You ask….WHY?

Have you ever asked WHY? Why did today have to suck…not that my day sucked but I did spend all my energy getting ready this morning for church and guess what… I had a flat tire on the way to service! Seriously…and I had gotten up at 7:30 a.m. (after being up until almost 2a.m.) only to make if halfway to service when the flat happened. Then I proceeded to spend the rest of the morning in a NTB waiting room as the tire was fixed. Def. not the morning I had expected….so part of me was like why?

One MAJOR why I have had in my life is ….why God…why did I get the card that said “Rheumatoid Arthritis” and then another card “Borderline Lupus” and then yet another card “Fibromyalgia” and so on…the list continues! You know when I first got dx’d at 23 years old…I was like WTF (excuse the french!). In my mind I was thinking ok…run some more tests (like you have been doing) and find a different answer (forge it…I don’t care)! So yes that day I wondered WHY!!

But then fast forward almost a year..I’m sitting in a hospital bed…I had been there for over a week..I was angry and frustrated. I was made because I wanted to get my nails done (yes I am strange!) And then I realized…you know what..seriously asking WHY is ok…mostly for me it is letting out my anger..but  I need to do something with my WHY!

So I did something with my WHY! I started working on a blog! It wasn’t a blog that shared tons of cool information (only occasionally!!). Instead it became a blog of life…living with Rheumatoid Arthritis/Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I wanted the world to know the good, the bad, the crappy, the great and the ACCOMPLISHMENTS that CAN happen despite the WHY that we say due to our disease.

And wow…since my DX so much has happened! I finished a Master’s degree (never thought that would happen!). I successfully flew to Rwanda, Africa! I saw Africa…with my own eyes…walked on African ground…a dream come true (and yes I want to go back AGAIN!).  I applied and was accepted to an EdD program (WOW! on the first try!!). And I have managed (so far..knock on wood) to go to class and pass the classes! AMAZING!! And wow God blessed me even more by being named a Barbara Jackson Scholar! WOW!!! DOUBLE WOW!!

And next week I will be going to present at my first conference! WOW! Yes I am nervous but I am excited! Yes I’m picturing the moment where I get up there and choke! I’m picturing all the people staring at me as I start walking up to present! But you know what…I’m going to practice and I am going to be confident. I can do this, I will do this..despite asking my WHY I will finish these classes I have begun! I have to finish..not just for me…but for others with this same journey!

I asked WHY this past Tuesday! I spent so much time the rest of last week and this weekend..just thinking. So many thoughts went through my head and I will tell you the moments of that day will be forever in my brain. I asked WHY a lot last week….I am still asking WHY! I am still anxious ( I guess you would call it that) about going to work tomorrow. The campus doesn’t feel the same…one day though I hope it does….but the key is to keep moving forward. To keep pushing for that peace we once felt on the campus. The key is to acknowledge what we lost (we lost our safety, we lost our peace) and to realize that most of all we have each other. That this journey of healing does not have to be just US! We can ask WHY but we still have to say ….I will get up tomorrow and I will move forward!

So yes as you can see I have asked WHY MANY MANY MANY times in my life…I look back over the years of my RA/Lupus/ Fibro journey and go wow…how life has changed. How much I have grown up! So much has happened…so much has changed…I’m growing up…I’m growing journey is bloosoming…one day at a time!

I encourage you…ask WHY! cry WHY! scream WHY! But most importantly….focus yourself despite the WHY!

We will be successful…we won’t let RA/Lupus/Fibro win! Yes we suffer, yes the fibro fog is so bad we cannot figure out how to turn our car on some days (myself include)…but you know what…we can laugh about those moments (maybe not at that moment but in time). And we can lean on each other to get through our tough days! 🙂

So to the world out there…here is a future doctor…I cannot wait to see how I can change the world…even though I am asking WHY!



Thinking….yes still thinking

I woke up today and spent a lot of time quietly thinking…while trying to do my homework! I am still amazed at how much my body hurts. You would think with steroids now for three days I would have a little less pain….yet that is not the case!! 😦 But at least being for the most part home bound by the pain etc. I am getting homework done…albeit not as fast as I would like.

My Molly got her first bath today at the groomers! She did lovely and she looks beautifully clean 😛 I posted a picture of her on my Facebook page 🙂 And she got a cute little dress. I will post a picture of her when she sits down 😛

Well it has almost been a week since the shooting…still so much more to process! But it is a process to processing….confusing right…but true! Sooo more thinking and more processing…and hopefully soon I can say it has all been processed. Although I’m thinking it will take a lot longer than I would like 😦

Thank you all for your hugs and support! That means the world to me! 🙂


It did happen…

I woke up this morning and I think my first thought was …wow yesterday did happen. It was surreal returning to campus this morning…the fog was heavy and as I drove by the school for my entrance it was hard to believe that just yesterday our campus was crawling with SWAT, HRT, canine units, FBI,  and many more law enforcement officials. The campus was so quiet today….staff/faculty and students were still in shock. I cannot help how tomorrow will feel because the T/TH students (those who come) will be the students who were for sure there on that day…yes that day! The day we won’t forget!

