Life with Lupus (again)

Well, Kyle did say we needed to post more - and it just so happened that within the last 3 weeks, everything has completely changed in our lives! As we celebrated our fourth anniversary, the phrase "in sickness" has definitely been a new theme. 

We have shared with some of you already that my lupus reactivated drastically so for the first time in really ~12-13 years. (See this post if you want to read some thoughts from me about lupus at age 14 or thoughts on finishing medical school and being a doctor.)  I thought I was sick with a viral illness for 3+weeks, which was true, but it turned out to be the perfect storm of finishing intern year, working nights for the first half of July and being sick altogether. Little symptoms were missed (read: rationalized, yes I'm a bad patient) while I was working and when I went to the rheumatologist hoping for some reassurance and a routine check up, it ended up being the worst and finding out that my lupus not only out of control but affecting my kidneys again. 

It's definitely been an unexpected hiccup and definitely unsettling in the sense that I've always wondered when this could happen again, but God's sovereignty, timing, and the thankfulness we have for how this has panned out thus far has left me feeling overwhelmingly grateful and thankful despite the new struggles ahead. I am so thankful for our new community here in Ann Arbor through work and church, and the friends/family that extend across the country, that are back in Upstate New York, and friends that were there when I was even first diagnosed in high school and how they once again have encouraged me and prayed for me. 

I ended up having a kidney biopsy one week after my birthday and was hospitalized (definitely another dose of empathy for what it's like to be a patient...), Kyle got to experience the hospital life (yes, there are random people yelling "ow!" or "help!" at all hours of the night and it might not mean anything serious) - and we watched a lot of golf and HGTV and wheel of fortune. My doctors have been so great and I couldn't ask for a better team of people to help me get better. 

I still continue to process what life will be like now with a more active chronic disease than it has been over the last years and I know there will be ups and downs along the way. There are a lot of new medicines to take, I haven't slept well in 2+ weeks due to one of them, my face is going to be as round as it was freshman year of high-school. At some point I worry I might go crazy with lack of sleep and juggling work and health,  but I am reminded of one of my favorite lines of a hymn that says "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone, Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives".  There is so much more to hope for and rest in eternally and this is just an earthly body. 

And now for some fun pictures, because it wouldn't be a blog post without them:

Photos range from thinking that it was going to be an outpatient procedure, getting hospitalized and waiting for a bed, Kyle experiencing the joys of my residency $$$ in the cafeteria/Jamba Juice, Kyle's bed/vacation in the hospital, waiting for my procedure, one of my many visitors (so many resident friends came to visit that I did not subject to a photo!!! thank you friends!!!), the blanket Jonathan got me from Child Life (the children's hospital) and flowers from other friends, busting out of the hospital, and an outpatient infusion when it was all said and done. 

Thank you for reading! If you ever have any questions about lupus or want to talk more, send me a message, I'm always open for conversation. 

- Olivia 


Vacation to Maine!

It's been a long time since we've updated! Probably that's because residency fell into full swing and Kyle started traveling to Charlotte, NC on a weekly basis... 

Olivia completed rotations in the Peds ED, Newborn Nursery, and survived round one of the Labor and Delivery floor on both days and nights. Her vacation was a much needed break, and we took the opportunity to go to Maine for a week! Having never been there, we decided to go to Portland and Acadia. Here are some highlights. 

SEAFOOD: we ate a lot of Lobster, clams, and clam chowder. Thank you to our friends who provided various restaurant recommendations and Yelp :) We didn't have a bad meal during our entire week in Maine. 

HIKING: It's a good thing we did a lot of hiking to make up for all of the yummy food we ate! Acadia was beautiful in October with the foliage still around and cooler temperatures for hiking. Our favorite hikes included the Beehive Trail and the Precipice Trail - both had a lot of obstacles, rocks to climb up, iron rungs, ladders, etc. to overcome before getting to the top! We were unaware that the Precipice is considered one of the more dangerous national parks trails that exists....but we made it just fine! :) Look up a Youtube video if you want to see exactly what climbing it entails! It's definitely unique! We also took an easy stroll along the Acadia Ocean Path Trail. 

THE FARM BY THE SEA: An adorable Air BnB that we stayed at that had oceanfront property and a hobby farm. You could walk out to an uninhabited island during low-tide and look at the all the tide pools. It was magical. 

LOBSTER CATCHING: We decided to be touristy and ride a lobster boat - it was a lot of fun learning how they catch lobster, regulate the industry, etc. and a unique way to see Portland. We enjoyed helping bait traps, measuring lobsters, and throwing back crabs. 

It was a week full of food, hiking, and enjoying God's creation! The rest of Olivia's vacation has included a visit from her parents and relaxing at home. We will hopefully update again and remember to post some favorite recipes we've been making this Fall :) 

The Match: We're going to the University of Michigan!

