school. again.

after a hiatus of 3 odd years, i returned to my books yesterday as a psychology student.

admittedly, it has been painful talking to people about me studying psychology and although i’ve been talking about this since May, it hasn’t gotten any easier. i’ve talked to my psychotherapist about it, but we aren’t sure why i feel like that yet. but right now, i know i don’t feel the same for psychology as i did for nursing. i don’t know if this is a mistake.

perhaps i’m struggling with putting down my identity as a registered nurse. about 8 years has been spent into forming everything i am as a nurse. and in a strange way, i was also nursing the sick me at the same time. it’s a strange sense of loss which i’m not sure i can ever get over with.

could it be my anxiety over my inability to control or know what will happen over the course of the next 2 years? or could it be my fear that history(a lot has happened in the past 5 years) could repeat again, especially when my depression started in nursing school?

there is a certain sense of uneasiness going into my studies, although there is some relief now that i have settled on something. i don’t know if it will ever go away, and i don’t know if i will emerge out of it unscathed.

but oh well. life’s like that. no?

knowing my limits- what limits???

it’s been a continuous process learning what my body can do and what it cannot. of course i delight at the former, and curse and swear at the latter. but because RA and fibromyalgia can be very dynamic diseases, i’m never really in a steady state. what i was able to do, say 6 months ago, i may not be able to do now. what i’m not able to do during flares, might be doable when i’m ok.

last week as i served for the Treasure retreat at the Office For Young People (OYP), i was so physically stretched that my body’s response to the exertion was almost like an awful whiplash. because it was a 3.5 day thing, and i had to travel up and down (due to the lack of space for sleeping in), it was a tall order to tell myself that i will not bail on it. i had made the terrible mistake of not knowing what i should not do, even though i’ve been living with this lousy body for so long. i did everything like everyone else. i made little excuse, and the perfectionist in me refused to take the back seat to rest when everyone else was working. i paid for it with each night i got home. i was cursing and swearing, almost at the brink of tears, spamming painkillers, taking long hot baths, desperately looking for a much need reprieve. this time though, i had realised that it was more of FM beating the crap out of my body than RA. on the last day, it ended with a bang with a headache that felt like my skull had cracked.

after realising what i got myself into, i made a forecast that i will need about 2 weeks to recover from this FM exacerbation. this was no code blue, but suffice to say it was 3 days of 14-hour service (7 on the first half day) at OYP. i tell myself these casually, but there’s also my reality that i need to face. i just don’t have the body that i used to have anymore. it was something that i had to come to terms in 2010 when i retired from dancing, perhaps i just didn’t want anything else to stop anymore.

the compounding fatigue and pain from RA and FM can threaten to throw me off into a dizzying tailspin, and with that, my depression can get caught in it very easily. i keep refusing to accept the changes in my body, just as i have always had difficulty reconciling with the fact that i have RA and accepting the disease process. i keep pushing my body beyond its limits, and with each time i beat myself up for the same thing- not knowing what my body can do. there are certain things that i will always do no matter what, like code blues. but for the rest, i just wished i could be kinder to myself.

i don’t know what i’m rambling about really. aargh.

ain’t healing well

my full thickness graft has taken, according to the doctors. however, about 10-20% of the graft looks like it will not hold. these parts have been slough, some of it have fallen off, and now the doctor is saying these 10-20% of it looks like it has pseudomonas.

i told them i am not optimistic that these parts will heal properly because my immune system is down from MTX. once i said so, the other doctor scrambled to check my records. they had overlooked that my MTX hasn’t been stopped. so the doctor had to do debridement that day with some.iodine scrubbing, in hopes it heals in a better condition.

because right now the options i have is to either just let it be, or go back for surgery. for the former, it will be long drawn with high risks of infection and worse scarring than the rest of the graft. for the latter, it might not be only one surgery. it can be more than that.

how did things get so complicated? just because i “danced” in fire? nursing it with silver dressing now. hoping for the best, and next Monday, i’ll probably know when my original senior consultant (who happens to head the department) sees it and gives me the options.


a fork in the road

time is running out.

it’s odd how i was so sure that i am headed for studies after leaving nursing, only to be interrupted by this outrageous thought that i should still chase after the call to serve in mission work (this call is not new, you know). suddenly the 1.5 months of free time i thought i had was no longer. it became a period of surrendering, and then also falling, in my desperate bid to discern what is to be. i want to do God’s will and nothing else. yet i am conflicted- there are push and pull factors for both paths. and i am only too human in trying to make the decision, that i halt in my tracks and wonder if i’m listening to my selfish wants, or the will of God.

having failed miserably previously in sourcing for missions in which i could serve, God blessed me this time with 2 missions. i have met and talked with them and there are opportunities to serve. the ways in i could give are aplenty- mostly with what i am blessed as a nurse. but i ask myself if i am able to give. to keep giving and not want. to keep giving and not receive. however most importantly, i have to face my reality and ask myself- can i ensure that i do not regress psychologically? and also, am i up to it physically seeing that my health can be rather vulnerable? i have people telling me straight in my face that that i shouldn’t do it, mostly because i’m not yet up to it. however deep inside there is this doggedness that keeps pursuing, as God keeps providing, when i continue to communicate with the 2 missions with my role in Myanmar and Philippines.

my plans for studies were almost cemented until it was plucked out by the radical thought that this time i could really dive into some mission work. since then mission work has always been winning the battle of “what Steph should do”. although that was the case, right now, writing this post, i am so close to giving up and saying yes to studies. the deadline for accepting the offer is close by, and classes start merely 2 weeks later. however the thought of 2 whole years of study makes me anxious. i just spent the last 3 years fighting to serve the sick (and/or my calling) and now i’m spending 2 years on upgrading myself? i don’t know why there is this shift in mindset but that sounds awfully selfish. also, with the dawn of my depression coming from nursing school, returning to school is a frightening thought. i am hesitant with signing my letter of offer, as i shared with my psychotherapist, because after the past 5 years, i don’t trust myself with such decisions anymore. with all the decisions i’ve made since i fell into depression, there have been many things that have gone awry. too many actually. and i cannot convince myself that i am making the right choice once more.

i know that i’m living in God’s time, and things cannot be rushed. one simply cannot just choose to do something for the sake of it, as i’ve learnt. God will make a way, and He will tell me what it is in His many ways, if i would only wait, listen and pray about it.

i’ll be spending the next 4 days serving in OYP’s Treasure retreat. it’s a time to give back, to serve, to give and not to want. and of course, it’s precious time with God. i have to make my decision by the end of the retreat by the way. sigh.

i am

i am
too far gone.
not worth the save.
don’t even try.

i am
hard to be with,
too much of a trouble.
don’t bother.

But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes

Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight

Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes

Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight

On for tonight