Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sugar Detox: Day 8

One week down. Two to go.  Don't I look happy?

I'm trying to make every decision about food, exercise, business, life, relationships...well, every
decision about everything- very personal and purposeful.

I had no joiners in the detox... NONE! Apparently, it's too difficult to give up sugar, soy, caffeine, alcohol, gluten and dairy all at once.-- NO KIDDING!!!  So, I had to decide just how badly I wanted to detoxify my body... and I truly want to.  Paraphrasing Rose Cole (and I'm sure doing a poor job of it.. my apologies, Rose), she says that not being able to control my diet is like telling God I've got all I can handle and can't handle any more...any more success, any more responsibility, any more of anything. When I look at this detox, and my life through the lens Rose presents... Well,  It makes every decision much more important. Each conversation more meaningful.

My truest desire is to impact the world.  How can I impact the world if I'm unable to impact my own health?  I mean  I do what I can do for my health.  Eat the right foods. Move my body.  I know, I know.. we are zipperheads. We have holes in our skulls, most of us have loose joints due to Ehlers-Danlos and many of us have cranio-cervical Instability....but we can move.  Maybe not jump... (Okay, definitely not jump)...and running is taboo... but we can move.  Those of us that can walk.. well, we CAN walk.. and we should.. or ride a bike.  Do yoga, pilates or floor work.  I've started doing simple exercises with cans of soup or veggies...EVERY movement helps.

So.. to sum up my week... It's been really smooth and easy.  Since brown rice is on the menu, that has been my staple.  I also made a beautiful soup from  some uber colorful gourmet carrots, cabbage and quinoa.  The ringing in my ears that had persisted for awhile now was gone after the first 24 hours.
All in all it's been really easy and I am rarely hungry.  I have to even remind myself to eat.  I drink lots of water...and the only real craving I have is for blueberries and oranges... but I'm muddling through.  Heck.. I'm almost halfway there!

This is the truth of it.   I really am ready for more.  More business, more travel, more of life.  My desires in this life, in this world...I choose to do what ever it takes to receive them.  No silly brain surgeries are going to hold me back. All they have done is give me enough extra grit to feel empowered enough to reach for the stars.

Do you have desires?  (Notice I don't say dreams...a mentor of mine once said, "little girls have dreams, women have desires") Do you want to move forward, beyond your current reality?

Are you not quite sure how to do it?  Well, my friend, neither was I...but I kept plugging away until I found my niche, my tribe, my calling.   What I know now is to act with intention and faith, take inspired action and the how will come.

So as small as it sounds, one of my inspired actions is a 21-day sugar detox.   Start small..but don't play small with yourself.  If you don't like your your life...change it.  It's your story..You can change your story.  The world is waiting for the special gift only you can contribute.

Wanna try a the detox.. click here for the one I am doing.  Add yourself to my mailing list for special offers and handouts...You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

21-Day Detox: Day 1

As an experiment to see what food sensitivities I may have, I'm doing a 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I'm following a plan prepared by Rose Cole.  I am removing the following from my diet: all sugar and sugar substitutes, caffeine, gluten, soy, dairy and alcohol.   I am halfway through Day One and am missing caffeine already.

Wanna join me?  Here is the link to the detox I am following..

I have a chat with Rose Cole tomorrow morning, so I'll pass along any pointers.

I can't wait to see how my brain reacts to this!  At least life is always interesting! 

Feeling Isolated?

Speaking truth in this critical world is never easy.
Occasionally, I get an email or comment  from some stranger that has read a blog post who will
tell me to quit whining, or that every one has problems or to "not quit my day job".
And, occasionally, I get an email or comment from someone that reminds me that speaking truth
in this critical world is necessary, however, it is rarely popular.
So, if it's okay with you...I'll keep writing about the uncomfortable topics in life.   Just remember, you make the choice to come to this site and to read.  Your participation is optional.  My writing is not.

I have spent several months of the past year taking classes... business classes, coaching classes, personal development classes, writing workshops, nutritional classes.  I've learned that I am a perpetual student.  I have this deep inner drive to learn, to grow, to expand my mind, to see all I can and to soak up every detail.  Through these learning experiences, I connect with people.  I engage. I fully commit to each relationship. I see the face value of a person.. the surface, the first impression and I totally engage, lock in, relate, love, befriend and care for. Sometimes I see this as a blessing, other times its a curse.

