Tag Archives: multiple sclerosis

Float Away the Pain

In my journey to coming off of Cymbalta to control my headaches I have been experiencing some severe withdrawal symptoms. Chief of which is nausea and what I like to call “Shocky Brain”. They are these zaps that happen about 20 times a minute where it feels like my brain is pulsing, my hearing becomes very acute and I feel dizzy. Sounds like a party, right?

So while surfing the Interwebs for relief, I came across a suggestion to try a sensory deprivation float tank. Intrigued, I searched for some place local, and came across MindSpa in Sarasota (an hour away). First off, the name MindSpa immediately had me thinking of MindHead in Bowfinger (this connection may have colored my experience, as you will see).

I decided to book a session and convinced my loving husband to take me on the 1 1/2 hour drive to Sarasota. He agreed begrudgingly, but at this point he would have done anything to get me out of our dark bedroom where I had been for a full day.

So Sunday afternoon we set off for Sarasota across the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Already being dizzy, this bridge was not helping.

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We arrive to MindHead, I mean MindSpa, which was located in a small professional office block with a chiropractor and an Insurance Company. Cross referrals anyone?

We are greeted by a lovely young girl (seriously, she was about 16 years old). I can’t remember her name, so we will call her Harmony. She gives us a tour of the small office starting with the first room where they have a couch with a giant Spaceballs helmet at one end.

Apparently they flood the helmet with all kinds of colors that align your chakras. Oooooh Kaaaaay. Then we pass the acupuncture room into the Sensory Stimulation room. Harmony invites me to try it, saying it often enhances the brain’s reaction to the deprivation process after have been oversaturated. I was hesitant, because A.) I was trying to rest my brain from stimulation. And 2.) I wasn’t entirely convinced this was an off shoot of Scientology, and this was where the subliminal programming would start. But hey, this is called a Big Adventure, so what the hey.

Sitting in a cushy zero gravity chair, Harmony puts some Oakley shades and headphones on me. I’m looking very 1989 at this point. Then she flips on the machines and my chair starts a lazy clockwise rolling from side to side and vibrates a white noise vibration I can feel and hear. There is some discordant music and chanting in some language (Thetan, maybe) coming through the headphones and lights flashing on the glasses. Here we go.

Maybe because of my heavy skepticism, the brainwashing didn’t take, but I did find myself relaxing, as if I was on a cruise ship, being serenaded by monks. Ten minutes later Harmony returns and unhooks me. I’m feeling a bit dizzy, but I’m about to have an hour to sleep it off.

The tour continues past the Nexalin room where they basically perform shock therapy. What the hell have I gotten myself into?

We finally get to the Float Room which consists of a very ugly large white cabinet. The entire room is coated in salt from the 800 lbs of Epsom salts that are in the tank. Harmony shows me where the shower facilities are and gives me a brief spiel about how to get in and out, setting the timer, some comfy positions, etc. I’m eager to get this over with started so I shoo Harmony and Matt out.

After a quick shower, I open the door, climb in and shut the door. It is dark. Very dark. I lay back and immediately float to the top like a cork. I take a deep breath and get ready to relax.

The deep breath may have been a mistake because the inside of the tank smells a little dank. Like changing rooms on the beach dank. I try to put that out of my mind and concentrate on the lovely laser show patterns of light I see above me. Wait, what? There is no light in here. Great, I’m already hallucinating.

I realize this is probably my mind just coming off my little sunglasses/rocking chair/headphones session so I continue to relax and sure enough they soon fade away.  I start to enjoy the feeling of floating free in space.

5 minutes later…

WHAT THE HELL??!?  Oh, whew, its just the side of the tank bumping against my elbow…  then my toe, other toe, elbow.  How does one keep still in this thing?  I’m keeping perfectly still.  Wait, what if some creepy ass, Epsom Salt Monster of Death has spawned in here and is disturbing the water?  Okay, calm down.  That’s highly unlikely.

