I am moving to Los Angeles.

I am moving to Los Angeles for the fall. And the winter. And the spring. And maybe for a little longer. I don't know yet.
In two weeks my lease is up on my apartment in New York. I have spent the last 7 years living in New York. The Bronx, first. Then Brooklyn. Then Manhattan.
I love New York. It's my home. And that's what makes it okay to leave for a little while, because I know it's where I will be in five years. New York is where I will have children. New York is where I will die, most likely because I jaywalked into a UPS truck.
So why go to LA?
Because I have wanted to, for many years. Because right now my gut says go, and I have never felt so strongly that now is the time. Because if you feel like you need to go to LA, you should probably go to LA.
Still: why go to LA?
Because I'm tired of New York, of rushing everywhere. And I'm sick from the subway and the noise.
In Los Angeles I will be outside more. I will swim more.  I will swim every day if I can.
I want to write my book at the beach. So after the summer, I am going to go to LA. (I'm either driving or flying. TBD!)
And why not this second?
Because I can't work/function full time right now. I'm going to freelance and work part time until I am better and then I'm going to go.
But you're sick. You can't be sick across the country!
There it is. The challenge. Can I be sick away from my family? Every single person I've talked to has brought this up. You can't do it, they say.
Fuck that, I say. I have let illness own my life for many years now. I stayed in New York City, even when I wanted to go far away for college. I didn't study abroad because everyone told me I couldn't. I didn't major in premed because everyone told me I'd get sick. I listened to everybody. I did. I listened to everyone.
And I am still fucking sick.
But don't worry, guys. I'll be careful in California. I'll wear sunscreen. I'll exercise more and eat better and I will live in Los Angeles. They even have doctors in Los Angeles! Best of all, they have medical marijuana in Los Angeles.
They have copywriting jobs in Los Angeles. They have better weather in Los Angeles. They have the sun and they have space, space for me.
And so I think that's what I am going to do. I think that after Labor Day, I am going to move to Los Angeles.*
*Unless I change my mind or am offered some sort of brilliant job in New York


Prednisone: What you done, girl?

I've been on and off prednisone, a corticosteroid, at highly toxic doses for over two years now. 

Long term use of prednisone is classified as six weeks or more. Not two years.

Here are a list of symptoms that my doctors have attributed to use of prednisone, including one glaring, obvious manifestation. (Do not say fat face. DO NOT SAY FAT FACE.)

Depression, mania, weakness and fatigue, blurred vision, abdominal pain, infections, acne, INSOMNIA (ding ding ding! We have a winner!), weight gain, crazy hunger, facial swelling and dizziness.* And diabetes, which is why I've been sticking myself with insulin every time I go on a high dose.

Prednisone works, so that's why it's been my go-to for the past few years. But it's made me slightly insane, and not in the good way that most drugs do. 

Here's an example of a good drug: in college, I got stoned and saw Willy Wonka. I thought all the Munchkins were tiny George Lopezes. It was frightening and sort of like being stuck inside a TBS commercial loop, but still sort of of awesome.

Here's an example of a bad drug: This morning, I got up at 5 and fell out of bed. Then I tried to walk to the bathroom. I fell into the wall. Then I sat on the toilet, and fell face forward onto the floor. A variation of this has been happening all week. I asked my doctor and she was all "Yeah. Prednisone."

But! GOOD NEWS! I'm tapering down from 60 mg and soon I'll be free of the drug. (This is where my pessimistic self says yeah, until next time dummy.) Last night, I took my first dose of Thalomid, a drug used to treat leukemia. The side effects of Thalomid are not pretty, no. But it's better than prednisone, which my endocrinologist said, quite simply and without a hint of a smile, would kill me. I'm 25.

So, to wrap up, my medically challenged friends: prednisone is evil. The new drug: lesser evil. And remember:  any sort of fat you might see on my body is the drug's fault and not from Twizzlers/beer/mac and cheese/funnel cake/fried chicken/soft pretzels/my feelings.

