14 August 2017

Racing for hope at Recovery Resources

This Saturday is the Run for Recovery 5K at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Hosted by Recovery Resources, this 5K is to supports and advances National Recovery Month which is in September. This is especially timely and important as our country -- and especially my homestate of Ohio -- are in the middle of a crippling opioid epidemic.

One really cool thing they are doing this year is giving participants the opportunity to paint or write on a rock in celebration of someone currently in recovery or in memory of someone who lost their life to addiction.

Courtesy of Recovery Resources

After the event, these rocks will be placed in a rock garden at Recovery Resources location downtown Cleveland.

There's still time for you to sign up and join the run! There is also a 1.5 mile walk for those who don't want to do the full 5K. You can also donate to this amazing organization: so far they have raised about $35,000 which is incredible but they are still short their goal of $40,000 so even running at the Cleveland Zoo isn't your thing, there are still great ways you can help!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 July 2017

Dear Doctor Stanley

One year ago today, I ended up in the emergency room of Marymount Hospital with a deep vein thrombosis that ran the entire length of my left thigh. My entire left leg was basically the color of Voldemort and your wonderful resident, Dr. Nicole, could find a smidge of a pulse in the very bottom of my left foot.

Yes indeed: we are upon the one year anniversary of Clotapocalypse.


I would later learn that I basically had the trifecta: recent injury + road trip immoblization + a decade of birth control pills. Add in going on my annual summer spinach smoothie kick in the weeks leading up to the event (vitamin K, yo) and having a family history of blood clots (but, thankfully, no family markers in my blood) and my leg was pretty much a ticking time bomb.

Hoping that my instincts about my swollen, discolored leg were wrong, I went to work that morning. But just walking through the office I knew this was something that needed medical attention so I left thirty minutes later and went to urgent care (again, still hoping my instincts were wrong and it wasn't really as bad as I thought it was). That doctor sent me to Marymount, where I had an ultrasound done on my leg which is when they identified the clot that literally ran the entire length of my thigh.

(This is also the point at which I looped my family in. BC knew where I was, but I didn't want to tell my family until I actually had something to tell them.)

From there, I was admitted to the ER and hooked up to a Heparin drip. BC and my mom got there and we were told that the hospital was just waiting for a room to open up. The plan was to just keep me on the drip and in the hospital for a day or two and wait for it to work its anti-coagulant magic.

And that's when you stepped in.


I'm not sure how it happened, exactly, but somewhere in there, you saw the ultrasound of my leg and put a halt to that whole Heparin drip, wait and see thing. Immediately the plan shifted from me getting a room to me going into emergency surgery -- it was so fast that nobody told me I had to take my bra off or that I had to take my contacts out. Because of the drip, my bra had to be cut off and I have now been wearing glasses for a year because it was too much work to put the contacts back in with two more days of surgery ahead and by the time I got out, my eyes were all hell no.

I was in surgery Wednesday night, Thursday morning, and Friday morning. In between, I was in the ICU, waited on by some of the most amazing nurses. After about four days I was finally moved to a regular hospital room, but it was still another two days before I convinced the other doctors to let me go home. By "convince," of course, I mean "begged."

Initially after getting out of the hospital, I was on Coumadin and Lovenox shots, the latter of which I hated with a passion, not the least of which because the shots were so fucking expensive. But you advocated for me and put me on one of the newer meds, which I've now been on for about 11 months.

My new normal now consists of twice daily pills and a rotating supply of compression socks that I wear every single day. Because I can't take BC pills, I had to get an IUD back in November and because my DVT was partly hormone related, even though the hormonal IUDs are different hormones, I still went for the copper IUD which creates both more cramps and heavier periods, the latter of which is not helped by the whole blood thinner thing.

It's all very annoying and sometimes a pain in the ass but it's better than the alternative. I'll be seeing you sometime in September for my next follow-up and while there's a small part of me that is holding out hope that you'll tell me the pills are no longer necessary, I've also fully accepted that there is a chance I'll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life and I'm okay with that because, again, it's way better than the alternative.

Next to the guy I'm marrying next year, you're basically my most favorite person in the entire world. BC later told me that after I got out of surgery, he was leaving and in the elevator ran into the nurse who prepped me for surgery. She was in street clothes and heading home but she recognized BC (the mutton chops tend to give him away) and she asked "What strings did she pull to get Dr. Stanley on her case?"

"Just lucky, I guess," he told her.

Lucky I was indeed.

Thanks. From the bottom of my heart (and leg),
Jill

20 June 2017

Road Trip to Ann Arbor to see Roxane Gay!

