Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things that have gotten better

Windowsill

It's time to write a list of things that have improved in my life in the last four years. 

1. I have learned how to cook. Anyone who knows me knows that kitchens and stoves alternately scare or bore me. I didn't think I inherited a cooking gene. Once, someone gave me a boxed set of plates for my "future kitchen" and I was offended. I mean seriously? Do I look like Betty Crocker? Do I even Have a kitchen. At the time, I didn't, and was hopping around from one apartment and roommate to the next, travelling lightly and not carrying plates (of all things) with me. I was focused on adventure, mobility and my career. Not domesticity.

And yet, somehow I am cooking now, and Karl eats it and says it's good. Some days, I actually enjoy cooking! It helps now that I am concerned about my health and eat mostly home cooked meals. And it helps to have someone to cook for other than myself. But most of all, it helps that Karl is supportive and goes out and buys whatever ingrediants I need without asking or doubting me. He trusts that I know what I'm doing, and he manifested for himself what he knew I was.... before I knew it.

2. I'm growing plants.  It is true that a few plants that I've started have not made it far off the launching pad of life, but most of them are doing pretty good. It is very symbolic to me that these plants are living. I had a cutting of ivy go wilting on me a few days ago, and it was quite a low point for me until I brought it back around. Maybe it's superstitious, but as long as I see my plants living and healthy, I know that my health is in good hands and that I have this same health welling up inside of me, too.  




An Angel plant, and regrowth from cuttings on the right.


Half a year ago, I took several cuttings from an Angel plant I have. I planted four pots of cuttings using rooting hormone powder from Miracle Grow. After several months, I noticed that most of the cuttings hadn't sprouted. So I pulled them up and tossed them away. I then used their old containers to plant some Impatiens seeds. A couple weeks ago, I was checking on the Impatiens when I noticed that some weird long green arms were growing up along the edges of each Impatiens container. I had actually noticed them before when they were smaller, but didn't pay them much attention. They looked like roots that had upended themselves and instead of staying down in the dirt, had changed direction and were turning up and out of the pot as new plants.



See the long fingers growing up the sides of the pot.

I thought that each cutting would sprout into a bigger Angel Plant from the stem upwards. But no. Each cutting sent down roots to the bottom of the container, and these roots turned upside down and rose up to make 8-10 new Angel plant tubers. Whoa. Even though I threw away the original cuttings after a few months, their old roots were still there somehow, and those roots multiplied into lots of new tubers. I didn't know it would work like that! I feel like somehow this applies to me and my health. Hmmmm.

3. Other things in life besides my health appear ridiculously easy. For example, let's talk about the home buying process. I've witnessed the torture some of my friends have gone through selling and buying homes, with the period of waiting and wondering in between. The way they go on and on complaining about it, I would compare my friends' house travail to the agony of childbirth extended painfully over months on end. Should it be that difficult? It's just buying a house, for Pete's sake. I instinctively knew that it would not be like that for Karl and I. I knew it would be easier than cake for us. How could it not be? Compared to the immense hurdles I've gone through in surviving and thriving with this health condition, buying a house would easy. And so it has been for us. Truly this has been one of the most gratifying and enjoyable processes I've ever been through in my life. I see the same happening in Karl's current job search, as well as my job search when I get to the point where I'm ready to teach again. Looking back, the things in my life that I used to think were the most difficult... actually were not at all. They seem like child's play to me, now. 

4. I'm learning how to just "be." I used to move around at the pace of a frantic squirrel. Even at rest, my mind was overly busy. I'm learning how to quiet the mind and not listen to it, focusing instead on being in the present moment.  I'm a newbie so far and haven't experienced it fully, but I know at least that going there is an option.

5. I learned how to play guitar.

6. I got married. Who would have guessed? Two years after getting sick, I met Karl. During the third year of illness when I was at my lowest point in health, Karl married me.  This in and of itself is a sign to me that this illness isn't the end of the world.

7. Scales fell off my eyes and I was liberated from past toxic beliefs. Which is huge, and cause for great celebration.

That's seven new areas of growth. I am proud. I used to be stuck in a dark place thinking that because my health was mysteriously spiralling out of control, the rest of my life might just unravel day by day out of the blue, too. But that is not the case, as you can see from my list. I've been growing things, learning new things and reinventing myself, becoming more creative and more capable. Which is why I like to keep lists like this one.
 
I do think my health is like the Angel plant tubers. I tossed away the actual cuttings, so it looks like my health is gone. Kaput. But the roots are hidden under the surface, and are even now hitting the bottom of the pot and creeping up the sides making tubers. I know this is true, and that it is happening inside me right now.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My spirit wrote a letter to my body


When I trusted my body to be there
for me, without thinking about it.