I am now 9 months post op for my second brain surgery...and almost two years post op for the first one.  After all of this time, when I weigh the painful times, the dizzy times, the hearing loss, the speech issues, and currently-the vision problems that alter my activities on a daily basis, I can honestly say the worst part has been the isolation.

Being separated from activities and people has been the hardest part. While yes, I've been in multiple classes and know many people. Chiari is a very isolating condition.  Initially, people are involved..but over time, these same well-intending people fall by the wayside.  The expectation is that Chiari surgery is like any other... you get diagnosed, go under the knife, take a few weeks to recover and you're good to go.   Now, wouldn't that be nice?

On the contrary,  that's not what happens.  What happens is that some symptoms are relieved, some are not, some symptoms worsen, some disappear completely and some new ones arise.  So every day is a new day.  One of my dear friends developed nerve damage after her surgery that was causing worse pain than she had before, so she then needed a second surgery to relieve the nerve damage. Yet another friend developed a post op infection that has eroded  her skull, so now she lives in danger every day. Yet another now wears a brace for even the of shortest car rides, without it the pain is unbearable.  For me?  My surprise takeaway from surgery is my vision... or the lack thereof.

Much of my isolation comes from this rather than pain. I'm thankful for the lack of pain. However, I am very social and thrive on relationships. Now, I find myself often frustrated and even angry that I can't participate in my life like I did before.  Let me explain. I am limited in the distance I can drive by myself...and I know I better drive early in the day before my neuro system fatigues. AND- I'm a better driver when not in traffic. (and I live in Dallas-so good luck with that!)  Just yesterday, my son flew up to Dallas for a few hours.  I drove to the airport, took him to pick up his new car, had lunch, then went to Whole Foods.  I was in heavy traffic part of the time--very visually stimulating. However, I actually felt pretty good. Not really tired at all.  So after I'm at Whole Foods for about 30 minutes, my eyes started to have this weird feeling  that I always know means..."Hey, we're about to be done for the day, so we hope you aren't driving."   But, of course, I was driving.

I stopped my shopping immediately and went to check out.  Thank Goodness! No Line!  But by the time I got finished checking out.. I couldn't see the numbers on the pin pad  to  put in my debit card PIN. And I was in Arlington, 35 minutes from home.  I got in my car, and drove very slowly and cautiously home.  Traffic was light, yet it still took about 55 minutes to get home.  I walked,  found the bed and collapsed.  A heard few text messages had come in my phone.  I looked at them, but couldn't read them and the light from the phone was harsh.  My eyes burned and the double vision was exhausting.   I closed my eyes and mentally checked out for a little while. Visually, my day was over.

Now I don't say all of this for pity or as an excuse for not showing up for life sometimes.   I guess I just feel that someone else has to relate to this.  I back out of many things because I know I can't do them alone.  Like, driving to Waco, where my son lives.  I just don't go that far anymore without someone with me.  I can't trust that I will get safely home.   My doctors have no explanation and can't determine how to help.  I even feel guilty for complaining about it because in my mind I think it could be so much worse. I could be in great pain every day like many people with Chiari.  I'm one of the lucky ones.

Fortunately, I am able to go and do many other things.  I can hop on a plane and travel. I am seeing the world in a whole different way now.  I can use Uber when driving is precarious. I can Skype with clients and business colleagues.  However, what I really miss, what I lack...close personal relationships with people I can see, touch, hug.

I wonder how many people feel this way? Do you feel isolated? How do you cope? As you see others living their lives without if you were never part of their you wonder if they even notice?

I'm in many Facebook groups...and I see many bitter and upset people. I try to not engage in much discussion because it seems so many of us are so angry. I see bullying by some people and I see others taking advantage, using false fundraisers even a few drug seekers.  Is it the isolation that causes the bitterness? Is it anger?

So, you can see where a super social person like myself has trouble with isolation.  In my world, things have changed.  Living with the ups and downs of Chiari combined with  an emotionally paralyzing family trauma, my innate desire for relationships and personal connection has become quite problematic.  Isolation is not my friend...but has become my constant companion.

