happens to have a side effect of chronic fatigue. When everything in my body is built up to functioning on a high level with outside demands, my body sure does reflect “done.” Emotionally, and really, I’m trying not to be done, but my lungs really want to fold themselves in half. Sometimes people really do not comprehend the realities of this disease…but your lungs and heart are a big part of why you are able to read this. When they don’t work right, despite how fine you may look, you really aren’t. People think I’m lazy, people think I exaggerate, but one of my PH friends who is my age (and shares my name) just received a double lung and heart transplant. While being prepped in the hospital she looked damn fine, because it’s an invisible disease. Appearances are deceiving.

Overall, you as a patient, or even just a caregiver, or person will have a lot of pressure throughout life. When its unnecessary, get rid of it, and embrace what truly matters. I’d rather my heart be overjoyed than overworked.

Song of this week! Houdini by Foster the People. Its fun, and perfect right now. Enjoy this week which is the start of a new month!

-haley.

Four Years.

I was only fifteen years old while watching my freshman English teacher scribble inside of a John Lennon book that she decided to give to me while repeating, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” She said this often, and as fascinated as I was with the quote, I had no grasp of the concept. I mean, doesn’t every fifteen year old know exactly what they are doing with their life? I did. Mrs. Hepler had spent that year critiquing short stories I wrote in private, and we continually bonded over the Beatles, writing, and feminism. She saw something I guess, and felt the need to repeatedly say that quote to me. Its been seven years since I put that book on my shelf, and since I’ve sat in a desk in Mrs. Hepler’s class.

seventeen2Two weeks pre-diagnosis.

You see, my life was all planned out at one point. I was graduated, eighteen, had a fabulous relationship, and even though I was walking into a hospital at five in the morning well aware of what was about to happen…I still thought I was in full control. I remember the nurse having me sign “death papers” in case anything happened. That sting of reality hit hard because I had been eighteen maybe two weeks. I mean, werent my parents supposed to be signing these? I recall the same nurse taking literally eight tries to start my IV, and feeling the frustration of my family standing around telling me their goodbyes before I was wheeled off. But I had to remind myself that this was surgery, I would be asleep soon, and it was all no big deal. The masked female telling me that I had to be awake took another hack into my control theory, and soon I watched it crumble when they injected me, and slowed my breathing. I felt a giant tube squeeze its way through my throat, and watched a cord weave its way into my beating heart on a glowing screen. Doctors chatted around me in professional gibberish that I was too tired to comprehend, and soon I was being yelled at because I was losing consciousness, and bleeding out. Then with blinding lights flipped on, and nothing but silence filling this tiled blue room, I heard my doctor say, “Its your lungs.” My control was shattered.

At first I was told I was physically dying, and then I was just mad. Later, I felt like mentally I was dying, and wanted to actually physically die along with my broken heart, and my life was a collage of unidentifiable direction, misleading information, and trying to fight for control. I’ve been PHighting for a long time. I’ve taken pills, had more tubes shoved into arteries, scans of my organs, and oxygen crammed up my nose. Four years has gone by quick especially when you are told you only have two years left to live. At times I really thought I would rather take my own life, than to continue to fight this tiring disease.

The blue prints in which I thought I had planned my life out perfectly went through the shredder a long time ago. At one point, you just have to sit back and think, “what the hell happened?” But this weird, and unpredictable road has been painful, but as I’ve said before, there is an odd beauty in pain. I saw this John Lennon book collecting dust on my shelf the other day, opened it and read a little message from Mrs. Hepler. I smiled, and soon everything fell exactly into place. I’m still me…but my life really did happen despite my other plans.

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Four years strong.

This is dedicated to Tricia Hepler, who without, I probably would have a ridiculous amount of comma’s on this page. In fact, I bet I still do. What a fantastic person, writer, and general artist you are. Thank you.

-haley.