Stay off the drug if you can. Be happy you have good health. And donate money to autoimmune research so that no one--no one--ever has to suffer through prednisone's effects again.

*Note: this post has been slightly aided by Sarah Manguso's excellent memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay and various shit I Googled. ALSO BY MY LIFE.


Flashes of Wednesday

In the morning my body is awake before my brain.

Sometimes my mouth acts first, shouting out language from nightmares I will not recall in five minutes time.

It is a side effect from prednisone, one of the many that haunt me.

I step out of bed and look in the mirror, at the bloat in my face. I wish it away. I am modest but my face is prettier without the bloat. Sometimes, I perversely imagine a man looking back at me in a car and thinking "What a pretty face she'd have without all that fat."

I fantasize banging balled-up fists onto the back of his leather seats, screaming that it is not my fault. That I hardly eat, I hardly eat at all. I've lost my appetite so many times that Glucose Control Boost shakes are my treat of choice these days. (Shudder.)

I'm beginning to wonder if the man in the rearview mirror may be the nightmare I so rarely remember. Perhaps there is a reason we are meant to forget our terrors.

Since I was discharged Sunday, I haven’t been able to walk down the steps unaided. I have slept on the couch with the dog and the central air conditioning.

I eat sourdough pretzels to coat the morphine swirling in my stomach. The crumbs catch and fall downward into my open shirt.

I swipe them away, angrily. I've showered but I am still a mess, with a puffy face and a crumb-filled shirt. 

Summer is barreling forward, without a thought to my own affection for the season.

I've decided I won't cry out today, no matter the pain. I'll plant my feet firmly on the hardwood floors. I'll take a bicycle ride. I'll jump in the ocean. I'll hold Allie in my arms as we walk on the hot sand.

In time, the facial swelling will go down and in a year, I may be back here on this very couch. But it's entirely possible that I may be in a house I do not recognize. It is possible that this home--that this illness!-- will have disappeared.

In a year, my eyes may be brighter and my bones stronger. The prednisone may have left no damage.

But as I struggle for sleep, I think of what fears me. I realize that they are immeasurable, as thick as the love I have for my family, my dog, my friends, you. 

I'll speak out loud before I drift off, after this episode of Arthur. When I am alone, I need to hear my voice before the unrecognizable screams, escaping from my diaphragm, wake me.

Hold my hand, my love. That is what I'll say, before I go. Hold it, dear, all the way from here.


The Patented Kelly Bergin Recovery Process

The needles have been pulled, the wounds dressed, the hospital gown thrown in the corner. It is time to go home.

This is what happens next.

Step 1: Secure admission release. This first step involves copious amount of begging; it helps to pinch the inside of your thigh to produce some watery eyes. Waver your voice appropriately and repeat the following: "I haven't slept in days. Please, please let me go home." It helps to refrain from showering at this point; the stench alone will point to your release. No one likes a smelly Kelly.

Step 2: Lay down in your hospital bed as you watch various family members and friends gather up your stuff. For this phase, you'll want to switch into cranky mode. "MAKE SURE YOU PACK MY SWEET MASK, YO!" When this is forgotten, retaliate with one very swollen finger. (That mask made me feel like a goddamn superhero!)

Step 3: Take the last of your drugs from the nurse, knowing that you won't have access to Dr. K (Klonolopin) until you get home. Pass out for the car ride home. Note: this portion of the recovery will be very hazy and involves sending incoherent text messages. A choice one, from myself to my friend: "Call bike suit." I'm not sure what that means, and judging from his lack of response, I don't think he did either.

Step 4: Set up shop in your childhood bedroom. 

Step 5: Demand fan and sourdough pretzels. Refuse showering, as each step you take is wobbly and the last thing you need is a head injury. (On Saturday, I fell face forward into the tub whilst on the john, proof of my lack of strength.)

Step 6: Flood your minions with demands. "Apple sauce! Snapple! Sugar Free Twizzlers!" The sky is the limit, kid. Take full advantage. This is a diabetic's dream. Forget the protein, go with sugar free everything.

