Posted in Anxiety, Health, Life

Body, mind, and spirit (A confession to my body)

(painting by me)

Out of the blue this feels right to do as I realize that “you” and I did not always have a loving and accepting relationship. Today I acknowledge that the fault is all mine and that most of the time I couldn’t appreciate you the way you are, wishing you’d be different. I gave little attention, never realizing all the hard work you do for me in an effort to get me around and taking care of my daily business. We have been together for a long time and I should know you better than anyone. I should hear your words and warnings when you talk to me about your own struggles, but in most instances, I am selfish, making it all about “me” while finding little compassion for what you face on a daily basis. Today this changes and these words are dedicated to you, my body, because in the end it is you and me who are in this together. There is no separation and equal amounts of attention need to be given as we are a part of each other, body, mind and spirit. One can’t be healthy without the other and together we stand.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to you and there is so much. I could recount numerous occasions, and it is easy to see that I never gave you the credit you so much deserved. From little on, in my teens I had to go to physical therapy because a physical part of me wasn’t developing as it should. I was too young to understand and therefore didn’t blame you, but I do remember some of the excruciating exercises I had to perform to correct the issue. It was no fun to say the least and perhaps it was the beginning of us not being closes. Maybe in a silly not knowing way, through the eyes of a child that didn’t know any better, indirectly I did blame you and thought something was wrong with me. Funny how this feeling and false interpretation somehow became a theme song for me in many other instances of my life always looking for the fault within.

Years later while hitting puberty, I was a late bloomer and the pure pressures of school and classmates who were already visible further ahead of me, caused me to not be patient with you. I couldn’t understand your beautiful works, your process that couldn’t be rushed, that was turning me into a beautiful young woman. I put you under pressure and didn’t appreciate you for all the wonders you were doing for me. As long as I remember there was always something wrong with you in my eyes, although I should have always loved you. Even at my skinniest times, (which looks sick and anorexic to me now), I still found things not meeting my expectations, things wrong with you, whatever they might have been at that time.

I even went as far as evasively changing your appearance in a far cry to save my marriage. What was I thinking? I’ve fed you with junk food because I struggled to make ends meet in today’s middle class. Living healthy was not affordable and convenient. I did the best I could, but never realized how hard this must been on you, nourishing you with junk instead of the right fuel. I expected performance from you, but didn’t create the right conditions for you to support me. Still, you stayed strong for many years while I worked very hard. My jobs were demanding and physical, barely giving me enough time to eat a decent meal. Often there was no time for breaks and the junk had to be devoured with barely taking a breather. Unhealthy eating habits were formed and I still to this day I eat fast, swallowing big chunks without chewing properly. I constantly stop to remember myself to eat slowly, to chew well and give you bitesize little chunks to process. I know I create so much extra work for you having to break down a meal that must be lying in my stomach like a rock before it can be passed own through my system.

Stress and anxiety has been a constant companion in my life and we have fought more battles than we know to count together. You’ve always been a warrior and supported me for the longest, but time was taking its toll and I didn’t notice. You kept it all hidden for me and fought on to face another day. As a way to cope with it all, I fed you with smoke for many years during my smoking days. It couldn’t have been fun for you. I treated you like an ashtray, engulfing you in clouds of smoke instead of letting you breathe clean air, choking the breath right out of you. Luckily the day came when I felt ready and quit cold turkey after buying two full packs of cigarettes.

The damage was done and this all happened right around the time when I became sick with the RA. Everything went haywire and you were showing me what a life could look like, unable to perform the most basic tasks. I surely deserved it, never appreciating anything you did for me before. There were many painful lessons that crippled me over the next month and everything spiraled out of control. The once thought chubby woman (in my perception) was gaining weight I couldn’t get rid of. I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle of being in too much pain to exercise and no way of losing it. After month and month of suffering the RA finally went into remission, something I never thought possible, and still I could not claim a fully healthy lifestyle, balanced with my work and in line with body, mind and spirit. I had to continue doing what I had to and I needed you to support me and perform. I didn’t ask for your help and I didn’t thank you for allowing me to feel better, it just became the expectation. Surely I’ve been healthier by not smoking anymore, but now it was my weight that became my new struggle, leaving me feeling out of shape and challenged to get fit. I simply didn’t feel comfortable on many levels and once again it caused me to look at you negatively. How could I get better, I was still working physically demanding jobs with too little time in between to care for myself properly. But perhaps this just sounds like another poor excuse because where there is a will, there is also a way.

