Monthly Archives: April 2012

WARRIOR WOMAN I CALL GRANDMA

I have written about my grandmother a few times but for those just finding my blog, I’ll tell you about her.  My grandmother, Ruth, is 97 years old. Up until last Monday she was a healthy, vibrant woman that had her mind, body and loving spirit.  Not to mention she has a driver’s license, however, she does not drive so no one needs to clear the streets of Lincoln NE.  She still has her mind but unfortunately she has 97 year old organs and a 97 year old heart, she is tired and ready to find some peace in her next journey of life where-ever that may take her. May we all be so lucky to have our bodies hold out as long as they will and then let us go peacefully.

All her loved ones are sad and yes I’m sad too but I also celebrate this woman and the life she lived.  97 years old means she was born in 1915. Can you imagine all she saw, did, and experienced? She witnessed the telephone being hooked up in her childhood home and now ending her life with a cell phone that she can talk on no matter where she is or what she is doing. She started her life with a horse and watched all kinds of different cars come on to the scene.  She witnessed 17 different Presidents in her lifetime but don’t ask her how many she liked because she just laughs.  Money and politics are 2 things no one talks about in her generation.

She was a wife for many years but has lived as a single woman for 30+ years now and going from answering to my grandfather to making her own decisions and voting the way she wanted to vote was both liberating and frightening but she has had many years of having her own opinions and doing what she really wanted in life.  She is also the mother to 2 boys who certainly made her gray long before she should have. She is a grandmother to 3 of us and I was lucky enough to be the first therefore I have this really special and amazing relationship with her.  She is also a great-grandmother now to 2 children who are just starting their lives and probably won’t remember who she was so we will need to remind them with wonderful and loving stories. She is truly loved by so many.

She resides in Lincoln NE so I’m making one last trip to the mid-west to make my final good-bye. I go with peace and love in my heart and I know when I get there she will still know who I am and although I’m full of emotions and I ‘m also full of peace. I truly feel like her life should be celebrated not mourned at this point when she finally let’s go and really leaves this earth.  She is ready and she has peace in her heart so I hope she finds the final days to be quiet and calm and feels the love we all share for her. I have 40 years of wonderful memories and of course my mind has been flooded with these memories that last several days. I keep thinking about the different things we did or talked about and although we are many miles from each other we would share phone conversations with each other that brought us closer together.

One of my fondest memories with her was sitting for hours at her dining room table and playing cards, yahtzee or monopoly. She would get tired and we nap and then play some more.  She would pick me up from school and I would spend as much time or as many weekends at her house that my mother would allow.  I loved to go to my grandma’s house and when we moved to Maine in 1987 those visits were less and less but we managed to stay close with many miles between us. I would take trips back to NE to see her and she came to my wedding which meant the world to me.  She means the world to me and I express my love to her over and over that is why I really feel like this is ok. I have no regrets with my relationship with her and I’m sad because this good-bye is permanent but I’m happy that I had these years to spend with her and learn from her.  She is ready to go and I’m ready to let her go after I see her one last time. I will tell her how much I love her and send her off with love and light!!

THE GODDESS

Are you a goddess or a diva? Do want to be? Do you believe these terms come with negative connotations? Am I a goddess? Would I like to be? Are these traits I’m  specifically proud of? These are questions that surfaced and led me to research and read yet another self-help book called “Goddess of the Core” by Sierra Bender.

This is a yoga book, woman book, and self-help book all wrapped up into one. It is geared towards women, by a woman, and although men may want to read it to support the women in their lives. This book is truly for the woman, the goddess that wants to be found, the diva that wants to express herself, the warrior that wants to exhibit strength and the spirit of the woman that wants to reconnect with Mother-Nature.

We all have four bodies that need nurturing and exercise everyday, the emotional body, the mental body, the spiritual body and the physical body.  Do you believe you focus more on one body over the others? I certainly do.  I work incredibly hard on my physical body and yet I thought during my yoga practices I was working on my mental body and my spiritual body. True, I can but there is more that could and should be done. I’m finding my spirit which is a struggle because I’m not sure where my spiritual belief lies yet.  However, every day I can be thankful for certain things, and people and acknowledge them with a quick prayer of thanks.

The emotional body is interesting because my emotions are very even and I thought that was a good thing but maybe I need to let my emotions go and just follow them more.  Easier said than done and right now I’m going through some emotional things and really learning to just let them ride as they may and not stop or redirect them.

