Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Oska Pulse: My New Best Friend

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by Oska Wellness.


The Oska Pulse is one of the coolest devices I have had the pleasure of testing, and that's not just because of its story.

Oska is actually named after a koala!

picture of a koala, close up of the face - he appears to be smiling as he is hanging onto a branch

Oscar had been injured in a brush fire in Queensland, Australia. His wounds weren't healing and he was in a lot of pain. They weren't sure that the little guy was going to make it.

As a last resort, the treating vet used a device a friend had that utilized electromagnetic fields to help with healing. They placed the device next to Oscar. He began to sleep through the night without whimpering in pain - and his skin finally started responding to antibiotics and began to dry and heal.

Eventually, Oscar was able to go back into the wild.

Shirley Hawker, one of the founders of Oska, was so touched that she wanted to name the Pulse after this little guy. To make it sound more Australian, though, they named is Oska.

Now that we've had our daily dose of cute...

What is the Oksa Pulse?

The Oska Pulse is a portable pain-relieving device that uses pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) to do its job. There are four frequencies used concurrently during operation. Each one of these helps with a different task - easing muscle pain, aiding in bone repair, dilation the capillaries, and reducing pain. All of these tasks also help with recovering from injuries, too, making the Pulse a great way to tackle both short- and long-term health issues.

One of the things I love about Oska Wellness as a company is that they have a ton of journal articles and research on their site for your perusal. These talk about the benefits of PEMF technologies for joint pain, recovery time, muscle pain, and more.

This runs for half an hour at a time. Unlike products that have to directly touch your skin via electrodes, though, you can just turn this right back on and don't need to let your skin rest.


It comes with a strap that the device can slide in, a charger, and a very comprehensive guide.

Okay, that's fascinating and all, but does it actually work?

YES.

A few months ago, I started getting trigger point injections. After the first set, I was in a crapload of pain once the lidocaine wore off. I had to take some of my very few opiates left over from my bursitis adventure last January.

It was awful.

A couple of sets in, I received my Oska Pulse. I figured that a great way to test this out was to see if it helped post-injections.

And it did.

Is it like a TENS?

Not at all! 

You don't get zaps or zings with the Oska Pulse. It's also pretty quiet, though you may hear a light buzz.

This isn't really a device for breakthrough pain like a TENS is. The Oska Pulse aims to prevent pain from happening in the first place. With that said, I had to start using this a few days before my injections so that I knew that it would be effective. 


I've been using my Oska Pulse nearly daily since then. It has greatly reduced the amount of pain that I experience in my upper back, shoulder, and neck - my worst body parts. I have used it on bruises which have healed more quickly than usual - which is good since, between my anemia and clumsiness, I'm great at getting random bruises.

Is it worth it?

At about $400, the Oska Pulse is pricey. This is competitively priced when compared with some of the other PEMF devices, which can cost upwards of $6,000! It's also a lot more mobile than the other guys, which can wind up looking like a giant car battery.

No, thank you!

My Oska Pulse is perfect for me - lightweight, easy to handle, and incredibly powerful. Add in that it comes with the strap, making it easy to use wherever on the body? 


I'm head over heels for it.

If you're interested in snagging the Oska Pulse, click here and use the coupon code 'NSSD' to receive a 5% discount! 

Make sure to visit Oska Wellness on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in addition to their website.





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dear Little Kirsten...


Write a letter to your younger self, thank her for any wise decisions that led you to where you are today. If you're not pleased with where your decisions have led you, thank your younger self for being brave enough to take chances, even if they didn't pan out as you'd hoped they would.

How did you feel about yourself and your life after writing this?

Dear Lil K,

There is so much that I wish I could tell you. Even though some of that might help you avoid shitty situations, they might lead you down a road where I am not 'me.'

Oh, it's super cool to use curse words like shit. Do it a lot.

Thank you for pushing, for making it through so much so far. I hate to tell you that there is still more coming but know that you will make it through.

Thank you for doing what you had to in order to survive, even though some of it makes you feel like an awful human being because you were complacent and even took part in abuse. 

Thank you for staying true to yourself when you could, though, and speaking up about how people did unspeakable things.

Thank you for writing, for using the skills that you have to talk as loud as you can. It doesn't usually pay (yet), but it helps change minds and support others.