Looking back, it is clear that something was missing. I never fully learned my lesson during my first RA struggles. I failed to see how hard you work for me every day to accomplish all my tasks big and small. It should have been so easy to see, but I chalked it up to other things, such as the willpower to quit smoking, which ultimately you supported as well, through a state of body and mind. I thought it was all me doing it, but who am I? What makes me me? I am a combination of you and I never fully gave you any credit and thanks. It is now and many years later that I finally arrive at this realization. There is a sense of remorse for all the time that has passed, but there is also a sense of relief, of finally having come to that conclusion and seeing clearly. I am grateful for these lessons and the ability to learn them. I fear some others might never will and become bitter in the process of it, feeling like victims and life dealings of the short end of the stick. I say better late than never, and you have my word that positive chances are just around the corner.

What brought me to this point was you and a second reminder. It’s been months and months of struggling with physical pain. Physically I am at the heaviest weight I have ever been, regardless of what I try to lose it. Just thinking and worrying about it seems to do the exact opposite, and I only gain more. It’s quite unusual for someone who has always been thin, and yes as a by product and result of such, I haven’t been very happy with you. This experience has caused me to be very harsh and unforgiving to myself and to you. I see a picture I don’t like in the mirror, but I don’t see the weight you have to carry each day. I don’t acknowledge how hard you, my heart, and all of my self has to work each day, just to make me see another sunrise. I have been ungrateful and don’t give you the credit to make all those things possible for me, despite of thinking that I am a person that doesn’t take things for granted. I know that I have taken for granted some of the most important things in our life’s, not intentionally, but I have. Poor choices, or being stuck in a rut and routine, having to make a living, included.

It was on Monday where all this realization came into focus after a nightmare I had. A significant dream, dreamt by me who hardly ever dreams with my eyes closed. It took a second time around to learn a lesson I should have learned the first time, but I also know the circumstances were not right to fully execute the tools I had at the time. Again you spoke to me through pain, a pain that would force me to listen. You knew I wouldn’t otherwise and I would continue to go ahead on that same destructive path. Once again you rendered me helpless, with pains that took me to the very edge. Along the way you gave me enough glimpses and signs to figure it out, and one such sign was Germany and seeing the nice doctor that helped me. I was so sure that my pains were caused from an RA flare up, but according to him and a blood test he disagreed and said it wasn’t so. That never fully registered with me as the only intense pain like this could only be related to my prior struggles. I never put it together until now that there is such a thing as feeling physical pain through your emotional state of being. The good doctor gave me two shots, one cortisone and another to calm me down, allowing me to get some distance from the emotional dramas that were unfolding in my life.

It was Monday that it became clear to me that my pains are caused from an emotional state of being. From stress, from anxiety about issues in my life that remain unresolved. I don’t know how but I just know. It was then, that I finally stopped blaming you, and realized that I have some tools to make these changes. Your message was loud and clear and you showed me what it feels like to lose the things I never appreciated from you. To feel helpless and crippled, unable to perform basic tasks. Today I am here to say that I am sorry and it’s not nearly enough. I still want you to help me lose wait, but it is so we can have a healthier partnership together. I will never again underestimate everything you do for me, and I hope that through body, mind and spirit we regain full range of motion, without everything being such a struggle.

I still have a tough path ahead of me and the future will require some work, but it looks positive and peaceful, and you will definitely like it there. I will never rush like I needed to before feeding you with junk and not listening to you by pushing on in an unhealthy manner. Together we will work as a team and resolve all issues to put our best life forward. I need you help and support, and I ask you to please invest in me and forgive me. I give thanks to the days with reduced pain, the days you give me another chance to move with more freedom, while I make conscious choices to support our mission. Water included and you shall not run dehydrated again. I’ve long learned my lesson that it is not too expensive or impossible to live healthier. You either pay for it now or you do later, and sometimes it’s just a matter of preplanning and execution.

