Enjoy what is

Decreasing stress is one of the components of the Dr. Wahls Protocol. Stress is known to be a catalyst for illness. My own experience proves that. I was under a great deal of duress building up to becoming sick. Life happens, sometimes it isn’t pleasant. I’m stating the obvious, but its important to look at the truth of that. I have learned over the years due to a different illness I have that relies on the practice of gratitude to stay in remission, how to live in the moment, to look at my part in relationships and mistakes, to do spot check inventories, to make gratitude lists and to enjoy what is. Like anything these habits require a commitment and daily practice. I have had years of successfully applying these practices to my life and I’ve had times when I let them go and let old negative habits creep back in to the detriment of my serenity.  It was during those times that I got sick and running scared, made bad decisions that made the situation ten times worse then it had to be.

How to practice serenity is to be grateful for everything. To remind myself to live in the moment. I like these statements, “God will only give you what you can handle in one day.” and “I have all the money I need provided I die at 12 midnight tonight.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t plan for this or that. It means, I make the appointment, research the information, jot down the idea, then let it go, putting it out of my mind till its time to deal with it. This takes practice and is sometimes easier said then done. However, like anything, practice makes it easier to do, then the rewards flood in from the practice.

Sometimes to get down to a free flowing serene state, I must look at unpleasant truths about myself, especially if the same set of calamities or repeated mistakes happen over and over again. That’s usually a sure fire sign that the fault is mine. Somewhere, there are deep rooted issues that must be unearthed, amends made, myself and others to be forgiven and then, if the work is earnest and sincere then peace for this situation or relationship happens. Other people are usually necessary to help with this, such as support groups, advisers, counseling, religious practices for some people, etc. Food for thought, the smartest and most powerful people on Earth have advisers, the more responsibility they have the more advisers they have. It is, paradoxically, not a sign of weakness, but of strength to seek advice and assistance.

Meditation is the practice of being in the moment. To be aware of all five senses, to quiet the mind, concentrate on breathing, build a deeper communion with a Higher Power if one so chooses, or to feel a deeper connection with the Earth with sounds of nature and thoughts of ancient trees and pathways thru the woods or how the Earth feels on your hands when you plant something. We can do quick, in the moment meditations with everyday mundane activities, like concentrating on the warm sensation of sudsy water as I clean the plate, listening for the sound of clacking silverware when I drag the bottom of the sink for silverware to clean. Or we can do long prepared meditations. Set the scene, a favorite spot in our home that we create the space for. Burn incense maybe, light candles, play serene music or sounds (I like the ocean) or listen to a guided meditation. Exercise and jewelry making are both deep sources of meditation for me. I am completely focused when I create, colors, sewing, the feel of beads in my hands, or exercise, I’m off in my own world. When exercising, I am completely riveted on the teacher, the movement I’m doing, the feel of the water, the weights in my hands, the flexing of the targeted muscles, my breathing. When I do these things, I am not thinking about the bills I need to pay in two weeks, or the appointments I have tomorrow or even in two hours, I am completely in the moment. This is one of the reasons I love doing these two activities. Anxiety, fear of the unknown, causes the body to do certain things, increases heart rate, gasping for breath, racing thoughts of fears and over dwelling on negatives. Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind, deep thoughtful breathing, bringing one’s thinking back to the present moment and the realization that one is safe in that moment. Many fears are of bogeymen that are not happening right now and in most cases may never happen. And if there is a difficult loss occurring, job, family, health, then the practice of these above can make them easier to handle, more manageable by making it possible to take the situation(s) piece meal.

To enjoy what is are all these practices, that is the goal for me. That and humor. A sense of humor can cut stress in half and help keep a heart light. There is always two ways to look at any situation. Most of the time there is something good to consider even when it feels unfair. Here’s a silly joke:

Four men from Boston meet every Sunday to play cards. Clancy, Taylor, John and Ian have known each other for decades. John is the upbeat positive chap in the group. No matter what anyone says he always answers, “It could be worse.” This always rubs Clancy the wrong way. One Sunday, only Clancy, John and Ian show up. Ian, visibly upset, breaks the news to Clancy and John that Taylor is in jail after coming home Saturday night and finding his wife in bed with another man, he shot and killed them both. To which, John says, “It could be worse.” Clancy yells back, “That’s the last straw! You drive me nuts, how could it be worse John, two people are dead and our good friend is in jail, how could it be worse, you tell me that?!” John replied, “It could be worse because he could’ve come home on Friday when I was there.”

