Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014: What a night.

For the first time since my childhood, I dressed up for Halloween. You can thank Holly for this. But seriously, I FELT PRETTY. I actually felt like I looked good. And for the first time in I don't even know how long, I actually got compliments from strangers (and guys! cute guys!) about how I looked. This one stunningly gorgeous girl even told me I looked awesome, which was very flattering considering how she looked. That was a lovely change and, weirdly, helped me feel comfortable in a Halloween costume. Ha! You can't really see it, because of the lighting Holly insisted upon, but the hemline of the skirt is asymmetrical and jagged, and I didn't realize until I put it on just how far the high side went. Oops! Luckily, you could only really tell when I was sitting down, and hey, in dark Halloween parties, no one's really going to tell.

We took this picture to send to Mom. I texted her a caption that said, "Sorry. No parrots." since she thought Holly should have been my parrot. But really, anyone who knows Holly knows this costume is, like, the most Holly thing ever.

We went to several different places all over Lower Manhattan. Too many to name (and frankly, I don't remember them all). It certainly was interesting to see all the people wandering around in bizarre and sometimes freaky looking costumes. I had several people ask to take a picture with me. It was hilarious and fun and I enjoyed every single person that came up to talk to me. I did lose that sword somewhere along the way, but oh well, it's just a plastic sword.

We ended up back in our neighborhood at this music hall called Rockwood a little after 1:00. There are two stages, but any other time we've gone by there, both have been packed to the door. Surprisingly, there was space in both. So we went in the first stage and watched this awesome band called Thompson & Boombox. We tried out the second stage for a bit, but they had too many flashing lights so I went back to Thompson & Boombox and ended up getting a waitress to put me a stool right by the drummer. And I proceeded to rock out with the best seat-dancing you will ever see ;) They finished their set around 2:15 and I went and introduced myself to all of them and told them that  they were phenomenal. Because seriously, they are. Brendan, the lead singer, has a stage persona that reminded both me and Holly of Freddie Mercury...and that is saying a LOT. And his harmonies with Jack, the keyboard player and other main vocalist were just insane. I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to see them again. Derek, the bassist, even gave me their card and told me to hit them up if I wanted to jam sometime. :) Can you even imagine?!

These sweet guys even let me take a picture with them. From left, Brendan, Jack, Mike, Derek, and Matt.

All in all, my goal when we left at about 6:45 was not to come home until I was absolutely exhausted. And considering, when I got home at about 3:00 I could barely stand up, I'd say that that was a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

How bout them apples?!

I don't remember exactly how, but apples have sort of become a running theme/joke in my Civil War class. I randomly asked my professor what her favorite kind of apple was a few weeks ago and made a note of it. This week, I showed up with a bag of 7 of her favorite apples, red delicious. Because there are 7 students in the class. She loved it. And I love giving gifts to people, especially cheap ones that make them that happy. And really, the timing worked out perfect because she said she hadn't been able to eat that day. I really like her and this class, so it was an easy way to say thank you.

Today's class was so much fun, too. We spent like 30 minutes debating Syria, ISIS, the US response to it all, how the UN plays into it, and the domestic response to international problems. It's so fun to be surrounded by people who are at least as smart as I am.

Tonight, I took it easy. It's been a long and busy week, and I've been way more in pain than usual.

And then, there was a major glitch with our TV/cable box that took 45 minutes to fix. And it ended up deleting some stuff off our DVR without being asked to. Technology is really not my friend this week.

But then, at the end of tonight, I got to spend two hours and fifteen minutes on FaceTime with Clayton (I know, such a shame we don't have anything to say to each other), and that canceled out all the negative and stressful stuff that has happened this week. He makes me feel sane when I feel crazy and gets me to stop beating myself up when I really need to give myself a break. We spent a good chunk of time reminiscing about Reformation and how the bonds of that whole class family really formed and they took me in. And I got to talking about how much they changed me by the way they loved me so well. And really, all of it just made me so thankful for the fact that God orchestrated our paths crossing, because Clayton in particular continues to change me every time we get to talk. Screw the distance.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Genius Bar. What an appropriate name.

So approximately two hours after I posted my blog last night, I was trying to get my music synced to my iPhone. I was at close to max storage on my iPhone so I had been trying to delete stuff to make space for my new Taylor Swift album (because let's face it, that is all I will be listening to for several days). I plugged my iPhone into the USB port on my Mac and BOOM! Total blackness. The computer completely shut off and would not turn back on. The power cord would not even light up.

Cue utter panic. It's silly, I know, but all I could think about was how I need this for school and that I had no money for repairs or replacement. And really, I've just been so at my max lately that it felt like one more thing going wrong was just more than I could deal with.

Of course all this happened after customer service hours closed, so there was literally nothing I could do until this morning. Luckily my roommate was here to tell me to basically CALM THE HECK DOWN and that it probably wasn't as bad as I thought. But I was freaked at the idea of having no money for computer repairs let alone a new computer, and since this is my first Mac and I bought it in a rush off the Apple website, I couldn't for the life of me remember how Apple warranties worked. All I knew is that I hadn't bought one.

I found the customer service number and their hours and found the nearest Apple store (because thankfully I live near an Apple store now) and texted a few friends to ask them to pray, too, and laid there just praying and waiting to fall asleep. That came around 1:30.

I got up and got ready at 7:00. Right on the dot at 8:00, I called customer service and that guy gave me some serious peace of mind because he told me that since I just got this in March, I was still under Apple's automatic one-year warranty that covers absolutely everything, so even if I needed a whole new computer, it wouldn't cost me a dime. HUGE sigh of relief. He also told me that people generally make appointments at Apple stores, but if I walk in first thing the wait probably wouldn't be too bad.

