Category Archives: Health

Travels…in my mind

I would love to say I’ve been traveled and that is why my last blog post has been so long ago. Ok, so I’ll say I’ve been traveling.  I often do, only it is never a physical trip; I never leave my house!  I go to all sorts of places, however lately I have spent a lot of time with family in California.  I think it is because I had planned a trip there over two years ago now and had to cancel because of a sick fur-kid.  Of course, in hindsight, I did not have to cancel and should not have canceled, but only hindsight can show me that.  Somehow, I don’t think my recent “trips” to the sunny state of California measure up to what it would be like to actually go there!

I have also made return trips to Hawaii, to bask in the sunshine and feel the warm ocean water again!  It is so beautiful with the tropical flowers and the bright colors.  And the Rocky Mountains, in contrast, with their strength and majesty.  The mountain streams cascade with a clear purpose and direction.  And there are so many other places that I visit over again, just to experience their beauty and the peace, the joy and the excitement I felt being there.

In reality, I have just been very stressed and exhausted lately.  I really don’t think the exhaustion has anything to do with my travels, either!  I’ve been having “issues” around the house and I guess I’m just not as good at dealing with them as I used to be.  It just wears me out.  It has set off the RA and the PsA, which as resulted in swollen and painful joints, especially in my hands.  This angers me, as I feel if I dealt with the stress better, I would not have the physical reaction.  And, we all know what this does…yep, makes the physical reaction worse!  Ain’t that productive!

Today, I am going to try to break the pattern and get back to what I want to be doing.  This is my start to that.  So I will try to be more “responsible” in my posting.  I am hoping that the problems  around the house are just about over…although owning a house usually means there is always something that needs tending to.  (I really like having little “projects” to do; I just like being able to DO them, I don’t like things going wrong that I can’t fix.)  Also, it is autumn, my favorite time of year…the colors and the smells are superb!  It will be awesome to be able to once again experience Mother Nature’s bounty! I am so grateful for all that She gives to us.

I won’t stop traveling though, I’ve found it to be a rather enjoyable pursuit.

 

Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

Once again, it has been it has been far too long.  I can honestly report that it is not because I’ve had nothing to say, just no time/energy to say it!  Just to catch every one up: Rudy, my Super Dooper Trooper is doing Wonderfully! He gave me another scare, and only one week ago I thought I was going to lose him.  Then, on Wednesday, 9/10, he had a “perfect” glucose level of 133! The vet and I agreed that we are going to wait one month before testing him again.  He’s been through enough tests and it’s time to just let him be for now.  Additionally, I have fallen twice in the past  two weeks, which has taken a toll on my body.  This may be the stress of everything causing a lack of coordination or just too much going on.  Either way it is taking a toll on my body!

Needless to say, dealing with this emotional roller coaster has left me fairly exhausted all the time.  I am still keeping up with the things I normally do, I am just not doing them at the same level.  I do think in the past day or two, I am starting to return to “normal,” whatever that is!  At least, I am feeling like I want to do something again!  I have begun to “study” writing, as I believe that to do something well, one must keep up on the skills of doing it.  In my case that means learning AND doing!  I have done that with just about everything I have ever done in my life and it has worked out well for me.  I just have to watch out for the tendency to get caught up in the learning and never get to the doing part!  Especially now that the doing is writing, which is very scary for me.  As I write those words, it seems very ironic that writing would be scarier than therapy! After all, therapy is, if done incorrectly, a far more dangerous enterprise. I mean, if I suck at writing, it is not detrimental to anyone’s life. (Except maybe my ego, but not my life.) Yet if I sucked at therapy, I could really screw someone’s life up. And I was not scared to walk into my office every day and see folks for therapy, in fact I enjoyed it.  So when I think of it that way, writing should be easy, right?  I think I will continue learning…

On that note, I just started reading a new book, entitled “Trying Not To Try” by Edward Slingerland.  It is based on the Chinese Philosophy of wu-wei, which is described as “an effortless way to go through life with spontaneity.”  It allegedly disputes all the thoughts about planning, reasoning and effort being needed for a happy life.  I am interested to find out more about the philosophy, especially since it fits into my theme of this year: “Just Be.”  Also, maybe it will help me be able to put words on paper; just write and stop trying so hard to make it perfect and planned out.  Which, of course, will probably go against everything I am learning about outlines, research and index cards!  That is what makes learning so much fun though…reading about all the different ways of doing things and putting them together to make the way that works for me!

After all, once I figure it out, I could write a book about it!

