Thursday, November 12, 2015

Paint Me Periwinkle.

Its November!....
I am not totally sure from where or how we got to this point in the year, but here we are mid month and only a matter of time before we must begin the annual Polar Vortex #3...

There is something about this time of year that is somewhat significant to my everyday life. November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness month.  PH is high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and places a lot of pressure on the right side of the heart. This in turn causes the heart to overwork  and get bigger and weaker, thus creating right ventricular heart failure, difficulty breathing, tachycardia, swelling, fainting, and untreated- death.

Normal pulmonary artery pressures are typically between 10-25mmHg. My number on diagnosis was 56. That's double what it should be. I know many patients that are much higher and into triple digits. Its a pretty relentless disease to have. There is also no cure at this point, only medication to help maintain and hopefully lower pressures. Now at this point in the blog post, I am done laying out all of the cold hard facts, because it sounds pretty pessimistic. And it would be if Western Medicine wasn't so amazing! The realm of PH therapies has grown exponentially in the last decade. It's a good time to get diagnosed with PH because there are over 10 different types of meds, in the 1980s there was 1.

Now you're probably wondering, how did this all start? Well here is the skinny version of the last almost 6 yrs:

Let's hop back to January 2010: I went to visit Joey in South Korea over winter break my junior year of college. We hike, climb mountains, walk, and climb some more stairs. I can't quite seem to catch my breath most of the 2 wks I am on Jeju Island. I have always been active, but maybe it was the mountains on the island that I wasn't used to. Fly back to America. 5 days later attend a YMCA bootcamp extreme class with my very good friend Jess. Faint and face plant after running up 4 flights of stairs. Wake up to find multiple people in the class hovering over me thinking I had a seizure. The entire time this is happening the "Waking up in Vegas" song by Katy Perry is playing. This song has permanently scarred my well being ;) Go to ER-CT scan-observe overnight-cardiologist on call was smart enough to order an echocardiogram with a bubble study- boom diagnosis.
boom- death sentence. do yourself a favor and skip any website on a google search unless its provided by the PHA or mayoclinic. Transfer care to specialist in MKE. Started meds. Fight with Carroll University nursing program because the dean of the nursing program is a freaking dingbat and decided for me that I didn't need to be spending my last 2 years of life in nursing school. Achieved the sweetest justice the day I graduated 1 1/2 yrs later. Eat it Angie, you are so lucky we didn't take you to court for medical discrimination. (If you couldn't tell, my family and self included are a little bitter to Carroll Nursing...!) Heart remodels itself from the miracle drugs I am on. Move to Milwaukee. Work for my cardiologist for 3 years. Meet some incredible friends. Get engaged in the Swiss Alps. Adopt the world's most adorable puppy. Start work at the Milwaukee VA.  Continue the Slattery tradition in getting married in the UP. Honeymoon in Thailand. Enjoy every aspect of my life that I am capable of. etc, etc, etc :)

Now it sounds pretty fluffy, especially once you get to the last part. Let me fill you in on some of the details of this past year.

I was mentioning how awesome modern medicine is in the the above paragraph, well I was maintained on inhaled therapy for about 3 yrs solid. Then Orenitram (oral version of the same inhaled drug) came on the market. I was trialed on this pill for about 4 months and came to find out I had experienced rebound. This means my pressures were maintained around the mid 30s for more than 3 yrs and they shot up to the 80s in that short time span. I got the phone call from my cardiologist on December 4, 2014 after finishing my yoga class that my heart had "deteriorated." I had lost 2/3rds of my normal heart function. That pretty much destroyed any zen I had going :P I had to be admitted to the hospital to be started on IV drugs if there was any hope of saving my right ventricle. My body just never quite took to the Orenitram like it needed to.

After getting this news, I felt like the world's largest failure. I had been so rock solid for those 3 years. My doc would ask me to talk with newly diagnosed patients, interviews with various media, etc- I felt like I was somewhat of a poster child for PH. To have that all taken away in a matter of 4 months... really hurt... deep. This meant I had an activity restriction for the foreseeable future and anyone who knows me knows how difficult that is for me...  The hardest part was that it took only 4 months to have my heart completely fall apart and a much longer time to get it back to where it was.

