A shift in attitude

Until I stop crying about the state of my affairs where I am consistently focused on what other people have or don’t have, I will go nowhere. Even if good breaks come, I won’t see them because I will be entrenched in the practice of someone else who has it better. Having Multiple Sclerosis is not what I had hoped for, but here we are. I must see past the “unfair’s” in order to cope my very best with what I’ve been dealt. For one thing, we never know what another’s “cross to bear” is. When practicing jealousy and self pity I then constantly compare with what I assume other’s have: more money, more opportunity, better upbringing, ready access to education, etc. I assume a lot. You never know what that person has been through or where they’ve been in their lives by the one day I stand with them feeling the “why them’s and not me’s”. And just consider the complete waste of time, energy and how ultimately destructive this is. Time and energy I could direct into working towards an abundant future as I seek my path of purpose, whatever that is. Even if its only the purpose of being the positive one in the room, the big smile that greeted you and made your day better.

I grew up in an unconventional way, outside mainstream society. It wasn’t easy to work out of that and learn all that I hadn’t had the chance to learn. When I think that that wasn’t fair, then I remember I’ve been given a gift from my experiences. That being the opportunity to live among people of many walks of life giving me a birds eye view of the human condition more than someone who has been sheltered all their lives, living in one place with little experience outside of their one culture. On the other hand the person who has been sheltered all their lives may find that they are satisfied with a simpler life and is a stable, steady person. Something that I’ve always had to work hard to be.

Sickness happens, I’ve been given a gift. The Wahls Protocol is my ticket out, but it has taken a commitment of mind, body and spirit. Having MS is a great deal of work all by its self. If I have to work that hard to deal with an affliction and someone hands me a tray of tools that I need only commit to the path to reap the rewards of health and well being, then really I have two choices. One is to continue being disabled in mind, body and spirit and hang onto my old ways of doing things, looking for the magic pill that will heal me without me having to change anything in my lifestyle and causing me to deal with the horrible fall out of another MS attack. Or, I can accept that I’d rather put that time, energy and effort into exercise, diet and a change of attitude that will bring me increased health and well being and no more MS attacks. I am human and stubborn, it took me two years to wrap my head around the fact that it is absolutely necessary for me to do this and become willing to go any lengths for it.

I’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity in my life, as I am sure others have too, and each time it has been the same process. Change or die. There is such a thing as death of spirit too. Doesn’t have to be a mortal death. The process was always enough pain from the conflict to finally cause a moment of defeat and throwing in the towel, thus opening my mind to a better way. Once I do that, there is no more warbling back and forth, I have accepted that this is it. Then I let go of all the “poor me’s” and “its not fair’s”. Of course, there is no hope till the kit of tools is revealed. Diagnosed in 2004, I was not made aware of this till 2014. That said, it is not your fault if you’ve not been shown a way out, but once you have been shown a way that works. Then its your responsibility to give it all you’ve got. To “play the Hell out it”.

I love the quote above from Sheryl Strayed who is the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail her memoir of her own overcoming journey. A movie adaptation from the book was made called Wild (released 2014) featuring Reese Witherspoon. This is another practice of mine, I am always on the look out for others who rise above their difficulties. I fill my life with them. Instead of filling my heart with the sickest people’s antics, I choose to instead fill it with people getting well. On the 27th this month I am celebrating one year on the Wahls Protocol and will post my before and after pictures. Thank you Dr. Wahls!

Bonne Sante

Picture from Pexels

Quote from the book: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

By Sheryl Strayer

What next?

The sound of steel chains clanking against wood, the feel of a breeze across my face on a sunny day, the sounds of carnival music and children laughing, the fear in the pit of my stomach as we slowly climb the first big hill of a new coaster that I’ve never been on before. Deep down inside, I know we’re safe, but, a horrifying thought, “There is the rare and odd case of a malfunction, like the one I heard of that shot a car of screaming patrons off the tracks and into a billboard sign killing everyone……or was that an urban myth?” “Oh my God, were at the top!” I can see the whole park and half the city from here. We creak up to the tippy top and just begin to crest where I see for the first time just how sharp and steep the trip down will be. Yikes!