Thank you for moving to Wisconsin. I know you weren't enthused about it, BUT SNOW. Also, this leads to you meeting a dude you marry and that's pretty badass. Don't give up on him, even if you feel like you're not worthy. 

You are.

Thank you for sticking by your sister. It is the best decision you have ever made. I'm sure some of this will defy the rules of time-travel/self-communication, but she has two kids and they are amazing. They think the world of you, just like their momma.

These four people? They need you.

Thank you for being brave. At first, it might only be for them, but soon it becomes for you.

Thank you for staying, for pushing away that idea that you could end your pain. 

Thank you for fighting. It's something that comes to you naturally, but it becomes even more vital than I can explain to you right now.






Friday, November 25, 2016

Study Alert: Chronic Pain and Relationships


You have the opportunity to help researchers at the University of New Brunswick conducting a study understand how chronic pain conditions interfere with relationships!

This study is designed to help understand how pain/health issues affect people's views of themselves as eligible, valuable romantic partners, as some of UNB's ongoing research suggests people beliefs about their worth as a potential partner is used as a reason to defer dating/staying single despite a desire for a partner. They think it's possible CP contributes to feelings of shame, perceptions of low self-esteem and relationship competency, and low satisfaction in relationships via pain’s contributions to physical limitations and mental health symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety).

If you are Canadian and at least 18 years old, or American and at least 21 years old, you are eligible to participate. Since the questionnaires can be done online, the study is open to all consenting adults.

In the questionnaires, you will be asked for a little bit of information about you (e.g., age, gender), any persistent health conditions you may experience, your relationships, and your feelings about yourself. It will take 30- 45 minutes to complete the questionnaires. Participation is voluntary and all information you choose to share will be kept confidential. All participants will be entered into a drawing to receive a $10 honorarium (i.e., a gift card) for their time.

If you are interested in learning more about the study please go to the study website at https://survey.psyc.unb.ca/HealthAndRelationships.aspx or contact Lyndsay Crump (doctoral student in clinical psychology), Rehabilitation Psychology Research Laboratory (University of New Brunswick) at rehablabUNB@gmail.com.

Please note that getting more information about this study does not obligate you to participate. This project has received ethics approval from the University of New Brunswick (REB 2015-120).





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanks, 2016: What I'm Thankful For So Far This Year (I Guess)


There are a lot of things that I'm angry about right now, that aren't the way they should be. Nazis measuring curtains for their new digs come January.

Thanks, Giphy!
But, okay, I'm going to take a minute away from the constant conversations on social media and via text with my pals to think about what I'm grateful for.

Sure.

Um.

Okay.

Chronic Sex has really taken off. In a few weeks, I will be heading to the Pacific Northwest to put on some workshops with my pal and colleague Kate McCombs


The fact that we're pals alone is just mind boggling because we are essentially a perfect match as far as friends go. Kate jokes that, if someone wanted to catfish her, I would be the setup.

I love it and I am beyond thankful for our friendship and the genuine connection we have.


I presented on sex and relationships with the 18+ peeps at the Juvenile Arthritis Conferences this year, a part of Chronic Sex getting up and going. 

Chronic Sex was also named one of the 'top 100 sex blogging superheroes of 2016' by Kinkly.

I am grateful that the career I'm making for myself is seemingly taking off far faster than I expected it to.


I got to meet Joe Biden, who loved my t-shirt and took a selfie on my phone.

Gawd, I love him and I am so grateful to have gotten a brief conversation with him. He's amazing.


Kenzie gave me a new nickname - whimsical unicorn warrior. I'm grateful that we have gotten closer as friends, causing trouble and laughter in our wake.

'I am not my identity'
I came out as genderqueer and pansexual, both things that I hadn't really been able to articulate until recently. It's really nice to be (mostly) fully me. It helps with the vulnerability that I've been wanting to maintain.

I have been able to attend great conferences and travel. I've been to New York, Toronto, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and (soon) back to the PNW - and that's all for work! T and I took a bit of a road trip to drive his old car from Wisconsin to California for my sister which took us through states neither of us had been through before.


We lost our Oreo. It has been one of the hardest things T and I have been through together. Oreo was our sick baby and I wish with all my heart that he was here, squeaking around and poking Jaq in the butt.

