Sick Bod

The first time I cried over my body, I was eight years old. I was crouching on my toes, poolside, my knees splayed out as I balanced squatting. I studied how my thighs widened in this position. So much so that the mound of pink flesh where calf and thigh meet, bulged angry and circular.

The Latest Greatest Colonoscopy

I know I have not written in a few months, three to be exact.  I still have a few stories to tell from my road trip; about my time visiting a Native reservation in Gallup, NM or my almost mental breakdown in a bizarre Christmas themed hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. But upon my arrival in Los Angeles, I hit a writers block facilitated by both having too much fun in a new city and anxiety caused by joblessness (still having fun in a new city, still anxious about employment).

Fortune Telling In Santa Fe

On a whim, I had my tarot cards read by a fortune teller in Santa Fe. A loud funny woman with a strong New York accent and dyed black hair. The following is the complete transcript of her predictions.

A Night in Albuquerque

I left Marfa in the early afternoon. I packed up my green backpack, tossing it alongside my food boxes into a little red wagon El Cosmico provided. I was heading to meet my childhood friend Rachel in Albuquerque. We were planning on meeting at the Albuquerque airport. I would pick her up at noon the next day. We would grab a bite at some online recommended restaurant and make the forty five minute drive to Santa Fe. I had chosen to stay just one night in Albuquerque so that when I woke, I could take my leisurely time, go to yoga, make breakfast, before picking up Rachel. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans and Rachel ended up on a ten hour pilgrimage to Santa Fe arriving almost a full day late.

Marfa

I have always been a weirdo. Not your lovable, attractive, manic pixie dream girl weirdo, more like your chubby, loud talking, entire rotisserie chicken eating weirdo. Growing up, I learned to be one of the boys. As the brilliant Gillian Flynn said in Gone Girl, “...Cool Girls are above all hot.”

Navigating Covered California, While Navigating to Marfa

The night before I left Austin for Marfa, I had terrible nightmares. I had been navigating the confusing Covered California health insurance website for a few months now. Despite having done what I thought was required, my application had been “pending” for weeks. T was kind enough to look at it for me and with his help I uploaded the final necessary documents. In order to access the market place and receive any kind of tax credit, you must fill out your expected income for 2017.

Austin, TX

I sat in traffic in Houston, Texas around 5:30PM. The city towering business offices and huge strip malls on either side. I sliced an avocado with my pocket knife and dumped the green inside into my lidded oversized plastic rice container. I drove through Houston spooning rice and avocado into my mouth with abandon. I had intended to wait until I got into Austin, to eat something local, but with the traffic and my huge meal bag in the passenger seat, I decided to eat “dinner” in traffic, plastic jug between my knees.

NOLA

The last time I was in New Orleans I did not go to bed before 5am. I was there for an art exhibition by Dashboard, a curatorial organization I work with in Atlanta. We stayed 6 of us (sometimes as many as 10) in a beautiful AirBnB in the Bywater, equipped with a pagoda and a  wooden hot tub with no temperature control. We never quite figured out how to safely sit in it, the temperature shifting between freezing and boiling human soup pot. My best friends and I laughing uncontrollably piled on top of each other on the couch. We chased chickens down the street as someone opened the chicken coop, moments before we left for the airport. To say it was fun would be an understatement. It was wild.

Leaving ATL

It was much harder to say my goodbyes than I anticipated. I woke up early to finish packing my food (you can see my obsessive list here) and put on my new bike rack and roof rack. After decking-out my car in the latest (and cheapest) across country gear, I loaded up, and drove out. Before getting too far, I stopped at a nearby coffeeshop to meet two of my best girlfriends for caffeine and one more laugh. I found my girls sitting at the back of the shop, diligently working on laptops and scanning their phones, both dressed in their finest Rihanna approved athleisure. I ordered my coffee and skipped over.

Saying Goodbye to Hannah

I headed to Emory Hospital to say goodbye to Hannah a few hours before I boarded a flight on a solo trip to South Africa. I got out of the Uber in front of the gleaming white glass entry and clipped my bloated camping backpack around my waist. I thanked the driver and trudged the unfortunately familiar walk down two long corridors and up the elevator to the hospice wing.

Packed and Ready to Go

Tomorrow morning I leave Atlanta and head to New Orleans on my first across country stop. It is bitter sweet leaving. I find myself oscillating between manic excitement and blind terror. Watching my friends and family well up with tears has been harder to take than I anticipated. It feels so wonderful to be loved and so heartbreaking to see the ones I love sad to see me go.

Diagnosis - My First MRI

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s about the time same my roommate, Hannah,  was diagnosed with her second bout of cancer.

On a cold December morning, I woke up early to get my first MRI of the bowel. An MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of the small intestine. It helps the doctor diagnose inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s. Because the procedure uses magnets, I removed all of my jewelry, including my nose ring and belly button ring; a choice I probably should have made before the year 2010 regardless. The machine looks like a person sized, space-age doughnut, with a narrow bed running through it.

LEAP - What I'm Eating and Why

Under the supervision of my nutritionist I started the LEAP protocol diet therapy following the results of my MRT (mediator release test). This test determines what food chemicals (both natural and non) your body is sensitive too and cause inflammation.  The test and 3 follow up sessions cost $600 out of pocket. No insurance company, that I know of, covers any part of it. This may seem like a lot, but given the fact that I was spending somewhere between $120-$200 a month on my Remicade alone  (the bills came constantly and always for different amounts) this seemed like a worthwhile investment.  After receiving my payment in full, the nutritionist mailed me an Oxford Biomedical MRT test kit, which I brought to a lab test facility. I went to a ANY LAB TEST NOW facility in a small shopping center in Marietta. The nurse at the testing center sat at the front desk singing along to Ariana Grande on the radio. She coughed and smiled as if she hadn’t been merrily caroling to herself moments before I walked in.

My Last Remicade Infusion

I refused Remicade infusion therapy initially. Remicade is a medication used to treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Remicade helps decrease inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The medicine is hooked into the user's arm via an IV drip and administered by a nurse every 6-8 weeks. The whole process takes about 4 hours. The doctor said it takes two.  

You May Ask Yourself Well How Did I Get Here?

It began in college with what I thought were hemorrhoids, an ill-fated trip to the doctor, and an uncomfortably handsome medical student. Or maybe it began as a stoned teenager with a penchant for the munchies and embarrassing gas. Or maybe it began at nine years old, mindlessly eating Lays Sour Cream and Onion Chips in front of the TV only to realize in horror that I had finished the bag, then proceeded to hide it under the couch, and open another one.