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Halloween in my home

Yesterday was a quintessential New England fall day. It was warm and sunny with a little bite to the wind coming off the ocean. Astoria and I walked four miles. I got a bunch of normal people errands accomplished. I drove to go get coffee. It was really lovely.

It was especially lovely because September is tricky for me. The change of seasons hits my mast cells pretty hard. The falling leaves often have mold on them and mold is a huge trigger for me. I always contend with a pretty significant flare in September but it usually wraps up in a week or two. Last year, I deteriorated rapidly in September, ultimately needing months of medical leave. September is making me apprehensive this year.

On top of the physical issues, my last few Septembers have been pretty wrought with emotional stress. I will always associate this time of year with the fever pitch terror of someone you love almost dying and the horror of what happened to Kristina. I imagine I will have difficult Septembers for the rest of my life.

It’s the middle of the night here and I’m awake because I’m in a lot of pain. My abdomen is really swollen and painful. I’m not sure what happened but it’s the same thing that required hospitalization in June. I was sitting at my parents’ house, talking to my dad, and suddenly I was having killer abdominal pain. Like just this side of screaming pain. I took pain meds and extra steroids and mast cell meds but they didn’t do much. So I’m sitting here with a heating pad on my abdomen, waiting.

I am trying to remind myself that eventually it will stop and then I’ll just be in normal pain. That I’ve been in pain a long time but there are days when it is better. But every new pain is an echo of the first one, a lesser shadow that follows closely, a half step behind me. And if it’s all just one unending pain, a red path burned through my life, it doesn’t really ever stop. It might always be like this. I’m hopeful that it won’t but when you are in a lot of pain, it consumes everything. It consumes your happiness and optimism. It consumes your future.

I’m trying to pack my September full of fun plans to get me through. I’m going to a concert this Saturday with my Portland Soul Sisters, Alli and Alyson. I am going apple picking with my nephew. I am going apple picking again with my nieces the weekend after. My nephew’s birthday party is coming up.

Once I get through September, it will be October and I love October. I love Halloween. I watch a different scary movie every night and decorate my house and get a costume together for trick or treating with the kids. Halloween is always the gift I get for surviving September.

I pulled out all my Halloween decorations and decorated my apartment three weeks early. Even if I am in pain forever, I will still get Halloween. So it’s Halloween in my home.