His death has forced me to confront the fear of death that I have that has frozen me in the past. It has forced me to confront what I might think I know about the afterlife after literally seeing him running around our apartment after he passed.

I'm grateful that he passed after I quit my day job. I don't know that I could have handled it with having to work, etc. That alone was its own adventure and something that has helped me grow immensely.

I have learned what I want to do with my life and what I won't tolerate. My creation of boundaries and deal-breakers in friendships and other relationships has gotten better - and I'm sticking to them better.


I'm grateful to have seen Hamilton on Broadway. It was an amazing night and there is so much to be said for seeing it in person. I've also visited Hamilton's grave as well as the house he had built and only lived in two years before his death.

I've navigated around New York City, Los Angeles, and other large cities by myself. I've beat the idea that was pounded into my head growing up that I would be a moving target and far too trusting - that I would die in a big city.

And, despite the election, I got my ability to fight back. I have an amazing support system, full of family, friends, and colleagues. We all fight and stand for the same things and we all have each other's backs. This is the thing that I am grateful for most of all - the ability of people who have been through the shittiest things to come together and fight, not only for themselves but also for others.

Even though it ends on a more somber note, 2016 has been an okay year. It is a year of growth and change.

I just hope that we can use our power to fight to move the change in a better direction, one that sees me writing this post next year without censoring, injury, and losing so many I care about just because they're not white, rich, cishet men.






Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Quell: is it all it's cracked up to be?

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by Neurometrix/Quell.


I've been playing with my Quell since I got back from my California trip at the end of September. Even though that's a long time, I still haven't gotten to play with this to the extent I would like to so far, like with my back spasms.

What is Quell?

Quell works by electrically stimulating sensory nerves to carry neural pulses to the brain, which help to block pain signals within the body. Each pain-relief session lasts for an hour and the device can automatically turn on again after another hour if you're still wearing it. There are two different kinds of electrodes - normal and sport. The sport is ideal when using in warmer weather or in situations where sweating is happening as it absorbs a lot less of the moisture from our bodies or environments. 

The Quell is, according to their site, approximately 5x stronger than other over-the-counter tens-unit devices, too, meaning that the pulse hitting your leg can get pretty dang strong. One of the things that is difficult to get used to is that the intensity of the device within the first two minutes grows. 

Fear not, though! There's an app for that!

This app totally puts total control of the device in the palm of your hands, helping you to control and adjust the intensity of the Quell, track usage, and remind you to take the device off when your skin needs a break. It can also help track your sleep if you wear the device to bed. 

As for helping with widespread pain, I'm not entirely sure about that one. I have certainly experienced a lot of relief in some symptoms, but these are mostly from my feet up to maybe my hips. I haven't had the thought to put this on during the worst of my lower back pain as this happens during spasms and I can't really move, let alone snag this from potentially another room and put it on. I'm definitely going to aim to try to test this out, though, the next time T and I are together at home and my back freezes up.

The bulk of my pain is very localized right now in the upper back/neck/shoulder regions. The Quell doesn't really help me with that but does help my lower body pain. The amazing relief that I receive specifically in the knee I place the electrode under? It's magic. I'm limping a lot less and able to handle stairs with more ease within the past few months, meaning this has helped my inflammatory diseases as well as my patellofemoral arthralgia.

It fits under most clothing pretty well, though jeans in the women category tend to be tighter in the calf. You can usually see that I have something interesting on my leg

This has turned flying into much less of a pain for me because I get relief from my hustle through the airport in addition to relief on the plane. The app comes in extremely handy here, too, as I can easily pump up the intensity when I have had to hustle in order to relieve the pain in my calves and/or knees.

It's worth it just for how much flying I've done lately. Still, it helps make trips to the grocery store and other mundane, everyday things more bearable, too. I've been able to be a lot more active recently, even on days my lower body initially feels awful.

I can't say that it will help with all-over body pain for all of us, especially when it hasn't necessarily done so for me. However, if you have knee problems and can afford this product, it could definitely help. 

Want to learn more? Visit the Quell official site. They are running some sales through November 28th with free shipping over $75 in the lower 48 US states. You could also find these on location in Walgreens, CVS, and Target stores or online with Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and more.





