Traveller with a Free Spirit

Unbeknownst to me, when your tumor gives you an insane amount of steroids for so long, you can really do anything. During my fertility trials, I grew increasingly anxious and impatient with the idea of wasting my time pursuing something that I am only half hopeful about. I honestly think that the “secret to life” and reaching “enlightenment” is the simple realization of how valuable Time is. Time is the only thing in life that you cannot have more of no matter how hard you try.

“Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.” – Haruki Murakami.

I had been working on the same unit for almost 6 years (which is the longest job I have ever been at) I grew restless and even though I was good at my job and enjoyed it, I needed to do something different. I wanted to travel, I wanted to get a new job, I wanted to experience new things. I was tired of doing the same thing everyday even though it was not terrible nor was I miserable. I thought about going to school again for my Masters in nursing or something completely different like Interior Design (which I did complete a certificate for decorating and then realized that I don’t want to be dealing with annoying people in that industry). There was a thirst for new knowledge.

So I went and got a new job in the community. I reluctantly said good bye to a wonderful group of nurses that have taught me so much over the years…and the wonderful friendships that I was blessed with (which I am grateful for today because these friendships continued on) Around the same time, I was looking at the world scratch map that Josh bought me trying to decide where I should go for my first solo travel trip. I read articles and blog posts about solo female travellers and we talked about where I would want to go and how to safely travel on my own. In August of 2016, I decided on Amsterdam and Copenhagen. I had never been to Europe before…the thought of travelling to Europe by myself for the first time was a little scary but also exciting.

Traveling on my own was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Some people may think that I am selfish to go gallivanting around the world while my husband stay home and eat popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. Some people may think that my marriage is in trouble or else why would I go on vacation without the love of my life? I believe that there is a certain degree of selfishness that is healthy for all relationships. After all, you have to be just selfish enough to feel secure about yourself and love yourself before you can love somebody else. The decision to travel on my own meant taking the first step in putting myself first before anyone else. As one travel blogger noted – “It can be scary traveling alone, especially when you’ve never done it before. But, to me, growing old without experiencing everything you want from life is even scarier.”

You have to own your own mistakes and learn to trust your intuition when you travel solo. Like waiting on the wrong platform for the train or buying the wrong ticket. There is no one next to you when you react to a negative situation and try to find somebody to blame. You kind of have to learn how to be kind to yourself instead of angry when you make mistakes because you are all that you have in that moment. These are valuable lessons that can’t be taught in school and I think it did save my life when I made the decision to go back to the same emergency department where I had my last terrible experience at.

  “As I get older, it feels like the years pass by more quickly.  I was wondering why that is.  Then I realized that it might be the same as the experience of traveling some place you’ve never been before.  On the way there, the road seems to go on forever.  But on the way back, you’re home before you know it” – Unknown.  

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Cushing’s Disease

According to WebMD, if you google “Tumor” – it is defined as an abnormal growth of cells that serves no purpose.

In the summer of 2018, we decided one last attempt at another cycle of Clomid trial.  After all, it was something tried and conceived.  It was my decision to not pursue alternative options that are more invasive at this time.  It was difficult to try and maintain a positive attitude at first but what life experience taught me as an immigrant child being raised by a single mother was that nothing worth having comes easy.  Josh had to remind me of my own mantra when I had moments of “I see the glass half full…but of poison” attitude.  (Gold star for whoever can figure out where that reference came from)

This time it was different. My dosage had to be increased and I was still not ovulating after the first two cycles. The last cycle I felt so sick that I was seen at Urgent Care twice in a month for hypertension. This led to my endocrinology referral and subsequent diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease. My endocrinologist said I did not look “Floridly Cushing’s” Oh but I do… Clinically, I had all the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s Disease for about 5 years. The symptoms got worse in the last two years which coincided with taking Clomid for fertility. I had abnormal weight gain, terrible skin, my hair keeps falling out and growing in places that I do not particular want it to and my energy levels best described as an iPhone 5 with a shitty battery. The diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease lifted a lot of unwarranted guilt around not being able to exercise and eat a proper diet. I was always craving terrible foods. My bone density scan revealed that I was pre-osteroprorosis at 32 years old and at a higher risk of fractures (I guess I do not regret my decision to stop snowboarding a couple years ago) I creaked and struggle to get out of bed every morning like a senior and could not understand why other than blaming myself for not putting more effort into exercising instead of lying around like Darwin. Although, owning a French Bulldog do naturally make you less incline to leave the couch, just ask any Frenchie owners.

The physical symptoms gave me more appreciation for missing my work with seniors at the hospital. You can see them struggle but to be relatable usually takes time…like you have to be old to appreciate being old. And I was told 32 is not old.

The psychiatric and psychological disturbances caused by my Cushing’s Disease was perhaps the worst of the illness. As I got closer to a confirmed diagnosis of having a corticotroph pituitary adenoma (waiting for test results, trying to get an MRI in a timely manner so I actually paid for a private one…) increased my already high cortisol levels – while continuing work at the clinic where I only get to listen to other people’s problems all day. I was increasingly depressed and anxious. I basically looked at myself in the mirror and saw myself as a patient on unit 48 except with a 32 year old face.

To be Continued…

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