Lifestyle & Chronic Illness Blog

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Journal #1 Where I’ve Been + Life Changes

I feel like every year I come on here, write a Where I’ve Been, pop out a few posts, and then retire again. I view this blog less in the modern influencer sense, but more in the early 2000’s style, journaling into the ether to find an online community where I feel my real-life one is missing. So to me, this in-and-out style isn’t so bad.

Maybe it’s the pressure of just coming off of my 27th birthday, maybe it’s my health changes, maybe it’s the daze of the late-July heat on the shore getting to me. But as I stand in my humid kitchen watching summer fog slowly burn off the roofs of my neighbor’s house, I find myself drawn here again.

Where Have I Been

My last post here was just shy of a year ago on August 13, 2022. In the last year, a lot has happened. Some are good, some not so good. On the good side, I had friends get married, family members find new homes, cousins get engaged, happy promotions at work, and we adopted a new dog. The good has been truly good and I don’t know if I’ve been grateful enough for that.

On the flip side, the bad has been… rough. I struggled tremendously with my own body and mind. In May 2022, I experienced what I thought at the time was tremendous burnout at work. I couldn’t focus, my brain felt foggy, I struggled to complete basic tasks, and my basic self-care abilities not only went out the window but down the Parkway, onto the first flight to the moon, and literally left the atmosphere. Not only that but every day I experienced a new kind of physical pain and difficulty. Swollen feet, my skin was covered in acne for the first time, I gained 30-40 lbs in the course of six weeks, my joints ached, and I had trouble getting through the day. From May through August of 2022, I felt like I was drowning in my own body, just barely keeping my head above water.

Some folks reading may recognize what that all is and what came after, nine months of doctor appointments, tests, and let’s be honest, a fair amount of Googling, I kicked off 27 with a new alphabet of chronic health conditions.

I’ve found these diagnoses to be weird, to say the least, knowing very specifically all the ways your body is failing you. I’ve never been one to hide things about myself, especially when it’s such a big part of my daily life, but I never found a way to share it with folks outside of my immediate family. How does that come up in conversation? Hi, How are you friend, Long time no see, Did you know sometimes my kneecaps pop out? No? All good, I’m going to go lie down now. I thought about dropping the IG bomb during the Nation Month thing, but it all felt very much like an attention grab. But I’m tired of hiding my chronic conditions and making excuses for myself.

There’s a world where I’d have written a whole paragraph to backtrack my feelings and experience, minimizing it to avoid the judgment of others I’d never know. Maybe that’s tomorrow. But for today, I feel that this is enough: I’m sure plenty of folks will read this and think, my year was so much worse than hers, and that may very well be true. My struggle doesn’t take away from yours, nor yours mine.

Life Changes

My life is currently being defined by a series of acronyms, which feels weird, and getting to be quite the annoyance with the growing Health History paperwork at every new doctor. The first discovery was Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, specifically the hypermobile type. hEDS has been the biggest sleeper in all this, starting out just a fun little party trick, but ultimately being one of my biggest struggles and the cause of a lot of additional fun things. Most days EDS is not a big deal for me, I’m definitely one of the lucky ones. But there as a short period earlier this year when I had a pretty serious flare-up. Between the joint pain, brain fog, and fatigue, a Target trip required multiple breaks to sit on the floor and recover.

The next discovery was Hashimoto’s which is apparently quite common for EDS-ers. I know the least about Hashi’s, so there’s not much to say about it. Long story short it’s an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to a lot of fun side effects.

The most validating chronic diagnosis was Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I knew I had PCOS at 18. It’s taken 6 doctors and almost a decade for a one to believe me and get me on track for tests. It was both disappointing and relieving to know I was very much correct. There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there around PCOS, primarily that it’s more of a metabolic condition than anything else, so it effects the whole body and how it functions.

I was lucky I had and have access to good insurance and good doctors. If nothing else, let this be a call to you to always see your doctor regularly, and if you think something isn’t right, don’t give up on it. You know your body better than anyone.

What’s Next for Me

Luckily and unluckily, there isn’t too much that can be done at this point. Most of what I can do is just symptom control as well as do my best to increase my baseline health and identify triggers to prevent flare-ups. Some days those three feel insurmountable.

Now that I have these labels to stick on my bad days, I’m hoping to use my better days to do more. Travel more, be more active in the community, meet new people, expand my circle of friends, and learn more about myself and my health.

All of it has very much shifted my perspectives on everything. I’ve been trying to put myself first, learning about my health, and focusing on what’s going to make my days easier and what’s going to help me live a happy, healthy life in the long run. Working from home gives me a lot of freedom, the dogs always make me smile. I take joy in the smaller moments like breakfast with C, little treats I buy myself, taking time to enjoy the sun every day, and even sitting down at my laptop at 6:30 in the morning with a soft playlist to write to the faceless masses of the internet.

And with all that, I think it’s a great time to swing back into blogging. We’ll see what and when and how I write. For the time being, I’m just going to lean into the join that writing is giving me and take the interest and joy as it comes, for as long as it comes.

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Moira The Explorer

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Hello and welcome to the blog! I’m Moira, it’s said like Dora, with an M. I’m on a journey to embrace the best and brightest aspects of life while navigating the challenges of chronic illness. 

Here, I’ll take you on a journey through my life, sharing a blend of personal experiences and valuable insights. Delving into topics like chronic illness, affordable travel, modern homemaking, working full-time from home, and more, I aim to provide you with advice and stories from my unique perspective. My goal is to inspire and connect with others who may be facing similar challenges. Join me as we explore and navigate life together!

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