Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Question #108 - Am I pleased with what I look like? If I could change any part of myself, what would it be?

I was not comforable with how I looked until probably the past 7 years or so. I really hated how I looked growing up. I had huge glasses, lots of acne, braces for several years, and I just did not think I was all that pretty. I never had a boyfriend in high school, and I never got asked out until I was a junior in college, so I thought a lot of that had to do with my looks.

I think I have gotten a bit more confidence in myself over the last several years, funnily enough, after needing to wear oxygen a lot more. I think the fact I wear it has made me not care what people think. I've also gotten a lot of compliments on my looks, many from complete strangers. I figured if they think that I'm hot, I guess I must be! LOL!

I think the one thing I'd change about myself is probably my skin. I still deal with acne, and I can't tell you how frustrating it is. I keep trying new skin products, and I even asked my gyn about going on Yaz, which is supposed to help with acne. While I think it's helping a little, it's still early to tell whether or not it's actually going to really work. It's just frustrating to be 33 and STILL dealing with acne!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Question #107 - What do I think of myself?

I think that I am a pretty upbeat person, as much as I can be with living with PH. I am a caring person, usually the one calling or emailing people I haven't heard from in a long time to find out how they are doing. I love my family and friends more than anything else. I always want to make sure they are doing well. I think I am a person who is pretty easy going. I like to hang out with family and friends, watch movies, go for coffee, whatever. I don't usually complain to much, or at least I try not to. I think that I am a shy person when I meet someone for the first time, or if I go some place I am not familiar with. I do tend to warm up to people easily, though. I am trusting in a lot of situations, but very untrusting in others. I think I can be a procrastinator, but sometimes that is when I work best, when it comes down to crunch time. I am a silly person at times, especially around little kids! Well, I can be silly around big kids, too! lol I would generally have to say I think of myself as a person who just tries to live life as best I can, and I try to make sure I stay positive about things often!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Question #106 - Have you ever written a story, poem, or song that you would like to share in your journal?

I wrote this poem a couple years ago when it seemed like we were losing phriends left and right. It was a very hard thing to go through. We just had that happen recently, and it's just upsetting to lose a phriend, especially when it isn't expected.

When A Phriend Becomes An Angel

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
We may feel shocked and very sad.
We may not understand why,
We may feel so very bad.

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
We mourn the life that should have been.
We hoped they’d see more years to come,
More time with family and friends.

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
We begin to have more fears.
When will it be my time to go?
Is it months or maybe years?

But when a Phriend becomes an angel,
We start to also realize.
There will no longer be the hardships,
No more pains and no more cries.

When a PHriend becomes an angel,
They are now in so much peace.
Breathing easier forever more,
Watching over loved ones with such ease.

To my Phriends who have sadly passed away,
So suddenly gone within this year.
Please know how much I love you,
How you have become so very dear.

~Colleen Schnell

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Question #105 - What does my bedroom look like? Am I comfortable in my room? What do I like best about my bedroom?

When I moved in almost 1o years ago, we painted the room I chose as my bedroom white, and I eventually put up a green ivy-ish border. Eventually, that got old! I bought my queen-sized bed probably about 5 years or so ago. I can't really remember, maybe it was a bit longer than that! But about 3 years ago, I wanted to do an overhaul on the color in my room. My friend helped me paint it a nice taupe-ish sort of color. We did about an inch border around the perimeter of the ceiling, and left the rest of the ceiling white. I chose my accent colors to decorate....what else but my favorite color, red!! I bought a reddish bedspread set, and reddish valance panels, and I have red pictures up on the walls. I also have a new table lamp with a red shade.

I LOVE my bedroom! It's one of the rooms that I find the most comfortable. I think my most favorite thing in there is the bed. It's huge, and the frame is so beautiful! I found it online years ago, and just fell in love with it. My bedroom is my comfort zone. If I'm feeling crappy, that's where I go rest. When I read, that is where I'll go. I love taking naps with Mittens, and the bed is definitely big enough for both of us! lol

Friday, October 24, 2008

Question #104 - What are some of my jobs at home?

Ok, I do admit that the questions I've been answering lately are meant for youths who may be doing a journal jar in school or something. BUT, I think that a lot of the questions are very relevant for any age!!

