Learning, Growing, Healing: 2019 in Review

I believe that every day, every week, every month, every year, we have the opportunity to learn more – about ourselves, the world, and life – the opportunity to grow – as people, as individuals, as independent beings – and that we can heal – our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. We have the opportunity to do all of this, but whether we do or not is about choices we make. The past few years I have made it a priority to do all of the above. I have made choices to all of these things. Here is my 2019 in review.


I am strong, and independent, but can allow myself to think and feel how I do. The two aren’t dichotomous, they can co-exist. I can be strong and vulnerable, happy and sad, forgiving and wounded.
I received Mental Health First Aid certification in January, and then began my Masters of Arts (Counselling Psychology) in May. I have learned, and am learning how to help others in times of need.
I have traveled to the States (Arizona), to Central America (Costa Rica) and across Canada (British Columbia). As I travel I interact with local people, and learn about cultures, identities, and the world. I am open to learning and experiencing the world around me.

qNh8pSOiQ862lM5C28ZUTwSan Jose, Costa Rica – May 2019


I believe I can and should change. Change and growth go together. In moments where I don’t like my reactions, I work to change them. Growing isn’t perfect, but it’s necessary in order to make my life better, more meaningful, and even easier. I utilize friends, experiences, school, work, volunteering, and personal therapy to seek new ways to grow and become the person I truly am.

Growth is an interesting and important process.
Vancouver, Canada – August 2019


When you have an illness of any time, healing can be a difficult thing to think about, let alone do. And yet I have found opportunities to heal my body through the use of alternative medicines, like CBD, by building strength through going to the gym, and by pushing myself when I need to be pushed, and pulling back when I need to pull back. It’s not perfect and not a cure, but it can help manage the day-to-day.
Through this blog, doing guest posts on other blogs, and talking to friends, family, and others about life, experiences, illness, heartache, and so forth, I heal my heart and mind. Sharing provides a huge relief, and an opportunity to heal.

IMG_0475My motto encompasses learning, growth and healing.

I hope that everyone else’s 2019 was a place for learning, growth, and healing. If not, the new decade begins tomorrow. Have a Happy New Year! And be safe tonight!

Into the world of Cupping

Last week, when I was at physio for some nerve pain in my arms, she asked me if I’d like to try cupping. (Technically first she asked me if I’ve ever tried cupping before, which I haven’t). Seeing as I’m always a believer in trying alternative medicine techniques I decided why not. I kind of new about it already, as my friend had asked me about it a month prior. She thought it looked like it would hurt and cause a lot of bruising (I’ve looked at pictures online and everyone seems to have bruises). But first had experience is always the best before making judgments so off we went.

cupping_therapy1Image from: https://angelasamuelsrmt.ca/cupping-therapy-2/

To be honest, it felt kind of weird at first. It’s like a little suction onto your skin. My physio rolled it back and forth along my arms. I was lying down so I didn’t actually watch the procedure. She did ask me if it was too painful. It wasn’t. Actually, it felt like the “good pain” of a massage. Where it hurts but also feels good and you know it’ll feel even better later. It was maybe 5 minutes on each arm (as we did a few other techniques which work well for me too). Luckily, I did not get any bruises.

Cupping+diagram1Image from: https://www.ufitclinic.com/blog/benefits-of-cupping-massage-therapy

Long term effects? Well, again, like a massage, I was kind of sore the next day. But after a few days I did notice that the pain in my arms had lessened. Was it cupping for sure? It’s hard to say. Like I mentioned, it wasn’t the only procedure we did. However, it was worth doing and something I’d try again. Anyone else out there have any thoughts on cupping?

Another 6 months, Another appointment

As many people with an autoimmune disease will tell you, one of the major problems is getting an actual and accurate diagnosis. Many people wait years and years before getting one (I’ve read stories about some individuals waiting up to twenty years). And yet that’s where I find myself at. While my ANAs have been very high in the past, and I have chronic pain – though its not concentrated to the joints and often runs along the nerves and muscles – and I have fatigue, that isn’t actually enough for a diagnosis. On my visit to my rheumatologist last week she doubled-down on her lupus diagnosis from a few years ago. Now we’re fibromyalgia.

WsZ19goHSlyhimnYpy5C9QI gotta let my happy shine through.

That’s not ruling out the possibility of lupus, but with no other diagnostic criteria – the in form of symptoms or bloodwork – there isn’t any reason to conclude it is lupus. However, she didn’t take me off plaquenil, which is used to treat lupus. Instead, she ordered more bloodwork, an ultrasound and an MRI. But where does that leave me? Where does this leave every patient who clearly has something wrong but isn’t given definitive answers?

+vom9R1EQXCFKkDa5GiTLQMy coworker asked me today how I manage to live while always in pain. My answer is resilience.

It’s hard not to get frustrated. And one thing I’ve worked on in personal therapy is the ability to identify emotions that go along with pain, and yet work through them at the same time. Ultimately, is it helpful for me to be frustrated? Not really. Is it more beneficial to go with the flow? I find it to be easier on my mental health and stress levels if I do. Will I eventually get a diagnosis? Probably, but I also hope I don’t have to wait another seventeen years for one.

downloadMy current answer to all of life’s questions is Baby Yoda (yes I know it’s not actually Yoda).

If anyone reading has any experiences they’d like to share, I’d love to read some comments. It again makes me interested in doing a documentary on the crazy world of autoimmune diseases.