It’s not every day you wait impatiently for PRIVATE NUMBER to be displayed on your caller ID–for the better part of two or three weeks, I have been doing just that; most often sitting in the Starbucks at school, phone beside me, hoping for the above to materialize on the display.  It got to the point where I was expecting that I was going to get this call at a really inconvenient time, or worse, miss it and require phone tag playing.

But today, sitting in the Starbucks, the elusive PRIVATE NUMBER appeared on my Caller ID.

“Hi, is this Kerri?”

It’s funny how relatively little time it takes for somebody’s voice to become familiar on the phone–I knew as soon as the caller ID popped up, though, that it was the practicum student doing my psychoeducational assessment. My mom went in a month ago; I haven’t been in for six weeks.

“We have your report ready from your assessment–when are you free to come in?” [My free hours are as tightly-scheduled, often between things, but still flexible, as much something can be simultaneously. I have open time in pretty much any available slot at some point during the week.]

“When are YOU free for me to come in?”

Tomorrow at 10:30, this process will begin to end, and another will begin. In whatever direction, whatever form it may take.

My appointment is scheduled for an hour–the same amount of time they scheduled me in for to determine my entire life story so far–for setting the course for the next part of the story.  In the mix of anticipation, though, I have been a bit more settled about the whole thing emotionally over the last several weeks–and with a lot of help from a lot of good people around me listening to my ramblings, reading my e-mails, and supporting me through their responses. Knowing whatever the outcome, that I’ll understand more about where I’m at–and that understanding more will help me figure out where I’m going next–and how best to get there.

I cannot imagine they are bringing me in for an hour to tell me that they found absolutely nothing in my evaluation.

I want things to make sense. I want to understand myself better. I want to, perhaps, end a bit of this frustration that I’ve been feeling within myself in a bunch of different places.

I wait.

I wait for freedom from my own thoughts that simply cycle back to this continuously.

I wait with anticipation; I wait with this same craving for answers intensifying within me minute by minute.

I wait impatiently, another 15 hours to go, for what has been in the making for a long time.

Let’s do this. Let’s continue the story.

shooting for the stars / desperately reaching for something in the dark / pictures of memories, buried in my heart / lie awake and dream of the endless possibilities / catch my breath and go for it. / take apart everything that’s holding me down / make a point to pick a new direction / to make a new connection.

is this what it feels like finding out / that i’ve got the guts to say anything? / feels like, breaking out / when I can give up my reputation / finally, i can see, honestly / i’ve got the guts to say anything.

bold enough to fall / flat on my face / when i walk as they crawl / slowing down is just a waste of time to let go / tapping my fingers to the rhythm of a metronome / counting opportunities. / take apart / a gravity that’s holding me down / make a point / to find a resolution / to be my own solution.

if i’m gonna go down then just let me go / let me go down / let me go / let me go.

guts, all time low


Got a slew of appointments over with this past week. While I hate having them all piled up, it’s nice to know that I get a bit more of a break. I had ophthalmology two weeks ago, and things are still the same–with ophthalmology, that is really all you want to hear.

Tuesday was asthma clinic. My current respirologist is awesome. I originally got into her to try to get into a research study, but the specific program folded (or so it seems), so she has just morphed into my asthma doctor. Did the PFTs, gave my list to the clinic nurse, and got herded into another room so the doctor could stick things in my nose (I’m on intranasal steroids, but they have been a bit less than perfect lately). Apparently there were issues in there, so I have to go to the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor–boo. I’m also supposed to start doing saline rinses before snorting the steroids [hah. Badassmatic at its finest].  I tried my first sinus rinse today and aside from spraying saline all over the bathroom, I couldn’t do it right and I hated it and it felt icky.

Nobody seemed to care too much about my exercise tolerance being kind of sucky, so I suppose I am working on that myself. Which kind of means I need to exercise.  We swapped my Symbicort over for a newer combination inhaler, Zenhale. It has a stupid name, but I hate the delivery device of Symbicort, so I am back in happy MDI+spacer land. The hope is that after a few more days on Zenhale I can start trying to [successfully] lower my Qvar, which has been my magic medicine. Fingers crossed!  My PFTs were good, but medicated I think they were my lowest to date. The numbers are still nothing to complain about!  My best PFTs ever, my FEV1 was 111%ish (how much air is forced out of your lungs on the first second of expiration), and my FEF 25-75% was 90% [this number is how well the small airways are working]. Tuesday’s PFTs, FEV1 – 95%, FVC (forced vital capacity) was 90%, and FEF 25-75% was 74%. Still excellent, still (aside from some indicated obstruction in the small airways) normal. But, especially that 74%, reminding me that things are not perfect. But . . . they are good! (FEF 25-75% becomes abnormal under 65% according to Googleyness).  I am doing really well on the Zenhale so far . . . so fingers crossed it stays this way!