This is a how I feel with my plans to hopefully rejoin the work force. I am slowly creaking up the big hill, more than halfway to the top. Most of the time, I am sure it is the correct direction, but that it must be slow, like the car creeping up the tracked hill. Counseling first, volunteer work next, then career counseling and finally the time will be to knock on doors of potential employment situations that will be best suited for me. That day will come when I crest the hill, tipping, and I take the literal plunge. A fleeting thought, “Oh my God, will my car break away from the steady, but fast guidance of the rigid tracks as I fly off and crash and burn!”

Truth is, I don’t know what its like on the other side of that hill, this is a new coaster ride. I do know that chances are infinitely slim that I will fly off the track, because the track I am on is a steady one. It is a well thought out, well advised, researched, prepared for and worked for track, most important is that it is a Higher Powered track and I have faith. I know that the ride will be exhilarating and rewarding. I also know that I will be frightened, but really, really happy too. I love roller coaster rides. Then there is the moment of the fleeting thoughts, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this?! What if….? What if….? And…..What if?!”

Someone shot down my greatest accomplishments in my life on my resume in the space of 60 seconds because they are not suitable to be on a resume. You will be prejudiced against, red flags will be set off with this word and that word. That goes right in line with old paranoia’s that I have worked years to grow out of. Self constructed prisons of, “What will they think?” and, “Who will take me seriously?” I have not had a conventional life, both my failures and my triumphs are controversial to some. Can’t talk about MS, can’t talk about the blog, can’t talk about 26 years clean and sober and all the accomplishments I’ve had with organizing successful events. I wonder if it is okay to list success in drinking events instead. I will not hide my entire life from anyone. I bring all of me or none at all. I said that in college and I wrote honestly and I received nothing but the greatest respect from my teachers and my class mates and one A after another on all my written papers. I said then, “I bring all of myself or nothing.” I will not live a pretend life of safety that was never my real life. My life has been a roller coaster ride that I am not ashamed of. Some of it does belong on a resume. Because I earned it. If someone will prejudice me for that, than why do I want to work for anyone who thinks like that.

Bonne Sante

It is a matter of thought…

I gave away my walker last week. A woman in my lobby was waiting with a walker unable to get into her cab because her heavy duty, older walker didn’t fold up. I thought of my aerodynamic fold up walker that I haven’t needed to use in six months. I gave her the walker, she was thrilled to have it and I was thrilled to not need it. A friend said, “What if you need it again?” I said, “A. I’m not going to need it again and B. If that’s not the case then I’ll buy one.” Its like giving away clothes that are too big for me. I want to keep them in case I put the weight back on. That thought is self defeating. I live my life in the day and keep a vision for tomorrow well stoked. My vision for tomorrow is abundance, health and physical fitness. My responsibility is training my thoughts and body for that future today.

I am a sober alcoholic. It would be the same as keeping bottles of my favorite alcohol lying around, in case I drink again. Sobriety has been the act of thinking sober. Losing weight has been the act of thinking thin and fit. Getting well has been the act of thinking spry, active, clear minded and to stay focused on that. I had to tackle the disabled mentality and identity that one becomes accustomed to when reduced by an illness as devastating as MS. I’m preparing to work again. The MS Social Worker said as she motioned two fingers slowly pinching closed to a one inch gap, “Baby steps.”, she cautioned, “Try volunteering fifteen hours a week first.” My instant retort, “I already volunteer fifteen hours a week.” That is the perfect example of a closed mind. First of all, the volunteering I do is sporadic, not in eight hour shifts. That’s what I need to do.