10 minutes later…

GRAAWWWWWWWP!  Crap its the Epsom Salt Monster!!  When was the last time they emptied this thing anyway?!  It probably is nesting in my hair right now.  Graaawp, gurgle, gurgle.  Or, maybe it is my stomach.  I wonder if Matt will want to go to lunch in Downtown Sarasota after this…

Some unknown time later…

Snorg! Uh wah?  Oh, I actually did fall asleep in this thing, and woke myself up snoring.  Hmmm, I wonder how long I was out?  Ahhh, this is quite comfortable.

At this point my mind starts racing and ideas are coming at me.  Getting back to writing, of course, is the first thing I thought about.  Then about how I am so happy to be with a new Neurologist who is getting me on a new MS medication that is not an injection and how excited I am about that.  About how there are no shocks going through my brain right now.  It’s working!  These thoughts circle round and round my brain on a continuous loop.

236 minutes later (it seems)… 

I’m bored.

2 minutes after that…

Still bored.

2 minutes later…

Still bored, and now I have to pee.  I lay there, listening as hard as I can through my submerged ears, filled with wax earplugs.  Was that humming noise there earlier?  Is that the filtration system that Harmony said would be my hint to get out?  Are they sitting in the lobby, wondering what happened to me?  Do they not care because the sacrifice to the Epsom Salt Monster must be made and the longer I’m in here the more marinated I become?  Then I see 3 glowing green lights up above my head.  I was pretty sure they were not there when I came in this tank, so I figure I have somehow slept through the filtration system going off.  I feel around in the dark by my feet for the hatch and open the door back to light and safety.

I look at the timer perched by the open door.  Eleven minutes left. Oh, okay, I can hold out for that.

I climb back in and resume floating.  The first 5 minutes is me trying to remain still and stop bumping against the sides.  The next 45 minutes is me waiting for that damn timer to go off. I doze off again and wake myself up snoring again.

Finally…

The bubbles start blowing at my head, and my time is up.  I feel my way out again and make my way to the shower.  Dang it is cold out here!!   All the blood flows away from my extremities as I fumble to get the hot water flowing.  The shower is slippery and I shampoo my hair 3 times to get the Epsom Salt Monster Eggs out of it.  I dress and return to the real world.

It’s all very normal after that.  I pay the bill, Harmony gives me some information on package deals and other therapies.  I thank her for coming in on a Sunday for me and we are on our way.

Over lunch I relay my experience to Matt and laugh because while he was waiting, Harmony let him try the Color Dome Color Therapy (Spaceballs Helmet), but he kept his eyes closed because he too was afraid of being brainwashed.

So, would I do it again?  Possibly.  I was a little squicky about the hygiene factor.  I enjoyed the sensation of floating, but I can drive 5 minutes to the beach here and float for free.  I guess the whole experience was tainted with paranoia from the beginning, but I am happy to say that I have done it. I was feeling very relaxed and calm and the shocky brain is gone for now.

 

-Epilouge-

Got home after a lovely lunch and took a nap.  Woke up feeling well enough to start to write this post and take the dogs for a walk.  Sally REALLY wanted to say hi to a loose dog in the neighborhood and dragged me along with her.  Skinned leg and arm later and all the restorative effects of my float have been negated.  Guess I’ll have to go back (AFTER the scrapes have healed – ouch!)

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Settling in… a little TOO much!

Where had the time gone?! It has been ages since I last blogged.  What have I’ve been up to?  Well, my adventures have brought me down to Oldsmar, FL.  It has been quite a ride since my last post – job hunts, long drives, illnesses, sadness, and the beach.  Quite an up and down ride since my move down here in May!

I quickly found a outside sales job that I just as quickly found was not the fit for me.  After a scary few weeks of unemployment I did find a great job teaching at Gymboree Play and Music.  Yes, my childlike personality (fine, immaturity) makes me a fun fit with 3 year olds! It is a great job where I get to help children and their parents learn developmental skills all through play and music.  The downside of the job, unfortunately, it that little kids are kind of germy…  Cute, funny, little, carrier monkeys.  Since my start in August, I am working on my second chest cold.  Because of the amount of meds I’m already on, I have been trying to beat this cold holistically, but finally had to give in to Big Pharma and bring out the big guns. With my MS impaired immune system, I need to stay ahead of these colds to avoid triggering relapses, so Airborne, hand sanitizer and Zinc are my friends.