I got to the Apple store just before the doors opened at 9:00, and by the size of the crowd that was outside the doors waiting for the opening, you'd think it was Black Friday or something. Geez. Well, I got to the Genius Bar (appropriate name) upstairs and a guy checked me in and said the first appointment they had open was 9:45. Sure, I was willing to be late to class to get this figured out. And 45 minutes in a store that packed seemed like a good deal to me. So I sat down in front of the Genius Bar and waited.

At about 9:40, a guy was helping a lady next to me, but started talking to me and basically started helping us at the same time. She was working on something and so he asked me, "So your computer won't turn on at all? And the power cord won't light up?" I said that's correct, and he pressed a few buttons and then said, "I just need to do a SMC reset, which is a system reset." He took my computer off to a back room, and brought it back like five minutes later (if that) and voila! It was back up and running! He explained that there was a small power surge in my USB port when I plugged my phone in and so it shut the whole thing down. Go figure.

Frankly, I didn't care a bit about the explanation because I was just so freaking happy my computer was back to normal. I felt pretty darn giddy. Like, I was so happy I kind of wanted to reach across the Genius Bar and plant a kiss on Sean's scruffy cheek.

I didn't, I do have some standards. ;)

But I wanted to.

Instead, I settled for telling every Apple store employee I saw that they just made my entire day. That seemed like a way less creepy option.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

All I know is that you drove us off the road.

Taylor Swift's new album arrived in my mailbox today. I've been anxiously awaiting it since the day I pre-ordered it. Judge if you must, but I love Taylor Swift and I am not ashamed.

I put it in as soon as I got up to my room and immediately started jamming out like you do to T-Swift when she's gone full-blown pop star.

Now, I've got to give Ms. Swift credit. There's not a single song on 1989 that I don't really, really like. The number of albums about which I can say that is quite small.

But seriously, darn her for pulling back every feeling of my recent heartbreak and putting it to a tune I can't help but want to listen to over and over again, thus turning me into a teary masochist.

Of course, this whole situation is absolutely not helped by the fact that he texted me yet again today, this time telling me how much he misses me. I wanted to tell him exactly why I can't talk to him anymore, but I know that that would just suck me right back in like it always does. So I didn't. It took every ounce of self-control I have in me, but I didn't. So there's progress.

Will I ever be able to think of him and not ache to the very center of my being? Will I ever be able to see his phone number pop up on my screen and not have my heart feel like it plummets to my stomach? Will I ever not want to go back to the time when I believed he was good and I was right for loving him? I don't know. I hope so.

What I do know is that he broke us, he broke this, and I can't fool myself into continuing to pretend he is the person I thought he was. And this time, I'm not going to be crawling back to him begging for us to go back to the toxic cycle we spent years in. I have to deal with this pain in the hopes that it will one day ease, and thank God for the fact that I have people in my life who love me just as I am and want the best for me.

Taylor Swift "All You Had to Do was Stay"

People like you always want back
the love they gave away.
People like me want to believe you
when you say you've changed.
The more I think about it now,
the less I know.
All I know is that you drove us off the road.

Hey, all you had to do was stay.
Had me in the palm of your hand.
Then why'd you have to go and lock me out
when I let you in?
Hey, now you say you want it back
now that it's just too late.
Well, it could've been easy.
All you had to do was stay.

Here you are now, 
calling me up,
but I don't know what to say.
I've been picking up the pieces
of the mess you made.
People like you always want back 
the love they pushed aside,
but people like me are gone forever
when you say goodbye.

Hey, all you had to do was stay.
Had me in the palm of your hand.
Then why'd you have to go and lock me out
when I let you in?
Hey, now you say you want it back
now that it's just too late.
Well, it could've been easy.
All you had to do was stay.

Let me remind you...
This was what you wanted.
You ended it.
You were all I wanted,
but not like this...

Hey, all you had to do was stay.
Had me in the palm of your hand.
Then why'd you have to go and lock me out
when I let you in?
Hey, now you say you want it back
now that it's just too late.
Well, it could've been easy.
All you had to do was stay.

Seriously, I love Taylor Swift. 1989 is a great album, even if it does rip open some fresh scars.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

The low and high of Monday.

Low: Okay, remember that neurologist that postponed my surgery? Well, today, I opened up a $700 bill from him...Yeah, because nobody at any point bothered to tell me that he doesn't take my insurance. As if I ever would have taken the appointment if I had known that! Especially because the surgeon's assistant called me as I was heading to that appointment with another doctor who was willing to do the clearance for me. And now my surgeon's assistant was all "Well I don't know if anyone else is going to be able to clear you now because he's the only one that has seen you at this point." Well, too freaking bad because I don't have $700 to pay this bill, let alone another $700 for a second appointment. At least this time we have two weeks to figure it out, instead of two days. I just have to have this neurology clearance before I have the full physical pre-surgery clearance on November 12.

High: But I have a good update in regard to my loan problem! I got an email from someone I had contacted for help, and she sent me a link for a page on the NYU website that has a whole list of private loan websites. So there are a lot of options still open for me and a whole lot of possibility! Seeing that made me feel a whole lot better.

The rest of the day? Meh. Same old. Class, food, reading, doctor appointment, trying to stay awake.

On to tomorrow.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ain't nobody got time for this.

I went to church.

Ate lunch.

Hung out with Dana and talked for almost two hours.

And then slept from 4:30 pm until 7:00 the next morning.