After allowing the idea to sink into my head (took a week), I contacted a friend who is involved with a non profit that had asked me a few years ago to get involved. I declined then, because I was way too sick to commit. However, that isn’t the case now and is a prudent way to test the working waters and see how I do over the course of several months. That is wise. If I leave it up to my head, Miss, “I want to jump into a forty hour a week job after over a decade of not working first!”, mentality can and will set me back leagues. Slow and steady wins the long haul race. I’ve asked professionals for help so that I do this prudently and don’t set myself back. Asking for help is part one, part two is taking direction. We see advisers as a weakness, but it is actually a sign of strength. Most powerful and successful members of society have advisers. For a complete picture the balance is to research your advisers (make sure they have the expertise you need), weigh the information they offer and look up your own information. In other words, don’t follow blindly, do your due diligence and don’t close your mind to other’s valuable experience. Its a balance. I see the Social Worker a second time and have my first appointment with the Occupational Therapist this coming Wednesday. Woody Allen said that, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I have learned that this is absolutely true and that the rest is following up with what is offered. I am on a fact finding mission to understand what I can do and what I can’t. This way, I am protecting myself, making myself as useful as possible and not wasting anyone’s time.

I have a clear vision that is growing and expanding. I see myself successful in my work, my personal life and will be financially set. My responsibility is to do whatever I need to do to realize this. That is to stay positive, change my thinking to that of an able bodied person, to think abundantly, to get to the gym, eat the foods needed for health, and continually cut out toxic products and toxic people from my life…..

…….One day at a time.

 

Bonne Sante

All or Nothing? I Pick All.

When I tackle something, I have learned through the years of my life to bring all of myself or nothing. I am an open book. Following the Wahls Protocol and how I am defeating MS is no different. My goals for this blog have been:

  • To help keep myself motivated and accountable
  • To provide a detailed record of one person’s healing
  • To inspire others
  • To give a truthful account, good and bad
  • To share helpful information and shortcuts that I have learned
  • To give a realistic account that does show how hard, yet how doubly rewarding this has been and is
  • To prove that its all worth it

At this time, as I have written in the past few blogs, I am rehabilitating in preparation for the workforce. I will have a job that fully utilizes all that I have to offer. Too be successful, I have had to look at some tough to swallow truths about myself. I have written about these as I deal with them. Is it wise to publicly speak of a crippling past fear of success, of horrible wreckage at the hands of MS, of darker issues that I have worked very hard to successfully overcome, thereby preparing me for a one hundred percent commitment to the Wahls Protocol?

Fear….what if a future employer reads about these issues and discriminates and I lose the opportunity for this job or that? Here’s my answer to that…..I bring all of myself or nothing. That includes any future job on my horizon. My learned skills, my experiences, and my wisdom comes with me. I once lived in a self constructed prison, terrified that the world would know where I’ve been and what I’ve done and that secretly, deep down inside, I knew you knew that I was worthless. It has taken me a long time to overcome that. Today, I have so much to give, so much I want to learn, and so much to share. Because of the Wahls Protocol, my body is finally catching up to my ambition and drive to help others. My mind is out of the fog, awake and hungry to learn more.

I had a friend in the early 90’s who had Progressive MS. She was diagnosed when she was 18. She managed to complete her degree in education, but was never able to realize her potential in her chosen career. By 26, just as I met her, she lost her right to drive, her husband left her for someone else and she then had to let go of her position as the primary caregiver for their three year old son. She was athletic, she went to the gym five days a week. A tiny, muscular thing. She strained as she forced her spastic legs to walk, her hands shook uncontrollably and the day she messed herself, but then calmly gave us direction to help her, all of us embarrassed for her, whilst she stayed calmer then us all. I think often of her courage and dignity in the face of all that ugliness.

