Invisible Illness Awareness Week 

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 

What I want you to know about my journey with invisible illness: I want you to know that I suffer every single day, some more than others. This, for now, has no cure. This is not a cold or flu or bacterial infection that doctors can throw antibiotics at. I won’t magically be “all better” in a week or two. On the contrary, I am always surprised by the next new symptom that manifests. Yes, I suffer and there is no cure, but that doesn’t mean I give up hope. This is why it’s so very important for me to continue to do the things that nurture my soul and hiking, being in nature, photography and writing are the things that do that for me. Invisible Illness has been with me for over half my life and unfortunately, now I’m outnumbered by them, but I still get up and stare them down and fight the good fight every single day. While there was a time I desperately wanted people to understand, or just wanted to remain “normal” and do all the things I normally did, today is not that day. I am too busy caring for my body and mind to worry about anyone else’s ignorance and judgements about me and what I’m dealing with. We all carry burdens, mine just happens to be one that I can never put down. It’s like carrying a heavy backpack and never being able to take it off to rest. So if I am grumpy or extra sensitive, please do forgive me, but if you choose to judge me, that’s on you, because even the smallest amount of knowledge you might choose to understand, is like taking a pebble or stone from my pack…even if it’s only for a moment, and that would be just grand.
#InvisibleIllness #hashimotosdisease #fibromyalgia #chronicfatigue #autoimmunedisease #lupus #adventurer #mountainhiking #photography #writing #inspiration #dreamlivedo #courage #hope



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Source: Trouble

Mineral King BW Photo by Tracey McKibbin — National Geographic Your Shot

Mineral King BW Photo by Tracey McKibbin — National Geographic Your Shot

Source: Mineral King BW Photo by Tracey McKibbin — National Geographic Your Shot


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Source: Evening

Sawtooth Adventure 

Sawtooth Adventure 

Early morning on the first day of fall, 9/22/2016, just before our drive to Mineral King. 

The sun welcomes us as we round the corner to enter Mineral King National Park. 

We knew it was going to be a cold day and we went prepared. Here we stand before the Information Guide for Sawtooth Trailhead. They had posted some warnings about Mountain Lions in the area. Always good to check for updated info before scrambling off into an extended adventure.

One thing that has always struck me about this area is the ease of the animals around humans. This buck was 10 to 15 feet ahead of us on the trail. He was exquisite and incredibly healthy looking. I  asked him if we could pass and he meandered off the trail. It’s never good to accidentally get between a buck and his doe. They’re very protective.

About 3/4 mile from Monarch Lakes, at the base of Sawtooth, standing at 12, 343 ft. It was windy and cold but a beautiful day….so far.

Lower Monarch Lake

The black line represents our ascension line. It was incredibly steep and filled with loose rock, sand and shale. It was exhausting and dangerous. The yellow line is the way I wish we would have ascended, but this is the route we sand skied for a rapid descent from the ridgeline. You’ll soon see why. Crystal clear blue skies right?

There had been a few soft billowing white clouds, that seemed to dissipate as quickly as they rolled in, but that changed pretty quickly, when the clouds seemed to be overflowing the northern ridgeline and cascading down into the valley below us.

I kept telling my son that I needed to get to the ridge, just a couple hundred feet above us, so I could see what we were dealing with, but my gut already knew because the temperature plummeted into the low twenties in a matter of 30 seconds. I was hoping that it would quickly move through or dissipate and then my son yelled to me that his jacket had frozen solid, where he had earlier spilt a little water. I checked my water line from my camel pack and sure enough, it too was frozen.

I made my way to my son, who was starting to not feel well, and captured this last and only picture of us, just below the ridge; before making the frustrating, but wise decision to decend. While shooting this it started to snow and the wind began to gust, as the storm came in from below us.

We descended as rapidly as possible and once we were in the cover of the trees again, the harsh elements were left behind. Now we were cold and tired and unfortunately my son began to run a fever. All I could do was keep an even pace and coax him on by the promise of rest in a warm car. 

