Sunday, April 21, 2013

1. Welcome and a Fresh Start

Welcome to Living in Iowa, the home base of yours truly, J. d’Artagnan Love. Some of you are previous readers and may notice I killed my previous blog. I’m starting fresh with a more focused approach to blogging.

As many of you may remember, back in September of 2012 I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I was then consumed by research, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, bouts of random illnesses and other stressors that took me out of the writing game for quite a while. I’ve had to find what many people dealing with chronic illness call my “new normal.” I have new limitations, new healthy habits to develop, new medications, and new ways of understanding my own needs. This takes up a lot of a person’s head-space and in the previous few months, I’ve been unable to clear room for blogging here.

I’ve learned so much in the past few months about what I am dealing with concerning my health, and it isn’t pretty. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a genetic disorder. It turns out that the lupus was a misdiagnosis but not too terribly far off as EDS and lupus are both autoimmune and share similar symptoms. EDS is a disorder in which my collagen and connective tissue is faulty and causes chronic pain, easy injuries, chronic fatigue, higher than normal susceptibility to illness and skin conditions. My new normal requires a lot of attention on staying healthy and balanced. As a result I’ve had to do some soul searching as to where I wanted to go with Living in Iowa.

I’ve decided that I most likely will not be able to post daily and that I want the focus to be less personal and more informative than the blog previously was. As a result, my focus areas will be:

Iowa Fine Arts and Culture: This was a huge part of Living in Iowa (LII) originally and will remain the largest focus of my writing here. I will complete interviews with artists, musicians, writers and more across the state of Iowa. I will also cover great travel spots, sports teams, interesting businesses and restaurants. I don’t want you to lose out on the wonderful interviews already completed so I will be re-posting articles from the previous version of LII. There will be a mix of old and new until all the previous posts are re-posted.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: Now that I know what I’m dealing with, research will be an important part of my journey. It feels unethical to do research on this disorder and not share it as there are many others suffering and looking for answers.

Cooking: Oh, Lord, do I love to cook. EDS often creates problems with the gastrointestinal system and pain levels are also strongly affected by diet. So, I’ll continue posting recipes some of which will be connected to my "new normal" and some of which are just freakin’ delicious.

Photography: I’ve started working as a professional photographer on the side and while this probably won’t take up too much room on this blog, I might post occasionally on the subject.

Psychology: I’m about finished with my second master’s degree. The first was in English and this degree is in psychology. I love the work I do in this program and find it pertinent to share interesting information with you about staying healthy mentally and emotionally. I am focusing specifically on trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in my thesis work and will likely focus on this in my posts. My goal is to create empirically sound, safe, free help for those suffering from PTSD.

Travel: I love to travel and always will but new health and financial restrictions have limited my ability to do much of it. I will still cover every trip I take but they won’t be as frequent as they once were.   

Other areas of interest: These areas most likely won’t take up much room, but will visit occasionally and include the following topics: human rights, feminism, freelance writing, freelance editing and proofreading, education, book reviews, arts and crafts, fashion and design, money saving and financial tips, pets, and gardening.

I hope you stick around for another go at this. Thanks for all your support in this process! If you have questions, comments or concerns, you can reach me at j(dot)dartagnan(dot)love(@)gmail(dot)com


(Photo (c) Keri Brecht Photography)

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