That year a new drug, the first ever, was introduced. Copaxone. I watched her face light up with a renewed hope, only to see it fall just a few days later when she was told that the drug could do nothing for her as she was Progressive. Well Joanne, I just want to say to you, I have relapsing remitting MS and I have been on Copaxone for ten years. I started the drug when I had 20 lesions and now I have double that. I too lost my ability to drive, lost my ability to work, had incontinent bowels and had to give up primary care of my children. So, my dear friend, you missed nothing. She died a few years later, bedridden. When I was diagnosed with MS in 2004, I immediately thought of Joanne. Terrified, having watched what it did to her. If she had been given the knowledge that I have been given, she would’ve jumped on that band wagon in a heartbeat. She was far more disciplined than I am. If she’d known that Dr. Swank had published his 30 year trial on MS and diet with astounding results around the same time as the release of Copaxone, she’d be here telling me about the new exploits of her now adult son.

That’s why I have a responsibility to share my experience, strength and hope and that includes the dark stuff. So anyone afflicted with not just MS, but other autoimmune conditions, can have a chance to take control of their own health again or even better, prevent themselves from ever developing one of these diseases. This is my personal journey, and like all journey’s, though they may be the same road, each will be its own.

My success is in memory of Joanne.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-background-beach-blue-296282/

Living Proof in Early February in Calgary

Below is the information to see Living Proof in Calgary, where and when:

No automatic alt text available.
MS Hope

Landmark Cinemas Canada is hosting screenings of Matt Embry’s documentary Living Proof February 03-05!

Saturday Feb. 03, 2018 1 p.m.
Sunday Feb. 04, 2018 1 p.m.
Monday Feb. 05, 2018 7 p.m.

Surrey – Landmark Cinemas 12 Guilford
GTA – Landmark Cinemas 24 Whitby
Ottawa – Landmark Cinemas 24 Kanata
Calgary – Landmark Cinemas 16 Country Hills
Edmonton – Landmark Cinemas 9 City Centre

TICKETS
Available soon @ https://www.landmarkcinemas.com/film-info/living-proof

Off to see the Social Worker tomorrow!

I have my appointment with her tomorrow at 9 am. Our discussion will be about my intent to go back to work, the possible fall outs, the logistical nightmare with not one but two disability programs in the US and Canada, the need to assess skills against disability I still have, and fears associated with past disasters as a result of unexpected attacks throwing monkey wrenches reocurring again in my life. From there I will have appointments with Occupational Therapists and the MS Psychologist.

When I am done with this phase of my rehabilitation, then I will contact Champions, which is a career counseling program specifically for the disabled. I have a tricky resume and a past full of black holes. Examples:

  • I have 64 college credits in business and writing with a high GPA, but I can’t get my transcripts due to a government bankruptcy I was forced to declare at that time due to, you guessed it, MS.
  • I sold credit cards for MBNA for three years and was one of that telesales center’s best sales performers and sales coaches. But, MBNA sold out to Bank of America, so I have no reference that I can give an employer.
  • I spearheaded grassroots, non profit events from the ground up over 15 years, all successes, all unpaid. The college degree was to back up my experience with a bachelors in business and a minor in writing. The plan was to be a professional events planner.
  • I have seven years experience as a Mental Health Technician. Two years as an Aid at a State Hospital and trained in Crisis Intervention with five years experience on an Acute Mental Health Unit at a community hospital. But, a long time ago, 1980-1982 and 1989-1994, a. shows my age (55), which can discriminate myself from getting the first interview and back then, you didn’t have to have a degree or certificate for these positions. I was hired for the five year position based on my two years experience at the state hospital.
  • Then there’s the years disabled. How do I deal with that with an interviewer and on my resume. Tough one, of which I am not alone. I am assuming that Champions Career Counseling is familiar with this conundrum.

You see the issues, I have a lot of honed skills, but not much proof on paper, although testing will help and once I am hired, my actions will show over time what I am capable of. But, ….to get there. Well, I guess that’s where my Higher Power comes in. I’ll do the foot work, the rest is not mine to control.

Most important to see is that I am on a vista that has a far ranging future. I do not anticipate a future MS attack, not on this lifestyle. Can I gauge that by my own experience, no, its only been ten months. I can, however, gauge it by the many others I’ve talked with and listened to online and in person, who have followed this lifestyle and kept their autoimmune illnesses at bay and in check for years and for some decades. I know this works. Once upon a time, I couldn’t predict what could happen with this illness, now, I feel confident to say, I can.

