Posts Tagged With: health

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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Diagnosis Part 5: MRI

I looked back on the last time I wrote a part of the “Diagnosis” story of my life and saw that it was on 05/17/12. It has been over a year since I wrote about the story of my diagnosis. That is how painful and hard my story is and how excruciating this next chapter is.  I had to be so ready to write it that I was bursting at the seams! Lately I have found it very challenging to come up with the words. I am a writer with too many words and no words. I truly believe there are not enough words in the English language to describe so much of what I’ve been through.

BUT IT’S TIME. IT’S TIME TO GET IT OUT. IT’S TIME TO TAKE ANOTHER STEP TO BE FREE OF THE TRAUMA.

As you can tell from the title, my focus will be the first MRI that changed my life. THE MRI.

Here goes. I know you’re all here with me so I’m going to jump in. I can already feel the adrenaline of anxiety rushing throughout my body. The emotions are rising to the top. Those really really hard emotions. I can do this.

It’s November 2002. I’m 25 at what I believe is supposed to have been the Prime of my life. Or at least I “believed” it was supposed to be. I gotta admit, if that year was the Prime of my life then I’d have nothing to hope for. That year my family had decided to have a family reunion of sorts with my Mother’s side of the family for Thanksgiving. We were all going to meet at my Grandpa’s up north in Monterey, CA and it was going to be a grand ole time! My sister had planned on visiting me in LA for the first time the week before Thanksgiving and we were supposed to hang out and cause some trouble before the family shenanigans started.

Looking back I’m not sure what I was thinking when I scheduled my first MRI to be at night on the first night my sister was visiting. I mean, I know why I scheduled it at night. I had to work during the day. My sister and I met at a small mall for lunch and she was going to hang out for awhile before I could get out of work. I was scared that day but on top of the world. I can remember feeling so proud and so “up”. My sister was visiting MY WORLD. I was going to show her MY WORLD. I had seen HER WORLD before in the past but this was mine. She’s older and I was so proud to show her LA, to show her I was “making it” out here. Still not sure what “making it” means but I digress. I can remember walking down the sidewalk at this mall and looking for her and thinking it was a pretty day and oh by the way, I had lost almost 50 pounds so I couldn’t wait for her to see that too. Weight has always been a challenge for all of us in the family so the idea that I could even lose 50 pounds was AMAZING!

Anyway, we met up, had lunch, I took her on a tour of my workplace and I was so so proud to do that. Look Lori, I work at a television station! I’m really starting to do what I came out here to do! Those were the thoughts in my head. Isn’t it weird how we can bring ourselves back to our past mindsets and know they’re familiar but almost not recognize them? That was over 10 years ago. I have been through so much since then. My mind even feels different.

I don’t remember much until I showed up at the hospital in Burbank with Corey and Lori and had to fill out the paperwork. Actually, much of that is a blur. I was so nervous. I’m sure I had decided to just have the MRI then because I had to wait weeks for my HMO at the time to process all the red tape to even approve an MRI for me so I just wanted to get it over with. Plus I had had sooooo many medical tests by then that had come up with NOTHING that I might as well get this done. If I didn’t do it then then I’d have to wait till after Thanksgiving. On a side thought, I wonder if that would’ve changed much of the course of events?

I then remember being called by a lady to “Come on in and we’ll get you started” and she lead me through white hallways. Please tell me, why must all hospital hallways be white or yellow? Why can’t they be calming colors or fun colors? And I know they’re supposed to be sterile but some decoration of some sort would be nice. And about the fluorescent lights…PLEASE GET RID OF THEM!

So the next thing I know I’m being sat down at a small table to the side in the middle of the hallway it feels like (at this point I was so not used to being in a medical fishbowl and everything felt like it had to be a secret and why were we sitting in public–even though no one was really walking by or anything) and this nice lady with long dark hair (blurred out everything else) sat me down, pulled out a pile of paperwork and a pen and proceeded to ask me questions I could not answer. That was the first day/night I ever heard about fibromyalgia. The who the what now? That was the first day/night I ever heard I could have symptoms of fatigue and that they were real. That was the first time ANYONE had ever asked me if I felt any real pain and where and did I have any other autoimmune diseases? What are those? Why was she bringing them up to me? That was the first time for so many things. I think I was a medical virgin or something. It was all so surreal.

