Monday

Me Time

Me time - a critical part of life whether one has MS or not.  But today, Monday, is Me day.  No meetings.  No errands.  Time to relax and rebuild.  Some work, catching up on paperwork, admin type stuff.  A production meeting with Self which I do while walking Ellie Hound.  I have several fun projects in the works right now.  Helping some friends out with some marketing work.  Printing photography - Oh, that might be an errand. I'm out of toner, again.  Time to feed the monster again.

But it's also time to take care of me:   laundry, exercise, meditation, education, reading, friends, family, nature, life.  And that is my priority today.  So - Off to enjoy.

I did have some beautiful early morning time with Isabel Allende and her Ines of My Soul. What beauty in storytelling.  Between Isabel's words and the Seattles Best coffee in the french press, it has been splendid already.

Wednesday

ShenTrition

Many of my friends have been asking about ShenTrition and how it's been helping me survive MS for the past two years.  And we're talking surviving beyond belief.  I'm actually riding horses again - exercising in the heat and taking care of myself a little better each day.  So what I tell folks is to go to http://shentrition.com/ and read what Stephen and Erica have written about stressors.  This is HUGE for MSer's.  HUGE.   Just read, absorb, and let's chat about this.

I'm off to make some ShenTrition right now...peace

Tuesday

sister you've got it all



sister you've got it all -
...you've got it all...
There are no damaged goods with MS.   Its all about the attitude.  Sure we have our weaknesses and faults but who doesn't, especially after some forty years of enjoying the heck out of life. 

I surely don't miss the corporate world.  Even the business world.  It's a stressor for me.  I used to love it.  Capitalism.  I would eat it up.  But these days, post MS, I could care less.  I just want to live each day. 

of course - its Townes van Zandt...





It's Townes van Zandt.  Interrupting my thinking.

Of course it is.  Be here to love me.

And where is he?  That man who said he would be here in the morning.  How many times have I heard that crap.  Seriously. 

I do wonder if folks see me as damaged goods.  I have a lot of weaknesses.  My inability to drive in traffic and highways for one.  My need for naps and rest.  Having to continuously survive this disease by taking care of my Self - every day, creating a feeling of self-centeredness. 

MS does effect your life - more than most believe.  We can go around on many Western medicines and ignore the symptoms.  But the symptoms are telling us something.  They are indicators to change your way of living.  I don't think that I consider myself damaged goods but I must in some ways because it's a recurring theme in my Self dicussions. More on this later.  


L8R G8R

Friday

absolute babble

Friday.  Grateful Dead rocking my headphones.  Time to chill and rewind.  What a strange couple of weeks.  The relapse.  I pushed and my body pushed back.  The cold.  I pushed and my body pushed back even harder.  There was no decision to be made - my relapse was here to stay. 

My Shen-Cleanse was a release.  Timing was right, energy good.  The other day I was lost for over two hours in a beautiful, renergizing, releasing spiraling yoga practice.   Books upon books.  Fire upon fire.  And the naps.  Oh what luxury I took. 

And then this week.  After rain-showers and mud-slide fears we are experiencing 90 degree summer days.  We might just get some little growies up in the hills before more rain.  I even heard chatter about opening the local ski areas, well Mt. Waterman.  don't think there's anything left of Kratka Ridge, or whatever they called it during it's demise.  Now that was a Beer Cellar! 

Healthy to have fun memories. Healthier to make fun memories. Today, riding about on this beautiful day, I captured a memory I hope to never lose.  The rhythm of the oaks, on three different mounts.  Friends and family around.  Happiness, sunshine, a refreshing day. 

Off to enjoy the multiples sclerosis.  It's a good reason to sit back and chill.  It is the play-off's and the Dodgers won.  Angels and Yankees playing now.  L8R G8R

Thursday

Coopers Hawks Invade

Actually, this poor little guy made several failed attempts at the doves...he/she isn't too swift yet.






Wednesday

Cleansing, Shmeansing

But boy do I need it.  And what a treat it's been.  Fresh greens at every meal.  "kidney eggs" (whites with turmeric) several times a day. Fruit all day long.  Bacon, because it makes everything taste good and I need some fat.  

