All About That Botox

I’m not the biggest fan of Botox injections. It’s not because of the needles or even the insurance battles, although neither of those helps matters.

For me, Botox is like a popular movie or fad; it’s never lived up to the praise or expectations.

Thankfully my doctor feels the same way, at least in terms of using Botox as a treatment option for me.

However last year we agreed (he suggested while I rolled my eyes) to try another round of Botox injections. Maybe I didn’t need them on a regular basis but once a year would be good enough to keep the potential for more serious issues at bay.

I thought I had a “get out of jail free card” in the form of scheduling issues which just wouldn’t work with insurance requirements. However since my insurance had changed in the last year there were no such requirements to coordinate with my schedule.

Less than 5 minutes later I was getting Botox injections. I went with it, but I kept my expectations low, as in bargain basement prices sort of low.

But it worked, if we’re talking about if the intended goals were met.

I sat through 3 hours of class for 5 days straight with minimal discomfort. Because who can sit that long in class and be perfectly content for the entire thing? But I think we can blame lack of sleep for the discomfort, because who can be perfectly content when overtired?

I kept up with my classmates and managed to stay, fairly, well rested without much difficulty. And honestly that last part can be difficult to achieve even during my regular schedule, or at least as regular as my schedule gets.

So we agreed to revisit the “summer Botox only” once summer got closer.

Because my goals for summer are a lot more direct, in a sense, than during the rest of the year. And if something goes “less than ideal” then I have a more ideal compensation plan (aka long periods of sitting).

Knowing my fondness for Botox injections I also inquired about doing trigger point injections as well (because my track record with those is great too so why not ask for more unpredictable factors that just might not work out so well).

Although it should be noted that sometimes an injection of Botox “doubles” as a trigger point injection if the point of injection for Botox is in a trigger point, or something like that.

I hate the maintenance that Botox requires, however I’m hating having trigger points just as much so yes I did ask to be stuck with a fairly large (for the needle-phobic, anyway) needle more.

However I think if we were to rid my legs of every trigger point at one time I probably wouldn’t be able to stand up, but don’t quote me on that one (because anything is possible, or not).

Things have worked pretty well this summer too.

The bigger problem was having a morning class & an afternoon class, both requiring lengthy and heavy reading. The more tired I got, the more uncomfortable I got, which is pretty par for the course regardless of the situation.

People often ask me what I think about Botox injections as a treatment option for managing Cerebral Palsy and I always struggle with how to answer without worrying that I’ll sway someone’s opinion (especially if they’re acting on behalf of someone else). Botox works great for some people and that’s great for them. But for me it’s always a roll of the dice, at least we’ve found one situation when it can be beneficial.

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Grad School: The First Summer

I realize I’m going backwards considering that I’ve already told you about my first year, but I wrote about my first semester and first summer. I wanted to keep all pieces of the journey in one place in the event someone is looking for this type of information.

If you followed me on twitter in June you probably had a good idea of how things went. And if you’ve been a reader for the last few months, or longer, you know about my extended trip shenanigans.

But in case you don’t (or didn’t) here’s a rundown.

I’ve been so productive today I almost don’t recognize myself. I wonder how long I can keep this up.
-Sarah (@mssarahkp) June 9, 2014

I didn’t sleep very much Sunday night, although I did try. I kept thinking I’d miss breakfast or sleep through class. I’m not a breakfast eater and Chicago is an hour behind my day to day time zone (my natural time zone is pacific, in case you were wondering). It’s safe to say I was slightly nervous.

I packed Monday full of activities on purpose. I read the majority of that day’s reading on the flight out (very unlike me) knowing I would be busy then I’d like, even if I did do it to myself, and I didn’t want to fall behind, if I could help it. I went to breakfast, then class, said hi to friends from last year, went to lunch, met with my formation director, did some homework/watched Burn N0tice on Netfl!x, went to a fellowship group, then dinner.

After all of that I basically passed out. Between my natural tendency to be more introverted, lack of sleep, and the adrenaline crash I was pretty shot. I also managed to not make a huge fool of myself, something I consider to be my biggest accomplishment of the day.

