So many of you have emailed me or sending me private messages asking where I’ve gone lately. Thank you for the concern! I’m hoping this post will answer some questions.
First off, let me say that VeganOstomy is one of the most important things in my life, and new content is on the way (I promise!).
Members of my Community Forums likely haven’t noticed my absence since I am still active there. But a few things have come up that have taken time away from working on the website and being able to advocate the way I would like. I do wish to remain private with some things, but I’m comfortable enough to open up about these, so here it goes…
Earlier in the year, I had a health setback that’s created an extra physical and mental burden on me. I haven’t shared much about it because we’re still not sure exactly what’s going on yet.
So, back in February of this year, I received two vaccines: one was a Hepatitis B shot and the other was Prevnar 13 (pneumococcal vaccine).
Several days after the shots I started to get body pains, which worsened and spread over the course of several weeks and months. Well, after over a dozen x-rays, an MRI, blood tests and specialists, we still don’t know what is actually happening in my body.
And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Back in Feb 2014, I had the “TDAP” (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) vaccine and experienced the same symptoms beginning several days after that one.
In that case, the pains lasted nearly a year and then went away. The health department was notified of this possible adverse reaction back then and they suggested that I continue to have regular vaccines.
And I did, without trouble, until this year.
But this time, the symptoms haven’t been going away. Seven months later and they seem to be getting worse. My doctor’s appointments are still ongoing and I have a special appointment in November to explore what triggered this (so I can avoid it in the future).
That said, these chronic symptoms have been draining and make it difficult to move with the energy I’m used to having. It also creates more challenges as I still have to maintain all my work and family responsibilities on top of that.
But I’m no stranger to physical pain and I’m generally able to persevere through it.
What’s really grounded me to a halt, however, is witnessing a family member, who I love dearly, struggle with substance abuse over the course of the last year and having no power to alter their course.
It feels like I’m watching someone drown ten feet away from me and I have no way of rescuing them.
This has taken a significant toll on my drive to help others. I carry a huge sense of guilt every time I plan to make a new video or write another article to help others while knowing the one person I desperately want to help is out of reach.
Please, accept my apology for this absence.
There has been so much that I’ve wanted to share with you, but social media has been a source of anxiety, so I’ve avoided it. And my newsletter – well, quite frankly, I’ve been embarrassed that I have so little new content this year when my goal was to have at least 30 new articles/videos done for 2018, so I haven’t sent out any newsletters for most of the summer.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through the last 10 years of having Crohn’s Disease, and 5 years of living with an ostomy, it’s resilience.
I will find a way through this.