On Fear

Let’s face it. The world is pretty messed up, and there’s not a lot I can do about it. There’s not a lot, but there is some. I think that people who care about the well-being of other human beings can play a small part in improving things. I believe that my part is to get the message out that we can’t let fear control us. We can’t let others use fear to control us. If I had the moxie and the time, I’d do a Kickstarter to help people deal with the fear that permeates our lives. I’d start an anti-fear non-profit organization. I’d develop an anti-fear or pro-courage app. I’m not that person, though. I’m an idea gal. I’ll use my writing and my art to inspire others to take the kind of action they are good at taking.

Okay, so I know fear is sometimes necessary. It’s designed to keep us safe. Most of us in the United States are safe. I know children are being abused, people don’t have access to healthcare, and there are huge amounts of lead in some cities’ water systems. And there’s tons of other stuff to worry about. Oh boy! Take a step back, though. Look at your life right now. Are you relatively okay? Are you on fire? Are you being shot at right now? If things like that aren’t going on in your life at this moment, you’re okay. Relax and breathe. Maybe you can smile.
Perhaps my take-home message is “take a moment to smile.” That advice may not help anyone except me, but I’m the only person I’m in charge of. I’ll try and do my best managing little ‘ole me.

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Smile

A Bit of Success

Yesterday evening I sat down and listed a few of my husband’s basketball cards on eBay. I felt so productive! It’s a lot of work. I have to take good pictures of the front and back of each card and crop them in Photoshop. I name the image files and add them to an online collection on Omeka.net as I’m listing them on eBay. The majority of the cards we have don’t go for that much money, but we have sold a couple of expensive ones. Maybe someday we can get a bit of income from sports cards. My Amazon book sales are extremely slow. I would do better it I paid the professional seller fee. To make that worth it I would need a much larger inventory. I don’t have the time or energy to be a real bookseller at the moment.

I’ve wanted to write more blog posts for work. I finished one last week and started another today. My goal is to start acting like a writer. That means I will write more.

In anxiety news, I’ve been listening to an audiobook about dealing with anxiety. It’s called Self-Coaching, Completely Revised and Updated Second Edition: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression. I just reached the section where he starts talking about the actual self-coaching exercises. I decided to switch to listening to The Girl on the Train for a while. I think I’m going to like it. My anxiety is still with me, but it comes and goes. I’m able to eat, so things have improved.

The two canvases I’m working on look like this now.

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And my interest in making jewelry is coming back.

So basically I’m realy uneasy about the world and my place in it, but I have all of these things that I’m still interested in. Seems like a paradox, but I’m not sure if it is.

Anxiety

I’ve got a lot of crap going on in my life just now, but, in reality, everything is okay. There are some things that I’m worried about, but everything is okay. Right now everything is okay.

I wake up in the morning and forget to be anxious for a while but it creeps back in. I’ve found that messing around on my phone makes it worse. Thinking about this ridiculous presidential election makes me anxious. Thinking about food makes me anxious.

I’ve had enough!

I think the thing I have to do is ask the doctor to increase my anti-depressant dosage since I know it helps with anxiety. Maybe I need a new drug. I’ve been on this one for 15 years after all. I’ve got to do something because living like this is not living. Living like this could cause an MS relapse. I can’t have that!

And why am I not doing yoga? Why am not meditating?

I know that everything is okay and that things will work out fine.  Right now everything is okay. It really is.

Coloring helps a bit.

Coloring page and colored pencil.

 

 

 

 

Learning Everyday

I guess I’m learning what it’s like to live with, and how to manage an MS flare-up. My legs, as of late yesterday, feel pretty close to normal. I could walk without an assistive device, but in the afternoon, I was too tired to go very far without help. We went to the hospital to visit Dad. They are taking him tonight to Methodist Hospital for the electroconvulsive therapy. He’s scared. We tried to reassure him that things will be okay, but his thoughts are not at all rational. He thinks it may not work, or he won’t survive it. I feel fairly confident that it will work, but I can’t afford to dwell on it. I have to take care of me.