I’m reminded how insensitive the news can be…the reports have not necessarily been the most accurate. I was reminded how cruel people can be asking questions like “Did you see anything good”, “did you see a lot of blood”, “oh you are fine now”, “how was it hiding under a desk” and much more. I think even more painful to read are the text messages saying things are good and I must be ok! Ok….that would not be the word I would use today! I won’t be ok for awhile!

The comforting texts were the ones simply saying “I thought of you today” Those texts spoke volumes of comfort! So tonight…again I’m catching myself replaying for the 100th time the events of yesterday (not last year…not another lifetime…not someone elses’ story…my story). Yes again…we didn’t have the outcome other campuses have experienced, praise God for that…but we went through a traumatic experience no one should go through anywhere much less where you are going to school. You expect to be want to be safe on a college campus. It is so sad with that haven of safety has been torn down.

I will never forget the words that brought fear to us all…I will never forget the fear in students eyes, the panic they felt, and I hope that if nothing else we can grow through this and use it for good…..

So today…just processing…


But it started as a normal day…..

Today started as a normal day….I cleaned my office up, I counted the hours until I could go home and take a nap but that changed. It changed the moment I heard students screaming ” shooter on campus!!!”

For a split second I thought it was a drill….but then I saw panic stricken students running down the hall. Reality sunk in and the rest….well some is on the major news channels and some…I still have to process. Well a lot I have to process ….there were so many thoughts that went through my head. So many feelings! The feeling of not us…not my campus…not my students.

The emotional roller coaster ride is still going….tomorrow going to work will be difficult…will be emotional! I made friends, I met colleagues I didn’t know existed.

But the experience has been….emotional….and I hope to share the story and I hope to find good in having been on campus today. There was a reason I experienced this surreal incident on my campus.

Tonight I came home…I know it could have been much worse….I’m thankful it wasn’t

Now I can see, now I can understand the feelings of others on a campus where there has been a shooting. You feel violated…my campus…my safe place…maybe physically safe but emotionally so many feelings!

I’m thankful for the teachers/professors, I am thankfully still that I work with college students. It is a tragedy that they…that I had to experience this emotional trauma. But I will learn something….I will grow…I will walk back on my campus tomorrow.

And I know for awhile I will sill see the SWAT officers, the HRT officers and the dozens of other law enforcement there today. I thank them for running into the building, for securing our campus and for assisting countless persons to a safe place. We evacuate and hide when there is a shooting on campus….they run toward it to protect us….THANK YOU!!!

Tonight there are many thoughts in my mind….but I hope rest come soon…and may peace soon follow!

The Ups and Downs

There is always an up and a down in life….I have experienced that over the past three weeks. There might be one day that I feel alright to do something, so I leave my house and go out (like today it was Sunday School).  But then after going out…I get body slammed back to square one. By the time I made it home after Sunday School, my throat was soooo sore! If I don’t get any better by tomorrow morning I will make a doctor’s appointment for sometime this week.

At least I made some progress with homework (an UP)!!! I have one small paper (5 pages) due and then I will have everything done for this week. So that is my one to do list for tomorrow. Then I hope to get ahead for next week, my goal is to stay ahead if possible…that way if I get tired or end up really sick I won’t be too far behind.

The ups and downs on this disease … very hard! It is very frustrating but yet again it is just part of living with a disease that will be part of my life until someone figures out a cure. That is not to say I don’t believe in miraculous healing (I def do) but sometimes I think we are so fast to want our burden/cross gone out of our life…that we forget to think maybe through that burden/cross we will be blessed. I know it sounds odd…you are like really…my life can be “blessed” because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis or my Fibromyalgia…have you lost your mind!  And yes it is a very different way to look at things I guess..but that is my approach. I could spend days praying (which I do) for a cure/to be healed…and then I would probably be frustrated because I would expect it to happen like yesterday. I would walk around going God really why haven’t you healed me yet…I have prayed and prayed??? I can picture God looking at me going…really JJ…why don’t you try and see the GOOD, the BLESSINGS, the FAITH, the WISDOM and the COMPASSION that  these diseases/this journey have grown in YOU! Because yes honestly I have grown up so much with these diseases!!!   Despite the ups and downs…it seems like I keep on learning…which is a good thing.