Wish me luck as I move out into this phase of my journey to health!

 

Bonne Sante

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/

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

Stick with the winners

I am forever seeking people who work at and are successful in bettering themselves. Whether it is to be drug and alcohol free, smoke free, spiritually fit, physically fit, or healthy from MS. Whatever it is that I must face and work to be rid of, I seek out winners in that specific issue. Right now in regards to the Dr. Wahls Protocol and my journey to heal MS, I pay attention to those who have successfully followed a healthy lifestyle and put their illness in reverse. When I see this, I watch, learn, listen and do what they are doing. If I want what they have, then I need to do what they do. What I don’t do is put them up on a pedestal or make them different from me by comparing with statements like this, “Oh, they are special and I could never be like that.” or, “They have it easier and they have money, so its easier for them”. These are nothing but excuses to quit. This is what I utilize when I get negative. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I love that psalm from the Bible. It has gotten me through all kinds of situations that I was terrified of and didn’t feel I was capable of doing, deserving of having or good enough to be included in. I’ll give an example.

I have had the opportunity to go to college, but at one time I had a seventh grade education. I got my G.E.D. at age 33 and went to college at 43. I am a recovered alcoholic and sobered up when I was 28, 26 years ago. Several years into my recovery at age 32, I was inspired to start a sober festival, very much like a “soberstock”. Six months into the footwork for this I spotted a three day grant writing course in a Daniel Webster College brochure that didn’t require a high school diploma to attend. Our mission was going to need funds and backers. Going to that course was scary for me. I hadn’t been in a classroom since I was in the 7th grade. That grade I was suspended six times, missed 83 days of school and got straight F’s. I guess, technically, that means I had a 6th grade education.

The first day, I asked God for help and marched in. I picked up a folder in a pile of them, then oohed and aahed over the nice pens and paper and tin Daniel Webster College book mark. We sat and the teacher began her monologue. An hour into it, there was a constant reference to “margins” and “fonts”. I stopped her several times to explain what is a margin, what is a font….? Embarrassing. There were four of us taking this course. One was a woman there on behalf of a school district to write a grant for computers for them. A man who was a Social Worker on behalf of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. And a woman on behalf of Camp Heartland to write a grant for children with aids to go to summer camp. And me, for the Half Moon Sober Festival, something no one ever heard of. We hadn’t even had our first event yet. It took everything I had to walk back into that room the next day. When I pulled up, I stepped out of the car and opened up the back door to get my folder. While I did that, I got on one knee like I was searching for something and asked God to help me, saying my favorite saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

That day we were instructed to write our grants that night and bring them in the next day. I wrote my grant out and brought it in. I quickly noticed the beautifully typed and clean grants the others created. I looked at my pathetic lined paper, handwritten, chicken scrawl complete with crossed out words and sentences. We were then instructed to grade each other’s work. Thoroughly and completely humiliated, I got through it. But, miracle of miracles, I learned how to write a grant. I found someone with computer skills to set my words to paper carefully following the layout instructions of the grant writing instructor. The first grant we applied for, my proposal got us an invitation as one of only 10 invitees out of many that were denied. Out of that ten, only five would be selected for the grant. This was not a huge grant, but for us it was. Five thousand dollars annually. A fair amount for a small grass roots non profit in 1995. They complimented me on the grant. I was the only one there who wasn’t collecting a pay check from the non profit they were representing.  After a presentation we won the grant and a number of others with that same basic proposal.

My confidence was so bolstered by all of this, that I finally made the decision to go for my G.E.D. Afraid that I was as stupid as I usually felt and was assumed to be, I was amazed when I passed the practice G.E.D with marks in the 80’s and was directed to go ahead and take the test, which I passed. I put that off for ten years out of fear and lack of confidence. Ten years before that, I had an appointment to take the test. But, the day of the test, one hour before, I chickened out. Ten years later, “Higher Powered”, I was doing things and facing things I never could before, all because I thought I had God with me. Feeling empowered and not alone. I find that if what I do serves a purpose, then the doors open up. It doesn’t matter to me what other people believe. Its none of my business, I respect other people’s beliefs. This works for me.