The only thing that I can think of is that this is a side effect from the neurologist upping my seizure meds, because upping my thyroid meds has never made me THIS tired before.

But maybe it'll balance out soon?

Because seriously, I'm a grad student. Ain't nobody got time for that.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Migraine day.

My plans for today got upended by the fact that I couldn't do anything but sleep.

Thanks, migraine.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Thank the Lord, I am here and now.

Today was a long afternoon and evening but it was such a good one.

First thing in the afternoon, I had my first physical therapy session. It was good, I guess, pretty much what you'd expect from physical therapy. I'm pretty much only doing this before surgery to appease the insurance company, but whatever.

The one cool/weird thing about it was that my therapist, Laura, had me end the session with the largest ice pack I've ever seen. This thing went from the top of my ribs all the way up over my shoulder to the back of my shoulder blade and then had a side piece that went down my arm all the way to my elbow.

It felt AWESOME. Too bad the numbness only lasted about 20 minutes. I'm gonna look and see how much one of these costs before my surgery.

In the evening, I got to make my first trip to Brooklyn. Pastor Ben and his wife Christy had some of the grad students over to their apartment for dinner and fellowship.

We had Chinese Hot Pot, which was...interesting.

Basically, it's this pot of broth, Ben's was divided into a super spicy side and a neutral side, and you toss a bunch of raw stuff into it like dumplings and meat and bok choy, and then as it cooks you fish out what you want and put it on some rice and then either dip in some dipping sauce which you can create your own mix of or pour the dipping sauce over it. It was really delicious. I wasn't brave enough to try the super spicy stuff. It was even making the couple whose families are from India sweat. :p I did learn that I don't like tofu. It tastes like sponges!

The conversation was the best part, though. There was some really funny, random stuff, like about candy from around the world, but then there was some really deep conversation about our fields and how we can God's grace in them and the people we work with and the jobs we want to do and how we as Christians can glorify God and show people Jesus in what we do. We also got into this really interesting discussion about Christians and politics (which may or may not have been partially my fault :p). I really appreciated it, not just because it was an interesting conversation, but also because it was really clear that I can speak my mind with them without fear of judgment. And it's such a cool thing to be able to learn from so many different cultures without even having to seek the experience out.

The night was when it got...interesting. Everyone left Ben and Christy's around 10:00, and Isis, Gui, and Leonidas (the 3 Brazilians to my left at the end of the group photo) were all heading to the same subway station as I was. I was taking a different route home than I had taken to get there, so they offered to make sure I didn't get lost in Brooklyn alone on a Friday night. We had to stop a few times on the way there because my legs had been hurting since my hour-long trek on the way to the dinner, but they were very kind and didn't mind at all stopping with me. Originally, they were going to be taking a different train, but at the last second, they decided to make sure I got home safe since it wasn't far from my apartment to where they needed to go. So sweet. Well my plan was originally to take a B train to Broadway Lafayette and then transfer to the F and go one stop to my apartment. Well, we waited for a B to come...and waited...and waited...and WAITED. For almost 45 minutes.

I felt so bad that they were stuck there with me, so I tried to figure out another way home. So we did, we got on another train and went one stop where we could transfer to the F (which we didn't know about at first, because the maps we had didn't say the lines offered at our station would even GO to the station one over that had F lines, but whatever). My legs were getting weaker by the minute, but we made it up to the F platform....and got stuck waiting. We had seen signs about detours over the weekend for the F line, so Leonidas and I were both a bit panicked about missing the last train, but we made it up there before the time the detours were supposed to start, and a guy explained to me that the detours wouldn't even affect us because of the stop we were going to. But still, an F train would not come. We were there for another 20 minutes or so before an F train showed up.

FINALLY, we managed to get to my station, but I could barely walk. Sweet Gui held my hand and helped me up the stairs one by one, down the block to my apartment, and then one by one up the stairs into my apartment. It took us almost two hours from the time we left Ben and Christy's to the time we got in my place. I felt SO bad because they could have been home a long time before that, but they could not have been nicer because, as Isis said, at least I didn't have to wait in those stations alone and they were there to help me walk home because the pain was really bad.

A lot of my walls got broken down by God tonight. I feel more like I can trust my church family with the hard, and sometimes embarrassing stuff now. And that's a really good feeling.

My church family, and the fact that I found them so quickly, that's just another reason why I really believe that God brought me to New York for a reason, and it's not just all going to be snatched away from me.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saved by the Bell

Or in this case, the alarm.

I was having nightmares all night that someone was trying to kill me, and like, I was just about to be caught by the killer when my alarm went off. Whew. It startled me and relieved me at the same time.

And so the rest of the day, I kept thinking about that. Not that I could remember details of the dream, but I could remember the feelings of fear. Isn't it crazy how bad feelings can haunt you, even if you don't remember the details about what made you feel that way?

I really like having only one class a day. It makes my days feel short. But man, these two hour classes feel so long. I remember when I thought the 80 minute classes at Campbell felt long. Now, those 50 minute classes would probably feel lightning fast.

There's a huge knot in the back of my right shoulder. Most of the day, I thought I was just tense from stress, but no, you can feel the whole muscle raised up it's so tight. Come on heating pad, work your magic. Also, my mom is an angel for giving me her good heating pad. I haven't been able to find one like it anywhere and it is so awesome. I hope she found one in NC.

I really miss my mom. And my brothers. I wish I didn't miss them so much. I know I've said that before, but yeah.

How to Get Away with Murder. Watch it.