Back then, the MRI machines (this was only 10 years ago) were very different than they are now. They were long tubes and they were dark and they were skinny. Here’s my thing. I was so much skinnier and yet I felt cramped in there. How could anyone bigger than me fit in there at all? I don’t remember much of the process just yet but I know I was hardly wearing anything. I had to take off all metal, all jewelry, my bra with the metal underwire, my pants with even a hint of a metal button (don’t think the button was metal actually). To be honest I can distinctly tell you what I was wearing that day. So weird. So much of it is a blur but what I was wearing is clear as a bell still to me. I was wearing my favorite navy blue long sleeve button down shirt that I had just bought in a size smaller due to my weight loss and I was so proud of me and of it. I was also wearing khakis that I don’t think I’d be wearing now. Not that I’d even fit in these clothes now but still. At the time I was wearing contacts so I didn’t have to worry about not seeing and feeling vulnerable that way and I had to wear a very thin white hospital gown. I felt so vulnerable and I also knew I was claustrophobic but I didn’t know how much because luckily I had never been put in that situation before.

These days I have had much better experiences with MRIs. I usually have one a year. I believe I’ve had at least 15 MRIs but if I count any that have been done in a row in the same session (meaning 4 in a row with all kinds of machinery and equipment locking me down and in and not being able to move for OVER 2 HOURS) I’d say it’s close to 20 by now. Each time they’re different. Fortunately, the technology is so much better and the MRIs I have had have been shorter, a bit wider, some of them have music and I don’t have to take off much of anything. The ONLY thing I usually have to take off is my bra still but that’s it. Why? Because they are usually only interested in my brain to see where lesions are for MS. Why did I have 4 in a row once? Well I was at USC where they have state of the art equipment and my MS Specialist Neurologist at the time wanted a whole picture of me. The technicians usually ask me if I want to take a mood enhancer drug of some sort to help me not care about the experience and I have told them No. I like being with it afterwards. Then again, if I EVER have to do such extensive MRI tests AGAIN that make me stay in one position for 2 hours then I will have to take a drug. I WILL NOT DO THAT AGAIN COMPLETELY CONSCIOUS. I was in so much pain from not moving and I was told that if I moved even a little bit then they’d have to start over. Plus it can be extremely hard to get my head out of the “tunnel mode” and back into the big wide world with no tubes enclosing me. Oh and I have had an Open MRI before but to me it was worse because there’s no tube BUT it’s like they put you inside a sandwich of a top and bottom of a machine and you can see out the sides but it’s not like you can move your head to see them and all I kept thinking about was how it was going to crush me or the machine would eat me or something. But I digress.

You know, A LOT of people knew what was going on with me at that point and a bunch of them had had MRIs before and they all had different ideas of what they were like and some told me that they were awful and some told me that they were easy and so on…However I will tell you this, if you have never had an MRI before I will not tell you what it’s like for you. I will only tell you what it was like for me if you ask. I will however tell you that I’m sorry you have to go through that and wish you all the best. My experience was different than that of anyone else who told me what their experience was like. In fact it was so unique and traumatic that it’s so hard getting over it still which is why it’s so important for me to share with all of you what happened and to get it out.

Anyway, when the paperwork was finally done and I already was so nervous my heart must’ve been beating out of my chest at that point and I was in the paper thin white gown, I was lead into the room with the MRI. I remember the room being a yucky yellow and I saw this big machine and a little circular opening into darkness was there. I knew right away this was the MRI. It’s fight or flight right? My head was running away so fast yet my body stayed put. I’m sure I tensed up all over the place. I’m sure my breathing was labored. But I toughed it out. I could do this. Oh yeah and the room was cold because the machine could overheat fast. Plus it was already so so loud in there just from the monster machine. So they had me lay down on the thin flat cold table and locked my head in telling me not to move it. They put earplugs in my ears or headphones on (don’t remember), asked me if I was OK–UM does anyone see the logic in this? I still have technicians doing that with me. They block my ears and lock my head in so I can’t turn and can barely interact and then they ask if I’m OK. WHAT????? Did you say something? My instinct is to move my head. And then panic, oh wait I can’t. GEEZUM! Someone’s gotta tell them that makes no sense. Perhaps walking us through some hand signs would be helpful or something. Eye contact with me directly over where my head is locked in would be good too.

