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Giant Lightbulb

So right as my mosquito bites were healing, I got extreme TMJ pain … the worse that I’ve ever had. And I used to have TMJ pain that I would have to take four ibuprofen four at a time. But I’ve been using ibuprofen so much that I feel like it doesn’t even have an effect on me anymore.

Like I mentioned a few posts ago, things have finally gotten scary. I went from feeling, “okay, well, this sucks but it’ll get better” to “now I’m getting worried, what am I doing wrong?” to “what’s going to happen next?”

And so today, as I was swimming in a sea of pain while lying in bed, I realized that I’ve been praying to God about this pain and looking at random verses but I have never really been investigating His word. So I decided to put on a sermon about God and health issues while laying in bed trying to not throw up.

As I listened to the sermon, I had a couple of strong realizations:

First, that maybe this is happening because I need to become humble again. If you know me, you know that I love to be active and workout. It’s what gives me that extra burst of energy. But I haven’t worked out in months because it’s been one health thing after another. And each one is getting worse.

The ideal image I had of myself was always of an energetic and athletic person. Before all this started and went into full swing, I was doing more cardio and loving it. Now I’m lucky if I get my daily walk in.

If you asked me to envision a scenario where not exercising would ever be good for me, I’d laugh. But now I realize that maybe this is happening so that I can become more down to earth again.

Second, maybe God wants me to slow down. Part of the reason why I was so anxious about going out there and exploring new things once I graduated (had plans to travel, go to resorts, sky dive, learn a new sport, etc) was because I felt insecure whenever I slowed down.

Even just lying down there was a huge obstacle for me. Unless it’s to sleep, I don’t like to down and just close my eyes and wait. It took this huge wave of pain radiating across my face and my shoulders and my neck and even my stomach to make me lie down and be still.

I realized also that life won’t end when I work. I can do these things when I work too. Maybe not as much but maybe just on the weekends. The hours will be rough but I can still live life and be happy.

Third, I was keeping most of this to myself. At first, when it was all unusual and not normal and chronic, I told my friends about it and they would all be very sympathetic. But like I mentioned before, it’s only a matter of time when people get sick about hearing about your problems. Eventually when they see you it’s the first thing they ask, “how’s your pain?”

But then in this sermon I realized that I haven’t really been going to other Christians and trying to investigate why this is all happening. The speaker spoke about going to the elders of the church and being prayed over. Why, in these six months, have I not done that?

Instead, I’ve been praying and reading random Bible verses but maybe God wants me to go to church so that I can ask other Christians – especially my pastor – about it.

Recently, I’ve been wondering, “What WILL God do next? Am I going to break my arm? Am I going to get yet another infection? Is all my hair going to fall out?”

But really, the only way to find out why this is happening is to ask God. And I’m barely starting to realize that to find out what God thinks, maybe I have to turn to other Christians too. Maybe I can’t just rely on my own prayers and random Bible verses.

So when the speaker mentioned ruthless independence in his message and how sickness can move us to want to go to other people in church for help, it struck me. I plan to go to church this Sunday and prayerfully, I can talk to the pastor after service and ask him.

Before all of this happened, I really did live in my own world where life was like a television show and I was the main character. It was the Ophie Show. But now, now maybe it’s not. What do you do when all the lights in your studio turn off and the cameras stop working? You start to realize who you are beneath that once confident, slightly arrogant exterior whose biggest worry was that her arms would get flabby again.

If you are a Christian and you are reading this, I really ask you to pray for me. Any prayer will help. 

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Updates on Health

A.) I’m 100% going to get a new general dentist. The one I have now was super sweet and really great to work with initially but my visits recently have changed my mind about her.  A few months ago, she gave me free movie tickets when I got my wisdom teeth removed (definitely not something that was done for everyone) and even gave me a huge discount on Nitrous. I got discounts for a lot of stuff and know everyone in the office on a first-name basis (since I’m usually the type of person who will go to one dentist, one optometrist and etc for life, I like to get to know as many people in the office as possible to establish a relationship). But I feel like through this health saga, she has gotten impatient with me and so I feel like I could get better care somewhere else.