Step 7: Sleep. Dr. K has arrived in its bottled glory. Take a copious amount. Even though you will wake up every twenty minutes and continue to send questionable text messages, revel in the pain-free existence that K-dawg has brought into your life.

Step 8: Awake at sunrise and debate briefly taking Shea for a walk. One step out of bed proves your strength is not up for it. Crawl back into bed and watch and weep through the series finale of Family Ties.

Step 9: Stare in the mirror at the constellation of bruises from the Heparin shots injected into your stomach. Debate the best way to take a picture of this to send. Quickly realize that no lens in the world has the ability to siphon away this belly fat.

Step 10: Engage in brutal fight with Mother, who insists your smell is overwhelming the house. Hold your ground. You have earned the right to stink, and dammit, you will.

Step 11: Submit to shower. Reread the 100+ tweets you sent while under the influence. Question sanity and ability to function in society. Crawl back onto the couch and once again, yield to the power of mindless sitcoms on Comedy Central. Repeat the following mantra: "Sitcom, sitcom, slow death."

Step 12: Make goals for tomorrow, to add structure to your life. Suggestions include the following:

a) Go outside; a possible dip in the ocean is always healing
b) Find a freelance writing job, as your current life/work style is possibly unsustainable. (Help, Twitter!)
c) Find an apartment, as you must move in two weeks
d) Eat protein and lower your blood sugar so that you stop fainting

I think we're getting there, guys.


This Is Your Brain On Drugs

Today, I was released from NYU Langone's medical center.

I just wanted to post a quick medical update because I no longer have the manual dexterity to text everyone wants going on. Typing that sentence took four spell checks and a 10 minutes. And I pride myself on coming in 2nd in the 4th grade spelling. Fine, third place. Damn you, Charlie and Ashley. 

I checked in on Wednesday with mouth sores and a fever and left with a sleep deprivation like I've never known. It's been five days and I haven't gotten more than a 30-40 minute clips of sleep at a time. I even downloaded white noise machines for my iPad and several extremely boring BBC shows. But still, nada. My blood sugar climbed past 400, my BP skyrocketed and I was legitimately afraid for my health, for the first time in a long while.

I failed some neurological exams, passed others, was given drug, drugs and more drugs. I convinced myself I had meningitis. I garbled my words. I thought today was Thursday. I fell face forward into a tub in my bathroom. I cried over the end of a Magic School Bus episode. RALPHIE and his tonsils!

I suppose this isn't really a medical update; that shit is rather boring and I''ll let you know what's going on when I do. Rather, this is a love letter, a thank you.

My energy level is the lowest it's been since my thyroid was found malignant but yet I feel stronger, more alive. And there it is: proof that when you are in a hellacious amount of pain, there is that spark of life and love and feeling that propels you forward, even when you cannot literally take a step outside of bed alone.

I was absolutely gobsmacked at the overwhelming of support I got, from friends I've known since grade school to people I've never even met in real life. I lost the mask that separates my online life from my real life. I am one.

So thank you:

To my badass boss, who biked over on his chopper to my hospital room at 10 last night. To my special friends, who called any hour I needed them to.  For Meg and Gen and Taylor, who snuggled in contraband milkshakes and not nary a literary classic. For Twitter friends, who sent me emoticons and fancy lotions and kept my room from stinkin' like lupus and regret. Most of all thanks to my parents, siblings (Ginger!) aunts, uncles, cousins and f'nieces who love me and make this life truly worth living.

(I will edit the shit out this later but this is me, drugged up on Klonolopin and feeling nothing but love for everyone in my life.)

Thank you and i am sorry if I forgot you to mention you on this page. You all mean the world to me.

All my love,


Hospital bloggin

This post brought to you by Morphine, official sponsor of Kelly's delusions.