True to my nature..I speak my truth.  I reach out to people and say I miss them OR I get upset with them for not reaching out to me.. or to us.  I am not afraid to say what I need or that I'm hurt or disappointed... or all of the above.  I have learned though to speak it and leave it. Responses are rarely curative and most often hurtful.

So, the cure for feeling isolated?  Perhaps there isn't one.  I now believe that people come and go in our lives for a season. They aren't all meant to stay.  It's nothing personal. It just is.  Accept them as pilgrims on the same journey. The few that stay, they are the blessing. Love them. Cherish them. Celebrate having them every day.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

You are NOT Your Body!

Incredible TED talk that reminds us all that we are NOT our bodies...our diagnosis, our perceived imperfections. Very fitting for each of us. No matter what, there is a hope and a purpose for you!
I would be honored to help you find your unique purpose!

And, for those of you that have been following me for some time.. YES! it's time for me to get back to those flying lessons!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

That's When Chiari Came To Town

Lately I find myself writing for hours on end...then posting nothing.
I feel as if in many ways my feelings don't mesh with the reason I started this blog.  My purpose has transformed and I've decided to stop avoiding it and make peace with it.
I realized yesterday how much I have really disconnected with the Chiari community(and really all communities and most people) over the past few months.  I have been somewhat of a hermit while also being somewhat of a social butterfly.  As I review my actions, thoughts, feelings..I try to find balance between the two and I can't.

Chiari for me has taken a backseat in my life.  Not that I am not still deeply affected by this disorder everyday OR that my compassion for my fellow Chiarians has waned.   I believe that what has happened is that I've been successfully able to make a shift in thinking that is not centered on daily symptoms.   Honestly, daily symptoms are merely an annoyance in my life.  Being dizzy= annoying, headache=annoying vision problems=annoying  numbness=annoying  trouble driving=annoying, and of course,  -- having to re-educate a doctor-- double annoying.

Chiari has become a mosquito  that is hummingly flying around my ear.  I'm swatting at it, but moving forward... refusing to let it land, sting or bite.  I believe this is a good thing. Chiari no longer takes up the entire room or overwhelms me.  I'm more positive, more productive, more purposeful.

I believe this happened by default, as I dove into building my coaching business, then became overwhelmed with family issues, I simply forgot to think about my brain, its function, it's lack of function, etc.  We all know memory problems come along with this diagnosis...I'm finding this to be a blessing.  In short... I finally quit thinking so much about MYSELF and got outside of my own head. (Pun Intended)

Last night, a dear friend text me something to the tune of me having a "perfect life".  Funny how our lives, that we deem a mess or out of control or anything but perfect can appear so different to those on the outside looking in.  After a few laughs with my friend, insisting my life was in shambles, I took a few minutes to write down the positive, the really good things in my life..and guess what--
She was right!  My life is perfect.  I am exactly where I need to be for this time in my life and I am doing exactly what I need to be doing.  I am living out loud, fearlessly, boldly and decisively.   I am unapologetic about putting my desires out into this vast universe and standing firm on my non-negotiables.   Long gone are the days of "grinning and bearing it".  Long gone are the days of saying "Yes" when everything in my spirit is saying "NO!". Long gone are the days of not living my purpose.

For awhile I thought my purpose was to spread Chiari Awareness.  Yes, I educate every person that asks about Chiari and no, I don't mince words or sugar coat it.  I also don't wear purple every day or spend all day posting Chiari photos and banners...not that there is anything wrong with EITHER of these activities.  The people that do this are called to do it and I whole heartedly applaud you... But this is NOT my purpose.  My purpose to to advocate, mentor and coach women (and men) with this disorder back into life, to encourage, build up and transform their lives.  THAT is what brings a glow to my cheeks and a spring to my step!  We can still live in spite of this thing..We can still excel,  produce income and make a mark on this world.  We can have not only an ordinary life.. but an EXTRAORDINARY life!!

I was living an ordinary life before I was diagnosed... but when Chiari came to town... riding in on a radiology report (I'm hearing a theme song from a spaghetti western in the background, while Clint Eastwood rides up with my MRI report in his hand)...That's when my best life truly began!  Every experience is a gift, every trip I soak in with a vengeance, every acquaintance I make along the road of this journey ministers more to me than I to them.  

