Who's that Pokemon?!?
It's difficult to answer who I am, but let me tell you just the basics about me and probably more if my brain can handle it. Hi, my name is Karen Belle, first of my name, second princess of my household, doer of nothing, master of unknown and a dialysis patient. My friends call me Koi, because I love fishes. I love kois. Kidding aside, yes, let me first tell you that I am sick with Chronic Kidney Disease. Technically, it is called, End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), a stage 5 kidney failure. As much as possible, I do not want to sound negative for an introduction. But I have to, because that fact limits me in many ways. But I want you to know that those limits inspire me more than they hinder me. I have brain fog most of the times, I might be wrong with many things like spelling, grammar, and a lot of things that involves thinking... which is basically everything. The illness has badly damaged my memory, so I am sometimes disoriented even about the things that I used to do, like technology.
I have always been fascinated with technology. In fact, I took computer science until third year in college until I lost my scholarship because I wasn't able to comply papers from my school. At the same time then, I broke my computer while I was having it dual boot Linux and Windows. My mom got furious because back in circa 2000, the computer was the most expensive plastic in the house. I could not afford to continue the course without scholarship and a computer. My mom was so anxious to make me graduate so I just took a very "human" course instead and finish it to have that piece of paper called a diploma. I graduated with a degree in Psychology, something that felt meh and boring to me because I wanted something else. But anyway, life went on, you don't have to like a course to have a degree, you just have to pass and graduate.
After I graduate, I had my child, my one and only daughter, Kim. It was not a planned pregnancy, in fact, I am a single mom and proud of it. Today, I can no longer have a baby because of my illness. I am so happy I had her when I was young. At least I have a kid, I passed on my awesome genes to her. (Narcissism detected) She is 11 years old now. She's as tall as me and we have the same shoe size, I guess you can say she's very much an upgraded version.
My first job was a no-brainer, but I had to have it because I had a baby to feed. I did not know what to do with my life after college and a friend referred me to a BPO company. I applied and got a technical support job for Roadrunner, an ISP in the US under TWC. It paid well and it involved computers, so I liked it. Besides, networking is one of the things I do good. I enjoyed the work for 3 years and got bored with it. So, while working, I enrolled and went back to school and got another degree. I got an education degree, because this is something my mom wants me to do. Yes, when you are young, you let people tell you what to do and I guess that's fine for as long as you can get your heart into it.
I got totally bored with that job, so I transferred together with my friends to another tech service by a big tech company that starts with the letter M. We were their people for their various product lines, from OS's, software, hardware, and different technologies, even their cross over technologies with the Macs, we were trained for it. Whatever they have new, we were the first people to be guinea pigs. It was tiring because we were multi-skilled and we were forced to understand their new technologies in bootcamp and compressed crash courses. We had to report countless bugs and fixes that works for too many errors and everything. It was too complex and tiring but it was something I loved doing because I loved computers and I learned a lot from them.
I ended the job with the M company because I was showing early signs of kidney failure. I had to stop working during the night shift and I had to find a less stressful job. I was already in and out of the hospital. I spent 3 years with the M company and gained a lot of friends. I worked with mostly men because in the tech world, there are more men than women. Fact!
I was a bum for 6 months, before I got accepted by another company that services another big tech company that starts with the letter O. This company is the mother of Java, if you know what I mean. I was not a programmer or any hardcore entity for them (but I wished I was) but they thought I had it to be a technical trainer for their POS (point of sale) product line. I stayed with them for a year, and also had fun until the disease went full blown on me and I got hospitalized.
On the first quarter of 2016, I just got so pale and had to be hospitalized because I was so weak and couldn't sleep for four days. I had difficulty breathing, too. I was covered in hematoma, I thought I had leukemia. I got hospitalized twice, 2 weeks each time, and all my life's savings were drained. They ruled out, it was kidney failure, end stage. I was so dumbstruck, why would I be end stage? how come I cannot be stage 1 or stage 2? Why would it be stage 5 right away? Even my doctors do not know why. So, I just stopped asking. I just accepted it the way it is and tried to pick up little pieces.
What I was before Steemit?
