Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Progressive Planner: This is me, take two, redo!

Author's note: Usually I reserve this post for January.  I actually did post a variation of this in January on The Progressive Planner.  However, so much has happened that I've been unable to focus on my goals.  Additionally, I've decided to combine TPP into Witchy Words.  I'm considering this upcoming full moon a "New Year" of sorts where I can make a fresh start.  Expect a selection of posts outlining my goals over the next week.  After that, I'll stop bombarding you with graphs, I swear!

This is me.  I am 25 years old, married and have four rescue pets.  In 2012, I had a terrible year surrounded by death, financial devastation, job loss and toxic friendships.  Hoping to turn my life around, I spent my last $10 on a planner and started up this blog right before Christmas.  It was everything I wanted 2013 to be: A blank slate.

So how did 2013 fair for me? Let's take a look back at what I made of it.

I worked a bunch.

I exercised with my friends.

I organized my life.

I started volunteering to help dogs get adopted.

I went camping.

I moved my best friend in with us from Chicago.

I spent time with my friends...

... a lot.

I began volunteering as a Cat Caregiver.

I lost a ton of weight.

We moved.

Despite having to move into different apartments, we stayed in the same complex.

We had a housewarming.

I came out of the broom closet as a Pagan of 11+ years.

I shared my birthday with awesome people.

I developed my green thumb.

I became obsessed with tea...

... and teapots.

The image below may be medically graphic to some.

I developed Autoimmune Scleritis
and was nearly-blind for three months.
Doctors originally thought it might be
MS or a pituitary gland tumor.

We found a 6-week-old kitten under a walkway
and named him Apollo.
(This is really how I spent some of my time laid up.)

That makes four fuzzy babies along with (left to right sans Apollo)
Artemis, Zeus and Hermes.

My husband bought me that camera I really wanted.

I got really sick and saw a GI specialist.
I had a colonoscopy, EGD and barium swallow
over the course of December through April.
While awaiting results, doctors worried
I might have colon or stomach cancer,
diverticulitis or Crohn's. 

I celebrated Yule without Circle of Open Traditions
and eventually left the circle I once led by January.

Here begins 2014.

I became an active member of the
KC Pagan community over Imbolc.

I formed a new circle,
Circle of Northern Fountains,
which is mutually led by pagans of
equal standing and experience.

My husband and I celebrated 10 years
together since he first asked me out
in high school.

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease,
IBD and a Vitamin D deficiency.

I took time off of my character design
job to focus on my health and
my caricaturing career.

Phew!  What a year!  Was 2013 better than 2012?  Even with the Autoimmune Scleritis, I can say, without a doubt, absolutely.  I achieved some pretty big things last year.  My small business grew leaps-and-bounds and I picked up some new hobbies and habits!  Over all, not too shabby for 2013.

For 2013, I created a chart that outlined how fulfilled I was in each area of my life and what I felt I needed to do to achieve happiness.  Here's what that chart looked like in January 2013:

Shading in what I accomplished, here's how the year ended:

Despite everything, that's some significant improvements!  If 2013 started out at an average of 52%, it ended at an average of 85%.  That's a solid B, and I'll take it!

What about 2014 so far?  Honestly, I've been too preoccupied with illness and a hint of personal drama to manage my goals.  I've spent the past five months in and out of doctor's offices and wrestling with inner demons.  Perhaps the worst of it is knowing that my health may have been what caused me to short circuit earlier this year, creating my drama all on its own.

But what's done is done.  I need to move forward and now is the perfect time to do that.

So where did I stumble overall?  Financially and health-wise.

Financially, moving took a huge chunk of our savings.  We didn't plan on moving until February-March of 2014, but the company selling the house we were renting wanted to put a lock box on the door.  This meant they could come and go as they please with strangers looking to buy the house.  Concerned for our pets and our belongings, we made a tough decision to move despite not being where we wanted to be financially.  It was for the betterment of everyone involved.

Clearly, on health, I didn't lose any of the weight I wanted to.  Honestly, that's not quite true.  As of the beginning of August, I was 153 - the lowest weight I'd ever been since I graduated high school.  However, during the move, I developed a corneal ulcer caused by dust scraping my eye.  Two weeks afterward, I had Autoimmune Scleritis.  In layman's terms, my immune system didn't understand that my eye was healed so it began attacking my eyes.  To say I was in an immense amount of pain is an understatement.  Because my sclera (the white part of the eye) was inflamed, it started bending my lens and cornea and my vision started going crazy.  I've been +5.5, +5.25 my entire life. Slowly, my vision started blurring until it finally settled at +3, +2.25.  It was disturbing.  I spent a lot of time in and out of ophthalmologists and hospitals trying to figure out what was going on.  To make matters worse, I couldn't see to drive, work or even workout.  I spent most of my days on the couch unable to make heads or tails of what had happened.  I couldn't see to cook, much less read food labels, so I relied on other people around me to help.  In the process, I gained weight.  A lot of it.  I ballooned from 153 to around 165 lbs.  