Just sittin here whiling away the time. Feeling awful physically and sitting in bed. Amusing myself writing on my phone. 

Health, I miss you. Body, I promise to be good to you from now on. Self, I love you. I cherish every body function. I will be good to you all from here on out. Befriend me and make a partnership with me. Let me rely on you from here on out to perform effortlessly like you used to. Oh those days when I trusted you infinitely to be there for me.

Energy, you always used to be there for me. What can I say or do to get in your good graces again? I want us to be friends again. We are meant to be one, not fragmented and cut off like we are now. I wait for you in the morning when I wake and you aren't always there. I lay hollow and lifeless without you and you don't come to me. Where do you go when I need you? Sometimes you are there when I wake, but suddenly you leave. Where do you go and why do you leave me? What can I do to make you stay? We belong together. What can I do to help you see this? Why won't you stay with me always? Don't you remember the fun we used to have? Admit it, you enjoyed being with me all the time. Oh. No. No, I know what you are talking about. I was asleep then. True, that's no excuse. I am sorry. I guess you had to go to wake me up. Yes, thank you. I'm awake. You are safe with me now. Together, we will be better than we ever were before. I promise you! You know I speak the truth.

Digestion, what happened to us? We were once such a perfect pair. Like melody and harmony, effortlessly. Now you resist my attempts to nourish you, and you fight, grumble and resist each step of the way. Why? What have I done? I am sorry for it. What can I say to make it up to you? What can set us right again? We belong together as a team, you and I. This resistance and fighting is getting us nowhere. Oh, it's getting us somewhere? What? No, I know about that. I remember those days. But did you have to shut down for me to remember? Wasn't there an easier way? What, you think I wouldn't have listened otherwise? You know why I acted as I did, right? I didn't know any better. I was asleep. Why thank you! I know you don't judge me for it. Have we worked this out? Are we good now? I beg of you, tell me all I must do so we can be on the same page again, working as one. I am listening.

Calmness of body and mind, why have you deserted me? Why are you so elusive, so fickle minded, so difficult to capture? Remember we were once partners, in perfect step with each other? What have I done to make you run? What have I said or did to hurt you? Why must you desert me again and again? Why can't you just stay with me like you used to? I miss you. We were good together. Don't you miss me? What must I do to change so you come back to me? I will do whatever it takes. Speak to me and tell me directly. Let's finish this and get back to how we used to be. I promise I will not hurt you again. I am a safe place, and you don't need to run. If I'm lying to you now, I wouldn't know but obviously you would. So tell me, what am I doing or not doing that makes you run away? How am I botching this up? Oh, I told you to run? What? I told you to leave me? What? And you listened? You always listen. Of course. Now how can I have no recollection of telling you to go? Oh, of course. How can I tell you it's OK to come back? Oh, you are not me and you can't tell me. You say I have to figure it out for myself, eh? Listen, I'm going to figure it out. You belong with me, of that I am certain. We will be one again soon. Oh, you look forward to it? Me too! I'm glad you didn't leave of your own volition. I'll figure out a way so you will be comfortable enough to come back.

Body, I miss you! We were so good together! The memories I have of us together! Wait for me and don't give up. We are fragmented from each other right now. Sometimes you are with me supporting me beautifully and sometimes you give out on me, you go somewhere else when I need you. Yes, I'm having a hard time with this. Yes, this is difficult for me. My soul is wrankled without you, and I feel fractured and cut off. I don't know how to operate without you. Please come back to me. Let's just get along like we used to. Give me a clue, speak to me, tell me what we can do so that we are one again. I'm listening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stop judging me!



I had to go on a long walk today to release some anger and frustration. Primarily at my family for judging me once again, and also at myself for letting it get to me. Even though it was pushing 90 degrees out, I was driven by my rage. Once I started walking, I was propelled by it's force quite effortlessly. That and the music on my Ipod. I'm impressed that I was comfortable in such hot, humid weather, and I enjoyed the sun on my face and legs. With this illness, I've had a tendency to not be able to tolerate extremes in temps, especially hot weather. But I was loving it, just as I always did before I got AF. There was a slight breeze so any sweat I worked up was wicked away. Now I am back from my walk, and I am relaxed. I feel rebalanced and centered. I have let go of things.

In case anyone is curious what the latest judgement is about, I can share some details. A member of the family said that my sister Thalia will never recover from her illness (adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue), will never get a job again, and will be homeless and alone until she "gets right with God." This is the cruelest thing I've heard in a while. First of all, she doesn't have a job or home anymore because she's too sick to work. Second, the illness is primarily genetic, secondarily exacerbated by abuse at the hands of my father and her ex husband. Third, God is not an angry, cruel God who punishes people.

