A Little Bit About Trigeminal Neuralgia

It’s past midnight and Nathan is watching English ghost documentaries on Netflix, I don’t want to go to sleep. Which is ridiculous, because sleep is the only time that I’m protected from having TN attacks. The nerve started showing little signs of agitation today – two brief 5/10 type 1 attacks, with an undercurrent of type 2 2-3/10 ever since. Nearly always in the maxillary nerve, sometimes in the opthalmic, only very occasionally in the mandibular. The skin on my right cheek feels like it’s slightly sunburned, and certain teeth keep throbbing, especially when I chew or drink cold things.

But all in all, this is not bad at all. In fact, I should be grateful, because I know how much worse it can get. But these little attacks are always scary because you never know whether it’s ramping up to something much more terrifying.

I still can’t describe exactly what it’s like, at its worst. Something like getting electrocuted or shot in the face, something like having the bones ripped out of your face with no anaesthetic, something like having lava poured all over your face. The first time it happened, I thought I was having a stroke. It was so incapacitating that I couldn’t speak or breathe, only claw at my face while crouched on the bed on all fours like an animal. The only thought I was capable of having was of bashing my head against the bedhead until I died just to make it stop.

I’m lucky though, in that it’s not all the time. Although it’s pretty random when it happens, I’m slowly learning what my triggers are. When I’m in the middle of a flare, chewing, brushing my teeth, touching or washing my face, cold food or air, crying or being upset, tannins in red wine, clenching my jaw, wearing glasses or headbands all have the potential to make it worse, and sometimes stormy weather. We’ve also noticed that both of my biggest, longest, most terrible episodes came in summertime shortly after spending a few weeks in the northern hemisphere’s winter. But it can also be completely random. Sometimes I will be symptom-free for a month and feel prickling all across my cheekbone for no reason. Sometimes that will be all that happens, other times it is a warning that there’s more to come.

At the moment, I take Lyrica and Endone during the bigger, more longer lasting episodes. Unfortunately, Lyrica takes about a week to work and these things are unpredictable. Neither of these medications take the pain away, they just dampen it, and the Endone makes me drowsy. Anything that increases sleep also increases the time that TN can’t touch me. I am worried about the fact that this is a progressive disorder that gets more severe and often stops responding to treatment, but I suppose that’s a bridge I’ll have to cross when I come to it.

What I really wish is that more people knew about TN and understood what it’s about. It gets frustrating when people compare it to a headache or a toothache, and you think, if only. Most medical literature agrees that TN, along with cluster headaches, is the most severe pain experienced by humans. It’s really frustrating when people try to blow it off or act like it’s no big deal or that it’s totally like that time they sprained their finger. I wish that there was more information about young patients, because it’s such a rare disease already, but we are an even rarer cohort. But I wish most of all that people would use their empathy muscles and try to imagine themselves into our shoes – nobody wants to feel like this, but especially nobody wants to feel like the people around them think that they are being a drama queen over nothing. Because it’s definitely not nothing. I think for some people, they would just never understand until it happened to them, but that’s not something I can responsibly wish on anybody.

My hope is that they will find a proper cure in my lifetime. There are treatments available, but not all of them work for everybody, and some of them work for a little while then suddenly stop. There are people who have had the nerve severed entirely, but the pain comes back, and that is terrifying because… then what? Cut your head off? It always scares me that they call it ‘The Suicide Disease’. It also scares me that it is a progressive disease, and because it started so early in me (my first historic symptoms were when I was in my early teens), does this mean it has more years of my life to ruin than if I’d developed it when I was old? Who knows.

What I do notice now is that I feel insanely grateful for periods where I have no symptoms. Sometimes it has even gone on for a couple of months. It’s nice to feel for a while like you don’t have something wrong with me, you can almost forget about the whole thing. But when it is happening, there is always sleep.

^^ This photo was about a week before my first ever type 1 attack. I’d spent the entire month of January in constant pain, certain that I had some sort of massive jaw/wisdom tooth infection. I’d gone to the dentist and begged her to pull some of my teeth out and was in total despair when she told me it wasn’t my teeth. I was popping panadol and nurofen like they were going out of fashion, but they didn’t have the slightest effect. I guess the photo is proof that you never know what kind of pain can be hiding behind a smile.

