Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello 2014!

Of course, 20 years ago, New Year's Resolutions were important to me.  I'd think about the things I'd like to give up, begin and resolve in my life.  The one I remember most was health and fitness.  I sense I wasn't alone with the hope that I'd start a workout routine and continue for the rest of my life.  The first year I was successful for one month and the following year I made it through a few months.  Each time, Spring would come and I'd realize that my New Year's Resolutions were long gone.  At the time, I'd get a bit upset with myself for not completing or continuing with the plan.  Looking back, I realize that I was just practicing and building new routines.  Each time I went back to creating a fitness routine, I was able to carry it for a longer time.

About 10 years ago, I shifted from making resolutions to setting intentions.  This must have been around the time Oprah was talking about integrity and intentions.  At least she gave my first introduction to these concepts.  Setting intentions gave me more flexibility and patients with myself.  It felt a bit less forceful.  I put less pressure on myself to be perfect with the intentions I set but that didn't help me feel less upset with myself when things fell apart.

A couple of years ago, I stopped writing down any resolutions or intentions.  I just took a short time to think about how I wanted to continue living and how I imagined living a better life.  I consciously took what I liked from the past and added some new options to try out and maybe they'd bring me joy too.

I've had a transformational year, personally.  My health has been a huge challenge and declining for years.  2013 was the first year since 2002, I've felt as though my health was improving.  I feel more accepting of myself and my abilities.  I no longer feel that I need to do everything and try everything and go, go, go.  The guilt of staying still for more than an hour has diminished.  I had some help with that since I was unable to walk for days at a time.  What a gift!  I was forced to stop everything in order to weed out the most important things to do.  That area of growth extends out to people too.  I no longer feel I have something to prove…to anyone.

As I look forward to 2014, I notice a good and peaceful feeling inside.  According to numerology, it'll be a lucky year and I feel it'll be a year full of gifts.  Whether they come disguised as challenges or celebrations, this will be one of the best years ever!

These are the things I'm looking forward to for 2014;

* Using my energy in the most gratifying areas
* A visit to see my wonderful 97 year old grandfather in Fl
* Working with Dr. Bier on the next levels of my healing
* Friday game nights with my family
* Growing in my marriage
* Cultivating new and old friendships
* Smelling the flowers and grass and trees and herbs and…
* Volunteering often
* Watching, in wonder, as my children transition to High School
* Learning more about how I can be a better global citizen
* Live joy, give joy, teach joy, cultivate joy

I wish each and every one of you a Joyous New Year!  Happy 2014!

Thank you for reading, forwarding and following!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Look Back on 2013

I came across a cool feature on my phone.  It is a video creator that lets you choose photos or videos taken on your phone and creates a slideshow or video of memories.  I just completed a review of 2013 using just the photos on my phone.

This process got me to thinking about the year that is coming to an end and what I've experienced, how I've grown and the pleasures I enjoyed.  I tend to have a full life and this year was no different.  Here are some of the memories that were stirred while making my year end video.

* A two year process with my disability claim ended.  I received approval and an immense weight was lifted from my shoulders.  With the absence of this stress, I was able to move forward with my healing process in my own way.

* I found an amazing doctor and am experiencing amazing healing through mind, body and spirit.

* I started this blog with the intent of recording my emotions, experiences and life challenge with fibromyalgia and to remind myself to keep an eye out for the gifts.  I also shared it publicly on the off chance that others out there may be able to relate, be encouraged, inspired and motivated to take action in their own healing process.  I've had surprising results, amazing feedback and followers from 39 countries.

* My family said 'goodbye' to a wonderful person who meant a great deal to us.  Nancy, we love you and will always hold memories, of times together, close to our hearts.

* I'm taking a course through The Venus Project and loving it.

* I've opened to getting to know and spending time with like-minded peeps.  I've made a couple of neat new friends.

* My children have impressed me, again.  Their determination, dedication and focus to take a leap of faith and apply for private high schools shows me that they are willing to walk their own path in life.  Many of their friends are not taking the same steps, some are discouraged by their parents and some don't feel they would get in.  My three have shown that they are not afraid to try.

* My husband shows me how strong he is every day.  He takes care of two senior parents.  His father is  87, lives on his own and is a proud man.  His mother has medical challenges and we moved her from her home of 20+ years to a nursing home.  I know these changes and stresses of caring for parents has been hard on him and he has been a rock through it all.