The only one who has the power to punish you is your own self. And only because you mistakenly think you are awful and deserve harm. Which you don't. People themselves create our own personal hell here on earth with the power of their minds, but God does not do that for us. God is love, just as we are.  

My family will not reach out a hand to support Thalia. They won't take her in, and speak badly of her behind her back. This is their religion. They feel they will be judged by God if they intervene in his obvious punishment towards her.

The only way they will wish Thalia well again would be if she comes back to the fold. Meaning, she would have to start going to church, repent of her sinful nature, get forgiven, and start the perpetual process of sinning, begging for forgiveness, sinning and begging for forgiveness day in and day out, second in and second out. She would also need to shut down her mind and blindly accept the edicts of whatever male was appointed over her, which would be my father again unless she married.

Thalia doesn't see herself regressing back to that point anytime soon. Nor do I. I guess the reason I'm so bothered by what they're saying about her is because I am in the same boat as her. Sick with this illness, without a job, and for some time without a home until I married Karl. I too don't go to an approved church, or any church and I regularly challenge their beliefs. So they're saying the same about me as they do of Thalia. I just don't get the pleasure of hearing it to my face because they don't have the guts to do so.

I am feeling angry again, and might need to go for another walk to cool down. I need to shake this off of me. My family is like a huge splinter festering under my skin, and I need to get it out. I need to bathe myself in self love. I need to get under a healing lamp or shower and wash away everything except the beautiful light of who I really am. I need to remember that they are me, I am them, and we are all love. I am able to bounce back and love them again each time, after each phone call or visit when their toxins spill out. But it isn't healthy for me to put myself in their line of fire so often. I would be better off far from home, in another city or state, like I used to be.

Karl and I can move. More and more, I'm thinking this could be a good idea.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tangible reminder

{photo courtesy of Vamps Jewelry}
 
I was getting ready to go to my mom's today for Mother's Day. I was keeping my fingers crossed because I didn't feel well the last few days. I figured I would wear my locket, this adorable heart with engravings on the front. I wore it a lot when I was healthy, so it brings me good memories. There was a small knot in the chain I wear it on, so I spent a good 20 minutes patiently tugging at it. Finally, I was able to undo the knot and slide the locket onto the super thin chain. But as I did so, I heard this "pinck!" sound and thought I had just seen something sliding super fast into the sink.
 
My eyes immediately went to drain in the sink. Such a small opening. Did my locket... could it have... it didn't. No. This could not be happening to me. I wasn't even standing that close to the sink. I go searching behind bottles and lotions spread over the sink counter. Then I finally realize that it is gone.
 
Suddenly, I'm weeping like my heart could break. It's like the bottom of my world fell out. I won't ever find a locket like this again. And it was the only thing that was making my day slightly bearable at that point in the morning. And I had just exerted most of my morning's precious energy to get the knots out of the chain... for what? The locket is gone anyway so the chain is useless. I try and try to make things better, and they fall apart anyway.

So I'm sobbing and yelling at myself in the mirror again and again, "You try and try to make things better, and things just keep getting worse! Just stop trying, you're not getting anywhere anyway."
 
Of course, I'm talking about my health. And the events of this particular morning. I had spent some time searching through my clothing trying to find something to wear other than my favorite pair of jeans and sweatshirt that I end up wearing most every day. When I try on the clothing I used to wear when I was healthy, it slides right off of me. I was looking at myself in the mirror, and I look like a skeleton with thin shoulders. A tiny thin face with haunted eyes and dark circles under them. I'm 5 ft, 4 inches and weigh about 91 lbs. Even my size zero outfits fall right off of me. I was depressed looking at myself, so I was happy when I remembered that I could always wear my locket. It seems magical, and I can always feel good vibes from the past when it lays against my skin. An automatic lifting of my spirit. 

But now it's gone. A flash of time, and instantly it's gone. My mojo is deflated. I won't be able to wear it and have a constant reminder of my health back then. Back when I wore it often, I would play with it out of boredom when I was in meetings by twisting it or feeling the engravings on the front. Or I would twist in when I was waiting for someone, like a boyfriend, or a train to come, or when I was nervous or excited, so it usually was a calming habit. When I got sick, I would catch myself doing the same thing with the necklace, and it would transport me back in time to one good memory after the other.