A few months ago, my friend Alexa let me know that Roxane Gay was going to be in her town of Ann Arbor for an author event. This was pretty much my reaction:


OMG I love Roxane Gay. I've read Bad Feminist and Difficult Women but I've been really looking forward to her new book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. It was a book that was supposed to come out last year but was pushed back -- during the Q&A portion, someone asked her about that and she said that it was because it was a very difficult subject to write which I can appreciate since it was a very difficult subject to read and I can't fathom opening myself up like she did on certain topics.

In her writing she's very open about the rape she suffered when she was younger and I can't relate to that, but the chapters about moving through the world today as a fat person? Yes. Yes that really is what it's like.

So, last Friday night I drove up to Ann Arbor, Michigan (much to the dismay of my Ohio State graduate fiance). This was my first real road trip since Clotapocalypse so I gave myself extra time in order to make stops every hour or so. It actually worked out really well: there was a Turnpike rest stop about an hour into my drive and then an hour after that was the Michigan Welcome Center. So I would just get out, use the restroom, walk around a little. While in my car driving I'd be doing foot exercises, making little circles or flexing my foot. Basically the same foot exercises I do on airplanes and of course I was wearing compression socks on both legs all weekend.

I got in at 5pm, met Alexa at her apartment. We dropped my stuff off then headed downtown Ann Arbor for dinner at this really good Indian restaurant near campus. I'd been to Ann Arbor before but that was in December several years ago and we didn't really walk around that much. This weekend we had an opportunity to really walk around and Ann Arbor is super cute omg.



Roxane's event started at 7pm and this amazing auditorium on campus. She read a few passages from the book then opened it up to the audience for a Q&A. I was one of the last to get my question in and I had asked about memoir writing when you just can't remember. When I wrote Running With a Police Escort I had the benefit of this blog and journal entries and such to help. With my potential Book #2, I really want to write it but I can't remember everything. Her answer, that nobody's memory is perfect and it's okay to rely on some creative nonfiction when necessary, was a bigger help than I realized because this has been me since getting home:


After, she signed books! According to her Twitter, 1000 people were at the event, 800 stuck around for the book signing and she was there for two hours. She signed everything. Talk about major hand cramps.


Saturday morning, A and I went out for brunch and visited two bookstores (because of course). Then I got back in my car and headed back to Cleveland!

I did make a small but necessary detour on the way home, though:


Campus Polleyes is a restaurant in Bowling Green, Ohio, where is where I went to college. They legit have the most magical stuffed breadsticks and I haven't had one in probably close to 10 years so when I was on the phone with my sister and she made a comment about stopping, I called ahead, explained I'd be driving through town about 1:30 and could the order be ready?

They were and they taste exactly the same. I don't know how they do it, other than using the same recipe for the past 40 years.

If you haven't yet read any of Roxane's work, I highly recommend you go get her books now.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 June 2017

That Time I Got to Interview Jessamyn Stanley

A few weeks ago at one of my author events, someone who read my book asked about the place of employment I talk about, the one with the fitness classes and the awesome focus on healthy living. That would be OverDrive which, for those of who you don't know, is this magical app that lets you check out ebooks and audiobooks from your library. All it takes is having a library card and you have access to free ebooks and audiobooks.

Like I said: magical.

Among the many hats I wear at OverDrive is being the founder and co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast.


Along with weekly episodes where we talk about the books we are current reading and give recommendations, my co-host Adam and I also get to interview authors, sometimes live on stage courtesy of our friends at the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Several months ago, I was asked to host such an event for Jessamyn Stanley, badass yogi author of Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body.

Photo courtesy of CCPL

OMG YOU GUYS.

Jessamyn is amazing. Like, I can't even with how amazing. And I got to interview her. We are also total besties right now.


My interview with Jessamyn is up on our podcast today, so go give it a listen and then go read her book!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

31 May 2017

Giveaway: Win an Entry to the Run for Recovery 5K

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in being a blogger for the 5th annual Run for Recovery 5K, which is hosted by Recovery Resources. Founded in 1955, Recovery Resources helps people triumph over mental illness, alcoholism, drug and other addictions through outpatient programming.


Obviously, as someone who is struggling to address her own mental health issues, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. But, as many of you readers know, I used to work in a prison. I specifically worked in a prison that had a strong substance abuse program and for those inmates sentenced or drug or alcohol related charges, judges would send them to our facility because of the additional aid we could provide.

Here in Northeast Ohio we have seen an uptick in drug related deaths and according to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office the number of confirmed overdoses in 2016 has increased from 517 to at least 660 as of today.

Now in its fifth year, the 2017 Run for Recovery is being held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on August 19th  and not only will I be there on race day, but I have a second entry that I can give away to one of my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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