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I’M OK

I’ve been reflecting a lot about my Blog post yesterday, “Diagnosis Part 5: MRI”.

It helped so much to write that. I needed to really get that out. I needed to tell the whole world about my experience. It freed me a lot. I felt lighter after I wrote it and I’ve been breathing easier ever since.

And what I’ve become aware of even more today is something so enlightening and positive.

I’M OK.

I, Nahleen Virginia Blake (yes that’s my Middle Name), am OK. Oh my goodness! I’m OK. If you had told me that night of my first MRI that over 10 years from that whole experience I’d say I was OK I’d have pushed you away. I’d have ignored you. I wouldn’t have believed you. I probably would’ve gotten sick to my stomach.

No Way! I was so terrified about my life, about my future, about my body and everything that I had no control over. I “HAD CONTROL” of my life back then…I thought. I was on my path. Full speed ahead! Get out of my way. I’m following my dream. Actually…I’m chasing my dream. It can’t get away. My grip is so tight and I won’t let go. Keep on going and going and going and going. Well, guess what Energizer Bunny? You can’t keep going either no matter what those commercials say. Sorry but you run out of Oomph too!

Throughout these 10 plus years since I have been told by so many people older than me that I am too young to think the way I do. That I am too young to go through what I’ve gone through. That I should be going through all of this illness and crap when I’m older. Well, let me tell you all, I HAVE NO CONTROL AND I NEVER HAVE. I was powerless over what was happening in my body and my mind was bound to change. My life was bound to change! My outlook was bound to change! Change change change! Life is about change!

How could all of that not change?

I couldn’t work 2 jobs anymore. That was crazy to start with. I couldn’t be a Production Assistant for 12 hour days on my precious weekends anymore.  I couldn’t couldn’t with the couldn’ts. Suddenly my life came to a halt.

SORT OF.

I had to rest more.

I’M SORRY. DID I SAY REST?

What is REST? Well, that means I STOP all I’m doing to the best of my ability and sit my butt down. I can lay down on the bed. I get some quiet. I learn how to meditate. If I can’t stop I at least SLOW DOWN. Yes, slower is OK. Really. There are so many ways to rest. Forcing everything to a point of a racing heart is NOT RESTING. Nope. Everything in Fast Forward is not resting.

Actually, my life is usually better than OK but I didn’t know that until 8 years later when I was diagnosed with a second disease of lupus. A…SECOND…DISEASE……..OF…LUPUS….Now THAT ONE KICKED ME OFF MY FEET AND STRAIGHT ONTO MY BUTT and there was no getting up.

No question.

I hit a wall so hard it’s a wonder I even survived and I am NOT EXAGGERATING.

And my choices were simple yet so complicated for someone like me to understand. You see, simple is not simple. It can’t just be that pretty much everything in my life has to STOP AND SLOW DOWN and not just a few things here and there. This affected EVERYTHING.

I HAD TO CHANGE.

MY LIFE HAD TO CHANGE AND FAST.

I FELT I HAD NO CHOICE.

See, I used to say I had no choice. I had to stop working…for now…until further notice…maybe…no really…I still wasn’t feeling up to it months later…symptoms just kept kicking my butt…I needed Tender Loving Care from everyone but especially from ME. I could’ve gone back to work. Right. OK. And run around and been in an environment that was so toxic for me that I would’ve ended up in the hospital the next time. Sounds like a great quality of life.

It was ME. I had to change MY LIFE.

I had to take care of ME.

Why was that so hard? Why IS that so hard?

I know it’s worth it. I know I’m worth it. And it’s a work in progress…It really is about Quality of Life, not Quantity.

But when I focus on TLC and turning the attention of my TLC to me my life gets better. My life looks different, feels different, and even smells different. There are flowers to smell and see everywhere here in LA. There are trees with leaves that blow in the breeze. That is one of the most lovely sounds I have ever heard. There are clouds. Oh I have always loved clouds ever since I was a little kid. Give me a cloud to look at and I am thrilled. Everything else goes away. There is an ocean that keeps me Present when I can see it. Even driving by it changes my mood if I can see it. I am in the moment. Do you know how beautiful the moment is? Have you been able to feel your breath as you look at the vastness and the colors of the ocean as the sky and the light of the sun reflect on the ocean? Have you watched a seagull float along in the sea breeze? Even watching other people in the water puts a smile on my face.