I think I could go on and on although, I've probably posted most of it in my blog through the year.  Strangely, I have to go back periodically and read my own posts because I don't remember them.  Fibro brain, ya know.

I'm grateful for every moment of 2013!  Stay tuned for a post on looking at what I'd like to do in 2014.

Thank you for reading, forwarding, and following!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Blog's Been Hijacked

     Normally, a sensational woman by the name of Terri takes some time from her day to sit and write what I call “words of wisdom” in order to both help others who are dealing with the multitude of effects that fibro brings and help herself by (what I feel is) purging herself of the day’s events.
     Often times, she mentions that while dealing with what may come day after day, she gets help from her three beautiful children and her (her words not mine) amazing husband.
     Tonight, instead of the usual blog, allowing you to see the world through her eyes, I would like to share with you how she is seen. I believe if there were anyone who could give you some insight on this woman… the woman you have decided to follow… it would be me. I am her husband.
     First, may I say, before anything else… she is the real deal.
     I have seen first hand the lows of how hard this disease can bring her and have been there to enjoy the moments in time when she is having a “good day.”
     Being sensitive to a multitude of medications, I have been there on numerous rides to the hospital because her breathing was labored, her throat would not allow her to swallow or her blood pressure would drop incredibly low.
     I have watched her cry in pain while her swollen feet and stiffened legs made it nearly impossible to get through her morning knowing her only comfort would be wrapped up in a cozy comforter while regaining her strength in our bed.
     I could go on rehashing the stories of what you’ve already heard from Terri but instead, I would like to touch on the soul within the body.
     How this woman knows no defeat.
     How this woman gives everything she can, every day. Even on the tough ones.
     How this woman is a true inspiration to anyone who actually takes the time to sit and talk with her and get to know her.
     I’ve truly never met a person who has had life challenge her in so many different ways and who will simply not allow a giving up attitude to happen.
     I think one of the reasons I found her so perfect for me so long ago and still today has to do with my love for the movie “Rocky” and the sequels that followed. Anyone who knows me knows how these movies has affected my life from the time I was a young child.
     Terri has that FIGHT in her. She always has that FIGHT in her. A partial quote from the last movie is, “It’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

     She could have written those lines.
     Through it all, she could have decided to fight the good fight and take a bitter look at the world. She could have looked at life with a why me attitude or I’ll just push on because I have to mentality.
     Not my wife.
     Every day, I hear of some plan or idea to help the environment or a better way to live on this planet. She pours herself into online classes and talks with others who are trying to make a difference in this world. She creates tasks for each upcoming day. All while knowing that that next day may bring a change to the chalk writing on the blackboard in her mind. The next day may erase half of what she has written or even clean the board entirely.
     But she picks up the chalk and writes out a plan or lesson for the very next day.
     Her endless need to be there for her children is an incredible sight to see. No matter how she feels… even with those swollen feet… she will get them ready for school and drive them there in the morning. Help them with all kinds of paperwork even if it means doing it from bed. Teaches them to be good, peaceful and loving beings without an inkling of look at what this world has done to me. It’s always about what can you do in this world.
     I talk with my wife all the time and I know of no one who can give better advice or a good kick in the butt when I need it.
     She is a woman of passion, drive and intellect. But most of all, she is all that is good in the world. A beautiful soul. And believe me, you have found the right blog to follow.
     I’ve read every one too.

Thank you for reading, following and forwarding!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ouch, Dammit!

I've been feeling the wave that started with stiffness and being sore.  It's been some time since I've had a  full flare.

This morning my eyes opened and I wanted to shout, "Hello Fibro!"  The temperature outside was -2 and my body hurts all over.  On a scale from 1-10, my pain is an 8.  As I pushed through the stiffness and pain, I stood to wake the kids for school.  The bottoms of my feet felt as though the bones had multiple fractures.  Hobbling about to get food and pills and the pain was joined by rolling tears.

Within an hour, I had already kicked into my 'alternate' life strategy.  This is the life strategy that I can jump (gently) into when my body isn't as mobile or healthful.  The first step was to determine if I could complete the plan for the day with the arrival of different abilities.  The next step was to create a plan for how the things I'm unable to complete will get completed.  This includes Christmas shopping.