Chard, turnip greens, Fuji's, Gala's, Bacon, walnuts, fresh Basil, fresh Tomatoes, Humboldt fog, hmmmm...neeed I say more? 

Sometimes I can't be as detoxifying as I would prefer but if there is free food around I'm not going to pass it up.  So I had some taquitos.  Go ahead and eat one or two but fill your plate with detoxifying radish salad and cooked greens not to mention organic re-fried beans. 



Make sure to add lots of fresh fruit and cooked fresh greens.  Avocado doesn't hurt either, especially if you need the calories.

more to come...

Monday

Annoying as all get out

OK, it's 12 October.  Near the middle of the month.  And what.  What have I done? 
Been bed ridden.  That is for sure.  Read a couple of good books. Got caught up on sleep and rest.  Most importantly got caught up on nutrition and health.  But the 12th?  Come on.  Slow down.  Can't we jog a bit?  What's the rush? 

Just slow down, smell the roses, fall is here.  What a summer.  What, a summer.

Soar with eagles, rise with robins.  Pay the price girl.  You burned the candle at both ends and you know it.  Two weeks down isn't a bad investment.  What a summer. 



 

Lizard brain will survive

I will survive, Cake, bringing up memories of kayaking the McKenzie River, Oregon.  Perpetually in my CD while driving up the river, I may never have progressed as far without the help of that quirky music.  And friends.  What a change for me, from working with horses 24/7 to playing with friends and everything outdoors.  I had been a class IV river guide on the Kern River, California, but not one of your better ones.  I preferred creative food buys and driving shuttle. And the people.  Always seems to come back to the people in my world. But that was near ten years earlier.  My life had been horses, period.  Time for a change. 




My love hate relationship with water I knew no other feeling.  Those beautiful moments, the ones where my brain clicked off and let my instincts go, will forever burn in my mind.  The green water of surfing the ocean outside Florence, Oregon, window shades and stern squirts, creeking, floating.  The moments it clicked there was nothing like it.  One with nature.

A beautiful spring day, friends around, sun shining.  McKenzie river refreshing after a day in the corporate dot boom.  Clover at just the right level.  Side surfing, moving it around, relaxing, rolling, playing with river otters.  Yeah, that's one with nature.



Those are the memories I want to hold onto.  Because the other memories, the fears and anxiety of not feeling one with nature.  Of feeling in such discord that the slightest roll left me swimming and freezing on our annual News Years Day float trip on the icy upper McKenzie.  Or the time I entered the Redsides White Water Rodeo - 1997.  Old-school boat was fine with me.  Redsides already ate my lunch earlier that season.  Luckily a nearby friend anchored my skirt down as my hands were barely able to grasp my paddle with anticipation.



Let me go first, I'm ready.  In other words, get out of my way before I panic and run in front of all these people.  Luckily my lizard brain took over, instincts ruled and I had an awesome run.  Even the Patagonia rep was clapping, good sign.  Unfortunately my thinking brain kicked in.  By the 5th round I lost it.  Missed my roll and swam.  Too freaked out to go back in I forfeited my round and lost the tournament.

That is what we trainers call hot and cold.  Not a competitors winning strength.  But it was a push for me, to be in that rodeo.  I loved kayaking.  I hated kayaking.  I loved the lizard brain.  Detested the thinking brain.  of all things it was great for my multiple sclerosis.

The water therapy alone was enough to keep my MS at bay for several years.  Rolling in the McKenzie is a bit of a breath-taker when there's snow on the ground and you are layered in fleece and dry-suit.  My friends were another therapy.  Especially the one I didn't listened to that much.  my chinese doctor.

Kidney yin deficiency.  Follow the diet.  Follow the life style.  But did I?  Nah.  I kept burning along, literally.  Until I burned out.

Thirteen years later and how am I finding ways to survive MS?  By following a kidney yin deficient diet.  After two more diagnoses and research it became obvious that the answer for me was right in front of me.   And had been for years!

So, what is a Kidney Yin Deficient life-style?   That will come in another post.  Lucky my fingers have lasted this long...

