I’ll say, “Hell yes!”, to that!

I’m on Level III roughly two weeks now and the energy came in today. Ketosis flu wasn’t bad and this time around, I knew what it was, a big bonus, since it scared the hell out of me the first time I experienced it not knowing what was going on. I lost a big 6 lbs this past months, mostly in the last two weeks, due to a return to level III. I’m now 154 lbs. Been decades since I’ve weighed this little. I am 24 lbs from my ideal weight, which will be 130 lbs. One hundred twenty five was my ideal weight in my 20’s, I am allowing 5 lbs for my age.

I am asked questions frequently about my healing. I feel that I have a responsibility to explain how I was able to do it every chance I get. How else can anyone know that there is another way, a better way and that its within their power to grasp it, they only need want it bad enough and to be willing to go to any lengths to get it. The rewards are so dramatic that over time, it far out weighs the inconveniences. I look at birthday cake and I say to myself, “Do I want birthday cake or do I want to walk.” Because that is literally what it means to me. If I have a piece a cake, no, one slice of cake will not undo all that I’ve done, but it will weaken my resolve and make it that much easier to slip again and again till the tide rushes through the dam I’ve built. No way!!! Not for anyone am I willing to do that.

Over the holidays, I did step back a bit to Level I to make it easier to get through the holidays, thus allowing me more foods I could eat. I don’t consider this a slip because, even though I did slide back a little, its still on the Protocol and I was still healing, but at a much slower rate. I’d do that again, possibly next year, because it did help me enjoy Christmas and Birthdays of which there are several around the holidays. I am happy to be back on level III though. It did show me just how much healing can be had on that level as compared to level’s I and II. Cognitive healing? I’ll say, “Hell yes!” to that!

 

Bonne Sante

Note: I updated the symptoms page.

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/marketing-school-business-idea-21696/

Thirty Minutes with a MS Psychiatrist

I am readying myself for future employment after disability since 2004. Its a big step that involves complicated facets of myself and my individual situation. I have had a complicated life, an out of the ordinary life, half of it, an out of the mainstream life. After the controversial part of my life was over, I spent the second half getting over it. Twenty-six years of understanding why I do this and why I do that. Twenty-six years of catching up to most, educationally, emotionally, maturely, and spiritually. Its a fact, that they’re not kidding about the layered onion. In my recovery, I’ve had lots of successes and many failures, of course, that is life. But, in order for me to be successful at adhering to the Wahls Protocol, I needed to look at a darker side of me that hides behind extra weight. Without answers to that, healthy weight loss, being a side effect of the Protocol, would cause me to quit again. I had to get to the bottom of the problem, I am not willing to take it to the wheelchair. It wasn’t a new problem, I’ve worked on it in layers for the last 26 years. I finally said, “I’m done.”, and I meant it. To date (ten months), I’ve lost 39 lbs and am 26 lbs from my ideal weight. Big milestone was for me to allow myself to go under 160 lbs. I am done.

The weight issue was one facet. Going back to work has others. One of the others has to do with a propensity to run from success. This is the other issue that I am done with. I’ve walked away from a few big successes that I worked hard for and when the attention comes, I run, I don’t quit, I just don’t continue. I’m no quitter. I’ll go to any lengths to build it, its sticking around after and reaping the rewards of my hard work that is the issue. Why? I can’t answer that. “Why?”, was asked of me many times today in a short thirty minute session with the MS Psychiatrist whom I saw to discuss several fears I have about returning to work, that was one of them. The other questions, asked repeatedly by the Doctor were, “What do you want me to do for you?”, or, “Why do you need to see me?” No matter how I tried to explain my goals and fears, I had, “Yeah, but (insert one of the lines above)?”, were the answers. I was seeking a concrete plan to work on, some professional direction and education. See, this is the other component to getting anywhere with all of the above. Hard work, a lot of hard work and determination is required to make deep effecting change. Despite all of this, we did come up with a plan. I’m going to see Occupational Therapists to assess my skills against my disabilities and I’ll see the MS Psychologist about the running after success issue and he gave me the names of three career counseling centers. That is a plan, but, I guess that I had hoped for his take on my past behavior. His questions followed the answers from me that I am not depressed, I am not suffering from anxiety, I am not dealing with any psychosis. Apparently, overcoming emotional trauma is not a reason to see a Psychiatrist, who knew?

I’m going to see the MS Social Worker February 5th. I will be talking to her about the complexities of dealing with disability in the US and Canada and preparing to go back to work. We will also discuss, what I can never do, what I can do some of, what I’m good to go on. Finally, we will discuss my resume, which now has huge holes of blank time and how best to handle interviewers questions about it. The Psychiatrist asked, “What do you see yourself doing?” First, I answered with my varied list of skills, then answered literally. In my heart of hearts, I see myself promoting the Wahls Protocol. That’s what I see myself doing. Now that’s a purpose to have.