Doors have opened up for me to get well from an incurable disease. Am I being cured by God? Not really. Am I working my %ss off? Yes. Am I doing the footwork, reading the books, following the examples of the “winners” before me? Yes, yes and yes. However,  day in and day out, I turn to a Higher Power for fortitude and strength. Maybe its the belief that I am a woman acting as if a loving, powerful entity is behind her that does it. Who cares what it is, its working!

Speaking of winners, in reference to the Protocol, specifically. I was involved in starting a support group for people with MS. This was just before starting the Protocol. I had a very powerful message from a one time attendee, Matt Embry in remission over 20 years, who spoke of a lifestyle like Dr. Wahls. Dr. Wahls began her research with Matt Embry’s father’s research. I started the Wahls Protocol straight away the very next day. My focus switched to that of wellness. The group’s focus was on the disease. Not where I want to be. I quit the group and joined The Wahls Protocol Facebook group, bought books, and watch for others successful on a natural diet, whether its Wahls’, Swank’s, Emery’s, Jelinek’s, whoever. I am on the look out for examples of success with this diet. I have had bad moments (which I am honest about here), but that’s where my Higher Power comes in.

I read another example of success in my Facebook feed today posted by Matt Embry. I’ll share this interview for you here:

http://www.msdietforwomen.com/living-well-ms-24-years-interview

Very inspiring example!

 

Bonne Sante

 

The Lobster Man

I checked my bank account for the fortieth time thinking, “Is it there?” It never was, six months and it still wasn’t there. A single mother at the time, I had to make an emergency move due to my eighteen month old daughter’s consistent illness because of a basement apartment and very old rugs and moss. My US tax returns were due to be deposited in my bank account and I felt confident that that would take the pressure off the extra cost of the move. We moved into a nice place and my daughter’s health returned to normal. But, the tax returns never deposited. It threw us into a financial vise. I obsessively checked the account often to no avail. Six months later the phone rang. It was my aunt informing me that my mother with advanced diabetes had pneumonia and that my brother and I needed to make a decision to let her go. I was living in New Brunswick and my mother was in Massachusetts and I had no money. I called the bank for the one hundredth time, I heard the recorded voice say, $1,028.00. That was my tax return. Two things were amazing about this, one is that it happened just in time for this, fore if I had had it sooner, it would’ve been spent. Two, I wasn’t surprised. Why did I know it would be there? Because deep down inside, I knew I needed to be in Massachusetts. That it was those cliche sayings people say they hate to hear, “It was meant to be.” and “God makes no mistakes.” Its easy to say, that one freak accident means nothing, possibly true, but this story is full of freak accidents and that adds up to something.

My young daughter’s father took her for two weeks and my eleven year old son and I left for Worcester, MA. I drove a three quarter ton truck with a cab on the back, a Chevrolet Silverado. Halfway to Worcester I blew a tire. We made it to the side of the highway. It was August and I was wearing a dress. I looked miffed at the big spare tire bolted under the truck. I had no idea how to change a tire. I didn’t own a cell phone. In the those days, especially in the rural area I was living in, cell phones were unusual. After watching car after car blow by us for forty five minutes. I told my son that I was going behind that tree to talk to God and ask for help. I just needed to take that extra step to connect and got on my knees. I finished and had just reached my son’s side when a pick up truck pulled up. A man and his daughter, the same age as my son, got out. He had a vanity license plate that said, “The Lobster Man”. He had an easy way about him and after setting me at ease, he set to work. It took him 30 minutes to pry the tire that was secured with rusted bolts to the undercarriage of the truck. Even if I knew what I was doing, I didn’t have the strength to do that. I felt bad that it was taking so much of his time. When he was finished, I tried to give some money, but he put his hand up and said, “Absolutely not, its my belief that what comes around, goes around. One day, when I need it, it will come around to me.” I asked for help and God sent me The Lobster Man.