I wore the locket after I bought it for myself as a birthday present six years ago and let my boyfriend at the time think he had bought it for me. This boyfriend who I'll call Manslow borrowed money from me often, including the day he purchased the necklace. I was his sugar mama, and he was the young struggling artist. Having an artistic eye, he did do well in picking out just the right heart shaped one, though. After we split up, I wore the necklace constantly to remind myself that men come and go, but self love is the best love.

I  was wearing the locket a lot when I was taking classes at Hunter College on the upper east side in Manhattan. So it reminds me of how bored I was to be back in class, but how thrilled I was to be studying in NYC.  My classes would often be on the 11th floor or higher. On the days I had late night classes, I was impressed with the lights and night view of the city from so high a distance. I would sit there bored with the professor's voice, tapping my foot or pencil impatiently. But excited to be alive and living in such a city as a local, not just one of the many awestruck tourists milling around down below.

There are too many memories of firsts associated with this locket. The trip to Connecticut with some other teachers from school to a summer conference on giftedness. Being out by the campus pond at night waiting for Manslow to call night after night and he never did... never picked up his phone when I called him either. Sitting in meeting after meeting at school, half there and half not there, listening with one ear and plotting out where I was going shopping that evening. I wore the necklace with my black Limited dress the first time I met Scott. We met for a concert at Carnegie Hall, and he showed up on a motorcycle. I was not impressed with him because he seemed like he was old enough to be my father. But he was cute in some way. Until he disappeared after taking up my whole summer. Because he had cold feet and the reliability of a moody female. I wore the necklace when we went up to Lake George in upstate NY. I was deeply relieved to be away from the noise of the city and I loved how peaceful and old fashioned Scott's quiet town was. We had a bonfire and rum and cokes, and I was happy. In a bittersweet way because I knew my time with him was not well spent, despite his relaxing cabin, lake and woods.

Still another memory from the days I wore that locket: the trips on the Amtrak train from NYC to my home town, back and forth for each holiday. I was always glad to just sit back on those trains to take a breather with absolutely nothing to do but watch the scenery slip by and drink coffee heavily doped up with chocolate powder. I remember relaxing on those train rides and feeling so strong, independent and proud of myself that I was living the life I wanted.

I wore the necklace through the next phase of my life, hanging out with my friends who I'll call Soreno and Parker. When I met them, I was high on life, and the locket reminds me of these times. Weekends exploring the city, Saturdays in  Central Park amongst hordes of other sun bathers on towells. Don't have a beach? Go lay out at Central Park. Walks at Belvidere Castle at night, dinners in Little Italy outdoors on a sidewalk under strings of lights, drunken nights, hazy jazz clubs, endless walks in the night from one subway line to the next. Sitting cross legged on the floor in the aisles of Barnes and Nobles on Saturday mornings, shoulder to shoulder with one guy friend or another, reading through stacks of books we never bought and sipping coffee.

I guess it's not who the locket reminds me of. Although remembering certain people I knew then reminds me of how confident and happy I was with my life at that point in time. I was happy outside of them, not because of them. That locket reminds me of the energy and life that was so innate to who I was then.

I know, I know. I still am life and energy. But it was so much easier to remember that with something tangible in my fingers. I have a new mission. I will find another locket.... just like the one that went down the sink. I will not give up!


 
*         *        *        *        *



***Update:  I put a note on the sink for Karl explaining that I'd dropped my locket down the drain and was going to search the pipes later that evening. Karl was out of town visiting his mom for the day. When I came home from visiting my mom, Karl had already pried open the pipes for me and had done a thorough search in them. I felt special that he had gone and done that for me when I was away. When Karl reported that he found no locket in the pipes, I got excited and went upstairs to do another search of the bathroom floor and counter space area. Karl pushed a tube of toothpaste aside and- voila!

There it sat. Right there on the counter the whole time. All this drama for nothing. Ha ha. Welcome, welcome to my world.

 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Health improvements

As I sit down to write about my recent health improvements, I'm here alone in my house while the others are at my niece's birthday party. I needed to turn the party down due to not feeling well. Today and yesterday I've felt sick, even though I've been feeling so much healthier the last few months. It's days like today that I have to remind myself every few minutes to just hang on to hope. I have to keep reminding myself that I am improving, even if there are dips along the way.


Smiling because I'm
improving. Sometimes
I feel very alive.
In my post today, I'll share my latest health updates.
 
Brain fog. I have had brain fog every day for the majority of the day for over the last four years. Nonstop. It was my normal. Lapses in memory, not knowing what day it was, complete fog city. It felt like I was drugged or poisoned.