Sunday

Stuck in pigeon

Several minutes at least, facing weeks of built up anxiety, I melt through pigeon pose.  Streams of energy shooting out limbs, new areas of energy released.  Breathing with anxiety through layers of emotional build-up.  There is no point in berating myself for not giving my Self a good Spiral of late.  And there's no point in lying.  A month at least.  Probably two.  Some small practices here and there but for a good, two-plus hour Spiraling mediation, it had been too long. 

I can't spiral when weak so after some build up calories,  I made some Peets decaf in the french press but immediately lost myself in my Spiral before the coffee reached my lips.  iPod on, safe place, no fear of interruption. This is peace.  Using a mix of learned methods of Yoga and other practices the Spiral is a free-flow practice that goes with the flow.  From the music inside or the rustling of the trees if practiced outside on a light fall day, Spiraling is a form of connecting body, mind, soul and earth.  To revitalize and rebuild.  To center.

Spiraling is for anyone.  For practice just find a safe, quiet place and set a certain time aside.  If you have a time limit, set a timer so that you can get lost in your meditative flow.  My practices come from a variety of modalities and resources I have picked up over the years.  Here are just a few:

Matthew Mixer, licensed acupuncturist, Ashtanga yoga, Chinese herbs
Shen Life, Stephen and Erica Rogers, Chinese herbs, yoga, massage, spiritual, ShenTrition
Shiva Rea, yoga

So today I started out with just some easy standing yoga and flowed down to the ground with a variety of moves.  Beginning with a deep spiral into the grown through my feet that centered feeling begin to fill my body.  Slowly, breathing deep, standing tall.  Hear the ribs and neck creak.  Spiraling my parallel positioned feet underneath me so that my hips drop and open while my my legs continue to stretch up and down into the ground.  Raising the chest and opening the airflow deep into my abdomen the meditation began. 

Or I should say the emotional release began. 

Moving with the flow of the music my body resembled a river, rhythmically rolling and stretching while the tears flowed.  First the anger.  What about?  it didn't matter.  Every issue on my "to do" list came magnified in mind while I ranted and raved about everyone's faults but my own.  I kept spiraling. 

Anger soon turned into sadness realizing my own weaknesses and inabilities to follow the expectations I have of my Self.   Flowing through a variety of movements I let the emotions continue to obsess body and soul. 

And soon I was laughing, at each and every item that is on my list.  I have solutions.  They are in my mind and will arise when the time is near.  There is no need for panic.  Some revelations came as well.  A new thought to reduce stress was to end the marketing boutique for now.  My energy resources are limited and conservation is critical.  Horses are obviously a priority as well as photography.  The rest can wait for another time.  Except for friends. I'm still continuing to advise friends. 

So for now I revised my website and will focus on the projects at hand, and most importantly my nOnisense blog about MS. 

Thoughts for the day:

  • find modalities that work for you:  yoga, meditation, nutrition
  • continually analyze your stress level and make adjustments
  • keep up with friends, family and community for support
  • find healthy escapes for your MS - exercise, studies, blogging, photography
and most importantly, keep smiling!

Thursday

Emotional overload

The natural flow of the sycamore held up through the trimmers.  Often not the case.  An umbrella but not harsh to the eyes.  Maintenance on trees is important.  No matter how many tears fall as the plentiful wildlife is disrupted.  Bill Peet is in my head.  The fat little racoon from Shady Glade is wagging his finger at me...Those big sad eyes.  Don't destroy our homes.  OK, enough guilt.  Emotion overload. 

One thing I often forget about relapses with MS is the emotional roller-coaster ridden in various forms and function.  Crying one moment.  Hysterically giddy another.  Granted the highs are pretty good but the downs can be heart wrenching.  And it goes the same with anger and frustration.  All emotions. 

We need to take care of our emotions.  Each and everyone of them.  Cradle, love, respect and take heed of them.  That's what I'm off to do.  Some meditation, yin yoga, ahhhhh...

