Posts Tagged With: gratitude

11 Years Ago…

I still grieve.

Or maybe I’m finally grieving.

I don’t know.

I thought I didn’t remember the exact day my life changed forever.

AND THIS MORNING IT HIT ME.

Sounds so hokey to say that. But those are the judges in my head saying that it’s hokey. I don’t think it’s hokey and so what if it is.

It was November 22, 2002. I was 25. I was moving full speed ahead. Sure I had gone through 6 months of extensive testing to try to figure out why the bottom of my feet were constantly tingling. Sure I had gone through many phases of FEAR about what could be wrong with me. Yet, EVERY test I had taken till then had come back inconclusive or all looked good.

So why would my first MRI be any different?

BUT IT WAS. IT WAS DIFFERENT.

I entered that hospital to get the MRI on the evening of November 22, 2002 and left a piece of me behind back there. I never did go back to that same area where I had it done to retrieve that part of myself. Not only was the MRI more terrifying than I expected but the LOOK that Technician gave me when I was FINALLY taken out of that God-awful tube made a part of me vanish in horror. In her eyes, all I could see was DEATH. It’s taken me all these years to find the right words to describe her look. That’s what it was.

DEATH.

I was 25. I wasn’t thinking about the END. I was thinking about the BEGINNING. This was it. I had just been a Production Assistant for a couple of short films, I was going to be an Associate Producer of another film, I was working 2 jobs to make some extra money, my full time job was in Television and I was gonna make it big no matter what it took. I had an awesome kitty and a wonderful boyfriend (who is now my awesome husband) and life was VERY UP. That was the reason I left my life in NH to go to LA right? I was gonna do this.

BRING IT ON.

Hmmm. I didn’t say BRING ON MS. Nope. That’s not what I meant.

That next morning after the MRI I was admitted into the hospital for 3 LONG DAYS of HELL. They thought maybe I had a brain tumor. No, maybe it was some kind of infection in my brain. No maybe perhaps, but probably not, but maybe, I had MS. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. My sister who was here visiting (poor thing–this was her visit. But the timing is not a mistake.)

After that it was a Thanksgiving family reunion that I don’t remember much of at all and RIGHT after that I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.

Something REALLY was wrong with me.

4 Days after that I had my first FULL BLOWN EXACERBATION. No surprise.

All symptoms I could ever have ever, you name it, happened in my body.

AND…

AN ANXIETY ATTACK.

AND…

A HORRIBLE, MEAN, ABUSIVE NEUROLOGIST WHO SAID IT WAS ALL IN MY HEAD.

AND TOO MANY STEROIDS…

Still don’t know how I survived what I found out later was a major overdose of steroids.

AND MY LIFE AS I KNEW IT WAS OVER.

And yes, my life is getting better. BUT it is not how I pictured it would be. In a lot of ways my life is better than I ever thought it would be. I’m forced to live more in the Present. And the Present can be a wonderful place.

And I still grieve…

I grieve over that life I thought I would have BEFORE that terror-filled MRI night. I grieve more now over it because I guess I’m ready to.

And that’s where I am today. I couldn’t figure out what exactly that dark cloud was that had been following me all week and was almost suffocating me this morning. Every year I seem to block out just what day it was that this all happened over a decade ago.

AND IT HIT TODAY.

GRIEF.

and

GRATITUDE.

Both can exist at the same time.

I never thought I could make it past that night but I have. One day at a time. That’s all I can do. Sometimes it’s one moment at a time. And that’s what I’ll take today. One moment at a time is enough.

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Nahleen’s THANKITUDES!

THANKITUDES you ask?

Are you thankful and grateful?  Are you having a hard time choosing between one?  Do they come with “att-itudes” sometimes too?

SURE!