Now there is nothing ideal about being on continuously infused IV medications. I am tethered to a machine all the time. It is an extreme medical emergency if my pump ever stops running. I have a central line coming out of my chest AKA "boob tube :)" I am constantly fighting the risk for central line infections.  Showering is much more complicated. I can't swim in water. I have to perform alchemy (mix my drugs) every 2 days because the drug half life is so short. My drugs and supplies are over $25,000/month. A month! The drug being infused directly into my heart is a systemic vasodialator. This means it causes my blood vessels to be extremely open, thus side effects create lots of wicked headaches and bad flushing. Sounds like fun, right?! This is my cons list.

Here are the pros:
I have life again.
This IV miracle drug turned my huge, floppy, and hot mess of a heart into the healthiest its every been in a little less than a year. Pressures 12/14 were 80. Pressures 8/14 were 34. That is better than my normal when on inhaled therapy. I can run at the park with my dog. I can walk up the big hill at work for my 12hr shifts. I could start road cycling again. Joey and I went to Eastern Europe for 3 weeks a few weeks ago and averaged walking about 12 miles and climbing 70 flights of stairs a day. I feel like I did when I was a teenager, in my pre-PH days. Insane amounts of energy. I never realized how sick I was until I had gotten better. Some moments I forget that I even have PH. I am the strongest I can ever remember being.

I am once again back to PH living with me, and not I with it. I will always acknowledge how insanely blessed I am that my heart responds to the drugs. I also know how blessed I am to have my medical team, family, co-workers, and friends. These are the people I know will always have my back and provide support.

I have also learned a lot in the year of 2015. The biggest lesson is to always appreciate what you can do. Tonight, I went to hot yoga and my focus was on staying balanced in warrior 3 because I am strong enough that my heart isn't racing at 170/beats a min trying to go through a single flow. This was a first, and a wildly healing moment for myself :)

Well if you've gotten to this point in the blog post, you probably know way more personal stuff about me than you could ever want to, but that is also kind of the point of raising awareness. This is the first time I am publicly opening up about my past year, daily experiences, and successes. There are only a few select people that even know I have PH because that is how I like to keep it.  However the point of raising awareness, is sharing your story.

So basically,
Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigins :)
And if you were confused about the "Periwinkle" comment in the title, thats the official color of the PH ribbon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back at it...

In case anyone has been wondering if I am still up to no good (after more than a year being exempt from blogging) the answer is yes.  That is the would possibly be the most outlandish question I've heard in awhile.... :P

Anyways, hey world. I would love to give the excuse and say that life has been super busy, but that would be the longest reigning lie, because life is never not busy. So let's just say that I've been living it rather than writing about it. I am on an early evening coffee break and decided to pop down across the street to the good ole Stone Creek to publish some of thoughtlings.

I like 2015 so far.  The winter months scooted by and left the world with that strange cross of 70's one day and 45 and snowy the next. Regardless of whatever mother nature wants to toss around in the month of April, there is green grass and the hope of May in just a few weeks. May is such a glory month.  It brings back nostalgic thoughts of walking around the fox river at the end of spring semester or pick up ultimate frisbee games on Carroll's football field. More so, I've learned to love May for the fact that it kind of marks the beginning of temperate outdoor cycling season. Also, I love romping with the dog in the woods to watch everything bud and turn bright green. Ah, so enlivening.

We made it on another international adventure about a month ago. This year's tropics trip was the with the Slattery women. We found ourselves in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica for a glorious week. I usually get pretty stir crazy and crispy the few weeks prior to leaving. CR came just in the knick of time, like I didn't even have the chance to realize how badly i needed it until we returned...