Now for the past month and a half or so, I have been waking up fog free for the first time in four years. It's amazing. There is no cloudiness in the brain now. I feel un-poisoned. I'm not sure how this happened. I have been drinking a lot more water lately, ever since I started eating salt before each sip of water. I was probably a bit dehydrated since I didn't drink much water for years, as water made me feel sick to the stomach. It's because my sodium was super low, and drinking water brought it lower. Now, however, water tastes good as long as I eat salt. I'm not sure that it's the water alone that cleared up the four plus years of brain fog, because I drank a lot of water three and four years ago and was fogged then. I think the program I'm on is helping a great deal, and the hydration is a cherry on top.
 
Dizziness. I have had dizzy episodes on and off sporadically for the last four years. I would have to be careful many times a day to not turn my head too fast, or sit or stand too fast to avoid the room spinning. I've blacked out a few times before, so I know when it's about to happen and how to move in order to prevent it. My days have been spent carefully moving so as not to pass out.

Now that I'm eating sea salt every half hour with water, the salt raises my blood pressure and I'm not so dizzy. I feel more confident going out of my house and in public now. I'm also less anxious in public because I don't have to constantly manage the dizziness.

Energy to get out of bed. For last few years, I would wake up feeling like a 99 year old woman who hadn't slept at all. I would feel incredibly unrefreshed, exhausted and bone tired. Like I had been hit by a Mac truck. It would be a huge chore to summon the energy to get out of bed.

For the last five months, getting out of bed has been getting easier very gradually. Especially in the last month, I have been waking up extremely refreshed. I am able to hop out of bed with energy the minute I wake up, if I want to. I feel energetic and sprightly and clear headed now when I wake up. This is amazing. This is a huge, clear improvement.

Overall energy. I used to have year after year filled with days of absolutely no energy at all, except for a window of an hour or so at 9 pm at night, or some other random hour, like 3pm-4pm. Some days I would live for that hour of energy, and that's all I lived for. Usually, during that hour or half hour, I would also have a very high mood and a clear head. During the day, I would barely have the energy to eat breakfast, then I would crash on the couch and slump there watching a movie. I would often not have the energy to shower or even change my clothing. So I would go for a week with the same clothing on, or skip a shower for several days. I wouldn't have the energy to cook or go get the mail.  Energy would come and go throughout the day sporadically. But then like clockwork around 6 pm each day something odd would happen. Around this same time each evening, my body would just shut down. Suddenly, out of nowhere, in the middle of a sentence, mid laugh, or while doing anything I would instantly get so weak, nauseous and dizzy. I would go limp, unable to think, speak above a whisper, move, walk at all, turn my head, stand, comprehend what people said to me. I would freeze so as not to pass out from sudden movement, but I didn't have the energy to support standing or even sitting up on my own, so I would melt wherever I was at that moment. I dreaded 6 pm. Oddly, it would pass in a few hours, though. And still more odd, around 9-10 pm, I would feel fantastic.

For the last several months,  I have not had 6 pm crashes like that. They started to ease up to the point that I could start making dinner for Karl, and I was able to make it through dinner without falling apart too much. I would have to sit after dinner in my chair waiting out mild crashes. Then gradualy it got better, and for awhile I was able to wash dishes after dinner even though I was very weak and trembly, and had to take two sit down breaks between washing dishes in order to get through them. Or I would just let them lay in the sink and I'd go collapse on a couch. Over the last month, I've found myself able to eat dinner, hop up, do the dishes, clean the kitchen, and feel well enough to want to go out for a drive to the store or just to get out of the house. Amazing. I don't really have dips of energy that bad at any point in the day. For the last month, I have been waking up with energy and have energy and a clear head all day until 9 pm. I start getting a little tired at 8 or 9, but it feels gentle and even pleasant more like a normal person's tired would feel. This last month has been amazing energy wise. It's not even frantic energy, it's calm energy, there to be used or not. I don't use it most days, though. I'm so used to just sitting and being still with quiet activities that I just keep doing slow, quiet things.

Migraines. I used to have migraines and tension headaches 24/7, so severe that I couldn't function. I had them every day the first year I got sick, and then they mysteriously went away for two years. Then this past fall they came back even worse. Tylenol and Advil taken 4-6x a day had no effect. Plus, the headache pain was also in the neck and down into the shoulders, and my shoulders started creaking and popping each time I moved a fraction. These migraines showed up every day or every other day for the last five months straight.

Now for the past three months I only get a mild headache once every week or once every two weeks. It's only in the head now, and easily goes away with just one OTC. This is major improvement.
 
Anxiety and panic attacks. For the last four years, I would have between 2-10 panic attacks per day, with high anxiety between attacks. The anxiety and panic attacks went on all day every day in and out for four years. With nausea and IBS to go with it. SSRI's, benzo's, any and every herb couldn't touch the anxiety and paradoxically, most of these added to the anxiety.