I have been with the illnes for 1 year and 5 months before I knew of Steemit. I was preoccupied with the illness and depression. My regular week would be a routine of staying home and going to the dialysis center 2-3 times a week. Twice a week when we don't have enough money. Three times a week when we have enough. At home, I stay in my room whole day with my smartphone, playing Clash of Clans. All my friends have abandoned the game but I keep playing because it makes my mind busy. I love the game, it helped me go through depression, I think it is worthwile, even if my friends are not active anymore.
If I am not with my smartphone, then I am with my laptop, checking my emails. Trying to check if clients have accepted me in Upwork. They sometimes check me out for interviews but they back out the moment they know I am sick. Sad fact. I don't want to lie about my condition because I know sooner or later they need to realize I cannot overwork when they demand over times or something. I have had some luck getting microjobs in other platforms but never with Upwork. Microjobs such as content creating and SEO for some subsidiary of the big company that starts with the letter G. In Upwork, too many people have the same skill set as I do so I have accepted my fate that I won't sell there. It's a tough competition, tough market. I would probably be appreciated only if I accept a pay of a dollar per hour and I don't want to do that because it would not be enough to pay my metered internet service.
Other times, I'm just sleeping whole day. There are really times that it's a bad day for me, like even gravity is heavy. That is what I call my, "furniture mode." The whole day, I just blend on my bed inside the four walls of my room, I look like a piece of furniture. Even taking a bath is hardwork.
When I go out, I'm just in the Dialysis Center. That's on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. I bring with me my VR googles and earphones. For four hours, I have to be hooked to the dialysis machine so it will clean my blood. I'll be sitting on the Lazyboy for 4 hours and I can see other dialysis patients having their sessions beside and across me. Some of my fellow patients do not make it through, they die of cardiac arrest and have all sorts of things going on. Some of these things I experienced as well, like hypotension and hypoglycemia. In hypotension, my blood pressure could go down to 60/40 and I will faint and will be revived by the nurses. With hypoglycemia, my sugar goes so low, if you don't know how it is, it feels like being battery operated and then you suddenly go empty. I bring my VR goggles and watch privately whatever movie or clips I wanna watch so I can avoid the sight of other patients suffering. It makes me anxious and I am traumatized and it saddens me when one of my friends in the center passes away infront of me in a session. At least when I am busy with watching in the VR and with an earphones, I do not see and hear the commotion. It is an escape. I call it defying death with fun. The nurses often joke that I bring the VR so I can watch NSFW stuff, and that's funny but thinking about it, yeah wickedly possible. But no! LOL [Sighs] Sad life, but you have to make the most out of it in any way you can.
How did I get here in Steemit?
I was out during a storm and I was stranded in the city of Tacloban after I had my dialysis session. I could not go home, so I booked in a hostel and met @meetmysuperego whose flight was cancelled because of the storm. The storm lasted for 2 days, we enjoyed each other's company talking about life and anything under the sun until we talked about Bitcoin investment which we both do. She told me about blogging in Steemit, she thought I can do it. This was last December 15, 2017. I think, I did not join Steemit until the 20th and it took sometime for my account to be approved which is understandable, people are discovering the platform. Gold rush period for Steemit, hoooraaay!!! I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL TO MY FRIEND @meetmysuperego for making me a Steemian.
I made a post about how I became a Steemian, it is my first post ever: https://steemit.com/steemit/@mermaidvampire/first-post-the-ground-zero-of-my-steemit-journey
What have Steemit done for me, so far?
I have only been active in Steemit, in the last 8 days, so far. After I saw the UI of the platform, the transparency, openness, I got so curious about it. Plus the fact that everything was alien to me... yet so familiar. I have been sick for a long time, I have forgotten who I was. I have forgotten technology. The brain fog made me forget a lot of things but as I go through posts in Steemit, it was all coming back bit by bit. I was having this weird feeling of freedom and rediscovering my past, a person I used to know.
I have checked the Trending posts and what I saw was @surpassinggoogle's post regarding being "human" again. I had to read it twice because I was kind of understanding what he meant, it talked to me in a different level. How Steemit let's us get in touch with the human side, showing raw talent, real people and their stories, about being flawed. About being uniquely worthy of appreciation whatever we are and wherever we are in the world. It sounded simple and common sense but it stirs you into your very core and it just re-orients you to how beautiful technology can be for humans like us.