I have 3 more episodes of Criminal Minds to get through. I'm going to be sad when they're over. This show is good. But at least new episodes are still airing, so I have that to look forward to.

It's 2 am and I'm beat. I shouldn't be, considering the sleep I got this evening while Holly was doing the laundry and going to the grocery store (she won't even let me strain myself to come help her, so sweet) and how much I slept last night, but I am. But I have to wait for Holly to come help me make my bed. So....I'll watch Criminal Minds. There's a shocker.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The curse of the broken umbrella.


No matter what umbrella I use, what brand it is, how much it cost, I can't use any umbrella more than two or three times without it breaking. Without fail. So I jokingly tell people I have a curse of broken umbrellas.

The umbrella I had today broke in the pouring rain on the first time I used it. And it was an umbrella Holly gave me because she had two and my last one broke the last rainstorm we had. So that was fun.

And it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow. I have things to do. Woo.

Today was a blah today.  My migraine was so bad that I started throwing up.

I did get to go on a sister date with Holly to this restaurant she found a Groupon for, so there was that highlight.

But seriously, it's been a long day, so I just want to go to bed.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

He's still God.

So, I slept. A lot. And it was awesome.

And then I woke up to an email stating that my big spring loan got denied for bad credit due to medical debt. I thought the credit check would be for the whole school year, but nope. Now there's almost $8000 keeping me from being able to easily pay for grad school. And now Uncle Ed is dead, so he can't help me.

So as you can imagine, I spent about two solid hours sobbing this afternoon. The only thing federal aid people could tell me was find an endorser or talk to my university. NYU financial aid doesn't help grad students. They told me to check with my department and see if they had any scholarships available. I sent my adviser/the director an email, but I can't foresee them being able to make up the $25,000 that this federal aid was for (assuming they would it down like they did this semester). I was already planning on getting a job at a Walgreens or Duane Reade after I got past this surgery, so even if they could help with the other $10,000 or so I would need for tuition, I could work for living expenses...One other option I have to look into is this America's Christian Credit Union that I found online that does loans for students and they have the same deferment thing that federal aid does so I wouldn't have to worry about it until after graduation, but I'm going to wait on that until after I hear back from my department, so I know exactly how much I need to look for.

I panicked. I called Pastor Ben and Dana and Betsy and got them praying, and called Mom as soon as I thought she'd be free from work. Betsy called me back while I was on the phone with Mom and sent me a very kind text when I didn't answer. Dana called me, too, while I was on the phone with Mom and so I called her back and she talked to me for about 20 minutes. She and Mom both helped me calm down, which is exactly what I needed because crying does nothing except make my headache worse.

I know in my heart this is where I'm supposed to be. And I believe that God wouldn't have worked out all the details this summer, between all the financial stuff and finding the apartment in two days and managing to afford to buy everything we needed and Mom's boyfriend's help and everything, if I wasn't supposed to get here in the first place. God is not a mean God; He wouldn't have made this dream of mine come true just to snatch it away from me over something like money. And like Mom said, there have been plenty of times in my life where we didn't know how we were going to make ends meet and come up with money that we needed, and it always showed up - even in mysterious checks we didn't know were supposed to be there eight months prior. It'll work out, it always does. I have to believe that. We have a couple of months to figure things out, which is more time than we had this summer, and I'm not out of options yet.

I said something to Dana on the phone tonight and it was really a spur of the moment kind of thing, but it's really stuck with me.

God can sometimes be a God of the last second, but that doesn't mean He's not still God. He stays the same. He is a provider. All will be well.

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Monday, October 20, 2014


That's text speak for "shaking my head."

So I'm getting more annoyed with the neurology people I'm now a patient of by the day.

Last week, in an attempt to appease me as I sobbed in pain, anger, and frustration, the doc and NP told me that they would set me up with a pain management doctor to help me survive the next four weeks until I'm allowed to have surgery. That was the one good thing they did or said that day. I was busy trying to stop crying listening to the NP sound totally condescending, so by the time I went to check out, the receptionist lady was already on the phone and asked me what time I wanted for the pain management appointment. She wrote down the address and time and I was on my way and didn't think anything more of it because I was just really happy to get away from them.

Fast forward to this afternoon for my appointment. The imbeciles did not send me to a pain management doctor. They sent me to a rehab doctor, a doctor whose job is a mix of diagnosing injuries or helping people get back full function post surgery. NEITHER OF WHICH I NEED RIGHT NOW. So I don't know if they lied to me or they're just stupid or what.

The silver lining of wasting an hour of my life waiting to see a doctor I shouldn't have been seeing anyway is that the woman felt so sorry for me for the bad directions and for the pain she said she clearly saw that I'm in that she wrote me a prescription for Vicodin that will last me at LEAST until I see my surgeon next Wednesday. She was very kind and didn't talk down to me or act like she knew more about me than I do or anything like that, which was a nice treat compared to the neurology people.

So maybe I'll sleep for more than four hours at a time tonight for the first time in weeks now that I finally have something to at least take the edge off the pain. Vicodin doesn't help much, but it's better than nothing.

I'm really, really glad I don't have anywhere to go tomorrow. Mostly because I have a whole lot of reading to do. Ha. Go figure. But for now, I sleep.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sometimes you just need to rock out in your pajamas.

I didn't sleep last that was fun.

I forced myself to go to church, anyway. Most people would probably be like "Ehh, I'm exhausted, I'll skip it this week." But I figured that I could either stay home and be exhausted and do nothing but think about how miserable I am, or go to church and be exhausted and be in a lovely worship service. Pretty easy choice when I put it like that.