Speaking of friends, I’ve also started up the Pinellas County Bully Breed Walks to meet folks who are Pit Bull advocates, and to give Sally and Abby a chance to socialize (Ford is a grumpus who we have to keep with just his pack).  These walks were inspired by Stubby’s Heroes’ First Atlanta Bully Breed March in October of 2012. This group is made up of bully breed caretakers such as pet owners, foster parents and advocates, that want to get exercise, socialize their dogs, and build up the care taker community.  It is a fun, great way to meet new folks and get familiar with the area.  Since August we have had walks in Largo, Dunedin and Clearwater Beach.  November’s walk will be in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg.

I’m looking forward to a visit to Atlanta in a couple of weeks to reunite with family and the Usual Suspects.  We are having a memorial for my mother on the year of her passing.  This has been a difficult year of losing loved ones – first her last November, and then my dear friend David passing last August.  It has been an emotional roller coaster and David and Sonny have been my closest friends down here in Florida –  and they are 2 hours away! I am hoping that through work and the Bully Walks, Matt and I will make some new friends – its just sometimes we don’t like new people!  I guess that’s why we love each other!!

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to devote too much time to my Big Adventure List.  Since I was out of work for so long, I’m having to stretch my non-existent budget to do things that are cheap and/or free.  So, lots of beach time! Matt and I have also become active with bicycling the Pinellas Trail, kayaking in Safety Harbor, and taking the Furkids for walks.  You would think that with all this activity I’m getting in tip top shape.  Sadly, no.  Stress, not so good eating and steroids have my weight creeping up and up, much to my dismay.  So, working with my doctor, I’m changing up some meds, and starting on a diet and daily exercise regime to get me down to 135 lbs by my 40th birthday.  A few posts back, you will probably recall me making this statement.  As usual, life got in the way, and I got off track.  To recap what my thoughts were back in January…

But it isn’t just about looking good.  It is more about taking control of my health.  I want to eat cleaner.  I want to get out and enjoy nature more without being winded.  I want my joints to feel better.  And yes, I want to look good.

So, my short term goals for this long term challenge are:

  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  2. Bring homemade meals for lunches – No more BajaFresh, :(
  3. Workout 3-4 times a week (Cardio and strength – Planet Fitness Membership already done!)
  4. Morning yoga / stretching
  5. Multivitamin every morning
  6. Cut back on alcohol consumption
  7. Smaller portions at dinner time and no food after 7:00 pm
  8. Go to sleep by 10:00 pm and get 8 hours of sleep

I really need to buckle down over the next 6 months.  I am giving Matt permission to make comments such as, “Are you sure you need that piece of bread” without me decking him or crying.  I need this to work so I can move into the second half of my life healthier and happier.

And I am also making a pledge to myself to get back to blogging.  I feared that my day to day life was a little too boring for frequent posts (I mean, do you really care what happened on my DVR’d Dance Moms?) So, it is upon me to find more things worthy of blogging and getting back on track with my adventures!

I promise to work hard!!

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Challenging Myself to a Healthier, Thinner Me

What does a 9 hour desk job plus 2-3 hours on the couch watching TV, combined with the more than occasional quick bite at the fast food restaurant along with an adult beverage or two from time to time added to new medications that cause fatigue and lack of desire equal?  About twenty pounds added to a frame that was already a little too heavy for my liking.

I have always struggled with my weight.  My family falls into 2 categories – the half who seem unable to keep weight on no matter what they do and have metabolisms like hummingbirds, and then those of us who just smell food and gain 5 pounds.  It was really hard as a child, and when looking back, I was by no means obese or really overweight, but because of theater and dance, I was always around these lithe little girls who seemed to have shed their baby fat at the age of two.  From the age of 4 I was always aware of being the chubby one.  Many fad diets and an under active thyroid during puberty didn’t help, so I never was the one you saw wearing the short shorts or skirts.

My obsession with dieting and my yo-yoing weight gave me stretch marks by the time I was 13 years old.