The next thing I know the table starts moving and I’m sent into the dark tube. The tube I could barely fit in. And they kept sending me into the darkness. Oh thank goodness the MRI machines I go in now are white and have a lot of light. I kept trying to remember what my Rheumatologist had told me. Look straight up and you’ll see a mirror that reflects the window to the room where the technicians are. Look at them if you need to. She reminded me that I’m not stuck in there. I could slide out if I wanted to. However all I could picture was panicking and trying to sit up and knocking myself out because I’d hit my head on the head cage or the tube or both. She told me I could wiggle my fingers if I crossed them on my stomach (really not too comfortable for all that time) and I could see them in the mirror so I’d be aware that I hadn’t detached from my body somehow. However, I was still sooooo scared to move. I didn’t want to have to do this over again. I just wanted it done with.

Meanwhile I’m aware that Corey and Lori are in the Waiting Room. I think it was in that dark long squished tube where I got a glimpse of how vulnerable I really was. I was locked in. I was taken away from my people. Yes I had watched too many movies, TV shows and read too many books but I’m not convinced “weird” stuff doesn’t happen. How do I know? I started thinking about how they were looking at my brain. I started thinking about how I had a brain. Hey, I really had a brain! What were Corey and Lori doing? Wow, this machine is really loud even with my ears blocked. Oh my goodness I have an itch on my nose. How much can I wiggle my fingers? Can I move my feet at all? Doesn’t any movement of my body move the rest of it? As I looked in the mirror into the other room, I wondered, how I had not seen that room when I came in? Where was it? What were they seeing? Why were there so many people in the room? Dang it! Breathe! Oh my goodness I’m in a dark long tube! How long has it been? Why aren’t they talking to me? Can they please not talk to me? Can they please not tell me how much longer? Wait why is it so silent? What do the sounds mean? What does my brain look like? Oh my goodness this tube is long. I hope there’s not a monster just waiting to grab my head in the part of the tube I didn’t enter. Why am I so far in? Didn’t Dr. S say I wouldn’t be pulled all the way in? Uh oh. Why the silence? That’s a long silence. I can do this.  Really I can. Uh huh. I got this. Soon enough it’ll be over and I’ll be on my way and Lori and I can have our visit. Why is it taking so long? Or has it been long? I’m feeling cramped. I’m so hungry! UM DID THEY FORGET ME? Why does this machine vibrate too? No one told me about that part? WHAT IF THERE IS SOMETHING REALLY WRONG WITH ME? WHAT IF I HAVE MS? The mind loop was endless and I worked so hard not to get worked up that I was so stuck in my head. Did I have a body anymore?

So then I feel the table start sliding me out. I must be done. OK. I can do this. Phew! I’m done! Wait, that long haired lady is back and she has a serious look on her face. Does she have a serious look on her face? What is she doing? Shouldn’t she be pulling me out? I’ll ask her. Where’s my voice? Why can’t I say anything? Did I forget how to talk? Can I move? AM I DONE? What is she doing with that needle? WHAT’S HAPPENING?! No. No more needles. I’ve had enough needles and blood taken from me in the past 6 months. (Little did I know it was only the BEGINNING…).

I really don’t know if she told me she was putting “Contrast/Dye” into my veins. I just remember thinking that I felt like a specimen and some kind of experiment. I must be a part of a horror movie right now. Wait! I don’t remember being told I’d have this done. Why is it happening? She asked me what arm was best for veins and I told her I wasn’t sure. So she just tried. (I now know it’s my left arm just on the outside. Otherwise, my veins hide and don’t like being bothered. They’re busy.) OW! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! The shooting pain was abominable. I was strapped down. I think I jerked and she tried to hold me down and apologized and said she had missed it and would have to try again. I asked her what she was doing anyway I think finally and she said she thinks they might have seen something (ummmm not a good idea to tell me this and aren’t they supposed to keep their mouths shut?) and so they are putting ink in my veins to find out.

FREAK OUT BUT STAY STILL!

STAY STILL?! STAY STILL?!

OH MY GOD! WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?! SOMETHING WRONG? WHAT DO I DO? I can’t have something wrong with me. My sister’s here. I’m supposed to be tough for her. I’m not supposed to show any weakness. And then she moved to the other arm. Yes, I’m still locked in. I have a ridiculous force of will to stay in one place because honestly my head had me sprinting out of there so fast and yelling and screaming down the hallways. GET ME OUT OF THERE!

And something in my head told me to try to calm down. Let’s just get this over with. It may be nothing. They had told me that before during this journey of finding out what’s wrong with me. They thought they saw something and I’d freak and worry and lose my mind and then I’d found out it was nothing or that oh so fun medical word, “inconclusive”. Oh the things I could do with that word…

So she tries my other arm and she just couldn’t get the vein. She didn’t just stab me this time but squeezed my arm so tight and had me clenching fists and FINALLY I think she got it. Meanwhile, the other arm was still screaming. She had gotten the ink in my muscle. Who knows what that did to me. I still wonder. Before she sent my head into that dark tube she asked me if I had anyone there with me  in the Waiting Room and I told her yes and who they were. She said she’d tell them it was taking longer than expected.

