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Getting Through Grief

I didn’t realize how intense my grieving process was until I started to move through it. I knew the grief was there but until it major started to shift, I wasn’t aware of how crazy I really felt inside.

In the beginning and for some time, I though I was going to die. After talking my ex-partner and recently making amends around how I dealt with our break up, I became clear that there were times where a felt crazy. I apologized to her for being a crazy monster at during our 10 month break up. I didn’t remember some of the things I had said in my process to push her away. We were both in a state of trauma and so it is understandable that we both felt very triggered not only by my diagnosis of MS, the fear of the future and my health, but also by the fact that nothing was making any sense to either of us. It’s like we were treading water indefinitely.

It’s been less than two months since I noticed the shift in my grief. I have to admit I still feel sad about not having my ex-partner in my life. Maybe some day that will change or if it doesn’t then maybe someday the sadness will lift and it’s importance that I hold presently will shift to simple acceptance.

I realize that my life will go on no matter what. It may change form, I may be able to do more or do less. I don’t really know. What I know right now is I feel more optimism than I have in a long time. Yes, I’m still scared. Scared about being able to support myself, scared I won’t live the dreams I had before I was diagnosed, and scared about the unpredictablility of having MS in my body.

Yet I know that I am loved and people – both friend and family would help me if I was in need. I will always have a home even if it’s not what I imagined. There is comfort wedge between each fear. Truth is, I do my best not to think about the fears or when I do, I try my best to acknowledge them and then move on.

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I Am The One

Do you ever wish you were the one?

Well I guess it depends on what context this question is being asked to you. If you were the one to have to flee your house because it’s on fire or if you got fired from a job knowing you had no money that would really suck.

I think Spence Diamond’s knows how to sell jewelery. Their radio commercials and bus shelter ads speak to women who want to feel they are “the one” and encourages their partner to take the big leap for fear of losing “the one” if they don’t present the woman they love with an engagement ring:)

Read more…

I Do NOT Have MS

Often people will say “I have a cold” or “I have the flu.” What they are saying is that in that moment they are experiencing a cold or a flu. They are not saying it is part of their identity because they know it is temporary.

If I say ” I have dirty dishes,” I am basically telling people I need to wash my dishes. Yet when I hear people say “I have MS” or “I have Cancer,” it somehow, at least from my perspective places ownership on the dis-ease, like my identity is “I am diseased”. So  “having it” becomes who they are.  I imagine for many this story works and they feel validated by expressing it this way.

I on the other hand, I feel differently. Although I catch myself occasionally thinking or saying this to myself for others, I consciously making the choice to not express my experience of MS in this way. I believe it creates and keeps a story alive in me that I am ill and broken. I already have enough old baggage around these types of messages that I do not need to add MS to the pile of brokeness or as an excuse to not live my life fully.

In the early stages of my diagnosis, the first six months to be exact, I was in denial. I just wanted whatever was in my body causing new and big problems like severe fatigue to leave immediately. I was told my a healer at that time that this was possible. I wanted so bad to believe this to be true. If I just followed her advice, I would be healed. I was so vulnerable and raw  – she was going be my saviour. I thought a saviour will take away all my pain and suffering so I can be whole again.

Yet the biggest gift in that journey was that when the healer  defected from my life, I then had to deal with my truth. At that time, my truth was that MS had entered by bodyand  was impacting my life in a big way. I could no longer deny this fact. By wishing it away, it was actually bringing me more suffering and prolonging all the suffering I already felt.

When I finally got my butt to counselling to deal with my grief around the diagnoses, it was my therapist who helped me to see how I could acknowledge the MS when I felt its presence in my body, yet not take ownership of it like it was “ME” and I was “IT” – rather to see it come and go like a visitor who comes over for tea or an overnight visit and then says goodbye. Okay, at this point I can’t see the visit as tea buddy yet. Although I feel the MS is with me more than not, it is not always with me. There are times when I don’t notice it or feel its absence so in this way, the MS is a visitor.

By making the statement “I have MS” would mean it never leaves, it is always there. Then it becomes part of me and who I am. I want to be bigger than the MS so it doesn’t because ME.

