Picnic with Ants

My life disABLED with Chrnoic Ilnnesses, it just IS. Taking one moment at a time.


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Feeling Better….Part 3 – Mindfulness

When I mentioned writing Part 3 in this series I said it would be on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  I will touch on this subject, but I do not feel qualified to base my whole post on it.  I will tell you how I got involved in mindfulness and how it led to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  (Note: I may refer to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction as MBSR throughout this post.)

mindfulness quote

There have been a few times when I have read some of the Buddha’s teachings.  My husband has called himself a “non practicing Buddhist”.  After really studying more about Buddhism, I find this funny, but that isn’t a discussion for here.  I mention his interest in Buddhism because it is what caused me to start reading about it.  As I started reading and studying the Buddha’s teachings I found I was happy.  It made me happy.  Buddhism can be thought of as a religion or a philosophy.  Many do not consider Buddhism a religion because it is non-theistic.  You can follow the Buddhas teachings and continue to follow any other religion.  However, that is not part of this discussion, I just thought it was interesting.

An essential element of Buddhist practice is mindfulness.   Mindfulness, as defined by Psychology Today, “is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

I’m sure you have noticed in many of my posts that I have mentioned that I am staying in the moment.  I no longer dwell on the past, I do not worry about the future, I live in the now.  This is just a part of being mindful.  It is also important to note the part about…”without judging them”.  Always be gentle with yourself.  I used to be very bad about that.  Even my doctor used to tell me, “Wendy, give yourself a break.”  This was when I was very sick, I felt guilty about it.  Now when I feel those thoughts come up, I will observe it, and sometimes I get wrapped up in it for a little while, then I notice it and take a deep breath and tell myself.  “Wendy, be gentle.”  and let it go.  I bring myself back to the moment.   I’m still in the infancy of mindfulness, I’m just learning, there’s much more to it than I know.

I have had many people get in touch with me who have Meniere’s disease, and I think every one at one point has said, “I just want my old life back.”  This is, of course, a natural feeling when we get hit with such a devastating illness.  However, this feeling often stays with us for a very long time.  I realized through mindfulness I could let this go, and it was the best thing I could do.  Looking back at my old life and wanting it back was not helping my life now.  Nor was it helping to longing look at the future and hope for things to get better, or to look at the future and just know things could only get worse.   I started using mindfulness to just look at today, and stop looking at my old life, (honestly, I didn’t look at the past for long, I’m one of those people who when they get hit with something says….”what now?”)  However, I was constantly looking forward.  Either with all my hopes on the next thing we tried, or when it failed believing that nothing was going to work and I was going to be bed bound and useless forever.  (no I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I thought I needed to be prepared. well sometimes I felt sorry for myself.)   With mindfulness I stopped doing that.  I started just looking at today.  Living in this day.  That doesn’t mean I don’t make plans, that means I just go with the flow if plans change.  I don’t freak out, I just go with it.   NOT worrying about my future has made my future open to be written as it comes.

One symptom that has changed in such a drastic way because of this practice has been my vertigo.  When I first started my mindfulness practice I was able to stay calmer during an attack.  Then I was able to get through an attack without freaking out at all, I could stay completely calm.  This turned to starting to focus on an object about 18 inches or so from me, I put my hand down on a solid object and breathe, telling myself aloud…”you feel the object is not moving, this is not real.  This is not real, this is solid beneath your hand, it is not moving….” continually focusing on the object.  Soon, I never saw the room spin unless I looked up from the object.   Now, if I feel an attack coming on I can normally take a deep breath and center myself, focus my eyes on something still, and pull myself out of it.  I usually stop the attacks now.   Sometimes it takes a bit.  I have to get cooled down and I need to be still for a few minutes just focusing, but I never start spinning. It will start to rotate a little but I will pull my eyes back to center, take a deep breath and just feel where I’m at.  Tell myself it’s OK.  I’m OK.  If it happens I’m OK.  It’s not real.  Stay centered.  Stay right here.  I’m really just doing what I did during the attacks, staying focused, telling myself it’s not real, but now I’m simply being gentle with myself and letting myself know I’ll be OK no matter what, and it calms down and goes away.  I started to panic the recently and I came very close to having a full-blown attack, we were in the small moving van getting things that were missed by the movers, riding to Charlotte on the freeway.  I was scared because of where we were.  When Stuart was able to stop, I calmed down and got everything under control and it went away.  I was shocked.  I was starting to spin.  It was going, then suddenly it wasn’t.