Also, I wish she would charge me for all the times I come to see her. She doesn’t charge me for a lot of my visits and then she ends up rushing through some of them which is not good. So I’ve decided to just try out a new dentist in the area who looks really good.

As someone who does client work, I know that most people who don’t get paid to do their work won’t do that great of a job at it. So that’s why I’d rather pay. I’d pay over $500 if you just give me the care that I need and not rush through.

The first time I went to see her about this pain, she gave me amoxicillin and then rushed to her next appointment. Very disappointing.

B.) It turns out I might have a cyst where my teeth have been hurting on and off for the past month. I take great care of my teeth and brush and floss three times a day. So this is rather discouraging :/. It might not be a cyst but my endo wants me to see a specialist to make sure. He said it’s not root canal related.

C.) I’m exhausted. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt normal.

The bright side is that I have two coffee dates with two new friends from church this week. I had coffee with one this week and she is just so energetic and easy to talk to. I feel like it was a success!

I have another one coming up so that’ll be fun :).

I also have a tennis date with my good friend this week too. I can’t play tennis really well but it’ll be fun.

And finally, I have a movie with date with another girl friend on Saturday. We’re going to see Wonder Woman at this fancy upscale movie theater with big leather seats and where they deliver food directly to where you’re sitting.

I’m also planning to check out Toastmasters soon. The last time I went to a meeting, I ended up winning a ribbon for best table topics (: . I stopped attending once I got involved on campus but it was a really great experience.

I’m still in pain right now but I’ve learned that life doesn’t stop when you feel uncomfortable.

God also gave me these two verses:

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[a] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Cor 4:16-18
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
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Summer Crush

I’m still in pain :/. But if there’s anything I’ve learned these past six months, it’s that sometimes you just have to move on regardless of the pain. I woke up yesterday wincing and it was a conscious decision to decide to even crack open my devotional and pray. I thought He would heal me by now so I don’t understand but I choose to have faith. But in a way, I feel that I have grown. I’m certain I’ve grown. I feel a new maturity that I have never felt before.

It’s as I sit here feeling uncomfortable, tired and fatigued (can’t exercise until I get this looked at and I’ve been on a liquid diet because I can’t chew), I’m thinking about a date I could have went on many semesters ago. I accidentally stumbled upon a bar in Anaheim on Yelp. I thought the name – the Blind Rabbit – sounded familiar until I realized that was where he had suggested we go for our first date.

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As I think about to the way he asked me out, I can’t help but smile. We haven’t spoken in years as he graduated before me and is already working but I think I remember it fondly because of how it made me feel. This is embarrassing but I think of him when I hear the song ‘Summer Boy’ by Lady Gaga. When’s the last time I went out on a proper date, let alone go out at all? I had all this stuff planned for the break between work and graduating but I haven’t been able to do much of it because I’ve been getting sick one time after the other. But there’s a reason for everything…

Anyway, it started when we went out to lunch with a mutual friend. It was the day that my firm came to do a speaking event at our school. There he was in the audience, dressed in a crisp white shirt that showed off his muscles pretty well. He was cute and people noticed. Someone told me, I forgot who, that when he walked into the theater to do a presentation for our board information session the semester before, the president of the club remarked that he was a good-looking fellow.

A mutual friend of ours came up to me after the meeting and asked if I wanted to go to lunch with them. A light bulb went off. “Yea,” I said. “Oh, by the way, did you ask (let’s call him Tom) Tom if he was coming too?”

“No,” our friend said. “But that’s a good idea.”

Later on, I’d learn that Tom decided to come only because he heard I was coming. So we met at this burger place right across from campus. My operations management professor, who I had a crush on for a few months as well, was awkwardly sitting next to us and would hear the entire exchange.

