Monty and Me and Some Red Pants

So, I started this thing when I was 27 years old. Now I’m about to be 30. Ew.

My name is Mary, my dog is Monty, and here’s what happened.

I was kind of this badass gymnast when I was nine, then I got the flu and just never recovered. Like ever. I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, then Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. I had to quit gymnastics and home school the rest of 3rd grade, and then learn how to live a life with this thing inside me that no one else could really see. (Except my mom, she has the illness too)

A few years ago the illness really intensified and gradually my body sort of just fell apart. Eventually I crashed and could not recover. I woke up one morning too weak to walk to the bathroom and I was like crap, this is turning into a real problem.

In the months following that crash, I had to leave my job, boyfriend and apartment. I saw a specialist in Miami and was diagnosed with Lyme Disease among other things. I was too sick to care for myself anymore or earn money, so at 26 I moved back in with my parents. I was lucky they took me and my dog in and cared for me.  But that was really hard too–a big lesson in humility if nothing else.

After losing all my attachments, I had a lot of time on my hands. And that’s where this blog began. Me: sick, jobless, and living with my parents. No schedule, no real expectations, and a lagging social life. Admittedly I experienced some psychological “confusion” and didn’t quite know how to pursue life this way. So I began writing here. For one thing, it was something the illness couldn’t take from me. I could do it sick, from bed, from the floor of my bathroom. It also worked well as a way to give people a glimpse into the experience, and as a place for me to face the realities of my life and try to sort them out. I guess that’s what everyone is trying to do.

If anyone has the answer to life, just shoot me an email; theothergelpi@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.  Otherwise, the search continues.  Here are some other anecdotes from my life and how I got to be me.

I stole orange flavored tic tacs when I was 4 and my dad heard them jiggling in my osh-kosh-bgosh overalls and made me return them to the gas station.

I am the youngest of four siblings. I have two older brothers, Nick and Doug, and an older sister Amelie. They are my favorite!

My dad died of cancer when I was 12. He died on the toilet. No joke!

High school was terrible. I am in awe of people who loved high school.

I graduated from LSU with a degree in journalism. College fucking rocked.

My mom re-married a dude named Roger and in the middle of college, HE died suddenly. Yeah, that happened.

I studied abroad in France while in college and that was one of the best times of my life.

My mom re-married again, we’re keeping our fingers crossed…

I love my dog Monty. Like a lot.

345 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Mary! I was recently diagnosed with Fibro. Oh Lawdy, the pain! the fatigue! everything! I also have Crohns Disease, Diabetes, and Osteoarthritis. Been really sick since a teenager. How do you deal with all the pain? There are days I just wanna crawl in a black hole. I am 64 and feel 100. Life isn’t fair sometimes. Hope you are doing a bit better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Merry Go Round! I’m so sorry to hear about your health struggles, but can empathize totally. If you read my most recent post about being a chronic pain patient, you’ll see what I’m dealing with and maybe it’s similar to you. At any rate, the best way I’ve learned to live life with this illness, and it sounds so cliche but it’s true, is just to live it one day at a time. One hour at a time. A moment, many days. I never think to far ahead and I try to let the past go while also holding on to great things I was once able to do. Gratitude has helped me more than anything. Finding the small, great reasons I have to be alive, which basically always comes down to family and friendly relationships which are nurturing and fun and make me laugh. I am learning everyday how to live with this *beast* and maybe it takes decades to ever get it down. But it helps to remember you’re not alone, and there are a lot of people out there fighting in the name of these diseases and to help find a cure. I’m convinced we will get there, but in the meantime I’m also convinced there is somehow meaning in this “sick life” that is just as important as a healthy persons, though it doesn’t often feel that way. Constantly battling pain is consuming and exhaustive, but being able to find small moments throughout the day where I’m grateful for things in my life that I really do feel fortunate for having (like my family, funny videos of animals on the internet, my dog, the awesome garden outside my window) and am able to acknowledge them help me feel lucky for being alive, even if it doesn’t feel on my terms. Learning surrender has been deeply hard but one of the more powerful and enlightening lessons of my whole life. I used to think I controlled everything, nope! But I do control how I take everything in… so even if this wasn’t part of my plan, I do believe I can still navigate it and be the person I was always trying to be. I think we can still do important things, even if it’s from our beds covered in ice packs (me right now) It helps to remember we may not be together, but all of us in this are fighting it together, and I have a very solid hope we will find an answer and fix for it. Even if we were well, we’d have to figure out how to be who we are, how to be good, how to love well and live life purposefully. Those lessons are there to learn for all of us, we just have to learn ours under a specific set of “conditions” which royally suck. STILL, I believe we can be people and live lives that do not. I hope you’ll stick around and let us know how things are going with you. Sorry this reply is so late, I’m behind on everything— which is the norm. 😉 Hang in there and remember you’ve got a lot of people along with you on the battle, and one day we will defeat it. Until then, we still have the internet and the ability to connect, that helps 🙂 Hang in there and I wish you the best in staying as well as is possible right now. All good vibes,
      Mary and Monty