What it comes down to is a day (or more) in bed with the heating pad.  The online work I want to complete will be done in short increments with papers strewn across the bed top.  Finally, Christmas shopping is most likely going to be done from a wheelchair pushed by my amazing and supportive husband.

Each flare gives me the opportunity to strengthen my resilience; adjusting to the changes more quickly.

Time to close the valve on the personal energy outlet.  Must reserve what is there and generate more through rest.

Thank you for reading, forwarding and following!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Under The Weather

I kept hearing myself say that I was 'under the weather', to describe how I was feeling and realized that I truly didn't know what the phrase meant.  Of course, I had to google it.  Many sources say that it's a phrase that comes from a maritime source.  It has to do with rough waters and adverse weather while out at sea.  Here's what I found:

"Under the weather. To feel ill. Originally it meant to feel seasick or to be adversely affected by bad weather. The term is correctly 'under the weather bow' which is a gloomy prospect; the weather bow is the side upon which all the rotten weather is blowing." From "Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions" by Bill Beavis and Richard G. McCloskey (Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1995. First published in Great Britain, 1983).

So, in Terri world, it seems to fit.  Although, I'm not out at sea, I am affected by weather patterns.  I haven't experienced a fibro-flare in quite some time and then… it hit yesterday. I don't quite have a clear explanation for why my body went into flare, but I'll do my best to make something up.  I'll be sure to make it sound convincing, too.

I've been having difficulty swallowing the 10+ supplement pills at each meal.  It all began the day I was not as mindful of my meal and supplements, while I ate.  After about 6 pills, it felt as though they had stacked up, end to end, in my esophagus.  Once I noticed this strange sensation, I chalked it up to not paying attention and taking them too quickly.  About a week later, a pill got stuck in the center of my chest.  I could have sworn that it was sideways in my esophagus, refusing to complete its journey.  I had visions of the cartoon character who swallowed a spoon and you could see the outline of the spoon as it moved down the neck.  There was stabbing pain and I had to stop what I was doing, go lie down, relax and breath until the stubborn little thing decided to move on.  Pills got stuck in my chest a few times, then it felt as thought they were getting lodged in my throat.  Food, water, tea; nothing would push them down.

I contacted my trusted Dr. and he suggested that I stop taking the many pills and stick to just the liquid supplements for a few days.  If there was some irritation or inflammation in the esophagus, these days would allow for some healing.  

Two days after cutting back on the pills, the pain in my head and shoulders returned.  Another day went by and my feet began to ache and then my legs and hips.  Today, I'm hobbling about, holding onto walls and tables to get around.  Needless to say, hobbling isn't helping, so I've put myself to bed.  I decided to begin taking the supplements with the hope that the pain will subside, as it did before, with these treatments.

If the flare is not related to the lack of supplement support, maybe it is the weather.  New England has been really, really, 2 degrees (wind chill), cold for a couple of days.  I'll surely find out soon if the pain is reduced before the cold weather goes away.  If it's not the weather, I'm going to have to find another phrase for how I'm feeling.

Thanks for reading, forwarding and following!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Whacked by a Canoe Paddle

It seems as though the increasing lack of sun, this time of year, has a huge effect on me.  Now, I know my family members who are reading this are saying, "ya think?!".  Maybe I see it more clearly because I'm more mature and last year, I was able to recognize the peeps who truly support me.  Having that support has made a world of difference because I can trust that when I'm having a tough day, they'll be honest with me and they know who I really am.  They know that my struggle is not who I am and that I need a bit more of their support through the bumps in the road.

I've experienced some wonderful progress with my health and I'm incredibly grateful that I never gave up hope.  I had a choice.  I could have continued to be put down, no believed, and be taking prescription drugs with all the side effects.  With that choice I'd probably be laying in bed 6-7 days a week needing my family to make me meals, manage my pills and lose all my independence.  Come to think of it, if I had continued with the recommendations of mainstream medicine, I'd have a nifty colostomy bag to be changed on a regular basis too.

My other choice could have been to stop seeing any doctor and stop my search for a healthy life.  If I had gone down that road, there's a chance I'd be in a padded room with locked doors and a purse for my colostomy bag called fido.  I'd also have severe pain all over my body and a wheelchair.