Tonight as we enter the pink full moon, I will celebrate these new beginnings and give my old self back to the creator. To let the past stand where it belongs and to set the intentions for manifesting a new future. 2019 remains a year of preparation and change. To get situated to where body, mind, and spirit can exist in peace and as one. Tonight this shall be sealed and sent to the universe as I shed the things that no longer serve my purpose and emerge in a clear path, united as one.

Advertisements
Posted in Chronic illness, Health, Life

A good day

A little over a month has passed since I got back to the states. The intention was to clean up my life of 30 some years, to get rid of unnecessary stuff in the house, and to lighten my load by becoming a minimalist. I managed to straighten up the sitting room (picture), but much more stuff has to go. And it’s only one room for crying out loud. The goals haven’t faded away, but life had different plans for me, some of which I frankly don’t understand yet. The pain amplified since Germany, and many day to day tasks became a real challenge. I can only comprehend it as my body having enough of battle mode, and rendering me almost helpless in an order to heal. Sometimes we don’t realize how long we have been strong, and faithfully our body carries us through those tough times until we no longer have to. Often it is too late, and the damage is done, revealing it’s ugly results to us at a later time. I really think that something like that has happened to me. I didn’t realize how much I gave, not that I could have ever changed it. It was necessary and something I had to go through, but now afterwards, it’s also something to consider for the future. Stress is a strange animal, one not to be taken lightly, and definitely not to be underestimated. And it is something not new to me, something I have experienced before.

After getting back, I was in so much pain that it hurt to move. Well heck, it hurt to sit and there was no way to get comfortable any which way. It was awful and it chipped away at my warrior spirit. It took me 30 minutes just to get dressed. Doing my hair or make up was a joke and like a zombie, definitely the speed of one, I faced each day. I learned that I had to push through the pain by movement to get better, and I did. It was tough to say the least, but soon I noticed that I always felt better when I pushed myself vs. trying to take it easy and rest. It was a delicate balance of pushing beyond the struggle and not overdoing it. I have a long ways to go, but for the most part I remember that it’s worth the fight. There are moments when I can’t, moments that scare me, but luckily these are getting more rare. There are times I am so tired of hurting, and it is then that I have to remember that I can call for help and that I create my own reality with my thoughts. Who knows why this is all happening, but I am sure that part of it is to help others, to tell the story of overcoming adversity, and to find a way to move on. Without a doubt, this has been one of the hardest things I NEVER had a choice of not doing.

Mom is doing well for the most part, but I know she is counting on me to return to take her out of the nursing home. It weighs heavily on me, and while I’d love to be her superhero to make this possible, there are more lives at stake that need to be considered. Explaining such to her is difficult, and ever so often her fears surface. I can only be understanding, even through the personal attacks and try to meet them with love, to the best of my ability. Honestly I don’t know what the solution is when it comes to her and her expectations of me to return to Germany. What to do with her house, as it should be rented out, but even just clearing the house of all that stuff. The apartment of Mom’s parents on the first level is fully intact and exactly how it was as they were alive. Their personal belongings and everything is there, and here am I, struggling with my own house and clearing one room. I don’t think I could move to Germany permanently, and I tried to find my way for ten month, making her a priority. It was hard and rewarding in many respects, and by no means would I want to change any of it, but it has also taken tolls that are taking me forever to overcome. To the point that I had doubts whether I could or not, that’s how bad it got.

But today was a good day, despite of coming down with a sore throat last night and a cold. I surrendered as I went to bed, unable to take on another thing health-wise, and I gave it all away. I asked the universe for help, I called my angels and my soul for help. I called the creator, my guides and helpers, as well as anything and anyone who could help. Amazingly I woke up with no pain and could do the stairs like a normal person instead limping one step at a time. A huge progress, I hope which is here to stay. I know each day is different and the good ones have been far too few in between, but I have to believe that all will be well. My throat is still sore but not as bad as last night and I’m hopeful.

Overall, today was a gift and I’m very grateful for the break. Here is to more days like this and to suffering less. To everything finding it’s way and that the universe reveals it’s plan soon. Whatever it might be, I will continue and try to give my worries away and trust the progress. What else is there…anyways.