Mostly, I want to feel like a warrior but want to keep my soft woman traits and after reading this book “Goddess to the Core” I know it is possible to have both. I highly recommend this book for all women.

KEEP TRYING

It has been awhile since I have written because I was trying to figure some things out and get myself right again.  A few days before my acupuncture session I dropped my prednisone to 4.5mg from 5mg.  I know, this is not a huge drop but I have been trying to successfully get from 5mg to 4.5mg for 4 years now and just have not been able to do it.  I have to keep trying though and when I think I’m feeling strong that is the time to try.  I did try and within a day my fatigue level was at an extreme high, I was teetering on the verge of flare, and I wasn’t sleeping well.

I had my acupuncture session and decided to ride it out and see if I could just trick my body in accepting the 4.5mg dosage.  By the end of the weekend I really couldn’t take it any longer and I noticed that when I had my nephew over I was a bit edgy and that does no one any good so I reluctantly bumped it back up to 5mg and wouldn’t you know it, my hands feel better, I’m sleeping again, I’m not nearly as tired as I have been and I am able to cope again.  I will try again in a year or so and see what happens.  Perhaps one of these times my body will take the lower dosage and be ok with and maybe it won’t.  Prednisone is the one medicine I really wish I could get off of completely but as my history keeps dictating this is a medicine that is with me every day and will probably be my long term management medicine.

ACUPUNCTURE SESSION

I had my first acupuncture session and I can’t wait for my next one.  I have spent several days teetering on the verge of flare and technically I probably should have gone back to zero days a couple of times but I’m still functioning so I’m keeping myself in teeter mode.  Yesterday I changed into my comfy clothes and sneakers and walked up to my appointment.  During my walk my lower back and hips were so sore which is very typical of MCTD but I knew once I was there I would feel better.  I approached the office and it radiated calm and peace.  Two things I really needed at that moment.

Once the session started we did a lot of talking.  Yes she and I see each other 5 days a week but I was seeing her as a therapist now not a yoga instructor and there were questions she had for me such as what is MCTD. Most people are not familiar with the term unless you have it or someone you know has it. She asked questions about my husband, my family, children, emotions around not having children, and wanted to get the essence of who I am.  Talking gave her insight to me and my situation and helped her see the path she wanted to take with my therapy.  Once the talking was finished she said I want you lie down and start your yoga breath.  I answered all kinds of questions this morning at yoga for the women that haven’t done acupuncture but kind of want to try it so I’ll be descriptive here and for those that have been through it perhaps your experience was similar and for those that haven’t but think you might want to, you might have your questions answered.

I was lucky enough to see my acupuncturist that morning at yoga before my appointment so I asked her what I should wear and that I would be in work clothes.  She explained she would need to get to my feet, wrists and belly.  I decided I wanted to be more comfortable then my work clothes would allow and I wanted to walk to my appointment so comfy is the way I went.  I wore yoga pants and t-shirt.  Once there I took off my socks and shoes and she had may lie on the table and start my yoga breath.  She needed to keep the lights on and honestly I would rather she be able to see what she is doing and where she is putting those needles instead of me being relaxed in the dark.  She did want me to be relaxed and comfortable and she explained that she would put a towel over my eyes and she wouldn’t do any talking. If I needed her or if something didn’t feel right that I should speak up but other than that it would be quiet.

She asked me if I have any questions or reservations about what was going to happen.  I told her I had no questions, fears, or concerns and I truly felt this way because I knew her.  I trust her, and I know she has nothing but my best interest in mind.  She covered my eyes and I concentrated on my breathing.  I felt her moving my hair to the side and felt the tiniest little prick in my ear.  It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t uncomfortable, it didn’t startle me, it just felt like the slightest little something and she proceeded with the other ear. I felt one go in the top of my head and my chest.  I had a few in my belly.  None of them hurt or even registered with me other than just the slightest bit of pressure maybe is the best way to describe it.

She also used the moxa on my ankles which helps with the kidney yang I wrote about before and she has wanted me to get this and use it daily.  They are stick on supplements that you put at the ankle and burn them.  Once they burn she replaced them with new ones and did that about 4 times.  Once she had used the sufficient amount of moxa she put more needles in my hands, wrists and feet.  Once she had them all in place she left the room and just left me to relax.  I ended up drifting off until she returned and started taking them out. Once she had them all out she said take your time and I’ll see you out front.  I got up slowly and climbed off the table. I was stiff and had a hard time putting on my socks and shoes but I was stiff before I even walked in there. I made my next appointment and we said our good-byes, and I headed out the door to walk back to work. I needed the walk to loosen everything up again.

