May, June, July, August: Summer 2014 flew by for me. I started a new job in the spring, muddled my way through my kidney problems and diagnoses, started new medications, went on vacation, came home and got a promotion,
and now August is almost over and now it’s September. It was a challenging summer, but a good one.
Where do I begin with my #kidneyproblems (I’ve decided to stop fighting and simply embrace hashtags)? Between insurance changes and long wait times before I could see a specialist, I didn’t visit a nephrologist (kidney specialist) until the end of May. The only way to find out for sure what was going on with my kidneys was to have a biopsy of my kidney. Alas, with more insurance confusion, it took almost another month to schedule and then have the procedure.
Within a week of the biopsy, though, I received a diagnosis: a kind of glomerularnephritis (kidney inflammation) called IgA nephropathy. According to my kidneys, I’ve had this inflammation for 5-10 years, without symptoms. When I caught a virus in the airport or airplane on my way home from Mexico, it set off the underlying kidney inflammation. All those unpleasant symptoms I had in April, May, and June (including kidney pain, overwhelming fatigue, and other unmentionables) had nothing to do with being in Mexico–I’ve had this disease for years.
After receiving this diagnosis, I started medications to try to reduce the inflammation, which I’m still taking as of this writing. Almost immediately after starting the medication, I felt like I woke up from a three-month long fog. I finally had energy again and I no longer felt fatigued all the time (just some of the time). Alas, even with these benefits, my medication also has its downsides, including sometimes causing me to wake up at 4:30 AM and making me want to eat all the time. It’s been a long summer of figuring out how to handle being on all the different new medications and coping with their side effects. In September, though, I may be able to start making some medication changes—I’m just waiting on my next nephrologist appointment.
There are few things I love more than vacation, and particularly a vacation at Lakeside. For one week every year, I am able to go to my happy place. I have a whole week to read, spend time with family, and eat delicious food, and it is glorious. While I was more tired than usual this year (thanks kidneys), I still found a way to finish twelve books, enjoy my family, and appreciate sunsets on the dock.
I started working at the library in April as a Bilingual Circulation Clerk. As will shock no one who knows me, I love working at the library. I have direct access to nearly any book I want AND I get to help people: two of my favorite things. In July, I went on vacation for two weeks in Ohio (and it was GLORIOUS). Upon my return, I was offered a promotion to Library Associate–and I took it! It meant a chance for more hours as well as a significant pay increase. Instead of working in Circulation, I now work at the Information Desk at the same branch of the library. I work with people from so many different walks of life–I never know what kind of problem people might need help solving. I sometimes help patrons find books or research information, but I primarily help troubleshoot computer, email, and internet problems. I also teach computer classes in Spanish twice a month. This new job has been a great opportunity for me and I’m excited to see where it leads.
As will surprise no one, my love of books has only been encouraged by my library job. I’m still not quite where I need to be to meet my 100 books-in-2014 goal, but I made a lot of progress this summer. You can check out my Goodreads page (if you have a Goodreads account) for the full list, but here are some of my favorites from this summer.
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber (memoir)
Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match by Amy Webb (memoir)
Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe (audiobook memoir)
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (true crime, polygamous mormons)
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman (young adult fiction, WWII)
A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier (young adult fiction, 1917 influenza epidemic)
The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger (epistolary fiction, law)
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (suspense fiction, dinosaurs)
End of Summer
At the end of each month this summer, I would think about writing that month’s “what I’m into” post. Alas, I could never muster up the energy and thinking skills to actually write something. Being sick all the time will do that to you. Here’s hoping that this fall, things will be different. I have some ideas about what I would like to write and publish here, most likely including reviewing some of my favorite books I’ve read this year. We shall see what my kidneys decide.