Kara Casteel- the fundraiser

I realize that I have not blogged in the past 2 months- here is how I have spent my time...

We started Team Kara- "Hustle and Flow" a couple months back and with life as hectic as it is for everyone, I took on the fundraising planning and prep single handed. Ofcourse my type A personality thought, "no sweat! I can do all of this." Actually, if I am being honest, it was probably a way to keep my mind overactive and working toward something to keep my sanity.

This was the first time I have ever done any type of funrraising and boy have I learned a LOT! Mainly, how to do it way different next time.

First of all, you need a team of people in the planning stages. 2 heads are better than one- so many are great!

The next lesson I learned is you have to have money upfront to fund the fundraising. I took so many expenses for granted... paper and ink for flyers, simple supplies that you forget someone has to buy, copies, etc. Boy how it adds up!

What else have I learned? people are genuinely good, without a doubt. When there is a cause, there are people who care and are willing to support the cause. I have started to find that there are many great people that I have not taken the time to know that are amazing and can truly enrich my world.

Every door that shuts leads to another one that opens... I may have lost my job this year due to my medical condition, yet I have gained a wealth of knowledge that I can not put a price on.

The fundraising have been hit and miss the first time around, but I am thankful for the ability to grow from the experience and to develop relationships that I may not have had the opportunity to know without the fundraising platform.

I can not express my thanks and gratitude to every person who spent their time, talents and energy on helping me on my team Kara challenge. Your priceless to me!

sometimes time flies- sometimes it stands still...

As I see Christmas decorations start going up around town before Halloween, I recognize how quickly the seasons change and how fast the world is turning. We now live in a world that is so eager to monopolize on the income that is made by holidays that we tend to not even enjoy our days when they are hear because we are forced to prepare for the next big thing instead.

When I reflect on this year at some points I say "wow, this year is almost over." and some days I wonder if the time could go any slower. My outlook is always based on how I feel at the time.

2010 has most definately been the longest and shortest years ever.
I vow to slow down and remember to enjoy every day for what it is and not look too far into the future for I may miss some of the beauty of today.

October 26th... How are you?


I wouldn't change the pain for what I've learned...

I just took a second to read my last entry. It was over 6 months ago. Wow- it seems as if I knew that day just how hard this battle was going to be. It has been worse than I imagined. Since that last post, I did not endure 1 major surgery and one life chance... I have endured 8 surgeries, 11 hospital stays totaling 82 days in the hospital since 2010 started,) and dealt with many obstacles along the way.
Let me sum up my last 6 months.
The illeostomy placement/resection was, indeed, done on 1/29 as scheduled. It did not go well and there were multiple complications that Short Bowel caused that were not expected. We didn't know just how little of my intestines I had left. My surgeon who had told me I had minimal time left in 2008, now said we were at the peak "looking over." I thought, "Wow- not good news- I am only 40!"
The fistula remained an issue and I had 2 repairs done to try to repair this issue that was going to inevitably cause me to become septic. No success here.
After 3 months of hell with an overactive ostomy and challenges with infections, I changed surgeons and had to go through a second ostomy placement.
If this was not enough to deal with, my kidneys became involved. I had 2 kidney surgeries as well.
To this point, I had somehow remained as positive as any human could be. I had already lost my position at work (and was the breadwinner of the family), but now my disability had also run out.
June of this year, I truly hit rock bottom. I was no longer physically strong and now not mentally strong either. My kidney stent had became calcified (but we had no knowledge of this) which caused me to stop eating and drop 25 pounds in the matter of a month. On 6/10/10, I left my home to be readmitted in the hospital, and was not sure if I would ever return. I truly thought I was facing death. The hardest part is Dwayne did too.
Once I had another kidney surgery in late June, I began to come back to life. My mentality was good, I began eating again, and started gaining weight back. I still had complications with my blood levels, nutrient absorbtion, strength, etc. but I wanted to be alive again and this was an improvement!
Now here is where I am... Medically- The fistula to date remains repaired. (3 months and counting) I have started losing weight again and weigh in now at 112 pounds which at 5'6'' is not good, I take all liquid or IV meds to help with absorbtion, I still have the illeostomy and the overactive output. I have not had more than 3 hours of straight sleep since Jan, nor do I see this changing in the near future. I have surgery next week to place a permanent port to allow TPN at home (IV feedings) and all nutrients and fluids daily. NEVER SAY NEVER- Boy have I learned this! Financially- well priorities have certainly changed even more now. We are trying to make the most of every day and build GREAT memories while we can. The bills are challenging to say the least. There is nothing we can do to fix this right now. We hope to stay in Lake Dow as long as we can- but if we can't- we will be happy together somewhere else.

I am trying to fit in anything and everything I feel up to even if I push myself to do things. I want to live life to the fullest. BECAUSE I CAN! that is the new motto. "There is no way out but through"- and I am going to live every day as full of life as my body allows me to. Time to change me for the best.


the disclaimer...

why blog- for my sanity... no other reason...

in a very uncertain time in my world, I quickly tell you that although the hopeless optimist I still am, things are pretty tough right now... I will still try so very hard to find the happy things... but please bear with me when I fall below your expectations at times. These next few months are going to be the hardest I have ever faced. I hope to find rainbows and butterflies each day- but reality is that with the rediculous amounts of medication and the lifestyle changes I am facing- I may not always make you feel better about you or leave you inspired by my words. PRobably really not tonight.

What I can promise is honesty. Some probably really want to know my reality- truly- others probably don't and that, too is okay.

My reality hit yesterday in a 2 hour span with a home health nurse. She was eager to inform and so sweet, yet I just wanted her to stop- tell me nothing and not act like life was not about to change. As I found myself breaking down to a complete stranger, I had my first pitty party I have had... let's see... EVER. The hard part is it hasn't stopped.

So with that said, I am allowing myself 2 minutes to get it all out so I can move past it and get my attitude right before Friday.

... I watch life going on around me and realize that this is my fight- no one else's. I try to remember when my priority was what I was going to do Friday night, what I would wear, and all the other trivial things that really do not matter anymore. It's nothing about the fear of the surgery, that is the least of my worries. I have a pain tolerance untouchable by most. It's truly about the emotions. I am just so sad right now- and can't even explain it. Sometimes holding back tears when there is nothing to cry about.

Pretty sure it is the uncertainty... (coupled with high doeses of steroids) The good 'ol control freak that I am- uncertainty is about as comfortable as a wedgie. It's about needing my family and friends like never before, just to be there- just to make me smile, to help me find my smile when I am not searching in the right place for it, or making me find a new way to smile or get through my fears. I feel like an outsider in my world- not sure why... seeing things in a different way-

ok- 2 minutes are up- not even going to re-read this- for it is truly what came out without my editing or wanting things to sound ok- it was raw.

Ok- lied- I do have another expectation of this "reblogging".... I hope to regain one thing. My strength- mental and emotional strength that is. This entry is to give myself a swift kick in the ass like no one else can. I have to face this head on and find my strength to go day by day...

ok- if I EVER do that again- someone needs to kick me harder....