 

Monday

perceptions

interesting enough, almost immediately after my post about sheryl crow my father asked what was up with the LA Times Magazine.  Now obviously a 77 year old man is not the target audience for the LA Times magazines, breast cancer, or Sheryl Crow, but his concern:  her skin!   Because of the way the photograph was produced it creates a look of extreme sun damage.  He asked me if she was sick.   Here they are trying to promote a healthy image, one that I saw (such a product of Hollywood I am), but maybe outside the world of Hollywood the image is misconceived.   Always interesting to hear a perspective from a different audience. 

Patience for the Petrol


Patience for the Petrol
Originally uploaded by nonisense

One of the most beautiful places in the world - the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Humbling. To be human.

Coming Out with MS




Did you know that some MSers don't talk about what ails them because it is so little understood?


I know folks who feel they have to “come out” to express the fact they have MS yet here I stare at the cover of LA magazine with Sheryl Crow, breast cancer.  Even the NFL teams had pink on for awareness of breast cancer.  I think it's great.  It's all about the marketing.  Pink, October, Mammograms.  Excellent job.  The image around surviving breast cancer is the image we need about MS.


We are survivors.  Every day.  It's an annoying, pain in neck disease that will rob you of your life.  It may not kill you physically but it will destroy your Self if you do not understand and manage it.  I call it manageable stuff (other words come to mind, but this is G-rated) but that’s what the MS stands for, coming off of a 5-day relapse where I had to revert back to the cane.  But not today and that’s all that matters!  I mismanaged, paid the price, started feeling a major relapse coming on, vision, balance, strength, everything.  But I listened to my body and stood my ground with boundaries to get well:  Reduce stress, eat healthy, quiet, rest, peace...

So how do we raise awareness with the general public about MS because the current program isn't quite working.  Many options but basically we need a really hot spokesperson like Sheryl Crow.  But since she's busy fighting cancer we need to find someone else.  And I'll be honest, Montel Williams just doesn't do it for me.   This is something we'll have to work on because we should be proud of surviving this insidious illness and spend our time enjoying life. 



Actually, upon first viewing the Sheryl Crow cover on the LA Times Magazine for October 4, I was bored.  I thought really, another half naked, hot sexy, cancer survivor.  A bit pedestrian but it is Sheryl Crow.  And she is hot.  And there is photoshop.  But the point is that she brings up very poignant points about surviving cancer that relate hand-in-hand with surviving MS.  


"The mythology I created for myself as akid was if I took care of everybody, then everybody would love me.  If I made myself without needs, they would lvoe me more.  I think that's where I was fragmented all the years before my cancer diagnosis." - Sheryl Crow

I don't know about y'all but this hit close to home for me.  Here are some topics she discussed.  All of them are a part of my own healing regime, so let's do them together:


1.  Motto:
"Dont sweat the small stuff" - Sheryl Crow reminds us of the importance of this oft used saying.  
"Live the life you love, love the life you live" - reminds me that we only come around once (depending of course on your spiritual/religious beliefs).  All I know is that I'm alive right now, right now.  So enjoy this beautiful planet we have and all the beautiful people. 


2.  Self-Love
I've mentioned this one before but you and only you are responsible for your Self.  Take care of it.  And that means giving your Self time and attention.  Spoil your Self. Without guilt!


3.  The Big Lesson
Everyone has a different lesson to learn.  Mine was learning how to transition from a power player to a finesse player.  I learning something new everyday.  


4.  Spirituality
Sheryl's cancer was in her left breast.  Some say that the left breast represents nourishment coming into the body and the right represents nourishment going out.  Interesting to think about.  There is a spirituality within our bodies that requires attention.  Seek it.  Love it.  Nurture it.  


5.  Getting through it
Sometimes you just have to cowboy up.  But depending on how your MS hits, getting through it can often mean major life changes.  My initial attack rated at 5 martinis.  I looked that drunk at seven in the morning.  OK, seven in the morning without any martinis or alcohol of any sort.  I'll never forget the day that I could turn full-circle in the hallway without crashing into a wall.  It's not a very wide hallway mind you.  In the beginning I was just grateful to be alive.  To be breathing.  My primary needs were being met by my loving and caring family and friends.  I was surviving.  