It was the perfect week of sunshine. It was pretty much upper 80s-90s everyday. Its considered dry season March-September.  We didn't rent a car this trip, so it was back to the good ole fashioned walking barefoot on the beach to get anywhere... yeah, it was as awful as I am making it sound. My favorite morning activity was waking up and hanging out on the balcony for hours. Hear and feel the breeze, enjoy the warmth but not be directly in the line of the UV rays. To me there is nothing more glorious than waking up, sipping local coffee, and dancing to Pitbull on the 5th floor condo balcony. Total.Soul.Rekindling.

We had a few excursions planned as well. On Friday afternoon of our week there, we found ourselves in the rain forest canopy ziplining through the treetops. That is a pretty fantastic to see the coast line from a distance in addition to appreciating the jungle. One of the groups ahead of us had this huge, burly guy that looked like he must've been some sort of athlete. I later found out it was the Miami Dolphins center, Mike Pouncey. To say the least, I am not a fan. Anyways, I would highly recommend anyone in a rainforest to check out the ziplines. It helps a lot if you don't have a fear of heights, its easier to appreciate the scenery around you rather than freak. Don't worry, by platform #6, my mom had nailed it.

Another activity we partook in was ATV tours through the back country side/jungle. We had our own private group of just us. It is an awesome way to check out the country side. We came across a lot of farmers harvesting a ton of things: avocados, palm oil, bananas. Missy (my SIL) had pointed out a neat fact, the brahman cows looked so happy, proportionate, and healthy. CR lacks the human growth hormone in their drinking water that America is so abundant with. Our guide was freakin awesome. He took us to a waterfall to explore around and dip into before we headed back. This time of excursion also helps if you are comfortable on ATVs b/c those machines are work horses and need a lot of respect. As stated above, with it being dry season, there was a TON of dirt kick up. They prepare a rider well with face shields on the helmet, sun glasses, and face masks. Much needed. I haven't been that dirty in awhile. The roads were pretty steep on the open end, often times the valleys deep below you b/c we were riding on the mountain sides. Amazing panoramics. We stopped at a roadside bar along the river for a few local brews before hitting up the last lag of our journey home. We stopped at an overlook to see all of Jaco Beach at sunset. Its probably the view we had of the whole beach all vacation.

We walked a ton, probably close to 5-8 miles a day just because anytime you wanted to do something, eat, shop, etc it required us to walk from our far end of the north beach to town. Town was 2 miles round trip. On Saturday morning, my mom and I walked the entire length of the beach and back, it was probably at least 2 hrs of walking. I think I actually walked so much on the sand that it started to eat my feet raw. I was uber excited to break in a new pair of chacos this trip as well. The last ones had to be retired after Thailand this past October.

We ate really well this this vacation too. It was pretty easy to figure out which places to check out. Ask around or hit up tripadvisor and see what the top 5 restaurants were- this served us well at least. The evenings in Jaco were the best: 75 degrees with no humidity. Our favorite place ended up being this place called "Side Street Bistro" which was a specialty sandwich shop. I could've sucked down way more Strawberry Mint Moquitos than i allowed myself to. It was awesome because this shop had a sister restaurant we went to our last night in CR. This was the most expensive evening for food. At this point, its not about cost and its the enjoyment of company and appreciation for the food and how eclectic it really was. I mean really, coffee and cacao encrusted steak tenderloin. Oh baby. This is exactly why I could never be vegetarian.

It really was an awesome girls trip and I am so glad I got to experience it with my mom and Missy. It was awesome b/c we would wake up in the morning and decide what we wanted to do for that day (unless it was a day we had our excursions planned). Most of the time is was just walking the beach, hiking along the coast while the tide was out, or just hanging at the pool next door. CR is such a neat place to experience. There was one early evening we were in the pool I heard some sort of bird overhead and I looked above and there are two scarlet macaws. What we have in the great gray squirrel, CR has in all types of iguanas/lizards. The last full day we had in CR, we went hiking up along the mountain side and heard some rustling and screaming in the trees. Next thing I know, there are 2 monkeys playing tag in front of us! Sweet.

