Summer of Change

I had such a fire to write yesterday, but now that fire is gone. Can I stoke the flame (ha….originally, I wrote “blame” and I wonder if that’s a Freudian slip) if I sit here long enough and let my fingers wander across the keys? It’s hard to muster up the desire when all that lingers is dust.

This is my view while I write, so perhaps I will get inspired after all.

Burnsville, NC

How does one rewire 41 years of engrained neural pathways? Hell if I know. But it’s the ever so fun journey I’ve chosen to walk right now so let’s get to it.

This spring/summer I took my first travel contract in Norfolk, VA with a friend. Overall, it was fine. We got a kick ass three story condo in Virginia Beach (by the beach!) which felt like a win, but the landlords were fucking nightmares so that really darkened our experience. We bought bikes and I cycled all over that boardwalk, saying hello to my man Neptune, watching the sunrise, running my errands, and listening to numerous bands putting on free shows. I love bike culture and really wish I could do that here in Asheville, but – tradeoffs. Turns out I still hate being a nurse. However, we worked with phenomenal people who welcomed us with open arms, and the connections I made there continue to bring me joy, even though the job has ended.

I also met someone there. It seemed at first that it would just be an innocent summer fling with a fun man. He WAS fun. And a great dancer (gets me every time). What I didn’t anticipate was how his sweetness, his attention, and his affection would crack open a part of me I have kept inaccessible for years.

This man will probably never know how his tenderness allowed me to open up to a part of myself that I have ignored since childhood. He will never know the role he played in my journey to live a life unencumbered by fear and judgment. It leaves me in awe – the tiny amount of time we spent together but the massive amount of influence he still weaves to this day. He has so much of my gratitude.

I remember an English girl I met at my favorite hostel in Buenos Aires. Upon first glance you wouldn’t notice anything extraordinary, but the moment you engaged with her it was a constant ride of enchantment. She and her husband only stayed for a few days, but the hostel was small and intimate and all the guests became well acquainted. She delighted all of us with her kindness and infectious joy. Everyone was drawn to her like a magnet. We craved her light. I can’t remember her face, but I remember her energy, and how it felt like a gift to be in her presence. That was 16 years ago but I can still reach out and grab the memory it’s so close. One evening we were sitting in the common area having drinks and she told me a spellbinding story about her adventures in the Perhentian Islands. The picture she painted was so magical, so ethereal, that I seared the location into my heart and vowed one day that I too would go. I have not forgotten this promise to myself. Bonus that most people have never heard of this archipelago, since I prefer to hit the places less traveled. I smile with delight every time I think of her, and she probably wouldn’t even remember me. It’s so surprising how life can place you into the hands of someone, and the time you spend together is as brief as an exhale, but their impact continues to ripple through all your years. I hope she has everything she wants in this life.

It makes me wonder who else is out there, sending silent prayers of thanks up to the Universe for having briefly crossed paths with me. It would be so cool to know the tiny things I did without knowing that may have led to huge transformations in someone’s life.

I digress.

Over many dates with Summer Boyfriend, and countless hours of self-reflection, disturbance started to bubble up. Great. There was something inside I needed to handle. It was calling my attention, and I couldn’t ignore it. Smash cut to the present moment, where I am now acutely aware that I have repressed the emotion of anger since I was a child (thanks, childhood traumas). This has led to infinite tears while confronting this truth, writing countless pages in my journal, meditating my face off, and diligently working through Mindful Anger which has turned out to be one of the most powerful books I have ever read.

This. Shit. Is. Heavy.

My default emotion has always been sadness. There was nothing else on the spectrum. The author of Mindful Anger speaks a lot to us “anger repressors” and how our notable trait is to take anger and transfer it into something more fun – like depression, anxiety and migraines. Hello!? This summer has been a deep dive into my psyche, excavating the false beliefs I have held true since a child. Beliefs buried so deeply that unconsciously they still properly fucked me up, yet remained hidden enough that I wasn’t aware of them. Well played, guys. I have also learned that I am allowed to feel other emotions besides sadness. I know some of you are like “duh!”, but anger repressors are very different. We have lived our lives shutting off a significant part of ourselves that very much needs (and deserves) attention. Not having access to that part of me meant any uncomfortable feeling was automatically placed in the “sadness” file. It should be no surprise to anyone that I’ve been on antidepressants for years. But by going through the exercises in this book, I am learning to pay more attention to my feelings and emotions. For example, where I always defaulted into sadness and then would spiral into darkness, my awareness is changing. I am discovering that I can also feel disappointed, bummed, annoyed or irritated. Those emotions are so much lighter than sadness, and I am learning to identify them accurately. I can own them, give them a voice, then let them go. When I do that, the cycle is complete, and nothing is lingering.

Truth is, I’m in the process of accepting this is going to take a while. In this moment I am fragile and need to be handled delicately. I cry a lot. I sleep a lot. I feel very lonely. I am peeling back so many wounds I wonder if they will ever end. I have mountains of forgiveness to climb. A lot of unpacking the “why” of my repressed anger means going back and revisiting painful experiences I have suppressed. I feel like I’m exposing the soft underbelly I’ve spent my entire life protecting. But I’m staying the course. I am sitting with my feelings of discomfort even though my first instinct is to run and numb out. I continue reading the anger book. I continue meditating and writing. I continue being honest and authentic with my most basic self so that she feels seen, heard, important and worthy. This is some of the most difficult internal work I’ve had to do in my life, but I know on the other side is freedom. So, I keep going. Send good vibes my way if you would.

As far as work news goes, I signed a contract in Vermont and will be there Oct-Jan with my dear friend Melissa! Thrilled to bits to have a New England fall and Christmas. And to work in a union hospital. Who knows, guys. After this assignment I may end up liking my career after all. Post Vermont I’m heading back to Texas/Mexico until March as it only took one winter in Asheville to know I will never do that again. You can take the girl out of Texas….