Then I had my GI issues.  I spent much of December and January writhing on the bathroom floor with intense upper stomach pain.  It took a long time to go through all of the procedures.  I saw my primary doctor a few times before I was referred to a GI specialist.  Then I saw the GI specialist a few times before I was told I'd need an ultrasound for my gallbladder.  When that turned up fine, I was told I'd need an EGD and colonoscopy, which took a week to schedule, and four weeks before it actually happened.  While waiting on biopsy results, I was sent through a barium swallow.  That came back clean.  Then, the biopsy results turned up "clean" as well.  It was another month before I had my final consultation - April 29th, 2014.  It was only in the final consultation that I was officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease and IBD.  So yeah, it took forever to get through all of it.  During my final consultation, I weighed in at 183 lbs.  Disappointing.

Despite all of this, I continued to not feel well for all of May.  I went to see my doctor again and was put through a battery of blood tests.  Turns out, my levothyroxine wasn't working properly and my TSH (a hormone related to your thyroid) was all the way up to 10.  I have hypothyroidism, but last I was checked, I was level.  I switched to Synthroid.  A week later, I was told that I was also Vitamin D deficient and put on a supplement for that.

That was just a week ago.  I'm feeling better now, so it seems like the medication may finally be working! I finally might be able to finally tackle my goals.  That's why I'm writing this today.

Over the next several days, I will be tackling my individual goal areas: Career, home, financial, health,  knowledge, personal, relationships and spiritual.  In each post, I will be updating what I would like to do with what's left of 2014, including creating a chart to track my progress.  I deeply apologize if you feel overwhelmed by my extreme need to organize this year, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to make something better out of what I've been handed!   Hopefully, you'll enjoy the ride!

Coming later today: The Wheel of Life and my official 2014 updated chart!


  1. Marietta, I am a follower and have been for awhile, but I must admit that I haven't stopped by that often. We get so involved with the few we blog with the most.

    I am sorry that you have been going through so much...indeed you have. But I also applaud your courage to keep trying and pushing forward. I hope that 2014 brings you much more positive happenings, than negative.

    I enjoyed the photos and I love that you are who you want to be and are proud to show this in your post.

    Wishing you only the best,

    1. Jan,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I can't tell you how much comments like these help me to push forward despite obstacles. You're a gem!

      Thank you again!

  2. I don't understand yet have a very deep respect that you are so positive and that your spirits are high to accomplish your personal goals after you have been through so much. Being in a financial slump, in the process of a weight loss journey, and having a few of my own medical issue I know how easy it is to sometimes simply lay in bed hiding under the covers wishing for something better.

    Your courage and take charge attitude is definitely something to be admired. I hope that the end of this year gives way to allow you to accomplish your goals and continue forward on your path without so much hardship.

    Best of wishes,

    1. Nadine,

      Thank you so much for your comment and your support! I have to admit that I haven't always been so positive about the events. I've tried to give up so many times but something in me just won't let me. I can't become complacent - it's not in my nature. As I told Jan above, comments like these inspire me to push forward. I couldn't do it without the support of family and friends, in person and online alike.

      Best of luck to you on your journey! I hope you're finding that spark in you that just won't let you stop. It's the only thing I have sometimes when it's dark.

  3. You're an incredibly inspiring person. There's a lot of people who would have crumbled under so much stress, and it speaks volumes of your strength to see you emerging from each obstacle not only with hope, but a plan for the future. I'm so sorry you've had to go through all of this. Sometimes wonderful things come from times of hardship, so I hope some positive starts to replace the negative soon.

    Take care,

    1. Cassidy,

      Thank you so much for your warm comments! As I mentioned to Nadine above, it hasn't always been easy. I've crumbled more often than I'd care to admit. But there's just something in me that won't let me lie down and take it. I have to fight. Comments like these help fuel that fire, and I can't thank you enough for it.

      Thank you so much!

  4. I'm a reader of your blog fow some months now and I always enjoy reading your writings. I read all your struglings with helplessness, like you didnt deserve this at all. I'm very happy that you are recovering and send all my positive energy to you ! You inspired me to write a personnal blog too (in french) and that blog is helping me a lot achieving my goals.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! If that tiny spark in me that somehow manages to keep me going can help inspire someone else to do the same, I've done my job. Best wishes to you on your blog! Leave me a link and I'll follow your journey the best I can using Google Translate!

    2. The adress of my blog is ! Sorciere frugale litteraly means Frugal Witch; I consider myself a pagan but can't really come out of the closet because of my job and family and it's my kind of way to talk about it (even if it's very subtle ).

    3. Thank you so much for the link! I've added you to my bookmarks through Google Translate!