Posted in Health, Life

Finding my way back from battle mode

Several month before leaving Germany, I really struggled with my health. So bad that at one point I saw a doctor who helped me a great deal. However the treatment and the results were temporary, and just a bandaid to mask the pain until more money would be invested in the research of pinpointing permanent corrections. I thought that the RA was acting up, but he said that this wasn’t the case. The culprit had to do with stress and super high inflammation and allergy levels. The medicine he gave me provided a little break, but eventually didn’t seem to have much affect anymore, or wore off. Both of my shoulders became super tense, and I couldn’t reach overhead anymore. It’s a real struggle to dress I tell you. It feels as if my limbs don’t belong to me anymore and movement is still very painful. Sleep was scarce and I could only lie down on my back since I couldn’t put any pressure on either shoulder. It was a tough order for someone not used to sleeping on their back.

This went on for weeks and I became sleep deprived. I would find myself fading while sitting with Mom, feeling so tired and worn out. It is well known that someone suffering a chronic illness needs much rest to recover and nurture their condition. It was non existent for me, and my body responded negatively. Yet I was in battle mode and it was my way of life to dedicate my time to Mom, and I did. In hindsight I remember a saying that sometimes we don’t realize how strong we are until being strong is all we have left. I had reached that point without realizing.

I spent Christmas Eve with Mom before leaving to the states the next day, Christmas Day. I would have liked to stay a few more days for the holidays but travel arrangements didn’t allow for such. After mediocre sleep for weeks, I found myself in a recliner chair the last night in Mom’s room. It was better than nothing, but I hardly slept at all. I was hurting worse the next morning while getting ready. So worse that in fact it distracted me from what was going on and having to say goodbye. My body had to perform and I had a long trip ahead of me, and somehow I was already worried and had some doubts. Falling flat on my face during the week didn’t help matters and left me bruised and sore on top of things. I still suffered from that and wasn’t healed.

It was a rather quick goodbye that morning, as I hugged Mom for the last time and I know that a part of my heart and soul stayed behind that day, seeing Mom cry because I was leaving. It was awful, but somehow I held it together. Shock and numbness and all, crying all my tears and tormenting myself, leading up to that very moment.

The journey back began with a car ride to the Frankfurt airport. Next, an 11 hour flight to Las Vegas. From there a 5 hour layover and 22 hours later all in all I had arrived, 5 hours away from my actual home. It felt like fighting my way back as I felt exhausted, overtired and overwhelmed. At one point I had doubts of making it all the way back, this is how bad it got for me on the health side. By now my wrists were giving me so much trouble that I could hardly pull my suitcase. I couldn’t pull myself up from the plane seat and I medicated myself more just to get by.

The next day at the ocean, I could tell that things were taking a further toll as I was unable to sit down and relax on the ground. I couldn’t use my hands to brace myself and I couldn’t just let myself fall. Little did I know that this was only the beginning. I struggled even more the next day and by the following day I could hardly walk. I couldn’t roll my ankles, stairs became an absolute nightmare and it was as if my body finally gave out. I no longer had to be strong in the sense of being around Mom, so my body finally showed me what was masked in all this time leading up until now. I didn’t know how to walk, and I didn’t know how to sit. How to be comfortable and how to do anything. I nearly lost it in the grocery store, filled with so much sadness and freight at the same time. I missed Mom, and yet what was going on with myself was no picnic either.

I waited until Sunday to drive my car and it was nearly impossible to shift and steer with the shoulder and the pain. It was no fun at all, and definitely not how I had envisioned driving my car for the first time again. Yesterday I went out for the first time, but ended up sitting in the car most of the time. I couldn’t hike and I couldn’t even walk on level ground. My knees were locked and it felt as if I had to learn to walk all over again. Today is a little better and I am getting more and more mobility again. I grit my teeth and fight through the pain of it and it has been scary at times, but I’m doing it. There is no way that I could work like this and I am glad I gave myself time to ease into that chapter of my life again, although I’m not quite sure what I want to do. But by god I do need that time to get well now. I am trying to nurture myself with some of the things I haven’t been able to do in the past 10 month. I can see how much I have aged, and I’m fighting for that spark to return back into my tired eyes. It will be a challenge, but have I ever shy’d away from anything trying? I think not.