I finally crashed around 1:30 this afternoon and slept for about four hours, which is about as long as I ever sleep anymore. Better than nothing.

The rest of the night, I've tried to focus on my work, but my head just wasn't in it. I mean, I got the reading I needed to get done done, but it took way longer than normal because I kept distracting myself.

So most of the night, I've been listening to music and dancing in my seat and rocking out as much as I can (ha!) and it's just the kind of evening I needed after last night. I'll let you in on a little secret...I found some songs from the High School Musical series buried in my iTunes, and they've mostly been my music of choice today. In fact, I've had one song in particular on repeat. A LOT. No shame. :p

Hey, sometimes we all need a little bit of Troy Bolton and the Wildcats to pump us up. You should try it.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ils me manquent. (I miss them.)

I had a dream last night that I was back with all of my soccer boys. Reafe, Ricky, Tunji, Bryce, Scooter, the two Matts, Jhuvy, Isaiah, Aleksi, and Chirag. It was a long dream. I remember in one part we were out in, like, an outdoor mall type place together, and I was coming out of some shop with Ricky and some strangers started harassing me, and immediately the rest of them jumped up and some of them whisked me away and the others stood there being the protective brothers I know them to be. And then, we were all having dinner together, laughing and joking and they kept saying things that just made me feel like the most important girl in the world. And we were all teasing each other like we did so often last year. I remember feeling like I couldn't be happier.

And then I woke up. And all day I've just had this feeling that I really want to get back to that. That feeling of belonging, of being with people who know me and have been with me through some hard stuff and stood by and loved me anyway. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm supposed to be where I am and I love NYC, but I often don't feel like I belong here. And while my church people have been amazing, I don't feel totally free and safe with them yet, I don't feel secure enough to turn to most of them yet.

I miss the hugs of my brothers, both from soccer and Reformation. I miss the safety I knew. I miss the way they made me feel like a queen, but still like I was such a major blessing to them. I miss the way I never had to wonder what they thought about me, or if they were telling me the truth. I miss the way they stood up for me without question or hesitation. I miss their laughter, and their uniquely weird personalities. I miss the light they brought to my life just by being there. I miss the way they trusted me and how I knew I could trust them with anything. But mostly, I just really miss their hugs.

There was a 50 minute break in me writing this post because as I was writing, I decided to text Clayton to see if he was up because talking to him always does me good. And he was. And we ended up FaceTiming for 48 minutes and it was exactly what I needed tonight. Because now I'm smiling and instead of just aching with loneliness, now I'm just so thankful that brothers like him are in my life at all.

For once, we didn't spend much time talking about deep stuff or digging into the Bible. Most of it was spent teasing each other, making weird faces at each other, and talking in strange voices. And that was exactly what the doctor ordered to get my mood up.  Ryann and I always talk about how we have a sister bond and friendship that surpass time and distance, and I'm realizing now that there are several of my friends that I can say I have that bond with. And that's reason enough to smile, even when I'm lonely.

We'll be reunited one day, sooner or later. After all, what is Christmas break for? ;)

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Oh happy day.

This is Emma. I finally got to hug her today. And that makes me a very, very happy Mal.

We met briefly a year ago when she was visiting Campbell and went to one of the guys' soccer games, but we only spoke for a minute, and I left not really knowing what to think of her or what she thought of me. It's always awkward when two people meet for the first time having heard about each other, ha!

But anyway, a few months after that, we connected on Facebook, and then we started texting, and once the texting started, we texted pretty much every day for months. We quickly bonded over some stuff we'd both experienced and were both facing some difficult times, so we were just there for each other, despite the fact that I was at Campbell and she was in DC.

Now, though? She is one of my most dear friends and I am thankful every day for the blessing she is in my life and the way we have been able to stand by each other.

Finally getting to see her and spend time with her was just the redemption I needed after a very rough and frustrating few weeks. My friends, no matter how far away they live, they keep me afloat many days, and I am just so blessed to have girls like Emma in my life.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

People can have good intentions and still be really annoying.

There's your lesson of the day, folks.

My surgery is postponed. For at least a month. Because of the stupid neurologist who refuses to clear me for surgery until I've been 5-6 weeks seizure-free.

That means, the next possible date I can have surgery is November 18. And that's IF I stay seizure free. But he upped my meds again and my thyroid med has been upped so I am praying that that's enough to make them stop.

I know they say it's "looking out for my best interest" and all that crap, and they probably are doing what they think is my best interest, but a month is a very long time in this much pain. Going through this much work for a shoulder scope is stupid.

So I've had a crap day.

Here's to hoping I get to see a friend that's coming to town tomorrow so that tomorrow will be a better day.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ah, look at all the pretty people!

I'm pretty sure that's not how "Eleanor Rigby" goes. Oh well.

So I've gotten back into Dancing with the Stars the past couple of seasons. I don't watch it live, but I watch the dances of the celebrities that I care about on Youtube and look at the scores and eliminations on Wikipedia. That way, I get all the relevant information and skip all the other stuff. But since I started watching in Season 4 and that was, and a half years ago, I've grown rather attached to some of the pros. Some haven't been there the whole time, but still. They're phenomenal dancers and even better looking, so what's not to like? ;)

Three of my favorite pros, Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani have several dance studios centered around NYC (Maks and Val grew up in Brooklyn and Tony lives in CT, so it's not surprising), and so one of my "NYC Bucket List" items was to find a way to meet Maks and Val. They're Mom's and my favorites. Well, last December they and some of their dance friends created this massive dance show called Sway that sold out several nights. Well, when I heard that they were creating Sway 2.0, my first thought was "This is my chance!"