When I got home I was very tired but my husband wanted the full story and I headed to bed. This morning I was having difficulty walking because I was so stiff and sore so I decided I would head to Bikram and take it from there.  I’m feeling ok now and functioning as regularly as I have the last few days.  How do I feel?  Well, I don’t know how I feel.  I haven’t felt good for several days so I don’t know that I can say it made me feel better but it certainly didn’t make me feel worse.  I’m looking forward to my session and I would have to say I felt similar as when I come out of physical therapy.  Kind of tired, a little stiff but I know it is doing good things for me.

WEIRD HAIR

You are probably thinking that I walked into a hair salon and walked out with a weird color or cut with a topic like Weird Hair.  Not this time around, this weird hair episode is all related to MCTD and the fact that when I get real run down I have these subtle hints of flare and this morning I woke up with sore legs and my hair felt funny.  I wouldn’t say my head hurts or my scalp is sensitive this morning it is just that the actual hair feels different.  Not a good different but something that tells me to watch it closely today and try to get into bed for some rest at some point if I need it.  The legs feel like I did about 100 squats or lunges without doing a single one.

My body is focused on the legs and the hair this morning and draining me of all energy.  Keeping my thoughts soft and my words even softer is taking a lot of energy especially since I really would rather tell people and myself for that matter to leave me be but it doesn’t come across very well in a work situation. Somehow people don’t seem to take words like that very well and tend to be offended. I’m sipping on some warm tea and trying to find my good place and my good thoughts. I know they are tucked in there somewhere they just have to surface.

EASTER EGG HUNT

Today the women in my family got together with our favorite little man, my nephew, and took him on an Easter egg hunt.  Perhaps when he is 2 or 3 he may get it idea a little bit more but today it was such a treat just to see him run after the other kids and mimic what they did.  If they grabbed eggs then he grabbed eggs, if they sat and opened their eggs so did he.  This was the first Easter egg hunt we have been to since my not so little sister was a child. She is 26 years old now so you can imagine it has been a long time.

At my nephew’s age it is all about the photo-op for us ladies and just running after him was precious.  He wanted so much to meet the Easter Bunny but as soon as he got close enough he would run off again.  He actually did better with the Easter Bunny then he did Santa Claus and considering that was only a few months ago I guess he is growing up fast.  Letting him be outside and run where ever he wants is the best thing for him.  He got to explore and see all kinds of things.  He played on benches and picnic tables as well ran around and when he did find eggs he wasn’t exactly sure where to put them but soon realized they went in his basket.  He really did quite well for only being 19 months old and experiencing this for the first.  We have so many different things to share with him and I’m looking forward to each and every adventure he finds himself in.  They are adventures for us as well and probably the one that had the most fun was my mother.  She lives for this kind of family fun. 

WASH, WASH, AND WASH

Is it just me or do you feel like you have to wash your hands and anything you touch regularly every minute of the day?  I do not have a germ phobia but with everyone around me coughing, sneezing, and being sick in every which way there is I feel a little squeamish.  We just recently saw the movie “Contagion” and quite frankly I feel like I’m livening in that movie everywhere I go.  My co-workers are all sick around me, my fellow yogis are coughing and making weird noises during class, the people at the gym also seem sick, and never mind entering groceries stores or other facilities where complete strangers are spreading their germs. 

When I was diagnosed with MCTD the doctor told me that I would pick up everything around me but the only difference is that I wouldn’t experience the same type of illness that I was picking up that instead my body or more specifically my immune system would kick into overdrive and beat out the illness but also beat up on my joints and muscles. The advice given to me was the less I pick up the less my body fights with itself so do everything possible not get bring the germs on to myself.  That seems like impossibility but my husband is extremely healthy and doesn’t get sick so he isn’t bringing stuff home to me.  I keep my hands off my face as much as humanely possible and I was my hands and anything I touch regularly.  Not to the point of being O.C.D just enough to ensure my body has a fighting chance or more that it doesn’t have to fight.

I have been extremely lucky with this and in the last 9 years I have only been sick a couple of times.  I know that every time I flare that is my being sick and happens on a regular basis but I try to stretch my bouts of flare as long as possible with some success and sometimes not much success at all.  Right now I’m at 40 days without a flare and I feel pretty good about that.  I would like to reach 100 days but it happens one day at a time and considering my blog before this one was trying to combat a potential flare.  Wash, wash, and keep washing is my motto.