I will not lie, the way back the MKE was probably my most memorable time traveling through the airports... We left for San Jose around 10:30am for a 2pm flight. We made it through all of the airport stuff and to our terminal by 11:30AM, so we stopped at the airport Quiznos for a sub. My mom and I stopped to grab some munchies for the plane ride at the convenience store and spent $40 on 3 granola bars, a bag of twizzlers, trail mix, and some chocolate covered almonds. I forgot to mention above: Costa Rica is a little more pricey than I expected, although any airport is gonna kill you with their prices. This will come into play later on.

San Jose-Charlotte NC was suppose to be a 4 1/2 hr flight. This is truly no problem when your last trip was 19 hrs. In the bag. I talked with a man in his late 60s pretty much the entire flight. His name was Forrest the snowbird who lives in Indianapolis 1/3rd of the year, AZ 1/3, and CR the last 1/3rd. He had been traveling to CR for more than 20 years. It was fun discussing culture and culture with him. He ended up going to visit a friend his first trip ever and met a ton of locals through all the road cycling he did. He had some pretty amazing stories of riding the mountain roads in CR. Forrest was sitting on my right. On my left was this 17yr old Canadian boy that preceded to tell me about his love story with this Austrian girl he met 5 days prior. "Her name was Angelica, which means from the heavens. And she had the bluest eyes of anyone I've ever met." I then asked him, "so blue, they were creepy??" He didn't quite get or appreciate my sarcasm. That's ok, I remember being his age and being on my 1st independent international excursion. Its pretty mind blowing in the best possible way :) I just let him jabber his guts out about his few weeks surfing and first love. It was mildly entertaining. He also look like he hadn't showered in about a week, however he didn't smell. I think I appreciated that about him the most.

Once we landed in Charlotte, I didn't realize how late we really were landing. We had an 1hr 20min before our plane to MKE. Pretty much everyone on our flight had another flight to catch within the same amount of time. We all got off with the feeling of rush at its finest. We got off basically running to immigration to get the passport stamped (which pretty much took forever), then bolted over to the baggage claim. Missy got her bag- had it rechecked and ran over to security. Good ole American security which requires taking off of shoes and pretty much all clothing as a general rule. While we waited in line, I could just feel the adrenaline pump through my veins. This is my domain. I love this shit. Unfortunately, i have been in this situation more times than I care to admit, but you learn to love and laugh at them because what else can  you truly do?! Also, we were already in the US, so what is the worst that could happen? My mom was just a nervous wreck (she's a newbie ;))  We hiked our way through security and checked our boarding pass, which was entirely wrong on Terminal and Gate numbers. In the heat of the moment, we kept running on the fumes of epinephrine and ran to the gate our tickets said without checking the screen. Well, there was no "A12," in fact we were on the entirely wrong end of the airport and we literally had 8 minutes get back to the other end. Those people you see running through airports like ridiculous fools, yeah that was us. I forgot how fast you fly on those walking conveyor belts when you reach the end of them. By the time we finally made it to our rightful gate, it was 10min after take off time. We would've known that our flight had been delayed an additional 30 min if we would've checked the screen, but it was so much better after all that sweat and rush to find out upon arrival to the gate. We made it. I can honestly say, I didn't give up hope once. The very moment I found out our flight was delayed I was dripping sweat and so filled with joy. This is the best kind of natural high a person can experience. Screw the illicit drugs, become an airport runner. Boomshakalaka.

While I am on my high, we had to walk out on to the tarmack like in the 1970s to board out plane. This means we were outside, where in Charlotte it was a gorgeous 65 degrees and breezy. I facetimed Joey while piling our bags on to the tram and waiting to board. I don't think he heard a word i said but at that very moment I felt the most empowered I had in quite sometime with that wind blowing through my hair. Winning. Thank God, the woman ended up sitting next to was as chatty as I am. Fastest 2 hrs ever.

Once we landed and had all of our things collected, it was close to 1AM and all the Slattery women were STARVING. The only thing we had was subs at 11:30am, a granola bar a piece, and a tid bit of trailmix. We preceded to eat twizzlers and chocolate covered almonds at these wee morning hours. Then the idea of breakfast struck our fancy. We found ourselves on the eastside eating omelettes at Ma Fisher's with the regular colorful Tuesday morning crowd. Joey was even there to meet and greet us.