And then my second thought was, "Crap, they probably use strobe lights."

So I emailed their dance studio company email set up for the show to ask. I got a response back via Twitter that, yes, there are strobe lights. Dang it. BUT I then got an email today saying that there were meet and greet tickets available that were just for the meet and greet, without paying for the show. SCORE.

If this blog abruptly stops after December 19, this is your warning now that it's because I died and went straight to heaven after getting to touch and talk to the Chmerkovskiy brothers.

I'm paying a ridiculous amount for this, and it involves taking two subways and a bus to somewhere in Long Island, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet these guys, and some other pros that I've grown to love.


Aren't they so pretty?

Across the top, that's Val, Maks, and Tony. The girls are Sharna and Peta, both DWTS pros, and Jenna, a DWTS dancer. The guys on the bottom are Artem, a new DWTS pro, Serge, a friend of the guys, and Henry, a DWTS dancer.

I called Mom and told her and she laughed hysterically and then said "Kiss Maks and tell him it's from your mother. Kiss him ON THE CHEEK." She told me it's ridiculous that I'm paying so much for a meet and greet, but she doesn't blame me one bit.

Shoot. When it comes to him, Val, and Artem, I'll be kissing them all for me.

I can't help it. They're just so pretty.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Things in my head tonight.

Doctors need to learn that I know my body better than they do. Do they really think I didn't manage to learn things with a medical history so extensive?

The stonewalling I'm getting for this simple surgery is absurd. I've never seen doctors so obsessive.

I really, really hope they find a neurologist to see me, and that that doc and the endocrinologist I see tomorrow will clear me. If I have to postpone until mid-November, which is when the next open surgery date is, I'm going to be SCREWED when it comes to trying to write my final papers. Plus that's another month without use of my one good arm.

In happier news, Emma is coming to town this weekend and I am absolutely STOKED.

I'm actually doing well at chipping away at my to-do list for the week. It feels good not to be in a panic. It also feels good to know exactly what I'm going to write about in the short paper I need to write for Civil War tomorrow.

Florida State isn't #1 in the polls anymore. That's insane, considering they haven't lost a game in almost two years.

Vaseline cocoa butter lotion? AMAZING. I normally hate using lotion, but I can't get enough of this stuff. Plus, who doesn't like to smell like chocolate?

It's true. Reading in bed really will put you to sleep.

I really need to stop biting my nails.

I keep having dreams about this one particular soccer boy. It's bizarre. I can't figure out what my subconscious is doing sometimes. I also have this recurring dream that I'm naked in public places, but that's for a different blog post...

I miss my mom.

I'm looking forward to the therapy appointment I have on Friday. And I'll be even more looking forward to it if these idiots end up canceling my surgery.

Because really, how can "my best interest" be keeping my one good arm in excruciating pain while I'm trying to be a grad student? I just don't get it.

I think I'll go to bed now. Laying down flat on my back seems to be the one thing that eases the throbbing in my shoulder.

Plus the morning will be here all too quickly.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Do I look like a lion to you?


Because the hoops I'm being expected to jump through to appease the stupid health center so they will clear me for a surgery that is supposed to happen in a week might make you think I'm taking part in one of those lion taming circus acts.

Despite the fact that I have had 22 surgeries, 21 with general anesthesia which they'll be using for my shoulder scope, and the only problem I have had during or after any of those 21 general anesthesia surgeries involved a brain bleed that no amount of clearance preparation could have prevented, I still have to be seen by a neurologist to make sure they don't think my seizures will be a problem...even though this person will never have seen me before and I've had TWENTY TWO SURGERIES without a seizure during or afterwards. And I also have to be seen by a freaking endocrinologist of all things because some thyroid hormone is off in my bloodwork. Because that has a whole hell of a lot to do with my shoulder. And there's a bunch of other stuff that was off in my bloodwork that nobody in the hospital bothered to tell me when I was there!

The miracle is that the head of health care at the student health center managed to get me squeezed in for a thyroid appointment on Wednesday, and she's trying to find me a neurologist to get clearance from them. Since the original guy I saw on the 1st told the hospital when I was admitted that I should be seen by someone else since he is not an epilepsy specialist, then the doctor the hospital referred me to doesn't take my insurance, and the doctor THEY sent me to has been on vacation for more than two weeks and the receptionist yelled at me and told me she had my number and would call me when they could make an appointment and not to call back. So basically I can't get cleared because doctors refuse to see me. Which is not my fault.

Because apparently me knowing my medical history by heart, and telling them I have never had an anesthesia problem, a seizure during or post surgery, and them redoing bloodwork isn't enough for them. This is absolutely ridiculous for a freaking shoulder scope. I MIGHT understand it if I were having brain surgery or something. And I wouldn't be so frustrated if it was just about redoing bloodwork because that will only take a couple days, and if that were it I could still get clearance in plenty of time before surgery, but no, I have to have stupid specialist appointments for a surgery that is almost identical to the surgeries I had on each of my knees in which I NEVER HAD A PROBLEM.

They told me to still go to my anesthesiologist appointment tomorrow, and I'm to call the head of health care while I'm there so she can talk to the anesthesiologist, so I seriously hope that I can get this person on my side, because if I have to deal with one more doctor acting like they know me better than I do and standing in the way of SUCH a simple surgery, I may end up doing a whole lot more than the sobbing I did today in the clinic.

I NEED to have this surgery done ASAP so I can have full use of my arm in time to get the 75 pages of writing I have due in the beginning of December. Plus, I simply can't go on in this much pain since the orthopedic guy I started out seeing thinks I'm a drug addict and refuses to give me more pain meds, and I also can't keep going on much longer without real use of the one good arm that I have.