So she says, OK, this shouldn’t take too much longer and she sent me back into that dark tube abyss…to be in my own head…to freak out…to be so horrified and think I was living in a nightmare…Did anyone really tell Corey and Lori why it was taking so long? What did they say? Did they know more than me? A part of me knew, I KNEW, that something was really wrong with me. What it was was terrifying me. The possibilities were endless. Would I find out right away? Would I have to wait forever to find out? What now? This should be done with me! I want out! Get me out of here! I was clearly wound up with so much stress I could barely stand it. I don’t know how I did actually. I guess a survival instinct took over. I was so worried about what Corey and Lori were thinking and that this shouldn’t have had to happen while she was here and now what and my head just kept exploding with crazy thoughts.

FINALLY…

THE MRI MACHINE STOPPED…

AND I WAITED FOR-WHAT SEEMED LIKE-EVER FOR SOMEONE TO PULL ME OUT OF THAT TUBE.

I had tensed up so much I could hardly move. I was so in my head I could barely function. This time the person taking me out was a blonde older woman with curly hair and glasses and she looked directly over me where my head was and I’ll never forget her eyes and the way they looked at me and kept staring at me as she unhooked my head and loosened it all up around me.

SHE LOOKED AT ME AS IF I WAS GOING TO DIE.

DIE.

I still have those eyes of her’s so stuck in my memory that I don’t think they’ll ever come out. So as I’m still laying there and I now have my ears clear, she asks me all kinds of questions. How am I feeling? What are my symptoms? When did they start? Do I have anyone here with me now? And I can hardly talk. I try to sit up really quick and I almost fall off the table I’m so dizzy and out of it. I’m so traumatized. I’m 25. I’m invincible remember?

I also was incredibly tense with MS and didn’t know and probably lupus and didn’t know that for so many more years after that that it’s a wonder I didn’t have a major attack/exacerbation/flare right there on the table or in that room. She kept those “You are going to DIE eyes on me the whole time.” I felt violated and so alone. I just wanted to get out of there. And in that same tone with those eyes, she said, “Now I need you to call your doctor right away in the morning. It’s too late now because you’ve been in here so long.”–Oh it wasn’t just me thinking it was long? It REALLY was that long? Poor Corey and Lori! I was so used to trying to please everyone and entertain everyone that I couldn’t be anything but that strong person. How was I going to show myself? I didn’t even know what they had said to them. They must be so worried.

So I tried to sit up and that wasn’t happening very well. I almost fell off the table. I had “freaked out dark tunnel scared to death” head. Horrifying. Why didn’t I wake up yet? Worst nightmare ever. Especially those “death” eyes of her’s. She caught me as I teetered to the side and held me upright and still looked at me as if I was going to DIE right there on her. I wish I could be exaggerating here about how she was looking at me but to this day with everything else I’ve been through, I have yet to see “THOSE DEATH EYES” on anyone else. So she told me to just sit there for a bit and she’d go out into the Waiting Room and tell Corey and Lori I was done and coming out soon. She came back in and asked me if I was OK getting up.

YES! GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW!

And I jumped up. Ooops. I stumbled and almost fell. Get me away from this woman please! She’s scaring me! Where was my voice? Did I even know how to talk? I had hidden me away somewhere deep into my brain. I was protecting me. I think I was a shell at that point. So upon seeing that I’m stumbling and clearly my legs are jello she tells me I’m going to have to ride in a wheelchair out into the Waiting Room and she’d be back.

WHAT?! A WHEELCHAIR?! I’M STRONG! I CAN WALK! I’M OK! I HAVE TO SHOW EVERYONE I’M OK! I CAN’T BE WEAK! PLEASE! NO!

I think I mumbled to please not do that but if she heard me she ignored me. All the while those “death” eyes on me as much as possible. I’m surprised she left me alone at all.

So she helped me a little too much into the wheelchair. By that time I had more of my bearings and was entering my body a little bit more from my hiding place in my head and I gave her a look like, “I GOT IT!” and forced myself into that chair. And then horrified, I was wheeled into the very bright Waiting Room where I saw Corey and Lori. As she’s rolling me she’s on a constant loop of telling me to call my doctor and not to ignore it and it was very important and when I finally found a voice to ask her what was wrong she told me she couldn’t tell me but that it was so very important and oh my goodness.

