Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chosing To Live With Purpose & Passion!

For the past 5 days I was blessed to be in the sun & warmth of Scottsdale AZ! It was 5 days of inspiration, growth and the building of friendships both old & new! As I have talked about in my previous blogs ... I have been on a wellness journey over the past several years & it was my privilege to be able to be in a room with 500 people, of all walks of life, who are on this same journey. The stories were amazing & inspirational.

Years ago I heard someone say that it is in our moments of weakness that we connect with others. There is something powerful to know that others understand what it feels like to be sick & not have their health ... then to find wellness again is AMAZING! Every time I hear another story I am moved to tears, because I know what they are experiencing. I think it is only something that you can really understand if you have been through it. To hear stories of children giving thanks because they have been given back their father, or mothers who no longer have to be bed ridden living life from the couch ... they are walking, talking, breathing miracles. Women who have been hiding for years because of skin diseases that cover their face and no longer have a scar! ... These stories lift me up & make me realize I have no excuse not to live MY BEST life! After all I am living ... so why not live? ...

There is no excuse to not live with purpose, passion & movement forward in life. We are our own worst enemy ... we limit ourselves by our own insecurities & fears! Why not step out of the box & see what life has to offer, who we can help? Why focus on all the things in life that aren't working or going right for us? ...That is an all about me mentality! Why not look at the positives & live in that place ... it's a happier place to be, a better use of our energies! There is always going to be things that aren't good or right in our world ... so do we live with that as our focus? What a sad world it would be if everyone chose to stay in that place ... we wouldn't have stories that movies are made of ... of champions & winners stepping out & making different choices, not accepting their circumstances but, pushing on forward toward the goal that they have for themselves. It is those stories that inspire us ... yet so often we chose to sit & do nothing!

I hope you embrace the life you are living with the stories & experiences that are what make you who you are & CHOOSE to live your best life possible with purpose & passion!

Because one person chose to live his best life possible with passion & purpose ... my life has forever been changed ... & so have many others! ... I can't imagine what my life would be like today had he not made that choice!

I was inspired as I watched this video ... I hope you are too!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Is Wellness???

I recently read that wellness is a process of ongoing growth & development ... that begins in the mind. The statement really got me thinking and asking myself a lot of questions! Since I was diagnoised with MS I guess you could say that I have been on a health journey ... a journey to find wellness. In many ways I feel as though I have found this wellness that I have been seeking, after all I physically feel better then I have in years! Do I have a disease? Yes ... most days however, my reality is that I FEEL pretty good, in fact many days I FEEL pretty great physically! ...

Is wellness more then just physical health? What do I REALLY think about wellness??? Do my actions allign with my thoughts/beliefs? Does what I "think" or "know" to be true agree with how I live? How I go thru my day ... Does it agree with what I make a prioity in my life? Do I band aid my wellness just enough so that I don't have to make the tough choices or, God for bid, CHANGE? Do I make myself just comfortable enough so that I can "lie" to myself & make myself belive that I have done enough or that there is nothing more that I can do?

To me WELLNESS is more then just physical health ... it is health in ALL areas of life ... physical, emotional, financial & spiritual. So, how do I measure up? What are my real answers to those questions? ... I realize it's not about perfection ... after all the statements says that is a process of ongoing growth.

The thing I am learning about myself is that ... I often expect perfection of myself & if I know I am not going to be perfect ... I often don't start or try! It is an area I have grown in, but have I grown just enough to "band aid" it in my mind? As I have gone through these questions I realize that it is how I do things ... I do just enough to make myself FEEL good so that I do not have to make the tough changes!

When it comes to my physical health ... I take my supplements, after all they make me FEEL good! The reality of my disease is that I need to be physically active, I should be exercising ... but I don't! I don't make it a priority ... the sad part is that I have friends who have this same terrible disease who are loosing their abilities to walk, loosing their physical coordination or they just plain don't have the energy to get up & be active ... this could be me! Tomorrow I could wake up & not be able to get out of bed ... this is my reality! Yet day after day I make excuses as to why exercise doesn't fit into my life or my day! ... I justify it with all kinds of excuses!

It's interesting to look at all of these areas of my life & maybe for the first time admit to myself that this is a pattern of behavior ... I am not writing this to beat myself up ... but rather it is more of a moment, where for the first time, I see the pattern of how I am. Like something else I read again today ... "You have got to be where you are to get to where you are going. If you resist or deny where you are & who you are, it is hard to move on to where you want to be."