The Rule of Three

Three deaths have happened within the past two months. First to go was my grandfather. In order to get back to Texas, I had scheduled my bereavement leave for October when his Celebration of Life was planned. Naturally, crazy family drama sprang up so I backed away from those plans and opted for my own celebration at the beach in South Carolina, where I knew I would have peace and the proper space to honor him. I wasn’t close with my grandfather in the end, so I didn’t think his death would affect me when it happened. However we were close in the past, so I suppose a bit of nostalgia took over and I let the memories trickle in. Surprisingly, what popped up was shame about my behavior in ways I didn’t expect. I had hardened myself against my family years ago, due to the piles of dysfunction I was forced to navigate since childhood. I realized I had projected this same hardness onto Poppy. He was a “good Christian man” as Southerners love to say, as if it is some sort of merit. I cringe whenever I hear it. In my experience, the “good Christians” are the darkest souls with the most devious of intentions. I’ll be honest – I have a complicated relationship with Christianity. After attending a Christian high school that I can only describe as “cult” like, attending a mega-church that I can only describe as insane, and then bearing witness to the various abhorrent actions of other Christians that were done “in the name of God”….well, I got issues. I get that. Something to dig into at another time. But I mention this to provide a little clarity: my hackles are up anytime someone wants to “preach the good Word.” So it only makes sense that I would get irritated when he would want to pray for me, or tell me how much God loves me. I found his constant talk of Jesus unwelcome and incessant. I prefer when people keep their spiritual beliefs to themselves, and this always felt like such an intrusion. 

I let these memories simmer a while, until I realized that the turmoil I was battling was due to the fact that I couldn’t reconcile with a dead person. Will he ever know I wish I had been softer? I wish when he wanted to pray for me, or talk about the Bible, I had responded with loving and gentleness. Why did I insist on being so difficult? I fear I came across as cold and dismissive, when my heart is actually warm and welcoming. 

I have always loved Wayne Dyer’s quote about choosing to be kind over choosing to be right, so I know this is where I failed. Life is always peeling back my layers, and sometimes looking at what lies beneath can be ugly. It takes courage to not back away from it. When this happens, I try to stand face to face with the ugliness, drop my ego, admit I was wrong, and explore what it will take to change. It took his death to make me question my intentions, and why I fought so hard against something that ultimately didn’t matter. In fact, it wouldn’t have hurt me at all to listen and make an old kind man happy. That’s what he was, you know…..kind. The kindest man I’ve ever known. I don’t say things like this carelessly, like everyone on social media with their “Happy Father’s Day to the BEST Dad ever” bullshit. We all know comments like those are glib. We also know that I don’t say things like that about my family. For example, my grandmother was a total bitch. 

But Poppy truly was a man of kindness and loving. He is the only man in my life who had consistently shown me gentleness and acceptance. He never had a cross word; he never yelled. I have never seen Poppy angry. I never doubted his love for me or his raw enthusiasm when he would hear my voice or see my face. I wish I had known how lucky I was to have him as an anchor, steadying me through all the storms I encountered from the men in my life, until I found enough strength to get to the shore on my own. I want him to know he was my northern star, helping me find my way through a family devoted to anger, contention and fear.  

A few days before he died I was able to speak to him on the phone. My mom had called to give me an update, and I just had a sudden urge to let him know I was thinking about him. I rang, and my aunt held the phone up to his ear while I talked. His speech was incoherent by this point, but he was still oriented enough to understand what was happening around him. When he heard my voice, he made a sound of such pure primal joy that I started crying. I had to pull the phone away so he wouldn’t hear my voice crack. I felt flooded with love for this man who had always flooded me with love. And in that short, sweet conversation, I was able to say goodbye to the greatest man I’ve ever known.

I had a moment by myself at work the day he died. None of my friends were working that night so I had time to be alone with my thoughts. I thanked him for sharing his light and his love, and apologized for being unavailable in so many ways. I laid down my shame and asked him to forgive me. And knowing him, he isn’t bothered by it, because that’s just the sort of man he was. Hard to offend. Quick to forgive. Generous with love. I hope I carry him with me in all those ways. I want to be soft, kind and generous. I want to overflow with loving and forgiveness. For myself and everyone I encounter. So much of my personal journey involves shining a spotlight on parts of myself that are prickly and unyielding. I didn’t realize these areas existed as they remained undisturbed for years, happy to thrive in the darkness. I am grateful that his death crumbled those hard places in me, and I will be better because of him. 

I hope you’re having a ball on the other side, Poppy. I know that light of yours is touching just as many souls now as it did when you had a body. We are all lucky to have you. Keep looking out for me, k?

Joe Lewis 1928-2021 ✨

1 Comment

tacos = life

Hi y’all.

Life update ➜ I’m a nurse and live in the mountains now!!

This blog has changed so much since the days of yore when Marissa started this website for me, insisting I capture my travels on something more official than a mass email to everyone on my contact list. I heeded her word and my blog became a success…to my inner circle. Which is all I want. Writing has been my catharsis since I was a child. My truest form of expression. It’s a place where I can lay down my barriers, expose my vulnerabilities, and let the process wash over me, rinsing away all the spots where I feel tight. I think it’s a necessary cleansing for my soul to do this, but at the same time, I resist it. Hence the 4 year silence. I’m still trying to figure out why I do this. 

When I decided to go to nursing school, tackling that plus a job and a chronic illness took every last spoon, and I had nothing left to give. I didn’t even dance. I felt starved for connection to myself, and had a gnawing sense of needing to nurture the artist within, but unsure as to how. As I’m writing these words now I feel the flow coming back to me. Energy is coursing through my fingertips as they remember how this is done and stumble their way across the keyboard. I feel settled. Writing is easy, but it is also hard. Perhaps because of what it demands. It takes everything out of me. And when it’s over I’m left exhausted – empty from pouring everything out, anxious about the reaction, annoyed that I care, and ultimately warmed by the feedback. 

