We Did It! $2330 Worth of Awesome!

Three days before Saturday's race, I went to see a new doctor who told me I was in an active, serious lupus flare and that running would not be recommended in Denver's altitude. He also recommended that I quit nomadding (new word) around and settle down for a bit. I nicknamed him Dr. KickAss because he really did kick my ass about not taking these diseases seriously and moving around without establishing care. I wasn't doing anything crazier than my peers (working, happy hour, surfing, trips to Europe where you drink wine for every meal...), but further denial that I was sick could seriously damage my health.

I took what ole Kick Ass said into consideration and made the choice to stay home in New Jersey for the foreseeable future, until my health stabilizes. I have a team of doctors here who are working together to make sure my body and mind are strong enough to live a long life, a life I want and deserve. It is worth giving up my life in California and a bit of my independence and pride. (And it doesn't hurt that I have a beautiful new niece to enjoy, and a boyfriend who dotes on me here, even if he does make me realize that The Cheesecake Factory is the greatest place on Earth and OMG I AM NJ!)

But before I changed my plans for the next 12 months, I wanted to do THIS. I wanted to run the race I have spent all summer training for. So as I left the doctor's office, a little shocked and definitely shaken, I vowed I would run anyway. I would stop and walk but I would finish what I had pledged to do. I told my parents and my boyfriend and my friends that illness can have me Tuesday, because first I was going to run in Denver and have fun with my cancer camp friends.

And so I did it. I was slow, and I was hurting, but I EFFING did it.

And I am positive that I wouldn't have done it without you. So thank you.

Thank you to all those who donated, to all those who gave us support, who wished Meghan and I luck and told us we could do it.

Thank you to those who held signs and screamed our names. To the emails we got before we raced, to the support that made me take deeper breaths and think KEEP GOING KEEP GOING KEEP GOING!

Thank you for guiding me. For giving me strength. For supporting an organization that is teaching me so much, that is giving me friends who understand me in a way no one has before. That is connecting me with other survivors who breathe life into mine and know what it means to have to change your life because of illness.

I will be recovering this fall, winter and spring in New Jersey. I will hate it at times. But I will have the memories of this wonderful weekend in Denver, Colorado.

I will know I can do what healthy people can do. I know that one day, I will do it again.

Thank you all.



Sadie Margaret

A week ago I put my hand on your mom's belly and told you it was time to come out.

On Friday, even your mom put her hand on her belly and begged you to come out.

And on Sunday night, at 8:18 pm, I watched you, Sadie Margaret Robert, come into the world. I have a photo of your first breath because I'm a crazy aunt who kept her iPhone next to your mom's head, but I have a feeling you won't want me to show anyone. I still haven't forgiven Grandma for keeping that picture of me at 140 lbs displayed. IN OUR FRONT HALL, NONETHELESS.

On Sunday night, our family changed. It grew by an 8 pounder with red hair and chubby cheeks. It added a new heartbeat–yours. And that new heartbeat changed all of ours.

Sadie, you are joy. I am looking forward to you fetching me Entenman's donuts while I'm living on Mommy and Daddy's couch and writing dystopian novels for children that oddly never sell. I'm looking forward to teaching you to boogie board, and play basketball (sorry dude, Mama can't dribble) and rock flannel way better than the other hipster infants.

I'm going to take you to Brookyn and Los Angeles and I am going to love you harder than I have ever loved anyone. I already do.

Sadie, welcome to the world. It's a scary, strange and beautiful place, but you are surrounded by all the love we could possibly summon. We are so happy you are here.

Your Aunt Kelly


I've Seen Sunny Days...

Sometimes I worry that people think that I write only to garner self-pity. That I am so desperate for *hugs* that I document every hospitalization or cancer diagnosis or surgery. (Eh. I fucking hate hugs.)

I write these stories as a way to remember. When I am not in pain, I am experiencing freedom. However, sometimes all the shitty feelings I have inside of me and all that bad impulses that I have resurface, even when I feel well.

I am jealous and I am petty sometimes. I am cranky a lot. So sometimes I go back and look at what I wrote when I was ill. I remember how much worse it could be. About how I should celebrate every moment of health, just as I abhor every moment of pain.

I believe that I have reached a lifetime's limit of pain. I believe that exists. I believe I will keep pushing that ceiling until I die. (Hopefully not before they make a Full House reunion movie.)

But I don't believe I will ever experience enough joy. I experience tiny moments of joy every day. It's what keeps me alive.

Today my jaws were cut open and I yelled loudly and kicked my shoe at a wall. It's 4 am and my gums bleed and I wait for painkillers to kick in.

Tomorrow I will do something joyful. I won't forget this pain, because it will never go away.

But I will remember and move on.

Because this joy? This joy keeps me alive.


My Heart Will Go On (A Kelly Blogs from the Hospital Post)

One morning not so long ago, I was flossing my teeth (as I do every single day, Doc!) when I tasted blood filling my mouth and quickly realized I had broken one of my back molars.

Now, I'm not the best about oral hygience. I don't have dental insurance, and the medicine I take contributes to easily broken bones and teeth. Until I got obsessed with those little flosser things, I hardly ever flossed. (Unless I'd eaten an everything bagel.) But as I've matured and become obsessed with flossing, my teeth have improved.

Naturally, since I'm so responsible about my health, I ignored the aching jaw that had kept me up more than once. Yesterday my condition worsened and it was apparent it was infected, so I hauled ass to the ER, where they have a dental clinic. I was in the ER for nine hours until they decided to give me pain meds and antibiotics, and force me to come back to their clinic for repair.

I gathered my stuff and called my dad to come get me. As I waited, exhausted (it was well past 1 am at this point), my doctor came in with a look on her face.

"Your heart rate is out of control. We need you to stay."

My heart? I came in here for my jagged hobo tooth! What's love (okay, my heart) got to do, got to do with it?

It turned out by pulse hadn't dipped below 130 in 9 hours, which is a Very Bad Sign. Most people have a pulse around 60. Considering I was resting this entire time and am in fairly OK shape, it's worrisome. My colorful medical history worries most doctors, as lupus is possibly responsible for inflammation in my ventricles.

And so I was admitted to the cardiac and stroke unit this morning at 5 am, where they promptly hooked me up to a million wires.

I'm stuck with sensor thingies everywhere from under my boobs (or what I call N0-Man's Land) to my feet.

I look like ET, when he's being tested by awful, curious humans. They even forced me to wear a bag around my neck to carry the sensor. Pretty sure that won't be debuting this week at New York Fashion Week.

Hopefully tests will prove that my heart is really fine (and it TOTALLY is, all ex-boyfriends!) and I'll get to leave today or tomorrow.

Until then thanks for the wishes.

And no worries....



Kelly "Ba Boom" Bergin


Summer, summer...

I spent most of this summer wrapped in the sheets I slept on as a teenager. I drove our family’s last Volvo between my house and someplace new: my father’s.

I watched as my parents tried to navigate their first summer apart in 40 years. I watched as they fell back toward each other. I shook my head, I smiled, I said they never give up.

I put together a baby seat for my niece. I helped my sister ready the room for her baby, due in a few days.

I drove home and thought back on the summer, which seemed to go by in a flash. It always does. One day I was in the hospital, the other I was dunking lobster tails in Maine. At different points I was home in California and New Jersey; I was home in Brooklyn and Indiana.

I once thought I wanted to live everywhere. I thought I could take root wherever I wanted. But I also guessed I thought I’d grow out of this phase by now. That I’d crave a lease and permanent marker on an office door.

But I’m not; I do not crave anything at all.

I am finding ways to be everywhere. I am surrounded by love and that roots me; that keeps me still.