So for me it's really not about perfection or beating myself up for where I am at. It is about acknowledging where I am & where I want to be & then moving in that direction. It's about the journey ...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perspective ...

In life we are faced with all sorts of challenges & adversities ... sometimes it feels like we are faced with them at every corner. It can be challenges of health, finances, relationships, career, parenting or an endless list of other things ... what we do in those moments of challenge is what will form us into who we are. It is our perspective that is the difference maker ... What makes some people fight through trails & failures that others give up in & die. We have all heard the stories of people that make us stand in awe & wonder as to how they could have overcome such obstacles. What makes them fight on & survive ... not just survive but concur? ... A friend recently wrote a blog about failure (http://jaytimms.com/personal-growth/failure/). In it he talks about the concept of losing "everything." Sometimes in life it truly feels like we are losing everything ... but are we really?

I think there are a few important concepts to consider ... 1) Perspective - choosing a positive outlook & seeing the good in the bad almost always leads to a better outcome. 2) Focusing on who we want to be & where we want to be - By focusing on these two things we have a better chance for a more positive outcome. Like the saying ... "Life goes where you focus." You focus on the negative & the bad ... you probably will end up right there. 3) Focus your attention outward - when we are in the thick of our own stuff it is hard to see past it, but if we focus outward we will soon realize that there are many who have things much worse then we do. Try doing something positive for someone else regardless of our own circumstances ... it will lift your spirits as much as it will lift theirs. 4) Never give up - keep focused where you are heading & NEVER give up!

Two friends on FaceBook shared some You Tube videos today & I found them very fitting ... take a minute to watch them & you may just be inspired to keep going ...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Confession ...

So I have a confession to make ... I did a bit of an experiment recently. I changed my supplement regime as a test ... I went off of all the supplements I have been on & that has made me feel so good. I just wanted to see if it was all in my head or not! ... I have been told that it is "all in my head" a time or two by people who I love. Less then 2 weeks in, I was noticing a change in my energy level ... decreased energy. 4 weeks in ... energy was NOT good ... was feeling like I needed a nap in the day again. Week 5 ... not able to make it through the day without a nap! EXAUSTION couldn't describe how I was feeling! My kids even noticed & were commenting to me about it!
I have been back on everything for the past 5 weeks ... My energy was significantly improved by week 2 (2 weeks seems to be my magic number) ... at 4 weeks I was feeling myself ... feeling GREAT! I told my husband the other night that I feel like I have accomplished more in the last 2 weeks then I have in the last two months!

To not have your health & then have it back again is AMAZING! Feeling good starts to feel like a new "normal" ... it was interesting for me to experience not having my health again ... I don't think I will ever forget or take for granted what it truly means to have my health, to FEEL GOOD! ... having good health allows me to truly LIVE my life!

Each day I want to choose to engage in my life, to be an active participant! I want to enjoy the moments life brings, both good & bad, knowing that they are the things that will mold me into the person God wants me to be. It is a difficult task for me to chose to live life this way ... I am the type of person that likes to control things, I like security ... the known. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for me, life isn't that way & the sooner I chose to embrace that fact, rather then dig in my heels & try to make it my way, the sooner I will learn to LIVE life & just BE!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Doing Something Different ...

Yesterday I took my boys to the park to fly kites ... There wasn't nearly enough wind, but we went anyway. I have to be honest ... I normally am so busy that I often don't take time for the little things with my kids. I know ... it's terrible, but it's true. I had a full day & was agitated & couldn't relax. Normally at this point I would probably get on my computer to shut off to the world & continue to be irritated & frustrated inside. Instead, yesterday, I decided to get the boys out of the house & go enjoy the beautiful day!

Sometimes it's the little things that put everything into perspective. As I sat there at the park listening to the boys laughing & running around trying to fly the kites, it made me realize how I need to have more of their spirit! Life hasn't hit them yet ... they don't have a care in the world & are open to experience what the moments in life bring them. I realize that I am always so busy in my mind that I often don't get to experience those little things in a day that can bring so much joy! In  those moments at the park yesterday, I got to leave my worries for a time & just "BE" with my boys! It's funny, my day seemed to take on a new direction ... I wasn't irritated & frustrated anymore ... but rather, I felt blessed, thankful & at peace.