Reclusive or Selective: The Semantic Game

I’ve told myself that I am not becoming reclusive; I am just more selective about what I do. I am not sure if I am just playing a semantic game with myself, but I am sure that my activities are changing.  I no longer log on to Facebook daily, but I do try to check in at least weekly to keep up with the people I talk to via messages.  I just don’t see much value in all the posts, seems like people put the silliest stuff on there.  I mean I guess it’s important to someone what you had for dinner, just not so much to me.  I also don’t tweet, don’t Pin anything nor am I linked in to anyone.  I really don’t spend that much time surfing any more either.  If there is something I need or want to know, I can usually find it with a quick search, read the articles and be done in fifteen or twenty minutes.   I also don’t go out as much as I used to.  I am quite content to stay in my house with my fur-kids. And they seem to get quite upset when I leave them.  Actually, it is getting hard to get me out of my house, not because I am afraid to leave, rather because I am just so comfortable here.  And I am always concerned that I will have to leave because of pain and cause disruption in the activity.  This causes me to stay home a lot also.

I did go “out” over this past weekend, however, and it was an interesting experience.  The “plan” was to go to a street dance that was a local fundraiser for the downtown district where I live.  Of course it was raining a lot, so they moved the party inside.  And they eliminated all the food vendors.  That meant going out to dinner, which we did and it was lovely!  The food was great, the company wonderful and the conversation fun.  Then to the “club” where the party was, which pointed out to me that it had been a long time since I have been in a club and I am getting old.  Wow, was it loud in there!  It didn’t take me long to re-acclimate myself and I found myself loving it! One of my favorite things to do is to “people watch” and there was the perfect spot above the main floor to do just that.  And the band, who were very good, was in the other room so they weren’t so loud! As a bonus, I had a fascinating conversation about a myriad of topics with a very cool woman.  I am glad that despite my desire to stay home, I went and had a great time. I was not able to complete the evening this weekend, as I came home early due to “wearing out,” but the going out was a good thing.

Being selective about what I do is a good thing, and I will continue.  Unfortunately, my stamina is not what it was and I cannot do all the things I’d like.  So I will have to make choices just like everyone else, even if mine are a little more limited.  Looking at the possibilities as though there are possibilities will make a huge difference in my choices.  

A Three Year Journey, Never Intended

Three years I began a New Life.  Or should I say I began a New Journey in my Life.  A New Journey sounds so much better and more intriguing, wouldn’t you agree?  I would assume it depends on whether it is a Journey one intended to take.

I went home for lunch on a Thursday afternoon, it was August 5, 2011.  I’d been having “episodes” of unknown origin, but they were mimicking TIA’s or mini-strokes.  I had been to the hospital ER many, many times; had more CT scans of my head than I probably should have in my lifetime; and, had freaked out my friends, my co-workers and myself more than once.  On this day, instead of going to the ER, I called my doctor.  I thought that was a wise move, since I was tired of wasting everyone’s time and resources to be told that they didn’t know what was wrong.  The doctor told me I had to see a neurologist and until I did, no more work.  Little did I know that it would take a year, and my insistence at seeing a third neurologist to get a diagnosis and a solution.  Of course, by this time, I had no job, which meant I had to move because I could no longer afford where I was living.  Of course this provoked just a little (sarcasm here) stress in my life, which caused the RA to go out of control.   Additionally, I lost two of my main supports, which were my old neighbors.  I had not planned on that.  I’ve never returned to work and my health is such now, that it seems unlikely I ever will.  Although, I would like nothing better.

There are many details, twists and turns that life has taken throughout these past three years, far too many to mention here.  The life lessons are always the most important; the demons we struggle with and overcome; the challenges we face and win; and the realization of who and what really matters.  I know that these will continue throughout my life, I hope to get better at dealing with them and at letting go of the little things and the things I cannot change.  I am finding that, unfortunately, that also means letting go of people.  There are people in my life who let me down to the point that I can never trust them again; who have shown me their true character and, not that I am perfect, it is cruel; and, there are those who have, at least in their own honesty, walked away from me.  This has been the hardest part of my journey during the past three years.  Or maybe it has been the hurt I have caused others, for I know I have.  I have let people down in ways for which I have many regrets.  I have tried to make amends where possible and apologies when I can.  And tried to do it better the next time.  I guess that is all to do.