I was mortified that Corey and Lori would see me in a wheelchair because I mean really, I had only had an MRI. I was fine. I could walk. What the heck? I couldn’t look weak. I got this. Really. So still struggling to find my words, I try to get up out of the wheelchair ASAP and that blonde woman was STILL THERE! GO AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE! DON’T TALK TO THEM! I HEARD YOU! I’M RIGHT HERE!

“Please make sure you talk to her doctor tomorrow OK. It’s so very important. You really need to do that. You can’t waste any time.”–as if I’m not there and I’m not understanding what she means and she gave them those same “death” eyes.

HERE’S MY QUESTION  TO HER OVER 10 YEARS LATER:

WHY DID SHE NOT MAKE SURE SOMEONE CALLED MY DOCTOR THAT NIGHT NO MATTER WHAT IF IT WAS SUCH AN EMERGENCY TO HER?! WHAT AM I MISSING?!

So she walks away and Corey and Lori are looking at me like I need to be treated with gentle hands. That’s what I felt like. Now I know they were looking at me like they were concerned and worried and they were allowed to be. They got those same EYES from that woman that I did about me. Scary! So as I start bawling and Corey’s telling me it’s OK and I can stay in the wheelchair as long as I need to and ALL I WANT TO DO IS GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT WHEELCHAIR! I CAN WALK! I CAN GET UP ON MY OWN! LET ME!

I still had a bit of a hard time talking especially with the crying and finally he understood that I wanted to get OUT OF THAT FRIGGIN’ WHEELCHAIR and into a regular chair and I wanted to throw that wheelchair as far away from me as possible. Somehow FINALLY I found my way into a regular chair and I bawled and bawled. I think I left a piece of me in that MRI room. I lost a lot of innocence that day. I found out I was mortal. I found out I wasn’t invincible.

I was human.

HUMAN.

We sat in that Waiting Room for a long time while I regathered myself a little bit more. When I look back on that night I think about how Lori was there and Corey was there. I wasn’t alone. That was no mistake. That was why I had scheduled the MRI for that night. I needed my Sister. Corey needed my Sister too I think. My Sister and I were still struggling with our relationship then and I had to be me with her the next few days. ME. And that was OK.

And one side note: I’m not surprised I couldn’t stand that wheelchair. It turns out I get very dizzy in them or I used to even up to a year and a half ago. I don’t know about now and I’m very fortunate not to know. I’m so grateful I can still walk. It’s weird. I’m OK with others in wheelchairs (well as OK as I can be considering these people are having a hard time in some way) but I felt like I couldn’t be in one. However, I now know that it’s hospital protocol. The last thing they want is me falling on their watch because uh oh I might sue. Oh poor things…

That’s it for now. I’m glad I got it out. As you can tell, I didn’t DIE. I haven’t DIED  yet. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. I’m too busy living.

And what happened after that?

ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! So much so that I need to recover from this post in order to write another one. I hope it doesn’t take me over a year because I think it’s ready to come out and I can tell already that I’m more healed from finally writing this.

Therapists have now told me that I am still suffering a bit from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from just that one experience and that there are separate episodes to work through too all connected with this one. I believe it. I wish there had been enough sensitivity at the time to really see what I was going through. I feel it in my heart that we all need to see Therapists at some point in our lives but when going through such trauma as medical tests and the limbo part before diagnosis and then the diagnosis of the Chronic Illness along with maintenance care throughout–we should be REQUIRED to see a Therapist. To not talk about it is poison and can only make our health worse.

Medical Journey Trauma (I think I just came up with a new term) is REAL. And we all deserve to talk about it, process it and move on with our lives.

Oh and how do I feel about MRIs these days????

THEY STILL SUCK!

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JUST DANCE!…and while you’re at it play the bongos and tambourine…

The past few days have been really hard and intense for me and I find I start to tighten up inside and clench up all my muscles which of course leads to flared MS and lupus symptoms and probably some signs of IBS…If I’m not careful I become a hard ball of dried up goo.  You know the goo I’m talking about.  Not the good goo.  Wait.  Is there even good goo?  What is good goo?  Why am I stuck on what goo is?

ANYWAY…

Thankfully my head has been clear enough to remind me to DANCE!

DANCE!

MOVE MY BODY!

SHAKE IT OUT!