The anxiety and panic attacks started going away for the first time in February of this year, a few months after I did work with my medical intuitive counselor, Brett, and right after I started using my Bio-Tuner. I also started hTMA Nutritional Balancing through Hair Analysis in February, so these three modalities all helped. So things have improved dramatically over the last three months. Since then, I've had intermittent stretches of days, sometimes weeks with no anxiety. I've also had a whole month of no anxiety and no panic attacks. There is no pattern as to how often and how long the interludes of calm lasts, but just to experience a whole day of no anxiety, sometimes days on end with no anxiety, and sometimes a whole week! Even one day of no anxiety, after 4 years of it nonstop is such an amazing experience. I savor these days.

Nausea. I've had nausea just about every day for the last four years. It comes and goes in waves, about 2-10 times a day or more. Sometimes it lasts all day long for 3-4 days in a row. I've lost a lot of weight because of this, sometimes going down to 96 lbs and holding there.

I had major improvement in nausea for a couple months last spring when I worked with a healer, then the nausea came back. Now since starting Nutritional Balancing, for the last few months I've been having blocks of one to two weeks at a time with no nausea at all. Then I'll have mild nausea for only part of a day, and it is gone for another week or two at a time. This is phenomenal.

IBS. Oh dear. For the last four years, I've had severe IBS. Much of my agoraphobia stemmed from this. I would have severe nausea and weakness, and sometimes sweating and shaking for two hours before and two hours after a bowel movement, every single day, year in and year out. It would feel like I had to vomit or have diarrhea, but neither would happen and I'd just have to wait it out. This caused me to not want to leave the house waiting for this to pass each day. But it could hit at any time, even if I had just had a bowel movement, so it wasn't safe to go out. Also, the mildest of stress, even talking, could bring this on.

For the last three months, the IBS has improved dramatically right after starting the NB program. I think the GB3 is a big factor in this. Believe it or not, bowel movements lately have been easy, pleasant, and might I even say... fun? It's no big deal now. True, every now and again "it" will hit me again, but it's rare now. I can deal with it because I know it's improving.

Sick in the middle of the night. For the first three years I was sick, I would wake up out of a sound sleep about once a week or a couple times a month, drenched in sweat burning up, then freezing cold and shaking. I would be sick to my stomach, about to vomit or have diarrhea. Or I would wake up in the middle of my sleep in a severe panic attack, suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed choking, gasping for air, sucking on air trying to breathe. Or I would wake up from a sound sleep suddenly sitting bolt upright, choking on vomit unable to breathe.

This stopped happening last year. I am so glad. It's been over a year now.

Trouble sleeping. For the first year I was sick, I slept only 1-2 hours each night, and laid awake the rest. Then the next several years, I slept better but still had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. I would regularly lay in bed for hours on end unable to sleep, and I woke unrefreshed. 

My sleep has gotten better over the last six months, especially this past month. A few nights recently I've been falling asleep the minute my head hits the pillow, and sometimes I will wake up in the exact position I fell asleep in, meaning that I didn't change position or move once. Over the last month I've been ready to hop out of bed full of energy and refreshed the minute I wake up. This is awesome.

Food intolerances. For the first three years I was sick, I had severe reactions to gluten, dairy, meats, fruit, vegetables, oils and processed foods. When I ate gluten, within several hours for the following 12-24 hours, I would feel what I ate scraping along inside of my intestines  like thousands of tiny shards of glass. It hurt excruciatingly. It felt like PMS cramps, but sharper. I could barely stand up when this happened. So I ate no gluten. I also couldn't  eat dairy, as in any milk, butter or cheese. I was sensitive to it even in trace amounts in packaged food and supplements. If I ingested it, I would have severe nausea. Any fruits, most vegetables, even cooked vegetables, as well as any meats besides chicken made me nauseous and gave me IBS. Processed food from packages or tins gave me severe cramps. Any fried foods or fattening foods made me sick as well. So I lived on five safe foods for several years, eating the same thing every day. Chicken, rice and beans, oatmeal, organic blue corn chips and chocolate.

A year ago last summer, I worked with a healer and within a day all the food intolerances went away. Since then, I've been able to eat anything. True, I still had nausea most every day after that, but it wasn't coming from those particular foods anymore. In fact, after that, the more I ate those particular foods that once made me sick, the better my stomach felt.

