Monday, September 14, 2015

One Match

It's been four whole months since my last post...and what a crazy ride it's been! I don't want to just list a bunch of stuff that has happened...I'd actually like to impart some wisdom and hope with this post, but I know many of you are wondering "what's been going on?!" So I will do a QUICK recap of life and illness for those that are wondering.

Life Recap:

1. I won first place at the Latino Book Awards!! Island of Dreams is the official winner of the Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book Award! It was an amazing honor, a great experience, a fun trip to San Fran and I am truly greatful. Here's my Acceptance Speech

2. My sister had a baby!!! She's is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen! Her name is Brooklyn Luna Monrreal and she was born on August 1st. I just want to kiss her face off!
Brooklyn Luna Monrreal
3. Lupe's aunt passed away in July. It was sad. But we know she lived a long full life.
4. I start working as an artist in residence with the Alley Theatre today. I'm excited to get back to teaching performance poetry and a little theatre. It will definitely make me a happier person.
5. A flash fiction piece (Neurology Suite 101)I submitted to Telling Our Stories Press ages ago was finally published. - Reflections
6. I got into a car wreck in early July, spent 6 weeks without my car. It sucked. But I wasn't hurt so that was a good thing.
Car Wreck :P
7. I resigned from the Scleroderma Foundation board. I had a lot on my plate and didn't want to commit to something I couldn't give 100% to. My energies had to be focused on my health and on my family. I will still volunteer for the organization but only when I'm able.

Health Recap:

1. I have entirely too much protein in my urine still. They did a kidney biopsy and it shows I have Class 5 and Class 3 Lupus Nephritis. Basically that means my kidneys are inflammed (surprise, surprse) and that I'm leaking protein.
2. We are in the process of getting me approved for Rituxan infusions.(This will help kidneys) I'm not excited about it, but the other alternative (Cytoxan) would've left me without ovaries...not. good. There's an 80% chance this will help get me into at least partial if not full I AM excited about that possibility.
3. I have a really ugly infection on my ring finger...but it looks like it's drying up and will heal on its own. The last thing I need is another amputation.
4. Lung inflammation and pleurisy persist. But, it's not as bad and I'm finally able to sleep lying flat!!!!
5. All my other symptoms are very quiet which is nice because it means I have energy, little to no pain or muscle aches, GERD is under control as long as I eat right, and fatigue is mostly gone with only a few minor flares.

So...that's about it...and that's a lot! I'm sure there were a few other things I missed in there, but those are the most important that I can think of at 7am on a Monday. Now..on to the compelling stuff...

All of the various life and health ups and downs over the last 4 months have given me a lot to think about. I have been on the highest of highs- winning the book award- and on the lowest of lows- waking up in the middle of the night and getting my best friend to convince me out of taking a bottle of pills. I've seen the light and been the light, but I've also been surrounded by a pit of darkness feeling hopeless, angry and afraid. Sometimes within a matter of days. It was not an easy summer to say the least. But I am pulling through.

I started to go to therapy again, but have decided not to continue, mainly because I can never seem to find a good one, but also because they're not telling me things I don't already know or do. So, I just need to be better at doing the things I know will help - yoga, meditation, writing, laughing.

I also think that my break from social media the last month and a half has really helped me to refocus my emotions and my energies. For those of you wondering where I disappeared to, I left Facebook and Twitter because it was only feeding my negative side. And that was all my own doing. I felt like I needed validation for my feelings and I needed to be heard about how much pain and suffering I was in. But I realized that that was only making the pain and suffering worse. So, I just up and left. No goodbyes, no explanation..just woke up one morning and deactivated all of my accounts. And I apologize to those people who freaked out because of it. Many friends and family sought me out or asked Lupe what happened because they were worried about me. So I'm sorry for causing concern, but I needed the break for myself, for my soul, for my sanity.

I plan on being back, but my posts will be limited to sharing my blog, poetry events etc. I will use social media for positivity and encouragement, rather than as a platform for pain. I don't want to give negativity anymore power than it already has. After all, you get what you give. What you put out into the world comes right back to you right? So I only want to put out hope, joy and success.

This summer I have been inspired and uplifted by Rachel Platten's Fight Song. Every time I hear it, it makes me cry (in a good way) and makes me feel like I can keep going. I know that my purpose in this life is to write and to teach. The more of that I do, the happier I am. I forget that sometimes. But I'm working hard every day to stay focused on what matters and why I'm here. My words and my stories, my blog and my book(s) are my one match, and I'm make an explosion. (Maybe an MFA maybe a Ph.D..maybe "just" another book?)

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