Let’s take a look at Nahleen’s Book of Nahleenism’s and oh look at that!  She’s just added a new word to her language: THANKITUDEFUL.  Definition: Feeling thankful, grateful, adding the attitude where necessary (or not–your choice).  Also can be written as THANKITUDES…

Quite often these days I find myself feeling thankful, grateful and full of attitude.  Sometimes I find myself feeling just one of those.  Is there a difference between thankful and grateful?  Hard to know really.  I think it depends on the day, who I am that day (I change a lot during the day don’t you?), what’s happening, how I’m feeling and whatever else affects my feelings.

So in light of the upcoming US Thanksgiving Holiday tomorrow, Thursday November 22, 2012, I wanted to share my festive version.

NAHLEEN’S THANKITUDES  (I spent too long trying to figure out if this was a one time only thing or if this could continue and well who cares right now?–I soon found myself not thankful or grateful and FULL OF ATTITUDE because of my own silliness soooo…)–without further ado:

 

AHEM…Let’s try again….no need to make it bold.  Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself…

 

NAHLEEN’S THANKITUDES:

1. I’m THANKITUDEFUL for ME.  Truly amazing to be feeling this way about myself.  This is a work in progress.  Quite often I wonder why I had to be born with such a messed up immune system and why my body had to be so sensitive…why it had to be full of what I conceive as inconveniences and the like.  I can’t stand that I have multiple sclerosis, lupus, probable IBS, food sensitivities like crazy, environmental sensitivities, sometimes asthma and I’m sure the list goes on and on.  And then there’s my crazy mind that beats me up, goes wacky like The Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil, is meaner to me than anyone else would be and sometimes abuses me.  Then again, I am so much more compassionate towards myself and realize that self care is a wonderful thing.  It helps me to stop, look, listen, pay attention.  These illnesses help me connect more and more with people, with nature and its amazing beauty, meditate and quiet my head, stay more in the moment, and learn who I really am and how to love me for me.  Honestly, I am finally LEARNING HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE.  It sucks that I had to/and still have to go through all of this to get there but I finally am understanding that it’s THANKITUDEFUL that I am for ME.  I’m all I have.  I don’t get to run away and no one else seems to run away from me so there must be some good qualities somewhere.

2. I’m THANKITUDEFUL for my husband, companion, best friend, partner in crime, silly, giggle-making, talented, supportive, compassionate and BIG TIME BRATTY PANTS, Corey Blake.  If you don’t know this guy, you’re missing out.  Standing almost 6 feet tall you’d think that if you’re short like me, you’d have to look up to him and would NEVER be on his level.  This is so not true.  This guy talks to all he encounters as if he is equal with them.  He has the most compassionate heart I know and he is obsessed (in a good way or at least I like to think that I tame that back as if I control him-ha!) with KITTIES!  If he had his way, he’d fill his life with so many kitties he wouldn’t be able to find himself.  He wants to be a kitty for goodness sakes.  As you can guess, our Cleo Kitty is in very good hands.  He is also incredibly funny and talented on the stage and if you haven’t seen him do his thang on the stage or in front of the camera than you are truly missing out on a miracle in action.  He absolutely lights up the stage.  He is my inspiration for getting out there and just doing it.  I myself can’t believe he would stay with me with all that goes on with me with my health but he has been there from THE BEGINNING.  We had only been dating for 2 weeks and my best friend kitty (my sister growing up) passed away and he was there while I grieved.  Only 3 months later my dearest bestest Nana in the entire world who I adored more than I can even describe passed away AND he was there…the ENTIRE WEEK AFTER.  We traveled across the country together to pursue our dreams in Los Angeles, CA from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  We built our lives here and have just celebrated not only 15 years together as a couple, but 6 years married, 12 years with our dearest Cleo Kitty daughter and 13 years here in LA!  He was with me when I was diagnosed with MS almost exactly 10 years ago.  He was with me when I was diagnosed with lupus over 2 years ago.  And he stays.  He also proposed to me on Waikiki Beach at night at the edge of the ocean, with the moon glowing and the stars twinkling (just to give you an example)—so romantic.  We had the funnest wedding ever and kept it the way we wanted it with our own silly flare.  Thank goodness we laugh and keep it light.  Our conversations travel on the path of silliness, to snippy snappy (our version of fighting), to serious, to meaningful, to heartfelt, to honest, to feelings, back to me giggling so hard by something he said that I’m crying and can’t breathe.  Can you tell I love the guy?  Sure he drives me crazy (uh oh, he’s reading this and might be upset with me for saying this or worried) but that’s because we are the closest to each other and we need someone to drive us crazy.  Apparently none of us are perfect.  And I’m oh so sure I NEVER drive him crazy.  Nope.  Through our ups and downs and such great and amazing times, it is us.  We are a team and I am so THANKITUDEFUL for that.