June – Taking Stock

It’s winter! But luckily, the shortest day of the year happened this week, which means one thing – we’re in the home stretch towards summer, thank god. There are a bunch of things at the moment that are pretty great, a bunch that aren’t so great, but it’s never boring. Inspired by Pip Lincolne‘s lists:

Making : headway into my wedding to do list
Cooking : beef and spinach curry, saffron rice and cucumber yoghurt + ‘diet’ scalloped potatoes (which aren’t diet at all), asparagus and scotch fillet + I’m thinking maybe salmon tonight
Drinking : endless cups of lemon, ginger and honey tea
Reading Awakenings by Dr Oliver Sacks – so fascinating, so sad, so humbling
Trawling : for vintage Christopher Pike books
Wanting : to seriously just lay in bed with the heater on and play Age of Empires by myself for three days
Looking : at speed cleaning vlogs for inspiration, even if they do sometimes make me feel kind of hopeless
Deciding : that I really don’t need certain kinds of noise in my life
Wishing : that all the late spring/early summer flowers that I want for the wedding would magically be available for me at the right time
Enjoying : the fact that we’re not dealing with dog attacks every night anymore, and how much happier Posie is lately because of it
Waiting : for a time when Nathan will finally decide that it’s not reasonable for us to live in this crumbling house and that we will finally get started on renovations
Liking : taking a partial holiday from the news over the last few weeks – the Grenfell tower fire was just too upsetting to watch and brought back all sorts of anxious feelings about September 11, and I just figured self-preservation is a better option for me if the news media is going to be such a bunch of trauma vultures
Wondering : if I’ll be able to get myself on a plane in a few weeks – every time I have a flight ahead of me, I’m scared that it’ll be the time that I get to the airport and just can’t bring myself to do it, and have to come home feeling like a coward
Loving : “ye finny tribes” was a line in the libretto of Haydn’s Creation, which we saw last week – it means “fish” and I will laugh about this forever
Pondering : whether I’m ever going to own a pair of pants or leggings that aren’t baggy around the ankles
Listening : to my wedding music playlists and trying to decide whether to go for stylish ambiance or whether to just mash together all my favourite songs, no matter how eclectic (or jarring)
Considering : whether I need to re-pot my phalaenopsis orchids to make them bloom again
Buying : French champagne and cookbooks, merino sweaters and oh god, I have to get started on Christmas presents…
Watching : (or will be watching) Macbeth, next week
Hoping : that my skin can magically get it together in the next two months
Marvelling : at how much of a miracle drug Vivitonin has been for Rupert with his dementia, he’s seriously a new dog
Cringing : at my lack of assertiveness in situations where I should speak up
Needing : to make some specialist appointments that I have been putting off (explaining myself over and over is exhausting)
Questioning : whyyyy the wedding invitation company had to put their logo on the corner of the envelope
Wearing : my fluffy pink dressing gown at every opportunity
Noticing : that I’m getting a pretty deep wrinkle under one of my eyes and wondering what to do about it
Knowing : that it has been too long between Bunnings trips and that should be rectified this weekend
Thinking : that this whole Pauline Hanson thing is a storm in a teacup (frankly, she’s not a good communicator and even if she occasionally says worthy things, she almost always couches them in offensive terms) and that people need to respond philosophically and thoughtfully rather than emotively and irrationally just because their children have autism
Admiring : people aren’t too stubborn to let their opinions change when they listen to sage advice or tales of experience
Getting : a new dishwasher, I hope, since we haven’t been able to use the old one for over a year and we are the worst at doing dishes in a timely fashion
Bookmarking : all sorts of stopover guides to Singapore
Disliking : pretension, but also unwarranted arrogance
Opening : the bedroom curtains and letting the natural light wake me up each morning instead of using my light box
Closing : myself off from things that are just going to make me upset, over and over again
Feeling : pretty down lately, but motivated about starting a new exercise regime next week
Hearing : Rupert’s squeaky little dream-barks while he’s asleep on the sofa
Celebrating : the emergence of spring and winter bulbs, pushing through the soil (and weeds)
Pretending : (I totally skipped this one when I first published) mmm… pretending that I feel like socializing lately, I suppose
Embracing : that the dogs have decided they love sleeping in their own beds if we turn the heater on for them – I miss snuggles, but it’s so nice to actually have some room in the bed!

Wedding Things

I’m having a moment.

