Monday, August 24, 2015

Selfless, Selfish or Self-Loving? I Have more Good News and Bad News

Who or what decides what a person really is?  When is one classified as being selfish?
What may seem selfish to one person may actually be loving and honoring oneself to another. Sometimes, an epiphany can lead to that, and at other times certain forced circumstances lead to it .

These are the definitions as I see them:
A selfish person is one who thinks of no one else but him/herself.
A selfless person is a person who always puts others before him or herself.
A self-loving person is one who honors his or her needs while continuing to love others and do what he can, when and if he can.

Just because a person makes his choices to get on with his or her life rather than be weighed down by guilt, shame and regret that leads to the carrying of excess baggage caused by hate and/or disappointment by being let down by loved ones, does not mean that he/she is selfish.
 
I completely relate.
Growing up, I was constantly told not to complain, not to put my needs before anybody else’s, not to speak up or stand up for myself, not to argue, not to talk back, and never to demand anything, as these were all traits of a  selfish, self-centered person.  I was also told never to confront anything or anyone, but simply accept things as they came, even if they were wrong.

I have carried some of those wrongfully ingrained traits from my childhood to my adulthood, and I call it being a ‘victim of my conditioning’.
Most people experience this in one form or another.  

 

Now in my fifties, I finally want to stand up and shout, ‘Enough is enough!’.
I am not being selfish by wanting to honor my own needs at 51. I am not being selfish, as my first and foremost responsibility is to myself.
This is definitely not a selfish need.

  


I was diagnosed with Secondary Multiple Sclerosis in 2006. Since then,  I have had to giveup a lot of things I enjoyed and cherished, like family visits, going for walks, running, swimming, reading, teaching and other things that I took for granted like being spontaneous and just being able to get up and go somewhere and doing something new on the spur of the moment.

I will admit that I was much more selfless (maybe a little too selfless) before I was diagnosed, but I still try to do what I can when I can.  I  cannot do as much I would like to. That is not being selfish, but simply adapting to my new circumstance.
MS brings with it limitations on the body and the mind, which in turn affect the spirit.

 
Now, everything has to be planned. Every minute of every hour of every day, and even that may change depending upon my energy levels, stress levels and/or how my body decides to behave that day.

I cannot travel on a plane or make long car journeys without having to stop to stretch or rest and just because I decide that I need to take care of these needs, does not make me a selfish person.
I cannot just decide to do something without considering its effects on my body.

This means that I am unable to devote attention to family matters, unable to attend to day-to-day household matters or chores, as well as simple things like getting groceries, going to the bank or to the post office, and just because I choose not to do the things that harm me or cause me strain or stress does not mean that I am selfish.

If tending to my health and to the demands my illness makes on me, makes me a selfish person, then I wear that selfish label proudly.
If fighting for my survival is going to make me selfish, (and I choose to fight with all my might), then yes, I am selfish.
 
Those who know me know that I have never put myself first. Had it not been for the MS, things would never have changed.  But, things did change. My whole life changed and my priorities changed.
Am I going to sit here and be a victim of my illness or am I going to take the bull by its horns and move on as best as I can?
Am I going to sit here and refuse to recognize what is causing me harm and therefore keep away from it, or am I going to willingly walk into a fire that I know will burn me?

I have always looked at my life from a good news/bad news point of view - hence the title of my last book, ‘I Have Good News and Bad News’. Even though it is half empty, my glass is always half full. Even though there is bad, I will find the good.

 
This is no different, and I do have good news and bad news - The bad news is that I have Multiple Sclerosis and have become unable to do the things I like to do and really enjoyed doing. I also cannot and will not devote time to situations that cause me stress and things that exacerbate my illness.

The good news is that I finally found myself and the purpose of my life, I learned to work with and around the limitations that MS brought by listening to my body and help it heal it rather than succumb to its effects.

 

In the process, I may be considered selfish, self-centered and self-absorbed after all, lots of people have illnesses. They do not ignore their duties to focus on healing themselves!! I choose otherwise.
 
Forgive me if I choose to put the people who actually care for my needs, my disability, my occasional inability to dress, bathe, drive or tend to myself on a day to day basis, and those who actually understand and appreciate what I go through, first.
Forgive me if I choose not to attend funerals or family functions or to prance around solving problems when I have more than enough problems of my own simply by getting out of bed (some that I cannot even solve).
Forgive me of I forget birthdays, anniversaries or to update my Fb page daily.
Forgive me for putting myself, my healing, my learning to cope with my illness and my treatments first.
Forgive me for focusing my energies on my healing and ignoring and keeping away from things, people and situations that cause me to get worse, so that I do not become completely disabled and/or a bedridden vegetable.
Forgive me for fighting for my own survival and for giving in to my own inherent God-given survival instinct
Most of all, forgive me for being ill. I did not choose to be so, but I am, and I am trying to cope to the best of my ability and to fight with all my might using the limited resources and the only support I have.
 