Wednesday I was back getting tests of my head done–some Individual Achievement Test thing. I was outsted for not knowing my multiplication tables, and then I redeemed myself because I can spell well. This test will take about a month to score. And I still don’t know why they were doing that one. The ADHD assessment part is complete, so this test was something totally different [for what I have no idea], but with that the results are not pointing them either to a definite yes or a definite no. Thus, my mom is going in to answer questions or something soon to see if she can give them any information that I couldn’t.  Tuesday’s tests were also accompanied by some random school-related questions that I was not expecting (What’s your GPA? How many credit hours have you completed so far? Do you have any accommodations for tests? Are you distracted during tests? Do you have enough time? So, other than getting the big picture, I am not sure what that was about…).  It is a very long process, but, I think it will, in the end, be worth it and I am happy that it clearly appears that they are doing the most thorough job possible. It will probably be another month before I know anything more (I was hoping to know much sooner than that what the results of the assessment were). To everybody who has sent me some encouraging words about this process, thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have your words in the comment form, in tweets and Facebook messages and e-mails.

Thursday I saw my primary care doctor. Nothing new, especially since I just had asthma clinic. Re-running the blood work we were supposed to repeat months ago, told her my iron will be no better since I quit taking the pills when I went on prednisone in the Fall so as to not screw me up and also I lost the pills, and she just laughed. I guess if I am not 100% compliant, I am honest, right (She also thought it was funny that when she came in I was like “Sorry, need to put all my electronics away. If I turned my phone off every time I was supposed to in a waiting room, I would never accomplish anything.” She just laughed and was like “That’s fine!”). Anyways, once again, uneventful appointment. Except, I essentially got in shit because both my primary care doctor AND my resp doctor were like “Okay, you need to be back onto two puffs of Zenhale,” (slash Symbicort). I am not a fan of this business, to be completely honest. I was doing really well on one puff twice a day, or so I thought, I don’t know what led them to this decision but they seem to, possibly without even talking to one another, be in cahoots about it (because it seemed that the primary care doctor had not yet heard about how asthma clinic went).

So, just have to go get the vampires to take my blood on Monday, deal with the ENT whenever that happens, and . . . then all of the waiting continues.

mapped out my mind / trying to find / a place that don’t exist […]

things change / and they’re not the way you thought they would be.

things change, addison road

Whether it is evident or not when I post them, I do really try to make each Mirror Mantra something that reflects what is upcoming in my week–something that I am needing inspiration to tackle. The month of January has had an underlying theme that I haven’t actually talked about here yet–but I’m about to. I’ve been telling the story subtly, abstractly . . . now it’s time for the real thing.


December 31st, 2012


January 7th, 2013


January 14th, 2013


January 21st, 2013


January 28th, 2013

Make yourself is the theme of the year. It’s about creating who I am setting out to be, making the right choices–even if they are not easy–and moving, growing, learning. The second mantra–the distance is what you make it lead me up to an appointment over a year in the making, partly due to myself and partly due to circumstance. In early January I had found out that I failed not only anatomy, but also social psychology last term. I can pretend all I want I don’t give a shit, but I knew that I had tried my best to work hard at both of those classes and that hard work was not paying off. It’s easy to blame yourself, it’s even easier to blame circumstance . . . but extremely hard to admit that maybe something is not right. On January 11th, I had a 45-minute appointment where people got me–with a guy we’ll call Dr. B–and a psychology Master’s student, for a clinical interview to be assessed for ADHD, after waiting 6 months to get on to a waiting list, and 6 months following putting my name on that list for an appointment. The actual appointment could not have come at a better time, since I was really struggling with the concept of failing anatomy again.

Telling the whole story is hard work. It’s hard to talk about the academic problems; the fact that since first year I have not been able to maintain a course load of anything over three classes–last term I dropped to two classes for the first time, and I didn’t even pass either of them. It’s hard to talk about the fact that I don’t feel like I’m living up to people’s expectations of me, that I can’t do things right, and that I’ve felt like this for as long as I can remember. That all of the stupid little quirks I have might actually mean something–the fact that I’m constantly getting in shit for not turning off lights, constantly forgetting my bus pass or keys, that I can’t get through a simple academic reading or a humanities course because I am not interested even though I know I need to be. All that, and a lot more. The quirks might mean nothing–I might just be quirky. I know that, and that is okay. But if there is an explanation, a way we can modify this . . . I want to know it, too. I didn’t get out of my first appointment with a psychologist without using the service of Dr. B’s Kleenex. At the same time, through the recollections and memories . . . I knew it was okay, I knew it was okay I was there, I knew they understood. And few things have ever felt better than “We want to work with you on this.