Perspective really is everything! "Choosing something different" in a moment can change ones perspective on what it is they are going through! I have found this to be true with my MS. I could look at this terrible disease as a death sentence, give up & stop truly LIVING ... or I can choose to see it as a blessing! A blessing? Yes I said it ... a blessing! Because of this disease I have met many new friends who are struggling with the same issues & I can relate to them. I have been able to connect with "old" friends who are also on this same path. Maybe, just maybe I can help someone else with my story who is going through another challenge in life. Hopefully I can give people hope through my story. I believe if I am open & can share my life maybe someone out there can find something they can relate to & move forward in their own life! We are all given the life we have, so why not try to do something with it? There is only one me so why not BE ME & share it with the world? Who knows the effect my life can have on another ... what may seem small & insignificant to me in the moment may be the world to someone else!


Yesterday, taking the boys to the park to fly kites was the world to them ... Little did I know it would be the world to me too! ♥

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making a Choice or Someone Making It For Me ...

My husband & I have known eachother for 18 years and he has been big into to health and exercise ever since I have known him. He has been working in the health field for the past 10 years & it was painful for him to have to watch how quickly my health was declining. Watching me paralyzed with information & not making steps for myself as far as treatment, he took it upon himself to research for me. I had become so bogged down with information that I became even more confused as to what I should do to deal with my disease, so for him to research for me was such a blessing. He researched for several months & kept coming to the same conclusion as to what I should be doing.

At this point I was exhausted ALL the time. All I wanted to do was sleep. A normal day for me was to wake up in the morning get kids & ready for school. Once they were out of the house I would often go back to bed for 2-3 hours to sleep. If I stayed up then by 11 or 12 I would go back to bed for a few hours before I had to pick up my kids from school! If I didn't get this nap in the morning or afternoon I was in bed after I got the kids from school for a couple hours. I could no longer clean my house in a day. It had to spread out between several days & quite frankly a lot of things just NEVER got done ... There was just no energy to do it. I am the type of person that always has a to do list in my head. I feel good when I am accomplishing things ... if I am not in this place it is very easy for me to become depressed. Being in that place adds to the already exhausted feeling & creates a monster of moodiness!

In January 2008 my husband finally came to me & told be that he had ordered me a bunch of supplements. In my mind I thought ... "I am already taking supplements & have been for years, why on earth do I need anymore?" I didn't say anything to him about it, but when they came I took them knowing that they would not hurt me, but would only be good for me. I was NOT expecting to notice anything or feel anything from them! About two weeks after starting on these new supplements I remember calling my husband at work, as I was waiting to pick up my kids from school, and telling him, "I think this stuff is actually working." As I sat there waiting for my kids it dawned on me that I was not tired. You see I always slept in my truck while I waited for my kids to get out of school & that day I was NOT TIRED!!!! I sat there reflecting on what I had accomplished that day ... I had cleaned my WHOLE house, done laundry & sent several emails for work & I WASN"T TIRED!!!!! It felt almost too good to be true!

It's been over a year now that I have been feeling like the "old" me! It feels AMAZING!!!! ... it is one thing to feel amazing, but the question of feeling good & wondering what is happening inside my body is another thing. Could it be that I was just feeling good, but the MS was really getting worse ... more lesions? more inflammation? could I be on the verge of another attack? These were all the questions that went through my mind.

I received great news on my birthday between my last two MRI's, the first one taken before I started this new supplement "regime" & one a year and a bit after gave me some of the answers to those questions. The results: I have NO new lesions & ALL of my old lesions have decreased in size. For today that is GREAT news to me. Am I cured? NO! Do I feel great? YES! ... and knowing that this is where I am is ok with me! I only have today & today I feel good, so I must choose to live it, because I do not know what tomorrow will bring!

I got the results of my last MRI on my birthday & this is what I worte ... it was one of the greates gift I could have received!

Birthday Wishes .... Monday, March 22, 2010 at 10:04pm

Today is my birthday! I'm not saying it to get any more wishes or to get attention ... Every year I get older I have a more difficult time with the "DAY." I guess you can say that I don't like getting older & therefore I don't like birthdays! ... so why am I writing anything about my birthday then???

Today was a different kind of birthday ... probably the best birthday I could have ever asked for. I didn't win a million, didn't get any big fancy presents ... Today I received something invaluable ...

In 2005 I woke up one day & had double vision ... it lasted for 3.5 weeks. A scary place to be, not knowing what was going on and of course worried about the worst. After seeing numerous Doctors & Specialists & undergoing test after test it was finally determined that I had Multiple Sclerosis. I received the news in February 2007 & by this time I was dealing numbness in all my extremities, terrible debilitating fatigue, cold feet & hands, an inability to sleep, extreme emotional ups & downs ... I struggled to keep up with both my home & work. For someone who likes to check off my list & get things done, this was a difficult place to find myself! Emotionally it was difficult to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't able to do all the things I had always done. The fight with depression was very real for me.