After all was said and done, I gave my puppy the biggest hug and fell over asleep.

All in all, an amazing vacation from start to finish.

Since then, just been living the dream.  Saving lives to pay the bills. Enjoying married life a lot. Watching the loved ones around me grow up with us. A few are starting to have kids on purpose. Taking advantage of time off and appreciating life's happenings. Its funny how blogging always gets me reflective, puts me in a good place to remember that I am a pretty stinkin blessed individual to be living the life that I do. That being said, its time to peace out. Its date night and we're making mussels and drinking good german reisling.

Later world. Thanks for always bringing me back to that happy place. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Greetings fellow stalkers!

Just wanted to take a quick moment and wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and happy, healthy start to 2014. 

It has been somewhat of a massive challenge to really feel like I accomplished much these past few months. I feel like its been a mega marathon since getting back from Europe. I've been working, adjusting, and accomodating a lot the past few months-so i appreciate a lot of the slack that has been cut towards me. Thus being said, I had a slight spare moment to write some life thoughts with me, Lauren Slattery.

First off lets start by talking about the weather, because that is a great start to any opener conversation... We have gotten so much stinkin snow it makes my face hurt from smiling so much :D  I can't remember a winter in the last 3 years that has had this much, which makes for fabulous snow walks with the puppy, cross country skiing, and overall marveling at the snowflake dancing beauty. Its been great working 2nd shift too, because I've been able to soak up the sunshine of the morning. No seasonal affective disorder for this chic!

Thanksgiving this past year was wonderful. I had a full 4 days off and was able to spend all of it with the family in Chicago for Slatteryfest 2013. We had optimal location right off Michigan ave, by a Gino's East. It was 45 degrees and little wind in the windy city... how bizarre. It was our 7th year dining at Joe's Stone Crab. We were talking to our waitress about our tradition and apparently "7"is the lucky number around that place because we got every dessert on the menu for free. My mom and I took our annual walk down to the Caribou coffee for our "sip and city stroll,: only to find out that Caribou was going out of business in this location and will only be found in Minnesota in the next year. Very bittersweet.  Joey and I proposed to Brian and Melissa to be in our wedding party via the piano player at "Howl at the Moon." He played my request of "Blurred Lines" and announced our message. Missy was all grins, it was cute. Apparently my mother was confused and thought that she won a giant fish bowl of booze... good guess Patty. It was a really rejuvenating little weekend get-away. Also, our report from Jordy's dog sitter was that he only humped another dog when she wasn't looking. So proud of my little mutt.

Christmas was as good as it could be. I worked both the 24th and 25th. I got home at 1AM on Christmas Eve and came home to an entirely spotless apt with tea lights lit, foliage hanging, and mistletoe hanging, and two happy boys awake with hot chocolate ready. Perfection :) Especially after a night at work and giving enemas. This moment of being home quickly brought me back to the reality of   the Christmas presence. Praise the lord. We got up and went to church and then made brunch. Totally rocked out the bacon wrapped turkey filets, cheesy potato casserole, fresh biscuits, homemade cranberry sauce, and peanut butter brownies (sorry Greg!). It was as good as it could get working the holiday. We put our tree up late this year and decided we're not taking it down until after my family's Christmas in late January. Its either keep the tree up longer to enjoy or throw it in the backyard and let the mice invade. Meh, we'll skip that. 

Speaking of rodents, I am very proud of Jordy. Last week I was in the back porch of our flat to let him outside to pee when he started to scurry all over the place. I was down a flight of stairs and couldn't see what he was into, but I ran up to see what was going on to find a giant dead rat. Jordy's a stud. I was pretty grossed out having to take it outside after that, but at least I didnt have to finish it... I texted the landlord who had the exterminator come out the next day to check thing out. It was a single "Norway Rat."  All was clear, just said sometimes in these old houses this time of year, you can find those suckers. So now everytime we go out the back door, the dog gets all squirrely and begins to hunt. Good boy.

