Wow. I can’t believe it’s been almost an entire year since the last time I updated my blog! 2016 was … well, let’s just say it was a rough year for me. And apparently everyone else, too. I’ll do a quick recap to catch you up on what’s been going on:
Winter/Spring 2016: School, school, work, and…yep. School. Grad school pretty much ruled my life in 2016. Between classes, my job, and a few other exciting things (moderating panels at NoVaTeen!) there was absolutely no writing going on.
Summer: Mid-April, we found out that Eric received a grant to conduct pre-dissertation research in Freiburg, Germany. Enter a whirlwind of planning, packing, and hammering out a million little details. In June, we took off from Philadelphia and spent six weeks in a tiny village just outside of Freiburg, which is in the southwest corner of Germany. I also took a full course load and wrote 25,000 of a brand-new book (more about that later). Germany was AMAZING. It was also hard, especially because I don’t speak any German, and Eric was spending all day, every day elbow deep in the military archive there. We also took weekend trips to Berlin and Alsace, and even took a quick flight to Ireland to see Sarah and her family. In August, I was diagnosed with anxiety, started work again, and also found out that my anemia was back. Which leads to…
Fall: Fall was … rough. I started my final term of library school. It seemed like no matter what happened, my hemoglobin levels kept dropping. (A normal woman’s levels are at 12. Mid-August, I was at an 8. And they kept getting worse.) I was exhausted, weak, and sicker than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Walking from the car to the library exhausted me. I had a constant, pounding headache. I came home from work and went straight to bed. Even something as simple as washing my hair was hard–my arms would get tired halfway though, and I’d have to take a break. Mid-September, I thought I caught a stomach bug, because I kept throwing up. Turns out, my hemoglobin was the lowest it’s ever been…a 5.2, and my body was basically shutting down from lack of blood and oxygen. My doctor told me to go right to the ER, and I spent the next few days in the hospital (again) while doctor after doctor tried to figure out what was wrong with me (again). I had another two blood transfusions and started seeing a hematologist to get a course of iron treatments via an IV, since I obviously wasn’t absorbing any from the iron pills I’d been taking. My numbers would improve…and then drop right down again. It was so, so scary. No one knew what was wrong with me. I had test after test after test, and met with specialist after specialist. The only relief came from negative test results…which then led to more tests.
On Eric’s birthday in October, I was told I was once again under 6. I had another two blood transfusions and met with a surgeon, who thought he had an idea of where the source of the bleed was. At this point, I was ready to try anything. I went in for surgery the next day. When I woke up, I was told he’d found the source of the bleed and fixed it (which was good!) and how the location was the reason why it hadn’t shown up on any of the colonoscopies I’d had. The bad news was that I was on strict bedrest for the next two weeks. I also had a butt full of stitches, which meant I couldn’t sit down. It was agony. Never, ever again will I take for granted easy things like sitting or using the bathroom. I’ve never been in such extreme pain. At first, I couldn’t even read or watch TV. But slowly, things started to improve. The stitches came out. I had my final round of iron infusions. I was able to go back to work by mid-November (and I want to say right now, on the record, how amazing my coworkers were during this entire ordeal. I really, really love my job!). By Thanksgiving, my hemoglobin was at 11 (the highest it’s been in years) and my doctors are optimistic that this is behind (har-har) me.
Somehow through all of it, I still managed to keep up with my schoolwork, coordinate work events, serve as one of Drexel’s graduate peer mentors, and moderate the YA Author Panel at the PA Library Association conference. On December 5, I turned in my last final and finished grad school! The very next day, Eric and I went to DC for a tour of the White House and a Christmas Party at the Blair House with our friends Tory and Isaac, which was incredible. I took two trips to Cincinnati–one for my sister-in-law’s baby shower, and another for Christmas. We spent New Year’s with our best friends in the Poconos, said good riddance to 2016, and now…here we are.
Needless to say, I’m hoping that 2017 is a better year. I have plans, and as part of those plans, I hope to be updating things around here more often. And like I’ve done every year for the last few years, I’ve assigned myself a theme word for 2017:
It’s simple, getting back to basics. I want to write, and design, and yes, blog more! So keep your eye out. I have big, big plans for 2017.