So, what is this page now? First it was a travel blog and super fun. Then I got sick and it chronicled everything I was going through with endometriosis and life was quite terrible. Now things feel fresh and different. Perhaps I’m trying to make this blog fit into a box it has outgrown. Maybe it doesn’t need a box at all, but just to be a space where I can come and unpack all that is weighing on me. I definitely need to rewrite the “About Me” section, and probably make it a bit more generic so that I don’t have to change it with every season of my life 🙂

Endo doesn’t rule my life anymore like it did in my 30’s. It was a cruel dictator for so long that sometimes I forget I am now (mostly) free. And quite frankly, I’m sick of talking about it. Is that awful to say? I know that wasn’t the case for a long time. But I do consider myself healthy now, thanks to Katie at I have waxed poetic to those in my life about how she singlehandedly gave my life back to me. Katie and I started working together in March of 2018. By the time September rolled around I felt strong and healthy enough for my trip to the Middle East. I had reconciled myself to only participating in 1/3 of what was planned to help avoid disappointment in myself. Imagine my surprise when I participated in everything! I remember being most worried about Petra. I knew it was going to be hot and it was going to be hard. We also did the candlelight tour the night before our day tour and I was worried I had signed up for too much. The candlelight tour……<insert jaw drop>. You guys. Thousands of flickering candles lighting the path as we snake our way through the ancient gorge (the Siq), on roads the Nabataeans built in 150BC. The cavern walls towered above us, oppressive and black against the night as we squeezed through the narrow openings. We spilled out in front of the treasury and were guided to sit down. It smelled like manure and Texas farms and then the Bedouins start singing and playing the rababa, their traditional stringed instrument. During music breaks we listened to stories about the majesty that was Petra in her glory days. It was such a surreal moment for this little history nerd and I couldn’t have conjured a more magical evening with all my fantasies combined. 

The next day, we completed our tour with the guide and he dropped us off at the base of the monastery. We could climb the 850 steps for the view, or turn back. Duh, we climbed. I was slow. I stopped a lot. Cheyne and Yossi stopped with me, and made me laugh through my frustrations of holding them back. I literally staggered to the top and collapsed. I looked back and forth between the monastery and the people bounding up behind me. Tears were pooling in my eyes because I couldn’t believe what my body had just accomplished, and at the same time I was angry that it couldn’t do all the things I asked of it. Cheyne came and sat down next to me and saw my sadness. “I just don’t understand why I can’t be like them,” I said. “Honey, they don’t have a chronic disease.” And that simple response carried so much compassion and gentleness that it allowed me to give myself a break. I’ll never forget how sweet that moment was with him.  

So we all know now that despite everything, I’m still alive. Thanks to science. After Israel and Jordan, I came back home and started nursing school. Smash cut to: drama, tears, frustration, questioning every life choice…..I am now a nurse. Hooray. I guess.

And I live in Asheville! I wish I could say I concocted some grand scheme to get here, but the reality is much less dramatic. A friend was applying to hospitals out of state and when she told me she applied to Asheville, I thought “That sounds cool. I’ll apply too.” So I did, accepted the job, and moved. And actually that is probably the most Erin thing I could have done to get here. 

I never imagined my life would unfold in this way. I feel happiness and contentment on levels so deep I didn’t know these wells ran beneath the surface. These mountains and these waterfalls have soothed my soul in ways I didn’t know I needed or wanted. I’m absorbing everything in this new space. My anxiety has decreased, and subsequently so has my pharmaceutical intake. My days off entail discovering a waterfall, hiking, watching the sun set over the mountains, exploring wineries, or just being outside in a general way and not wanting to kill myself because the sun is friendly here. I’m going white water rafting on class IV rapids this week. I fucking LOVE this.

However! It’s not all puppies and rainbows, guys. Don’t worry. I could never upset the balance of the universe. I hate being a nurse. Yeah, I said it. My hospital sucks. We are chronically understaffed, underpaid, and overworked. It’s not at all the fantasy they paint for you in school. But I’m not alone, and that solidarity binds me with my colleagues. The people on my floor are some of the smartest, kindest, supportive, open-minded people a girl can know, with the darkest senses of humor. My tribe. How did I get this lucky? Work simultaneously feels like a party and like walking the death march. I’m okay with it, because Asheville was never going to be long term. It was always a stepping stone to traveling. But now that I’m here, I’m not sure when I’ll be done with this place. I won’t be ready to leave until I’ve squeezed everything out of her. This may take a while. In the meantime, I’ll keep adventuring with my new adventurous friends. Plus I just recently discovered an authentic taqueria where I can fill up on real Mexican tacos to my heart’s content. I’ll be good for a while because honestly that was the only thing missing.

One thing I’ve noticed – I’ve stopped worrying about the future. I’m not sure when that happened, but I do know when I recognized it. I took myself to Mexico in January as a graduation present to myself. 3 weeks in one of my favorite countries – I was blissed out. I remember standing on my balcony in Puerto Vallarta, watching the waves roll in, the sun start to set, and a smattering of sailboats dotting the horizon and becoming silhouettes against the fading light. What a perfect time to feel gratitude and appreciation for my life. Conversely, what a perfect time for anxiety to rise into my throat. My heart rate increased as thought about not passing my NCLEX, and how all my plans would have to be put on hold. Or worse, I would pass, and I would move to Asheville and not make any friends and spend all my days in the dark and lonely and sad. I felt this panic climbing up from my bowels, clawing it’s way into my mind and trying to take root and I STOPPED IT. I’ve never done that before. But I literally spoke to it and said “No, no. Not now. Now is for Mexico.” AND IT WENT AWAY. And, spoiler alert: everything worked out better than I imagined.

This post is all over the place.  I guess that’s what happens when you haven’t posted in (gulp) years. But I’m still paying for this domain so let’s do this. Here are the bullet points:

  • I live in the mountains (How do I ever get used to this?? It’s extraordinary)
  • I’m a nurse on a Trauma Care floor 
  • I turned 40 last month and went to Charleston to celebrate with people I love
  • I upgraded from a manual stick shift to an automatic 
  • I’m still teaching myself how to play the guitar
  • I have lots of new friends 
  • I’m really happy 🙂
  • I own hiking boots and Tevas now (new topography = new shoes)
  • I travel somewhere new every month 
  • I get 12 weeks vacation per year (I arrange my schedule to have a week off every month. WHY WOULD I NOT?!)
  • My first floor patio is full of furniture and plants and other fun stuff and no one has stolen a thing (still surprised by this)

So, cheers to a new chapter, the magic of the mountains, and the continued efficacy of a good SSRI. 


The One with The Parentheses

Happy anniversary to my body!!! Four years now.

My surgery anniversary is always a special day for me. I like to reflect on the magical man who came into my life to change it forever (Dr. Mangal) and how he took a frozen pelvis and put all my parts back in their proper places. I’m constantly learning how to honor my body and work synergistically with her, instead of fighting her like I did in the past. We’ve developed quite the beautiful relationship.