Smiling. I do that so much more than I used to. I used to be told all the time to smile when I was in my 20s before the MS diagnosis. I had no idea I wasn’t smiling. I was so dang busy pushing and pulling and forcing and going that I forgot to smile. I had a frown on my face I was so intense. It’s a wonder I had any friends, family, work colleagues or anyone else who wanted to be in my life.

But somewhere along the way I forgot me. I still do sometimes and I am constantly working on bringing ME back.

And bringing my focus back to me, I see the shining emerald green glimpse of hummingbird. I see the butterfly off in the distance. I find myself sitting in my car listening to my favorite song and not getting out until I’ve finished belting it out to myself. And back to smiling because I find it so powerful. Smiling at others? Smiling at others and watching them smile back. It is so rare now for me not to connect with others with a smile. I have met some of the best people in the grocery store. We are all just people living our lives trying to get by. I have had lovely conversations in hospital building elevators with others about colors and clothing and my Muppet bag/purse.

I have sat next to some wonderful people while sitting in doctor waiting rooms. See doctor waiting rooms are tricky for me. I still can’t stand going to the doctor. In fact, I think in some ways it’s worse now because I have so much chronic illness doctor’s office visit fatigue if that makes any sense. I am sooooo done seeing so many doctors even though the appointments are currently usually further apart. Usually. But those waiting rooms can be so grueling and talking to others helps. If I don’t I feel closed off and not grounded. I find myself more nervous about the appointment than I was before. I find myself noticing that so many people are not feeling well, that they’re older and looking at me wondering why I’m there at whatever Specialist Doctor I happen to be at. It’s rough.

I have gotten to know the office staff at almost every doctor. I now have at least 2 friends at the Pharmacy I go to and I’ve had coffee with one of them. They are people too. Great gals actually. I have learned that it’s really not a problem usually to stand in line at a store. Why not look around? Why not watch a little girl or boy with their Mom and see what they see as they look around? Getting annoyed and irritated is probably going to make me feel worse. Life does not have to be lived so fast.

And what about finding myself through writing? I think I’ve always been a writer. I have written off and on all my life. This Blog has helped me get through what was a huge writer’s block for too many years. I need to write. It is part of my Being. Even if I write the hardest and deepest thoughts and words I still come out of it smiling. I wrote! I expressed myself!

And then there’s meditation, guided imagery, spiritual support groups, coffee groups, texts with friends, Facebook, Twitter, the online community in general, the longer conversations I get to have with people on the phone if I feel up to it (this one is still hard for me because being social is one of my favorite things but it also tires me out very quickly and as I get better I am more able to talk and maybe even visit but it’s still a one day at a time thing), the exploring of neighborhoods as I walk every day (by the way it’s been over 450 days since I started taking a walk every day!) I never know where I’ll end up. I have found the greatest local businesses that way. Some of the best coffee shops are in Santa Monica. I wouldn’t have known that before.

And sitting on my balcony especially at night is one of my favoritest things to do ever. I sit back in my lounge chair and look at the sky, look at my iPad (feel so fortunate and lucky to have such a supportive husband who bought me an iPad even before my lupus diagnosis and it has changed my life–the online world is a much more accessible place because sitting at the computer with the big screen can be hard for me for so many reasons), talk to my plants, and I can even have plants that I love and adore! And let me tell you, they respond so much better when I talk to them and give them love.