It started off with a few flirtatious jokes. I said, “so why aren’t you married yet?” and he grinned and replied, “Well, I was waiting for you.” Then I’d giggle and our mutual friend would pause for a long moment. “I’m going to get a soda,” our mutual friend said. The two of us, with my operations professor in the background eating a burger, immediately turned to look at each other. A soft smile crept up on his lips.

“Hey,” he leaned forward. I leaned forward as well. “So, Ophie, do you want to hang out sometime?” He bit his lips and grinned. “Like, on a date? I think you’re really cute and sweet and I want to get to know you better.”

And in that moment I paused. I realized that as cute he was, for some reason, I just didn’t feel anything powerful. I think it was because of this date I went on a few weeks before that ended really, really badly.

But I said yes. He said he wanted to meet at the Blind Rabbit and I remember thinking that that was a bad sign – that if he wanted to have our first date at a bar, he probably wasn’t too serious about me. Now that I see the Yelp reviews more closely, it looks like it’s actually a great place for a first date. It’s romantic, darkly lit and it’s…  A BAR!! With alcohol. I actually didn’t drink back then but I like to drink now for social purposes. How fun would a date like that be now -__-‘.

Even if it’s nothing serious, I’d love to just get dressed up and go on a date again. Pull on my Levi’s, a cute top and a pair of black booties. Sit on a stool and say flirtatious stuff and just be able to look in his eyes and see attraction. But… if we’re being honest, that’s not going to happen for a long time. :/

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The Blind Rabbit never happened because I cancelled and we ended up having our date at… the guess… SCHOOL LIBRARY! Not even in the library but outside of it on some benches underneath the threes.

It’s a shame. He was cute. I’d see him a few times during the semester. Once, he was carrying a giant box of water back to his car after our speaker meeting. I remember walking with him and inwardly smiling at how muscley his arms were as he hoisted the giant pack of water on his shoulder. I poked his arm and said, “Dang, you’ve got nice arms.”

Anyway, that was the most of it. We haven’t talked since. But I hope he is doing well. I think if I hadn’t gone on that previous date, maybe we would have had at least one or two dates. He was good on the eyes and he was also someone who could make you laugh. Regardless, life is too short to focus on the past. It was just a funny, bubbly memory that made me realize that “dang! I must be at least somewhat attractive if a guy like this wants to ask me out…” and confidence is what I need most right now in what might be one of the most stressful periods of my life where it seems like my health is under attack every week.

Like I said, I don’t know why I don’t feel better but I choose to trust God. But I feel like I’ve grown so much from all the ordeals I’ve gone through. And even with Tom, I guess things didn’t work out for a reason. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. I know that in order to follow Christ, I have to take the good and the bad. The good is all those times that God has come through for me in explicable ways and all the times He will come through for me in the future and just having the blessing of knowing Him. The bad? These health issues and missing out on smaller pleasures like dates at a bar. For now, anyway.

 

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Loving God Through Fear

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It’s been a crazy six months, that’s for sure.

It’s been almost a month since I had an issue with my bite. It has somewhat fixed itself now that I’ve been wearing my retainers full-time.

Before the issue with the bite happened and it felt like my teeth were on fire, I remember praying to God and just asking Him to heal me. He sent me this verse:

LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.

Psalm 30:2

I thought I was finally going to be able to feel normal again soon after the issue with my wisdom teeth and my bite were fixed.

Long story short, I had a few red bumps pop up where my impetigo had been months prior. The impetigo I had was rather severe and seeing it really worried me.

Itchy, upset and afraid, I knew that I could go a variety of routes. I could do what I usually did, which was freak out and withdraw from God for a few weeks. Whenever a random health thing would pop up, I would stop studying God’s word, stop writing in my prayer journal and stop praying.

But this time, I decided to run to God and change the course of doing what I was used to doing. I felt that God had allowed those red suspicious bumps to pop up again because my heart was still not changed to the way He wanted it to be. And it made sense.