 
If all of this is considered being selfish, then I am very proud to be selfish.
If all this is considered making the wrong choices, then I am guilty as charged.

If the people in my life do not care to understand what my illness really is, what it really does and how it affects me, and continue to cause me stress (which only makes my condition worse), then they have no place being in my life.
Just as I purge myself of all toxicity to make my life better, I will purge myself of all toxic relationships including the people I love the most and those whom I thought loved me, if they cause me emotional harm.



 
 

I’ve spent more than half my life living by other people’s standards and terms. I think it is about time I lived life on my own terms.
 

I have even better news:
Getting Multiple Sclerosis helped create this awareness (which I rather like) in me. It finally made me look at my own needs for the very first time.

If this makes me selfish, then so be it.
I’d rather be considered selfish than become disabled or dead.
 

But wait.............there's more:
I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, and it taught me to prioritize my life to finally give myself the importance I deserve.

Thank God for my illness!!!
 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I Have Good News and Bad News

Forgive me Father, it’s been several months since my last post.  
The minutes turn to hours, days, weeks, and before you know it, months have gone by, bringing me to this moment when I decided that it was time to write something.

I just got the results of my last MRI. I was afraid that things had become worse.
My walking is not quite as it used to be. I hug furniture and hold on to walls more than I ever have and my right foot is not as flexible as it used to be. I can only lift it while I am seated for 10 seconds tops and then, it just drops.
I was sure things had become worse and that the MS had begun its progressive course.

However, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved when I was told that there were no new lesions as compared to the previous MRI done seven years ago, in 2008 (there were no new lesions then either).
There are a few minor things but nothing major that the Secondary Progressive MS is supposed to bring.
I did not know whether to laugh or cry so, as usual, I did both.

I noticed that somehow, my posture affects the strength in my legs as well as my gait. I no longer use the Lazy Boy Recliner and have changed to an upright chair.
 
I also discovered that my driving posture somehow affects my gait.
I drive 147km, which takes me around 1 hour 45 minutes, each way, to go to the mosque in Halifax. The day after my drive, my walking is fine. Now this either has to do with my posture or the fact that I use both my right and left foot on the pedals, as well as having to be focused on the road, hands on the steering wheel, spine upright, etc or, the combination of all of these, which makes my walking better the next day - so much so, that I walk without the use of my cane!!!


I have somehow tried to replicate my driving posture when I am sitting watching television or even when reading or writing but, I have not quite got a grasp on it... yet...
Maybe I need to start a cab service!!
I will somehow figure this out. It cannot be a coincidence that every time I drive to Halifax and back, my walking is fine the next day.

I am still gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free and extremely conscious of what I eat – nothing processed, no chemicals, no preservatives, and I consume organic produce as much as I can. If I do not find organic produce, I scrub the produce with soap and warm water and/or peel the skin.

Now I even noticed that recently I developed some skin irritations.
All of the previous times this has happened, it has been caused by foods that I am sensitive to.
I am a creature of habit. Once I eat something, I want to eat it every day, even though I know that I am not supposed to repeat foods within four days.
I used to be sensitive to tomatoes and avoided them for years until my last Food Sensitivity Test determined that I was no longer sensitive to tomatoes.

I went a little crazy because I love tomatoes and ate them almost every single day – either in curry, in salad, a new bruschetta salsa I invented, or in some form or another. I went a little overboard.
The irritation started a few weeks ago, and every day, my skin got worse.

Now, I already know from experience, that any symptom is simply a cause and effect. 
Something told me that I should stop tomatoes.
Miraculously, my irritation stopped. This cannot be a coincidence!

 
The biggest problem that we as patients have is that we do not take personal responsibility for our own healing. We do not closely monitor to learn from what  brings us to a place of dis-ease  or what brings us relief and what works or doesn’t work.
If I get a headache, I ask myself what  I have done or consumed to get the headache.
Most just take a pain killer and be done with it.
The headache is my body speaking to me, telling me that something is wrong.
 
We need to take responsibility for our own health, habits and lifestyles by having a dialogues with our bodies and recognizing when our bodies tell us that something is wrong.
 
Ever since I have been diagnosed with MS, I have tried to do this as much as possible and this last MRI result is proof that my approach is working.
I still have Secondary Progressive MS.