It could be worse.

 

Bonne Sante

A carrot worth fighting for!

Today is the day I switched back to Wahls Paleo level II. I’ll go back to level III when I am in a more flexible situation. Talking about tackling the Wahls Protocol with limited funds may be an unpopular or uncomfortable topic, however it is a very real problem that others wishing to transform their lives with the Protocol will need to face who have the same issues. Many people who have this illness and other devastating autoimmune illnesses are disabled. I don’t have to be a genius to figure out that there is more poverty among the sick than the well. My goal is to get through this first year on a limited income so that I can devote all my energy to rehabilitation, then start working full time. Some of my blogs are going to be about that struggle. It is a real one, it is a difficult one and it will be ongoing. It requires a great deal of juggling, problem solving, creative thinking and constant sourcing. It forces me to pick and choose what I can do and what I can’t according to what is most beneficial because of lack of funds. As I find answers and ways around this problem, I’ll document everything I learn. Maybe I can make it easier on the next person. I’d like to think so.

I don’t speak of this to discourage anyone from trying who may be facing limited means. Instead, I hope to prove its possible, though not easy. My health is leagues better from when I began. So much so, that I can’t wait to go to the Calgary Zoo in the spring. The Zoo has been an annual gauge of how much sicker I was from the year before. I didn’t bother trying last year and the year before was horrible. I spent most of the visit sitting it out in the air conditioned Cafeteria completely fatigued even though I had a rented motorized scooter.

The Protocol is a carrot worth fighting for. It is not elusive and it pays off every single day. That pay off is what makes it possible to stick with this, because it works and is doing the formerly impossible. That is what fuels my resolve to stick with it. So, I will continue to juggle, problem solve, research and source. It is a huge mistake if I start working now, I know that and it goes against the original blue print of beginning work after one year on the Protocol. If I work before I am ready, I can and probably will jeopardize everything I’ve worked so hard for this year by piling on a complicated schedule making it impossible for me to rehabilitate, keep appointments, exercise and take the time needed to prepare the foods I need. Whereas in five months, I should be finished with all rehabilitation appointments, not including exercise, which is the same as breathing oxygen. I will have five more months to gain strength and heal. I will have had career counseling with employment offices, counseling with a MS psychiatrist and MS social workers who will help assess my skills versus my physical disabilities thus insuring the best possible chance for a successful shot at returning to work and having the ability to continue to follow the Protocol faithfully.

At the end of this, it may be prudent to have to stay on disability and work part time. I have to be prepared for that possibility too. However, I listen to people going to back to work because of their own incredible healing online, but all of them have a second paycheck in the house to back them up. I’d love to speak with someone in the same vulnerable situation I am in that has successfully gone back to work after years on disability without a second income backing them up. That is another good reason to document all this, so that future people in my shoes, who may trip across this blog, will have me to be inspired by. In the mean time, this is a pep talk for me.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/carrots-juice-162670/

Waking up to the possibilities

I feel weighted down with the financial limitations I have due to the extra money that it costs to keep this way of life going on my limited income. I’m looking at my calendar, I’m counting days to the next pay (13 days to go), I’m looking over the veggies I have and I know that I don’t have the components necessary for each day, but I’m not starving either. I just won’t have the right balance of foods for a short time. I have $18.00 to split between me and my cat. She needs her Fancy Feast and I need greens. I’ll spend the money on Fancy Feast and greens. I’ll take it a day at a time, which is all any of us really have anyway. I had a friend who said once as he watched a hearse go by followed by a funeral procession, “I wonder what that guy was worrying about last week?” I think of that when I start worrying about too many days at once.

My father died from Emphysema at age 61. He said, “Don’t do what I did, I worked hard all my life waiting for the day I could retire and really live.”  He worked three jobs in his 20’s, two full time jobs till he was forced to stop early at age 45 due to his illness. He spent the next 15 years on oxygen, progressively getting worse. He told me this two years before he died. One thing I did do that he just couldn’t, was quit smoking. Addictions are the primary killers in my family. Smoking, drinking, and obesity. My mother and her sister both died from type II diabetes in their early 60’s due to their weight and eating habits. My maternal grandfather died in a drunk tank in the 50’s, most of my generation on my mother’s side have had problems with drinking. Oddly, not my only brother, it jumped over him like a tornado takes down a street of houses, but skips over one. My paternal grandfather died from Emphysema and my father followed in his footsteps. All of them died around the same age, between 60 to 64.