When I was living in New York, working as an actress, I did buckle down, join a gym and combined with my daily walking commute, did manage to get down to a healthy 135 lbs – just right for my 5′ 6″ frame.  After moving to Atlanta, though, back in 2000, stress, and an unhealthy relationship that (in retrospect) really messed with my self esteem, I became an exercise junkie and borderline anorexic – eating only salads and the occasional piece of fruit.  My weight, plummeted down to 110.  Finally I was as thin as my sisters!  I could fit into a size 4 jean!  It didn’t matter that my hair was coming out in clumps, and I barely had enough energy to stay up past 7:00 pm – I was skinny!  Then one day in 2004, something strange happened.  I was walking from my car to my office, and my legs went completely numb.  It was as if suddenly they had fallen asleep.  I shrugged it off as a pinched nerve and went about my day.  Later that afternoon at the gym, as I stepped on the treadmill, I found I could barely pick my feet up to jog, and tripped on the treadmill.  I made an appointment with my doctor who referred me to a neurologist.  At the time I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis.  A lesion was found on my spinal cord, and I was told that often it is nothing, and that I was lucky to catch it early and treat it with steroids before permanent paralysis set in – but I should get the occasional MRI every few years because folks who experience TM, often develop Multiple Sclerosis.

Soon after this attack I left my job with the cushy medical benefits so, it was a good 7 years before I had insurance again, so, no doctor visits to follow up on this fluke attack.  I broke up with the unhealthy relationship, and jumped into a healthy one with a guy who loves me, and unfortunately my cooking.  After settling down into a comfortable marriage and taking a break from theater, exercise also took a bit of a back seat to spending time snuggling with my new husband and Furkids on the couch.

Then in June of 2011 I began to be plagued by headaches and double vision.  After many months of mis-diagnosises, it was finally determined that I had Multiple Sclerosis.  The treatment of steroids, and the following medications to treat the lingering nerve damage, fatigue and to stave off future attacks has left me feeling tired, unmotivated, flabby and  gross.  And 165 pounds.  That’s right.  I just publicly announced my weight.  That gives me a BMI of 26.6 (Overweight).

So along with 99.8% of the population, I have committed myself to losing weight in the new year.  One of my goals on the Big Adventure List is to lose 30 lbs by April 24, 2014.  This will put me at 135 lbs and a BMI of 21.8 (Normal) – A very reachable goal in my book.  But it isn’t just about looking good.  It is more about taking control of my health.  I want to eat cleaner.  I want to get out and enjoy nature more without being winded.  I want my joints to feel better.  And yes, I want to look good.

So, my short term goals for this long term challenge are:

  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  2. Bring homemade meals for lunches – No more BajaFresh, 😦
  3. Workout 3-4 times a week (Cardio and strength – Planet Fitness Membership already done!)
  4. Morning yoga / stretching
  5. Multivitamin every morning
  6. Cut back on alcohol consumption
  7. Smaller portions at dinner time and no food after 7:00 pm
  8. Go to sleep by 10:00 pm and get 8 hours of sleep

I’ll be using the SparkPeople and MyFitnessPal tools plus a million othe apps on the iPhone to help me out.  Any other suggestions will also be greatly appreciated!!

Wish me luck!

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Oh Hi! You’re Still Here!

Time to change the subtitle of my blog, because the Mayan’s got it wrong, AGAIN! Silly Mayans…

Yes, I realize I have been MIA for six months, right after posting about how I was going to be blogging more.  But, see, there’s this thing called Real Life, and it took over in a crazy, crazy way.

I finished the show I was in and jumped right into another one for the holiday season, much to the disappointment to my husband and Furkids, who were missing me at night.  Then, sadly, 2 weeks before opening my mother passed away.  It was definitely a trying time. but I have been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends and family who have lifted me up and given me so much love and support these last couple of months. Also, getting to spend the last few weeks of my mother’s life with her, growing closer and sharing memories is a gift that I will cherish forever.

So, 2013 is here!  While I didn’t get all of my Big Adventure List done, I now have the opportunity to continue this adventure we call life!