This whole wedding planning thing is starting to feel like one long, drawn out freak out, a silent scream. Despite my history of dabbling in theatre, I have somehow grown into a person that hates being the centre of attention. Being a bride feels like being on stage, except I’m in a giant spotlight, and I’m probably naked. At my most paranoid, I imagine that it’s an opportunity for an audience to pick me apart and critique my every move. My more rational self remembers that we are having a small wedding with only our nearest and dearest, and none of them will be thinking anything but happy thoughts for us. But anxiety isn’t exactly a rational thing. The end is in sight though – less than three months to go.

So where are we so far? Nathan has a jacket but no pants, shirt or tie. I have a dress and Cinderella-worthy shoes, and still no consensus on accessories or jewelry. Dogs will be naked at this point; I still haven’t found ‘formal harnesses’ for them yet. We have picked bonbonniere, we have pretty much settled on the menu, we need to finalize the drinks menu. Bridesmaids are getting measured for dresses that I hope they all like. Accommodation is booked for us, my family, his family. Dog sitter is organized, photographer is partially organized. Invitations are ordered, and man, what a thrill it was to see the proofs! I have picked somewhere to get our hair done. I have made a start on a dinner playlist. I have ordered corsages and boutonnieres.

But there are a million other little things that haven’t even been thought of yet. We still haven’t chosen our rings. We’re still struggling to choose songs for the ceremony. I haven’t even thought of flowers. I still haven’t found ties for the groomsmen, dads and Nathan (and Rupert, of course). We have to write speeches and vows. I have to write a dog sitting guide with all their quirks, routines and commands. We need to figure out what sort of cake we will have. I need to buy/source/get together every single little thing that we have to take with us to Melbourne, everything we could possibly need for that weekend, and find a way of fitting it all in the car. It also occurred to me that I should probably get a manicure, which I have never done before.

There is just so much. And this is meant to be a small, low key wedding, but there is still so, so much. I do not know how people plan gigantic weddings without completely losing their marbles, but I suppose that’s what wedding planners are for.

We’ll get through it. After all the stress, it might even be fun. It might even be one of the best days of my life so far.

Getting My Wisdom Teeth Out As An Almost 30 Year Old

Wisdom teeth are outta here! I got them out last week (which feels like a million years ago by now) and it has simultaneously been better and worse than I expected. The actual surgery was a breeze. Nathan waited with me at the hospital until they took me away. I met the anaesthetist and told him that I had an extremely long recovery time from anaesthetic last time, so he said he’d go fairly light on things. Which ended up being a bit scary – he put the cannula in my hand in the waiting bay and I was out like a light, only to wake up for a few seconds in theatre. Luckily they hadn’t started yet, and as soon as it happened, I was out again.

When I woke up, I felt fine. I thought, why is everybody such a baby about wisdom teeth – this is a breeze! Nathan came to get me with a box of beautiful flowers, and I dribbled blood everywhere and said some hilarious things in a video interview that I cannot bring myself to post. I had a local anaesthetic after the general, so I could not feel anything from my eye level to my mid-neck.

When we finally got to come home, things started getting harder. I developed a lovely yellow bruise all over one side of my face. I ate my body weight in custard, fruche and apple puree in the first day. But the next day, the local wore off and the painkillers were making me extremely tired and sick. Every time it got within an hour of being due for those painkillers, I was not a happy camper. Nathan set me up in the lounge room with a mountain of pillows and blankets, and I slept there for maybe four nights, with my little guardian-nurse pups of course.

There was a breakthrough on the Saturday night, because it was Dad’s birthday and he was making a feast of white wine steamed giant prawns, Kylie Kwong’s fried rice, garlic spinach, pork belly and trifle. I was not going to sit there with my baby food and miss out on that – so I managed some of everything, very carefully! It was so nice to eat real food again.

Today, it’s a week and a half later. The pain in the incisions is completely gone, and the stitches are starting to come out, which is utterly revolting. The only bad result of the whole thing was that I still have some numbness in my chin, and I sort of always knew that there was going to be ongoing nerve pain in my face as my teeth spread out and rearrange themselves. It’s bad, and I’m not sure how long this will last, but hopefully it’s over soon.

So, good and bad. But for anybody who’s staring down the barrel at this kind of thing, do not be scared! My complications made it bad, but the whole thing was a lot easier than I had imagined. I’m still grateful I never have to do it again though!

Hey Fluffer-munch

A letter to my little darling (because I’m sure that she reads this blog).