I have found faith and hope during these slower times. During these quiet times it has not all been fabulous. As they say every rose has its thorns and that is so true. There is beauty in life everywhere. There is also struggling, and excruciating feelings, and trudging, and crying, and anger, and memories, and reliving traumas, and temper tantrums, and grieving, and missing the old days when I thought my life was something else, and when I was younger before my MS diagnosis, and wanting to punch things and having very very hard times and hard days. I find I’m also having an identity crisis. Who am I? Who is Nahleen with MS and lupus? Will I ever work again? What will I do? Which idea am I going to pursue? Where is my life leading? Is this my life? I can’t live my life as someone who is identified only as my illnesses but it is a major challenge to break away from that when my life is lived in doctor’s offices talking about everything that’s still wrong with me, even talking about those few things that are getting better is still on the subject, just being there reminds me too much about my reality, having to prove my Disability to other entities who are trying to not help me, dealing with insurance issues, reliving the past for new doctors, taking over 4 hours to get going before I feel human in the morning, taking my medications, keeping up with my medications, keeping track of symptoms and the severity of them and watching for patterns, exercising so I can keep functioning and I could go on. Please let my life be more than that.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?

I’M OK.

I’m better than I was 10 years ago even before my MS diagnosis. I see the world in front of me more. I see the world. I am in the world. I am not on the outside looking in. I am NOT living the life I want to live on a whole just yet but isn’t that normal? I want to live a life WITHOUT MS and lupus but that is a lot to ask right now and to be honest it pisses me off and I can feel the rage right now even as I write this. But right now I’m in a better wave. I don’t know how long it will last or if it’s the new norm. Life is always happening and it is always in session. I have learned that time and time again. And I don’t know how I’m going to feel the next moment from when I write this sentence but for now I’ll take the feeling that life is a bit easier. How cool is that? I’m a bit more at ease. What a gift.

But it is not a life to be rushed through. Time goes by too fast. I was a tied up ball of knots rushing around plowing my way to the next goal in my mid-20s thinking I would someday rule the world, but it was never good enough. And in the past few days, life is good enough. Sure, I want more money, I want a bigger place to live in, I want that dent out of my car that someone so nicely put in there at a time I wasn’t around to see it happen, I want to be thinner, I want to feel so good that I am frolicking and skipping down the street and I don’t ever want bad things or hard things ever to happen again.

But that’s not real.

And I’M OK.

And the best part is there are parts of my life that are so very happy. I am happy with my husband and my Cleo Kitty. Corey keeps me laughing and on my toes. He is so incredibly supportive and always by my side. We are the best team I know. Cleo Kitty and I are best friends. We have been there for each other during each of our health problems for the past 3 years. She cuddles and plays and needs to eat and she demands her pets.

I also have a roof over my head, wonderful people in my life who don’t let me isolate even for one minute and they are from all parts of my life, 2 cars that run well, air conditioning that usually works, clothes to wear, food to eat, a bed to sleep on even if the mattress is so old there are hills and valleys in it and the list is endless.

I have a full life. A pretty darn good life. It can be very hard. And sometimes it can be easy but those times seem rare. Perhaps that will change. I don’t know. What I do know is that I breathe easier. I’m not nearly as tense. I feel much better than I did last year in July 2012 (and it doesn’t mean I am all better but I will take whatever I can get), I smile and giggle more than I frown and grumble. My bad days aren’t nearly as bad and intense and I recover quicker. And this is all just for today.

That is all I have. That is all WE have.

And that is OK.

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Telling the Truth is Really Hard

TRUTH: The past 24 hours have SUCKED mostly physically but mentally too!  There I said it!

I TOLD THE TRUTH!

DETOX IS HARD!

ANOTHER TRUTH!

Being on an emotional roller coaster yesterday for HOURS was REALLY HARD!

MORE TRUTH!