6.  Go-To Guys
Of course, Sheryl has go-to guys.  Sure, I wouldn't mind some go-to guys.  Fortunately I have family and friends who make my life quite pleasurable.  


7.  Meditation
Necessary.  I'm not very good but yoga, meditation, peace-finding exercises.  Try them.  Do them. 


8.  Turning point
Several turning points have rotated since my illness but a significant one was in 2008.  I had lived the disease for seven years.  Call it the seven-year itch but it was time to define myself outside of my illness.  I applied for and received a scholarship at the Art Center of Design which I attended at night for graphic design.  I dove into my photography with several art shows and presentations.  And the riding of course.  Horses came back into my life after a 15-year hiatus.  


9.  Aging
One definition I have for MS is what feels like pre-mature aging within my body.  But then, maybe if you burn the candle at every end possible like I have, you just burn the body out.  We are only human despite what we do to our bodies.  


OK - so that's my input on the article.  An enjoyable exercise that helped me think about certain aspects of my disease and how I wanted to approach them.  


One day we won't have to "come out" with our various diseases.  People will understand.  Seriously though, imagine if Ellen had MS.  She would have so much fun with it and get the word out about better understanding it and all of it's elements.  Now I'm not wishing MS upon her but we need some good hype about it.  Educational hype.  It was great when the West Wing was on and the president had MS.  We could look for another character to absorb the role.  

Something to think about. 















--

Sunday

Schnoodles, fatigue and need for naps




Meet Mitzi, a one year-old Schnoodle.  Pretty cool for a little girl.  I'm more familiar with larger dogs, mainly hound dogs that have been trained to track bears and such.  In fact, this little girl is about the size of a gray fox we treed once, but that is another story, from many lives ago. 

For now, I'm watching a one year old schnoodle chase lizards throughout the yard while sipping Yogi tea from Eugene, Oregon. The tea which I have forgotten so many times to actually pour into my mug and is now tepid but quite flavorful.



Mitzi has quite a bit more energy then myself these days.   She is a great example of understanding the necessity of naps.  And I think I can speak for the entire MS population as to how embarrassing it can be to have to say you need to take a nap.  One year your an executive vice president and the next you have to ask for a nap.  But you have your life, right?  could be worse.  could always be worse... 




We don't hear the dogs say, "well, now, I'm a bit tired because I....blah, blah, blah..".  The fact is that they get tired and they take naps.  Dogs don't need to make excuses or reasons why they are fatigued.  They just go to sleep.  How nice would that be for MSers?  To be able to just go take a nap when needed or to say, "I'm a bit spent, I'll do that at another time" without being given that look.  You know the one, the one that says, "you lazy sack ...".  

Interesting that many MSers are over-achieving, multi-tasking, people-pleasing people who know how to cowboy up better than most.  The fact is, MSer's have to learn how to chill out.  And try to chill out without people giving you that look.   Folks just don't understand MS or what the fatigue can be like.  Unseen on the outside so must be fine on the inside.  If we wore our fatigue like a rash across our faces then folks would understand.

I was fortunate that my illness debilitated me to the point of losing my ability to see or walk unassisted.  My friends saw the results of this horrific attack and we were all relieved that I was not stricken with something worse.  We were collectively grateful for my diagnosis.  With that in mind, I wasn't judged by my close friends as they saw me go from a jello jiggler to a somewhat functioning human being.

But many MSers carry around the fatigue that is seen only on the inside.  The public doesn't see it. Their co-workers don't see it.  Their friends don't see it.  And if it's not seen, well then, we know it doesn't exist.  Forbid we should actually look healthy because than the doubt really comes into their eyes.  Shouldn't we all be in wheelchairs? 

I was fortunate.  I ventured back into the corporate world relatively soon after my diagnosis.  My vision and balance were still at about the 3- martini level, but the rest of me was coming back.  And my brain was in need of some major stimulation.  So back to work I went. With one caveat:  Nap time.