Mindfulness and my mental health.  My last visit to my psychiatrist was so happy.  She was so impressed.  We talked and I said something about what I told someone in answer to something and she said, “you really have been practicing mindfulness haven’t you?”  We continued to talk and she reduced my anxiety medication.   I’m not sure if I will be able to have more of my medications reduced, but I’m thrilled about this.  It has been almost 2 months and I’m a happy person.  I’ve had some periods of depression, but they were warranted, and were not prolonged.  I have not been seen my therapist in over 2 months….I have been released to see her only as I need.   So far, I haven’t felt the need.   Great news!

Practicing mindfulness is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

That was how it started.  Just little things.  It moved to more things.  Somewhere along this journey I started reading about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy I’m interested in but know very little about, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction I’m very interested in, I’ve read a lot about, and want to share some with you so here’s a little introduction to it and how I found out about it….

Mindfulness For Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn cover photo

Mindfulness For Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn cover photo

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) (as defined in Wikipedia) is a mindfulness-based program designed initially to assist people with pain and a range of conditions and life issues that were difficult to treat in a hospital setting developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, which uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful. In recent years, meditation has been the subject of controlled clinical research that suggests it may have beneficial effects, including stress reduction, relaxation, and improvements to quality of life, but that it does not help prevent or cure disease. (There have been some studies that contradict these findings, but I found many more studies on the positive side than the negative.)  While MBSR has its roots in Buddhism , the program itself is secular.  (funny thing, I always thought secular meant religious, but it means not religious, so when I was saying non-secular, I was really meaning religious.  I learn something new every day!)

The MBSR program is an 8 week workshop taught by certified trainers.  I have not been to one of these workshops.  They are often expensive.  The one at Duke is very expensive.  When I first read about the classes it was from a brochure at Duke and I was instantly drawn to it and turned off at the same time.   It looked very interesting but the cost was outrageous.  I remember thinking it must be some new age thing geared toward the rich, since the workshop was so expensive and insurance didn’t cover it.

A year or so later, I started learning about mindfulness on my own.  I came across books by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  He talked about how this is something anyone could do and it didn’t have to cost anything.  I knew then MBSR wasn’t meant to be simply for the rich.  I’ve read his book Mindfulness for Beginners, it is very good.  I’ve also read parts of some of his other books.  (they are always on hold at the library and I haven’t been able to finish them before I had to take them back…..so I’ll get back to them…but there are more…Full Catastrophe Living, Wherever You Go There You Are, Coming to Our Senses.….)  I’ve read books by other authors, I’ve read a lot about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction on the internet and there are a lot of YouTube videos on the subject, many with Jon Kabat-Zinn speaking.  You can even hear some of his books read through YouTube, I found that interesting.   I am reading the book called Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman with the Foreward by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  This book is much like a journey through one of the workshops.  I’m only on week two, but it is very interesting.  It has deepened my mindfulness practice and awareness.   I had much more of just an informal practice before, I now have a formal and informal practice.  I take a certain amount of time to formally practice mindfulness, and I informally practice it throughout the day.  Before, I would kind of formally practice it occasionally, but now, I have a set time that I practice.  I also had a very hard time meditating before.  Now I’m much more gentle with myself.  I don’t feel I have to do it right.  Ya know, I don’t think anyone really, does it “right”.  It’s right for you. (or for them)  It is will change as you change.  So for now, I must have guided meditation.  Perhaps I always will.  Both of the books I mention above have guided meditations included with them.  There are also guided meditations on YouTube.  (luckily I can now understand recordings through my blue-tooth to my Cochlear Implants, meditation would be much harder for me if I couldn’t do guided meditation).

