I’m starting a year of Rituximab infusions.
This is an IV biologic medication that kills your B cells. Yes, I’m wiping out a chunk of my immune system in the middle of a global pandemic. Yes, I’ve just signed on to do this every three months for at least a year. Rituxan is not a medicine you get prescribed unless you’re seriously ill—and apparently I am.
That last part is not exactly news to me, though it’s something I don’t like to admit. My baseline hasn’t met diagnostic criteria for PANS in over two years, meaning my mind is basically fine, some brain fog notwithstanding. Thus, I’m often able to work part-time and enjoy it, and I’m able to be social with my friends virtually—neither of which were so easy when I had classic PANS.
Continue reading “Done Treading Water: Why I’m Really Doing Rituxan This Time”
Last week, I did something wild: I signed myself up for a multi-week professional development program.
I already have so much going on with finishing my book, but I’d applied a while ago to this selective program. So once they accepted me, how could I say no? Besides, I believe it will also indirectly help me with my book by making me structure my days better.
The fact I’m attempting this program is a big deal to me for a lot of reasons, but largely because of what it says about my mental state. For so many years while fighting PANS, I just didn’t have it in me to invest much in myself or my career. On the outside, my professors would praise my efforts because I was successful between flare-ups. On the inside, it was often half-hearted, and I constantly questioned if I even wanted to be in my field anymore or not.
Continue reading “Self-Sabotage: Peeling Back the Onion of Baggage from Being Sick”
Today was Graduation Day for my master’s degree…
But I’m not graduating.
And I don’t mean that I’m not getting an in-person ceremony, the same as the rest of the class of 2020. I mean that I’m not graduating because my illness forced me to leave grad school halfway through a degree.
For years, I had planned on going to grad school, getting a PhD, and then becoming a professor. I liked school and liked the tutoring job I had in college, so I thought teaching and researching at a university was what I wanted. Continue reading “Remember M.E.: Why I’m Missing Today”
“Choose one,” the masked man growled as I stood in the doorway, frozen in fear. “It’s either the painting or the pearls.”
I tried to get the words out, but the mere sight of the crowbar in his hands and the open window had already stolen my voice. I reached for my purse to find my phone, not daring to lose eye contact, but before I could call 911, he whisked out a lighter from his back pocket.
“You have five seconds to pick one or I’ll burn the whole place down instead.”
Continue reading “The Criminal No One Can Stop: When Illness Is a Crime Scene”