Proud Survivor Of Year 2015

It has come time to say farewell to this year and move forward. I will continue to blog and hopefully provide at least somewhat interesting content about my journey in life, powerlifting training, health, and advocating about adrenal insufficiency.

I could write a whole book about all the terrible and nearly unbearable stuff that happened to me. How I felt I’d never make it sane to the end of this year. But I did. I withstood the sh*t blizzard. I survived. And all this has made me stronger and wiser. Hopefully also a little more patient and compassionate towards myself.

I’ve always had the perk of seeing the positive in “negative” life events. This past year really put it to the test. But I made it through and I’m thankful about all the experiences. This is my life and without them, I wouldn’t be this person I am today writing this post.

I can thank – and blame for – adrenal insufficiency for almost everything that happened in 2015, in good and bad.

~So, what magnificent perks has living my first full year with adrenal insufficiency given me?~

  • I have a new job I really enjoy. I would never have ended up working as a (phone) consultant doctor if I hadn’t been fired from my previous job as a geriatric ward physician. The work I did before was overwhelmingly hectic, underpaid and I would probably have burned out soon enough. I also got sick all the time as I got exposed to bacteria and viruses – not a good thing with my immunodeficiency. Now I can really do work I love – helping elderly people and I’m able to use my skills in palliative care and my previous experience as an E.R. doc to their advantage. My employer, Doctagon Oy, was awarded Finnish Medical Association’s Quality Award this year. I was one of the proud employees celebrating it a few weeks ago :). And I’m proud to continue working with these wonderful people in a company that really cares for it’s workers and good quality in health care!
Kuva 3
Celebrating Finnish Medical Associations Quality Award – sitting next to none else but the company president!
  • I’ve made new friends and gotten closer to my old ones as never before. I’ve been a somewhat “difficult” person this year. Most of my old friends had already been accustomed to me breaking off previous engagements due to health reasons, most often infections, but with AI and my health fluctuating it wasn’t unusual for me to call off meeting someone in an hour’s notice and cancel parties. Last summer my dear friend even had to drive us home from our trip to Savonlinna because I was feeling so unwell. I’m so lucky everyone has been more than supportive and I’ve always had someone to talk to when things got tough. All those conversations during long walks outside or by phone helped me get through the dark times. And without adrenal insufficiency I would also have never met a bunch of wonderful ladies – especially my dear Addison-Akat – whose peer support has been invaluable. A rare, chronic disease is often as debilitating mentally as it is physically. Having someone to talk to who knows exactly what you’re going through is important beyond words.
Me and Suvi on our way to listen to Sonata Arctica at Olavinlinna Castle
Me and Suvi on our way to listen to Sonata Arctica at Olavinlinna Castle last July
  • I have gotten the opportunity to help AI and other rare disease patients in many ways. This disease takes over your entire life. Nothing is the same anymore. I can most likely never work again full time, at least not regular work as a physician. The stress is simply too much for my body. I got help and peer support through The Finnish APECED and Addison Patient Organisation. This year I gave two lectures for patients – first about exercise and sleep with adrenal insufficiency and the second about stress and mindfulness. I got elected as a board member to the Patient Organisation this autumn and am now also the European Adrenal Network contact person in Finland. I’ve participated in Rare Disease Association’s events and done much networking and hope I can in the future bridge the gap between doctors and rare disease patients and help to improve their treatment and quality of life all around Finland. I’m now also a certified Peer Supporter by the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities. Next year I hope to start a new regular peer support group in my area with another APECED Addison member.
  • I have fallen in love with powerlifting. I’m an athlete at heart. I want to compete and test my boundaries. I got into powerlifting because I wanted to prove that chronic illnesses won’t stop you from reaching your goals. You can exercise, better yourself, push through hard times and gain strength – both physically and mentally. No matter how bad my day has been, a good session of squats, deadlifts and benching always leaves me feeling better :). I have a great coach and she has stood by me and helped me tweak my training – it isn’t easy as I’ve gotten sick numerous times, fallen behind on workouts etc. But I will never quit. Training with Anni has also sparked my interest about weightlifting – and I will explore the world of snatch and clean & jerk more throughly next year so stay tuned!
Last gym day 31.12.2015
Last gym day 31.12.2015
  • My relationship has lasted through all the difficulties this year. My boyfriend supported me and stood by me with all my troubles, adrenal rushes and rage fits ❤ ❤
Me with my boyfriend last summer at Stockholm <3
Me with my boyfriend last summer at Stockholm ❤
  • I have gotten the full support of my whole extended family.  My dad helped me with practical issues such as renting my apartment when I was too shocked and depressed to do anything after getting fired and being so ill. My sister and lots of relatives helped with my move. My uncle loaned me money when I was at first denied my sickness and disability benefits (I will have to pay him back next year!). My mom always had time to listen. I’m glad I’ve been able to help her now with her own health issues. Tonight I got my best New Year’s Eve gift as I get to spend it with my mother – yesterday she had another cardiac catheterization and thankfully everything went well. I’m now helping her recover at home.
  • I’m mentally stronger than ever and have grown as a person. I have had to learn about my limits. I can’t be the superwoman I imagined I was anymore. I’m just Veera. I have to make choices between things I want to do, am able to do and need to do. At the beginning of this year my whole life as I had imagined it collapsed. I wasn’t able to work. Heck, I wasn’t even wanted at work. I got told loud and clear I was a burden, a broken doctor who wasn’t useful anymore. And the worst part was when I started to realize that was partly true. I couldn’t live my life like before. Not ever again. The depression that followed getting fired and denied of all compensations, without money, without a job, with a broken down health nearly devastated me. Without the help of family and friends, antidepressants and therapy I doubt I would have made it. I’m lucky I have found a great therapist and will continue working with her. Even the strongest of us need a little help from time to time and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m not strong enough to cope on my own. I hope I can in the future still grow mentally and learn to accept and love myself the way I am, with all my flaws and imperfectness.

I’m also grateful for my wonderful pets – my hamster Tara who loves her beauty sleep as much as I do, and my new baby, Franz ❤ ❤

Tara awoken from her sleep is as grouchy as her owner would be
Tara awoken from her sleep is as grouchy as her owner would be
Mommys little boy got tired after reading too much scifi
Mommys little boy got tired after reading too much scifi

This is a song from one of my favorite power metal bands – of course from Finland 😉 – Stratovarius. I’m glad to say made it through my Darkest Hours! 

These frantic memories
They bring me down, tormenting peace
The darkness drowns me
I’m restless without sleep
When day breaks, I’m still awake
I recall my mistakes

I’ll be never alone, never again, never alone [x2]

(Chorus)

When all my hope is gone,
I’m waiting for the dawn
I raise my head and find my own way out of the dark
I’ve left my past behind
I’m reaching for the light
I’m not afraid to live my life – I’ll take what is mine

I’ll make my way through the darkest hours of my days!

Those frozen memories
Laid out for me, all I can see
The night surrounds me
Destroying harmony
What lies beneath, demise in me
I’ve lost my purity

I’ll be never alone, never again, never alone [x2]

(Chorus)

I’ll make my way through the darkest hours of my days!

(Chorus x2)

I’ll make my way through the darkest hours of my days!

Wishing you all Happy New Year 2016 – be your own life’s hero! ❤

xoxo,

Veera

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2 thoughts on “Proud Survivor Of Year 2015

  1. Veera, you really are an inspiration, and to be honest I talk about you to my doctor all the time as an example of someone overcoming AI and continuing to thrive. Keep doing what you’re doing, you are fantastic! (P.s. I am loving all the new puppy pictures. ❤ )

    Liked by 1 person

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