I am really looking forward to 2014. I will be going broke on the 9 weddings we were invited to, but I guess its feast or famine. Maybe we can just regift the toaster on our registry list. ha. I still have to actually write my goals for the year, but for now will just say I am excited to start anew. That being said, hope everyone continues to have a safe and happy Christmas season. Remember to stop and remember what keeps you going and say thanks for that.

yeup, no exaggeration. Your welcome :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I am still of earthly existence!

Let me begin this blog by saying, "HI!" because I know its been forever and a day that i've actually taken a moment to sit down and yack through my fingertips.

Its October :) Really I feel like that is all I need to say. There is no time of year that defeats October in the Wisconsin: bonfires, the colors of upper michigan, football, pumpkin spice lattes, leaves that sound like potato chips under your toes, jeans&sweatshirts, corn mazes, AH! What's not to love?! It kind of blows my mind that we are already at this time of year. However, if i recall that last 6 weeks or so, it sort of fits together...
Back in 2010, Joey had shown we Jeju Island, South Korea and I promised him I would show him what i know of Europe. We spent 3 weeks scampering around a few different countries, seeing new things, and visiting old friends. I can honestly say it was by far the exactly what I needed. I missed the amazing bread, meetings of fellow international travelers, that true sense of feeling tiny as you stand amongst the Austrian Alps, complete independence, waking up every morning knowing that adventure was just a few steps away- talk about rekindling the human spirit :)

Oh, I suppose I should probably mention that I am now ENGAGED too!...  I couldn't have pictured a more perfect place for it to happen as well.  We were in the heart of the Swiss Alps overlooking the city below us and next to this gorgeous green-blue lake. I was taking pictures over the edge and I turned to Joey and he was one knee... all I could do was smile and hug him. The coolest part was hearing the Swiss cow bells echo against the mountain walls from the valley below us :) Friday the 13th, on the side of Mount Titlis (pronounced as it appears ;), how romantic ) Recalling it still kind of blows my mind.

I would never have enough time or finger strength to type all the details of our European adventure, but I can recap a little bit. Oktoberfest is by far the most FUN party I have ever been to. Brooke and I traveled down a wooden slide in the world's oldest salt mine at 30.7kilometers per hour in Hallstatt. You never realize how small the world is until you get out into it, we met 4 fellow Wisconsinites at the Augusteiner Brauhaus in Salzburg. The doner is still by far the best and cheapest street food I have ever eaten. Lattes in Switzerland cost the equivalent to $10. Every time i hear the new Avicci song all I can think of is zipping on the autobahn. The best place to meet fellow world travelers is the hostel bar. We were so stinkin fortunate to have such great hosts every place we stayed!

Its almost a teaser to come back to the real world after such an adventure. I thought working swing shift for the first year and a half of my nursing career would've kind of prepared me... ha, no. It took all of our strength to stay up to 8pm after 29hrs of travel and 3 hrs of sleep the night we left Munich. We slept a solid 9ish hrs the first night and were awake by 0430 the following morning. We ended up walking to the beach to watch the sunrise and await the grocery store's opening to get food for breakfast... ha :) how ridiculous does that sound!?

If it wasn't enough to backpack Europe, get engaged, be challenged by jetlag, and catch up with everyone back home- Joey and I both accepted new jobs to begin once we got back as well. Holy life explosion, batman! Its a healthy type of explosion, which sounds somewhat oxymoronish. My first day as a new staff RN at the Milwaukee VA was on October 7th, my 25th birthday. I am oh so thankful for the gift of employment (and couldn't have picked a better time to join the federal system with the government being shut down and all-ha!). Its been going pretty stellar so far. It is so cool to see the approach everyone within the system takes in truly thanking the veterans. It is usually the 2nd thing EVERY employee will say, "Welcome to the VA. Are you a vetran? Yes? Thank you for your service." So freakin honoring!

Life has been pretty dang good to me at my quarter of a century mark. I love waking up in the morning and accepting the challenge of trying to figure out where the road wants to take me. What I think and what actually happens is so far beyond what I am capable of guessing. It usually ends up being a major laugh-fest because life's irony kicks in. But all in all, it keeps things trucking along.