I did.  I literally asked for nap time in my job description.  Heck, they were getting me as a blue-light special and they were taking a chance.  But it worked out.  It was the necessary next step in my life, and it included mandatory nap times.  I would lock my office door, lay down on the floor and set my Handspring's alarm (this was some eight years ago).  "WUP" is how the date entry was listed.  Wake - UP.  WUP. 

Now I get to WUP pretty much anytime I want.  An absolute treat for MSers.  Even if it's a 20 minute meditation of quieting the mind.  It's all good for learning how to chill, thus becoming healthier by the day. 




In fact, I'm off to wup right now.  My fingers are fatigued.  Mind, eyes, and body quickly following...

We only come around once - it's our life we are talking about.  So listen to me:  No apologies.  If you even think the word nap.  Take a nap! 

Saturday

Finally...a respite from the MS

Today is definitely a new day.  Yesterday I had foot-drop going on and could barely walk the little schnoodle.  shnoodle.  however you spell it, that's what I was walking.  And then I kicked it into gear for a meeting.  My only social outing of the week. 

 I'm not sure what it was exactly that healed me this time but most likely a combination of medicine, rest and quiet.  It surely wasn't nutrition.  Not to bash lasagna, spinach souffle and mac n' cheese but my greens were definitely absorbed via ShenTrition. I even consumed mass quantities of candy and junk food:  caramel popcorn, vanilla pudding, licorice and ButterFingers. Processed foods - the WORST for MSers.  And here I was consuming as if there was no tomorrow. 

Fortunately my relapse coincided with a house-sitting gig resulting in absolute peace and quiet for five days. 

Many folks do not understand how much energy it can take to just listen to someone, when you are feeling weak with MS.  I call it sensory overload.  The voice, the energy, the hand movements.  And then add several people into the fray.  It's debilitating for MSers.  And then we require attitude adjustments like right now when the iTune dj just kicked on some 'dead.  "Greatest story ever told" to be accurate. 

The 'dead is just what I need to continue my slow flow into the morning. 

After my morning constitutional and some rich, dark decaf Peet's coffee, I finally inspired to turn on the computer and put on a little music.  Four days to re-energize.  My legs have stopped charlie-horsing.  Fingers obviously functioning a bit better.  I probably have enough energy to use a gas pedal. 

But no need to do anything but rest for another day.  My body is still healing. Today is Saturday and although I would love to attend the farmer's market I am not ready, physically.  I will watch some football.  Do some WSJ crosswords.  I wrapped up my book last night so will wait until I return home to pick up a new one.  A few chores will keep me moving and stretching a bit.  But not too much. 

BOUNDARIES - a most important word in terms of multiple sclerosis. 

Define them.  Set them.  Review them.  Be flexible but firm.  This is your health you are talking about.  These boundaries are for you.  They aren't for friends or families, no matter what their sob story is.  This is about you.  About me.  We have to take care of ourselves.  There is no one that knows you better than you.  Repeat after me:  I know my Self better than anyone.  I am in continual communications with my Self.  I am a my own best friend.  

Stay on that soap box! 

I'm off to eat something.  Famished actually.  A good thing. 

Thursday

Four days up and Four days down - That is MS

This has been my longest down time in awhile.  Four days and I'm just coming back to normal.  Having a cold/infection of sorts isn't helping.  I'm taking antibiotics for the first time in some ten years.  Not sure if it's doing the trick. 

I'm house-sitting and off the wifi for now.  It's giving me good time to rest and read.  Current read:  The Girl who Played with Fire. 

Still in an emotional funk but think that it's just the way life is for me right now.  I'm not strong enough to go ride yet, but next week should be better.  I don't feel like I have the strength to drive yet but walking is getting better.  At least the legs are moving in somewhat of a coordinated fashion.

Yesterday was caloric intake day for me:  stouffers lasagna, spinach souffle, cheese and chips and carrots and stuff.  I dropped near 8 pounds last weekend and need to rebuild. 

In fact - I'm off to read now.  My hands aren't really working that well and neither is my eyesight.  Heck, not much of me is working right now.  I better make some calming tea and do some meditation.  That will center me.  Yoga and meditation.  And the book.  I will be better soon. At least able to ride soon.  I hope.  This isn't fun.