How this will unfold, I do not know. I only know, that I am preparing myself for a future. The rest is up to my HP. This is what I know, and that is that I don’t have to know, just that when it all unfolds, I will be ready. In the mean time, I will continue to put one foot in front of the other, come what may.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/en/sigmund-freud-freud-psychoanalysis-2013309/

Step by Step, Habit by Habit

I am busy renewing my resolve, not that I have for a minute considered giving up, but I have slid back a bit on my enthusiasm. I am blogging daily again, taking in written and viewing materials like What’s with Wheat on Netflix and The Wahls Protocol in preparation for preparing for Wahls level III. “Step by step and habit by habit”, was a wonderful line someone said in What’s with Wheat. It is how its done. It is change in many ways. Exercise, nine cups of varied vegetables a day, whole foods, organic foods, gluten free cooking, fermented foods and probiotics, bone broth, seaweed, organ meat, extra time cooking from scratch resulting in more dishes and more time doing them, e-stim, physio, detoxing via sauna, mud baths, Epsom salt baths, and or steam baths, meditation and other stress relievers, supplements, non toxic household products, juggling finances, learning how to make everything homemade because its ten times cheaper than buying it, etc.

I just learned to make bone broth, finally. Now that I know it isn’t that big of a deal, I will make more next month. I am working up to making my own Kombucha tea. Kombucha tea is a fermented drink. Fermented foods help to build good bacteria in your stomach, which you want. To buy it is expensive, but far cheaper to make it and by all accounts not that difficult. But, its still something new to learn about, what is it, why is it good for you, what materials do you need, how much for the base materials, and so on. Kombucha tea is organic black or green tea, filtered water, sugar and flavorings like ginger or berry. To start its suggested that you buy a kombucha scoby or “grow” your own. Now there’s an intimidating word, “scoby”. What is a scoby?! I will let this very good and simply explained and illustrated blog on the subject explain it: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-kombucha-scoby-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-

My plan is to learn to grow my own following the instructions above. I need a large glass pitcher, therefore, the end of the month is when I will be fully committed to this lab experiment. I will take pictures and share my scoby journey with you. In the mean time, what definitely helps my enthusiasm is, as I’ve said before, the fact that hardly a day goes by without someone mentioning my remarkable transformation these last nine and a half months and today is no different. At the gym where I swim, a woman, who was my cane buddy, remarked today, “Where’s your stick (cane)?” As always, when someone asks, I take it as an opportunity to introduce them to the Doctor Wahls Protocol, which I did. Most times, even though they asked and I am living proof right before them, when I mention the dramatic eating changes, I watch their face fall flat, my cue to discontinue the conversation. Which was the case with this woman, but later, at my physio appointment, something truly remarkable happened.

I’ve had a course of nine physio appointments one every two weeks. I have one more after today. I’ve explained what I’m doing, and all have been interested, but today was something. Of course they’ve had time to see me transform here as well, because its been a couple of months and I am continuing to heal. My physical therapist is actively researching the information, and while I rested with the heat at the end, two other people asked questions, a lot of questions about my illness and what I am doing and what the Wahls Protocol is.

Now, if that doesn’t make one feel enthusiastic, then there’s just no hope for me!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Focus, patience and calm, no less is required.

I read once that the highest percentages of car accidents happen within one mile of home. That’s because we switch to auto pilot and become less observant and alert, over confident and driving on memory. Whereas, less familiar routes, we need to pay constant attention. Also, anticipating home, we might speed up, anxious to get there. I’m a jewelry artist, working mostly in bead embroidery. My pieces can sometimes take months to finish. Within hours of finishing the piece, I speed up and make near fatal flaws, because I can see the end in sight, I am excited to do the finishing touches and complete the piece that I have been meticulous with up to that point. Same theory. I’m going through that right now. I can see the finish line for my foray into the work world and greater independence, but I’m not quite there yet. Here is where I must be particularly careful, lest I jump the gun and undo half of what I’ve achieved so far.

I take something called Access Calgary, which is a door to door service for the disabled using handibuses, vans and checker cabs. I’ve utilized the service for three years now. When I started the Wahls Protocol nine months ago, the drivers knew right away I was the one they were picking up, I either had a walker and always my cane. I just didn’t look well. Now, especially at the Southland Leisure Centre where I work out, they don’t make a b-line for me anymore and twice this week, they went back in their vehicles and phoned Access that they could not find the rider. When I called Access and was directed to the correct vehicle, in both situations, the drivers said, “I saw you, but didn’t think….”. Today too, again. Obviously, I’m looking healthy and compared to most of the people were picking up, I am. And I am grateful. But, as strong as I look, I’m not ready to give Access up yet. Where I work out would take a bus, a train and a bus to get to. An hour of transit one way, carrying a gym bag. The same gym bag will be filled with wet clothes on the way home and a fatigued leg from working out. I take regular transit for local trips and reserve Access for complicated trips like the above. I still suffer from fatigue. I walk strong, but I still have an expiration date and will still fatigue. Eventually, I think I will most definitely be able to let go of Access. But right now, I need them to help me continue to rehabilitate.

