I moved to Augustana! I've been here seven weeks this Sunday!
Augustana = Awesome. All my professors know my name. I've made so many new friends! The campus is absolutely lovely, even when it's hurricane-like weather.
I choked on a pill. Not literally, well kind of. September 8, 2012. I spent thirteen hours with a pill lodged in my throat, eight of those hours in the emergency room.
Eosinophilic esophagitis. [ee-uh-sin-uh-fil-ik uh-SAW-fuh-JY-tis] After sticking a camera down my throat, the docs discovered I have this chronic disease. It's caused by a food allergy.
Soft food diet. Until November 20. Not by choice. Having this condition means my esophagus is narrower so I have a high risk of choking on solid food.
Freshman senator. After running against eleven other freshman, I was voted one of three freshman senators for the Augustana Student Association. My favorite part about running was going door to door with "Chews Kat" Post-It Notes and gum. (Thanks to Crystal Ortbahn for the idea.)
Second place in the Amazing Race. During parent weekend, my friends and I participated in Augustana's Amazing Race. My team won second place and a $75 gift card to Olive Garden!
Milk, baker's yeast, beef, pistachio, and wheat. These are the reasons my esophagus is narrower. You're wondering, "How did she not know about these allergies sooner?" It's been boggling my mind too!
What do I eat and drink? Rice, fruit snacks, cooked and steamed vegetables, rice noodles, water, soy ice cream, soy noodles, Jell-O, applesauce, Rice Krispy's, shrimp, French fries, and soy, almond, and coconut milk. I'm getting much more soy, almond, and rice in my diet at least!
Twenty-five environmental allergies. After ninety-five pricks in my back, not only did they determine I have five food allergies, but also that I'm allergic to most molds, lots of grasses and weeds, dog and cat dander, dust mites, pollen, and oak and pine trees.
Allergy shots, twice a week. On top of taking three new medications twice a day, I go in to get allergy shots twice a week. It takes about an hour and a half. I've found I can get so much homework done while sitting in the waiting room because typically I'm the only person there. Peace and quiet. Ah!
Second dorm room. To myself. It's extra clean! Fancy vacuum cleaner, air purifier, expensive mattress protectors, and mold-free, new fridge.
Spare time? Bumper cars, toga dance, mud volleyball, fast-food runs, Bowling for Boobs, and football games are just a few of the things that have taken up my spare time. I'm so excited for everything the future holds here at Augie!
"Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce." –unknown
Life doesn't wait up for you. It tests you and forces you to adjust, adapt, and move on. I miss eating bread, string cheese, cookies, sun chips, regular ice cream, skim milk, hamburgers, pasta, cheese dip, buttered popcorn, Cheetos, etc. On the other hand, I feel very fortunate because my problems could be much worse.
I still don't drink coffee. :)
- Katherine Van Gerpen