This year marks my entry into my 39th year on this planet, so the Big Adventure List will have a new goal – to complete as many things on the list before Kristie can shout “Lordy, Lordy – Look who’s Forty!!”

And, new ideas have cropped up, so here is the List!!

Lose 30 lbs

Go on a road trip with friends

Go rock climbing

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail and camp out

Go to Space Camp

Explore the Grand Canyon

Complete a 5k or a Muck Ruckus Challenge

Go an entire day without using technology

Go Zip-lining

Volunteer at an animal shelter

Be in a film or TV show (even as an extra)

Learn another language

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail

Ride a mechanical bull

So, I have until April 24, 2014 to get this done – Wish me luck!!!

Follow this list on Pinterest!

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Spaaaahhhh!

Every once and a while you need to stop and just relax. It is next to impossible to do that these days with deadlines, phone calls, doctor’s appointments… the list goes on and on.

And nothing makes it harder to relax when you are battling illness.

You may already know about my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis almost a year ago and why I am embarking on this adventure, but what many folks don’t know is that my mother has also been fighting lung cancer for a year as well. As she is a fairly private person, she has kept her illness on the down-low, but I asked if I could share a bit of her story so you can see why a day of relaxation was over due for her.

Almost one year ago to the day, my mom got the bad news that a tumor was in her lower right lung. Being a smoker for so many years, it may have been inevitable, but she has been smoke-free for over 5 years, so it seemed a little unfair. However, she never showed any fear or worry about the diagnosis. From the beginning her attitude was, “Okay, so what’s the next step?”

Well the next step was an intense daily chemo regimen followed by radiation treatment. Throughout the whole process the prognosis was great, the tumor was shrinking and besides some tiredness, her side effects were minimal (and she looked great bald.  So jealous.)

Then in February, she started having a problem with fluid building up in her lungs and had to do a rather painful procedure called a pleurodesis that had her in the hospital for a while. Other than boredom and the occasional annoyance at the nurses, she really was a trooper through the whole situation.

Once she was out, though, it turned out that she needed to go through another round of chemo. Great news to get before Mother’s Day, right?

I knew I wanted to do something special for her, and I kept thinking, “Spa Day.”  I don’t know why, since she has never been crazy about massages and facials. Somehow, though, I just felt that she was holding in a lot of stress and might just be open to the idea.

Then Lesley at Bucket List Publications sent me an awesome email – Spa Sydell would treat us to a Mother / Daughter day at the spa so we could check that off our Bucket List -it was perfect timing all around!

We set up our day on a Sunday morning. It was quiet when we arrived to the Midtown location, and the staff was friendly and very attentive.

First on the menu was an hour long Swedish Massage. We were put in a couples suite, so we could see each other through a window. I had Patricia start on me. She combined a wonderful combination of Swedish Massage, Acupressure and a little deep tissue on my neck. I was definitely a noodle at the end.

Then it was on to our facials. Barbaretta was amazing.  After assessing my skin, she got to work with steaming open my pores while cleansing my face and performing a gentle exfoliation. She also treated me to an additional shoulder, hand and foot massage.  For a moment I thought I was getting a mini-manicure when she placed my hands in plastic baggies, then slipped them into heated mitts. Then I realized that was just her way of letting me not be able to defend myself while she performed pore extraction. Who knew there were so many nerve endings on the tip of one’s nose? Then it was onto a moisturizing mask and she finished off with a soothing face cream. I couldn’t keep from touching my face afterward, it was so smooth!

Then it was on to the mani / pedi. I sat this one out, since the tragic loss of my two large toenails while training for the 50 Mile Carolinas Challenge Walk last spring. My mom got the full treatment and left with her toenails a bright “Cajun Shrimp” color and her fingernails trimmed and buffed to a high shine.

After 3 hours of pampering, we were new people! After a yummy lunch at Zoës Kitchen, we felt ready to tackle the week (chemo for her and Dr.’s appointments and traffic court for me – boo).

The glow we have from our spa day will stay with us for a while, though. Thank you so much Spa Sydell for the wonderful day and thank you as well to Bucket List Publications for making it happen!