For my husband it was difficult to see me struggle with all of these things & so it became his mission to try to help me help myself. Through his dedication & research he helped me start a natural treatment plan in January 2009. I was consistent & stayed the course with it not knowing how it would help me. Within two weeks I started to feel noticeable changes in my health & over the past year I have seen my health turn around in amazing ways.

This past January I went for another MRI. I go every year for them so they can see if there are any changes in the amount & size of lesions I have in my brain & spinal cord (It's one of the markers they use to see if there is any progression in my disease). Today was the day I had to go & get the results of that MRI! Why I booked it for my birthday I can't say for sure! (If you are going to get bad news you probably don't want it to be on your birthday!) I felt anxious and began questioning whether or not the improvement I felt would be shown in the results of my test.

So the present this year is that I have no new lesions ... & the icing on the cake ... the lesions I do have are smaller! ... It may seem small & insignificat to some, but to me it is HUGE! ... I have hope & the knowledge that I am healthier today then I was last year & that my disease, for today, is not progressing.

So to say I had a great day today would not even come close to how I feel ... in fact I don't think there are any words that describe the feeling in my heart! I am blessed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Beginning ...

For years I have struggled with low energy issues. No amount of tests and Doctors could determine that anything was wrong with me. I just accepted that this was they way my life would be, after all my mother has struggled with extremely low energy all my life, so why would I be any different? A common thing I heard was people asking me if I was "OK?" or telling me how tired I looked. I HATED it, because it just confirmed the feelings I was already having. Quite frankly it became rather depressing to feel this tired all the time. I made excuses as to why I was so tired ... stress, having 3 young children, poor sleep at nights ... anything that I could blame it on really!

On a Friday in October 2005 I woke up, tired as usual. It was time to get my kids ready for school. I believed I must have had sleep in my eyes because my vision seemed a bit off. I kept blinking trying to clear my vision, nothing seemed to work. At this point my vision wasn't terrible, it just wasn't quite right. I drove my kids the 1/2 hour drive to school ... still blinking trying to make my vision better. Over that weekend my vision continued to get worse. By Sunday morning I couldn't help but feel like something was terribly wrong. I drove myself & my 3 kids down to the eye doctor at the mall. After testing, it was determined I was having an issue with double vision. The Optometrist could not tell me why this was happening & referred me to a Neuro Ophthalmologist. It took two weeks to get in to see her. In the mean time I was suffering from headaches because of the vision problems. I was having difficulty functioning in my day to day life. My parents came to stay with us to help out. This vision problem lasted about 3.5 weeks.

The Neuro Ophthalmologist was the one that first dropped the idea that maybe I was dealing with MS. There is no history of the disease in my family. I really didn't know anything about the disease other than my good friend from University had MS. The Dr.'s advice was to get rid of the stress in my life & start taking care of myself! ... She scheduled me to go for an MRI. Unfortunately living in Canada this can take a long time ... 6 months to be exact! I left her office with lots of questions!

On my way home from that appointment we were in a terrible car accident. This started more issues ... numbness in my arms, hands, legs & feet. My sleep became much worse ... at night I was only sleeping for a couple of hours at a time & then I would wake up from the numbness in my body. The fatigue worsened ... Have you ever been so tired that you just want to cry? ... Well that was me ... in the morning it was all I could do to pull myself together & drag my body out of bed. The exhaustion affected not only how tired I felt, but my mood too.

In the meantime I was referred to a Neurologist at the MS clinic. She did all the usual stuff ... testing my balance, coordination, etc. My MRI results came back & there was not enough lesions to make the diagnosis so she sent me for a second MRI this time of my spine. I was also scheduled for a spinal tap. Finally in February 2007 I got the news ... I did have MS.

What a shock & blow ... I was way too young to receive this life altering news. Could I ever get my health back? Would I continue on the downward spiral that I seemed to be on??? My Neurologist wanted me to start meds right away. I had watched my friend in University on MS meds & the side affects were so bad that I just couldn't see myself living my life like that. Obviously I wanted to make the best choice for my health, but what was it? Everyone & their dog had a cure for me & advice on what I "HAD" to do for myself. The information and advice was overwhelming and confusing. I felt numb to what was happening to me & just wanted to escape the reality which I now seemed to be living in. I stayed in that place for some time ... not doing anything really & not making a decision regarding what I would do to take care of my health.