Feeling A LOT OF PAIN, FATIGUE WITH HEAVY LIMBS, SHAKINESS, LIGHT-HEADEDNESS, WEAKNESS, TINGLING, WAKING UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WITH A HORRIBLE KNIFING PAIN ON MY RIGHT SIDE (making me freak out it’s my appendix or something crazy) AND HAVING TO RUSH TO THE BATHROOM (TMI–just getting you ready) ONLY TO HAVE MY BELLY MAKE THE LOUDEST RUMBLING NOISES AND THEN ACTUALLY HAVING THAT TRIP TO THE BATHROOM BE PRODUCTIVE (used to not be in the middle of the night and I would suffer for hours so that’s something) AND THEN HAVE THAT PAIN GO AWAY BUT FEEL THE DIGESTIVE AFTERMATH IS REALLY HARD!  BUT–THANK GOODNESS THAT KNIFING PAIN WENT AWAY AND HAS NOT COME BACK.

YES I’M YELLING!

PHEW!

It feels so good to get it out.

I have only had 2 Chiropractic treatments in the past week, BUT I have also added an Alkaline Water Detox prescribed by this Chriropractic Doctor added to my treatment so it has been extra potent.  I CLEARLY have a ton of acid in my body.

IT HAS BEEN 1 WEEK AND MY BUTT FEELS KICKED FROM 2 CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENTS?!

OY!

You know, I have heard over the years from all kinds of people on social media and elsewhere talk about all the “GOOD” effects of Detox of the body.  NOT ONE OF THEM THAT I’VE NOTICED HAS EVER TALKED ABOUT ANYTHING NEGATIVE.  Did they ever feel anything crappy going on in their bodies or was it just absolutely divine and magical with birds chirping with light breezes as they frolicked over the rolling green hills singing songs from the “Sound of Music”?  That’s what it’s always felt like to me.  So I have no idea if these people have EVER felt crappy.

Is it because they don’t want to tell the truth because Gawd forbid they look weak?  Is it because they really are feeling JUST PEACHY (although if you ask me I’d never say I was Peachy because I CAN’T STAND PEACHES so it would be the opposite for me if I said I was PEACHY.  In fact let’s all make that note now.  PEACHY for me is CRAPPY.  OK then.  Now that we’re all clear.  Back to my ranting…) KEEN?  Did I even spell that word right?  The point is, AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS FELT CRAPPY FROM DETOX?  AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO IS NOW TELLING THE TRUTH?

MORE ON MY TRUTH:  Okay.  So for the past 24 hours I have wondered what wall I hit this time.  In some ways I haven’t felt like this in a long time.  Felt like someone kicked my butt and the rest of my body really hard.  What’s interesting is that the first 24 hours after treatment were actually QUITE GOOD.  I think I was on a mental high and my body was TRYING to follow along.  I felt so much mental clarity and relief and life almost felt like it was ALL good no matter what.  I almost wanted to skip down the street singing “La la la” but my legs weren’t QUITE up to it.  Oh and just to be clear, I didn’t feel up to frolicking through the rolling green hills singing songs from the Sound of Music.  I wasn’t THAT good.  That’s good right?

Anyway, I did so much in that 24 hours because I thought, WOW, I can do this.  This Chiropractic treatment stuff rocks.  It was ONLY the 1st Treatment that would be really hard at first.  Perhaps I’ll be feeling this later but not now.  LIFE IS GOOD.  I got home, made some medical business calls, wrote a Blog post, did stuff and things and I DID let myself REST a bit BUT THEN off I was running out to get groceries that evening while my mental hyperactivity was still on overload (I think now that I look back).  I mean, we NEEDED groceries and my head told me it was RIGHT then no matter what.  So I left at 6:30pm and by 7:30pm as I was almost done my ARMS started telling me they were really tired and didn’t want to work much more and then they were in pain.  Then by 8pm my BODY was done.  By 9pm my MIND was done.  And yet there was still some clarity so I stayed up way too late.  I CONFESS.  I didn’t LISTEN enough to my body at that point.

Got up for a dang Fasting Appointment the next morning to have blood work done with a doctor I have VERY mixed feelings about and thought all was going to be OK.  I was still OK.  Sure I was tired but Fasting Appointments are really hard for me.  My body with its MS, lupus, IBS and you NAME IT needs its routine.  No food means no medications.  No medications means my body is already unhappy.  No food yet already being active when on a normal day it usually takes me over 4 hours to really feel like I can go on with my day as a human being is not a good thing for me.  At least let me have some food.  PLEASE.  If my body lets me that is…

ANYWAY, after the appointment, I ate and I felt a bit more invigorated YET to be honest my body was starting to protest more.  And then I ran around doing too many errands at once when I should’ve just gone back home to at least get some more rest before doing them made my body VERY UNHAPPY before 12pm.  The appointment had been at 8:30am.