  2. Hi Mary! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and I’m sad to read about these struggles sent your way. You are an inspiration to all and your positive attitude something to behold. I wish you a life full of excitement and adventure and hopefully we will bump into each other again one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maria! So funny bumping into you here hah :) Yhank you for reading and writing! I really appreciate the encouragement. I hope things are well with you and yeah, let’s bump into each other at some point! :) thank you again for your words,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Mary,
    Just a few lines to let you know that you have admirers here in Paris, France.
    One of my best friends unfortunately suffers from this disease and sent me the link to your blog.
    I want to let you know how much I am thankful for your writings. It helps everybody to understand the problems you have to face, how each of your actions must be treasured and appreciated because it costs so much.
    I am sure that science will soon be able to help you.
    As soon as you get better, come along, I will be happy to show you the city.
    See you soon,


  4. Hopefully not an insulting or annoying question, but genuinely curious, have you tried anti-depressants? To what extent do you experience anxiety and depression? I’ve had fatigue issues and I find them to be related to anxiety and depression / brain chemistry / mind state.


  5. Hopefully not an insulting or annoying question, but genuinely curious, have you tried anti-depressants? To what extent do you experience anxiety and depression? I’ve had fatigue issues and I find them to be related to anxiety and depression / brain chemistry / mind state.


    1. Actually, that is well, not really insulting, but just an uneducated response. People w/true ME/CFS don’t have depression, and most antidepressants make us much, much worse. We have a mitochondrial and immunological disorder. We want to get our lives back, and often CAN’T sleep, whereas people who are depressed prefer to stay in bed because they can’t handle life. It’s an energy deficiency (mitochondrial) issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just paroosed your blog for the first time. Your wit is fantastic, absolutely love it, you go girl. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer my sophomore year. Grew up in the small town, and high school was a living hell. I admire your attitude kiddo. You found a new follower, that doesn’t sound stalkish…like at all…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m in remission for now, Mom’s having a little trouble, time for me to be her shoulder. This blog may or may not be the best part of my day today. My party hat is on. The feels are reals.


  7. Dear Mary, You are a joy to be with; we had so much fun at dinner Friday night. My wife is in awe of your charm and grace, in spite of everything you deal with daily. Vivian has recently suffered some cognative brain disfunction as as result of meningitis, so you are an inspiration to both of us for sure.
    Keep writing and we’ll keep reading!
    Emily’s Dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel uncomfortable around illness blogs (possibly because I want to be able to do something but I can’t), but your outlook and approach are fresh and inviting, leaving me intrigued.


  9. I was a gymnast, pretty sure no one would call me a badass gymnast, could never do a standing back flip on the beam. Now I’m a nurse. Glad I found your flog. Feels like a good fit.


  10. My mom has this – fibromyglia – so i’m trying to understand her needs better. it can be pretty frustrating because a fibro sufferer doesn’t really know what’s wrong with her, plus no outward symptoms and an extreme stubbornness in seeing a doctor. your blog is so helpful!


  11. I started following your blog a couple years back, but I’m not very active on WordPress. Every now and then I sign in and read your posts on my feed (like today) and your writing is consistently SO POWERFUL, calming, and comforting. Thanks for sharing your gift and insights. BIG THUMBS UP :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dude! Thank you. Also, if you’d like to have the posts just sent to your email..you can put your email address in the box at the upper right corner of the blog and any time I post it will send directly to you. Just an easier way to read. Let me know if that doesn’t work for some reason. Thanks again!


  12. Lol I was going to nominate you for the versatile blogger award but I see someone else already did. Congrats on such a great blog.


  13. I’m really glad I’ve found your blog. I’m also going to be writing on how this illness has affected my life (among other things). I look forward to reading more in the future.

    Nik, another fibro hostage.

    Liked by 1 person

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