As we descended into the Mineral King Valley the clouds were perfectly positioned with the late lingering sun. It produced beautiful light and shadows against natures fall pallette. Even though we didn’t reach the tippy top of Sawtooth on this run, I couldn’t help but think it was perfect in so many ways that truly mattered. The last several images I got reminded me that beauty is always present and that every success, “failure”, or close call has something amazing in it to be gleaned. Out of the dark storm we fled and into the warm glow of light we were received.

As I  was driving home along the windy mountain road, with my son asleep next to me; I stopped to take this final image. I swear I could hear the mountain saying to me, “Thank you for coming and trying one of the hardest parts of me. My face saw your face. Until I see you again….” It felt as though this image was my parting gift…I saw her majesty’s soul again, as she surely saw mine.

💚The Crazy Celt 

Fall is Coming

Fall is Coming

This morning was cool and crisp and a wonderful reminder that fall is just around the corner. Can’t wait for sweaters, pumkins and leaves falling from the trees. There’s something special about this time of year. 🍁🎃

Invisible Me (4)

Invisible Me (4)

This has been a large extent of my day today….sleeping or resting on the couch, as my vessel sails into another storm, and I must ride it out.

I knew there was a high chance that I was about to go into another bad flare when, 2 nights ago, I had terrible insomnia accompanied with cold sweats and spot fevers. Today I went about my regular morning routine; was in pain but it was manageable.  By 12:30 I hit the wall. Thankfully I was back home by that time. 

The fatigue was so bad I couldn’t keep my eyes open, but the pain was such that it was uncomfortable to rest. The fatigue, only worsened with the pain and it finally won. I drifted off into a state that is not a deep restful sleep; a place that I’m still aware of the pain, but no longer can stay awake. It’s an in between place. A place I cannot control.

Its beyond frustrating because I have so much I needed to do, but my body, systematically, shut down. My body had different plans than my mind. This, I now know, is no longer something I can barrel through, like I did for years. It is progressively getting worse, but all I can do is take it a day at a time.

When I woke up, I could barely move. My hips, shoulders and elbows to forearms felt like there were sharp metal skewers piercing through them. My bones ached and my skin hurt. My head was dizzy and my body unsteady. How can this be…I was the dancer with a 10 turn pirouette. I was the firefighter who scaled rooftops and beams. How indeed.

The dangerous question is “why me?”, therefore, it is a question I refuse to ask, because the truth is, if you ask “why me?”, you better follow it up with, “why not me?”. Disease and illness don’t discriminate for discrimination sake, and I certainly don’t believe that this is somehow a punishment from God. It blows my mind that people still believe in that sort of thing. No answers to the ‘why’ question would suffice anyway, so it’s unproductive to ask unless used in a scientific hypothesis, formula or equation. 

The things that really bother me are how this will eventually impact my children. It already has in many drastic ways, but my kids are troopers. I’m a lucky woman. I also think about my adventurous spirit. I am becoming aware that my solo hiking adventures may become more risky. I’m not ready to give it up yet, but it is something I think about. I need to be responsible where my kids are concerned, however, I also feel that it’s my responsibility to be the example that says, just because shit doesn’t go your way or seem fair, doesn’t mean you lay down and die. Life is short and it’s meant to be lived in a way that is meaningful, fullfilling and inspiring.  

Does this suck? Hell yes it sucks, but I still choose to see the beauty in it. In fact, there are moments when I feel like I “get it” on a level we all strive for, but self inflict obstacles. I’m learning that what may appear as the biggest most tragic obstacle, may in fact be my key to something very deep and meaningful. 

Do I ever look forward to flares? Hell no! I’d do almost anything to make it go away, but I am finding reserves of strength, Inever knew I had.

Do I pray? You betcha. However, I don’t pray for my will and for it to be gone. Prayers aren’t meant to be like throwing pennies into a wishing well. No, I  pray for strength, courage, bravery, and personal love, kindness and compassion. Of course it depends on the day, but so far, my prayers have been answered. For this I’m grateful. 

Thanks for letting me share my vulnerability on this difficult day.

As always, love, light and freedom.

💚The Crazy Celt