dear 2013,

adios amigo. you made me a very, very tired girl.

you were dubbed ‘the year of yes’ and i’m pleasantly surprised by how well i was able to stick to it. in the past, my default answer to invitations and such was at best “uh, maybe” but i have fully embraced the power of YES.

some of my favorite parts of you were:

– traveling to mexico to relax and watch my best friend of 26 years get married. it was fun to live like a real housewife of riviera maya for a few days.


– traveling to austria and hungary. even though it was freezing and raining or snowing the whole time. i fell in love with budapest!


– rittenstrong wedding! i only cried a few times during emma’s wedding weekend, danced my tush off, and soaked up as much family time as possible.


– portland. this might have been my biggest yes of the year. a last minute trip to the west coast in which i seriously considered “accidentally” missing my flight home. forever.


– booooks! i finished reading a ton of books that were works in progress, and discovered some new authors that are now my favorites.


– standing 2 feet away from the girl with a pearl earring. in the past few years i’ve been out of touch with the part of me that adores art, and standing in front of this beauty rekindled that fire.


– FINDING JEANS THAT FIT. i never knew denim could bring me so much joy. as a five-foot-tall-chicken-legged girl with cystic fibrosis, finding pants that fit from tush to toe is impossible. (madewell, my savior.)

some of my least favorite (and therefore undeserving of pictures) parts of you were:

– sickness x2. i thought my days of multiple cystic fibrosis exacerbations a year were long behind me, but i was wrong. that i got to do 90% of the iv treatments from home as opposed to in the hospital did not even kind of soften the blow(s).

– the anxiety attacks that never ended and made life miserable.

– godzilla kidneys stones that made me sad for many, many weeks. i particularly disliked the 5-hour car ride to hilton head in the way way back of a car during a bout of stones.

– eating a plateful of white truffle rosemary garlic french fries. they were good for about 10 minutes. and then miserable for about 3 days. live and learn.

2013, you were mostly awesome and fun and for that i am most thankful, albeit a little worn out. (and i learned to say yes to naps!)

2014… i’m gonna rock you. so hard.

love, leann

[all images are my own except for the denim, which came from madewell]


the blahs

i have 14 unfinished blog posts in the works.

truth be told, i have had almost zero interest in writing. every time i sit down to put words together i get overwhelmed and anxious so i just close my laptop and walk away.

a case of the blahsto say i’ve had a major case of the blahs lately is somewhat of an understatement.

i have 14 unfinished blog posts that would tell you more than you’d ever want to know about my blahs. about how i’ve had massive kidney stones and related pain since july. about how my anxiety attacks have been out of control. about how i had yet another cf exacerbation resulting in over 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment which came with it’s own set of lovely side effects. and so on and so forth yada yada.

but honestly, i’m so dang sick of thinking and talking about it all that i just can’t do it anymore. so i’m not going to.

i woke up one day about a week ago and realized that if i ever wanted to break through the blahs i would need a major attitude adjustment. so, that’s what i’ve been focused on.

something as little as waking up each day and saying “i’m going to have a good day” instead of “oh good, i still feel like shit” makes all the difference in the world.

think happy be happy

as for those 14 unfinished blog posts? i’ll get to them… maybe. for now? all kinds of awesome.

[image 1: unknown, image 2: 79ideas]

lately, when people ask how i’m doing, i’ll more often than not just say i’m fine but in my head i feel like i’m a mess. i think i can attribute that mostly to the kidney stones and the anxiety attacks, which are the two health issues i have the most difficult time dealing with on a personal level.

i think we all know by now that my kidneys are total assholes.

a few months ago, mid-juneish, i happened to notice that i felt like i had to pee ALL THE TIME. and i was less than excited about it, because i knew that it just meant shit was about to get weird with my insides.

true to form, my left kidney was all like, “heyyyy friend-o, remember me!?” and i was all like, “ugh, yes, and ouch.” and then my right kidney was all like, “tee-hee! don’t forget about me!” and i was all like, “WTF SERIOUSLY THAT HURTS.”

so here’s the thing about kidney stones. they are more or less a piece of gravel stuck in your private parts, and the amount of pain you feel is relative to the size of the stones. a stone that’s a couple millimeters wide, no biggie. a stone that’s over 5 millimeters wide? that’s when things get majorly hurty. why? because they’re traveling through a tube that’s only about 2mm wide DUH!

after a month of intermittent but serious pain, i went to have my kidneys ultrasounded.

here i will digress for just a moment to tell all of you that i’ve talked about my kidneys so much with my family that we now just call them ‘the kids.’ as in, “hey leann how are the kids today?” “oh, ok i suppose. not super annoying but i feel them.” it only seemed natural that i name my kids, so the left kidney is lucy, and the right one is ricky. these names are perfect because like lucy and ricky, my kidneys are full of sass and sometimes cause trouble.

these are my kidneys.

ok back to the story. i got my kids ultrasounded, and i also got to carry around a big orange jug of my pee for 24 hours, and the results were gross.

i have a 6mm kidney stone in each kidney. for reference, 6mm is more or less the same size as a pencil eraser. the pee test was able to tell me that i have really high levels of oxalate in my body, and that’s what’s causing the stones to form.

so now it’s september, which means i’ve had the pleasure of carrying around these kidney stones for several months, because they’re stubborn assholes and will. not. move.

pain management has been a mixture of things. usually an icepack keeps things feeling good enough. tylenol… i don’t think it really does anything. when things get really bad, i take a percocet which makes me feel like a rainbow.

i’ve also been on a low oxalate diet. here is how you prepare for a low oxalate diet:

1. make a list of all the things that are healthy for you: dark leafy greens, berries, soy beans, wheat and other grains, nuts.
2. now cross off everything on that list.
3. stock your pantry with blandness – white bread, white rice, apples, bananas, white potatoes (no skins!), saltine crackers, english muffins, dairy, and – good news – all the jello you want.

you also can’t have chocolate, but that hasn’t affected me much since i don’t have a sweet tooth. otherwise, this diet is sort of killing my taste buds. avoiding soy is super hard (it’s in everything as a preservative), and i also have to avoid salt.


y’all i live for crunchy salty things. potato chips, popcorn, tortilla chips, a damp finger dipped in salt. i can’t eat them. and the worst worst worst part of it all? the horror to put all other horrors to shame? i can’t eat pretzels.

pretzels are the most perfect food ever. they bring the crunch and the salt and i have been eating handfuls of them every day basically since i’ve had teeth. pretzels, i love you and miss you and i hope we can be reunited again soon.

for now the plan is just to keep on keeping on. if things get worse, i’ll head to the doctor. if things stay the same, i have an appointment with my endocrinologist in a month where i will probably get on my knees and beg him to entertain the possibility of surgical removing the stones.

in the meantime, i’m trying to be as nice as possible to lucy and ricky, and i’ve only cheated on them once. with pretzels. i couldn’t help myself. they were delicious.

so. that’s half of my hot mess-itude. the other half is anxiety. i’ve written about it before, and i have more to add. another day.

to end, while i was looking for a graphic for my kidney picture, i discovered i heart guts and it is so awesome and delightful.