I realize this may sound like I’m crazy about Jon Kabat-Zinn, not really.  I wanted to learn more from the person who started the program first, but I have found wonderful information from books that were not by him.    Also you do not have to practice MBSR to practice Mindfulness.  It’s all mainly just mindfulness, I think the MBSR books are simply written more therapeutic and less spiritual.   Many of the spiritual books that I found that talk about mindfulness kind of got on my nerves a little. Yes, it’s comes out of Buddhism, but it’s not about religion.  It’s simply a good thing, and I’m sure if you looked in other places you’d find something like it, maybe not as detailed, or called the same thing.  Plus, Buddhism been around a very long time, so they got a jump on it I guess.  haha

This is my story so far with mindfulness.  There is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program offered here through Carolinas Health Care (where hubby works now) that is much more affordable. (no he does not get a discount)  They will even work with people who cannot afford the class, they don’t want anyone to feel they cannot attend because of funds.  We are thinking about attending the workshop in the Spring.   If we do I will certainly blog about the experience.

This concludes my Feeling Better Series.  Hopefully, it will not end my feeling better.

I will now return to my regularly scheduled program…..


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Not my America

wendy:

This young lady has great courage to voice these opinions! I applaud her and agree with her! Welfare is not a dirty word. Not everyone on welfare is abusing he system. Most people on welfare do not want to be. People in need should not feel totally exposed and violated simply because they are forced to ask for some help.

Originally posted on Meniere's Warrior:

This is not the America I learned about in school.  

I try not to delve into politics too often because, quite frankly I don’t understand where the compassion has gone.  

When it comes to social services the status quo is to treat people like criminals.  Welfare has become a dirty word.  It always equates to fat, lazy criminals who suckle off the tits of the government.  I frequently have debates with people who believe that more people on Welfare take advantage of it than those that don’t.  I simply don’t believe that.  Sure, there are scumbags everywhere.  There are people who take advantage of systems in this country.  The mainstream media floods our news hour with nothing but horror stories of people taking advantage.  What we don’t see is the real faces of welfare.  We never hear about the majority of people who need short-term, emergency aid.  

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Feeling Better – Part 2 (Diet)

"The Perfect Diet" by Fatal Potato deviantARt.com

“The Perfect Diet” by Fatal Potato deviantARt.com

I’ve started this post at least 4 times….how to explain my diet and why it has changed without telling you my whole history with food and health.

Let’s try to put it in a as few words as possible.  Years ago I had a lot of pain and health issues including Gastrointestinal (GI) issues that no one could really explain.  They gave me lots of labels and none really fit.  Eventually I found out I was “slightly” allergic to wheat, so I quit eating it.  I felt better.  I decided to stop eating gluten all together.  For many reasons.  That’s not what this post is about though…so to make this shorter I’ll leave that there.

I also have migraines, gastritis and irritable bladder…all of these require me to be picky about certain things I eat.  For instance, I can’t have caffeine, red wine, I have to be careful about chemicals in foods, acidic and spicy foods….all kinds of things.  Even my beloved dark chocolate can cause me trouble.  (I am allowed small amounts.  So I savor it.)

What else do you ask?  I have Meniere’s disease as you all know.  With that comes a low salt diet.  I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  And last but certainly not least, I have Fructose Malabsorption. I was going to try to explain this here, but again….trying to make it as short as possible, so I found that Wikipedia really did a good job explaining this, so just click on the word and it will take you there and you can read all about it.  After being diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption I had to really change my diet, it was hard.  I was put on a diet called low FODMAPs.

blog.katescarlata.com

blog.katescarlata.com

I love the description of FODMAPs Kate Scarlata gives on her blog.  Check it out.  FODMAPs Basics.

Here is the list of foods I was given, what I could eat, what I couldn’t eat, how much of this and that…..I never got this right and found out some of it I still couldn’t eat.