I had it in my head that if I could deal with all the addictions, having smoked since the age of 11 and I am an alcoholic. I stopped drinking in 1991 and quit smoking in 1996. I kept my weight down with a combination of exercise and weight watchers. I never saw it coming when I was blindsided at age 42 with not one, but two major neurological conditions. What happened to all my plans. My plan had to do with the fact that my maternal grandmother was one of 16 and they all lived to the ages of 96 to 104 (no addictions in that line), that was going to be me. We never know what tomorrow could bring. I can prove that by looking at yesterday. Raised in Massachusetts, did I dream I’d be living in the places I’ve lived. Here I am in Calgary away from the swarthy Irish, Italian working class heritage I miss sometimes. Don’t get me wrong here, I love Calgary, great people here. No, did not plan this.

The best way to deal with my life, if I want peace, has got to be one day at a time. I can lay plans, I can have goals, but then, I have to get back into the day I am in or it all gets stressful fast. The actual possibilities available to me are upon waking each morning to the new day ahead of me, if only I don’t squander it unnecessarily on that which I have no control over, tomorrow and yesterday. Most of the time these days, I am fairly successful in doing that and most often I am a light hearted soul. But, there are those days.

The financial fear has to go. Here’s the truth:

  • I have a roof over my head and my rent is paid
  • I have decent clothes on my back
  • I have two children who are healthy
  • I am sober and smoke free
  • I just lost 35 lbs and I am a full two sizes smaller then I was
  • I no longer need walking aids as yet another person asked me just yesterday what happened to your walking (referring to how well I walk now), when you got here you were in rough shape.
  • I have hope for the future
  • I have the food I need today
  • I have medical support helping me get back on my feet
  • I have the Dr Wahls Protocol and the willingness to keep at it
  • I have two neurological conditions that do not define who I am nor do they decide what my future will be, anymore

This is shaping up to be a hell of a day!

 

Bonne Sante

 

 

 

 

A day for reminiscing

Its a crisp fall day on a Saturday in 1971. My brother and I are sitting with our feet tucked up under us on kitchen chairs in front of a small TV on the kitchen counter. In our hands are big bowls of cereal in milk. I have Cheerios with enough sugar added that I can scrape up a teaspoon of sugar with every bite and my brother is eating Cap’n Crunch which has a teaspoon of sugar in each crunchy shape. Jacked up on sugar, we squeal when we hear the first strains of, “Scooby Dooby Do, where are you? We got some work to do now.” Saturday was the special cartoon day when cartoons played from early morning till twelve noon on the big channels (ABC, NBC, and CBS), the little channels were PBS and UHF. After, we played outside all day till we heard my mother’s two finger whistle you could hear through the neighborhood calling us in for dinner and later to come in at night time. We did eat badly in those days. Dinner was probably shake and bake chicken with mashed potatoes and canned corn in cream, lunch would’ve been sandwiches on Wonder bread or Campbells soup, my favorite was chicken and stars with saltines. In between snacks might be apples, Fudge-0 cookies, or Lays potato chips.

What we did better back then was play. We only marathon watched TV Saturday mornings, otherwise we were outside playing. Our neighborhood had a call we’d make that any kid from our neighborhood knew and would echo the call back. We’d meet up in the direction we heard the call. We played hard, baseball, tackle games at night, tag, running, biking, sledding, swimming, climbing trees and walking all over the neighborhood. We didn’t make appointments to visit each other, we just showed up at each other’s doors. It was the norm to do that. Late at night before bed was TV time. Which amounted usually to one hour. We’d watch the Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or Walt Disney World on Sunday nights on the big console TV with our mother, (Dad was working nights and days). As young children, none of us had special interest classes after school. That would start with maybe one thing like Little League baseball, Scouts or for me it was gymnastics. I started that at ten years old and attended class once a week for two hours. We had homework, but not a ton of it. My homework in Grammar school was done in thirty minutes or less, if we had any at all. We had our chores we had to do, like dishes, cleaning my bedroom and dusting on Saturday. Otherwise, we were outside most of the time.