The MS society does great work but one thing I don’t care for is their campaign to “fight” MS. This is the opposite of acceptance and allowing what is. This message is a message of resistance or fighting against what is.  In my opinion taking that view is detrimental to my health and well-being. The last thing I feel like doing is fighting. First of all it takes way too much energy and I’m more of a make love not war person than a fighter.

Secondly, waiting for a cure is a load of crap. The pharmaceutical industry makes way to much money of the injectable drugs to find a cure. It cost the average person $20,000 a year for the drugs supposedly “suppress” MS.

I am not waiting for a cure. I am living my life now. I am not fighting or resisting. I am living my life now. Some days I feel like crap and I am living my life with these limitations knowing the next day could be different but right now there are things I can do and things I feel better not doing.

When the MS visits me I am learning how to embrace it and say “hello”. I am doing best to learn to love me as I am whether I have a visit or not. I am learning to allow myself to be how I am without feeling sorry for myself. Or if I do feel sorry for myself, I give myself permission to feel sorry for myself knowing it won’t last forever it never does. In five minutes, I ‘m going to thinking about how hungry I feel and what I am going to eat for dinner.

It really come down to the choices we make about how we choose to label ourselves without being in denial where we are at right in this moment in time.

How do you label yourself these days?

MS Makes Good

Some people believe there is good that comes from every life experience. Although there is much about MS that really pisses me off, since I was diagnosed there are many things that have shifted for the better. That’s why I call this post, MS Makes Good because here are some of the things that I have benefited from as a result:

  • Started mediating regularly
  • Discovered Buddhism
  • Found out who my true friends are when I fall apart:)
  • My younger brother who doesn’t like to pick up the phone checks in with me regularly
  • When I have friends over for dinner, most of them wash my dishes afterwards
  • When I get a cold I actually like it because then I don’t notice the MS sypmtons for a few days
  • I am a much more compassionate human being
  • I have learned how to ask for help from family and friends
  • I now have a cleaning person who comes to my home twice a month
  • Working part-time is my new lifestyle – working full time is not an option
  • I have read more books in the past year than I have read in 10 years
  • When I tell people I am maxed, need to leave or what quiet time, they don’t take it personally
  • I got back into riding my bike and realized how happy it makes me
  • I am more in tune with body and my emotions
  • I experience a great deal more gratitude in my life every day
  • I have learned how to priorize what is important to me
  • I am leaving a great deal about self care and self love
  • I appreciate my alone time more than I ever have
  • I have so much love in my heart for my friends and family
  • And so much more…..

Love and Other Drugs – Said It All

Last weekend I watched a movie on Netflix called Love and Other Drugs.  This film to be nailed how I felt when I was disgnosed about being in relationship after my diagnoses. The first thing I wanted to do is push this one partner of one year away. Afterall how could she possible want to stay with me now that I was labelled with a “disease” and an unpredictibale disease to boot. Plus her longest relationship prior being with me was with a partner who one year out got into a serious car accident and declined dramatically over a period of eleven years until, understandablely she could not take it anymore.

Here I was with a fresh new diagnoses, no knowledge what so ever of MS and I was terrified. How could anyone ever love me. The sad part of the story was that she did but I could handle it let alone handle myself so I ended the relationship very suddenly after a big fight.

In the film Love and Other Drugs, Anne Hathaway’s character who has parkinson’s disease. She is unable to have a long term meaningful relationship with a partner because she is terrified of being hurt and left if she falls in love. Jake Gyllenhall plays a sexy stud who likes to play around and have meaningless sex with women. They meet and although he knows she has partkinson’s disease, he really doesn’t know anything about it nor does he care. She is hot and he wants to sleep with her.

Anytime he starts to get close to her, she pushs him out the door. I her heart she wants to be with him but in her head she doesn’t want to take the risk.  The movie depicts the reality of her disease as the film progresses. Once she meeting others who have parkinson’s disease she feels liberated and less isolated, yet Jake’s character freaks out after having a conversation with a guy who has a wife in the later stages of parkinson’s and tells him to run while he can.