And again I apologize for not responding to your comments and well wishes. I was simply tired and overwhelmed but will be on track again in a few days and try to backtrack my way. Please know how much they have meant and how much they are appreciated. Thank you so much. Hugs.

I look back at this journey with a new level of respect, and it truly feels as if it nearly killed me. Yet it was the only way, and I would do it again if needed.

Picture: McWay Falls, Big Sur California

Posted in Health

Salt pool bliss

Have you ever been to a salt pool? It’s something that I have come to love and every first Wednesday of the month, I get to go with my great – great cousin (Mom’s cousin) Dana for a four hour bliss day to the salt pool.

It feels wonderful on my aching joints and it’s a treat and time away for me. I remember the very first time, walking into the salt lake. It’s a dome pool of which you can swim outside into the open. The water has the most salt content there and literally carries you. It’s impossible to go under and I learnt quick to balance myself. Now it is soothing and therapeutic to just float along. Weightlessly, without resistance and effort.

We always have the same ritual and half way through our visit enjoy a hot Hungarian Gulasch soup with a Radler (a beer mixed with lemonade). It’s always a great time, which I always look forward to. This time we even got to slowly paddle our way outside. It’s impossible to swim in saltwater, but it was amazing that the weather held out enough for us to do so. Pretty incredible for November I’d say.

Posted in Chronic illness, Health

Much, much better

I know that this post will make some genuine caring people feel a whole lot better, simply for the fact that I am doing much, much better, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your concern and love.

I finally had a mostly decent day. I still got up several times last night just to move around, and the shoulder situation was still a little sore, but the day was mostly pain free. We will see what tonight brings.

My neck is not as tight anymore, and the warming pillow and muscle relaxers have helped improve that situation. I also cooked with fresh ginger yesterday, and cut a huge chunk into my meal. I wonder if that had something to do with it as well, since it’s said to help with inflammation. I may never know, but will continue doing so going forward. If that was the contributing force, then the difference has been a huge game changer. Perhaps it is from changing my diet to reduce the foods that have caused damage and pain in the past. Maybe the stars aligned, and the barometric pressure has settled down. Who knows, all I’m saying is that today felt like a gift.

My hands and fingers work effortlessly and I’m rid of the stiffness. For now. I even started to knit another pair of socks for Mom. I’m kind of scared to celebrate too much, but on the other hand I feel that it needs to be recognized and acknowledged. Isn’t it weird how we get conditioned to hold our breath, or not to say things too loud because we might jinx ourselves? Today, I will ignore this old wife’s tail and enjoy my moments. As well as share them with you….loudly. I will not whisper and I’ve been in so much pain that it becomes a huge deal when I receive a break. Who could ever hold their breath and not shout it from the highest mountain top?

Today, the thought crossed my mind that I’d probably be better off toting a little carry on piece of luggage with me when visiting Mom. 😉 Gee, the bag of goodies I bring along, is growing bigger and bigger all the time. There is a huge bootle of water, food for me and treats for Mom, especially on Saturdays when she only gets a basic little meal like soup and it leaves her yearning for more. I carry the sure favorites that bridge the gap, and bring a giant smile to her face. There are magazines, shopping bags, more treats…the sweet ones this time, knitting supplies, crafts, catalogs and other misc. stuff that adds up to a ton to carry. It dawned on me that perhaps my shoulders hurts from the heavy weight, kind of as if I’m pulling my arms out of its shoulder socket. That is how the pain feels when it gets bad. I would lie not to realize that the chronic pain is most likely relocating to surface in another spot. But not today, and today was a beautiful day. I’m not out of the woods, but today was long overdue. Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts. Your wishes and kindness throughout my struggles. Thank you for being YOU. You make everything better for me and I am blessed to have you in my life.

Posted in Chronic illness, Health

Terrible-Terrific-Tuesday

It was Tuesday and the day for my follow up in regards to my blood work. I really hadn’t thought much of it since that miraculous last Friday when all of a sudden I seemed to be healed almost instantly. Of course I wasn’t, but the pain was gone, and so were the troubling thoughts that had accompanied me through the pain. The painful reminders disappeared and life was good. Couldn’t it have stayed like this forever!!!