FODMAPs Checklist

So why did I still need to change?  As I said…I couldn’t get it right!  I’ve been following Kate Scarlata’s blog for a long time.  She is a Registered Dietitian and a huge advocate and authority on the low FODMAP diet.  She knows her stuff.  So when she worked on a book, a diet book no less, that was based on low FODMAPs I was intrigued.  I wondered, why a diet book.  But I looked at it and found, this will help me.  This book could help a lot of people.

Kate says, “21 Day Tummy is a plan designed for the person with digestive symptoms that also needs to lose weight BUT if you want to just enjoy the amazing recipes and learn more about gut bacteria, inflammation, belly fat and how that all connects to your health…I think it’s a great read with excellent science for just about everyone!and I agree.

This book starts off with a very scaled down version of the low FODMAP diet.  It has now grains in the first 5 days.  It does have potatoes.  You have a Belly Blaster Smoothie for Breakfast every day for a while.  I thought this would be torture for me, I have always been a big breakfast person, but even after I was able to start eating other things for breakfast I have stuck with my smoothies.  If I eat a “real” breakfast, I normally have a smoothie for lunch.  I really like them.  They are good, and like a meal in a glass.  I have one and I’m not hungry for hours!  I do mean HOURS!  It’s funny, I turned to Stuart the other night and said, “How come I can have a smoothie for breakfast and not be hungry for hours and have a full dinner and be hungry in less than 2 hours?”  He said, “Me too!”  Funny huh?

So I have used this diet as an elimination diet.  It has fewer foods than the low FODMAPs main list to start.  It has great recipes!  Everyone knows how tight we have been on money, so I checked this book out of the library 3 times!  Then I got a $50 Amazon gift card for my birthday and finally bought it.  I also bought the cookbook.  We’ve been cooking exclusively out of these books since the beginning of June.  However, we have eaten out a few times.  Try moving like we have and not eat out a few times.  But I have stayed pretty true to the diet.

How has it worked?  Wow!  I have more energy than I have in so very, very long.  My tummy is flatter than I’ve seen it in years.  I lost 5 inches in my stomach the first week.  When I eat something that doesn’t agree with me I can bloat so much that I will suddenly gain 6-10 inches in my waist, I have measured it.  It is so painful!  This has stopped.  I accidentally got something the other night and was shocked.

I’ve lost 26 lbs since the beginning of June, most of that in June.  When I started the diet it started coming off very fast, I’m glad it slowed down, I was getting saggy skin.  My body couldn’t keep up with the rapid weight loss.  It is still coming off, slow and steady.  However, I have lost my “food baby”.  Yes that’s what we used to call my tummy.  Almost every time I ate, I would suddenly look pregnant.  I don’t look that way any more.  I still have weight to lose, but my digestion is so much better, and I just feel better.

I had a physical in June, just a few weeks after starting this diet.  My triglycerides where in range!  They were lower than they have been in 20 years!  Yes 20 years!  I have weighed much less and been much more physically fit in those years.  My doctor was thrilled.  My bad cholesterol was a tiny bit high, but just a very tiny bit.  Every thing looked really, really good.

Is my diet the catalyst to making me feel sooooo much better.  Where my gut is concerned, YES.  Has it helped my fatigue, I would say Yes!  Does it make me feel good, Yes.  When your stomach doesn’t hurt and you aren’t worried about passing gas or running to the bathroom, or if your pants are going to fit after you eat…you feel better.  Plus, I’m in smaller clothes.  How cool is that?  But really, that’s just the icing on the cake.  My tummy doesn’t hurt any more.  I am having regular poos.  I know that what I’m going to eat isn’t going to hurt me.  And I love my smoothies. haha  Getting some of my figure back is nice, and yes, it is giving me some sexy confidence back.  So that is pretty darn special.

Is it helping my headaches?  Maybe.  Is it helping my dizziness?  Maybe.  There are too many other factors going on at the same time to be able to tell, if the diet has helped  This is not a diet for Meniere’s or Migraines, but I think everything is interconnected, so I’m sure everything I do affects all of me.