BY 12PM I had HIT A WALL.

ALL DONE.  Had to push to do the basics.  The emotional roller coaster (was told this would happen even more and be magnified according to my Chiropractor as the emotions are cleared out and released from my body and it was ALL part of the healing process) started for the next 5 hours at least, my body had a hard time letting me do the basics like get up and move around.  It was shaky and weak and in pain.  SOOOO DONE WITH ME.

So I rested.  AND RESTED SOME MORE.  Resting helps.

RESTING HELPS.

Phew.  Sometimes resting doesn’t ALWAYS help the way I want it to.  My body has been recovering ever since.  I’d get waves of physical symptoms into the night last night and then there was that time in the middle of the night of complete and utter pain and discomfort and I’ve been working through that ever since.

SO GLAD I CAN WRITE THIS.

Yesterday I wouldn’t have been able to write this in any way.  ALL OF ME WAS DONE.

DONE.

But this Blog post has been bubbling up to the surface ever since I FINALLY was able to really get up out of bed today.  EXTRA SLEEP HELPED TOO.  I HAD TO WRITE THIS TODAY.  I HAD TO EXPRESS MYSELF.  I know it is all part of the healing.  I call it EMOTIONAL HAIRBALLS.

Meanwhile at the same time, as I think about how my body is overall, I know it’s not a regular lupus/multiple sclerosis flare.  I know my body is flaring up because all kinds of healing trauma (WHAT?  HEALING TRAUMA?  Parts of me want to object to what I just wrote and argue with me.) because it feels cleansing.  It feels like all kinds of toxin crapola is being FORCED out.  My mind is clearer.  My body is clearer.  So strange to say that and feel it and NOT REALLY BE ABLE TO DESCRIBE IT.

So the FEAR comes up.  Is this Treatment too much for me?  How will I do this?  I DON’T WANT TO MAKE MY BODY WORSE.  I CAN’T MAKE MY BODY WORSE.  I DEAL WITH ENOUGH.  IT’S HARD ENOUGH.  But then the nurturing side of me comes in and gently reminds me that I am feeling better at the same time.  I’m going to NEED TO BE VERY UPFRONT with the Chiropractor tomorrow at my next treatment and tell him EVERYTHING that has gone on in the past 24 hours BEFORE he jumps right in and manipulates my body into its relieving craziness of the next treatment.  He had told me it would be hard especially at first and to try to trust and be honest with him and myself in all ways at all times about how I’m doing.  That we would adjust treatments accordingly.  He also told me I’d have to rest more.

That’s hard to do.  I’m TRYING to have a life and I have SO MUCH going on right now.  FINDING BALANCE is a whole other issue I’m dealing with.

WHERE DOES IT ALL FIT IN?

Well what I have to remind myself is that it all fits in the way it is supposed to fit in.  It will all work out and it will happen or not happen BUT the world still turns.  It doesn’t explode because “MY PLANS” didn’t work out the way I liked.

DO THEY EVER?

SO WHY DO I KEEP TRYING TO FORCE MY PLANS OVER MY LIFE?  It doesn’t work that way.

So for now I’ll go back to resting and doing THE BEST I CAN WITH WHAT I HAVE.  It feels really good to have communicated this today.  Thank you ALL for reading.  It means so much to be able to get it out and STOP HOLDING ONTO IT.  Something tells me this may not have come out if it wasn’t for this detox and new treatment journey I’m starting.

I feel much better and calmer right now and I will enjoy it while I can.

Take care all and please if you can, be gentle with yourself and your body.  Healing can be really hard but what I’m discovering is that I’m worth it and so are you.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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