I (Olivia) am still a little bit dazed after yesterday! It was a flurry of emotions and I was a bundle of nerves leading up to the actual hour of match day. It probably didn't help that between Kyle and me, we had several match day dreams that involved four different programs on the list... 

Pre finding out our residency program matches! 

I explained the matching process to Kyle a long time ago, and ever since, he thought it would be genius if when I matched, I made a video like high school recruits committing to a college for football... Well, I had to indulge him, and so we decided to get a few hats for some of the various programs that I had applied to so I could pull out and wear the right one once I found out where I matched! 

It was surreal to open up the envelope and realize that it was where we had chosen to rank first, even down to the continuity clinic (Ypsilanti)! 

At this point in the post, I'd like to give a shout out to Kyle: This guy willingly moved to Syracuse for 4 years, staying in Upstate NY longer than he ever thought he would. And then he endured the wild ride through medical school, being an encourager, a practice patient, and much needed dose of reality when I got sucked into the world revolving around me becoming a doctor. He even drove me all the way to Ann Arbor when all my flights got canceled so I could interview at U of M - a school he loves so much that people think he went there (he did not lol).

The interview season is technically "all about you," finding what "program fits you best," and why you'd be an excellent candidate for a program, but I kept finding myself saying "we" when explaining why I was interested in different programs and locations. This process has not just been about me, but about the both of us, and I am so thankful that we are a team. 

We're headed to the place that's been Kyle's dream for so long that it eventually became my dream too! (#marriage?) Seriously, the program is awesome for family medicine (and integrative medicine!) and though many people have asked me if I actually want to go there or if it's just Kyle, it's true, I am equally excited to go but for other reasons than Kyle (*cough* sports, Jim Harbaugh, and more legitimately family in close proximity, haha!!)

And it's really funny and ironically similar to how I even was able to go to medical school. So many things happened (not initially getting an interview, getting wait-listed, all transportation going wrong to get to my interview) that made me feel like going to U of M wouldn't happen - but God opened a lot of doors and I know that it's by His grace that we have this opportunity! 

We're not leaving Syracuse yet though! And we are very thankful to spend the next few months with our community here in Upstate NY :) So thank you friends and family near and far for your support for the past 4 (really 8) years - your friendship means so much to us! 

That's all for now, #goblue! 

Match Day Happiness! 

P.S. - if you like medical school music parodies, our class made one!

February Update & Match Madness

It's been a while since we've updated! Here's where we are right now: 

After a long stint of working from home, Kyle is back on the road (up in the air?) and has been commuting to Virginia weekly. It's annoying to wake up at 4am every Monday, but we're thankful that he can spend Sunday nights at home with our missional community and come back on Thursday nights. In February, the only other exciting thing that happened to him was that he got the flu (Olivia did not), and by "exciting" it was more like "extremely miserable for all parties."

Olivia finished up her dermatology elective, and then spent the last four weeks at the Joslin Diabetes Center learning all about diabetes management and other endocrinology issues. She has continued to sew stuff, despite not posting on here about it, but you can see those on her instagram feed. She also finished her first semester of skating lessons and loved it so much that she signed up for a second semester, despite being the only student in the adult class (the other lady broke her ankle during class....and Olivia knew that she would need an x-ray given the Ottawa Criteria - that was the end of her contribution to the medical care as an almost doctor. An ambulance was called) 


Okay now onto the exciting things.... like MATCH DAY! 

Okay now onto the exciting things.... like MATCH DAY! 

what everyone really wants to know:

Where are you going next? (we don't know!) when do you know where you're going next? (3/17)

Match day is St. Patrick's day this year, March 17th! That is when we will know where we'll be going next (: For those of you unfamiliar with the process, here's a quick rundown of what happens: 

  • Summer: fourth year medical students choose what programs they want to apply to in their intended field of choice (I chose family medicine). They get their letters of recommendation together, write personal statements, fix up their CVs, etc. 
  • Fall - Winter: applications are due, you get invited to interviews, you travel to interviews. (See previous post on my interview travels!)
  • January - February: You rank all the places you interviewed at, with the top of the list being where you most want to go. The programs rank all the students they interviewed with the top of the list being who they most want to come to their program. You then submit your list. 
  • March: a fancy magical algorithm gets run to match applicants and programs, and then students find out via envelopes passed out on Match Day where they're going! (it's a binding contract) 

It's been quite a year for us going through this process and we don't know for sure what will happen next. Our missional community has been going through James and it was quite timely that our passage was James 4:13-17 the week the list was due. 

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

We have a lot of different hopes and dreams about the various locations we might end up, but our prayer is that wherever we are placed, that we would joyfully and whole heartedly serve the Lord in our new location! 

A surprisingly warm and sunny day in Syracuse, NY!

A surprisingly warm and sunny day in Syracuse, NY!