I know you are all wondering….what exactly are you eating?

are you really wondering that?   I could give you a list of the foods, but without the book to explain things to you, and tell you why certain foods are good for your tummy and why other foods are bad for your tummy….I don’t think it would help that much.  I know having the list of foods given to me didn’t help me much at all.  But the book really helped.  Remember, I just checked it out of the library….3 times….before I bought it.  If you, or someone you love, have any tummy troubles, I think it’s worth checking out.

The low FODMAP diet is the diet for people with Fructose Malabsorption, no doubt about it.  However, it is also becoming the main diet to treat those with IBS.  They are finding that it is also helping those with many other intestinal disorders: IBD…Crohn’s, Colitis….ect.  Oh…many people were also raving about having their acid reflux go away.  Unfortunately mine didn’t, but as I said, I have gastritis.  I need to have another endoscope, that part of my tummy issues didn’t go away.  Drat.

The low FODMAP diet is ideally supposed to be followed for 2-6 weeks under the guidance of a registered dietitian or nutitionist, and at that time they will advise you how to introduce foods back into your diet to recognize your personal triggers.  This is often hard because there are so few dietitians or nutritionist who are well versed in the low FODMAP diet.  Luckily, this is changing as the diet is becoming more understood and well known in this country.  The 21-Day Tummy book does have guidelines in the back to help you reintroduce foods to see what may be your personal triggers.

I haven’t been willing to try to add new foods into my diet yet due to all the stress of moving, I will start adding in new foods soon and will hopefully finalize my diet in the near future.

So now you know a little bit more about my diet.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Next part 3 in the Feeling Better series….Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.


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Let’s Talk About Me Feeling Better…..Part 1

 

Freedom by w.holcombe

Freedom
by w.holcombe

First, I want to say, I’m not cured of anything.  Nothing is gone completely.  I still have all my Meniere’s, and it’s symptoms.  I’m still deaf, with cochlear implants.  I still have Migraines.  I still have Cluster Headaches.  I’m still Bipolar. I still have Fructose Malabsorption.  I still have all of my chronic illnesses.  I am still disabled  I just don’t have some of the symptoms as severe as I did 3 months ago.  Truthfully, I am living a life that I didn’t think was imaginable 3 months ago, and in this series I’ll talk about some of the reasons I now think it is possible.

There have been a number of things that have contributed to me feeling better and I think it’s time that I laid them all out there for you.  I haven’t revealed everything before for a couple of reasons.  One, I was afraid it was temporary and I still am, 3 months is still a relatively short amount of time to tell if these things are going to continue to work, and two, one of the things is something that could be dangerous (and really may stop working at any time)….let me explain.

I will explain the dangerous one first.  This I wasn’t even sure I was going to talk about…but I think I should.

Remember how bad my headaches had gotten?  The migraines wouldn’t go away, after the Botox had been working so well and suddenly it stopped working?  I went for about 3 months of non-stop migraines.  It was horrible!!  I was put on steroids and had that severe vertigo attack and then was put on a different steroid to try to stop it….remember all that mess?  Then I started getting cluster headaches.  Remember?  If you are a new reader you won’t remember that, but it happened…and then…

by w. holcombe

by w. holcombe

One night I had a bad set of cluster headaches and didn’t wake up the next day until 2:30pm.  I woke up and my first thought was “OH NO! I haven’t taken my Diamox!”   Diamox is the medication I take to control the Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (high cerebral spinal fluid pressure ).  Without this medication I normally have an excruciating headache!  However, I suddenly realized, I didn’t have a headache.  For the first time in months, I didn’t have a headache.  Note: NORMALLY, when I don’t take this medication, I would be screaming from the pain in my head.  This day I did not have a headache.

I decided not to take it and see what happened.  No headache.  The next day.  No headache.  Days later, No headache.

Please forgive me for not telling you, but the reason I didn’t mention this before is because going off your medication without your doctor’s supervision can be very dangerous.  I should have called my doctor when I decided to stop taking the medication.  This could have been a medication that I needed to be go off slowly.  I could have harmed myself.  If you feel you are taking a medication you feel you need to come off of, please discuss this with your doctor before you stop taking it.  Do this under your doctor’s supervision.  I did not do this like I did. I was irresponsible.

