Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It’s 2015 – I can hardly believe it. Looking at the numbers, the year seems so futuristic. I can remember when we were all a-twitter over the turn of the century. Now, 2000 seems like another lifetime away. And it was, really, for me. In 2000 I was still able-bodied: racing mountain bikes, lifting weights, cutting and stacking firewood. Today, just getting showered and dressed is a major accomplishment. In 2000, I couldn't imagine that I would become so disabled. I had my future planned, and in that future, in the year 2015 I’d still be racing bikes.

Nevertheless, 2015 is going to be a good year for me. 2014 was one of my hardest years (notwithstanding 2011, when I lost 3 of the most important women in my life). It was hard, because I was in my 2nd year of not being able to work, and in my 10th year of illness, with still no diagnosis. By the spring of 2014, I had lapsed into major depression. I was not suicidal, but life seemed to overwhelm me. If I weren't married, I probably would have never taken a shower, never gotten dressed – I would have been curled up in a little ball on the couch, staring at the wall. But, I forced myself to shower and dress each day, for Randy’s sake.

I recognized that I needed help, and spoke to my neurologist about starting an antidepressant. He agreed, and gave me a prescription. (Side note: my neurologist is Dr. David Greeley of Northwest Neurological. If you or a loved one has MS, Parkinson’s disease or other tremors, I cannot recommend Dr. Greeley enough! Because he is not part of a managed care provider, he is able to take the time to really treat the whole patient. He is the most kind and caring doctor I have ever seen, and believe me, I've seen too many doctors in this ordeal of illness!) In addition to starting an antidepressant, I started seeing a psychologist, too. Early on in my illness, when I was first trying to cope with it all, I had seen Dr. Michelle Estelle at Cornerstone Psychologists. She had been a great help, then, so I began seeing her, in my attempt to beat the depression. And, once again, she has been instrumental in helping me cope. In fact, you can thank her that you are reading this! She helped me find the motivation to start writing. And writing has become my new passion. Writing every day gives me the sense of accomplishment and achievement that I had been missing without sports or work. And while I can’t write for very long, I manage to write something every day, at least 20 minutes. (Another side note: Another recommendation – Michelle is AWESOME! I cannot thank her enough for how she had helped me! If you need counseling, for whatever reason, give her a call!!)

So, 2014 was a pretty dark year to begin with, but it has ended on a very high note. I have 3 short stories to submit to science fiction magazines, one short story I’m submitting for a contest, one “complete” novel (complete in that the story is finished – I still have a lot of work on it), and I’m in the middle of another novel. I have submitted posts to our church website, and I had to start this blog, because I had too much to say! Oh, and I’m also a reviewer at Tangent Online. Of course, I haven’t made any money off of any of this writing – yet – but I still find great fulfillment in simply writing and expressing myself.

So, 2015 is going to be a year of writing. I will be submitting my short stories (which I’m confident will be published somewhere), and working to finish my first novel, and get it ready for publication. I will continue to write for this blog, as well as for my church website. In 2014, I discovered that I am a writer. And in 2015, I will have my first publication – I’m sure of it.

One final reason that I think 2015 will be a good year: I have another appointment at the Cleveland Clinic – this time with a specialist in mitochondrial disease. The tests I've had have shown lots of irregularities, but nothing that definitively pointed to a diagnosis. However, the doctor I saw there in October showed my records to this specialist, and he has agreed to see me. This specialist only treats “a select few adults” (mitochondrial disease is most often a birth defect, seen in infants and children), so the fact that he wants to see me gives me hope that he has seen a pattern in my test results and thinks he can help me. BUT, I know now that even if he cannot help me, I have a future as a writer. I would love to become able-bodied once again, but I know that even if I never get healed, I can write. That is a gift from God, and in 2015 I will be developing that gift. Join me in the journey!