It has been an interesting journey.  I have learned a lot about myself, my world and the people in my world.  I have been to the depths of depression and have had wonderful friends to pull me back up.  I have had major health crises that without my friends I would literally not have survived.  And I have had triumphs that my friends were with me to celebrate and share.  What have I learned? That I have the BEST FRIENDS, that I am BLESSED they are in my life; that no matter how dark or lonely some days may get, they will ALWAYS be there, just one phone call away.  I have also learned that I can handle much more than I thought I could, and I really thought I was pretty strong before.  I’ve learned to be more independent and to ask for help only when it is truly needed.  I’ve learned to let the little things go and not stress about them as much.  I’ve learned to be GRATEFUL for all that I have, for it is so much!  I’m learning to ENJOY EACH MOMENT because it is all I really have and to stop expecting things to be a certain way.  It appears that when I can release my expectations, I am pleasantly surprised by something new!  The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I have a lot to learn!  This is good, for life will continue with its twists and turns and how boring it would be without them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Bought A Bicycle!

On July 4th most people hang out with friends or family at barbecues and picnics, playing games, drinking beer, laughing and having fun.  That doesn’t for me, at least not any more. I did have lunch with a friend, which was wonderful, as we sat by the flooding river and enjoyed ourselves at an outdoor restaurant.  Afterwards, we shopped.  We used to shop a lot together, but we stopped that practice because it was not good for either of our bank accounts.  We are bad influences for each other when we shop!  And we know it.  So going shopping together can be dangerous thing for us to do.

I have thought about buying a bicycle for a while.  I need to get exercise.  I was told, however, by a couple of doctors many years ago that I should not ride a “regular” bike again, because of my back issues.  My bicycle “should be” a recumbent bicycle.  I listened to the doctors and stopped riding a bicycle. I bought a recumbent stationary bicycle and use it sometimes.  It’s just not as much fun.  I recently decided that I was going to try to ride a regular bicycle again.  I am tired of all the “rules” and “limitations” that I have been given.  I have listened and I have followed them and I am bored with life.  it seems that I sit in my house and do very little.  Most days that’s all I feel like doing; but those other days, I want to DO something!  So, I bought a bicycle.  It is not a fancy bicycle, it’s old, it’s a cheap brand and I didn’t pay a lot for it.  A number of people have laughed at it because it is “cheap,” or it is “old” or it has “rust” on it.  I don’t really care about all of that.  It fits me well and it works. The gear shifter was broken and it cost almost as much to get a new one put on as I paid for the bike.  Without a new one though, I couldn’t ride it at all.

After I adjusted the seat and the handlebars, put air in the tires and cleaned up the bike, it was time to try it out.  I got on, pedaled for about thirty seconds and got so dizzy I couldn’t see! Got off the bicycle and put it away.  Not an auspicious start to my new hobby!  I decided I must just be tired and it would be better the next day after I rested.  And it was.  The next day it was even better.  Now I can ride a bit farther every day!  Of course, yesterday I guess I rode a little too far and had an asthma  attack.  I will remember my inhaler from now on, though.

The main thing is that I bought a bicycle! I broke the rules.  I am pushing my limits in a controlled way.  I’m not doing anything too crazy and I’m working up to being able to ride around my whole neighborhood so that I can eventually be able to ride in the park. I will get there.  Maybe I will like it so much that I will buy a better bicycle, but for now the bicycle I have will do just fine.  After all, it deserves another chance as much as I do.

Monday Morning Musings

I haven’t been able to “write” here lately because of my clumsy, accident-prone self.  I didn’t quite make that four-inch step coming into my garage, so the door trapped my foot, took off my shoe and decided I should take a nice hard fall to the concrete floor…with both hands full, of course.  I was having such a fun time, too!

My three kids watching a video!

My three kids watching a video!

My three fur-babies very generously graced me with flowers and potting soil for Mother’s Day, so I was planting them in hanging baskets and planters, so I could display them for the summer.  I was just finishing up, when I took the nose dive into the concrete floor.  I guessing it was a good thing I was almost done! Of course, the plant I was carrying at the time did not fare so well…although while I was laying on the concrete, I did put the soil and the plant back into the now-cracked pot.  I figured I couldn’t get up right away, so I might as well do something useful!  I also assessed my “body” for any damage while I layer there.  It seemed my knee took the brunt of the fall, as I couldn’t use my hands to help.  At least it was the same knee that has already had four surgeries, I thought as I laid there.  As I slowly got up, I realized I was correct, the knee hurt A LOT!  But I looked outside an all the plants I had loving re-potted were sitting in the hot sun and had not been watered yet.  Yep, I watered them, hung them in the shade and cleaned up my mess THEN, I headed for the shower and the ice pack.  It was in the shower that I discovered that my right hand got messed up too.  Hence, I could not write or type!  It is still sore and hurts after use, however I wanted to write, so here it is. It has been over a week now and while I am feeling better, I know that it is not healed.  I did get x-rays and nothing is broken, Yay!  Of course, they say soft tissue damage, which could be worse than a break, but not in my house!