I’m currently reading The Doctor Will See You Now and cannot recommend this book enough for us endo sisters, and those of you with loved ones suffering from the disease who want to understand it more.

I have agonized about my weight for a couple of years…(see my last post). I’ve done everything imaginable to get it off, to no avail. I mean, we’re talking a good 35lbs piled on within the past 2 years. And knowing my endo diet and my lifestyle…well it just didn’t make one god damn bit of sense, and my frustration (and dare I say, disgust?) was insurmountable. It wasn’t until recently that I freed myself from this. I returned to a previous doctor to start another gut/digestion healing program, and she flat out said that the weight was due to my anti-depressants so I could just forget about trying to lose it until I come off of them. And then I watched my frustration float away like a cool unicorn balloon. Because there’s nothing I can do. I’m off the hook. If this is the price I am to pay, well, bring on the tolls. Because this weight represents me getting out of bed. This weight means I don’t cry every day. This weight means there is no sadness pressing on my chest so hard that I can’t breathe. This weight means I have a bangin’ rack and a bangin’ booty.

I’ve been absent from the blog/FB/Instagram. Other than checking Facebook for local dance events, I don’t spend any time on it anymore. My Instagram account (I refuse to say “insta”) is mostly health and dance related too. For a while it was feeling like ALL I WAS TALKING ABOUT WAS ENDO…but then again, isn’t that the POINT of my blog?! Hello. Read the ‘about me’ section. I’m here to bring awareness to the disease and all the little perks that come with it. Maybe tiny insecurities were springing up, and I feared I would come across as complaining or wallowing or unable to move forward. Which is silly because I am none of those things. Yes, my life sucks 95% of the time. Yes, I feel terrible 100% of the time. But what I do with that is I take it, I pack it into a little ball in my hand, and I throw it at every target I find. I get shit done. Sometimes I sit and do nothing, but that’s due to the chronic fatigue. I wish I could run and sniff and jump and stare, but that’s only for deer. (30 Rock ref)

I read somewhere that endo fatigue has been compared to the fatigue cancer patients feel during chemo treatment. It’s for real, y’all. It is quite a serious obstacle to healing, as healing usually requires movement and doctor’s appointments and going to the pharmacy and cooking and eating whole foods….so how do I get those damn spoons to do it?

Anyway. I’ve been following a cystic fibrosis patient on Instagram who had a double lung transplant a few years ago, and recently had a second double transplant last week. Before her second transplant she was living in the hospital for 120+ days, unable to breathe or eat on her own. She’s 27. I have been following her journey and learning SO MUCH about CF, transplants and donors, and how an entire team works together to solve a case. I have been brought to tears many times reading her (and her family’s) stories as they post daily updates (the good and the bad) (what’s up with all my parentheses in this post?) about the day to day uncertainty if she will make it through the night. I sobbed after her transplant surgery when I saw she was able to walk without a breathing tube. It has ignited a curiosity about transplants and is something I really want to explore on my nursing journey. Without finding her, I’m not sure this interest would have developed. Which then made me realize that this is the point of my blog – to bring awareness like she has. Previously I didn’t know much about CF, what treatment looks like, and what life with CF looks like. I am so grateful that she shares so much so I can get a raw glimpse of the day to day. I can’t imagine the sense of fulfillment in being part of a team that gives AN ORGAN to a person to give them more time. Wow.

All that to say, I really need to get my shit together. This is what my current chronic illness sitch looks like….


Yeah, I know. That’s not even all of it.

The next 6 months I’m following several different treatment programs to reduce/eliminate some meds and heal my digestion that is forever wonky and most likely the cause of my depression, anxiety, blood sugar dysregulation, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, inflammation, inability to absorb nutrients and fats, dehydration, and chronic fatigue. I have even more motivation to get it done because I have to be well if I’m to succeed at nursing school. So I’ll try to write about my protocols for all you other spoonies…maybe it will give you some ideas.

Plus, ya girl is going to Israel and Jordan in September and I need to take with me a body that can function. I’m terrified my body will crash and I’ll be all laid up in the hotel, looking at the beach from my bed and screaming “whyyyyyyy!?!?!?” into the darkness while my friends go out and eat the best shakshuka in the world. This will be my first international trip since the India Nightmare in 2013 and mama wants to get it right get it tight.

Here’s our itinerary:
Aqaba (for scuba diving in the Red Sea)
Wadi Rum
Ein Gedi (kibbutz, sunrise Masada hike/Dead Sea)
Tel Aviv

Any recommendations are welcome. Specifically, a camp in Wadi Rum if anyone has done it. Currently need to get that booked. Also interested in any day trips from Tel Aviv.

Changes I’ve recently added:

  • Coffee enemas (to help with detox)
  • Hypopressive breathing/low pressure fitness (to rehab a pelvic floor ravaged by disease)
  • Forcing breakfast (it’s common to not eat breakfast when you have blood sugar issues)
  • Reducing Zoloft (SSRI’s are notorious for causing GI upset. Since I’m in remission, my doctor agreed that I can taper off my meds and see how I do. The main motivation behind this is to remove any culprit that can interfere with my digestion functioning happily)
  • Sitting in the sun immediately after I wake up (resets circadian rhythm + Vitamin D)
  • A ton of new supplements to kill some pathogens and opportunistic bacteria I tested positive for
  • A ton of digestive enzymes
  • Herbal teas ( I hate herbal tea. But I’m sold on certain ones with digestive benefits so I drink them for medicine, not pleasure)
  • Walk or swim after meals to keep blood sugar regulated
  • A strict morning and evening routine
  • A 10 step Korean skincare routine

Let’s talk about nursing updates. I’m in the middle of summer school with chemistry, and it ain’t so bad. Just finished up the lecture with an A (holla!) and start the lab on Monday. Then I’m done with prereqs and have the fall to anxiously await acceptance somewhere. UTMB is my #1, and they are in the middle of sending out emails for interviews, so my fingers and toes are crossed. In the meantime, I’m applying for TWU and UT Health. UT Health requires a different entrance exam (HESI) which I’m taking in August. UTMB and TWU require the TEAS and I took that monster in April. I’ve also started exploring out of state schools because it’s so competitive and I think I need to cast a wider net. Eeek.