3. I’m THANKITUDEFUL for my daughter kitty, my Cleo Kitty.  That little girl of mine (is not a little girl in kitty age that’s for sure) is so mature and wise.  She teaches me how to live in the moment.  How to take things as they come.  To stop and play and enjoy myself.  That life is about living in the moment.  She is my BEST KITTY FRIEND.  I adore her.  She was a stray who had clearly been domesticated at some point in her very young life when she was found and really just wanted to live inside and not have to deal with the crazy outside world anymore.  When we met her it was love at first site for both Corey and I BUT it was clearly love at first site between Corey and Cleo.  I was just the extra for a long time.  She’d put up with me in order to be with Corey.  She was smart.  She knew the deal.  Over the years we have built our own very special and connected relationship that warms my heart.  She is my best kitty friend, my health partner (she was diagnosed with cancer in December of last year–almost a year ago) and we take care of each other.  We take turns.  She really does watch over me and I try to do the same.  She understands A LOT of English and gets frustrated that we don’t understand Kitty Language but we’re definitely getting better at it.  She plays, she loves, she sleeps, she is our alarm clock, she looks for support in all areas when she’s not comfortable with something, she is our companion and we love her so.  She really has done well and we had only 2 close calls with her life in the past few months.  One was from trying a new medication but she pulled through in about 24 hours and the last was almost 2 weeks ago.  This one might have also been a medication reaction but in all fairness, she has cancer and a weaker body immune system and is very sensitive with digestive issues and with some breathing issues we’re still trying to narrow down.  I am truly THANKITUDEFUL to have her in my life still.  She’s decided she’s not done yet and we are doing our best to help her feel comfortable and happy and if anything she is still very happy.  Every moment more with her is a true blessing.

4. I’m THANKITUDEFUL for all living supporters on my path.  That includes you.  These living supporters are people (friends, family, people I connect with out in the world, Facebook people, online people, Twitter people, the people I small talk with all the time, my doctors, any people in any part of the medical world I continuously find myself in, anyone who helps me or who I can help), dogs, cats, plants, the earth and nature.  You name it.  I am serious.  Any living thing.  I believe we are all connected in some way.  That doesn’t mean we have to all love each other or even like each other.  However we are all here for each other.  We are all alive and giving feedback in some way.  And as a part of this, I LOVE PEOPLE.  I do.  PEOPLE ROCK!  Sure some of them are more likeable than others.  Some I may not even really want in my life BUT they are there for a reason.  We all have something to give.  We are all just us trying to be US.  That is it.  And yes at times we can all be jerks (yes, Nahleen’s ego–you too–I still don’t believe it), and truly unlikeable (of course Nahleen’s ego has no idea of what I’m talking about) but it’s true.  And so to get away from this silliness I just wrote, I look forward to more and more connecting.  It is what keeps me going.  I think connecting with people is one of my hobbies.  I am so THANKITUDEFUL for you all.