Dear Posie,

You are eight! Such an achievement. We are very proud of the dog that you have become, but I can never be sure which parts are nature and which are nurture. I’d like to wish that every delightful bit of you is due to our efforts, but it’s not true – you were spritely, sassy and spirited already on the day we met.

Lately you’ve been on a super affectionate streak (I am not complaining at all). You trot along after us, sneaking little licks on our shins so that we’ll praise and pat you. You figured out this little trick all by yourself, and we’re both amazed that you trained us this way. You also have made a habit of just sitting and staring at us, projecting the biggest amount of telepathic love that your little body can manage. Then no amount of kisses is enough.

You still bark at the mailman, you still love asparagus, you still get huffy if you don’t get to go visit Granny and Poppy every weekend. You have a few more lumps and bumps than last year, but it happens to us all. It’s hard to believe that you are a senior dog, not when you still act so much like a puppy. You and I have incredibly high level communication – I always know exactly what your little noises, your gestures, your pointing and your facial expressions mean, even if it is something like “I want you to open the door to the kitchen then lift me up so I can survey the counter tops to make sure you didn’t leave any leftovers uncovered”.

You are not ‘just a dog’, you’re the shining star of my life, the princess of my heart, the reason for being (along with Rupert, of course). Happy birthday Miss Munch!

Love from Mummy xx

Dread

It has been a LONG time since I’ve posted. Apologies to the two people who read here! But for now there is this:

I spent part of April and May with a jaw infection, so now, mere months after Nathan got his out, it seems it’s my turn to get my wisdom teeth out – I’m booked in for next week. And I’m a little bit terrified. So many people have told me great stories about how their operation was so easy, or they were in barely any pain, or they were eating normally 24 hours later. But according to the surgeon, that’s not how it’s going down for me. TN has a tendency to make things more complicated and this is no exception. It means a longer operation, much bigger incisions, more digging around in there, longer recovery period, bigger restrictions on how long I can’t eat for, bigger risk of complications.

I’m dreading this whole thing. It’s very scary to be on a countdown for something that you know is going to make you feel so much worse before you feel better, but worse – that it has the potential to plunge you right back into the worst pain imaginable. I’m really hoping though that it will be a cruisy week of eating custard, watching Netflix and having Nathan take silly puffy-faced photos of me – crossing all my fingers and toes!

May – Taking Stock

I don’t have a lot of exciting things to share right now. Life is a bit of a slog at this time of year, these first few months have been plagued by some unlucky health. And there’s a lot of running around and chores involved in planning a wedding, even a small one. So our weekends aren’t exactly brimming with adventure either. For now, there’s this (inspired by Pip Lincolne‘s lists).