For a while, I’ve been dealing with a lot of pride and competitiveness and discontent in my spirit. I think we all have a little bit of a control freak in us and for a while, I let mine run free.

Since I’ve been out of the “spotlight” for over a year now, I failed to see the sliver of pride and conceit that still lay buried in my heart. It was distracting me from God and causing me to turn into a snob. There are little moments that escape me during the day. Maybe when I see someone do something that I don’t approve of and I judge them for it. Or maybe judging someone by the way he or she looks. Maybe thinking I’m ‘too good’ to associate with certain people.

So just when I thought that I could reach the end of the tunnel, God presented me with yet another dark path.

I saw this horrible doctor on Amwell and he had no tact at all. He took one look at my face and said, “yup. that’s impetigo.” I asked him questions and he didn’t really answer any of them. He shrugged off any questions I had and looked like he was ready for the conversation to be over.

Thankfully, I called the company for a refund and they are processing one for me right now. I had to follow up with a quality control specialist and everything but she was very sympathetic as I told her what had happened. As someone who works in client service and will be having a full-time career in it soon, I think that this doctor really needs a lesson in learning how to deal with his patients especially when they’re worried and upset.

I saw my physician the next day and she said it did not seem like impetigo but it looked more like acne or another type of infection. Regardless, the ointment she prescribed me helped. I think I got my impetigo from my yoga mat which I had stupidly not washed since December, when I had impetigo…

I’ve been getting sick lately so I have not been able to exercise and haven’t really used my yoga mat since then. I’ve wiped down my mat with lysol wipes and also a disinfectant spray.

Anyway, the day after the impetigo issue I started getting pain in my teeth again. This made me feel really upset and I wondered if I was cursed. I even looked up “am I cursed” on Google.

“If you experience health incidents continually, you may be cursed,” the internet said. “Curses tend to ebb and flow.”

A chill ran through my spine. Could it be?

I prayed to God and I asked Him, “Lord, am I cursed or is this really all coming from You?” I closed my eyes and just prayed for Him to answer me. I went to a random Bible verse generator and the first verse that popped up was Psalm 39 – a psalm where the psalmist is dealing with sickness and is crying out to God to heal him.

Every single verse in that Psalm touched me.

I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
    my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.[b]

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
    for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
    you consume their wealth like a moth—
    surely everyone is but a breath.

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”

Psalm 39

This confirmed to me that this impetigo  might be God’s way of taking my hand and bringing me back to Him. Before this, I had never realized how much pride and contempt was in my heart. I did not realize how far and how quickly I was drifting away from Him. I was not surrendered to Him in the least. It’s going to be a long journey.

Everything that’s happening to me is from God and God only. He doesn’t allow His people to be cursed but He does discipline them. And this is my discipline. This is my hard lesson to learn.

And even if it seems foolish to the world, I’m going to wait on God and put all my trust in Him and let Him change and mold my heart.

An now, strangely enough, I’m growing closer to God in a way that I have never been before.

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Full Circle: A Lesson Learned One Year Later

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In Job 42, after Job goes through all of the trials that God had allowed him to go through, it says that:

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

This verse came to me this morning in the aftermath of an emotional week.

Strangely enough, it helped to illuminate something important that had happened just last year. Elections. It all came full circle. In short, what happened with elections was a lesson in accepting God’s yes and nos. It was a lesson in learning to have faith and being rewarded for that faith.

Sometimes I like to ask God what’s on His heart and let Him lead me to passages in His word. Occasionally I’ll do it by praying and using a random Bible verse app. The morning of elections and the days before, I’d ask God what was on His heart and would be led to this verse:

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

Although I try not to rely on my feelings, that week there was this feeling that wouldn’t go away that me being president was not meant to be. I had worked really hard for elections and the whole semester long it was a priority for me. But it just didn’t happen. And the way that elections heavily affected me and the way that I see people now.

