Monday, November 30, 2015

Gifts

When I was in college I started to have panic attacks, it started out just occasionally, and then I started having them once or twice a week.  So I finally went to someone to talk about what was going on, and they decided in addition to working on biofeedback therapy to start me on some medication to get me through the last few weeks of the semester.  At this time, the medication was not the best thing for my system and I started having 3-4 panic attacks a day.  Which meant I was very comitted to the biofeedback therapy and the exercises the therapist was helping me with.  Eventually the doctor agreed that he medication was not helpful in this case and I was safely weaned off of it.     I still had panic attacks and anxiety attacks but those few weeks had taught me a lot about my triggers and things I could do to help.  Eventually I just occasionally had anxiety attacks, and rarely a panic attack.

The past few weeks I have been having a lot of anxiety attacks in the grocery store (a common trigger).  Grocery shopping, food preparation and even eating have been a source of overstimulating my nervous system.   As Thanksgiving approached I grew even more and more anxious.  I was running out of recipe ideas with limited ingredients and was stressed about going to a Thanksgiving meal and not being able to eat anything that was provided. 

There are no words to describe the gratitude I felt when my friend, Victoria, who was hosting Thanksgiving told me she had made some food especially for me folloing my diet and so I had no need to pack a lunch.   It was the first time in weeks, since I started this elimination diet that someone had prepared food for me.  It gave me the gift of being able to be a guest.   Adam was there when I got the message and I just started crying.

In addition to allowing me to be a guest, she also gave me some hope and inspiration to get back to the kitchen and keep experimenting.   To keep going!   She reminded me that I am worth a lot more then this illness is telling me I am worth.  

It opened the door for me to notice all the opportunities being given to me for someone to take are of me.  Adam helping to bundle me up and come up with new ideas to help keep me warm.   Adam reminding me to laugh and to get out of the house to see friends even if I got tired, even if I spend the next couple hours resting.   

I am so thankful for Victoria this weekend for being such a magnificent host and creating space for me to heal and be loved. 

Question to consider:  What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sitting on the Curb

I have been walking a lot lately.  The first day I started walking again, I went out to some trails I usually run on, and found how much I missed being amoung those trees.    So I have been walking eveyday, and somedays I am able to walk for 45 minutes some days I only make it about 20.   This weekend however, I felt like I barely made it out of the door with Adam and Sterling when the pain began intensifying.  

So these are the moments I get to practice, I get to feel what my body is doing and send it signals to relax the muscles that are gripping and spasming.   I get to pay attention to how I am walking and see if I can change something to make myself a bit more comfortable.  

After a couple of blocks, I looked at Adam and said I needed to sit down.  He was kind of enough to take Sterling back to the house and come get me in the car.  I cried a lot, and when we got home, we got out the heating pads and Adam helped me get into a comfortable position.  

Needless to say on Monday when I locked the door and started my walk I was worried.   I was worried the pain would be too much and I would be "stuck" somewhere.   I have this fear a lot, this fear of canceling plans at the last minute, of having to leave dinners early, of simply not having enough energy to face the day.   I have this fear that I won't be loved if I chose to take care of myself and stay home, or leave early or walk super slow ect.....

The funny thing is in the last couple of months a lot of these situations have happened.  I have sat crying in my car for an hour before I was able to drive, I have arrived to appointments late, I have left early...and I am still okay.   I am still surrounded by people that love me.  

So I will continue to walk everyday, with the faith that I will get stronger.  The faith that I will not merely survive but will thrive with the cards I have been dealt.  I have a great medical team and great support, so something will help, and I will continue looking.  I will continue to say "yes!"

Question to consider:  What do you have faith in?   What enables you to say "yes" day after day?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

From the other side

This is a wonderful photo of Adam taking in the view from the edge of the cliff, getting to watch the river, and see the depth of the canyon that was slowly carved by time.   It was truly a breathtaking view, even from where I took the photo.

Here is what you don't see in this photo.   Adam's feelings about walking away from his wife who had just collapsed against a rock because of the pain.   I am not in the photo, leaning against a rock, evaluating my body to determine where the pain is coming from, and if I can walk the twenty or so steps to the edge.   My feelings aren't in this photo, my feelings of frustration, of awe, of gratitude, the fear and so many other feelings and thoughts.   The feelings ultimately pass and I am able to settle into the beauty of the surroundings.   

I didn't make it to the edge of the rock that day, I did get to take in a different view.  I am getting to learn that there is nothing wrong with my view, because even if Adam and I were standing in the exact same place we wouldn't see the same view.   I got a chance to breath in the canyon air, talk with Adam about what carved the canyon, rivers or glaciers, and just marvel at the beauty that surrounded us.  

Question to consider: When you see old photos do you remember what you were thinking/feeling when you took them?   

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Comfort

I started to feel poorly, and I kept going, I kept going until the poorly turned into something a lot worse.  So I took some time to rest and figured things would get better, and they got a little better but not much better.   So I kept going back to the doctor, and eventually she ran out of ideas and referred me to a specialist.

So I went to a specialist and learned this was not going to be a quick fix.  It would get better on it's own time, not my time, not a doctor's time, the body would heal according to it's time.   I was given a new diet and a list of herbs to experiment with, to see what made a difference. A few more tests were ordered and I felt like my life had been completely changed.   

The scientist in me understands there is a difference between causation and correlation.  The scientist in me wants to know the mechanism of why something works, wants to look at the chemistry and the medical studies.  However I get to simply experiment with what makes my body feel better, what helps me heal.   I get to read books, and information about why something might be helpful or hurtful, in the end it all comes down to me.   If it works, maybe I will understand why, it doesn't matter I need to accept that it works.

This experience has been completely overwhelming and I am not out of the woods yet, in some ways I haven't entered the woods.  I don't know how long it will take and I have chosen to ask for a break from my jobs and my teaching so that I can heal.   

I am focusing on things that bring me comfort, like warm drinks, warm hugs and cute adorable pillows!

Question to consider: What brings you comfort?