I must be skedaddling along, my bed has been summoning me for a little while now. Hope everyone's week starts off just rockin and the coffee's nice and strong :)
 Here's a song I've had in my head for about 4 weeks now, to help you get started.

Friday, January 25, 2013

90s type-o-afternoon

Last Friday Evening i was out with a bunch of my fave nursing babes. We were having drinks at the wicked hop catching up and talking. The dj started to play a major flashback from the 90s included with music videos and all. Jaclyn, baur, and I immediately diverted our attention to this highly entertaining ambiance we were engulfed. I suddenly was brought back to moments when I was in grade school listening to eifel 65 while roller skating at the RolaRena. I feel as though I was slightly too young to truly appreciate the 90s music at that tender age, so I brought it back like 20+ yrs post era. Dang is there some quality stuff!

Needless to say, I got out of bed around 1:30 this afternoon. I worked close to 14hrs yesterday and was pretty wiped. Highlight of my day yesterday, Joey drove to the south side to have breakfast for dinner with me at Omega at 9:30pm after be both hadn't eaten for 8hrs. Totes slept like a queen.

I couldn't find any energy to peel myself out of my amazingly cozy bed so I spooned the dog and watched movies until close to later afternoon. I got up to find myself completely tickled pink and grinning like a fool because I was able to attack the massive pile of laundry in the comfort of my old creepy basement for the first time since August. The old tenants that moved out brought their machines with them, leaving us to hang at the laundromat at least 3xs a month, which gets old and expensive rather quickly. We bought ourselves a gently used washer and dryer for Christmas... Talk about getting old. Long story short: I was completely content spending the the entire late afternoon cleaning, playing kitchen diva, doing laundry, sipping coffee, talking with Cassius (roommate), and jamming out to the new 90s playlist. It is these ridiculous and productive afternoons that are so relaxing to me.

As much as i would love to keep blabbing my face off, I am going to get my butt over to the y and get some cardio and spin this fine Friday evening. Thank you for reading this rather pointless post, i guess its my way of sharing the little things i am thankful for! now,i have a 3day weekend to take advantage of! So for my closing thoughts, I will leave you beautiful people with this mystical song....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Big day!

Well today is the day that I am suppose to be dead. On January 15, 2010 I was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, which was basically a death sentence. I can remember hearing those words so vividly in my mind from a cardiologist that didn't know much about the condition and he basically replied with ,"I'm so sorry. All I can do is refer you to a specialist."

Being a young, naive nursing student I whipped open my med/surg nursing text book and looked up the topic. Big mistake. It said I was going to live at max 2.9more years without treatment. I then closed my book told myself that there has to be more to the picture and sought out the help of a fabulous specialist.

I was brought to st.lukes medical center and under the great care of Diane Zwicke. Just for a second, try and imagine yourself a 21yr old young, thriving college student being having to consider giving up everything you worked so hard for with limited amount of time to even use any of your knowledge and skills. Yeah I choose not to have to consider that either because I understand that life will never give me more than I am capable of handling. Once you can look past the dark details, it only motivated me to become more optimistic. Optimism+Lauren slattery= time to start rockin at life. That is exactly what has been done in the last three years.

I am proud of myself for multiple reasons:

The whole time this was happening, my boyfriend was able to stick it out with me while he was in South Korea for another 8 months. He could've easily broken it off with me, but we both chose to keep it going because honesty and communication are the groundwork of our relationship.

i was kicked out of Carroll's nursing program temporarily because I was an inpatient at the hospital and accidentally missed computer training for clinical. Tell me that's fair. My mom (RN), aunt Karen (professor of journalism with emphasis in ethics), and uncle mark (attorney) all help fight the injustice of the nursing board and bought me right back in to where I was originally. I felt targeted and anxiety stricken the whole rest of the semester because I felt as if I had to perform at an incredibly high level because of my "inconvenience" of rejoining clinical. I passed the semester by a 0.6%. Boy, was I all smiles after that-and talk about a huge confidence boost!