I guess, I’m experiencing an in between point. I am rehabilitating to the point of feeling well enough to work and stand on my own two feet, but not quite there yet. I have three more months of intensive rehabilitation to go before I am ready to take the first really big step out. I have an appointment with the MS psychiatrist and the MS social worker at month’s end to discuss psychologically getting ready for the possibility of working full time. Now, I say possibility because I have not one but two neurological conditions to consider. I have a fused neck, a result of a stenosis and compression. The last thing I want to do is aggravate that. I’ve had two surgeries there, don’t want a third one, because then were talking c/1 and c/2, into the base of the skull. And I’ve read nothing but horror stories about that. This is one aspect I will carefully discuss with my doctors. It may be when its all said and done, that part time is the best I can do. I’m shooting for full time, while reservedly, remaining realistic.

I guess time will tell the future story,

 

Bonne Sante

 

What to do when feeling edgy

That is the title, not because I am an expert on the subject, more because that is the mood that has been plaguing me as of late and one way to change the tract of negative thinking is to focus attention on the opposite of it. I don’t always need to know why I feel this way and thankfully, these days, it isn’t often that I suffer from this and thankfully when I do have days or times like these, I won’t tolerate it by entertaining a mood like that for very long. Its time has come. I will say this, a feeling of powerlessness will push me in this direction. If the situation is truly a deal that I am powerless over, then I won’t have peace till I accept that fact. How can I achieve this then? By writing about my feelings, talking about it with a trusted and wise friend, acknowledging it, changing what I can and accepting what I can’t.

To backtrack a moment to not “entertaining a mood”. What do I mean by that. Anything will grow when attention is given it that feeds it. Like oxygen on a flame or water and sun for a plant. It can be good, it can be bad. What I magnify becomes my result. The choice I have is what I choose to magnify my attention on. Suffice it to say I am in a bad mood. Why? Because I have focused my attention on situations that I clearly have no power over and have forgotten what is good. I let myself get depressed over them and indulged in a a narrow and negative point of view. All of which culminated in hissy fits this morning and then feeling bad about that (lot of self centeredness going on there). To get over this mood and get out of my self centered obsession, I need to do the opposite of what was listed above.

I’m powerless……..I ask for a Higher Power’s strength to do what I need to do to get me out of this funk. Means I need to accept what I have no control over, people, places and things and change my attitude to a constructive one, not destructive.

I’m depressed…….I take self care action. Like extra grooming which is an act of self love, extra time cleaning my living space where I dwell, another act of self love. Forcing myself to show up, in my situation its been within the four walls of my house when alone that I succumb. Therefore, show up at home, do things that interest me and if I’m not interested, do it anyway, get things done, don’t sleep and zone out in front of a TV.

I’m indulging negativity…….I will indulge the positive instead, starting with a gratitude list. I find when I take the time to actively sit down and write out a well thought out gratitude list, it doesn’t take long for me to see that, truly, I’ve got it pretty good.

Self centered thought process…….First off, it has taken a long time for me to even understand what self centered thinking is and how to recognize it, for others, it comes easier, for me, its work to stay out of it. Thinking of others, while forgiving myself for my shortcomings (hard for me). Thinking of others and practicing art are ways to get myself out of my head.

There, I feel better already!

 

Bonne Sante

 

 

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

Hup, two, three, four….

I am in the process of rehabilitating with the goal of hopefully weaning off of disability and going back to work full time successfully for the first time since 2004. Is it possible? I believe it is. What do I want to be when I grow up? I am an impassioned and driven individual. I hope to have a job that further’s public knowledge and access to these answers that truly work in arresting autoimmune illnesses like nothing else out there. Diet, physical therapy, meditation and decreasing stress, supplements and natural household and personal care products. Someone mentioned today that I should take a break mentally from the seriousness of working the Protocol. To do well at anything difficult, it requires commitment and a great deal of energy. If a person decides to become a doctor, build a business, tackle alcoholism or reverse MS, it requires a huge commitment if one is to be successful. This is what I believe. If I am given a way out of a devastating illness, I feel responsible to do something about helping to get the word out to others. I would like that to be my job.  I have the skill set and experience for it. My strongest skills and experience are sales, organizing events, public speech, writing, coaching and enthusing others, tenacity and hard work.

