So many blogs to write, so little time…

I have gotten to the place where I have many, many blogs to write and I have not written one of them yet. I suppose my editing mode has been in hyperdrive so much so that I haven’t even started???

Yep…pretty sure that’s not it.

I suppose part of my problem was the health stuff. For those who missed it, my past July (2018) was the worst July in my life, where my appendix decided to rupture at the same time I had a rupturing hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. Oh, and I was admitted to the hospital for acute kidney failure at least partially due to the number of NSAIDS I ingested to deal with the pain on an empty stomach coupled with severe dehydration (the oxycodone they prescribed in the ER for the ovarian cyst was making me throw up constantly…and no, zofram didn’t help…and no, I couldn’t take Tylenol either because I’m allergic to it).

After 10 days in the hospital, I was released with 3 drains (to drain the abscesses the ruptured appendix caused in my lower abdomen), a pain reliever I could actually ingest, a plan of care, and a bit of a renewed perspective on life.

Was my life a bit too stressful before I went into the hospital? Probably. I was juggling teaching 5 chemistry classes (usually 3 lectures and 2 labs (all different preps)) with taking 2 doctoral level classes as a student (1 in Learning Sciences, 1 in Statistics). I have been editing a book for the last two years that is FINALLY electronically available here:

And it will be available through hard copy (via the Oxford University Press) starting 9/21/18. I participate on several committees for ACS Division of Chemical Education, including the BCC (Biennial Conference Committee), Strategic Task Force for Public Relations, and the Board of Publication. I regularly organize symposia for the Division, including the one I was particularly excited about at BCCE:

Side Note: I had SO MANY plans and was going to do SO MUCH at BCCE. I’m still saddened by that loss.

I was helping my parents move. We had just held my sister’s 50th birthday party at our house.

(This doesn’t probably list 1/2 of what I was doing in June.)

And then my body revolted. In a catastrophic kind of way.

When major life stuff like that happens, it seems like a complete waste to not gain renewed perspective.

So I pondered my life. Especially when it seemed like it might not be the same as it had been. What would my life be like if I had to do dialysis for the rest of it? This was the kind of question I was asking in the hospital.

And I realized again all of the things I cherish without cherishing them as fully as I can. Or as I should.

Family. Friends. Health. A job that was willing to work with me through thick and thin. Good health insurance. A wife with whom I knew I could get through anything.

And the fact that most of what I’m currently doing right now is just icing on the cake of my life…

My commitment is to those things I listed above. And to my students and peers, who make my job worthwhile.

And to living my life as gratefully as I can.

My commitment in the hospital was to thank every person who helped me. My commitment now is to thank everyone as much as possible. And to prize the joy each individual brings to my life.

So thank you for reading this. And for helping me continue to find joy in this journey of life.

13 thoughts on “So many blogs to write, so little time…

  1. Thanks for writing this, Rissa. Even tho you and I chat quite regularly, and I knew of your health issues and some of what you do, I don’t think I realized all that you were doing! And you say that’s not even all of it! I also realize that when my body revolted on me in March/April, I wrote a little about it, but I never wrote a reflection. Maybe because my health issues didn’t really end but are ongoing and cyclical? Maybe I haven’t yet sat and reflected? I do know I’ve thought about many aspects of my life differently since then… Just not all in one wise blogpost like yours. So thanks again and big hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning (MDT) Maha! Thanks for reading!

      I knew something was up in March/April, but I never knew exactly what it was and I certainly didn’t know it was ongoing. I’m so sorry your body revolted too.

      For me, the most important part of the above reflection was the re-prioritizing of my life (the cake) vs. all the extras (the icing). You and I share many of the same components of our cake – family, friends, hospitality, health, job, our students and our PLN. I sometimes let the icing spin out of control and color the entire cake. Letting this happen is not a conscientious choice – it is based on the need at that moment, which sometimes is really large for a particular part of the icing. But sometimes I forget to realign after the moment is over. I think I’ve kinda done this with school. It’s important for me to remember what the cake is and not to take it for granted.

      So I encourage you to write a blog post (or many). I would love to read them and I think it would help consolidate your new conceptualizations of your life.


      1. Omigosh I once had an entire conversation around cake and icing metaphors! Different context but same concept. In real life btw I have a sweet tooth but actually HATE icing as a rule 🙂 Literal cake.
        But yeah, probably metaphorical cake has loads of extra icing tha weighs too heavily on the actual cake…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rissa, your blog post reminds me that we gather on social media because we are looking for a bunch of things. And some of us are blessed to find what we were searching for and sometimes more. At the same time the parts we see of others and show of ourselves remain snapshots and slivers. We never get the whole story and even if we could there’s no guarantee that anyone would take the time for that story. Your blog post reminds me how little I know of you and your life and also how much I feel reading about your pain, your recovery and your recommitment to life and all it offers. I am sorry I didn’t know enough to ask how you were. And now you’ve given me an opportunity to know more, to listen more carefully, to learn more about you, your journey and your engagements. I am so glad and grateful that you are here.


    1. As always, Sheri, I am blessed by your thoughts and your presence within my PLN. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read and reflect, and perhaps we can continue the conversation in bits and slivers so that eventually we can see more of the whole.



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