               

Spa Sydell Midtown

Hmmm, maybe some shopping after?

Do we have to give the robes back?

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Adventures In Babysitting

In my 20’s, I really wanted to be a mom.  I would be an awesome mom, just like mine.  My kids would be involved in sports, theater, dance – all of the good stuff.

As I moved into my 30’s, though, I started to realize a few things.  One, kids are expensive – especially if you want them to have all you had and more.  Unfortunately, an opera degree and a career at the time in musical theater wasn’t something that lent towards saving for a college fund.  Second, being the youngest of 3 girls, I luckily didn’t have the pressure of producing grandkids, since my parents already had 3, with two more in the works.

When Matthew and I started discussing marriage, he was emphatic that he was good with not having children.  I found that I was okay with that as well.  Many people, including my family, didn’t believe me and it took some convincing that I was completely happy being my nieces’ and nephews’ Favorite Aunt, and doting all my attention on my own Fur-Kids.

Then when I got the diagnosis that I had Multiple Sclerosis, I realized that maybe it was all part of some master plan that I did not have children.  To be a Super Mom, you need tons of energy and patience – two things that I have been struggling with over the past year.

Now, all my friends are having kids, and it is a blast to see them with their babies, so every once in a while I get the “What-If” twinge.

I was in the middle of one of those twinges, then my sister had me watch her 11 and 8-year-old for a week and that twinge quickly was satisfied!

Don’t get me wrong – I love Caroline and Jackson dearly. They really are two of the most well-adjusted, intelligent, funny and talented kids I know.  How did they get this way?  Because these are two of the most involved children I know!  It was a week starting everyday at 6:15 am and going until 10:30, filled with carpools, school projects, talent shows, dance class, soccer and tennis practice, and many, many snacks.

And I got to do it all by myself.  It really was fun, especially getting to see Jackson interact with his school and soccer friends as he had two school shows – Oceans of Fun and Passport to Fun.  I also learned that he has a new obsession with hair gel.  Yes, he is an 8-year-old Zac Effron in training.

And Caroline – how do I describe her?  Imagine a Tasmanian Devil crossed with a baby giraffe, add the intelligence of a future rocket scientist, and then have it talk at about 30 words a second and you start to get the idea.  It was great getting to see her practice her solo and duet for an upcoming dance competition – was this really the girl who just a few years ago was just learning to shuffle ball change?

Needless to say, we ended the week with all limbs attached, no permanent scarring (just some accidental face tattoos, by falling asleep while doing homework) and only one ballet shoe ruined (by Bailey the Wonder-Dog).  We even managed to make waffles, teach Abby how to swim, and play board games!

I however, was exhausted…  Two days later and I’m still needing sleep.  It really was an adventure – plus it gave me an appreciation for all the Super-Moms I know out there!  Now I’m really looking forward to a Spa Day with my Mom to thank her for all she did that I never really appreciated!

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I Believe I Can Fly!

Late last February, my friends Brian and Martie presented me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  No, I’m not in the Mafia now, but I am going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!

A little back story.  Brian was a Type 1 Diabetic for 38 years and was in desperate need of a new pancreas and kidney.  Two years ago he got the call that donor organs were available.  Through the tragedy of death, two lives were saved when the donor’s family gave Brian a kidney and pancreas and another recipient the other kidney.

Brian is an avid skydiver, so the surgery derailed his jumps for a little while, but he was back at it just 2 months after his surgery.   He and his wife Martie had invited me on jumps from time to time, but either the funds weren’t there, the timing was off, or I just chickened out.

When they heard about my MS Diagnosis, and saw that skydiving was on The List, they knew the time was right.  Tomorrow is the 2 year anniversary of Brian 2.0, and there is no better way to celebrate than doing what he loves best.

So tomorrow morning, I am going to take the biggest leap of faith and check one more item off the list!  I can’t wait to blog about it later and will have pictures and video.

If anyone wants to join in the festivities, we will be at Skydive The Farm in Rockmart at 9:00 am.  You can hold Matt’s hand for me while I jump.