Monday, November 21, 2016

Check Out the Chronic Illness Bloggers Holiday Giveaway


The holidays are coming and I'm excited.

Well, actually, I'm stressed doing work BUT excited about Egg Nog!

Another reason I'm excited? Chronic Illness Bloggers has put together a great giveaway of ELEVEN (11) prize packs from the following great sponsors (including me!):

You may notice that some of the above are fellow bloggers while others are companies. The beauty of this is that each prize pack winds up being between $400 and $600! A quick note - two of the prize packs are US only, so please keep that in mind. If you are outside of the US, you will have the option to have this item shipped to a US address (perhaps a pal?) or forfeit your prize. 

I have reviewed some of the products from the above companies and I have to say... this is a great set of prizes. Truly. 

Want to take a look at the prize packs or enter? Click here! Good luck!






Sunday, November 20, 2016

Love and Support #HAWMC

Today's Health Activist Writing Month Challenge prompt: What has been the highlight of your health activist journey? We want to hear all about it, perhaps a conference, a podcast or meeting a fellow HA. What made this experience so special?

I feel so blessed. There are, truly, too many highlights to count. Every single day I am lucky enough to be reminded of why I do this work and why I fight hard. 

In April this year, I was able to attend HealtheVoices and meet some of my favorite people in the whole world in person. We got to connect and spend time together, learning and teaching each other so much.

Throughout this year, I have been lucky enough to be able to attend several conferences and, whether it is a part of the conference or not, I've been able to meet some amazing people across our nation (and in Toronto!). Some of these people are my closest friends and getting to meet them in person means all the world to me.

Going to these conferences and meeting each other gives us a support system. Believe it or not, fighting for others or ourselves or whoever is hard. The work health activists do is not easy work. It is emotionally and sometimes physically demanding. Having a network of people who get it - especially on an intersectional level (LGBT+ subset, etc) - really helps. We help each other, whether that's due to increased disease activity or emotional burnout or politics or even just needing a friendly ear to listen. 

Knowing that we can help each other in the work we do and how much we appreciate each other means a lot. That's really the highlight for me, especially for not really having a family (as far as parents, etc, go). This semi-orphan appreciates all the love and support I can get.





Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dealing with Tough Days #HAWMC

Today's Health Activist Writing Month Challenge prompt: Everyone has tough days, but how do you pull yourself out of the rut? Maybe you blog, repeat affirmations or listen to a favorite playlist. Write about what tools, tips or practices you use to lift your spirits after a rough patch.

I do whatever I can to grab inspiration or laugh.

I listen to Hamilton. I remind myself why I fight for things, because "where I come from, some get half as many" years as I have so far. 

Sometimes, though, that doesn't work or, oddly enough, makes how I'm feeling worse... like right after the election. I don't think it's any secret that I'm very anti-Trump. The man is not someone that is a safe person for those of us with disabilities as well as many many others.

I try not to get into politics here, but this isn't politics as usual.

Still...

Sometimes I just need something that makes me laugh. I watch a lot of Monty Python or adult-theme cartoons like South Park and Bob's Burgers. Other times, I need something where I just get invested like Cake Wars or other baking/cooking competitions.

Other times, I really really like to get my scare on. American Horror Story or horror films are where it's at for me. I really enjoy exorcism or asylum-related things or episodes of shows involving ghost hunting. 

The guinea pigs sure help, too.

What do you do during a rough day?





Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dear Current Rheumatologist #HAWMC


Time to get real.Write a letter to the best or worst healthcare professional you’ve seen. Don't hold back.

Dear current rheumatologist,

THANK YOU.

Thank you for listening to me, no matter how my anxiety influences what I say.

Thank you for always keeping in touch not only with my primary care doctor but also with my dentist as we work to fix my nasty mouth.

Thank you for treating me like an equal, for always being excited to hear about the conferences I've gone to and the information I can share, but then also stressing the importance of self-care as I work too hard on these things a lot.

Thank you for sending me to get trigger point injections, for being willing to try whatever we can to work on my fibromyalgia. I cry every time I get to my car post-injection because it shouldn't have taken so long to get my fibro diagnosis or to be referred for these injections - because you care enough to try whatever might help.