I don't know if you can tell, but doctors aggravate the hell out of me.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Saving Grace

Today after the church service, I was talking to Betsy and Stephanie. Betsy is the same friend who came and visited me in the ER a couple weeks ago and Stephanie is this sort of grandmotherly type figure in the congregation. I had asked Betsy if I could talk to her, and I had been talking to Stephanie when she came back to find me.

I asked Betsy if she would pray for me just because of how I've been feeling and everything I've been dealing with. Stephanie decided to join her, and hey, I never say no to prayer.

But oh man. Usually I get this sense of peace when I get the chance to pray with people or they pray over me. Some people don't react very strongly to communal prayer, I know a few people for whom that is the case, but I definitely do. So like I said, I usually get a great sense of peace, calmness, and relaxation. Not today.

Today, Betsy had gotten maybe like three sentences into her prayer before tears started dripping down my cheeks. And I didn't try to stop them. I don't know what it is about what they said or what was different about this time, but it just broke me down. And you know what? It felt really good.

And then, I was talking to Dana afterwards, and she told me that she, Ben, and Betsy are planning to come be at the hospital and like take care of pretty much anything I need next week.

My City Grace dam, I tell you. I don't know how I'd have made it through the past couple months still standing if they weren't surrounding me holding me up.

They are such a sweet saving grace in my life. And I am thankful beyond words.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pretty much my life song for the past two months.

You're welcome.

I'm just gonna shake.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Hello, fall break.

The next four days will be busy with reading and essay writing and trying to get ahead before my surgery and two big pre-surgery doctor appointments.

Today, however, I focused on two things.

Sleep. Lots of sleep.

And Criminal Minds.

I call that a good day.

I needed it.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hello, irony, nice to see you again.

Okay, so I lived in North Carolina for 22 years, you know?

I grew up on the beach.

The beach has ridiculous humidity.

Mosquitoes love humidity.

So mosquitoes, they were a part of life. You didn't bother getting mad about them, you just coated yourself in bug spray and went on with your life.

And I didn't always use bug spray, so I got bit plenty. You get used to the itching. Especially because in the summer, growing up, I was too busy in the pool or the beach to notice too much.

But never like this.

I have at least 13 (that was my last count) bites on my left hand alone. THIRTEEN. I haven't counted the bites on the rest of my body, but I can tell you that there isn't even thirteen on the rest of my body put together. So how the heck did I get thirteen bites on one hand? Especially when I moved 600 miles north to a much less humid area?!

Needless to say, I finally broke down and went to the pharmacy tonight and bought lotion and Benadryl cream. Anyone who knows me knows I hate lotion, so trust me, I'm desperate.

I lived in North freaking Carolina for 22 years and I've never had a mosquito attack like this.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Have I told you recently how much my friends rock?

This was pretty much a blah day until the end.

I had been up all night from pain, so I was sleep-deprived.

Because I was sleep-deprived, I couldn't stay awake in class.

I ended up trying a new place for lunch and it was absolutely disgusting.

Then I went to a meeting.

And then I came home and tried to will myself to do some reading but was so utterly exhausted that I couldn't focus.

But then! I got a FaceTime from my sweet friend Lauren. We haven't had a chat in ages, and I think this was the first time we'd ever FaceTimed. I'm so glad that I reached the point in my life where I realized just how vital girlfriends are, and that I now have real, loyal, true girlfriends other than Ryann. Lauren and I often end up talking about mindless stuff, like our mutual love of SVU, but this time we also had some real girl talk and I got to tell her about the Landon drama a couple weeks ago. This girl just makes me smile.

And then, a couple hours later, I FaceTimed with Clayton for almost two hours. That kid, I swear, he is one of the kindest, wisest people I have ever met. Like he told me, the world just seems brighter when we finish a conversation. He never fails to teach me about life and the Bible and God and faith and people and just so many things, I could go on and on. He is one of the few safe places in my life. And by safe, I mean that he is one of few people that I never for a second worry about judging me. A lot of my friends, no matter how much I know they love me, there are some things that I still worry they'll judge me for. But not with Clayton. I never hesitate to tell him anything. And he's showed me recently that he feels the same way. I am just so so thankful that we have become so close.

And when I got off FaceTime with him, I tweeted that a mediocre-at-best week had become absolutely lovely. And I meant it.

Man, I love my friends.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On hope and gratitude when it's hard.

Fair warning, this is probably not going to be a pretty or very well-written post. I have things in my head and on my heart that I just need to put somewhere.

Whether or not I show it, getting the news that I have to have surgery has this tendency to sort of knock me off my game for a day or two. I know, you'd think after 22 of them, I'd be a little more used to it than most people, and in some ways I am, but in other ways, it hits me like a ton of bricks even worse now than it did before.

Maybe it's because now it's happening in the middle of a semester, and so I have added school stress on top of it.

Maybe it's because this is the first time in my life that my mom isn't here to hold my hand through it, and I can't lean on Holly anywhere close to the way I could lean on my mom. And growing up and being completely on my own is scary. I'm just being real here. It's scary.

Or maybe it's simply because I'm freaking exhausted of hearing that I have yet another reason to need surgery. Like, really? The first 22 times weren't enough? Somebody found something else on my body that's messed up; they haven't run out of things to operate on yet? I guess it's like hearing that I need to have surgery again is a very in-my-face reminder of just how broken the body I live with every day really is. And no matter how many times it happens, that's never an easy thing to come to terms with. I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of surgeries. I'm tired of not responding to treatments the way doctors expect. I'm just tired. I want to be healed...more than anyone knows.