It just has not progressed like the Medicos and their journals say it should!
 
Rather than be a scapegoat for the Medical Profession and their ‘one size fits all’ treatments, which most of the time do not work, we need to take the reins in our own hands if we want to feel better.

Just listen to what your body is telling you and change your habits accordingly.

I do and hope that you, my readers will do so as well.
 
Happy Listening, and Good Luck!


 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Don't Just Think Positive - Be Positive........Live Positive!

 
It has been ages since my last post and I truly apologize for this.
 
Here we are in September of 2014 and I have no idea where the time has gone; It seems to have simply flown by.
 
I was away in November of 2013, on a road trip to Boston, Tampa and New York. Somewhere in between there, I contracted chicken pox.
Yes, you read right............chicken pox!
 
It started by my feeling extremely unwell. I had difficulties walking, my MS symptoms were stronger, I was tired all the time and then, I started getting these strange bumps on my body.

One night, I could not sleep and decided to sit and meditate. I must have fallen asleep during the meditation and when I woke up, I just knew I had Chicken Pox.
I did some research straight away. I was right. I had Chicken Pox.......... at 49!

I has chickenpox

It hit me hard.
As it is, Chicken Pox is much harder on adults. It was even harder with my compromised immune system. There were times when I could not even stand or support my own weight. One night, my knees just buckled and down I went and no matter what I did, I could not get up. I crawled about 15  feet to the dining table to somehow try and prop myself up.

There were several such incidents and many times I could not even sit up unsupported. It was very scary.

So, of course, on my way home, I thought it best to stop at the local hospital.
They refused to admit me (well, they do not admit patients with chicken pox) or offer any help except  for prescribing an anti-viral, which should not have been prescribed to someone with a compromised immune system and definitely not prescribed once the chicken pox is full blown.

What do they know? They are just puppets of the Pharmaceutical Companies, and are trained to prescribe drugs without thinking and then fix the damage they cause by more prescriptions.
I really would like to give them the benefit of the doubt by saying that they are simply victims of their education. Poor Souls!
Now, almost ten months later, I am still trying to regain my strength. I tire easily and my right foot drags more often than not, especially, if I am stressed or if I have over exerted myself.
 
I forced myself to start a physical training program by trying to resume my weight training, yoga, meditation, exercise and trying to remain active.
Months of not being able to do anything took its toll and my body degenerated.

I have since, reclaimed my routine by starting my morning with yoga, exercise and meditation. I am actually able to do my yoga exercises on the floor once more .
I had been deceiving myself by forcing myself to have positive thoughts and visualizing healing. 
While that in itself is good, I was focusing on what ‘could be’ and in the process, on how icky I was feeling.
I was focused on the negative in my life while hoping for some positive change.
The Law of Attraction only brought me what I was focusing on - how awful I was feeling.
I was thinking of anti war and it only brought me war. Instead, I should have been thinking peace.
 
I have since changed my thinking and even though it is hard not to focus on the negative, it is simply a change in the mindset and a change in my thought pattern.
“I am all that I want to be, now” is how I need to be thinking and not "I am not well and would like to be well".
I now think of healing like it has already happened, even if it hasn't.
 
I meditate on affirmations that already make me what I want to be -  I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, kind, harmonious, healthy, wealthy and happy.
My whole outlook to life has slowly changed and I do not feel the weight of my being. It is almost like I have been freed.
I have also since, resumed work with the two Writing Groups I belong and I have joined the local Drama Group as well as the local Choir. I will post pictures of my performances in the near future.
 
It is not like I do not have stress, I DO!
I just try not to let them affect me, and if I need to I will meditate more often, do my breathing exercises every three hours, watch a funny movie or find something to distract me from what is upsetting me.
 
Try it. It really works. 
Like everything, it does require some effort and a change in the thought process, but, it works!

Every habit takes about three weeks to form. We form bad habits so very easily and good habits take time and effort to be embedded into our psyche. This, is no psycho-babble!
 

 

 

 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Stressful Lives Cause Havoc!


 I’ve fallen and can’t  get up!
 