Aside from that, we spent a lot of time with family and our parents. They rarely went anywhere without us. For example, if we went to an adult house party, we went in our pajamas and played with the other kids in their pajamas. These were not falling down drunk parties. These were normal social occasions. My father was a musician and so a lot of these were “guitar” parties. I loved sitting with the adults at the kitchen table because they were so funny. A lot of laughter, lot of humor. We took vacation for two weeks in the summer and stayed in a cottage on the beach. Vacation was spent together. My parents would jump waves with us, we went to the movies on a rainy day and the amusement park at least once. Summer outings were drive in’s, ice cream and on really special occasions, we’d go to a restaurant. Winter outings were, ice skating and once a year a special show like the Ice Capades or Ringling Bros and Bailey Circus.

Family visits were on the weekend. My mother entertained the family at our house often, mostly summer picnics, usually if we did this it was on Saturdays. We had a big yard and a pool. Most Sunday’s we visited family for four hours or more. Holidays were fun. My mother made sure of that. My family on both sides are funny, loud and laid back. No strict morays, no shaming, no sarcasm. They’re mostly dead now, mostly from various addictions, but, they were not mean spirited people. My brother resides these days in Ohio, we don’t talk much anymore, he’s a busy guy. I am in Canada. My son lives near me, my daughter on the other side of the country, but we are in touch weekly. I’m spending the day with my son tomorrow.

But, I will always feel fondly about those days.

What does any of this have to do with the Wahls Protocol? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to take a moment and meditate on the happiest days of my childhood just because it feels good. This is my way of dealing with my recent homesickness. I find that the best way for me to deal with that is to embrace it and celebrate it by sharing it with others.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture of my brother and me on the steps of a cottage we rented for two weeks near Horseneck Beach in Massachusetts. Picture taken around 1968.

 

Keeping a daily record

I am coming up on seven months on the Protocol in five days. Keeping this blog has been beneficial in many ways, some expected and some unexpected. One of which is keeping track of milestones, time frames, and ups and downs. It is also an outlet. I have to sit here and consider what I will talk about today in reference to my journey, which then becomes an opportunity to share my frustrations, fears, successes and amazement’s as I work at this day after day. It is also a research tool. I will quite often need to research this or that to be sure that I have the information correct. Therefore, it is also a very effective learning tool. It is a wonderful imagery and visionary device in creating timelines and goals. And it is a record of my individual trek to wellness. Its a journal, a ship’s log.

Root meaning of Journal: Origin and meaning of journal: mid-14c., “book of church services,” from Anglo-French jurnal, from Old French jornel, “a day; time; a day’s travel or work”                                                                     www.etymonline.com/word/journal

Root meaning of Journey: journey. c.1200, “a defined course of traveling; one’s path in life,” from Old French journee “day’s work or travel” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin diurnum “day,” noun use of neuter of Latin diurnus “of one day” (see diurnal). Meaning “act of traveling by land or sea” is c.1300.                         www.dictionary.com/browse/journey

Jour is the French word for day i.e. “Soupe du jour” (Soup of the day) or “Bon Journey” (Good day).

Root meaning of Log: The Greek root word log means ‘word,’ and its variant suffix -logy means ‘study (of). … are constantly entering data or ‘words‘ into their captain’s log, telling about their journeys through space. … Etymology is the study of the origin of words.                                                                                                      http://membean.com/wrotds/log-word

The series of word roots above may give some people a yawn to look at, but I find it fascinating. Journaling took me in this direction today. I understand anything better if I know its history and so I am always looking for the root of things. I lived in French speaking Quebec and New Brunswick for six years and was amazed at how many words in English are from the French language.

Today, in brief: I had a morning of housework, then met some friends at a local church. My walking was terrible because I had fatigued my leg doing two hours of housework before walking a kilometer to the church. After sitting a while, my leg was better.

Had a wonderful dish of broccoli for dinner, simple recipe:

  • Half head of broccoli, slice tender section of stalks, leaving the florets whole if small and halved if big
  • Three garlic cloves, sliced
  • Ghee
  • Lemon wedge
  • Extra Virgin oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Melt 1 tbsp of Ghee in a frying pan over medium heat, add the sliced stalk section of the broccoli and the garlic. Saute five minutes. Add the broccoli florets and more Ghee if dry, saute a few minutes more. Add 1/4 cup water and cover. Cook for 6 or 7 minutes, or till crisp tender. Plate, squeeze wedge over broccoli, drizzle the olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Bonne Sante

Captains Log, star date 2017.293

(I always wanted to say that)