Being sick has made me little, weak, flawed, and many other imperfections. It has turned me disabled. I LOST EVERYTHING I HAD EXCEPT FOR MY MOM AND MY DAUGHTER. Believe it or not, people want nothing to do with me. They are probably thinking I would be asking money from them to support my treatments or whatever. Weird, but that's happening. My siblings do it, some "friends" do it, too. There's nothing I can do about that. We cannot do anything when people don't want to be a part of our lives anymore.
Even if I have accepted the illness to be a part of me, it still affects me tremendously in many things, emotionally and psychologically. Specially when it comes to social interactions. I have very low self-esteem, low confidence, low morale. Name it. But when I read @surpassinggoogle's words of encouragement to join the platform and be of significance here despite being #untalented it made me hope that I can do what he thinks people can do here. Despite my flaws, I can be welcome in this world. When I make art, blogs or anything behind my computer and show it to the world in Steemit, it does not matter that I have a balding scalp because of hair loss, an acne breakout because of hormone issues, it doesn't matter that my skin is getting darker and darker because of blood impurities that the illness causes on my body and many many many more of these flaws.
It was liberating and hopeful. Something that I needed after dealing with isolation, depression and neglect from other people for awhile now.
I also met an awesome group of Steemians called #steemitachievers. @meetmysuperego introduced me to them and since then I have learned a lot of things that I would never have known myself since I literally knew zero about Steemit after I signed up. On my first few posts, I had a lot of mistakes, too many run on sentences and it seemed like I was just speaking not writing. With the group, I was able to see how people make their posts so they can easily be understood. I am still learning. And I will continue to learn and keep trying to be better like the others before me in Steemit Achievers who are very helpful and generous.
What made me decide to be active in Steemit?
Let's face it, I am dying. Old age is probably something I can't experience, thus I want to leave a LEGACY. Before Steemit, I tried hobbies like fish keeping, I told myself, I do not have money and possessions to leave my daughter so let me leave her with the breed of my pet fishes and let her continue the line even after I am gone. It will remind her of me and my grandkids will see it. I enjoyed keeping betta fishes and kois but the doctor told me I had to let them go because they might cause me infections and that's bad news. It was very sad to give them away. Heartbreaking.
After that, I have been into Bitcoins. I was thinking, with bitcoins, though it's late for me to try it, at least I will leave my daughter something. It might not be much but it won't be difficult for her to get it. Unlike if I leave money in the bank, when I pass away, my daughter has to be of legal age or with a guardian and a lot of papers to get my small amount of money. That would be cumbersome for her unlike in Bitcoins.
I decided to be active in Steemit at the moment, because I see the potential to earn and it does not conflict with anything that I am doing currently. Steemit is something I can do from my phone, my computer, at home, in the dialysis center. I have checked the pros and cons of it and I do not see a negative aspect. I cannot have too much of Steemit since I have a metered connection, so far. I have a limited budget per day that I can only go online a few hours in a day so I cannot be made unproductive because of too much Steeming. IN THE STEEMIT WORLD, I CAN BE ME AGAIN. I can be someone loving the technology. IN STEEMIT, I AM NOT DISABLED! I am excited to experience all the possibilities that this platform can make me experience.
What do I think about Steemit?
I think it is some Wonderland. A utopia. A Narnia. Asgard. Hogwarts. Name it. All the places where magic, fun and the impossible happens. I know there are dangers of it. I have been exposed to the tech world so long that I know how dark it can be if you are naive but I'm up and ready for it. This is a fairly new platform, bugs, exploits and what not, would be around. Countless changes, major changes in algorithms every now and then could happen and I need to keep up. Fluctuations of the market for the crypto side of it. Too many things to think about but I don't want to stress on any of that. I want to focus on making good content and making friends and hopefully I can earn a little that I can save for my Kidney Transplant.
