2023, A Recap

2023, A Recap

My health seemed to have stabilized in 2023 through the addition of some new medication ( … with the bonus side effect of weight gain…). However, many of the other aspects of my life were thrown into limbo as I began a new job, moved to a new part of the state, and grew more stable in my relationship with my Pilot as he also started his new job. As is tradition, let me show you the highlights.

January 2023

Third Beach in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC Canada.

In January, it was becoming more and more apparent that I did not agree with the direction that my company was going. When an opportunity to interview for another company presented itself, I jumped on it! I ended up accepting a new engineering position at a start-up that would require me to move about 45 minutes away. However, I would not start there until late March. I spent a week in Seattle at the end of the month to visit my Pilot. While there, we were able to spend a few days in my favorite city of Vancouver and even got to meet up with one of my favorite former coworkers who worked abroad with me in Malaysia.

February 2023

My brother and his two daughters.

In February, my second niece was born. I went to Texas after her birth to spend time with her and her older sister. Whenever I’m in Texas, I also always try to stop by and say hello to one of my favorite addies and this trip was no exception. February was also when I started a new medication off label under the observation of my endo. His thought process was to use the negative side effects (fluid retention, edema, swelling) as the main feature to reduce my dependency on weekly IV fluids. To his credit, it worked. I no longer require 2-4L of weekly IV saline to remain stable. However, it did cause me to gain about 30 lbs.

March 2023

Go Mavs!

March was a busy month. It started out with a visit from a friend from high school shortly after handing in my two week notice at my previous job. Once those two weeks were up, my home went on the market and my Pilot flew down to help my father move me into my new apartment closer to my new job. To thank my father for his help with my move, he and I attended a Mavs game together. I started my new job end of March.

April 2023

I was invited to my Pilot’s family reunion / vacation in Florida.

In April, I was invited to my Pilot’s family reunion. Every year (except for 2020) for over twenty years, he meets up with his aunts, uncles, siblings, cousin, and parents to vacation somewhere for a week. This year, we went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I enjoyed getting to know his family.

May 2023

Driving up the California Coast with my Pilot.

At the end of May, I met up with my Pilot in San Francisco for a mini-vacation before we drove further up the coast for a friend’s wedding. We did all the touristy things such as Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and even a night tour of Alcatraz. I believe I was exposed to COVID when touring Alcatraz. Before I show “typical sick symptoms,” my Adrenal Insufficiency will flare. At the end of the tour, I became uncharacteristically dizzy and disoriented to the point where security fetched me a chair and had me wait the 20 minutes until the shuttle could drive me back down to the ferry.

The last day of May, I tested positive for COVID.

June 2023

Eating Korean food at one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate Father’s Day.

The wedding was held on June 1st. Because it was outdoors, we were able to attend while wearing a N95 mask and remaining a respectable distance away from everyone. Thankfully, my 102.4 degree fever had broken during the night and I was feeling stable. However, the flight back home was incredibly unpleasant. I know that if my Pilot had not escorted me across the country to make sure I made it home safely, I would have ended up hospitalized somewhere. In the end, it took me about two weeks to recover from the secondary sinus infection through the use of dexamethasone, IV fluids, lots of rest, and even a round of antibiotics. I will say that COVID affected my heart, dropping my resting HR to as low as 44BPM. That was very unpleasant.

I had recovered by Father’s Day, which I spent with my dad. We went on a hike around a lake, ate some Korean food, and enjoyed spending time with each other.

July 2023

Celebrating my grandfather’s 85th Birthday.

At the beginning of July, my father and I celebrated my grandfather’s 85th birthday at his cabin in the woods. It was fun reconnecting with some relatives that I had not seen in years. Later on in the month, my house successfully closed after over three months on the market. The process went smoothly up until the very last moment when I had to deal with an incredibly misogynistic closing attorney who harassed me during the process. That was a huge cortisol draw. World, you need to do better.

August 2023

There are fleeting moments where we can tell that my aunt is still with us.

August I had the pleasure of attending a Jason Mraz concert with one of my favorite former coworkers. If you haven’t heard his song yet “Little Time,” I encourage you to give it a listen. These lyrics in particular always hit me hard: “Cause I’ve learned how death’s always there at our ankles / Teasing us, teaching us how to be grateful / Cuz days are now about how well we live them / How much we’ve loved and how much we’ve given away / Before we’re history.” My passion of Clearly Alive in part comes from “death’s always there at our ankles.”

For my aunt’s birthday, my mom, dad, and myself were all able to meet up and celebrate her in Florida. Her dementia is progressing, made more difficult by the downs syndrome. However, there are brief fleeting moments where we can see that she is still in there, somewhere.

September 2023

I love this human. It is always a treat when we can get together.

At the beginning of September, one of my best friends from high school visited me. I was able to take her to what felt like a foreign country in the form of the local agricultural county fair. Confession: I won several ribbons for my cross stitch pieces and photos, so I have fully embraced that anachronism. Towards the end of the month, I participated in a local art show with my watercolors. I am honored to announce that a few families have a Clearly Alive Art original watercolor displayed in their home. But the most exciting thing that happened in September is my Pilot and I put down a deposit for a new home under construction. In less than a year, he and I will own our first house together!

October 2023

Hiking along the French Broad River

The very first of the month of October, my Pilot and I drove out to another part of the state to visit another one of my favorite addy sisters on her little farm. We got to meet her goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and visit with her kids and husband. I even beat the group in a friendly game of Settlers of Catan! We hiked the French Broad River and rode horses overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afterwards, my Pilot returned to Seattle to wrap some things up while I headed to Texas to meet up with my family for my niece’s 3rd birthday. As is family tradition, she received her first tool box and is ready to take on the world in her princess dress with her big girl hammer.

November 2023

You’re looking at a First Officer for the 737.

In the middle of November, I had the pleasure of doing a quick turnaround trip to DFW to celebrate my Pilot’s start at American Airlines. I flew in on a Tuesday, attending a day of classroom sessions on that Wednesday in which my pilot got to bid for his work assignment (MIA/FO/737/I), and then that evening we celebrated with “fancy dinner” in which he was given his wings. That Thursday, I flew out. It was an absolute honor to stand by his side as we celebrated this huge milestone in his career. Although it did push the limits of what I am able to handle medically, it was absolutely worth it.

December 2023

We walked a “5k”

December was another month of pushing my limits. My Pilot and I spent the weekend in Phoenix where I met up with the same high school friend from September before continuing on to Reno in order for me to see my endo in person. The very next weekend, my Pilot and I participated in a laid back “5k” with my parents back in my home state. I use quotes around the distance, because the race organizers regularly brag about how they have yet to get the distance correct. My Pilot and I then flew to Texas to spend Christmas with my family. The plan was to head off to New Mexico to spend a few days with his family on December 26th. But, I got hit with a sinus infection and had to cancel my flight. This allowed me to spend a few extra days with my beautiful nieces.

It also allowed me to reflect on how far I’ve come health wise. I was able to travel across the country several times in 2023. Additionally, I battled several severe illnesses that did not require any emergency room visits or hospitalizations.

Now that will not stop me from confidently and naively declaring what the future holds. 2024 will be the year that we can finally slow down and unpack into more stable yet flexible lives.

I’m ready for it.

Here are my recaps for 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

Oh also a DECADE of recaps.

Amber Nicole is Clearly Alive