Hypoglycemia. For the last several years, I used to need to eat at least every 20 minutes and sometimes more often to prevent passing out from low blood sugar. I needed to carry food in my pocket or place it within my hand's reach at all times. If I went upstairs in my house, I had to take food with me. When I got a shower, I had to have food within reach on the other side of the shower curtain to prevent blacking out. I was so hypoglycemic that for one year, even when the weather was beautiful, I couldn't go outside my door even with a plate of food because I was so wobbly in the legs. Even when I did eat. the wobbliness and low blood sugar wouldn't go away. I suspect it was panic driving the blood sugar super low, and the low blood sugar fueled the panic, so it was a vicious cycle. I remember many summers sitting indoors looking out wishing I could go outdoors but not feeling safe enough to do so, and not wanting to risk passing out outside and hurting myself when there was no one else around to help.

Since last year the hypoglycemia is better. Now that my digestion is better, I can eat more fattening, satiating foods instead of just carbs like before, so I can go longer without eating. I can go out in my yard safely without carrying food, and I even go on half hour walks now without carrying any snacks with me. This is huge improvement. I can go up to three or four hours without eating food now, even though I try to eat more often than that. Having even slightly better regulated blood sugar means I am naturally just that less anxious, as both affect each other.

Passing out in the shower. I used to get dizzy and nauseous in the shower every time I showered. If I would pull the shower curtain open a little and take a gulp of cold air, it would help steady me. I would end up having to skip taking a shower some days, or get a super short one.
 
I think I'm noticing easier showers now. The last week has been good.

Depression. This goes with the whole territory of being ill. I've had months and whole huge chunks out of certain years where it was quite heavy. I've been by nature a happy go lucky person before I got ill, so this isn't innate to me.
 
Since February of this year after having sessions with my medical intuitive Brett, my moods have evened out and I've been feeling lighter and happier  than I did during the many years before I got sick. I was feeling this almost euphoria for about two months before my physical symptoms started to improve. Brett helped me identify past trauma and toxic beliefs about myself and the world and he helped me release them. He helped me to set the stage so healthy beliefs could come flooding in and set as a new foundation, and he helped me to see who I really am.

Agoraphobia. I went through a year and a half, maybe two where I didn't want to leave my house at all. Technically, this wouldn't be called agoraphobia per se, since with this condition the person would fear certain places due only to irrational fear. In my case, the fears were real, not irrational. I didn't want to leave the house due to unpredictable dizzy spells, unpredictable diarrhea and nausea, extreme fatigue and wobbliness, hypersensitivity to sounds and motion, as well as anxiety.
 
Now that many of the old symptoms are becoming rarer, I have blocks of time during the day where it is no big deal to go out. These days I might feel a mild tiredness, but that is OK. If I'm in the car and we go somewhere and I feel tired when arriving at any destination, I just walk slowly or we turn around and say that we just enjoyed a relaxing car trip with no destination needed. Just to be going out on drives in general on a sunny day is huge progress!

Startling. For the last 3 and a half years, I would jump sky high when my cell beeped for a text, if my phone rang, if a door banged even lightly, if a dog barked, if someone knocked on the door. I used to inadvertently "pull a Thumper," as we soon came to call it. I would sit with an elbow on the table propping myself up most days, and when a loud sound would occur, BAM, I would jump and my elbow would land on the table loudly. Kind of embarrasing.  Like the rabbit Thumper who has an uncontrollable hind foot. He stamps loudly once when danger is present. I used to have a pet rabbit incidentally named Thumper. He did some impressive foot thumping in his day.

I haven't startled in I don't know how long. Several months or more, some time after I worked with Brett this past winter. I noticed I wasn't jumping anymore when my sister got startled when someone rang our door bell and she all but leaped out of her skin. I was as cool as a cucumber. I started paying attention to my responses and realized that I just wasn't jumping anymore and hadn't been for awhile.

Dark under eye circles. I'm keeping an eye on the circles that are there in the mornings when I wake up. They go away mostly by the afternoon. They are the next thing I look forward to reporting a change in.
 
I'm going to undergo testing in another month with the program I'm on, so I'll do a post then showing my results and improvements in actual numbers. Until then, I'm going to keep enjoying and accepting my improving health, especially during the occasional dips.

***Update, written a month later, May 29, 2013:

I have had a good number of friends congratulate me on my improvements, and although this post was completely true when I wrote it, I lost much of this progress on and off over the last few weeks this month. The last few days I've been to hell and back. But now today I feel fine again, and pretty much completely healthy. At least I have one good day in a month's time! This process is a rollercoaster. I do accept it though. I'm flexible, and believe in myself.