Please read my struggle in getting a kidney transplant here and check out if you can help people all over the world to get a kidney through helping the UCSF Bioartificial Kidney Project: https://steemit.com/steem/@mermaidvampire/kidney-for-karen-and-everybody-who-needs-a-kidney
I have seen hope of making it possible to save for my transplant through Steemit. I know it is ambitious. Blame @maverickinvictus for it. He made me join his contest in making a Vision Board. Before that, I did not have any dreams at all. But @maverickinvictus, my fellow Steemit Achiever Steemian made me envision myself this year. I have nothing in mind really, I just want to be able to be back on my feet again to be able to fund my medications and help my mother and hopefully a future kidney transplant to make me live better, longer.
Here is my post for the contest of @maverickinvictus: https://steemit.com/maverickboard/@mermaidvampire/my-2018-vision-board-personal-growth-and-health-improvement-and-a-kidney-transplant-fingers-crossed
What are my expectations of Steemit?
I don't expect much because I don't want to be disappointed but I expect it to be a portal for good relationships with real people who are willing to help one another. I expect it to be full of art, humanity and goodness. I do not expect heaven in it. I know the dark side of the interwebs and Steemit being an online platform, there will be some shades in it but I hope I'm spared from them if I just focus on myself and get better at my own blogs. I cannot dwell with any negativity because of my condition. As much as I can I will avoid the things I know nothing about to just to be safe.
How am I doing in Steemit?
I am not sure how I am doing. I have been active in the last 8 days. Steemnow tells me I could potentially earn $10 in Steemit currency for all the posts I had in all 8 days. And I am so happy because I would not earn that anywhere else since I do not have a job or anything. I do not plant to withdraw it. I plan to save 90% of everything I earn through the platform for my Kidney Transplant. The other 10%, hopefully, I will pay for a better internet service so I can be online all the time and be able to contribute more to Steemit and help other newbies and everyone in the platform. The best thing about it is I am having fun and learning, it does not feel like I need to work it to earn. But of course, technically I need to have time and effort to make good posts for it.
I won third place for the #maverickboard, the contest. That was something I did not expect because all the other entries were more artistic, colorful and vibrant than what I had but I'm glad I made it to third place and finally earning my very first SBD!!! Oh my God, that felt awesome! I'm not gonna spend it. It will stay in the wallet for good luck, I do not remember winning anything my whole life. I think I just admitted I'm always a loser. LOL
What contents am I going to be posting in Steemit?
I am going to to be posting about Technology, Life, Health, Dialysis, Single Moms, Backpacking, Staycation, Food, Travel, About the Philippines and more. I will work on my contents for them to be socially relevant, make an impact and inspire others.
What do I pledge to offer to the entire Steemitverse and how can I help the entire ecosystem from the small fingerlings to the awesome big fishes in it?
I can offer good, relevant, informative posts. I promise to try to learn the ins and outs of the platform by myself and not be spoonfed by others. I'll also try to learn with other people in the process, specially my fellow #steemitachievers. I will study the mechanism of how you can help mentors that other people look up to like @surpassinggoogle. He is an inspiration to everyone. Very sincere and appreciative of newbies and I like the thought that he has a heart for posts coming from my country the Philippines and people from other countries as well that are active in Steemit. I see and understand his passion to make the Steemit world peaceful and succeed and in the process make people have a strong faith and believe that we are making a good future out of this. I will study and make sure I help support their campaigns for the benefit of everybody in the Steemit world. For Steemit and beyond!
I want to fulfill my life's purpose. It feels nice to be part of something no matter how big or small. It feels so nice to build a legacy. To leave something beautiful here for future generations to witness. Something that will live on even after you're gone. Something that people will see and recognize that you were some speck in the universe that made a mark. A star they'd look up to. Technology is definitely the bridge to the future. Social media x Digital Economy is the future and we are laying the foundations of them now in Steemit. Cheers!
Notepad ++ is telling me it's almost 4, 000 words. Wow, I feel like I can write like J. K. Rowling. LOL. This is too long to read. Sorry. If you got this far, thank you. It feels good to be heard. And I want you to know that this is my first time to introduce myself in the interwebs. Facebook, deactivated my old account because I was anon in it. It did not have my name, I only used Ka Ren. There's just so many things Facebook doesn't like. Good thing, Steemit came up with better.