I used to think that because I “felt” like I had no rhythm I couldn’t/shouldn’t dance…that because I “wasn’t” coordinated I couldn’t/shouldn’t dance…that moving my body in any way “wasn’t” dancing because I “thought” I wasn’t a good enough dancer…

LIES!

WHATEVER!

DON’T PUT A LABEL ON IT!

JUST MOVE THAT BODY FOR GOODNESS SAKES!

LET OUT THE TOXINS!

Can’t move very well?  Well I bet there’s a part of you that can move a little.  Perhaps it’s your pinky finger.  Well then MOVE IT!

Why don’t you try it now?  Really.  Take a moment.  It’s always good to pause and take a moment.  Come on.  It’s only a moment.  One little moment.  Now MOVE something.

How’d it feel?

You don’t know.  WELL MOVE SOME MORE.

TURN ON SOME MUSIC AND BOUNCE AROUND.  You’re probably at home and reading this and thinking I’m wacky.  Yes I am.  Try it.  Loosen up that body.  No BODY should be sitting around at a computer all day anyway.  It’s OK.  You can get up from reading this and try it.  And even if you’re not at home, tap that foot wherever you are, stretch those fingers out, tap those fingers, move your head from side to side, hit your side with our hand, stretch out your toes and if you do it enough someone else near you might do the same thing and before you know it it’s become a THING!

IMAGINE THAT!  A THING!  YOU CAN EVEN GIVE IT YOUR OWN NAME!

A couple of years ago I was in this health self care support group thingie (so fancy with my wording aren’t I?) and one of the meditations we tried was “Shaking Meditation” and/or “Dance Meditation” and it MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD FOR ME.  You see, I hold it all in before I let it all out.  CRAZY I KNOW.  Tell me.  I’m working really hard these days on letting it out.  It will eat me up and I will feel crappy.  Sure my body might feel crappy from moving, but something in me will feel relieved.  My head might feel lighter.  The endorphins will have gotten moving for the first time in Ages and may even be yawning themselves because of the fatigue from my MS or lupus or you name it but I bet I’ll feel mentally brighter after they wake up again!  There will be some relief somewhere.  I might even be breathing consciously again and realizing I’ve been holding my breath or something ridiculous like that.

OXYGEN ROCKS.

BREATHING ROCKS.

So today what did I do to help my body and mind?  Not only did I take my walk and do my Physical Therapy but I also danced, played my new bongos and played my tambourine!

I KNOW!

I WENT ALL OUT TODAY and you know what?

IT HELPED ME SO MUCH!

My mood is better, my body feels looser and I don’t feel so clenched and tight inside.

AMAZING.

Sooooo, now I have more self care items to add to my list.  More dancing, more bongo playing and more tambourine playing.  Turns out that with looser wrists (thank you recovery) it’s easier to play the tambourine and it sounded a lot better.

Oh and the best part is:

IT’S FUN!

I KNOW.  HEALTHY AND FUN.

CRAZY!

So go on out there and DANCE!  MOVE THAT BODY!  SHAKE OUT THE WEEK!  SHAKE ALL WEEKEND!  PLAY SOME MUSIC!  BANG SOME DRUMS!

And if you get a chance, let me know how you feel and leave a comment.  I’d love to hear your feedback.

LOVE TO ALL!  THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME ON THIS CRAZY RIDE CALLED LIFE!

 

Now

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CAMBRIA HERE WE COME!

YIPPEEEE!!!!

Heading to Cambria today at some point when we can pull ourselves together! We have reservations at a spa/hotel/resort in a room that has a king size bed, jacuzzi style tub with spa jets, a fireplace, a pillow top bed, a spa to get massages and facials, supposed live entertainment on Saturday nights, a luxury continental breakfast in the mornings, a walkway that connects to a boardwalk that leads through a State Park straight to the ocean and the list goes on and on! I can’t wait!

Yesterday was the kind of day that went really well in the beginning and it all flowed really well and then about halfway through after making a business call it sank and it sank fast. I don’t want to get into it but this trip has come at the PERFECT TIME!