On Wednesday, after a week of debilitating mouth sores and fever, I threw myself into a cab and booked it to the ER. I'm no amateur so I made sure to pack the trinity of Loserdom: my Kindle, iPhone and iPad. Chargers nestled into my bag, I headed uptown in search of Morphine and a possible foreign exchange doctor whom I would make my husband. (The less English they speak, the more likely they are to laugh at my jokes. Plus I could convince them that rubbing my dogs--feet--is an American marital tradition.)

I spent 5 hours in the ER, tweeting my misery and informing dimwit interns not to send me to fast track because they will eventually admit me. I was correct. Eventually I was escorted to my room, where I realized that my following ad in the Times paid off. See below:

Are you an elderly woman, half deaf and surprisingly malicious? Do you havE an obsession with Nancy Grace? Are you enthralled with every possible reason Miss Casey Anthony was acquitted? Do you, like the defendant, enjoy screaming at your children and young and beautiful roommate, who reminds me of your younger vibrant self? Well then ma'am, do we have a room for you! Join roommate Kelly Bergin as we spend three days together in complete and utter misery. Never mind her uncontrollable fever, migraine and high blood sugar? She would just LOVE to hear Nancy Grace's rant on repeat 24/7!

After 18 hours with Esther,(the name I gave her) she requested a room change. I suppose she didn't think my dressing attire: underwear and a t shirt was appropriate. How was I to know her son would gape at me as if I was some sort of short-legged pariah? As she packed up her stuff, I turned and yelled "Later rooms!!

She was not pleased. (Note: I am usually sympathetic to the elderly. But I've been in this position more times than the average octogenarian. I'm all for rudeness, but save that for your personal family, for Chrissakes! Also: Sorry Red.)

After she left, I failed a routine neurological exam, assuring myself I had MS/Parkinson's. (See previous post) Tomorrow, they'll rule out a brain tumor or an absorbed twin, but for now I'm taking triple dose of Xanax to ensure mental stability. I'm also taking suggestions for the name of my absorbed twin. I think Kelly the II sounds nice.

Then they tested my blood sugar, which came in at a whopping 400. If I get diabetes, I'm...gonna find a fucking cure. Because Girlfriend do not live without milkshakes and white Zinfandel. Quality of life, people.

Tomorrow I hope to be discharged, unless they're sawing my brain in half or delivering Kelly the II.

Till then, dear well-wishers.

Kelly "Lupe! There It Is" Bergin


I've had a headache for thirteen years.

I've had a headache for a month but I keep saying I've had a headache for thirteen years like Rainman, over and over. I've had a headache for thirteen years!

It's such a dramatic thing to say. Thirteen years ago I was 12 and livin' the dream. Summer of 98 could not be beat. I belonged to a swim club, my boyfriend was cute and I had a flat stomach. Plus, Hanson was popular! I mean, I should have held onto that time for as long as I could have.

I did not have a headache thirteen years ago.

But I do have a headache now. I've taken so many drugs for this headache but it persists. I haven't gone to the doctors because that's not my style. My style is totally just taking whatever drugs I have lying around and then tweeting about it.

My style sucks.

Anyway. This headache! This headache feels like my brain is trying to physically separate itself from my skull and its best route is to crawl out through my left temple. I also have all these weird sensations on the top of my scalp and last week I woke up and my arm wouldn't stop twitching

So yeah, probably Early Onset Parkinson's Disease or something, I don't know. I shouldn't Google shit at 2 am while reading Michael J. Fox's memoir that I bought on Amazon when I couldn't sleep last week.

(Guys: what's wrong with me!? Diagnose me in the comments or something.*)

It feels like I've had a headache for thirteen years but it's only been a month, which is a short span of time (relatively speaking). I'm almost glad my mouth is so bad because it sort of takes away from the pain of my headache. Although my mouth is so bad I may just go to the ER later...

I'm going to go to sleep now, I took an Ambien. At 2 am. I mean that's just dumb. I have work tomorrow.


*Later we'll look back at say: This is where her blogging really slid downhill, but it's probably because of the brain tumor she didn't know she had.