That being said, since I live by myself, I have the unfortunate task of keeping my own place clean all by myself. And being that I have PH, it's not always an easy task. I've almost lived here for 10 years, and over those years, I've put my priorities in certain tasks, and less priority in others. For example, dusting gets done maybe a few times a year. Vacuuming is something supposed to be left for my mom to do when she comes over once in awhile, but there are times when it's beyond desparate around here (ummmm, cat with a crapload of fur!!!) that I do end up doing it myself. I crank up the oxygen, and take my good old time doing it! I do my dishes once or twice a week, depending how much I'm using. I sweep a few times a month, and I've just gotten a Dirt Devil Kone to go around the corners and pick up crumbs that I don't want to drag the vacuum out for. I do laundry a few times a month. Let's face it, the stairs aren't fun going down to the basement, so I certainly want to kill myself over them once a week doing laundry! How much laundry could one person have a week anyway?? Not much! Changing the bedding is done about once a month, because it's a chore that really gets me tired. I clean the bathroom a couple times a month, the tub being the worst part of it since I had bending over to scrub it out!! Sometimes I'll take an extra long shower to just clean the tub out then. It may seem to some people that I am not that clean of a person, but that isn't the case. Cleaning out the entire litter box just exhausts me, but I take a long time to do it, and it gets done. Obviously if I wasn't living with PH, I might be doing all these chores a lot more often. Emphasis on MIGHT. lol No really, I wouldn't have to mentally prepare myself to deal with being out of breath or being very exhausted after doing some sort of chore if I were a "normal" person. But since that isn't the case, I do what I can at my own pace, and if someone thinks my place is a mess, or that I don't clean things often enough, well that's just too damn bad!!

Question #103 - Have I ever stood up for what I believe, even when it was very hard? When?

A very thoughtful question. Well, I stand up for myself in how I feel in my relationship with God, and I've been challenged for it a few times by some people. I understand that there are people out there who are cynical and don't believe in anything, and I don't have any harsh words for that. It's their choice to feel that way. But when they put me down for my beliefs, that is when I get irritated. I used to not really say anything, but nowadays, I have to tell the person questioning my faith that I believe in God because I don't believe I would have been around this long without Him. God has gotten me through some really tough periods in my life, and I will not let anyone challenge my belief about Him.

Question #102 - When were my parents most proud of me?

I guess I could answer this question like I answered the previous one. I am sure my parents are proud of many things I have accomplished. I most recently heard from my new upstairs neighbor that my mom told her how proud she was of me at my support group meeting on Saturday afternoon. Hearing that makes me feel happy, and I am glad to know that how much she is proud of what I can do. I hear from random people about how my dad also talks about his daughters, and how proud he is of what we've done in our lives. It's a good feeling, to know that whatever we are doing is impressing them enough to brag!

Wendy's Mom said...
AMEN!! BTW, I am enjoying your journal jar so much. Where do you find the questions? I think it would be fun to see how other people answer some of these questions. LOL!! Love,Sheila

Question #101 - When was I most proud of myself?

Hmmmmmm. I can't really say there has been one specific moment where I've been proud of myself. I have moments all the time. I was proud of graduating college. I was proud of becoming more sure of myself, being in a brand new school with no one to hold me back, when I went to college. I was proud of doing well in college and graduating with an education degree. I was proud of getting a teaching job at a daycare, and then my own classroom a couple months after that at Headstart. I was proud to get a Masters degree in early childhood education, despite the fact I had to quit teaching and would never return to a classroom. I was proud in moving out of my parents' house and being able to live on my own. I was proud in deciding to start a PH support group in my area. I was proud in trying to make jewelry more than a hobby. I was proud of many of my past decisions, and I am sure that I will continue to be proud of many more things to come in my life!

Question #100 - Have I ever learned anything valuable from being in an argument with someone? If yes, what?

I don't often get into arguments. I hate them, they make me feel completely stressed out, shaken, and I usually feel like crap for days after arguing. I try to avoid them at all costs!! I can't even remember the last time I really got into an argument. I have had several arguments, pretty rough ones, with my sisters over the years, but that seems like ages ago. I guess one thing I have learned is that if things are really heated, and the yelling seems to be getting higher and higher, both parties need to stop and walk away from each other. Nothing can be accomplished from screaming, and it only makes things worse, I feel. I think arguments can also be avoided, or at least toned down a bit, if the issue at hand is commented on asap. If someone is left stewing and brewing about an issue, and doesn't bring it up for days or weeks at a time, and then it suddenly blows up, it's unhealthy for both parties. Especially the one who was brewing!