Jake decides he is going to make it his misson to cure the one he loves. Yet after they drive around the entire country seeking the best medical experts she tells him outwrite to get out of her life because he wants to fix a problem that can’t be fixed.  Without telling you the ending – because this is a hollywood film, the part I connect with the most in the movie is the roller coaster of emotions Anne Hathaway’s character goes through during the film. I can see myself in her and what I went through around feeling terrified, worried of not be loved,  wanting to avoid rejection and saving others the imense pain that I felt and still often feel of the changing of my life circumstances.

Although, in many ways I would love to have a partner right now to spend the rest of my life with, I feel I have too much baggage and grief to process and heal before I can open my heart fully to another.

Recently, I connected with a woman who has a serious disease and similar symptoms to mine. I asked her how with so much fatigue she was able to find and meet a partner. She told me she had known this woman for a long time and they just happened to cross paths again. From her perspective, it was important for her to be with someone who knew her before her health started to dramatically change.

I feel differently. When I am ready, I would like to meet a perspective partner that didn’t know me before my diagnoses because I am not the same person I was in so many ways. I don’t want to be reminded of how my life used to me. I think about it enough already. I want to be in the present with this perspective partner in what ever is my current life journey at the time we meeting.

Why is sleep so important?

Lately, I have been waking up at 3:30 or 4:30 am in the morning and sometimes I can’t fall back to sleep. This morning I was awake at 4:30 am with a stomach ache and a sore body. This is not uncommon. I’m not sure if the stomach ache is in any way related to MS as I’ve been challenged with stomach issues for years. The sore body thing definitely is. It’s like a just can’t get comfortable.

I listen to my ipod – right now it’s the book called Mind Sight. I breath deep breaths and I do a little metta mediation while laying in bed. After all that stuff I feel somewhat better…but can I sleep? No.

How does this impact my day, well it means I can’t do anything that requires concentration. Probably not a good idea to drive any major distance to be on my computer because my eyes don’t focus as well. Yet, I am restless and so I will go sit on my cushion and meditate for a while and then see how the day unfolds. I feel called to be outside and experience the crisp air.

Yesterday I did not leave the house at all. I definitely am not inclinded to do that two days in a row.

 

Left Overs

I love left overs. It means, but not always the dishes have been washed from whatever I have made and now I get to simply enjoy taking something out of the fridge and heating it out. I don’t own a microwave because I think they are evil. As a friend of mine said, “who wants to eat food that is heated from the inside out”. For me, it’s more about that fact that I discovered how the micro – waves change the molecular structure of food while added the the radation that exists on the planet so this does not appeal to me at all.

I’m sure many people love left overs because it means one less meal to cook. For me it is so much bigger than that. Due to my struggle with low energy, it means not having to grocery shop, not having to leave the house, not having to do any or very little food prep, and it means I get to eat without much effort. Sometimes I don’t bother because it really takes energy I don’t feel I have which is a catch 22 because the energy from the food, definitely gives me energy.

I prefer not to eat processed foods yet sometimes I can’t deal with making a meal from scratch so I open a package of prepared indian food, add my own veggies and tad da – lunch. I steer away from bread, sugar and gluten as as much as possible. I know that having a clean, healthy and ideally organic diet is good for my body, mind and soul.

Sometimes I use food to jump start me even if I really just need to laydown and rest. It keeps me going. I love dark chocolate which is small amounts makes me feel happy and gives me a little boost.

When I have the motivation to juice – make a powerful organic mixture that my body loves. Here’s the recipe:

All organic

4 – 7 stocks celery

1/2 cucmber

1 inch ginger

1 inch burdock root

1/2 lemon

small handful cilantro

small handful parley

This juice is really powerful stuff and I like to drink it as often as possible. The biggest challenge I encounter is preparing it and then washing the machine afterwards. This deters me from doing it as often as I would like to plus, sometimes I run out of one ingredient and then I don’t make it for several days – other times I just go oh well – I’m missing something, it still gong to make my body happy so I make it anyway.

MS and my body really love it when I take extra special care and give myself the love and nuture it and I need. I believe food is a big part of my self care.