I soon had an appointment with my neurologist, otherwise known as on here as my headache pain specialist, and I discussed this with her.  Luckily, I didn’t cause harm to myself, but she did say I should have called her and told her what I was doing, just in case.  The drug I was on is not one to play around with.  We aren’t exactly sure what happened.  It was evident that I needed the drug when I was put on it, I had a lumbar puncture to prove it and when I went on it I felt much better.  As I said earlier, normally if I didn’t take it I would have had a very bad headache.  We thought it would be silly to put me through another lumbar puncture just to prove I no longer needed it, as that was pretty evident.  The hypothesis is that somehow my pressure spiked, (perhaps I was lax in taking my medication…I’ve been known to do that before, especially if I have a vertigo attack, I can’t keep medication down, or I fall asleep from exhaustion and don’t take it….) and I had may have had a “blowout” causing my spinal fluid to drop.  I used to have that happen before, but the leaks would heal, the pressure would build back up and the whole thing would happen over again.  That’s why I was put on the medication, to try to stop that cycle.  This time the blowout may have cause a leak that didn’t heal, essentially causing my own “shunt” but without the surgery.  So now I don’t have to be on the medication.  Crazy, but that’s all we can think of???  Or maybe my body just regulated its self?  It doesn’t really matter, I now feel better without the medication.

This is probably the main reason my headaches are so much better.  Again, I still have headaches, both migraines and clusters.  The migraines are just much better than they were.  I can’t say that about the clusters because they didn’t start until right before this happened.  I don’t have a lot of these so far.  I’ve had more than I’d like, and I hope they don’t increase.

This could also have helped some of the vertigo, but I don’t know.  The only time my pressure changes really cause vertigo problems I have very severe vertigo attacks.  I have not been having the horrible vertigo attacks, the kind that where I spin for hours and lose all bodily functions, but I haven’t had those in a while.  I have been working hard to control those attacks.  That’s part of another thing I’ve changed…something I started changing before the whole medication things happened…but I wanted to tell you about this first.   So, to tell the truth, I really don’t know if this has helped the Meniere’s symptoms or not.  Mainly, I think it helped the horrible headaches.

Now there is a chance that eventually this leak may heal and my CSF pressure will once again build back up and I will have to go back on this medication.  I sincerely hope this is not the case.  The medication that is used for this, is not a friendly drug.  I hated it.  Side effects…ugh.  Again, another reason why I didn’t mention this, I knew there was a very real possibility that it would be a short lasting “fix”.  Now after 3 months, I’m a little more optimistic.

There are TWO other major things I changed that I believe have caused major life/health transformations.

One of is my Diet.   (This will be Part 2 of the Feeling Better Series)

One of is studying Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction…this is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself!  (This will be Part 3 of the Feeling Better Series)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Gratitudes in the middle of a mess

It’s time to take a little time to notice some of the things I’m grateful for…before I completely meltdown (again)…I know this will help!

This move has been extremely challenging, mentally and physically.  I am very grateful that I (and I am serious here) am not curled up in a corner crying and trying to hide from the world.  I’m also grateful that I am still able to get out of bed and accomplish some things.  Yes, I am in a lot of pain but, I’m still doing much more than I have in years.  I am so VERY GRATEFUL for this.  I told Stuart last night, I just can’t believe I started feeling better (no not well, but a bit better) right before all of this happened.  Wow!  If I was still like I was just a few months ago now.  This move would have been…..uh, well I just don’t want to think about it.

I’m grateful I sold almost all of my fused glass supplies.  I have only 2 things left and they should be very easy to sell!  Because of this we didn’t have to move any of that!  Yay!!!  Also, because of this I was able to buy our living room furniture.  This made me feel so good.  I was able to contribute to the household.  This is the first time I have been able to do this in YEARS!  (We had to by new living room furniture because the furniture from out old place was too big.)  This is a loan to the house though, as soon as we can pay it back that money goes in my service dog fund.)