Friday, May 3, 2013

What is real never changes

 
Have you ever walked past a mirror and thought, "That is not me. I am more than what I see with my eyes."  I do this quite often these days. I used to think I had one finite life, and that I was the accumulation of only what my physical senses perceived in this one life. But there is so  much more to me than this.

I am not my brown eyes, my brown hair, my body shape, my shyness, the texture of my voice, my remembered experiences. I am not female only, caucasion, a person with strong runner's legs and determination. I don't fit into a neat box, I cannot be labelled, and I am infinitely more than what my mind and words can communicate.
 

I have this tendency to gravitate towards people who look like me or act like me.  I think, "You get me because you remind me of myself."  I suppose that most people do this? But then I remember that I have lived in many cultures, bodies and experiences. So pretty much anyone I meet will "get" me and I will "get" them since you chances are, I've been in their shoes before. It's just that I might not remember with my mind that I was them and am them. But something deep in the cells of my body knows.

So from this point of view, it would be good for me to expand my definition of a potential friend. A friend isn't just someone who's walked in my shoes in this particular lifetime. I'm intested in getting to know anyone who has walked in my shoes in other lifetimes. Rubbing shoulders with people who are quite unlike me is like befriending a version of myself from my past or future. How surreal! Interacting with any human on this planet is a cosmic chance to get to know your very own self and your very own spirit from infinite angles.
 
I was on a walk the other day. I passed by this dad walking with his five or six year old daughter who was skipping. I waved hello and felt this out of the blue bond with this man I didn't even know. I was thinking something along the lines of, "I've been a father before. I've walked in his shoes. There's a lot I know about parenting from practical experience, but I don't even remember it. If I could recall all of it and put my spirit for a few minutes into the body I was in when I was a father, he and I would bond like old buddies." I was imagining my spirit with all it's maturity and wisdom gained over many life times, and I felt again this oneness with this person who just randomly walked past me. I felt so interconnected with him and his daughter that I almost wanted to hug them and invite them over for dinner. And no, I'm not drunk as I write this. And nah, I wasn't during the walk, either. This must be how it feels to be one with everyone.
 

I find it pretty exciting that I'm going to choose another life after this one, as well as many more after that. I'll get to be an infant again. I'll get to experience the safety of my mother's womb again. I'll get to feel again my mother's love when she wraps me tightly in a blanket and rocks me. Yep, I'll feel it again.  I'll be a teenager again, and I'll feel immortal. The world will be my oyster. I'll have my first crush again. I'll experience my first kiss again. I'll fall in love for the first time again. I thought I'd never experience these things as firsts again, but voila! 

Nature symbolizes this process in a nifty way. We go through four seasons a year. We are born, we are teenagers and young adults, we are old in the fall, and we die in the winter. Yet our spirit comes back again and in the spring we are reborn. We don't need to mourn the passing of any season of life because we will experience each again many times over. How amazing it is to be able to experience enough amnesia at each rebirth so that each "first" we encounter is a real first. Except for the foggy deja vu that pops up every now and again as our spirits lift the edge up to our real existence ever so slightly.

Viewing life this way makes aging an inviting process. I think I feel comfortable getting older now. I used to resist it. I want to welcome wrinkly skin and gradually whitening hair. I intend to be one of those people who age gracefully... meaning that I embrace it.  I know aging is part of a cycle and I'll be young again soon enough in the next cycle. I want to accept the aging process, enjoying it as something natural and good instead of covering it up with botox and hair coloring.

I come from a place full of love, life, joy, peace and vitality. That's my real nature. It's just that I've forgotten up until now where I came from and who I am. I'm remembering again now. I have the mysteries of the universe buried inside of me. We all do. I have all wisdom and truth from the beginning of time buried inside of me. When I hear others speaking of these concepts for what I think is the first time, I innately know that it is truth and that  I've known it before in my past.

Sometimes I'm in a hurry to peel back the memories and rediscover in this life everything there is to understand and experience right now, at this instant. Poof. The American way. I want it... now. I want to have arrived already. I'm such a beginner at this. But then I remember that I am perfectly arrived even at the early stage I'm at now. I am complete in this moment, in my imperfections. Everyone is. I can rest knowing that everything I'm experiencing right now is enough, and that I couldn't possibly be doing any better than I am right now. I don't even have to do, be or think anything more than what I am right now. It is effortless. I can relax. We all get there sooner or later. Or rather, we are all there right now. I am there now.
 
I'm in a place that is far more than what I see with my eyes. I'm not who I was in another lifetime. I am all lifetimes and everyone. I am the Universe. The Universe is me. We are all one. I am love.
 
"That [which] is real never changes.”
— Lao Tzu (6th c. BC)