It was just before noon as I arrived at the doctors office and took a seat in the waiting room. It was a first in a long time that I rode the bicycle, and that I decided to get my exercise this way for the day. I would ride it to see Mom after I got done, and later ride it back home. It would be a workout, but I felt courageous and motivated, I was on a mission to a healthier life. The deciding factor was that I felt good enough to execute it, and God only knows that this wasn’t the first time that I attempted this mission. Many times before pain crippled me into stopping, and although I knew this, somehow I felt as if I had a chance, that this time was going to be different. You could call it being naive and gullible, I call it being hopeful and positive. Perhaps I was believing and hoping for another miracle.

It wasn’t long until the silence caught up with me in that little waiting room and I began to wonder. It became crystal clear, that the pain was subdued, but that didn’t mean by a long shot that all my troubles were over. What if something showed up within the blood-work? For sure there had to be something that caused me to hurt this badly. I’m not sure at what point it was that I considered additional things besides the RA to be the culprit. Was it perhaps the big C word that had shown up. Was I terminally ill and just didn’t know it yet! Through the years I’ve had visions about it. Im not sure why, but perhaps for the same way Dad always knew that he would die young. He couldn’t tell where and how he knew this from, he just knew. Was this going to be one of those conversations that started something like “I am terribly sorry…..but…”?

The past weeks and month caught up with me. All the thoughts about death that I had, not necessarily in regards to my own or Mom’s, but for some reason death would always find a way back into my mind. Not because I was afraid of it, but I think in a way it was fear, fear of running out of time, of not finishing my mission, my life’s work. And what about “Black Eyes”, a vision of myself I had seen walk past me with blacked out eyes? Were these all messages I didn’t really care to see, did I put them out of sight subconsciously because I wasn’t ready to deal with them? I knew that in a way I did, because I didn’t want to put these thoughts out into the universe and manifest my truths. Before I could do anymore damage, I remembered that thought and became aware of what my mind was doing to me. It was leading me down to The Valley of Loss, the swamps of torture and the inclines of misery. I focused my thoughts and silently said a little invocation that I was going to be ok. In my mind I spoke it out and stated my intentions, finishing it with “So mote it be”. Nothing bad was going to happen to me. Shortly after the door opened and I got called into the examining room. The doctor entered shortly after and said my labs weren’t “ALL” that terribly bad. What did that mean? Was there good news with the bad news? Which one would I like to hear first? And here I went again and the ego of my mind tried to get the upper hand once more. He asked if I knew about allergies and what I was allergic to. Besides Soy, Wheat and Peanuts I had no clue. My blood work revealed that three things were off the chart for me.

Allergies…normal range is between 0.00-100.00 mine was at 611

Inflammation…normal range is between 0.00-5.00 mine was at 8.4

Triglyceride…normal range is between 0.00-149 mine was at 306

The last one I’m least worried about and with a healthier diet, mainly vegetarian, lots of water and a few other things, this should impact pretty quickly.

The allergies are six times the normal acceptable count and I have no idea. I guess I would have to do an allergy test at some point to find out. Strange thing is that I have no symptoms. No scratchy throat, no itchy eyes, no nothing. I would imagine that the high allergy count is impacting the inflammation in my body. So allergies seems to be my number one battle to tackle at the moment but I can’t do the testing without insurance right now. So instead I’m hoping that a change occurs through changing my eating habits. I’m not sure how I’m going to measure my success since I don’t have any allergy symptoms. Perhaps the only way I could know is in the amount of pain from the inflammation, perhaps the disease will go into remission and my body is calming down again.

I can tell the shot is wearing off and although my fingers are not swollen yet and I have full functions of making a fist etc, there has been more pain over the last two nights. It’s painful to turn around after I become still. Joints are stiffening again and it’s frightening. I’m trying to keep loose through movement during the day, diet, and hope that the pills can carry me over long enough to make a difference. But at night when all is still it’s a different story. I’m keeping hopeful ♥️