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April 5th – 10th: Just Be Nice

I know, I know, I said I would post everyday on my new experiences…  One of the groovy highlights of MS is it’s unpredictability, and I have been struggling the last week with fatigue and nausea.  Pity party for one, over here…  but I have been trying to keep up my resolve to try something new everyday!!

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There are very few things about my old Kia Sportage that I miss.  It was the first car I bought with my own money, but it had problems from day one and spent more time in the shop than in my driveway.  I finally got rid of it when it threw a rod and punched a hole through my oil pan.  I donated it to charity, thinking it would be sold for scrap, but low and behold I actually saw it on the road a few days ago (or at least its bumper).  How did I recognize it?  Well on the bumper was a City Segway Tours bumper sticker and my favorite bumper sticker ever – a simple request:  Just Be Nice.

I miss that bumper sticker.  My car now is geeked out with my NASA and Think Geek’s Timmy bumper stickers.  But it was the Just Be Nice sticker (and my good buddy Wil Wheaton’s personal motto) that inspired this New Thing.

I’m not (I’m pretty sure) a mean person, but I know from time to time I can be a little distant or formal with folks, especially strangers.  I thought I’d try and change that.  So for the past few days, every person that I interacted with, I made a conscious effort to extend a compliment to them.  Strangers on the elevator were complimented on their shoes or purse; co-workers got a sincere thank for their hard work or some positive feedback passed along from customers; tenants in my building were praised on their dogs.  And something wonderful happened.  That person seemed, if for only a brief second, connected with me and I could feel the pride and happiness coming off of them.  It made me feel happy to have brought a little bit of sunshine in their life.

Try it yourself sometime.  I promise it will make the day a happy one.

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April 3 – It’s Pretty Easy Being Green

My husband has been on a wheatgrass kick for about a year and had been hounding me to try it.  After my MS diagnosis, he was adamant that I start the day off with 2 ounces of wheatgrass.  I’ll be honest, I was not a fan at first.  It took many tries, many brands and many different ways to deliver it to my body before we settled on the least icky option.

We came across the company Dynamic Greens who allows you to order packs of flash-frozen wheatgrass cubes in bulk.  You melt the cubes in some water and sip it down.  The taste is like a very weak iced tea (as opposed to the really nasty grassy taste of other brands and fresh pressed wheatgrass from a juice bar).

After a few months of morning consumption, yesterday I decided for my “New Thing” I’d bring some juice to work with me to drink before my lunch.

Despite some sideways looks at me as I drank my dark green juice, it was great.  I had really good energy through the rest of the day and wasn’t starving by the time I got home.

Chalk this one up as another thing I think I’ll keep doing!

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April 2 – Napping…

One of my earliest school memories was my preschool teacher complaining to my mother that I would not take a nap.  All this poor woman wanted was one hour of escape from 4 year old screams and cries – but I wouldn’t give it to her.  I would lie on my mat and talk, or sing, or sneak a book to read.  Why would I waste an hour of my day sleeping when there were so many more fun things to do?

Fast forward 30 some odd years, throw in a chronic illness and a hectic job and you have yourself a woman craving just 15 minutes where she could lay her head on her desk.

Unfortunately, my job does make it difficult to take a catnap midday. There is always someone calling, coming to the door or a tour out that needs some help.  However, I could feel my health suffering because of my fatigue.  I needed to find at least 20 minutes to carve out of my day to just unplug.

So yesterday, I did it!  My first midday nap while at work!  I know it seems simple, but it really did make all the difference.  I locked the door, put a sign out that said “Will return in 15 minutes”, turned off the ringer on the phone and let my guides know to call my cell if there was an emergency.  Then I stretched out on a cot in the back and closed my eyes for 15 blissful minutes.  I was helped out by a handy-dandy app on my phone called Power Nap with Andrew Johnson.  He is a hypnotist with a soothing Scottish accent that had me relaxed instantly and let me feel refreshed and energetic the rest of the day (good thing, since my day went to 8 pm!)

This was a “Thing I’ve Never Done” that is sure to turn into a “Thing I’ll Want to Do Everyday” for sure!  Maybe a move to Spain where the whole city shuts down mid-day is in the cards for me…

 

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