Making : lots of lists, about all sorts of things – pre-surgery house cleaning plans, shopping lists, wedding to-do lists, timelines, lots of things
Cooking : this spicy rice dish that is sort of a cross between nasi goreng and paella – it’s really good, I’ll write up the recipe some time
Drinking : a lot of milk lately, which Nathan is pleased about (he’s always strangely concerned about me getting enough calcium)
Reading : not a great deal at the moment, unfortunately, but I have The Girl on the Train lined up for my recovery period next week
Trawling : through criticism and analysis about The Handmaid’s Tale
Wanting : to skip the next few weeks
Looking : around this utter trash-pile of a house and trying to figure out where to start
Deciding : what to wear for the wedding
Wishing : that I didn’t have TN and it wasn’t even a consideration for this whole wisdom teeth thing
Enjoying : Mother’s Day chocolates (thanks P+R)
Waiting : fitfully, nervously, miserably, anxiously… this awful anticipation is not fun at all
Liking : the fact that I made beef and spinach curry for Mother’s Day for Nathan’s family, and his grandmother (who never eats red meat) not only ate it and enjoyed it, but had seconds – such a win
Wondering : whether Tim and Eric are exploiting some of the people on their show, and feeling a bit weird about it
Loving : the way the light filters through the batik quilt that I am using as a makeshift curtain in the bedroom at the moment, until I get new proper curtains
Pondering : all the things I have to get organized and ready for surgery
Listening : to Carmen
Considering : whether my new Fitbit needs a firmware update or whether it’s just faulty 🙁
Buying : mermaid makeup brushes, because of course
Watching : The Handmaid’s TaleTim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
Hoping : that everything goes well next week; that I don’t vomit after general anaesthetic; that I don’t end up with nerve damage; that I don’t end up with holes in my sinuses; that I don’t end up just bursting into tears like a wimp
Marvelling : at what a total blessing it is to have a heater that actually works on these cold days
Cringing : at how much sugar I have consumed lately, and how it equals instant bad skin
Needing : to do a lot of work on the garden this week
Questioning : how many beds these dogs can possibly own (we’re at eight right now, but it’s more common for them to just lay on the floor instead)
Wearing : the warmest, coziest merino cardigan
Noticing : how you get a much clearer sense of people when you see the way they act when they think nobody is watching
Knowing : that the most likely scenario is that everything will be okay
Thinking : about Bali in September, and hoping we’ll get to see a mola mola
Admiring : Nathan’s handsome face (he shaved his beard off recently on a whim, like he always does) + Joanna Lumley for just being her brilliant self
Getting : new socks, new nighties, new pajama pants, seeing as I’ll be spending a little while on the couch
Bookmarking : fancy restaurants to go to for our birthday (a big one for me!)
Disliking : this new phase of Rupert’s age-related decline – he might have to go on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds, big sigh
Opening : important emails + boxes of nurofen
Closing : my eyes every night but barely sleeping
Feeling : scared, sad, lonely, freaked out, agitated, anxious, raw, jittery and in need of constant distraction
Hearing : again, finally – the jaw infection made my ears so blocked up
Celebrating : Mother’s Day + Jennifer and Dad’s birthdays
Pretending : that all things are within my control
Embracing : being the queen of getting cheap airfares (between now and March, it’ll be Brisbane, Bali, Singapore, Sydney and the Gold Coast  – yay but bring on the valium)

April – Taking Stock

 

Inspired by Pip Lincolne‘s lists, here’s mine for April. It’s hard this month because I would have answers for things like fearing, dreading, worrying or ignoring – these more positive things are a bit of a challenge right now. Photo describes my Wednesday. I knew there was a reason that I take so many silly face selfies!

Making : silly plans for Easter baskets for Nathan and the dogs.
Cooking : Italian meatballs, that turned out rubbish… sigh.
Drinking : a lot of hot tea.
Reading : everything about second wave feminism for the thesis.
Trawling : Pinterest for wedding dresses.
Wanting : a mansion, a lifetime of free plane tickets, immortality potions for the dogs and a couple million dollars – you know, the usual stuff.
Looking : forward, not back.
Deciding : that sometimes I need to be accommodating of other people’s feelings, but sometimes they need to be accommodating of mine.
Wishing : that I had a personal butler.
Enjoying : pineapple cakes that Dad brought back from Taipei.
Waiting : always waiting.
Liking : that I received a cardigan in the mail today that was vacuum packed so it was completely flat and fit into a envelope rather than a packet.
Wondering : whether Lipsense is as good as everybody says.
Loving : that Nathan slipped a punnet of strawberries into the shopping basket as a little surprise for me, even though he hates them.
Pondering : whether there is a way to store (freezing?) the overripe bananas in the kitchen that are only really good for muffin making.
Listening : to our exceptionally loud heater.
Considering : the pros and cons of Dad potentially moving to Taipei.
Buying : a special secret present for Nathan that he is not allowed to know about.
Watching : (or wishing I was watching) The Handmaid’s Tale.
Hoping : that the Easter bunny will skip the chocolate this year, but will leave something extra special in the backyard instead (unlikely).
Marvelling : at how some things turn out exactly as they are supposed to.
Cringing : (at 3am when I can’t sleep) at all the stupid things I’ve ever done.
Needing : to do some serious yard work so I’m not embarrassed anytime people come to the door.
Questioning : why I like disaster movies so much, even though they are mostly awful.
Smelling : my freshly washed hair.
Wearing : a weird haphazard assortment of summer and winter clothes because the weather can’t make up its mind.
Noticing : and noting the people who only contact you when they want something.
Knowing : that next time we buy a house, lack of linen closet is a dealbreaker.
Thinking : about a new (old) hair colour.
Admiring : a particular wedding dress that is simply far too beautiful and probably way too expensive to even think about.
Getting : some weird allergic symptoms lately, that we think is from some plant in the neighbourhood that must be unusually vigorous in this strange weather.
Bookmarking : news articles that make me mad, so I can show Nathan and we can get mad about them together.
Disliking : how many trips to the vet we’re making these days.
Opening : my closet and wondering whether dresses multiply in the dark.
Closing : cans of worms that are better left unopened.
Feeling : very scattered right now, there are so many things competing for my attention.
Hearing : my senior next door neighbours playing extremely loud dance music for some reason.
Celebrating : that it’s Friday. Not that this weekend is particularly exciting.
Pretending : I didn’t post a #throwbackthursday photo a day early by mistake. 🙂
Embracing : socks and ugg boots.