Posted in Adventure, Health, Hiking

Movement for life – Part I

I struggled on Monday, and what started out as a nice break for myself, would quickly turn into a day filled with pain. The RA has become a constant, and reminds me of how it all started some 12 years ago when I was reduced to barely being able to move, as if I was crippled. It seems that I have arrived back at that point and everything takes effort. The lack of exercise, spending most days sitting at Moms bedside doesn’t help, and physically the only thing it has brought me is extra pounds. I’m at a point where you can’t get comfortable, you don’t sleep through the night, and you wake several times from the pain of turning. I haven’t had such a strong flare-up in years, and it is painful, debilitating. frustrating, as well as scary. Imagine yourself losing control, the nagging pain robs your sanity and everything becomes a major chore. You feel the inflammation in your body in the form of sore, tender, swollen joints, and certain parts of your body feel as if they were on fire. There is tightness and you can’t make a fist. There is a burning, a desire to give up and not walk another step, although your feet are not tired and feel fine. It’s hard to endure, but even harder to adjust to your new reality and become friends with it. There is so much left you are planning to do, so many dreams waiting to be executed vs. being dreamt, you have goals and plans, and your body is reminding you that it might not come to pass. Your saving grace is your spirit, who is not defeated yet, there still is hope and you fight on, day after day. You do what you can to keep your mood high and positive. Sometimes it works, and sometimes you are just soooo tired of it. That is pretty much how things have been lately, filled with an unwillingness to accept the new reality although I have completely surrendered to what is. It had happened before and went into remission before, it could happen again and that’s what I choose to believe. But is there something more life is trying to tell me? Already on my knees, was my body in the process of forcing me into a decision, because my mind couldn’t make that choice. I truly think that it is what happened the last time. My body broke down to remove me from a damaging circumstances. Things turned out for the better back then, was it happening again?

Monday was such a day, and it was mostly my upper body, arms, hands and shoulders that were sore. There was pressure in my chest and I didn’t know if it was caused from the RA, taking the steroids and daily pain meds, or because my heart just had enough of enduring the constant strain. I took a few extra aspirin on top of the daily regimen that I’m already on per doctor’s orders. I managed somehow, became very tired but also very restless by the end of the day. I hardly did anything but rest. Was it really what I needed, another day of minimum exercise, mostly sitting and laying around? Something had to give and I knew it.

Tuesday morning came and the wheels were turning. I needed movement, and declared that just sitting day after day at Mom’s wasn’t going to cut it anymore. The temperatures were getting cooler, perfect hiking weather for me and a plan was born. I needed to exercise my heart and decided to walk to Mom’s. I was doubtful and had no idea about what strain I was going to put myself under, but I had to. I thought about resting points along the way if I needed to, while shaking my head at my own self and my incapabilities. What happened, I had walked much further distances in the past, never thinking about places where I might rest, but this was my “NOW” and I didn’t like it. Actually, I had to admit that I was growing to not like a lot of things about my current “NOW”, but so it was. At least for the time being.

I decided to rake up the pears in front of the house before leaving, and it would be a good indicator of how the joints performed, before risking the final journey. Although the small stretch of property in front of the house is the towns property, somehow it was still everybody’s responsibility to clean up the mess, and “The village people” knew who did and who didn’t. It was obvious, but also fuel for future conversations and a few looks. The previous storm had shook the tree hard, and the bottom around it was covered with fallen pears. I raked up five large buckets full and had to leave another pile that didn’t fit into the waste container. The pain was tolerable and actually felt as if the movement was helping. It was decided, and I got my pack ready. With water, lunch sandwiches, Fruit roll ups, jacket, I pad and phones, cables, sunglasses, PAIN MEDS, and wallet in tow, I was soon to be on my way. If I could only combine walking to Mom with a hike, an adventure to explore and see things, things usually missed by driving by quickly, if I could enjoy my time being out, to slow it down a bit while getting my exercise and step goal in, perhaps it would be a win win situation in many ways. I would also take advantage of the milder temps before the weather turned completely and winter arrived. It seemed like a winning combination and I was hyped up and pumped. My mind had performed it’s own little motivation speech