I completed 110 miles of the MS150 bike tour with my mom (due to weather reasons) to celebrate a healthy heart.

I have been able to attend two national PHA (pulmonary hypertension association) conferences in CA and FL and meet other PH fighters of all ages. This doesn't even begin to touch on the support system I have built through. I have meant some incredible individuals that can directly relate.

I was asked by my cardiologist to take a job working with her on the same floor I was a patient on. Good old 10T :) I have been able to connect with so many distressed patients of all ages. Its rather ironic and sort of funny when you are 24yrs old and pep talking a 70yr old about how they are getting the best care and they will make it through. I have found more satisfaction and made more personal connections through working as an RN the last 2yrs than some nurses have in their entire career. I adore my coworkers and am so blessed to have scored such a great job opp right out of college.

I have been able to speak out in awareness on many occasions. My two biggest being in a video for Aurora Healthcare and being interviewed in the quarterly cardiovascular newsletter. I have recently been asked to help try and start up a PH walk for the surrounding milwaukee Area to get the word out there. There is nothing more I love than getting the word out there and telling my story!

There are multiple more reasons as to why I am proud of the development of myself the last few years but these are just to name a few. One of my patients once told me that I am a 24yr old going on 70 because of all the life experience that has exploded in my short time span. I would say its less of the actual experience and more of your reaction to it. There are far too many people in this world that are Debby-downers, I take those individuals as my challenge. I will do my best to not be a pessimist because life sucks when your in a bad mood. It's all perspective. There is always someone out there who is far worse off than yourself... Trust me, I've seen a lot of different situations, or talked with professionals who deal specifically with the broken. Everything really be ok, I promise :)

I always become estatic for the new year as well because I love seeing at the end of it the journey you have gone through, the people you met along the way, and all the things that made you laugh. The sooner one learns to laugh at themselves, the sooner the world begins to uproot its irony and greatness.

You might ask me how I am celebrating and I will say by practicing my civil responsibility of participating in jury duty. Yes, two full 6+hr days at the milwaukee county court house with whatever the law wants to throw my way. It has been a very good experience to me because of the awesome, down to earth people I have met. These past few days have sort of reminded me that even though the world does have crime and injustice, there are still a good number of great hearted citizens out there that believe in doing good things in the world. Not really your typical response when people ask how jury duty was, but then again then there are few people in the world named Lauren Slattery. I guess that's what keeps the world spinning: variety.

Everyone there reading this can celebrate with me too, all you have to do is close your eyes, look upward, inhale deeply, and exhale confidently. Happy rockin at life everyone!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ready for 2013...

Soo, i know its a day or two early, but I honestly will not get around to it if its not done now... So this is my last blogging post of 2012!

Its been and interesting year to say the least- much experience with "getting my feet wet" in the real world. I can say that I am much better at dealing with budgeting, dealing with insurance, paying bills, working full time, and attempting to still live a rather exciting life on top of being a "lame adult." There are a few less boring things I accomplished this past year, including, but not limited to:

-Celebrate NY's eve in another country
-Become addicted to pinterest
-Road trip the great river road with Joey
-Travel with my big mama
-Take "me days" and not feel guilty about it
-Save the house from being burnt down... please refer to most recent blog
- Develop my skills for thrifting
-Take my cooking skills to a whole other level
-Become completely and utterly obsessed with my dog
-Start jogging
-Live and thrive closer to the lake
-Become an even bigger coffee snob
-Catch every episode of "the new girl"
-Be confident in my RN skills
-Do 2 preceptorships with my cardiologist to raise awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension
-Dance my heart out in the night life of Boston with two of my best friends :)
-Begin to realize that its to lower some of your expectations
-Get a little bit more sleep

I think thats a pretty summary of what i've been able to do to attack for 2012. I am proud of myself for many things, but know that as a person there is always so much more room to improve all around. I haven't quite developed my list for 2013, but its more of a continuation of this past years accomplishments, just taking them to the next level.

Its always interesting to see where life's irony will lead my next. I'm ready-- lets go 2013!