In Worcester, my mother had been non-responsive for several days. Yet, when I took her hand, I said, “Mom, I’m here.”, and she squeezed my hand. After speaking with the doctor it was clear that her prognosis was horrible. Even if miracle of miracles she made it out of her distress, she wouldn’t last and would suffer. Her body had blown up like a whale because her organs were shutting down. The decision was to take her off of life support. We waited to notify everyone. Immediate family stood around the bed. My mother’s cousin told humorous stories of their teenage exploits. Soon laughter filled the room as everyone jumped in with a story. We were so engrossed in the memories that we hadn’t noticed the nurse at first, she repeated, “Excuse me. She’s gone.” My mother’s cousin had a tag with a Catholic saint on it that she pressed into my mother’s palm. As she closed her hand around it she animatedly said, “There’s your ticket Mae, your all set to go, you got your ticket!” That was that, she was gone.

She had made it clear for what she wanted for her funeral arrangements with us a year before. She did not want us to spend money, she didn’t want a wake. She wanted to be cremated and she wanted her ashes spread over the ocean off the coast of Salsbury Beach. We honored her request, but we had a Memoriam. We rented a VFW and put an announcement in the paper. My mother is the polar opposite of me. She was effervescent in personality. She bubbled over with a positive gaiety that most people who met her loved. She was tall, statuesque and had Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows. She dressed elegantly always. Never saw my mother in a pair of jeans. She had carefully styled hair and make up and brightly colored polyester suits. I am a more serious person in personality. I have to work at being lighthearted, whereas for my mother, it was second nature. We wanted to celebrate her life. We wanted her Memoriam to be full of life like she was. We played her favorite music, BB King, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams and displayed pictures and momento’s of her favorite days. I dressed up in a brightly colored fuchsia blouse and black polyester slacks and I did my make up. I flitted and greeted everyone, then sat with a table of women that my mother had worked with at a bank twenty years before and they swore to God that they were sitting with my mother. For that day, I was my mother.

When it came time to take care of her ashes. I was there for just a few more days before I’d have to return to Canada. We set out to Salsbury Beach. We thought the State Park was not a swimming area and would be best to go where the rocks are craggy. But, we thought we should sneak in after the park closed. It being a Saturday night in August it was packed as we drove from the public beach area and amusement park to the State park. It was around 9:30 pm. We got in, my brother, his wife, my son and his two kids, thirteen and fourteen. My mother was in a paper bag. We found the right spot, my brother took Mom to the edge of the water and after we each said a few words, he opened the bag and swung his arm out in a big wide arc to distribute her ashes out across the water. But, just then a big wind came out as waves crashed blowing the ashes back at my brother, some of it in his mouth. Larry spat and spit and we laughed hard. Just then, the fireworks went off at Hampton Beach not far up the coast. This was all my mother. She loved the ocean, she loved fireworks and she loved to laugh. That was exactly how she would’ve wanted it.

My Aunt in Florida had heard of my trouble with the flat tire and she mailed me an old cell phone. She said that even though it wasn’t in service, that I could still call the police with it if I had to. I had the tire plugged and put back on the truck. The next day, we began our trek home. About 30 miles outside of Worcester, the tire went. But, I had that phone and it really did work, I called the police and told them my predicament and could they call my brother, which they did. He came and we bought a tire, then I drove home. I don’t care what anyone says, that whole trip was under divine guidance and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. I seek strength from a Higher Power that I choose to call God. I began this relationship 26 years ago and over the years, there have been many moments like these. I call on that same source of strength to help me stay the course with the Protocol.

I miss my mother, I always will. We know she made it to where she needed to go, because she had her ticket!

mom 2 mom 3 mom1

Love you Mom

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Angelsta Creation’s: http://angelstarcreations.com/wallpapers/salisbury1440.html