Saturday, September 21, 2013

30. Fall in the Valley

It is fall here in the Cedar Valley. Fall tends to represent a time for renewal and fresh starts. I think this is because of the connection my brain makes to going back to school. The summer went by so fast. I can't claim it to be the best summer I've ever had, but it wasn't the worst either.

Perusing Art This Summer
I was sick this summer quite a lot. I had two rounds of bronchitis and bronchitis generally costs me 6-12 weeks of recovery time. I had planned to attend a wedding in July and was unable to due to illness.

"Cave to Canvas" by Rene Gruau

I had planned to attend the Iowa Irish fest and was unable to due to illness.

"Golden Apples of the Sun" by Mo Kelly

I had planned to attend my 10 year high school reunion and was unable to due to illness.

"Waterfall" by Amy Genser

I had planned to attend Cedar Valley Pride Fest and was unable to due to illness.

"Elements-Fire" by Cassiopeia Arts

Are you catching on to the pattern here? All of my summer plans were a bust thanks to my body. Right now I'm through the worst of the bronchitis symptoms, but I have to be very careful still as fall allergies can wreck havoc on my immunity. My pain levels this week settled into something more manageable and my biggest problem right now is my right knee. My knee cap just does not want to stay in its groove.

To avoid falling into a pit of resentment and self-pity regarding my summer, I found myself surfing the web and looking at art. I'm not sure why exactly, but doing this made me feel like my summer was less of waste.

Thesis Work
My thesis work is coming along slowly but surely. I made it through the first round of approvals and the next hoop I have to jump through is the IRB process. Once my IRB application is approved, I can move forward and actually start collecting data.

I'll be researching the impact introducing a therapy dog into CBT sessions may have on treatment outcomes for veterans with PTSD. My committee seems to believe that this will be a publishable study upon completion so I have my fingers, toes, and everything crossed that I will get approval soon to move forward with the work.

Looking Forward and Turning the Page
A phrase that has consistently cropped up in my life lately is "turn the page." I've thought about the phrase a lot and spoken with many friends about what the phrase means to them. For me, the phrase, in part, means to turn the page on this summer.

This summer felt so much more like existing than living. Each day I seemed to only focus on how I was going to manage to get through the day without breaking. Living with chronic illness and chronic pain can do that to a person. It can turn you inside out in a way. Rather than think about what to look forward to in a day, I've been thinking about how to avoid the pain the day may bring. I let pain and illness take control and make decisions for me. EDS became this strange entity this summer that not only caused me problems physically, but broke me down mentally as well. Time to turn the page.

I am hopeful that with fall being one of my favorite times of year, I'll be able to sweep the cobwebs out of  my brain and sit in the proverbial driver's seat once again. Wish me luck.