So if you are newly diagnosed, newly decompressed, living in fear, pain, sadness... this is your opportunity to live anew...You can have an extraordinary life! I believe you can and I believe if you will spend some time listing your gifts, your strengths, your desires..then you can find the why of this thing in your life.  Be encouraged that it's not all gloom and doom. Be encouraged that there is life after being diagnosed, after brain surgery, after whatever your situation is!   Grab on to your life! Get busy living it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

And 2014 Goes Out With A Bang!

Guess what happened to me last night...
Wait- Let me rephrase that--  Guess what occurred.

I'm trying really hard to not take a victim mindset on things.  Nothing really just "happens" to me anymore.  My reaction determines my mindset.. my intention helps set the path before me..

So let me frame my day.. I had an eyelash appointment at 9 a.m.   I left home a few minutes late- only to get to the lash studio and find it had been broken in to.. so because of the broken glass--its FREEZING--- Yessinia, the lash guru, finds some blankets and I snuggle in for a relaxing hour of eyelash magic.. when BAM!!--
The table/bed/thing I'm laying on collapses.
I, of course, hit the floor.  I try to catch myself.. which leads to instant muscle spasms in my neck.
My first thought, "oh great, we have New Year's Eve plans-- I'll never be able to go out tonight!!!" 
My second thought, "I was supposed to wear a hat to this Mad Hatter NYE party-- no way a hat is going on this head tonight."
My third thought, "With an attitude like mine...I'm doomed. Stop it, change it, set the intention..and so it is." 

And so it was!  As I laid there for the hour getting my lashes all glam- I prayed and visualized. I repeated to myself.. I am healthy, nothing hurts, I am prosperous, I am capable. I am free of pain. All of the cells in my body are healthy and I WILL go ahead with my plans tonight.

And so it was!  I have to share this... Not only did I go to the party.. I stayed until after midnight (quite a feat at my age), wore my hat and even danced... YES-- you read right.. this girl right here, the one that  has trouble sitting for an hour without resting her head on something.. danced...--- to Salt N Pepa ...yep.. Now I know if you are visualizing that you are probably laughing..  (and let me say, I remember when this song came out and it was risqué the video seems almost laughable and Salt & Pepa are pretty modestly dressed--I thought I'd post it just for kicks)

The thing is... I was laughing, wearing a little pill box hat, wedge booties,  dancing with my best friend and husband...I felt NORMAL!

I felt as though I had really turned a corner... all I've been learning in my transformational coaching training about positive thought, conscious language, wealth consciousness.. all of it clicked into place-- and for the first time in a long time-- my body didn't dictate my day.

Now, I know you are thinking that's not such a big deal... because I do stay fairly active and work a couple of jobs.. but guess I'm so wowed because I truly grasped what a miraculous event has taken place.  I have been transformed literally by changing my thoughts and intentions.   I stopped wanting to get better and decided to be better.   Yes, my vision is still a wreck and my left foot--still numb.. and only three days ago I had three MRIs.. and I'm currently battling a pressure headache.  I guess my point is that it isn't ruling my world.  The health issue that took center stage for the past two years is no longer in charge.  Life is meant to be lived, not merely survived!

So what happened to me last night?  What occurred?   Nothing miraculous to many people.. but for me...I lived without reserve, danced, laughed. I felt lighter,  I felt happy, I felt victorious.

So let this be encouragement for you if you are not feeling well today, if you (like myself) sometimes have felt trapped in your body, if you just need someone to say.. "Don't give up.."  I'm saying it to you. Nights like last night are to be treasured.  ( I would love it if you would share some of your positive experiences in the comments section. )

Also.. to the right of this post you will now see a button you can click if you'd like to schedule a time to speak with me. I am launching my transformational coaching business this month and would love to schedule a time for us to talk and see if we are the right fit to work together.  I am currently scheduling complimentary discovery claim your spot!

Thank you for reading for the past two years...for being on this journey with me through diagnosis, surgery, a wedding, flying lessons, another surgery...loss, sadness, anger, joy--Every time I post I get encouraging feedback and that feedback has been the catalyst of change in my life.  So thank you for reading.. and HOLD ON an INCREDIBLE 2015!  I plan for this positivity, this thirst for life and laughter to be my #newnormal!