I’m very grateful that I met the nicest lady when I sold my fused glass supplies and she actually sold my kiln for me!  How cool is that?

I’m grateful that our new place has a beautiful backyard.

I’m grateful that we live within walking distance to a grocery store and other little shops.  I hope it really is within MY walking distance.  If not now, soon.

I’m grateful there is a park nearby.

I’m grateful Stuart works very close.

I’m grateful we found a restaurant that will make meals that meet my food requirements, and it isn’t far away.  Plus, the very first time we went we got the best waitress, she is the bomb!  We’ve been there one more time and asked for her, she remembered what I needed and helped me order!  Wow!

I’m very grateful I’m still losing weight.  It feels so good to be getting in to smaller clothes and seeing a smaller face in the mirror.  I’m grateful that the diet is making me feel so much better!  What you eat really can make such a HUGE difference in how you feel!

I’m grateful I have the coolest cousin in the world living close by!  Can’t wait to see him and his brood this week!  And it’s so nice we can call on each other!  He’s real family!  If your reading this, I love you man!!!

I’m grateful things are coming together……wait, did I just say that?  do I believe it?  Am I just saying it or do I believe it?  hmmm, let me think.  (Jeopardy them playing in my head…)   I’m not sure.   One thing will happen and it looks like things are flowing along then one thing will happen and things just start going backward…but I know things will end up…the way it’s supposed to be, after all how else could it be?

And yes, I do mean that.

quotes-1523

mediawebapps.com

I’m grateful I wrote this post, because I needed it.  I needed to remind myself that things are going happen.  They are going to be the way they are, no matter what.  I keep trying to bend things the way I want them, I keep fighting to make things happen faster than they are going to, and well, I needed to remind myself…..it’s going to happen, or it’s not, and that’s OK.

Yesterday is gone, I can’t worry about what happened, tomorrow isn’t here yet can’t do anything about it.  So today I’ll do what I can, and that’s it, if something comes up and makes it so things get in the way I’m going to go with the flow and not get all out of sorts.   Just breathe.   It will get done, or it won’t, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.  I’m so very grateful I realize that.

Today’s meltdown averted…..maybe I should have written this yesterday.

 


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Moving Day…kinda sorta

moving-day

We left all of this stuff behind!!                                                     found this cute clip on wanderingbohemian.blogspot.com

I wish I had been writing short little post all along, because now I really have no idea where to begin.

This has been so very, very, very hard.  Yet in many ways it has been so very liberating.  Liberating because I feel I am being unburdened by so many things that I do not need.  How did I get so much stuff?  When I met my husband I lived in a studio apartment.  Where did it all come from?  And truthfully, for just me, I had too much stuff then!  Getting rid of all of this clutter is freeing.  I keep thinking, for the past few years I have lived without even thinking about this stuff why do I need to have it around me now?  There are some sentimental things I’m having a hard time parting with, and I’m holding on to some of those.  I think I’ll have a second ‘cleansing’ later.

Then there have been so many other very hard parts.

Physically.  Physically, I just couldn’t do as much as I wanted.  As much as I felt I needed to do.  I got so sick.  All the dust and stress, and just everything caused me to have major symptoms.  My breathing.  I had the hardest time breathing on many days.  Twice while I was sorting through things I realized I was confused, once I was giddy, I got up and couldn’t walk straight.  I got out of the room and each time Stuart saw me and helped me to the couch.  Then I started coughing.  I’d cough up a lot of mucus and need my inhaler and a nebulizer treatment.  I was not getting enough oxygen.  I wasn’t wheezing yet, so I didn’t even realize it, but my lungs were filling up with mucus.   This whole situation, has really opened my eyes as to just how little I understand about my lung issues.  I’ve had to cancel many appointments with my lung doctor because of vertigo, and now my doctor is finishing her residency with Duke so I would be seeing a new doctor, so I’m going to start looking for a new doctor in Charlotte as soon as hubby’s new insurance kicks in.  I’ll post more on that when I see the new doctor, I don’t want to say more about it until I get more information.  For now I’ll say, I’m keeping a closer eye on how I’m feeling, how I’m breathing, and how it’s all going together.