And a few more:

Biting : the hell out of my chapped lips right now in this in-between-y weather.
Craving : some intangible food that probably doesn’t exist, but it’s frustrating because everything else tastes like sawdust and wallpaper paste in the meantime.
Rejoicing : that I seem to be TN free right now!
Realizing : how my biggest doses of unluckiness seem to be balanced out by some supremely awesome luckiness.

Birthdays

I’m doing some writing prompts by Ann Dee Ellis. Eight minutes, unrehearsed or edited. Today’s theme is birthdays – and I actually did this one twice, about two mostly unrelated things:

Nathan has this story that he loves to tell the dogs, about the days that they were born. Apparently we were there when they were born, they came out of my tummy and we brought them home from the hospital wrapped in blankets. He cradles Rupert like a baby and tells him this story over and over in a voice full of interesting pitches – the dogs love it. They will listen intently, tilting their heads with curiosity every time they hear unusual words or phrases that sound like things they already know.

It does make me a little sad that we weren’t there for their birth days. Posie would have looked like a little naked pink baby rat. Who knows what Rupert would have looked like – he is so obviously the runt of the litter, with his weirdly disproportionate paws and his health issues.

I’ve written about it before, but their birthdays each year are filling me with dread these days. One year closer to the finish line, one more year has slipped away, never to return, reminding me of how few years we will get to spend together in the narrative of my whole life. We will never own dogs like these ones again. There might be other great dogs in our future, but nobody will be Posie or Rupert, ever again. It makes me so sad to know that I will have to go on and live the rest of my life without them, but I should feel so lucky that I got to have them at all – out of all the dogs, we got the perfect ones for us.

They really are the best dogs.

*****

Nathan and I share a birthday. Four years apart. What are the odds? 1/365 if all dates are given equal weighting, which they shouldn’t be (more babies are born in September, more babies are born on certain days of the week, etc). So, depending on various factors, it’s probably a less than 1/365 chance. But it still blows people’s minds. It really amazes me how many people don’t even have a basic understanding of statistical probability. For example, did you know that a pregnant woman only has a 3.99% chance of spontaneously going into labour on her due date but she has a 50% chance of already having delivered by that point? These are the statistics that drive people mad, because if it deviates from their anecdotal experience (or those of people they know) even slightly or they can’t wrap their head around the numbers for whatever reason, they will insist that the whole study is wrong.

This really has nothing to do with birthdays, does it? 🙂

A Lot to Think About

I saw a specialist this week in Melbourne, for something that has been a long time coming. I’m going to be deliberately mysterious on what exactly this whole thing was about, except to say that it is something that has affected me for a long time, will last forever, and will be entering a crucial phase in the next few years. The doctor was a particularly awesome person that, coincidentally, I might run into at writing festivals in the future. But the news she had for me was not the best.

Related, but I love the Father of the Bride movie. I even love its ridiculous sequel too. It’s so comforting to watch those films and think about how perfect Annie’s life is, how she’s so used to everything going perfectly that it turns her world upside down to receive a blender as a gift. Before the age of 25, she studies abroad in Europe, falls in love and has a $100K+ wedding, has a baby, gets her dream job and eventually has really enviable hair. I’m sure for some people, the whole movie would make you want to scream at her to check her privilege, but for me, it’s just kind of like… happy escapism. It would be super if things in my life could all run so smoothly, but the appointment confirmed that a rather big area of my life is going to be a gigantic scary struggle.

Shakespeare (or rather, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) said “the course of true love never did run smooth” – not just true love, but maybe it’s the case that anything worth fighting for won’t be won easily. I would like to tell myself that I will appreciate things all the more if it was such a battle to have them, but realistically, I’m worried that struggle wears a person down. I don’t want to be worn out, weary and cynical because of my journey – I want to always be optimistic and excited about possibilities. If anybody has a magic potion that can retain this, please let me know.