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5 Things You Have Control Over When You Don't Have Control

I really wanted to post a blog yesterday, but my brain just wasn't having it. And today, I know exactly what I'm writing about. And guess what? I'm really unhappy about it.

As of late, I've had some pretty major health issues (I'll explain those in detail in another blog), which have resulted in me pursuing a medical withdraw from all of my classes at UTD. The medical withdraw itself was made extremely rough to pursue, making a crappy situation worse.

Now, if you're close with me, you know that I like to have a plan in place. I'm flexible with my plans, but I like to have a plan.

But when your hospitalized for appendicitis that wasn't really appendicitis, but was a tumor, and not just a tumor but a very rare tumor -- Well, all of those plans don't just get chucked out the window. Nope. They get chucked out the window while on fire to land on a bigger fire.

I'm not in a place to go into more detail on my health issues, but an explanation will come. I promise.

Yesterday was rough for me. I was already having a crappy day and then, two of my friends kept asking me about school and work and crap like that. I just wanted to slam my head into the wall. I could go on and on about how right now I think school is a waste of money because I don't even know what I want to do right now. I did have someone tell me that because my emotions are so extremely heightened right now that I'm probably not in the place to be making major life decisions. And she's right.

As frustrating as not knowing is, there's some peace to be found in being forced to let go. I don't like having to let go. I'm one of those people who totally white knuckles things. I hold on so tightly that I cause my palms to bleed. I'm that person.

Letting it all go, well, kind of sucks. I've had a lot of experiences where God has had to pry my fingers off of the things I'm holding too tightly to. Ultimately, I do feel better after (at least most of the time), but every time something big happens to me, it just gets harder and harder to let go because I have to hold on to some semblance of control.

I know I said I wasn't going to talk much about this, but y'know what? Let's talk about the tumor.

On October 14th, at probably what was 2am, my mom took me to the emergency room with unbearable upper abdominal pain. After being dosed with some very lovely pain meds, I was given a sonogram to see if it was gallstones. It was not gallstones. I was given a normal CT, then a CT with contrast. And, the doctors at the ER I go to are super nice, and know me because I've been at least once a year for the past three years. So, at least it's not like I'm there with total strangers.

About 4am, they tell us that I need to be transferred because I have appendicitis. Wahoo. Super fun.

One painfully bumpy ambulance ride later, I'm at Baylor Scott&White in Plano. A few people actually came to visit me before surgery, and I really love them for doing that. I didn't have surgery until that night at about 6:30. But, we talked with my surgeon first. My surgeon said she was reluctant to take out my appendix because of where my pain was, and it seemingly looked fine. Then, we talked more and she asked about my pain. She told me my pain was atypical, and much like that of a child that had appendicitis (their pain moves differently). But, because my pain was moving, she went ahead and took out my appendix on instinct.

Thank God that she did.

After two more days in the hospital (which included a bad nurse, a bad fall, internal bleeding, visits from friends and family, and lots of pain meds), I was visited again by Dr. Kennedy (my surgeon). My mom was there too. Dr. Kennedy told us that what they took out was a perfectly healthy appendix, minus the fact that there was a tumor inside of it.

But, of course, in usual Natalie fashion, it couldn't have been just a tumor. Nope. Of course, it had to be a super rare atypical neuroendocrine tumor. Another name for it is carcinoid tumor. It wasn't large, only .6cm, but it was a T3 of T4 on the tumor scale. This particular type of tumor acts just like cancer, but it isn't cancer. The oncologist said "It's not cancer, but it's not-not cancer."

That's extremely helpful.

Honestly, a lot of what was said went over my head. But, my surgeon did say, this was the type of thing that went overlooked for significant periods of time and girls would come to her in their twenties, and the tumor would have infested their colon and they'd have to get the entire thing removed.

The first time I was able to shower at home on my own, I broke down crying with relief. It could have been so much worse than it was. We still don't really know what's in store. We have to wait for my next appointment with Dr. Flippo - the oncologist.

The point I'm making here is that I'm terrified. I don't like to share that will people, but I'm terrified because I don't have control over what's happening.

So, I'm going to share some ways that I personally use to give myself some control of my life. They may seem small, but it keeps me from going totally insane.


1) How You Fill Your Free Time

I don't really need to explain this one too much. It's pretty much laid out there. Often, I forget how much control I have over my free time. So, the big question is, even if it's just an hour, what are you filling your time with? Are you using it to fret and worry? Are you reading? Writing? Arithmetic? Are you playing video games? Or making phone calls? Are you spending it with people?

Spend some time to think about it. Sometimes, you just need to rest, and other times, you might need to just distract yourself. Try to figure out what is best for you in those moments.

2) Your Appearance

LADIES! This especially goes for you. I don't know what it's like for guys, but I know that it is one of the best feelings to feel put together, especially when I'm a mess internally. Girls and guys, you get to choose how you look. I'm not saying this from an "Oh, I'm so insecure I need to change how I look" attitude, but from a "Holy crap, I get to choose how I look" attitude.

Seriously! If you don't like your hair color, dye it! Don't like your weight? Lose some! (Okay, okay, I know weight loss/gain isn't a joke and sometimes it can be health related, but in a lot of cases it isn't.) Don't like your acne? Try a new face routine! (May I recommend dermologica? It's a miracle-worker.)

Friends, I find that most days, I feel the most put-together and the most myself when I do my hair and put on just a little makeup. When you take pride in your appearance, you take pride in yourself. By doing that, it's significantly easier to feel at least just a little better. It's easier to remember the things you have control over. Ever since I've started to take pride in my appearance, I've been getting really excited about planning my outfits and stuff. I finally feel beautiful again. And, to be honest, I love that feeling.

3) What You're Eating


I just had to say that.

This is me telling you that you have control over what you fuel your body with. Do you fuel it with pizza? Or with salad? Sodas? Juices?

Obviously, I'm a big advocate for eating healthy, but if you don't, I get it. I mean, I'm allergic to most junk foods, so...

Just keep in mind that you have control over what you put in your body and on your body. I mean, you pick your shampoo, right? What about your hair products? You get to pick! How cool is that?

4) Who You Spend Your Time With

You know, I don't need to explain this one. We all get to pick who we hang out with: friends, family, which coworkers we spend the most time with, etc.

So, what type of people are you spending your time with?

5) Your Attitude

I know, it's said a lot. It even made me roll my eyes. But, seriously. You have more control over your attitude than you think you do. You know what helps me keep a positive attitude? Music. Positive music. Or a gratitude journal. Or, I look myself in the mirror everyday and say one good thing that could happen, or one good thing I like about myself.

Don't try to switch your attitude all at once. Try small things to make your day just a little bit better. Eventually, you'll notice a big difference.

Just remember, friends, you have more control than you think.


Date Written: Saturday, October 26th, 2019 at 3:43pm

Song of the Day: Afraid by Tenth Avenue North

Favorite Animal: Pandas!

Favorite Colors: Green, Blue, and Purple

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