Of course the stress of all of this has made the Psoriatic Arthritis, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis act up like crazy, which helps nothing.  However, I am blessed to have great nephews who help me out with my yard work and other stuff.  And I have friends who will bring me lunch or cook dinner when I can’t, which is also a blessing!  I hope they all realize how grateful I am to and for them.  I have struggled with relationships since moving home, and I am now at a place where I am learning to just accept everyone where they are.  While this is not always easy, and I am always learning, I am getting better at it.  I am absolutely positive that it has not always been easy for everyone to accept me either!

I realized that writing here is a great stress reducer!  I have found that the ‘sphere is a loving and supportive place.  Bloggers, at least the ones that I have met, are accepting and helping.  I know that I am very new at blogging, and I have not met a lot of people, but my life has never been about quantity; it has always been about quality.  And in that way, I have also been blessed and I have much gratitude for the people in my life I trust.  I digress, again!

Writing is a passion.  It is something that if not done, will fester inside until it becomes so painful that when touched, it just explodes.  I find that this is how it is with me.  I have developed a need to write.  Before it was a desire, a want, a something I’d like to do; but now it is something much , much larger.  It is a passion, a driving force.  I find that on days that I am pulled away from my writing, I am becoming resentful.  Not that I don’t want to do the things that are pulling me away, just that I want to write, too!  It is all about balance.  And if I didn’t wear out easily, become so tired and go into the brain fog that comes with these auto-immune dis-eases, I could balance these things much more easily.

I have a passion, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have a goal, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have the tools, I am blessed. And I am grateful.

I have loving support, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have the ability, I am blessed. And I am grateful.

Now to get on with it…

Changing Focus

I did not write last week, which means it was the first week that I did not make my goal.

Yesterday, I found out I have another infection, which is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis, even if this one is a bit more serious.

The curious thing about both of these things:  neither of them has caused me to want quit.  That would be my usual response.  If I set a goal for myself and I do not meet it, I immediately see it as failure and I move on to the next thing.  Hence, blogging would be history for me at this point.  Yet, here I am wanting to create another post.  And the health thing would have caused me to curl up in a ball and start my own, private pity party.  Not today though. Interesting. Even to me.

When I woke up this morning, I had to do my usual, “what day of the week is this,” routine.  It’s hard to keep track sometimes.  Then, instead of thinking,”what am I going to do today,” my thoughts ran to; “gosh, I’ve got to get some things done today!”  There is always a list, no matter how “quiet” you think your life is, there is always a list.  Maybe if I didn’t have a house, or if I didn’t have dogs, or I didn’t have… put in anything you’d like, but then I’d have to add, maybe if I wasn’t alive!

I recently read Anna Quindlen’s book “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.”  It actually started as a commencement address she was to give at Villanova University (they canceled it because of protests).  As of my first reading of the book, I think these things change as we reread things, the premise was: In order to have happiness you had to have a life! Seems like a pretty straightforward idea, until I thought about it and realized that a lot of my depression centered around my not having a life.  Oh, I live.  And considering everything, I live in a blessed way.  But to have a life, one must live differently.

There will always be limitations that I will have to deal with,  just as everyone does.  Financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, the list could go on and on.  Everyone has them.  I am no different from anyone else.  I just have to decide that I can have a life even though I can’t do all the things I might want to do.  I have to find those things that I can do, to make a life; to find my happiness.  No one can help me be happy, nor can anyone help me to make a life (although there have been a few who have helped me to live recently).  I have to own my life and my happiness; I have to take responsibility for it.  I have to stop looking back and wondering “why,” and start looking forward and thinking “WOW!”  I have to realign my lens, so that I can focus more clearly on what is in front of me and around me now. I have never seen a picture dated today but taken of something that happened in the past. Pictures of the past are always faded with time.

Will a change in focus be easy? Probably not all the time, but I am going to give it a valiant try!  I have learned in the past few weeks that focusing on what you want, does not make it happen; focusing on what you have, tends to bring it closer to you.  Lamenting what you have lost only brings more pain; while recognizing all the beauty that is around you, brings more joy.

I am back on track with my goal of writing a blog once a week and I will not quit just because I missed a week.  After all, I have pretty nasty infection that was not being treated until yesterday, I think I can cut myself some slack on that one.  Another thing I never did before! Hmmm……. And the infection will heal and I will go back to dealing with the Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis again, without the infection.  It will be okay.

Most importantly I will follow “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” and go out and find one, just as soon as this infection clears up and I can.  And then I will be able to say “WOW!”