5. I’m THANKITUDEFUL for this Blog.  I feel like this is inconsequential since the other 4 items on this list are so personal and why would I just feel this way for a Blog?  Well, it helps me write which is something I believe I’ve been meant to do for a long time.  I just need to write.  Not sure what that means but this is my 141st Blog post so I guess that means something.  I had no idea my Blog would go this far.  I had no idea I’d have this much to write and oh so much more!  I had no idea that anyone would want to join me on my journey.  I didn’t think anyone would care (again, about my crazy mean mind sometimes as posted above).  I didn’t know that I’d even be silly and post about ’80s songs or post any pictures.  I just didn’t know.  Once I jumped in this time I was ready.  It was time.  Thank you for being there.  It is so cool for someone such as myself who has to spend so much time at home resting and taking care of myself in order to get through the day.  So much self care to do and most often this has been added to my list of things I NEED to do to survive.  Sometimes it’s taken off because I need to pace myself and just breathe.  It all really depends.  And you know what’s also so cool?  Hearing from you!  Getting comments on my posts has been one of the coolest aspects.  I just love it!  Thank you to so many of you for encouraging me along the way and even way before I could really commit to it.  You know who you are.  You rock!  I am so THANKITUDEFUL for this Blog of exploration, silliness and connection.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for it!

 

So that’s that.  I think that’s enough for today.  I really needed to write this.  The nudge has been on me to write something like this for a few days now and maybe I can breathe a little easier knowing I got it out.

Thank you thank you thank you.

DO YOU HAVE ANY THANKITUDES you would like to share?  I’d love to read them!  I have a feeling we all would!

Take care all.  Will write soon I’m sure.

 

 

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Motivation: GRATITUDE

This morning I am grateful.  It’s such a relief to feel grateful.  It would be so nice to feel it all the time.

I’m grateful to be able to get up and face the day.  I’m grateful for so much love in my life from my husband, my kitty, my family, my friends, a huge support system, people in general and with life.  I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, an awesome car, for food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe–that I CAN breathe.  Then there’s my health: the progress of recovery, to take it one day at a time, really awesome proactive doctors, to be able to walk, to see, to move, to even function at all.  I have an abundance to be grateful for.  The list is endless.

What started this new round of gratitude?  I believe it was asking for more help yesterday.

Being on Long Term Disability has required an enormous mental surrender.  I have had to let go of what I thought I needed to have to survive: a job, a consistent paycheck, at least 40 hours of knowing exactly what I’m doing in a week.  It has been almost two years without that routine and somehow it’s all worked out.  Somehow Corey, Cleo Kitty and I have been taken care of.

BUT it takes A LOT of work.  I not only have to spend 24 hours a day 7 days a week taking care of me with self care but there is a mega amount of medical business to attend to too such as: medical insurance red tape, my plethora of doctors, a long list of medications and regimens, and dealing with Social Security Long Term Disability along with the Private Long Term Disability that is provided as part of the Benefits from my old employer.

YES I am truly grateful to have any access to Long Term Disability and to be taken care of AT ALL.  HOWEVER it is SO DIFFICULT to even admit I am disabled, to then ADMIT I can’t work right now, and then ASK FOR HELP, for financial assistance so that I can be a contributing member of society.  And not only is it hard for me to surrender to that need for help, but then they can make it SO HARD to even get the help I need.  This is NOT an easy process.

It is worth it because I DESERVE TO FEEL BETTER.  I DESERVE TO GET BETTER.

With that idea in mind it was so REFRESHING to call the Director of Benefits (yes, I have her direct contact number) of my old employer and let her know about the messy situation I’m involved in between both Long Term Disability Entities.  Not only did she LISTEN but she AGREED with me that that sounds like a mess and she seemed genuinely surprised this was happening.  I ASKED HER TO HELP ME and you know what?  She’s going to try to find out what’s going on and to do just that, help me.  She was nice and she was sincere.  She backed me up all the way.  It doesn’t mean she’s going to be able to change anything but it is just that much more empowering to feel her support and for that I am grateful.

GRATEFUL.

What a wonderful word.  What a inspiring idea.

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