Hi! Remember me? I’m the blogger behind Living in Steil (yes, it is still pronounced ‘style’). I’m also a thyroid cancer survivor, Board Certified Patient Advocate, millennial caregiver, lifelong equestrian, and now, a co-founder. We’ll get to all the details below, but it sure does feel good to be back here.
A lot has happened in my life since I last updated this site in March 2021.
A year ago, I was burnt out: with the pressure of blogging, managing my day job, and dealing with isolation during the pandemic. As a cancer survivor and a caregiver, I’ve been wearing my mask and avoiding gatherings for the last two and a half years. That hasn’t changed much to this day. But as someone who used to write about places they’ve been and things they’re doing, blogging became increasingly harder, and it felt like an ideal time for a break.
Then my world fell apart. Last fall, my now 94-year-old grandmother made the slow transition from living independently to a week-long hospital stay. Upon her release, she fell and broke her hip at a sub-acute rehab facility, which was followed by a surgery and second hospital stay. She then moved to a different sub-acute rehab facility. After that, what I had so deeply hoped we could avoid, became our reality—she had to move to long-term care. Needless to say, as her caregiver, the last 242 days have been difficult.
On top of navigating all that, I’ve had to juggle a new full-time job with nightly visits to feed my grandmother dinner, all while packing up her condo of 20+ years and putting it on the market to sell. After six long months of packing every weekend, her condo has sold, and now I can focus my efforts on her care and taking care of myself.
While all of this explains my absence, none of it is meant to evoke feelings of pity. I’ve always felt that being a caregiver was an honor and a privilege. I’m sharing this to provide a cautionary tale to others about the eventual needs of an aging population that will need longer and greater amounts of care. But that’s for another post.
The past year hasn’t been all bad. I spent last summer doing some of my pre-pandemic favorite things, including time at the beach, pool, and out East in Montauk, as I slowly began to feel more comfortable going out again in the warmer months. I took one final trip out East during my birthday month in November before I started a new job and transitioned back to office life (after working from home since March 2020). It was challenging at first. Did I remember how to work in an office? Would I even know how to dress for an office setting? How would I interact with new people? But it was one of the best things I did for my mental health as it provided me with a new routine and interactions that I hadn’t had while working from home.
In continuing with the positives, I recently returned to horseback riding, thanks to an old friend who graciously introduced me to her barn. Now that my grandmother’s condo is sold, I find myself with a little more free time on weekends, and returning to riding is just how I want to spend them. Although it’s been many years since my competitive equestrian days, I still love being around horses, and I feel fortunate to have this opportunity. While it’s doubtful I’ll find my way to any show rings in the near future, I’m having fun riding different horses and getting reacquainted with the sport that I will always love.
Finally, the time away from this space gave me a little clarity around what I want to do with it next. Stay tuned for a rebrand coming soon. And, in other exciting new, I’m co-founding another venture called The Hospital Bar. The Hospital Bar is raising the bar for healthcare advocacy to benefit patients and caregivers of all kinds. In this Instagram community, we’ll have honest conversations that you didn’t know you needed to have and before you need to have them. We’ll be covering everything from what not to say to a cancer patient to medical pet peeves…and all things in between. Head over to @thehospitalbar_rx on Instagram and give us a follow!
And, that’s it for now. Moving forward, I plan to provide you with the types of content you’ve come to expect—everything from what’s on my agenda to healthcare-related updates to new finds I love.
Thank you for keeping up with me on Instagram (yup, I’ve been very active on The ‘Gram at @livinginsteil over the past year), and for those who have followed the journey with my grandmother on social media, thank you for your support. I’m excited to be back to blogging and can’t wait to return to a regular posting schedule with this community!