I chose to hold onto hope, searching for someone or a group to guide me toward a healthy life.  I'm now fibro-flare free, my trigger points have calmed down, my digestion is improving and I recently had enough stamina to have four 'normal' days in a row.  Each day, I was able to get up, make breakfasts, lunches, drive the kids to school, housework, paperwork, cook lunch, cook dinner, enjoy my family and not once did my body need to lay down.   This is a huge change from my body screaming at me every couple of hours to go lay down.  The fatigue and pain were so great it brought tears to my eyes.  The excitement bubbles up in me when I think about how I've found the road that leads me to a sustainable healthy life.

One area that needs some attention is how my body reacts to diminishing sunlight.  It's a good thing I don't live in those areas of the world that are dark for months.  I'd go bat bleep crazy! I've been feeling tugs of sadness here and there.  I notice and take note, but today, the waterworks began.  I know what this means because it's a pattern that accompanies the winter months.  Hand-in-hand like best friends frolicking through the fields…of cold and snow.  They seem to be very happy together but I feel
terrible.  My emotions go from upset to concerned to angry to sad to embarrassed to full-out ugly blubbering.  Sometimes all within an hour.  It's quite exhausting ta' boot!  Today has felt as though I got whacked by a canoe paddle, on an emotional level.

Have I mentioned my doctor?  The great Naturopathic doctor…Dr. Bier.  If I haven't said it in the bunch of posts prior, I have the best doctor.  He hears me, he listens, we're partners on my healing journey.  I saw him today and we are taking action with the winter blues pattern.  I am confident that this challenge will also be one that I can look back on and smile because of how much I grew and learned from it.

It's sometimes difficult to share the truth about chronic illness, but I think it is much more important to share the not-so-pretty parts to help people understand the hidden struggles we go through.  I also share to remind others with chronic illness that they are not alone and to remind myself and others to keep an eye out for the gifts.

Thanks for reading, forwarding and following!!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Today's Struggle

The Struggles of Today

Are The

Wisdom of Tomorrow

We are all in this together!  Every person knows sorrow but does every person know joy?  Take the gifts of the challenges and turn them into gold!

Thanks for reading, forwarding and following!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

No Struggles, Just Opportunities

We're seeing and experiencing more struggles, around us than ever before.  I just watched a movie, Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview and was pleased to see that there are others like me.  I believe that what others may define as hardship, pain, struggle or a crappy week are indications of change.  Knowing this, we have the choice to anticipate how we want to move through the inevitable changes.  They don't just go away.  As we know, putting off change because of fear or denial doesn't actually eliminate the shifts we must make.  We are evolutionary beings living in an ever changing world.  What makes us think we are all powerful; finding a place of contentment and keeping it that way for the rest of our lives?  The only constant in life is change.  Knowing this, we have the ability to cooperate with change instead of challenge it.

Lets look at the struggle.  The movie I mentioned above showed that we are experiencing 66% more natural disasters now than we did in the year 2000.  That's only 13 years for such a huge change in disasters.  Weather…(oops, just cracked myself up) Whether we are looking at the cause being global warming or Mother Earth trying to communicate with us, the fact of the matter is that these disasters are continuing to happen.  Sometimes things get shaken up to wake people up.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, etc.  The world is way out of balance.  All these things as well as the current state of society contribute to the chaos we're feeling, the day-to-day challenges we're facing and the difficult decisions we're having to make.

Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them"  Here's our chance to take on a new perspective of the problems we are facing.  What if there were a way for us to reverse global warming?  Would you run out and take action if there were a way to save our civilization?  Maybe that example is too big.  Try this.  What if your chronic illness was a way of your body telling you that you have emerging gifts that could bless those around you?  Would you treat yourself differently?  Would you expect to be treated with respect by the nay-sayers?

Do we as a world have the courage to look at things differently?  If so, I believe we will see that these struggles are opportunities to learn, grow and change with the ever flowing oceans, the ever turning planets and the ever burning sun.  We are surrounded by action and motion.

Just the word 'opportunity' creates a feeling of joy and possibility.  It awakens our curiosity, like a child exploring the woods in the back yard.  Adults can question the world, be curious and explore.  There is nothing keeping us from looking at what is going on all around us and seeing possibility for something new and intriguing.  Aren't you just a little bit curious?

Thanks for reading forwarding and following!!!