So today…despite a down…I am happy that I can see something positive! I am happy that I know there will be another UP soon :). I am excited for my classes…it seems like being back in school is exciting and it makes me want to get back into journals etc. so I can start writing studies. I am excited to be working on my computer and reading books on qualitative design. But to prevent another DOWN, I am working hard on BALANCING. Today I did not take a nap 😦 and I am thinking that is what let to this current down.

Tip from…REST/BALANCE 🙂 It is HARD especially for someone like me but YOU HAVE TO REST AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!! This I say to myself ….over and over and over and over again! 🙂

Signing off..I hope my ramblings are coherent…I’m ready for my nap..wait my bed 🙂



One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days??? You didn’t get much sleep the night before, you lay down to take a nap and you cannot sleep, your head feels stuffed up from your cold, your throat hurts and your body just feels body slammed. One of THOSE days! Yes today is one of those days. I’m not sure if it because of the two weeks of sickness…that continues and seems to never end….or the renewed class/studying/researching. Or maybe a combination of all of the above.

So today I have spent most of my time in my office…I figured if I cannot sleep, cannot go out, and cannot seem to get well…I might as well use my energy productively. I am making strides on my homework! YAY! And my trusty dissertation/RA dog (Molly) has been at my side all day. She slept all night while I watched aimless movies on Netflix. Sometime about 2:30a.m. when she realized I was not in my usual curled up sleeping position, she decided that I needed extra love. And decided to curl up next to my legs for more comfort. Then when I got up she jumped right in my lap to give me some love while I attempted to nap. As I moved into the office Molly decided she would curl up on her dog bed, now moved next to the desk. And here she sleeps, curled up in a little white ball of fur. I love having this 9 pound dog just loving on me all day.

Granted I love my cats (my two spoiled brats). But cats do not tend to love on you even when you need it. Precious and Pepper love on me about 9:00pm when they want their food. After that or before then…the couch gets their love. So having Molly who just follows me around and loves on me…even when I feel so bad…is nice!!

I wrote on full discussion board post today, I read one journal article, one reading assignment  and am about 80% through one other chapter. I have a writing exercise to do and an IRB proposal to work on. Thank goodness Monday is a holiday! I hope to make some strides though this afternoon/tomorrow so that I can rest some more on Monday.

Being a student, doctoral, graduate or other, is tough! If you are studying you have made a choice, an admirable choice. You have a passion to gain academic knowledge despite the cost to your life. You have to study, write papers, and learn information that might or might not be fun to learn. You realize that you have to take time away from your friends, family and other social activities to make your deadlines. And if you are doing all the above with Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus (or any other invisible illness)….wow it is an amazing feat. You have to be proud of what you are doing.

And that is not to say that if you did not go through higher education, that you are less of a person! TRUST ME that is so not so! I am proud of people who have full life with out the higher education. I was planning on doing that but I fell in love with being a student. But this life is not for everyone, if you are not passionate about it or feel like it is you…that is fine! Go and do something that you love, that is the key. Do something with your life that you love! If you do not love what you do….life is just harder. If I did not love school…trust me I be miserable.

In all…just living for us spoonies and squeakers is a handful. And you know there are days just getting out of bed…should earn me a medal (and you to). But the days I can do other things…I am thankful! I am thankful that today I can still study! If you are studying…I tip my hat to you and say…”lets do this!” Let’s finish this road strong! If you are thinking of doing it! We are hear for you! If you decided this road wasn’t for you, then lets party when those of us studying are done! Ya’ll who are not in school get dibs on planning the big party! : )


A Day Studying

Here is a small insight to my crazy day in my office! I woke up at 6:30 but after about an hour up, I realized I needed to go back to bed! My head cold is kicking my behind! I’m so tired of sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose!

I’m making progress today…and I had some awesome company!






First Class Day!

I made it!!!! It was nice to be driving home last night after class! It was so nice! Why? Because after being so sick last week and to still have my cough/cold, I was a little worried I would not be able to make it! But I did it! I’m excited to be back on working in my research, and studying!

Studying is fun, probably a good thing since I’ve become a professional student lol! Today I worked a few hours in my new office 🙂 Molly was sleeping in my office next to me and the house was nice and quiet. I realized that I need a bigger desk! Hahahaha I like to spread out my research, probably the biggest desk would not be big enough!

And even better news! I am going to San Francisco! My first time that far west, and my first time to California! I will be going later in the semester for a conference, hopefully I have time to sight see some! Any good things to check out??

I’m off to rest, tomorrow I hope to spend all day reading and writing! 🙂