A friend told me that afterwards the club elections are a minor event in my life. But another friend told me that the election is a minor event that had a major impact. It was something big that had happened to me.
I worked really hard to have a good shot at being president. I spent a lot of money and a lot of time. I did things like making sure I had lunch at least once a week with other members, making buttons, and even forming my own committee. It came out of a passion to help others as well as an urge to have something to validate my self worth.

After I lost, the current president at the time didn’t stop there. At the awards banquet when he would pass on his role to my opponent, he shaded me in his speech. I won’t say how but people noticed. Regardless, my opponent did a great job as president and so would those who came after her. The way it happened though is something I will never fail to forget. I’m tired of trivializing it.

After a year of struggling with accepting what happened and trying (but failing) to not feel angry or upset, it all makes sense now. God was saying no in that time and I had to learn to trust Him and His answer. And so, now I realize that by having faith in God and accepting His no, He’ll give me something even greater in the future. He will give me twice as much.

That same semester, I entered into a case competition which one of the judges, a director in a Big 4 accounting firm, said was the most difficult she had ever seen. The subject material was more complex than that of previous semesters. We managed to place in the top four out of around 9 teams even though the memo that I wrote came out of 3 hours of work and a cup of tea.

Before I went to submit my memo, I bumped into a friend who was also applying for the competition and she said her team had been working on it for hours in the library. We were sure we wouldn’t get selected but we did.

The presentation for the case competition was the day after elections. Judges from accounting firms and the accounting faculty would come to evaluate our presentations and ask us questions. I practiced for the competition just hours after losing and I kept stopping to cry during practice.

The day of the presentation, some of us kept forgetting our lines. We all wore black and walked into our presentation looking like we were going to a funeral. We walked out looking like we had just left a funeral. We wouldn’t find out until awards banquet if we would place or not in the top three.

During the presentation, I remember when it came time for me to speak, I smiled brightly and spoke my first lines. The judges sat up and smiled back. Then somehow, something inside of me deflated and I sort of just wilted there on the spot. Then I was like “p_p”.  And the judges were like “T_T”. Later on, one of the judges smiled at me and made eye contact but I was like “:|”.

I told myself I wouldn’t let elections affect me in the case competition if I lost but I didn’t expect to elections to happen the way it did. I was like a wilted flower the next day.

On our way to awards banquet, I remember having a strong feeling that God would help us to place. But I didn’t want to say anything because none of us believed we had a chance. Our presentation… was not so glamorous.

However, when I arrived at the banquet, someone came up to me and said excitedly that my team did place. We placed third – but we placed. I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t know what to make of this.” It turns out that we had the answer that was technically the most correct – so that’s why we placed above the other team.

That semester was a lesson in accepting God’s yes and nos. Elections, something I worked really hard for and which I lost friendships over, was God’s no to me. But the case competition, something I didn’t expect to win, was God’s yes. It makes God’s role in my life all the more real. I can work so hard for something and still fail if I don’t have His blessing, but at the same time, He can make even the impossible happen if He wishes. 

I’m about to launch my career in a few months and I’m barely just starting to feel somewhat normal again after all the random health things I’ve been going through since December. I haven’t exercised in months and my parents said I gained weight. But I’m grateful just to feel okay again. Hopefully, it will last. I’m still taking things slow.
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The Calm

To update on the last post, it turns out that my tooth was not infected. Thankfully. The day before I went to see my endodontist, I remember standing in my yard feeling nauseous with that throbbing pain in the back of my mouth and praying, “Lord, if this isn’t an infection, then this will be a miracle. Please, please help me.”

And it wasn’t. I’m so grateful that it looks like everything will be okay. Praying that it will be. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

My endodontist, who worked on it originally, said that it was because my bite was off. I’ve been lax on my retainers lately and so my tooth moved and I was not biting properly. The pain has disappeared for now so I’m hoping that everything will be okay. Hopefully, no dental implants needed.