Sidebar nation:
Here is a list of words/phrases I hate, in order from most to least:

Fur babies
Sorry not sorry

Oh man. It feels good to get that off my chest.

Here are some things that have made me happy the past couple of months:

Killing Eve (BBC) –> also the book that inspired the show
Marcella (Netflix)
Swimming in the sun
Korean skincare. (you guys. You. Guys.)
My Favorite Murder (foreva eva)
Iced coffee
Seinfeld reruns
Maternity jeans (fit my endo belly like a glove)

End of list.


My new hair. Summa summa summa time!


Posted in Endometriosis, My Life, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Endo Belly Love

[I’m not going to talk about Harvey. It’s too soon, and my dearest friends and family have been through horrifying experiences because of it.]


Hey you little scamps!

I’ve got some news:
I’m pregnant.


Hahahaha jk.
The REAL news is that I made the decision to pursue nursing school (glitter cannon! glitter cannon!). I started my pre-reqs in the spring, took summer classes, and now just have 2 more classes left before I apply. Thanks to my first degree, I only needed the science classes….since I took zero of them at A&M. Well, I think I took Geology, along with every other liberal arts major, to fulfill our one science requirement. You know how we do.

You can imagine I was scared to death of science. Can I physically do it? Am I smart enough? What is a cell?

Much to my surprise, I have a 4.0 so far. Am I proud? I am so FUCKING PROUD. I really doubted I could do this, and here I am…actually succeeding. Also, going back to school in your 30’s is a game changer:

1. I have good study habits
2. I have endometriosis = no social life
3. I really like Millennials

I know! I was surprised too. They do require quite a bit of hand holding, and don’t seem well equipped to handle life when it doesn’t go their way, but gosh are they adorable. Their innocence is beyond endearing, and my classes are so fun because of their engaging energy and huge amounts of kindness so many possess. I am delighted with my time at school and so excited to be on this path! I CANNOT WAIT to keep learning and growing and meeting exceptional people. I can’t wait to get my hands on some patients and root around in body cavities.

For reals though. If anyone has the scoop on schools with good RN programs let a sista know. It’s very competitive and I will need to apply to multiple ones and pray someone takes me.

Sidebar nation: I took a real vacation last month and went to visit friends in Bend, Oregon. My first time in the Pacific Northwest and it really is as magical as everyone claims. Fairies come and greet you as you step off the plane. I felt good there, ya know? When you just feel good in a place. Fit me like a glove made of puppy skin. There are heaps of adventures to be had, and the city is full of explorers!

However, the most exciting part of the trip was being able to walk around outside and not sweat. That’s a thing you can do. Just not sweat.

But really, what is so cool about it, you ask? I hear you.

Version 2

Driving from Portland to Bend, we stopped at the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood for lunch and this view. Such a cool place! I definitely stood out in my dress compared to everyone else in their mountain clothes, but I’m on vacation. It’s a vacation dress. And I want to go back and climb that mountain. Part of The Shining was filmed here too. Murder.

Version 2

This beauty here is Tumalo Falls. 20 minute drive from Bend (!), a 4 minute hike to snap this shot, and at 7:30AM we were the only souls there. Blissed out.


Elk Lake


Version 2

Meet the Deschutes. For when you just want a little nature walk by a body of water that runs THROUGH TOWN. Ahhhhhh! So much awesomeness!

There is a nursing school in Bend so I’m adding that to my list of places to apply. I would not be mad at living by the mountains. The waterfalls I can do without.

My birthday was in July and we went 80’s dancing at Etro and had a staycation at the Marriott Marquis downtown. Planning gives me anxiety, and I don’t enjoy large parties in general (anxiety), so the hotel room with a few friends was perfect. We spent all day at the pool. A lazy river in the shape of Texas, a sick DJ dropping beats, and wine for days on days on days. Like Vegas, without all the pretension and $34 cocktails. No cute boys though. Where my boys at?


It was such a happy day for me, and one of those rare occasions when my body wasn’t a burning pile of trash. Of course, later that night we went out for dinner and I crashed hard at the restaurant. I try to avoid making plans I can’t break since I’m at the mercy of my body. I started to get anxious about completely derailing the night but of course those lovely souls I call friends are full of compassion and understanding. They gladly wrapped up dinner, we hopped in a cab, and headed back to the room for jammies and Netflix.

I started Anatomy and Physiology on Monday (gulp).

Speaking of school, gather round and let me tell you about my worst day last semester. I’m at my fave study spot, Mercantile, in the Village. I get up to take a break, and walk outside to the parking lot. I was also wearing a tank top, and not my normal baggy shirt. Because on THIS DAY I woke up and decided that I was no longer going to be ashamed of my endo belly. It’s been a life-long battle coming to terms with always looking pregnant, and to avoid bad feelings I just wear loose clothes. But I had had enough. I had spent the past several months being really lovely to myself and trying to neutralize the not so nice thoughts I used to have. This is my body, it’s fine how it is, and if I want to wear a tank top – I’m gonna wear a tank top! Taking charge. Being a boss. I had been starving at the coffee shop, and the option was either a croissant or go hungry. I chose gluten. Gluten is enemy numero uno of endo. But I’m breezy! Carefree! Doesn’t matter what happens cause I love my body!

I’m outside, and this dumb blonde was in the tiny parking lot with a massive Jeep she had no clue how to drive. I’m watching her try to complete a 12 point turn and signal that I will help her. I get her out of the tight spot and as she drives by I’m mentally patting myself on the back for a good deed done for this pile of dead brain cells. She says, “Thank you so much! Hahahaha! I just don’t know how to drive this thing!”
“No problem,” I say.
Then the cunt asks me when I’m due. I pause for a beat. “…..I’m not pregnant.”
And she just says “Oh, haha!” and drives away. I’m left standing there like a sucker, tears rolling down my cheeks. THE ONE TIME I DECIDE I’M GOOD ENOUGH.
Marissa was inside, so I go back in and she gives me a good long hug and we both agree that lady should die in a fire.

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Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered

That’s the tagline behind my new podcast obsession – My Favorite Murder. I’ve been binge-listening since I discovered it. Here’s a little secret I’m harboring: I’ve always had a life-long fear of being murdered. For reals. And I always thought I was a weirdo. As it turns out, I’m not alone! I’m a murderino, and there’s a lot of us out there. Look no more, true crime lovers – we’ve found our home. Even the Facebook page gives me all the feels. I’ve found my people at last.

