I contract H1N1 and pneumonia; they completely knock me on my ass for more days than I care to remember.
I have a major self-esteem breakthrough that gives me three months of sunshine bliss.
My nephew, Nash Thomas (don't ask), is born 9 weeks early on February 28th and spends weeks in Duke's NICU. He is so small that when I hold him for the first time, he weighs less than a bag of rice. I sing Or Zaruah to him over and over.
A woman I've met on one of those dating sites wants to go out. This presents a huge problem for me because there is someone else that I would rather be dating--someone who I've wanted to date for over a decade. With much trepidation, I tell Lisa how I feel and she tells me she feels the same. We start planning a trip to make it a reality.
My job finally comes through with the first part of my salary adjustment and overnight I double my take home pay. I'm thrilled.
Lisa comes to NC for five days. We have Shabbat dinner in my home (my first ever), she accompanies me to synagogue, she wows all my friends with her brilliance and her sense of humor. She is so beautiful, so amazing, I have a hard time believing I'm good enough for her. She takes my breath away.
Our first kiss happens on the same day that the BP oil spill happens. I draw no connection between the two events.
Gina, who has become my best friend over the past six months, gets ready to graduate from residency. She decides to take a job here in NC rather than return to PA at the moment and I am thrilled.
We hit some service milestone(s) at my clinic and every employee gets a $300 Visa Gift card. The award allows me to purchase a plane ticket to surprise my girlfriend on her birthday. It is the first time I've ever seen Northern California and I fall in love with the area. The only thing more beautiful than where she lives is my girlfriend herself.
Gina graduates and I attend the ceremony as her guest, along with her mother, her sister, her aunt, and her grandmother. We take a picture together that is one of the best pictures ever taken of me. It hangs in my parents' house.
After being sick for weeks, I finally break down and see my GI doc, who orders a scope done of my pouch and small intestines. He diagnoses me with Crohn's Disease.
In a stunning turn of events, my therapist of two years goes absolutely batshit crazy when I cancel an appointment with her in anticipation of having to see my GI doctor emergently. In a heated email, she tells me that my illnesses are illusions and that I am only sick because it is a way for me to get validation and comfort from my environment/peers. When I discontinue our therapeutic relationship, she tells me that I'll be back because she loves me and I love her and some really long, rambling story about each of us carrying the other around in the backpacks of our hearts. A significant portion of her work with me is suddenly called into question and I realize I almost estranged myself from my parents for no good reason at all. I head into a spiral of depression that it takes me weeks to pull out of, with much assistance from Lisa, Gina, and my parents.
I catsit for Kiki, Gina's cat, for six weeks while she visits Croatia. I love having a cat again.
I get sicker.
I spend a week in CA with my gorgeous girlfriend before she begins nursing school. I visit Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union in anticipation of getting a Master's there. We visit San Francisco, spend a lot of time swimming and exploring the area, and I discover hot tubs, which I had never experienced before. We attend synagogue in Roseville together and are made to feel quite welcome.
I begin to take Humira and azathioprine. The former seems to do me some good, while the latter poisons my liver and puts me in the ER for 10 hours. Gina comes to sit with me and laughs when I get morphine. I heart morphine. I'm taken off the azathioprine.
I levy a formal complaint against my therapist with her oversight board.
My niece, Zoe, turns seven. SEVEN.
I get sicker.
Lisa studies and studies and studies, which shows because she makes consistent As on her exams in nursing school. I discover ways to help her study from 2800 miles away, which makes me very happy. One of her professors, however, takes to singling her out in a negative way and this makes me very UNhappy. Grr.
I get sicker. So sick, in fact, that I go into the hospital for 8 days while they try to stabilize my symptoms. While there, one of the meds they've put me on drops my heart rate into the upper 40s, low 50s and I can no longer stand or speak very well. Lisa figures out what it is three days before my doctors do. I rediscover why I hate hospitals so much. On Yom Kippur, the hospital sends me a plate of food with bacon on it even though they know I am Kosher. My rabbi visits me in the hospital on the night of Kol Nidre and prays with me.
I discover that I'm intolerant of treenuts and remove them from my diet.
Gina starts her new job in Durham on her birthday.
My nephew, Gabe, turns five. FIVE.
I host the oneg at my synagogue the weekend after Thanksgiving. Everything on the table is gluten and treenut free.
My birthday is one of the best yet, a total turnaround from last year, due mainly to my wonderful and amazing girlfriend who kept me on Skype until midnight on the 28th just so she could be the first to wish me a happy birthday. My parents get me a chanukiah and candles for my birthday so I can celebrate Chanukah, which starts the next week.
I reach the 200lb mark and am officially a size 16 for the first time since high school.
I celebrate Chanukah every night by lighting candles, saying prayers, and talking to my girlfriend on Skype. She finds me Chanukah songs and articles and recipes to help me celebrate.
Lisa rocks her final exam and makes an A for the whole semester, making her one of two students to do so from her class. The other A is her study partner.
My mother retires from nursing after 20 years.
I spend Christmas and New Years in CA with Lisa and her family and fall in love with all of them all over again. Her family is an amazing group of people and I spend hours talking to them, answering their questions and learning more about Lisa from those who love her best. She and I go to the North Coast for a romantic getaway that includes an ocean view room with a private hot tub, we explore tide pools and redwood forests, we see and photograph a bobcat out for a stroll, we exchange presents and attend parties and grocery shop and she makes me gluten-free brownies for my birthday that are to die for. Every moment of our time together is beautiful and passes too quickly and when it's time for me to go home, I don't know who dreads it more--me, Lisa, the kitties, or Lisa's family. On my first flight as I leave, I sit next to two young military men who couldn't have been more than 19 years old. On my second flight, I sit next to a very, VERY lovey dovey gay male couple and cry like a girl because I miss my girlfriend so much. When I get off the plane and meet my parents at the end of the walkway, I sob, "I want to go home!"
12:13am Christmas morning becomes etched into my heart. The memory of that moment still takes my breath away.
All in all, 2010 has been a fabulous year for me. There have been challenges, to be certain. Some of them I manifested for myself, some of them came from outside sources, but all of them helped me to grow and to change.
I have found love and joy and friendship and family. I have rediscovered so much. An old friendship and lost love returned to me, brighter, more amazing, and more wonderful than I ever imagined possible. She makes me want to be the best person I can be, not only for her, but for everyone. She inspires and supports me in ways I cannot hope to explain fully. She is always the most beautiful and most brilliant woman in any room she inhabits and I am so lucky to have this second chance with her.
I rediscovered my parents after estranging myself from them at the behest of my therapist (who had never met them, by the way). I found them adult-to-adult finally, scraping away those illusions we--as children--grow up believing. Our relationship is so much richer and more equal than it ever had been before.
I have discovered a friendship--a kind of sisterhood of the soul--with someone so unexpected that I still sometimes question it. Gina was the first person that I actually believed accepted me exactly as I am (even though now I recognize there were others who did so, too) and she has taught me so much about life and relationships and about trusting myself.
I have found more members of my family that I never new about before and I love them all. I can't wait to see them again.
Hopefully, as 2011 goes forward, I will achieve all the goals that I wish to achieve, including becoming as healthy as I can.
In the meantime, I am incredibly grateful for what I have.
Todah rabah, Adonai, for all the gifts you have bestowed upon me.