2 days of class I’m down a highlighter & a pen from the workload. But I’ve made countless cohorts in mission/vocation. -Sarah (@mssarahkp) June 10, 2014

As much as I told myself I wanted to pack light I also wanted to make sure I didn’t run out of anything. My not-so-trusty & nearly new highlighter bit the dust fairly quickly. My pen didn’t even last until the first break on the second day. Thankfully I had replacements for both buried deep within my bag. Yes I was that person that goes rummaging through their belongings during a lecture.

After class I attended a welcome lunch given by the formation department for distance students before diving in to the reading for the next day. I’ve never been one for campus activities. I was far from being on the planning committee of anything. However I wanted to “suck up” as much of campus socializing as possible since I spent my 1st semester feeling so disconnected from any sort of community.

I may be a little biased but I think the community of distance students is one of a kind.

I kinda want this summer session to last a while longer. 3 more days just doesn’t seem like enough time. -Sarah (@mssarahkp) June 11, 2014

Typically I’m ready to wrap things up by the half-way point but I was wishing I could stay another week. In fact I even looked into the classes being offered the 2nd & 3rd weeks to see if it would be possible to add another class. I asked around for advice and arranged to meet with my advisor as well before I made any final decisions. In the end we agreed that it would be better if I planned to take more than one class next summer.

Thursday marked the end of my first summer session Theological reflection. I couldn’t wait for this day to get here at first but I learned to like the lay formation process. I thought it was something I’d have to put up with in order to get my degree, but I think I’m really going to like having a formation program while I work towards my degree.

I never thought I’d enjoy the process of lay formation as much as I have during this week.
-Sarah (@mssarahkp) June 13, 2014

Friday was more of an official wrap up. Class ended, I met friends for lunch or dinner most nights (a tradition I plan on continuing), I said good bye to friends I won’t see until next year.

There was a blessing dinner for those graduating this year. It was a great time, although I’m sad that I won’t be seeing some people next summer. I sat with people further along in the program than I am during dinner. I was able to get all kinds of advice from everyone throughout the week. I’m glad I put myself out there to try to make this experience more enjoyable, not to mention manageable.

After dinner most of us got together in the lounge to socialize. I learned pretty quickly that this is a distance student tradition. It’s a good one if you ask me.

I took part in the day retreat on Saturday before packing up and heading to the hotel for touristy things. It was a nice opportunity to spend more time with my newest group of friends, and meet a few more.

I’m already counting down the days until next summer (although I think I’ll be making other meal arrangements). I keep telling people the week was “like summer camp for adults, with homework,” it’s really not but it’s the best description I could come up with on the spot.

When my advisor asked me how the week was I said, “This is the best experience I’ve had in school.” It took me a few seconds to realize I was the one who said it.

It didn’t take me very long to notice that most of the distance students measure their time by summers, for whatever reason. For this reason it’s not uncommon to ask or be asked, “How many summers have you been here?” Thus this was my first summer instead of 2nd semester.

*A similar version of this post was written on September 1, 2014

Grad School: The First Semester

I realize I’m going backwards considering that I’ve already told you about my first year, but I wrote about my first semester and first summer on my previous blog. I wanted to keep all pieces of the journey in one place in the event someone is looking for this type of information.

Can I just say I’m still in shock over the fact that I actually got accepted to graduate school?

Never mind that I’ve actually finished my first semester & managed to get a pretty decent grade.

How many people can actually say they applied to one school & got in on the first try?

Like I said, I’m still in shock.

Usually it takes me at least 2 attempts to get something “right.”

Granted I was only giving “this grad school thing” one try, so I had to give it my best try.

And a BIG “Thank You” to God because I wouldn’t have pulled it off any other way.

I may still be in shock, but I won’t lie to you I am SO glad the semester IS. OVER.

It’s probably a good thing I got accepted and started classes within less than 2 weeks of each other, because I probably would’ve talked myself out of it, for countless (yet mildly stupid) reasons.

But I don’t recommend it.