Two years ago I called your office to ask if there was familiarity with SJIA/Still's there. I was expecting a nurse to call me back about the potentials of taking me on as a patient. Instead, you called me. You talked to me for over half an hour about what treatments I was on and why certain treatments hadn't been looked at yet, and you told me what your plan would be for me. After we got off the phone, I filled out the form to change insurances so that I could come see you.

You sent me through some of the most intense physical therapy I've ever been in and it has helped me immensely. You banned me from yoga which I was mad about at first, but then you explained why, explained how much weaker my body was than I had noticed. With that PT, I built up to yoga again and learned how to recognize the signs of when I was pushing it too far.

You're always open to my ideas and my data, something that not all health care peeps are into. 

I am so incredibly lucky to have you as my rheumatologist and as someone working hard, not only for me but for so many others as well.





Friday, November 11, 2016

Share The Love: Great Resources #HAWMC


Friday follow! Create a must follow list for your community:
• Top 10 Tweeters
• Top 10 blogs
• Top 10 Facebook pages

If you're interested in great writing about illness and disability, these are definitely some people you've got to follow - even if you've missed them. Some of these aren't even about illness but are just awesomesauce.

Twitter:

Facebook:

Blogs:

Also don't forget to check out Chronic Sex!








Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Conference Catch-up


There is so much from the last few months to catch up on!

After visiting Toronto earlier this year, I made my way to Phoenix, Arizona, for the Juvenile Arthritis Conference (West). 


Being able to be around some of my favorite advocates is something that I truly love about attending these conferences... but to present? That was a whole new level of awesome. 

I was so blessed to be able to present with my pals Mariah Leach and Jeremy Forsyth as well. Their dedication to helping others, being informative, and being silly matched me so well. Jeremy, for example, thought we could loosen everyone up by screaming sex in ridiculous ways before our session started.

It worked and that laughter was so contagious.


We definitely tried to copy that at the east JA Conference in Philly in August, where Keegan Stephen was our male expert.

These two groups of college-aged peeps with various types of arthritis were so engaged, so interested, and so in tune with wanting to learn everything they could about what we were saying. So many thoughtful questions came out of both the west and the east conferences. Over at Chronic Sex, Mariah and I will be going through the question cards and providing some answers within the next few months.

All of this gives me so much hope for what Chronic Sex can and will be able to accomplish. I am SO excited.


In September, I traveled back to California to present Chronic Sex at Stanford Medicine X.


I got to spend time with some of my favorite people like Dawn Gibson and Heather Corini Aspell. I also got to room with my pal Danielle Edges who FINALLY got to meet my sister.


I'M NOT CRYING YOU'RE CRYING. Seriously, this picture alone was worth my travels. My sister and Danielle have become close friends and we're almost like triplets with time in between our births. It's just too awesome.

Dawn spent a few days near where my sister lives with me and got to spend time playing auntie. I spent a couple of extra days and then headed down to Los Angeles for the Women in Pain conference... BUT not before meeting one of my favorite people in the world, Kate McCombs!

We had dinner the night before the conference and then spent basically the whole next day together, from the conference to just hanging out.


There are so many people in my life that mean so much to me, but meeting Kate in person is something that I cannot even put into words. We are so similar and so in-tune with each other, bringing out the most compassionate parts of ourselves to deal not only with our own illnesses but helping others as well.

I stayed an extra night to spend time on the Queen Mary because I have a ghost hunting problem... though I was so tired, I didn't try this time!



In October, I was lucky enough to attend the Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit in Philadelphia. 


One of my favorite parts of the whole experience was spending time doing the Bioexperience tour at Janssen! That alone needs its own blog post because it was absolutely fascinating to see how much pharmaceutical companies care about us - how we're going to administer treatments, costs, protective measures, and more.

Well, and then I got to spend time with some of my absolute favorite people in the world from Janssen, Tonic, and us Joint Decisions/Creaky Joints peeps!


I got a new nickname from Kenzie, too: whimsical unicorn warrior. 

It's my absolute favorite thing ever.

I already have written about my experience at the summit with the What I Be project, so make sure to check that out, too.


And then it was back to New York, this time for a project with Healthline. A pharma company wanted to hear more about the patient (and patient advocate/activist) experience. I was lucky to hang out with some amazing people like Emily Lemiska and MarlaJan Wexler:


I had been jokingly looking at Hamilton ticket prices because I am obsessed with the play as we all know.