Other than that, everything has been great. I got my second pair of wisdom teeth out (last ones, finally) and have healed well. No dry socket or anything :o) haha.

When I came home from the surgery, I started bleeding more than the last time. In fact, the bleeding was extremely bad. I think it was because I didn’t put the gauze where the sockets were. There was blood everywhere. On my face, on the floor, on my clothes and it clogged up the sink. My mom came home and she said the sight of all that blood made her hands and feet go cold.

Other than that and throwing up the first night, the healing process has actually been kinda awesome. My best friend came over the night of my surgery and we watched Ponyo together. We stayed up till the AM talking and she ended up staying over. ❤

My mom took care of me for a few days and it was awesome. I loved every moment of it. I had ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I healed faster than I did last time though which is great. I went back to helping my clients and it’s been a great experience. Some of them are really generous and appreciative of the work I do. I want to save up for an emergency fund/health fund while I’m at it.

Above all, I’ve been reading Bill Hybel’s book “Simplify” and it’s made a lot of things clear to me. Last summer, I had a mentor at the firm where I interned who is a really high achiever. He got promoted early twice which is very rare. He’s also well-known among other people in the industry which is saying for a lot for a big office in a big firm. I tried but it seems like we never really connected.

Before I finished my internship, he gave me some advice and since then it’s always been in the back of my head. Whenever I don’t feel like I am doing enough, his voice comes back in my mind like a scrolling marquee. “You’re just not there yet.”

And it’s finally, finally becoming real to me that maybe I will never be enough for him or even enough for myself. I have extremely high standards for myself and this was noted by other people in my life whether it was the team I was on during the summer or my friends or my family.

Reflecting last night while reading Bill’s book and considering everything that’s happened lately, it came to me that I’m enough for God. I always ‘knew’ this before but only lately has it really been touching me heart-wise. I’m good enough for God… and that means everything to me.

I had a 9-month break between graduation and starting work. I spent 5 out of 9 months being sick and dealing with one random health issue after another. Maybe it all means something.

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Sigh

So I went to see my dentist again for the 100th time these past few months. All I can say is, I don’t get it. I take care of my teeth meticulously and I keep finding myself in pain with only a few days relief in between. First it was the swollen gums that came out of nowhere. I went to two dentists who both confirmed that it was not gingivitis but either a viral infection or related to my immune system.

After the swollen gums it was this horrible wisdom tooth ache on the two teeth that I left to get removed in June. It felt just like a dental abscess and was really painful. But even that wasn’t as painful as this new pain that came on the left side of my mouth.

I started feeling a throbbing pain on that side and went to see my dentist. They took an xray and then she said she saw an area near the tooth I had retreated twice. I had a bad root canal done when I was a kid and then I had to have it redone. It was not cheap. So I’m seeing the endodontist who worked on it tomorrow and if it turns out that the retreatment failed I’m going to cry. Because that means that I’ll have to get it extracted and get a dental implant.

I’m seeing this affect my relationships too. People get tired of hearing about your health problems. I’m just exhausted and I feel like I’m at the end of my rope. I took Audit yesterday for the CPA exam and although I finished early, I had a toothache for half of it even with the amoxicillin.

I’m okay with putting in long hours and having a lot of deadlines and etc. I’m not okay with being in chronic pain. These random health things have been happening since January so yes, it’s pretty much chronic by now except the fun thing is that it’s random things happening.

To put it shortly, I’m seeing my endodontist tomorrow morning and after that I’m getting my wisdom teeth extracted. I really just don’t see where this can go anymore. I feel confused because I don’t know why this is happening to me. I’ve never dealt with something like this before. Before this started happening, I rarely if ever got sick and was always in great shape and health. Now, I haven’t exercised for over a month and I’m really feeling it.

Thankfully I have a close friend who’s been there for me and an encouragement all this time. I’m hoping everything will be okay. I just want to feel normal again. I really, really do.