Well, hell.

It’s late, but I’m posting anyway. This week has just been off. Some medical issues (not serious, just time consuming and annoying, mainly because if they aren’t taken care of, it turns into major issues), some family issues, which spilled over into school issues.

However, in the midst of all this malaise and meh-ness, I had a breakthrough.

As anyone who follow me knows, I’ve had thyroid cancer, which means, I had both thyroids removed. This caused major brain fog. As the years progressed, my meds haven’t been quite right (partly due to health care availability), which meant I could feel my IQ points slithering their way into the ionosphere as I continued a downward slope.

It’s disheartening to have your ability to learn curtailed, thrown into a tight, sealed container, with keep out signs in the forms of cannon blasters that gave you migraine style headaches if you tried to cross that path anyway.  I retained basic math skills, partly, I believe, because I was a bookkeeper at the time. I’ve retained a large portion of my reading skills (though retention was ever an issue and I slowed down my pace some, but at least I could still read and write) and some of my art skills, and worked on improving them around my newfound learning skills.

Since having my cancer, this is the first quarter I’ve had a full load at college again. It. Has. Been. Hard. Hard as hell. I’ve struggled with so many aspects. I spent the first two weeks in a panic (no, this is not an exaggeration) because I couldn’t find my brain, like I’d been using a back up generator, but when I went back to fix the main power source, it was gone. Kaput. I was in tears nearly every day as I struggled to stretch my retention skills, find my way through things I used to be able to do without trying.

Early in the quarter, I missed two days of meds because I wasn’t home and forgot to bring my medication with me. Holy hell, I don’t recommend doing that. I struggled with math. What made it worse was/is students who make comments, that you’re never quite sure if they mean for you to hear them or not. For instance, if I’m relieved that we don’t have to do trig anymore in my 100 level Astronomy class, another student rolls his eyes and says, “It’s college.” as if that means EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW TRIGONOMETRY. HELLO, WORLD. Did you know first years are supposed to be comfortable with trig or they get made fun of?

On top of this, all of my life, I’ve had text anxiety. In high school, a very good teacher realized it, and sort of did his own test to see if he was right. Maybe to prove to me I know the stuff and shouldn’t get so stressed? I don’t know. He gave us a paper to do. Said no sharing, or book, he just wanted to see where we were at. I got A+++ Did all the work and extra credit, no struggle. The very next day, he gave us same paper, said it was a test, and I got a B…and I struggled hard. Well, at forty some years old, that the dread, the firey fear of not passing hasn’t changed, but my recall has been severely impaired.

I was to the point of wanting to quit school. However, I’m stubborn. I cried. I’d been sharing my test anxiety on FB, and friends from high school who know I’m not an idiot, have been encouraging me. I hit the point where I talked to a teacher about alternate testing methods. That was last Friday. This past Monday, I had an astronomy exam. I’d lost have the notes for the class, was on the way to a meltdown. I used some skills I’d been teaching myself in mind-over-matter, and found a visual. Every time this deep dread sought to take over my mind, every time pop-rocks exploded in my gut and threatened to release the Kracken, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and used the visual. I got a B on the test. A ten percent higher than average, AND that was without half my notes!

This has been one of the worst weeks in my personal life since school started as far as my outside obligations getting in the way. Yet, I had a breakthrough on Monday for my thyroid issues and memory stuff at school! Holy hell, it’s been a week.

So, even though this week threw a dark slew of problems at me, tried to take me down, I prevailed, and I hope, that by doing so, I made a difference. I hope that others struggling with test anxiety or other things have been inspired to rise above it, to challenge themselves, to be in the darkness watching for the stars until they become a star.




I Am Alive

Yes, I am alive. Happy to be so. I’ve seen so many deaths in recent months, that I’ve become introspective about death. With my brother’s death anniversary cropping up so close to the death of loved ones, I have been able to be more on point in wording of compassion to those who need it. I’ve tried to do what I would need done. Mostly, though, I’ve been grateful for those still left with me and for my own improving health.

Allergies are smacking me in the face, and my son is getting hit as well. For five years, (seven total in the last 17 years) I lived in a place that tried to kill me. Rag weeds, fertilizer plant, industrial sand blasting, I lived within 50 feet of them at one point and half a mile for the five year stint. Doctor said I would day if we stayed there. We left the first time, but were forced back.

Both times in living there, I almost died. First time, while pregnant. During the five year stint, I could pretty much count on being sicker than a dog for 90 percent of my life there. I tried exercising, meds, everything I could. It would work in spurts, until a specific pollen or black mold caught me, and then it was months and months of being terrorized by snot, which in turn slammed me with bronchitis and pneumonia. At one point, if my husband had not stayed home instead of leaving as I told him he could, I would of died. Instead, he took me in.

So when I say I’m alive, I mean it fervently and with great joy. I am alive. Alive to enjoy the smell of petrichor, alive to see the reds and purples against the dark green foliage, alive to scent the sweetness of lavender and roses, alive to hear the birds chirping and squawking.

I am alive.