Turns out that it was just slightly less than my stipend to go see it alone while I was in New York so guess what I did?


I FUCKING SAW HAMILTON ON BROADWAY BITCHES.


It was so amazing. I cannot even fully put the experience into words. It was well worth the post-show in-flight migraine.


I had a big week last week, conference-wise and seeing Hamilton and more!

When I got back, I was able to do some podcasting, work on homework, and, you know, just casually meet my favorite person in the world - Joe Biden.


This picture was a big fucking deal y'all. YES.

Later this week, I'm headed back to New York - this time for a family vacation with T's mom and stepdad to visit his sister and her dude who live in Queens. I am so excited to go travel where I'm not necessarily tweeting and such but able to be silly.

More conferences are on the way, though thankfully not until 2017. I'm ready to expand the work that I do and help others as much as I can.

Disclaimer time: the Arthritis Foundation, Stanford Medicine X, and Women in Pain all paid for my travels to and/or from their conferences. Janssen Pharmaceuticals paid for my travels to the Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit and provided perks while traveling. Healthline paid for my travel as well as providing me a stipend for my time in New York. All opinions here, though, are mine and mine alone.





Monday, November 7, 2016

Advocacy #HAWMC

Was starting your advocacy journey a hard decision? Were you anxious and hesitant or were you excited and ready to share your story? Tell us how you chose to start advocating for your condition(s).

Honestly, I fell into it.

That phrase explains a lot about my life, too, but it's true!

As a younger person, I did a TON of advocacy work around women's right, feminism, sexual health, education, and human rights. It took a long time for me to transition to using those powers for my own health stuff.

I started writing for me and to show T what kinds of things we were dealing with potentially as we began dating. I needed to learn more about my body and have an outlet that was all my own, too. It was because of how rare Still's Disease is that I encountered other patients. They found me for the most part.

Going into advocacy was really a by-product of raising awareness of what I was dealing with and how dangerous chronic illnesses are or can be. I met people who had no idea that diseases like lupus can be fatal or that pain can cause changes in our brains. I also met people who were incredibly into alternative stuff to the point that they were harming themselves without taking on any treatments.

I began to try to educate more so that we weren't being taken by snake oil salespeople. 

Most of the advocacy work I did in the beginning was online. Most of my stuff is still online, but now I'm able to travel and do so much more in-person work, too. It's amazing to meet others in person and to talk to them, whether I've just met them or have known them for years.

Do you do advocacy work? How did you get into it?





Sunday, November 6, 2016

Super Kirsten! #HAWMC


Superpower Sunday! If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?

If you asked the average person this, they might say things like 'flight' or 'teleportation' or even 'invisibility.' 

I wouldn't mind the first two. There's always a plus to being able to control my own travel stuff and to visit all over the world with a thought or a bit of flying.

Ask me, though, what more realistic superpower I want and I'll tell you - vulnerability.

Ever since I started writing about my health, I did it for me and for others. I needed to learn more about what I was dealing with in order to grow, but I also needed to share things with T and even teachers. I shared the truth to understand myself and for others to understand me.

As I learned more about myself, I learned how guarded I was and worked on that. The more vulnerable I've become, the more people I've been able to help because I am being real about what I'm feeling and facing. When you find your mission in life, like helping people, anything that helps you accomplish that stuff is essentially your superpower. 

And I'm pretty happy about that.





Thursday, November 3, 2016

Alexander Kirsten-ton #HAWMC

Quotation Inspiration. Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.

I saw Hamilton Tuesday night on Broadway.

I know, I know. More will be coming on that soon. All I can process right now is that it was amazing and my head is still spinning from it.


There is so much that I identify with in the show. 

I am a bastard and kind of an orphan. I write like all the time. I push myself like there's no tomorrow because, for many of us living with illnesses, we can easily die at any moment. 

I definitely didn't think I'd live to be this old. 

I'm done for waiting for others to change the worlds that we live in every day. Like Hamilton in the song above (My Shot), I'm ready to change the world for the better. I've made friends along the way - and continue to do so - but I know that I'm often a bit of a lone wolf in this work, and that's okay.

Do you have a favorite quote you'd like to share?