Jen said...
I agree..I hate arguements and hollering...But I guess we all have had our share...BTW..Am I suppose to comment these??LOLTake careLove ya,Jen

Nancy said...
I used to argue a lot with one of my sisters when I was in high school. Thankfully, those days are gone and we have learned how to really talk out a problem. I like the Journal Poem. Is it new or did I overlook it earlier?

Question #99 - Who is your best friend? What is s/he like?

Well I have a great group of girlfriends, and every one of them mean so much to me. They pretty much know a lot going on in my life, but no one knows as much as my two best friends, Erin and Eve. I've known these two since 9th grade, and they have been such awesome friends to me throughout the years. They are like two extra sisters really! Erin is practical about everything, and has a lovely little girl who is so cute! Eve is kooky and crazy and very goofy, and she has a son who is my godson. When the three of us get together, we have so much fun! Eve and Erin give me dirty, evil looks when I try to pay for something when we are out. lol Some day I will sneak in some bills, if they aren't looking!! The three of us have shared so much with each other about our lives, that I just can't imagine them not being around forever. We take care of each other in different ways, and it's a friendship that is more like a sisterhood. Not everyone has that kind of friendship a lot, and for me to have TWO best friends like that, well, I feel so blessed!!

Question #98 - What are your goals and dreams?

After losing my goals and dreams for what I wanted 8 years ago when I had to quit my preschool teaching job, I am finally realizing that for so many people, what they originally wanted in life sometimes needs to be altered for various reasons. Although I grew up living with PH and congenital heart disease, that didn't mean I didn't have goals for myself. I had wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in the 8th grade. I never thought of anything else, it was my goal all through high school to go to college for a teaching degree, so I could one day have my own classroom. I achieved that goal, and started out on the teaching trail by subbing, then working in a daycare as a teacher, and then getting a preschool job at Headstart. I eventually moved out on my own, another goal accomplished, and I was pretty happy. I was also hoping to meet someone and get married, but there was no time frame in that. I was just living my life, working, going to grad school, and enjoying myself!

Everything changed the year I started getting really sick all the time. That was from 1999-2000. When I had to finally give up my dream and quit, I admit to being "lost" for awhile. What was I supposed to do now? While I did end up finishing my grad degree in early childhood, I couldn't use it in the capacity I wanted to, in the classroom. It was pretty devastating to realize a dream you've had for years needs to be dropped.

But the initial shock of not teaching anymore slowly wore off. After a few years, I was given an opportunity to change my goal in life. I was told that I should start a support group in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region for PH patients living here. At first I scoffed at the idea. Me, talk in front of adults about PH?? I didn't feel I could do that, being that I'm usually shy around strangers and especially when I have to get in front of them to talk!! But I prayed about it, thought about it, contemplated it, and prayed some more. After about a week or so, I finally decided to go ahead and try it. And while I still get nervous talking in front of people, I do it, and it's because those people have told me how much they appreciate me starting a group. My new goal in life has been to help fellow PHers, whether in "real" life with my support group, or in the online community with all my new phamily. It's been a huge part in my life now, and I can't imagine doing much else!

Nancy said...
With a few changes your post could be about me. I wanted to teach since I was a child: I played "school" all the time. I made my teaching job my whole life, and when my PH brought my job to an end, I was in a tail spin. I was so depressed and angry, angry at everyone and everything. Now after three years of not teaching, I am enjoying my "new normal." I, too, started a support group. We are kindred spirits.

Jen said...
Your goals and dreams of helping fellow PHers ...well you do that each and everyday..You are such a special PHriend:))Keep doing what you do...Love & Hugs,Jen

Question #97 - Who are you closest to in your immediate family? How did your relationship grow?

This is tough. I think my Mom is the one I rely on the most, especially since I've been out of work for so long. She is there for me all the time, and in so many ways. I tell her almost everything, and some things I shouldn't even bother telling. She helps me get groceries, she goes to the stores with me a lot, she calls to see if I need to go anywhere. She comes over and vacuums for me, she helps clean around here if I need the help. She's usually with me at my doctor appointments. I appreciate everything she does for me, and I feel like I don't adequately thank her for what she does.