Not only is Cleo Kitty doing quite well (and we have a lovely lady coming to watch and stay with her who has bonded with her in the past which I tell you is a VERY RARE THING if you’re not Corey or myself), I am feeling much much better from taking care of myself and going to the doctor and taking antibiotics that IMMEDIATELY kicked that infection’s buttinsky and from the storms happening last night that ACTUALLY INCLUDED ONE HUGE BRIGHT FLASH OF LIGHTNING AND THEN A HUGE CRAZY CRACK OF THUNDER RIGHT OVERHEAD (which is VERY RARE AND EXCITING IN LA) so that helped me get some physical relief, I’m actually feeling up to taking a road trip (WHOA! LOOK AT ME GO!–haven’t been able to plan a road trip or trust that I could do one longer than 2 hours and that was pushing it…for AGES it feels like), I’m going with Corey and I can’t remember the last time we got away just the 2 of us to a place that wasn’t connected to anyone we knew (don’t get me wrong I love my peeps but we need some REAL TIME AWAY), and well IT IS JUST TIME.

So off we go at some point today. Part of this whole trip is the road trip. We will get there when we get there. I used to love road trips with Corey. We have the best time if we just go with it. I keep thinking we should be hurrying up and leaving now but then that’s not either of our styles to be honest and that would kick my already emotionally fragile lupus and MS butt that has made my physicality a bit fragile too today. So when it’s meant to be that we go, we go.

To be honest, after that phone call yesterday regarding YET ANOTHER BIG LIFE DECISION (HAVEN’T I MADE ENOUGH OF THOSE LATELY!? A GAL NEEDS A BREAK HERE AND THERE!), if I wasn’t already getting away and planning on running away anyway to try to relax and clear my head, I would’ve run away anyway. I have mentally had ENOUGH!

So enough of this writing chatter. Gotta get back to my self care so we can get the heck outta here.

THE ONLY DOWNSIDE?

… (sad face here) Leaving Cleo Kitty. I haven’t left her since the whole “cancer” episode (I say that because she is so resilient and awesome that she doesn’t seem to have cancer (really long story–but she does have some other serious health problems and sensitivities. Never did get a definitive diagnosis because she’s a kitty and didn’t need to be more traumatized than she already was for goodness sakes) and that was in December 2011. We are quite attached to each other and have been each other’s caretakers since then. So as much as I know it is for the best, it will still be hard. But we will be back Sunday night. And I have to remember that the fact that we can even leave her at this point is amazing. In November we had planned a similar trip to celebrate 15 years together and 6 years of marriage and had to cancel it because her health was so questionable and we couldn’t leave her. Now I look at her and it’s hard to believe that happened. She’s so in the mood to keep living and we finally got to the bottom of her health stuff too so that’s good.

Anyway, I keep babble-writing. Off I go!

Write soon!

Oh and to my new followers HI! Yay! Thanks for joining me on my crazy path. To my commenters–yay thank you for commenting! I plan on responding next week.

Have a great weekend y’all! I know I am not the only one going through this thing we call life and holy moly it can be hard and intense…

Love to all!

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A CLEAN MOUTH OF HEALTH!

OMG!  No WAY!

This is the second time in a row that I have gone to the Dentist and been told that my mouth is doing really well!  HOW COOL IS THAT?!

See with LUPUS and lupus medications, I have had a tendency to have dry mouth syndrome (I know there’s a name for it), swollen gums, bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, a sensitive or swollen tongue (TMI I know), cankers and just a whole bunch of IRRITATION!

Well lately I’ve been thinking about my Dentist appointment coming up and have realized that I have not been thinking about my mouth lately.  Now isn’t that a weird sentence for ya!  Funny how that is.  I have been thinking about issues and symptoms in my mouth for years…EVEN BEFORE THE LUPUS DIAGNOSIS IN AUGUST 2010.

SO YEAH.

All is CLEAN AND WELL IN NAHLEEN’S MOUTH!

That may have been more than you needed to know but I’m happy to share it because right now, any good physical health is a huge VICTORY for me these days!

The ONLY REMINDER I got from my Dentist is to be really careful and pay extra attention to my Wisdom teeth (yes I still have ALL 4 OF THEM!  If only I was more WISE from them…) because that’s where all the problems can really start since they’re so hard to get to.  I get that reminder every time so it wasn’t a big concern.

SO HOW COOL IS THAT?!

I NEED MORE APPOINTMENTS LIKE THAT!

