fair warning - this post is going to get very introspective, feel free to skip over if you prefer the fluffier side of Itsy Bitsy Bums

#gettingtoknowIBB: this is the hashtag on several of my Instagram posts these days - aka - a way to get to know IBB outside of just our diapering moments. 

#fibromyalgiastinks: this is the other hashtag you will see from time to time - aka - my body is fighting itself.

#fibromyalgiastinks #gettingtoknowIBB #sbish #brookeside
 In reality, Fibromyalgia is just the tip of the iceberg. I've up to seven auto-immune issues on my list (health care professionals tend to listen to my medical history with wide eyes). To say it has been a very challenging six and a half years for me is kind of an understatement. Actually, I don't know if 'challenging' is even the appropriate word. I wish I could really list it out, without it seeming like I'm starting to write a thesaurus. An attempt? Challenging, interesting, exhausting, mind-numbing, soul-sucking, soul-searching, maddening, questioning, fulfilling, heartbreaking, core-shaking.... honestly, there aren't enough words, or even adequate words.

The quick version - October 2006 - I went from a perfectly healthy graduate student just starting my studies at the University of Kansas to a 26yo woman paralyzed in a hospital bed. Paralyzed. Just not the kind of thing you ever expect to experience in your life. (More on that here). But the paralysis was temporary, and I've since relearned to walk, talk and appear to be a normal person. Supposedly I'll still make a full recovery, the doctors say, but after almost seven years, it comes a point when you want to scream (upon initial diagnosis they said two years for a full recovery, though more recent research suggests five to ten years; come find me in 2016, I guess?).

Every single day I wake up trying to gauge what my day will be like. Good pain day? Bad pain day? How's the fatigue? If my daughter begs 'pick me up!,' can I? For every step forward, there are ten back: for every advance in my recovery, just when it seems like I'm on a roll, my body says 'haha, not so fast, sucker, take this.' And I'm left trying to figure things out all over again.

The last couple of years seemed to be on a pretty good upswing, slow and steady, slow and steady, getting better. Better to the point I felt like I could start committing to things outside of our home's four walls - I opened our storefront! I even bought a cloth diaper company - Peachy Green (yes, another blog post begging to be written!). And then my body said 'haha, hold it, lady.' And threw me the worst curveball I've had in a while. A long while.

For the last month I've returned to a point where my focus is basic care: shower (sitting on the floor because I cannot stand that long), manage the online business from bed (while my amazing team runs the physical side of things), trying to parent from the couch. I just sit here shaking my head at it. Seriously. I have to do this again? This cannot be happening, there is too much to not be able to work the usual 14-hour day.

But here's where it gets really introspective.

I'm still here. It could have been so much worse. As far as neurological issues get, GBS is kind of one the better options. I don't know how close to death I actually was, and I don't know that I really want to know, but it felt awfully close. I'm here to hold my daughter, to be with my husband, keep ticking off my goals from the very long list of what I want out of life. So the last month has kicked me in the rear. I just took twenty steps back, but I'm getting up. And I'm not going to let this hold me back. 

I've been back at my usual table at the coffee shop today, getting back to my usual 100wpm-self. It feels really, really, really good. To the point there aren't sufficient words to describe how much better today feels. Though, Wilson Phillips is belting 'Hold On' on my radio right now, and it seems to sum it up pretty well. 'Things will go your way, if you hold on for one more day.' My new anthem: keep holding on, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep believing, and I will come out of this a stronger person.



  1. My heart goes out to you. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I wish you great success in recovering!

  2. Abby, You're one of the strongest peeps I know (I think you and my sister top the list). Autoimmune diseases are nasty vile diseases and I pray they find answers soon. XOXO

  3. I never ever would've guessed this about you. You are the most enthusiastic and joyful people I know. Your store has blessed me. If nothing g else keeps you motivated and gives you hope I pray that the chance to bless others does. I'm sure you've researched it all but I know some I credible people with similar issues. We will talk next time I'm in:)

  4. Abby, I actually just found your blog, and this happened to be close to the top. My heart goes out to you, as I could have used your words to describe my life at different points along the road... not knowing how close to death I was, and not really wanting to know; parenting from the couch; working from bed; not being able to stand... different diseases, same life struggles and thoughts. And yet, I'm still here too. :) It's a lot to have on your plate this young in life, I know all too well. Just wanted to let you know I hear your struggle and can relate. Praying for your body, your doctors, and your family.

  5. Thank you for sharing Abby! I will pray that this month continues to get better for you and I love your outlook on life that this could be much worse. You are blessed to have a spunky daughter and a loving husband. Thinking of you today, tomorrow and always!

    Katie Still