I have three sisters, and over the years, I've been close to them all in different ways. My sisters, or sistores, as we've called each other for years, are so important to me. I love them so much. It's hard to say who I am closest to, although Joan and Mandy have been the ones I talk to most in the last several years. I talk to Lisa mostly when I call her, and we only see her a few times a year now that she's been living in North Carolina. But I am proud of her and the fact she's had the guts out of all of us to move and make a good life for herself. Joan is the one who cracks me up the most. She is a smart and funny person, who has a lot of potential for great things if she puts her mind to it. But I guess if I had to pick one of them that I was closest to, it would be Mandy. It's funny how, when we were still living at home, Mandy and I would get in such horrible fights. Well I guess that isn't too funny! But when I moved out, and then about a year and a half later, Mandy moved upstairs from me, things changed. We were living together, but not completely together. I miss the times when I'd go upstairs and chat away, or watch tv, or eat something yummy she'd made for dinner. I talk to Mandy a lot during the week nowadays, and I admire how much she's done in the last few years with her family life. Oh heck, my sistores just mean a lot, and they are all talented, funny, loving and caring women. I always want them best for them, and I hope they are all truly happy in their lives. That's what I want for them most.

Jen said...
Can I borrow your family for awhile??LOLI am glad that are so good to you..Your Mom always sounds like such an Mother like Daughter...Love Ya,Jen

Question #96 - Who are some of your favorite people? Why?

Well the most obvious answer to this question would be my family and friends! Growing up with Pulmonary Hypertension hasn't been a very easy road, but the people in my life have made that road much easier to deal with. My parents have always been there for most of my doctor appointments, especially the major ones. My sisters have always been a big support, whether that's just been to play games when we were little, to having in depth conversations about what goes on in our lives now. I know they will always be there for me, and that is comforting.I have a close circle of friends, and each one of them means something different to me. I have two best friends who know me sometimes better than I know myself! My other friends do unexpected things for me, and it's appreciated so much. I only wish I could do for them what they've done for me. My friends are important to me, because if I didn't have them, I would probably not be who I am today.

Another group of my favorite people are my phriends. Without them, I would feel lost and all alone in dealing with PH, like I felt growing up. No one completely gets me and how I feel on a daily basis than my phriends, who go through much of the same thing I do. The PH message boards are a great source of information and support, and the chat room sessions can get fun and crazy, as well as emotional and uplifting. I don't know what I would do if I hadn't found this community of people several years ago. I don't think I would have even started a support group in Buffalo/Niagara Falls, where I've met real live PHers. Meeting others who can totally relate to me has been a Godsend, and I am thankful every day that they are there for me, and I can be there for them!

Jen said...
I agree PHriends are the best..I am so lucky I found you all...I never knew you could get attached to people you never even met in person but I have...and you are one of those very special PHriends...Love & Hugs,Jen

A Journal Jar! ***EDITED***

I was browsing through a friend's journal on AOL, and realized that long ago I also had a journal on that site. It's still up there, but AOL is shutting down their journals (another reason I'm so glad I no longer pay for that dumb server!!). I also realized that I had started a blog called a Journal Jar. A journal jar is a collection of questions, one for every day of the year, and your answers to it. I was reading some of my responses, and boy, did I have some deep thoughts!!! LOL! I decided to Google journal jars, and found a few websites with very looong lists of journal jar questions. Sooooooo, as if I didn't have enough to do in my life, I decided I wanted to start a journal jar again!!! This blog will only be for journal jar questions. My other blog will be for everything else!! I'm excited about doing this, because there are questions out there that really make you think about your past, and things that may occur in the future. I hope you enjoy! And, maybe decide to join me! :) I'll start journal jar questions tomorrow!! :)

***Editor's Note!*** I found out I could transfer my AOL Journal Jar into Blogger, and so I did that last night! I've kept all 95 prior entries that I did in 2005! I'm happy about that because I really didn't want what I wrote 3 years ago to be deleted. I haven't read everything I wrote back then, but it is a bit exciting to see if my thoughts have changed on anything! Three years may not seem like a big difference, but you never know! A lot has happened during that time!!! So now my question numbers are going to be changed. I'm going to copy and paste the previous 8 questions I did to start off my new journal jar blog, and then I'll continue on from there!!
(I'm also copying and pasting some of the comments I've gotten on the other journal jar, or else I'll end up losing them!)

Nancy said...
What a great idea. Two years ago, I was given a journal jar from a friend. It was fun, but I lost interest. This might be a way to motivate me.

Jen said...
Great idea..I also saw that Monday thing on Nancy's blog and thought that was interesting..We all need to think a little more..LOl Love Ya,Jen