I was so up from that good news and appointment that I found myself eating lunch at the Veggie Grill using a gift card given to me by an awesome friend, and having my favorite B-Wing Salad (if you haven’t tried you have got to!), then driving to Santa Monica beach so I could pick up some purple hair dye and stock up at a new store (of which I LOVE and had no idea about–thank you SIRI on my IPhone–you may be creepy but you helped a lot today), ended up purchasing some special muscle soak bath salts that are all natural and stopped by a Jamba Juice to try to get some extra nutritional needs taken care of since I’m going on a special diet prep for a special Hydrogen Breathing Test on Thursday.  Needless to say Wednesday will be weird, hence the dying the hair purple to pep me up for Thursday’s “UN-FUNNESS” of no eating and no meds till after the test that may take over 3 hours (YIPPY SKIPPY), and nurturing the body because lupus and MS can get very irritated from being so OUT OF ROUTINE and depleted of all things to take care of it.

I also found myself driving along the coast and parking very easily at a spot along the street with my Handicapped Placard (best part about having one is parking and not having to pay for meters or worry about time constraints unless they’re Street Sweeping–learned that the hard way years ago) and walking down the stairway (COULD NOT HAVE PLANNED THAT BETTER), only to find myself walking out onto a WALKWAY halfway onto the beach and then straight towards the ocean.  It was a cloudy cool day so hardly anyone was there…THAT IS EXCEPT 2 DIFFERENT PHOTO SHOOTS (one of them may have been a music video–so WISH I knew who those 2 different women in different locations were with their whole entourages) and lots of birds taking advantage of the absence of weird human creatures.

Once that was done I dragged my satisfied self (getting tired by then but so happy to be taking care of myself and things just so wonderfully falling into place) to the grocery store to get some regular groceries and other items to help me get through the strange diet menu I need to have tomorrow to Prep for that Thursday test.

SO ALL IN ALL.  A pretty good day even if I do say so myself and I DO!

Was also nice to see that our Cleo Kitty was doing better since this morning because this morning she got sick I think from eating her food too fast and that always worries us with her health issues.  She seems to still be recovering but is much better I think.  Was probably good for me to get away and leave her alone so she could get some REAL rest but BOY was she HAPPY TO SEE ME AND I TO SEE HER.

I LOVE MY CLEO KITTY!

OK.  Time to unwind…

It’s nice when days fall into place.  They rarely do that with such ease and I’m going to take the time to enjoy that…

AND BREATHE…

RIGHT NOW.  DID YOU BREATHE WITH ME?  YOU SHOULD TRY IT.  MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE.

That’s even better.

Hope you all have had a good day too!  We all deserve more of those!  Write to you soon!

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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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Focus: REST!

Hi!  I’m back from my Rest-cation!  Hope you all had a good and restful week too!

I am so glad I took the time to rest last week.  Why is that so hard?  I mean, really.  Rest.  After trying to practice it even more these days, the word still seems unfamiliar to me–almost foreign.

I have been known to share with others that I feel “Rest is Productive”.  Do I really believe it?  Yeah, I guess somewhere in a little nook of my brain I’m starting to accept that.  Why?  Because after 2 years of being forced to do more of this strange concept called “Rest” (not to mention the other 8 years of supposedly “resting” my body with an MS diagnosis) I have found that I actually feel better when I do so.  Before my lupus diagnosis 2 years ago, I found that rest was only something I did because I had to and because it “kept me going” like the Energizer Bunny.  I don’t really know that it helped that much to be honest with you.  My head wasn’t in it.  That’s for sure.  Now I find that it actually helps me function better and get on with my day.

BUT I still only really REST when I have been kicked back on my butt.  So there I was last week on my Rest-cation thinking I’m totally getting this Rest thing down.  I mean, if you asked me before Thursday, I was SO RESTING.  Right?  Well, sort of but not fully committed to it.  Then on Thursday after I felt I had rested at home enough and wanted to get out and do things that might be restful for my mind, my body decided it really needed more REST–it was feeling AWFUL with terrible fatigue and pretty weak–and I had to LITERALLY get on my butt on the couch with my feet up and REST.  I mean, really.  Hadn’t I already been doing that?  I guess not as much as I should’ve been.

So I did just that.  I RESTED.  I didn’t have much choice.  I didn’t want to feel any worse.  I learned a valuable lesson too.  That lesson included an actual realization that even RESTING can cause symptoms in my body and that it isn’t all MY FAULT.  I didn’t do ANYTHING to make me feel worse.  It JUST HAPPENED.

That is huge.  Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about my health has told me before that none of this is my fault and I have no real control over whether I feel better or worse and that sometimes these things really are RANDOM.  Go figure.  RANDOM.  I have 2 diseases.  They are going to act up whether I want them to or not.

I CAN ONLY DO WHAT I CAN TO MAKE SURE I DON’T EXACERBATE THEM FURTHER.

I CAN CHOOSE TO REST.

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