The night I enrolled in class my mom took me out to dinner to celebrate and then “back to school shopping.” I must’ve put more thought into dinner than I did needed school supplies because all I bought was……

……..wait for it……

Highlighters.

That’s it.

I haven’t been in school in almost a decade so naturally they aren’t any real school supplies still lying around the house, so I did really need stuff. Distance learning does change the dynamic some, but not that much.

Oh and at that point my laptop and printer weren’t exactly on speaking terms. I finally got them connected but had yet to actually print a thing.

“Where’s the what?” is not the best answer to the question, “where’s the printer paper?” just in case you were wondering.

Although it was a 5 pack of highlighters. I get extra credit points for that, right?

It took me until the midterm to “catch up” on the work load.

Intellectually speaking I felt like I was playing “catch up” all semester, yet always one step behind no matter what I did.

It’s a real fun way to start something you’re not really that sure about to begin with.

I thought I was just rusty, until I spoke to my advisor and was told that she doesn’t “typically suggest” that students start off with my then-current course.

We had a heart to heart about how I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew and how she’s more than welcome to tell me to “pump the breaks” if needed, in fact I told her she’ll probably have to.

My living room floor is still littered with books and documents. It looks like the CDF temporarily moved in and then left in a hurry. Major notation of LG & GS is a lot to ask out of one highlighter and a few sticky tabs, but I made it (at least that week).

I knew before I even committed to this that I wanted to take it slow, part time, one class, maybe two. It didn’t take me long before I started to rethink my “grand plan”. But if there’s any blessing in starting with a course I knew nothing about it’s that the rest should be easier (I can hope right?).

I didn’t want to go any further than a BA; that was hard enough to do. As much as I joked around about finding unexpected blessings of sleep deprivation, seemingly unending stress, and lack of control of my own schedule; I didn’t want to go back to that.

I couldn’t put the brakes on a budding career either.

That just wouldn’t make much sense.

I’m trying to find a balance with it all but I’m spending too many days running on too little sleep.

Entering the third decade of life isn’t old, but it’s just a bit too old to be expected to fully function on less than 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.

I may have fallen asleep sitting up more than once and/or forgotten to brush my teeth once or twice.

I’ve learned that I’m really out of practice when it comes to taking criticism and I’m not happy with B’s (let’s not discuss C’s); a significant difference from my undergrad self.

As difficult as this semester has been there have been a few bright spots.

I did enjoy my first semester of lay formation.

I’m not sure if enjoy is the right word to describe the process of formation since “enjoy” seems to imply an element of ease.

Formation is NOT an easy thing to go through, yet it’s an important piece of the ministry puzzle, if you’re in any type of ministry or have plans to be; since ministry isn’t all about books and important documents.

I’m not sure if I’m in this for the long haul just yet, but I’m not close to wanting to jump ship yet.

That counts for something, right?

*A similar version of this post was written on May 30, 2014

One Word: 6 Months

Providence (with a capital “P”) is defined as divine guidance or care, God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.

I can’t believe it’s been more than 6 months since I came up with my word for the year. Grad school turns your life into some kind of crazy time warp I swear, never mind trying to have a career on top of it.

You know those people who claim that you can have it all?

They lie.

Its lies. All lies. I tell you.

This year, at least so far, hasn’t shaped up like I thought it would. Then again I probably should’ve gotten specific if I wanted sometime in particular. When I threw Providence out into the universe I guess I was being optimistic without knowing it. But then again no one ever said Providence had to be all sunshine and roses all of the time.

I think I also thought Providence would mean I could have anything and everything that I needed to work out in my favor to do so.

God may be in control but those people who tell you God will answer all of your prayers?

They’re liars.

Well maybe that’s only half true, because they don’t know that there’s at least a 50% chance that what they’ve told you will seem like, if not will be, a full on bold faced lie.

God does answer prayers. The thing is it’s not always the answer you wanted, people seem to always forget to remind you of that part, leading to the false hope and lying thing.

I’m hoping that things take a turn, for the better, in the next 6 months.

At least things take enough of a turn that I can see the “better” for what it is, even if it seems crappy at first.

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