The hosts talk a lot about the 80’s. That decade holds a special place in my heart. It was such a shitty/amazing time for children to grow up in America. A time where we were given candy cigarettes so we could pretend we were child smokers. A time of ambiguous seat belt laws which meant we were bouncing around in the back seats unencumbered by safety. And of course, Rescue 911, which taught all of us how to behave in an emergency. Also, there were a ridiculous amount of kidnappings. I wasn’t a paranoid kid, but the fear of being snatched was definitely on my list of concerns, along with what would happen next in Sweet Valley High. With all that going against us, it really is quite the accomplishment that any of us have made it this far. I credit much of the fact that I wasn’t kidnapped to my unsupervised viewing of Unsolved Mysteries. 80’s babies, amirite? The theme music alone is enough to scare the shit out of you.

What Unsolved Mysteries taught me through dramatic re-enactments:

Never go to a second location with a stranger (guaranteed murder)
Never get in the car
An adult never needs a child’s help
Ghost vengeance is real

Thanks, Robert Stack. I have stayed sexy and not gotten murdered.

So, this summer hurt like a mother fucker. I went through a break up. Got sicker. Stopped drinking wine.

The breakup: I know everyone wants details, but I need to respect the privacy of a relationship.

Jk. Very late in the game I realized I had made the unfortunate decision to partner up with a pathological liar with rage issues. Red flag. There was lots of shouting in my face, manipulation, aggression and threatening behavior. All behind closed doors. He was the essence of laid back and gentle in public. The perfect actor.

The pièce de résistance was when he locked me out on the patio to “teach me a lesson”. Those words actually came out of his mouth. He let me back in and I told him it wasn’t his job to teach me lessons. His response: “Well, you weren’t validating me and I had to make you understand how I felt.” Okay. Only serial killers speak like that, so I was pretty sure my next “lesson” would be a sound proof basement. Since I don’t want to be murdered, I packed my shit and left. No crazy back and forth’s (I’m a clean-cutter) (ha! Murder pun), no chance of reconciling, no questioning my decision. In one fail swoop he was completely removed from our lives. All of us were left to pick up the pieces of a shattered relationship (he was fully integrated with my family) and deal with the confusion that comes when you are completely derailed by someone you trusted. My entire family felt the pain of this breakup. Everything was a lie. How does one cope with that and move on?

I am not blameless. I own that I did things that weren’t especially helpful. But this was an abusive relationship, and I’m divulging the details because a) it’s my blog and I do what I want and b) if you are in a relationship where your partner is exhibiting similar behaviors it’s time to escape. This is ABUSE. This isn’t love. No one should ever lock you out, teach you lessons, shout in your face, manipulate you, or lie constantly. If you feel unsafe because your partner has aggressive reactions, it’s time to leave yesterday. If you feel like you always have to walk on egg shells because you don’t know what will set off the time bomb – leave. These people are experts at making you feel like you exaggerate situations, or that you turn everything into “such a big deal” (I heard this so much I started to believe I was crazy). The truth is, no one should be told their feelings are insignificant. If you are in a similar situation, please reach out to me. Please. I want to help.

An alarming pattern with abusive relationships is that they begin rather peacefully. Rodrigo was supportive and sweet and seemingly the perfect boyfriend, as you could tell from previous posts. Maybe that perfection in itself is a red flag. Before you know it, you are in the throes of some pretty terrible stuff and telling yourself it isn’t that bad and maybe everything really is your fault. Like I said, master manipulators.

I have not seen him since June, and I hope I never do. I fear running into him, because I know what he is capable of, and I know he is unpredictable. I would feel very unsafe.

I am so thankful I got out, and I’ll be damned if anyone is ever going to yell in my face again.

Skkkrrreeeeeee subject change!

I saw a thyroid specialist, Dr. Arem. I was warned the appointment would be upwards of $700. No problem. I’m an expensive case.

During my physical exam he told me my thyroid was very inflamed and that my immune system was attacking it. Next I had an ultrasound that showed 2 large nodules on the gland. He told me I had to get those biopsied. Not being the fool, I said if it was all the same to him, I’d rather not do that thank you very much. To which he said he wouldn’t treat me unless I had this done. Well played. Then I went into the blood room with the other patients, we had some nice chats, someone recommended Nada Moo ice cream (changed my life!) and then I went to check out.

Your total is $2,525.”

I pause briefly with my credit card midair, thinking I misunderstood.

Then we both laughed. Of course you didn’t misunderstand, you stupid idiot!

Then my parking was SEVEN DOLLARS. Ugh. They get you from every angle. If this keeps going I will definitely have to marry for money.


Positive. I’m terrified this is all temporary and I will scare it away. Superstitious, but I’ve been let down a lot. I don’t want to get my hopes up and then suddenly go back to being a comatose lump in my bed, and everyone’s all “Where’s Erin? She said she was better.” “Ah man, she’s back in bed. Sick again.” “What? I thought she found the right doctor?” “She’s an idiot.” Or something like that.

Buuuuuuuut things are slowly changing. My nausea has all but disappeared. It’s pretty cool to not feel like vomiting every second of the day. I’ve also started walking on the treadmill because I WANT TO. I haven’t had the desire for physical exercise since September 2013, so this is huge. Also I’m very out of shape.

Oh! The wine! Ugh, this breaks my heart the most. After a couple of weeks on thyroid hormone, I noticed that the wine I was drinking tasted like vinegar. Blerg. No problem, I’m sure it’s a bad bottle. About 12 bottles later it’s confirmed – my taste buds are jacked. But only with wine. WTF??? Wine??? C’mon.

Oddly enough, champagne still tastes pretty darn good. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

One of the downfalls of thyroid disease is memory loss. In addition to that, I seem to have lost about 65% of my vocabulary. So, if you feel like you’re reading at a 2nd grade level, it’s not you, it’s me.

(Before I made an appointment with Dr. Arem, I read his book – The Thyroid Solution. HIGHLY recommend you get your hands on this if you think you are hypo/hyper thyroid.)