The breathing difficulties made it very hard for me to help as much as I felt I needed to.  Yes, I do mean needed to, because no one else could say if my stuff was to go to the new place or not.  And we did not have the luxury of just packing it all and deciding what to keep later.  We are moving from a 2300 sq ft home to a 700 sq ft home.  Things had to be trimmed!  So I tried wearing a mask, it worked somewhat, but it made me less air flow, this made me feel like I couldn’t breathe….maybe I’m a bit claustrophobic?  Maybe a little, but I wear that mask out all the time with no problem, but I’m not exerting myself.  I guess that’s what was making it difficult, or perhaps I was just already so irritated.

Then the headaches were getting bad.  Maybe because of the breathing issues, maybe because of the stress, maybe because of all of the above….or the weather, or ……my head was / is hurting.

I was having more vertigo.

The last 5 days at the house I spent most of 4 of them in bed.  Talk about GUILT!   However, I got a lot done from the bed.  Stuart would bring me things to go through in bed.  Not sure that really helped me much physically, but mentally it helped.

I have not been doing well with my Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction studies.  I think if I had been doing them longer I would have been able to deal with this better, but nope, I didn’t deal well.  Kind of went right out of my brain.  I’d try every now and then….and then I’d just look around at my completely torn up house and think….how on earth are we going to do this?  and FREAK OUT!

Well, things got done, as much as they could.

Movers came today…..Oh that’s a story.   The relocation movers.  Couldn’t come until today, the 17th.  Are giving us a FOUR DAY WINDOW to deliver.  That means delivery could happen on the 21st!  That’s the day Stuart was supposed to start work!  Ummm…..this is the relocation company that Stuart’s company uses.  So, luckily his boss is very understanding and he is going to start work on the 28th.  Phew!

Can I just say, moving under the best of circumstances is not easy.

Downsizing like we are makes it more difficult…..even if you want to do it.

Having very little to no help makes it extremely difficult!

Having a chronic illness on top of all of that can make it pure hell.

My saving grace, as always, having a spouse who is willing to go that extra mile to make it as comfortable for me as possible.

That’s why, today is moving day….and I’m sitting in a hotel room with Max the many toed cat.   We didn’t need a freaked out cat there while the movers were doing their thing, and I didn’t need to be there with more breathing irritants and getting more stressed.   (ahhh…deeeeeep breath!!!!)

I’ve been a bit scared that this whole thing is going to make me go back a bit….meaning, I’m going to end up back having daily migraines, tinnitus, pain, vertigo…  Not being able to do much at all.  I have been doing so much better.  suddenly, I have been really scared…..

Then I thought.  That’s tomorrow.  I have no control over tomorrow.  My worry isn’t going to change it.   I can only continue to do what I know to do, and if I feel good, great, if I don’t, I’ll reevaluate.  I’ll just live in the moment.  That’s all I have.  And right now, this moment is pretty good.

Hubby should be here soon.  Max is dreaming kitty dreams.  I see kudzu taking over the fence outside my window.  It’s a normal day in “The South”.

 


4 Comments

“Us” vs “them”: the under-served patient speaks up

wendy:

I know I haven’t been around lately….I will return soon…I think this is VERY important, someone thought it important enough to share it with me, I want to share it with all of you….hopefully, you can share it…and the world will realize it shouldn’t be “Us” vs “Them”! Let’s talk about until everyone listens!

Originally posted on Heart Sisters:

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I asked permission to republish this letter written by an American friend who’s living with both multiple health issues and poverty.  She has asked to remain anonymous. I’m grateful for her contribution to an important discussion, as she offers a unique patient perspectivein this letter to the organizers of a well-known academic conference on healthcare.

“Dear conference organizers:

“Your upcoming healthcare conference forum on under-served populations brings up a concern for me that I hope you will consider in the next few months.  The best way I can explain my concern is through this example:  

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