But I watched a video today of a talk from one of my favorite authors, Angie Smith. The funny thing is, it was at a conference for moms, and a lot of it was directed towards parenting, but I watched it, and it really spoke to me. Angie talked about how we all need to live in the moment, right now, and be thankful for right now, even when it's hard and messy and we don't understand what's going on. Because God has given us this moment to LIVE. We don't have to get angry at ourselves because we're not dealing with it the way we think we're supposed to, the way we think the "better Christians" would. All God is asking is that we trust that He is good and He is working and He is ENOUGH to get us through, day-by-day, whatever it is that we are facing. I may have to have another surgery in two weeks, but you know what? At least I'm still alive to have that surgery. Because talk to pretty much any doctor that's ever treated me, and they'll tell you that it's a miracle I'm still here. And I know full well by now just Who is responsible for that miracle. The gift that He has given me in surviving the trials of my past, in still being alive today, in waking up this morning, that is something to make me say, "Thank you, God!"

I'm gonna be totally real here. Some days, I forget that God is enough, that Jesus overcame the world, that the battle I feel caught up in was won a long time ago. But He is, he did, and it was. And as Angie said in her talk, this life that I see, the one filled with pain and medical problems, it's only a tiny piece of the scroll. There's an eternity waiting for me where I won't have to deal with any of this and I will get the healing that I so desperately long for. I just can't see it yet.

Best of all, I will be face to face with my Creator, who breathed my life into existence more than 22 years ago, and continues to breathe life back into my weary soul every single day.

And that, my friends, is where I find the hope that I hold on to. That's why I'm still grateful for this life that I have, no matter how frustrated I get by the trials I face.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Just as I suspected.

The idiot doctor I'd been seeing at the student health center for my shoulder did not explain to me the full details of my injury. He made it seem like it was just this tiny little tear, no big deal, and I shouldn't still be in pain and blah blah I need to get over it. Well, the surgeon doctor today told me that the tear is big enough that it has caused an area of the tissue to completely separate from the shoulder socket bone that it is supposed to be attached to. And so the longer I go on, the chances are high that that separation is just going to get worse and cause even greater pain than I am already experiencing. Surgeon doctor said I had two options, physical therapy and surgery, and since physical therapy will cost me at least $30 per session, and I tried it when I tore cartilage in my knees and it didn't work and I still had to have surgery, I wasn't too keen on spending money on something that may or may not work and might just end up delaying an inevitable surgery anyway. He said he completely understood that and so, okay, we'll do surgery (the stupid health center doctor also said he couldn't imagine that this surgeon doctor would want to do surgery, so...wrong again, bucko!)

The good news is that they have an opening two weeks from tomorrow, and my little 24-hour hospital stay a few days ago was in NYU's medical center, and I ended up already having had done all the tests they needed pre-surgery, which eliminated a lot of hassle. I even had a chest x-ray done which made absolutely no sense to me at the time!

The only possible hold up that could prevent me having the surgery done on the 21st is I have to get clearance from this new epilepsy specialist that the hospital docs arranged for me to go to. Because I injured my shoulder to begin with in falls during seizures, they don't want to operate and then have me just fall on it again. So basically I just have to get a letter from the epilepsy guy saying they're doing everything they can for me.

But yeah, other than that, I have to go to the student health center so a primary care doctor there can fill out some medical clearance form and fax it back to the surgeon's office and already have an appointment for next Monday the 13th, and then on the 14th go to the hospital and have a totally normal pre-surgery anesthesiologist meeting. Nothing I haven't dealt with before. The anesthesiologist meeting and surgery are both only done on Tuesdays, and the health center couldn't fit me in for the clearance appointment next Monday, which is why it is spread out like this.

But being spread out like that also gives me a little bit of time to talk to my professors and get class stuff in order. Since I don't have class on Friday, and the surgery will be on a Tuesday, I should only miss two days of class and then be back the following Monday.

So yeah. That's the plan. Here we go again...

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

My first NC reunion!

This day I did not blog on time because, well, I'm getting lazy on the old blog. No really, I fell asleep while reading.

It was a busy day, full of fantastic reasons to procrastinate on my work, so I was stuck reading all night, but because it was such a busy morning and afternoon, I was absolutely beat and, yeah, passed out cold while reading.

But it was such a good day! On top of getting to go to church, it was an important day for City Grace. We transitioned from church plant status to really a full-blown church status as our first elders and deacons were commissioned. It was a lovely service and all very exciting. Afterwards they served lunch for everyone.

I stayed there eating and hanging out and talking to people until about 2:00 when I headed to Union Square to go see Summer!!!!

AH! :)

She was up here for the weekend because her mom was doing something for her business. Summer met me in Union Square and we sat and talked and drank hot chocolate and then I took her back to my neighborhood and showed her my area and then took her up to the apartment. I'm so proud of her, she is so super afraid of heights and I convinced her to go up to our roof to see the view. The good news is she didn't freak out and told me it was pretty much the best thing she'd seen all trip. :D

She left and I fell asleep for a bit, got up and ate dinner, took a shower, and then read until I fell asleep again. Luckily the again happened right about as I finished, so I had enough information to eke out a response paper. The professor for my UN System class is not as uptight or strict about those response papers as my History class.


Church friends...I'm too lazy to name them all, but I know who they are, and who reading really cares who they are?

And shots with Summer. The first few from the roof, the last couple right in front of my building.

Happy day.

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