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Happiness is a choice!….and Cake Suicide (part four)

Turns out, Zoloft was the magic pill. It took about 3 weeks of dosage adjusting to completely stabilize and I’m now a different person. I haven’t been depressed since early February. This is SENSATIONAL for me. I can’t believe I get to be happy – an emotion so foreign to me. The veil of sadness has lifted. I feel like my world has exploded with Technicolor and I’m experiencing everything for the first time.

For those of you skeptical of anti-depressants, let me say it doesn’t create a new, rose-colored world of alternate reality. It just balances out your hormones so that you can DEAL with life. My insomnia is still here, and still raging. My GI still gives me the middle finger every day. I’m not jumping from one puffy pink cloud to another, coasting on a manufactured bliss. All of my health issues persist, and in some ways are getting worse. But not being depressed has helped me be able to cope with them in a much better way. It’s not the end of the world anymore.

I’ve started dancing again, consistently. That should always be the first warning sign for everyone: if Erin stops dancing, call the doctor. It stopped bringing me joy, so I stopped going.

But now?? Oh man…now, I’m experiencing it on an epic level of ecstasy. Seriously guys! Dancing makes me insanely ecstatic. My instructors, Eric and Karla of Danca Ma Mi Kizomba have brought so much happiness back into my life. Their classes are full of light and laughter and playfulness, and I look forward to every Thursday like it’s Christmas. I remember my first class after the meds had really started working and there was so much freedom and creativity flowing through me I was exploding with giddiness. This is why I dance. And it had been taken away from me for so long, that now that I have it back, I’m soaking up every second. I love the people I have met through kizomba – their warmth and openness and kindness. I love how Eric and Karla have opened up a new world for me. They focus on making learning so freaking fun, and teaching us so many aspects of the dance and African culture. What was always a sacred place for me had become scary, and they made it safe again. I’m eternally grateful for the joy they have brought to my life through African dance.

My boyfriend, my family, my friends. How can you describe a diamond, a fistful of jewels, chests full of gold? How can you convey its true beauty unless you are there to see it for yourself?

My parents and I have developed a special relationship because of my illness, and adding depression to the pile further strengthened it. I was hesitant to share with them what was happening to me. They grew up in a time where mental illness wasn’t discussed openly, and only “crazy” people went to psychiatrists. Not to mention their own lack of experience in having to deal with a mental illness themselves. I was afraid they wouldn’t take me seriously. That they would tell me to “choose to be happy”. Regardless, I shared everything with them – and of course, they were wonderful. They had seen me continually spiral downward and morph into someone they didn’t know or understand. When I finally shed light on my depression, it all made sense. They gathered me in their arms, and we cried together, and they promised we would get through this and find a solution. I would never have to deal with this alone. It was never “weird” to them that I had depression and needed medication. Whatever I needed to get well, they would support. No questions asked.

My sweet, sweet friends. I reached out to those close to me so they would know what was happening. Everyone responded with love and understanding and support. They were so proud of me for getting help, which in turn made me proud of me too. Then came the outpouring of love, because that’s how the people in my life are. It’s never a surprise, but it’s so spectacular to witness. Like the aurora borealis! (Side note: never seen the northern lights, but c’mon…wonderous!) Some friends backed away so that I wouldn’t feel pressure to engage in the friendship until I was ready (they told me they were doing this – it wasn’t just like they ghosted on me). Others checked in every day, filled with concern for my progress and offering to fly to Houston immediately to be with me. I have friends connected to the world of medicine who checked in every time there was a medication switch, and were always on call if I needed help, even connecting me to doctors in the middle of the night at particularly critical moments. All of them reminded me how special I was, and that I had no other option than to get better….that was my gentle way of paraphrasing: “you better not fucking kill yourself, because I will be so pissed.” My friends 🙂

Rodrigo has always demonstrated enduring patience with everything that happens between us, and this time was no different. Neither one of us understood what was wrong, or why I was behaving this way, but he was by my side through all the pain and confusion. Once we realized it was depression, our relationship instantly smoothed out (the Zoloft helped too) because I was better able to communicate when I was feeling low and what I needed that day, instead of completely shutting him out. And he understood what I was going through and was able to support me however I needed it. Now that I’m better, I told him it’s so much fun being with him when I’m not depressed. We were joking around, but there is a heavy truth to that statement. He really is so fun! I used to be too, but Fun Erin had gone away for a looooong time. Because of that, so much had changed between us, and I didn’t realize the strain my depression caused until I was on the other side. To be honest, I’m surprised it didn’t break us. I guess we are both stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

Depression is rampant and there is such a shame stigma attached to it that people are afraid to talk and get help. Especially about suicide. No more! Let’s discuss this stuff freely! Suicide suicide suicide. This isn’t Voldemort – we can actually say this word out loud. I want you to say this word out loud. Remove the shame from it – this is what I want people to understand. It’s ok to go through moments where you don’t want to be alive, and you think about death. It’s okay. It’s like…cake suicide. Cake and suicide, they are both words. That’s it. Just words. Let them have the same effect. Unless you’re diabetic. Then choose suicide. Except don’t. (too soon?) My point is, it should be just as easy to say “suicide” as it is to say “cake”. I think if that were true, more people would be open about feeling suicidal. And if they were, we could then ask:

“Why do you feel that way?”
“What is happening right now?”
“What can I do to help you?”
“I’m coming over right now.”
“I am here.”
“You are never alone.”

If you are silent, you can’t receive help. Receiving help is CRUCIAL to being a well-rounded human ya know. If you aren’t good at asking for help, let me challenge you for the month of April to go out of your way to ask for it. I’ve become a pro at this since getting sick and it’s a beautiful way for the people in your life to express their love for you. Who would not want to witness that? Let me tell you, it is an HONOR to be loved by the people who love me. You guys hear that? All of you who supported me in overcoming this? My family, my boyfriend, my friends…it is MY honor that you love me. Thank you for giving me your boundless love. I am the privileged one. I survived because of your love.

If you see me and want to talk about this post or my experience or share yours with me then please do! I’m happy to share and would love to listen and empathize. I am not ashamed of my depression. I mean, I write about having fingers in my bum, so it’s pretty clear I don’t have many boundaries. But seriously, let’s make jokes at my expense, let’s talk about your cake suicide, and let’s laugh, because when you stop laughing about shit, the whole world goes dark.