Back to me. I carried the cane in the hospital but didn’t use it much. Walking back to the car was tiring, so the cane came in handy then. We stopped by Kroger after that, and I did use the Rollator. I was pretty fatigued at this point. Could not have made it that long without the help. I think I’m still a little self-conscious using a cane and walker, but the benefit outweighs the discomfort.

What I think I learned today is that if I’m in a flare-up, and at the stage when it’s starting to get better, I need to be careful not to overdo it. I did some extra walking to try and build endurance and to see if I would get any significant muscle spasms. I think there were some slight spasms, but it’s kind of hard to tell.

I woke up last night and did some digital painting with Art Set.

 

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Made with Art Set for iPhone.

 

 

 

Just as I thought

Over the past 10 years or so I’ve had symptoms that looked a lot like the start of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I was too scared to go to a doctor and find out if I did have it. Last year I finally broke down and talked to the doctor and I went through a series of tests, but no one really thought if was MS. Even the Neurologist I went to thought Imight have a condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth. Testing showed that I didn’t have that.

Now I’ll talk about my Dad’s health and how it relates to mine. He has a history of severe depression and has attempted suicide twice. His emotional health began declining around last November and I was very concerned about him. I was getting really stressed out as I watched him suffer with depression and anxiety. I think the anxiety was the worst of it. His worries began to affect his physical health. He was fatigued and wanted to find a doctor that could fix him with some magic cure. He just kept sinking lower and lower and that became a drain on my time and my emotions.

Last Monday night I noticed that my right foot was getting numb and tingly. That’s something that happens when I’m coming down with a cold or just feeling fatigued. I thought it would resolve itself the next day. It did not. It got progressively worse. I went to the Urgent Care facility and they thought it was sciatica. I got some drugs that didn’t work. I went for a massage thinking that would do the trick. The massage was nice, but I was still in bad shape. Walking was difficult. I went to the emergency room the Sunday and got a bit misdiagnosed. Things were at their very worst on Tuesday morning wo we want back to emergency and brought in a neurologist. He admitted me. A lengthy MRI showed lesions on my cervical spine – very consistent with MS. I got a spinal tap that night. It wasn’t so bad. The next day I got an EEG while looking through one eye at a red square surround by black and white squares on a screen. That measured how my optic nerve was working .The results of that punched the diagnosis closer to MS. Then I got an MRI on the brain. It showed that I had many lesions in the brain. This is very much an MS indicator. The last thing to seal the deal was the spinal fluid that was sent to Indianapolis for testing.

While this was going on my father fully broke down. He called my husband Ernie and said he couldn’t make it. Ernie brought him to the emergency room and now he’s on the psych ward on the floor above me in the hospital. I don’t have to worry about him because he’s getting help. There were actually days when I would come to his apartment half expecting him to have killed himself. Now he’s safe and I can focus on me.

So it’s official, I have MS. I was sad when I realized that the diagnosis was probably going to come in, but I was also comforted to finally know what has been wrong with me all these years. I always thought I had bad pms, or my problem was from perimenopause. I wouldn’t be surprised if these contributed to the MS symptoms.

Now I move forward. I will transfer to in-patient rehab on the second floor of the hospital. They work you 3 hours per day (not all at once). I’ll be there at least four days and maybe two weeks. I’ll get new medication that the doctor thinks will work for me. When I’m discharged I’ll have out patient PT. I ordered two books on nutrition, I’ll be getting a shower chair to use on days when I don’t feel fit to stand in the shower. I will do yoga most days, because I really have to. I will mediate.I will take a beginning modern dance class because I need to go back to my dance roots. I will be more messages. I will cook healthy meals for myself. I will continue to create art and make jewelry. I will nurture my soul by creating, and moving, and breathing, and singing, and loving.

Sometimes you get that kick in the pants designed to make you better. Losing my full-time job a few years ago was one kick, this is another. I’m ready to face the challenge. I’m ready to stop spinning my wheels and wasting time.

I’m ready to create the life I want to live.

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And of course there may be rough times, but I’ll get through them. There’s no other choice is there?

I will keep you posted. Maybe post pictures of food I cook.  You can follow my creative journey on this other blog.

These are the books I ordered.

Meals That Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain, One Meal at at Time

The Inflammation Free Diet Plan