If this sounds obsessive to anyone, well sit out of life for twelve years and then be given the against the known odds opportunity to dive back in and work. Like the person cured from terminal cancer or one who has lost his family and then given a new one ten years later, its a rising from the ashes. That’s dramatic I know, but so is this. When I got home today to my apartment building, I ran into a neighbor that I see from time to time. We don’t know each other, but we are always cordial. I have not seen this particular neighbor for months. I got my mail and got on the elevator with her. I was carrying two laden bags filled with frozen meat. She looked and looked again, then blurted out, “You can walk! I thought I recognized you, but didn’t realize it was you at first because you can’t walk. What happened?” I briefly explained that I was on a diet for autoimmune illnesses and that I had MS and it was healing me. Almost daily I am hearing comments like this. Who doesn’t want a job that makes a difference. Further, I have the added flexibility to work both Canada and the United States. The plan is to go back to work after one year on the Wahls Protocol, that is in four months. How this will play out, I’m not sure yet. In the mean time, I will keep working to rehabilitate.

I’ve decided to work back into nutritional ketosis. I did feel better on it. Its true, it isn’t as flexible as levels I and II, but, there is a big difference in how I feel on level III versus level II. Its worth the added planning to make sure I have what I need to stay in ketosis during the financially lean second half of the month. That is what has been tough for me. The meat purchase I made today will help. I bought enough meat for two months from a high quality butcher in Strathmore (forty-five minutes from Calgary). Something I planned and put aside money for, knowing that we had a planned trip with a friend. Butcher shops are the way to go. I can’t believe how much cheaper they are. This one is cheaper then anything in Calgary, because it doesn’t have to deal with the high, high rent of being in Calgary. For example, same high quality bacon as what is sold at the natural market from local farms. Difference is $10 in Calgary, $6 away for a pack of bacon. Everything was priced this way. I also need to make arrangements to get the second carpal tunnel surgery done. Ugh! Call me a big baby, but I don’t want to go through that again. I think after Christmas will be best. Exercise tomorrow!

Marching on…..

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture by Pexels

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Rise Above It

I use many ways to over come adversity. Life has its up and downs. I didn’t ask for MS, but it happened when I had two children depending on me as their main provider. Placed on temporary disability, I set to work finding other employment options. I went to college and excelled. Halfway through to a Bachelors in business, I suffered a particularly horrific MS attack that took my daughter away and caused my teenage son to lose the stability of his home and I became near homeless, bankrupt, and my car, which I could no longer drive due to cognitive damage was repo’d. I didn’t ask for that either. We all survived it though. My children are 17 and 27 now and have grown into responsible adults. We are all very close. It sounds simple (or maybe it doesn’t), but these set backs took years to settle. Its hard to describe in one paragraph what we had to do to overcome all of this, but we did and were stronger for it.

This is one of the strongest aids I have. I seek winning stories of others overcoming adversity. I seek people who inspire me to do the same. I seek their stories and examples in the media, in movies and books, in history and in everyday people I meet. What is important for me with these role models is to not see them as better or different than me, but rather to see them as ordinary people who have risen above their hardship and to let them teach me the method for their successes by observation. In every case, hard work, perseverance, a clear objective, and inner reflection were the ingredients that brought them through.

One of my favorite examples of this is the movie Cool Runnings about the first ever Jamaican bobsled team. Their first year in the Olympics was right here in Calgary, AB in 1988. I wasn’t here then, but I knew about them because of the movie. The movie itself is more fiction than fact, but no less inspiring because of it.  In the story, everything is running against them. Each must overcome some personal issue in order to push past all the naysayers and do the seemingly impossible. When they make that turn of attitude, they play a song in the movie titled Rise above it by Lock Stock and Barrel. I have sung that song many times in my head or out loud and it always works to cheer and bolster me up. Its a wonderful and very entertaining example. Now’s a good time for me to remember this one. Whereas I am working towards resuming employment, but before I do, I need to deal with the abject fear I have over the vulnerability of my situation, hence the MS psychiatrist and MS social workers I will be seeing.

Cool Runnings came up in conversation earlier today with a good friend. I have Netflix and looked it up and was excited to see that they do have it available to watch right now. That’s what I did, I watched it again and again, it inspired me deeply.

Rise Above It lyrics from https://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/coolrunnings/riseaboveit.htm:

Rise rise rise rise

Well, if you’ve got a problem, you’ve got to rise above it
When you face a challenge, you’ve got to rise above it
When you’re back against a wall, only way to go is up
Rise above it, come on and rise above it!
When you think you know your mind is really made up
When your dues have already been paid
Gotta know where to go where angels fear to tread
Only you and me against the world, against it all
If you’ve got a problem, you’ve got to rise above it
And when you face a challenge you’ve got to rise above it
When the sea bubblin high, all around is running dry
Rise above it! Come on and rise above it
When the road seems very long and narrow
Better make the shot go straight just like an arrow
To watch the movie, try Netflix or a movie ordering service on cable.
Bonne Sante