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Happiness is a choice!….and Cake Suicide (part three)

I was very hopeful that the meds would work. 2 weeks later, I’m still sobbing uncontrollably every day. I feel like there is someone sitting on my chest – this heaviness that I can’t explain, like a vice of sadness that is squeezing me all day long so I don’t forget it’s there…and I knew I should be feeling better by now…even if it was just a tiny bit. I have a complete breakdown and end up calling the emergency number for my doctor in the middle of the night and they told me to double my dose. A week later, with still no improvements, my psychiatrist/former boss decided it was time to switch to Zoloft.

Within a week of changing meds, I have a “good” day. And by good, I mean I woke up with the strangest feeling – I wasn’t sad. It was surreal to wake up and not immediately start the struggle that would last all day – the struggle of fighting against tears, feeling overwhelmed and anxious, being an emotional train wreck, not being able to cope, and trying to ignore the waves of sadness that crashed against me. My baseline was always sadness. If I stopped fighting for one second I would slip underwater and the day was shot. Then one day I wake up and I don’t have to fight anymore? The sadness just….isn’t there? Just like that?!

I couldn’t BELIEVE it. I could not believe that this is how people live – not sad. Emotionally speaking, life has always seemed so much harder for me than my peers. I would see similar situations in our lives, and compare my inability to recover with their calm indifference and wonder, ‘What is wrong with me?’ I’ve asked myself that question for decades. What is wrong with me? Well, depression. Totally eliminates coping mechanisms. I don’t say this lightly. During the crux of my deepest valley, I got very stressed about a simple discussion with my family and was only able to sit on the floor, rocking back and forth with my head in my hands, and scream for everyone to stop talking. Yeah, scary shit. I didn’t know why I was doing it. It was instinctual and reactive and visceral.

Luckily, I have a psychiatrist who knows me well and who I trust and adore, so I freely share with him that I waited too long to get help and now my brain has crossed over into psychosis. He first reassured me that there is no such thing as waiting too long, then explained that serotonin works as a lubricant for life, smoothing out minor bumps and snafus (what a word!) and helping us cope without getting overwhelmed. When you take serotonin away, there is nothing to help you cope – hence my aggressive reactions and inability to deal with stressors. Many of his patients he sees for depression come after a serious medical trauma, because medical issues drain the neurotransmitters you need to have balanced emotions. My levels were already low, so everything that I went through with the endo just continually slammed against me depleting things so much that I had no chance of recovery on my own.

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Happiness is a choice!….and Cake Suicide (part two)

But, where to begin? I remember from one of my Ginsberg tests that I produce very low levels of dopamine and serotonin, so the first thing I did was look up what low levels do to your body and brain. It described me exactly, even things I hadn’t realized, like monotone speech. That research then led me to mood disorders, which led to major depression. Which is a thing. Regular depression and major depression. At first I resisted, because to me major depression was not being able to get out of bed, not showering for days, and wanting complete isolation. Then I realized that WAS me. Most days, that was me. I couldn’t force myself out of bed. I didn’t shower. I didn’t answer my phone. I ignored everyone in my life and completely withdrew into myself and my mental illness. I didn’t want to be alive. I shut myself in a dark room and didn’t come out for days.

Happiness is a choice – lie. I would never have chosen this life for myself.

Sometimes my friends would see me out. It was rare, but I emerged from my hovel every now and then. What was that like for me? A fight. Fighting myself, fighting the depression and trying to keep it at bay, plastering a fake smile on my face, going through the motions and counting the minutes until I could get back home and isolate myself. I was exhausted because every day was a never-ending struggle to stay on top of the depression. It’s a determined beast though, and eventually I had to succumb completely.

After my research, I wasted no time. I’m an action taker. Once I know what the problem is, I will move swiftly without ceasing until I find a solution when it comes to my health. The problem is, it just took me so damn long to figure out the problem WAS depression. So, armed with my self-diagnosis, I contacted an old work colleague I knew from previous employment at a psychiatrist’s office. Full circle, eh? I thought it would be weeks before I could see someone and get help, and I already was at a critical level, but by some beautiful coincidence she was working at a psychiatric ER for Memorial Hermann and I was able to get in and see her that evening. She started me on Lexapro that night.


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Happiness is a choice!….and Cake Suicide (part one)

…and other lies we are always told…

Finally I’m back! There is a reason I’ve been gone. Not just because I felt like ignoring my 5 readers. I love you guys! I would never push you away. Unless I am dealing with depression. In that case, I will push you away.

So now the secret’s out: I’ve been living with major depression. Deep, dark, abysmal, soul sucking, life depleting depression.

I’ve had the symptoms for more than 2 years:

  • lack of energy
  • lack of interest in life
  • dropping away from social engagements
  • lack of motivation
  • insomnia
  • tumultuous emotions
  • no coping mechanisms
  • aggressive reactions, etc.

But I always related those symptoms to the insomnia I’ve had since Operation Total Body Shutdown in 2013. Insomnia and depression have almost identical traits. My depression tricked me – disguising itself as insomnia so I kept slipping further and further into a black hole devoid of escape. My family and friends were witness to my decline, but since I have a myriad of health issues and was actively working towards a solution, there was no cause for alarm. I guess we all just assumed this is what happens when a person is sick for a long time.

We go to St. Maarten for a family Christmas trip, which turns out to be a magical paradise of floating unicorn tears. Utter perfection. The beach is my happy place, and I think it really gave me the chance to physiologically relax in a way I’m not able to living in a busy city. I was sleeping 4 hours a night. Double what I was used to. So I would bound out of bed, feeling energy like I haven’t felt in years, scramble out onto the sand to see the sun sparkling on the sea, and wait to embrace the happiness that always accompanies such a scene. But it never came. Instead, I was wrapped in a blanket of sadness so thick I couldn’t breathe. Still! After 4 hours of sleep! My symptoms still remained! That’s when I realized something else was seriously wrong. If I couldn’t be happy on St. Maarten, then there really was no hope after all.

We arrived home, and I continue my descent into darkness, spiraling out of control with my emotions in ways that really frightened me. I was thinking daily about death, and how I wouldn’t care if I went to bed and never woke up again. I wished for that every day. I would alternate my time between just staring out the window or sobbing for hours. I needed help before those thoughts about death escalated to something serious. I wasn’t sure I could trust myself. I was so low, so sad.

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