and off I was, walking each step to get closer to Mom. This didn’t come with the occasional moments of disbelief that I was actually doing it. I didn’t feel the greatest and while the pain in my legs were manageable, I still felt the tightness in my chest like a warning that this might not be the smartest idea. I knew that I had to keep pushing and promised myself to take it easy if there was ever a need. To listen to my body, but also make changes that my body needed to adapt to. I had reached the end of town as the neighbor chased by me per car. She was driving into the same direction I was walking in, but I was invisible and small. There was no time for a waive hello, heaven forbid for a offer or a lift, perhaps I wasn’t even noticed or seen. For a moment I was reminded that I would be completely on my own. Wasn’t it what I wanted…to slow things down and take time to breath? Wasn’t the rushing car that symbolized hectic and stress exactly what I was trying to get away from? Of course it was, but did the neighbor knew? It was more the principle of it, and realizing how wrapped up everybody was that had me bothered. I was reminded of the rat race I myself had belonged to not too long ago, the madness I was caught up in, with days that passed me by leaving nothing more but meaningless memories behind. Phew another day was in the books, did I manage to complete all my chores was my theme song. It was confirmation that I didn’t want to return, that I wanted the time to notice and that a different path would have to be taken.

It was a beautiful day for walking. The temperatures were in the upper 50’s, partly cloudy with beautiful “Puffies” (clouds) and a light breeze. The next thing I noticed was a playful red squirrel, a first since my arrival. I smiled knowing that surely I would have missed it, had I just driven by. My second message for the day was to have more fun and to take life a little less serious. Thank you Mr. Squirrel, indeed I needed that reminder. My senses were keen and I was in tune with what messages Mother Nature had for me. Just a short while later, a fuzzy caterpillar was near the side of the path, nestled safely in between the grass. Immediately I thought of it’s transformation to become a butterfly and how it related to myself. This entire journey had been transformative, I was getting my answers as well as insights of where I had been and where I wanted to go. Mrs. Caterpillar was no exception and another confirmation and reminder that I was following the correct path.

“Caterpillar holds the grand dream of becoming all that it can be, with no limitations, it reaches out to become it’s greatest expression of self. Putting everything aside, it follows the drive to evolve. Caterpillar teaches us to do the same, to find our power to transform in deep meditation, to go into the cocoon and emerge as a greater aspect of self…believing in the possibilities that with faith all things great and small are possible, and to remember that the grand and beautiful things have very humble beginnings”.

~Presley Love

…to be continued

Posted in Health, Photography

Last light near San Francisco’s Golden Gate

This picture was taken the night before I left for Germany.

It’s been seven days since I got here, and it’s been a hell of a week. Tonight it is barely nine PM but im in bed and the stresses have finally caught up with me. I’m sick and what started with an overall sore throat, has left me feeling kind of lousy today. I didn’t get a chance to rest today and my day was filled with things about Mom. I need to find better balance and although I don’t work right now, I have had no time to myself and it’s been hectic.

Tonight I hope to get rested so I can wake up refreshed for another day.

Posted in Family, Health, Inspiration

Heaven can wait

Mom’s surgery went well and I learned that she appeared to be in good spirits. Thank you so much for all your prayers and for keeping us in your thoughts. I’m truly touched by your care and the messages, along with the kind comments that I have received and your understanding for my elusive nature as of lately. Much has happened and I feel as if my year ended up teetering on some scary moments. I am ok and I know I have called on you a lot lately. Change is happening fast in my little corner and 2018 will be full of it. I remain thankful for your support through those times and always. You truly are the best group of people I have encountered.

I don’t have more details about Mom. I have no idea which toe she lost, what is next or how long she has to stay. I’m not sure if there is still talk or danger about her losing her leg, but for now I remain hopeful. I have not been able to talk to her and hope this will change soon. I don’t see it unless she is coming home or decides to take a phone while in the hospital, but for now I hope to hear her voice soon. It has been hard not to wish her a merry Christmas or a happy new year. It’s been a first and sometimes you can’t have it all, they say. At least she is here and I feel her close in my heart. In a way it is the very thing that makes my heart heavy and forces tears down my face. I’m too far away and today the pressure of being scared is leaving my body in the form of such release.

Today the distance dissipates as I hold her hand to win this fight that we soon or later have to lose. Today I’m hoping for later….

Posted in Family, Health

A prayer across the miles

On this last day of the year, all of my thoughts are traveling home, back to Germany, back to Mom. Mom has surgery today and she is losing another toe. And while everything could be a lot worse, for the moment at least it isn’t, although things could change tomorrow. For the moment I’m holding on to the silver lining that she is keeping her leg, while I silently pray that she is recognizing the seriousness of her conditions and that it will truly end with just a toe.