The week leading up to that appointment was stressful. Jay, who pointed me in the right directions when I first asked him for options regarding assessment in Fall 2011, and Natasha, were among the few people who actually knew what was going on, because I was not ready to talk about it until at least that first part was over. Until I knew I had made the right choice to make that appointment. It was a long week, culminating in a 45-minute intake appointment, understanding and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.

Each day between my intake/clinical interview and my first round of testing (psychoeducational assessment) increased my thoughts about it all. Learning the skill of forgetting: There was a gap of time I was able to push it out of my mind for a bit, but as the days approached, the testing that happened early this week weighed more and more on my mind. For the first time in a long time, I can say that I wanna try to get better and overcome each moment in my own way. Let’s see–I effed around with the asthma meds last week. I am not sure it was a good idea, but now I know I, in this season, cannot quit my evening Symbicort without causing myself problems. Overcoming moments–overcoming thoughts that lead up to this week’s assessment. That, too, was a long week.

This week . . . was assessment week. There were so many times where I was just like “Maybe this is stupid. Maybe I shouldn’t bother going through with all of this. I am fine.” The things we try to convince ourselves when we are facing uncertainty. I’ve been on a Something Corporate kick, and Caldecott Tunnel is a seriously good one, and it is home to this week’s mantra: we end up regretting the things we don’t try. On the bus on the way to my appointment on Monday the song shuffled on, and it was like “Okay, I need to do this.”

staring out into the intersection, she thinks that she can fly / And she might. / Holding on in a new direction, she’s going to try it tonight. / The closer that I get to feeling, the further that I’m feeling from alright . . .

straw dog, something corporate

Monday’s assessment was hard–basically an IQ test (WAIS-IV) and a self-report scale. Some of the WAIS-IV I just wanted to quit right there–that test was hard and long, and as Jay said . . . “The WAIS-IV is a tough one and you never know what the right answers are”. A completely true statement. Arranging blocks, defining words, recalling letters and numbers, crossing out shapes from lines, a bunch of timed stuff . . . like I said, it was long, and parts of it, such as the math problems were extremely hard. I was lucky enough to get my second assessment appointment on Tuesday afternoon–a memory test (the WMS-IV–which was possibly worse than the WAIS-IV)–recalling details of stories, placing specific cards in certain spots after attempting to memorize them, words in stupid pairs that didn’t make any sense and their association had to be remembered, some delayed recall things, and fortunately–that I can remember–no math. I also faced-off with the computer in the Conners Continuous Performance Test, involving not-clicking-the-x, and simultaneously grew more and more frustrated at each time I accidentally clicked the x, and more and more bored awaiting the stupid test to be done.

Tuesday was supposed to be the last day of testing. As soon as I got into the assessment room, I was told “We actually need you to come in for one more test.” I tried to pry her for answers, but I received none beyond “My supervisor says you need to come back in”. So my assumption is that something was off in my WAIS-IV that needs to be addressed further–and as Jay said “better that they do the most thorough job now versus only getting 90% of the puzzle […] best to get the whole picture, regardless of how many times you need to come in”. So, back to the clinic I am headed on Wednesday for mystery testing–I have suspicion it may have to do with my math results, but I can’t say for certain.

I’m blessed that I’ve got so many good people in my world–pointing me in the right directions; keeping me sane . . . and being supportive in the process as I slowly start telling people about what is unfolding. I hope that by publishing this post . . . I am able to move further into telling those who care about what is going on . . . regardless of where the journey leads. And, that, no matter where someone’s own journey is leading . . . if there is belief that you need help . . . find a way to get it.

Because the experience, so far, has been so worth it.

And, to close off with a quote from an e-mail with Jay from last November . . .

“Even in the midst of our own struggles, we can offer encouragement. Even during our personal low periods, we can continue to try to be a mentor to those around us. If we are honest about we are facing, we can offer hope to others that they are not alone.

John Wooden

Here’s to finding answers to even the questions that are not being asked . . . connection between the answers to the questions that are . . .

and hope in the process.