This actually happened to me a few days ago!
I woke up feeling a little groggy that day, not having slept very well and then, I ran around completing chores around the house, cleaning, sorting, organizing and half way during the day, my body starting shutting down. I felt like I was about to get an MS attack.
“There goes my 6 year claim of being attack free.” I said to myself.
Thankfully, it was not an attack.
What it was, was a cause and effect. This was an effect. The cause.....?
I had been in Toronto  the previous week, visiting friends, family and my doctor and it was quite hectic. My routine was out of whack - no exercise, no meditation, less water, improper diet, traffic stress in Toronto, being overwhelmed by the number of cars and people everywhere, meeting with friends and family,  the physical and emotional excitement, and the list can go on.
It took two days to get there, eight days of running around meeting people and over exerting
myself, and then, two days to return, followed by my household chores and sorting things
out, laundry, cleaning, tending to my plants, etc.  I did not stop.  I was not drinking enough,  not
consuming enough essential oils (to help myelin support) and definitely not providing any
opportunity for my body to re-energize itself. 
On top of that, the day after we got back, I drove to Halifax, and went to Costco, drove
back, and then sat at the computer writing a letter against some ‘unjust cause’ until 2:00am.

The cumulative effect of all this physical and mental stress, caused my body to simply shutdown.

Did it ever shut down! One moment I was fine and the next, I could not move. I tried to stand up but my legs could not support my body. My knees buckled and down I went. No matter what I did, I could not get back up again. I crawled around the room, trying to lift myself but my arms had  also lost their strength. I really thought this was the end.

 



All I could do was pound on the floor so Michael (my caregiver, who was downstairs cooking) would hear me. By this time, my head started hurting and I was sure I was having an attack.
Michael heard the pounding and came upstairs to see what was going on and found me on the floor. He lifted me and almost had to  carry me to the sofa. 

He immediately wrote to Doctor Chang and she called as soon as she got the message.
It was not an attack. It was ‘adrenal fatigue’ after having been physically and mentally stressed for over a week.

I had also somehow reduced my consumption of essential oils.
Apart from the fish oils,  I need to consume good oils like coconut oil, flax seed oil, cold pressed olive oil and grape seed oil. All that socializing and eating out had cost me!
Doctor Chang also  asked me if I was doing my calming breathing exercises. I  told her, I was, but had not done them for over a week. I had also not meditated since we left for Toronto, over 10 days ago!

Is it a surprise that after over ten days of `go go go” my body had enough?  

It is always a cause and effect.

Had I gone to the hospital, they would have probably just treated the symptoms and given me some steroids. They do not care why a symptom exists, They care that it exists and will prescribe poisons to mask the symptoms.

Thank God, I am still drug free!

So now I have to make more positive changes to my life:

1.       Increase my consumption of essential oils – avocados, coconut oil for cooking, and cold pressed olive oil on my salad

2.       Resume breathing exercises, regular exercises and meditation

3.       Reduce getting stressed over almost everything. (Ha ha!)

4.       Eat  lots of protein and brightly coloured vegetables. Since I am on a paleolithic diet, I do not  consume any carbohydrates and therefore my energy  drains faster.

5.       Think  ‘happy thoughts’, do ‘happy things’ and speak ‘happy words’ while avoiding unnecessary physical and mental stress. I need to adapt the ‘what gets done, gets done and what does not get done will get done some other time’ mentality. Most times I do.

Reinventing Life everyday has become my way of life.

I was on a 'high' from all that socializing and activity and now, it was time to slow down and resume my regular pace of life.

People do not realize how the stresses of daily living harm the body.

My body is already weak to begin with and this affected me drastically.
Imagine what it is doing to all those ’healthy’ people who are constantly stressed, trying to meet deadlines, who have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, contend with irate people, traffic, bad news on the tv and radio, and  then, on top of it all, be poisoned by the toxicity of our daily living!!!!!!
All these stresses individually and combined, really do create havoc in our lives.

It is not just our food and drink that need attention, it is everything  from what we see, what we breathe, what we hear, what we think, our stress levels, how we treat people, how we treat ourselves, how we interact with the people in our lives, to the clothes we wear and the air we breathe.

The combination of all the things we consume  (physically, mentally and emotionally) will and do affect us (positively or negatively).
We want only those things that affect us positively.
if we falter, it is important to get back on the wellness path as soon as possible.


For more information on adrenal fatigue, see:

 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

JUICING OR BLENDING

I am not a religious juicer but I do it now and then and always enjoy my creations, which range from exotic to weird - let's say eclectic. 
I still always enjoy them.

A lot of gurus have talked about juicing.
Juicing extracts the juices and discards the rest.
I just put everything in the blender/food processor and drink it while chewing at whatever is left unblended.

I make smoothies, home-made ice creams, blended fruit and vegetable juices,  and will sometimes add dairy free milk (any of your choice), filtered water, spices like cinnamon and/or turmeric, and whatever else I can think of.

The ingredients depend on what I have in my fridge or freezer.




A few weeks ago, I was at the grocery store and they had over ripened organic bananas in their discount section. I bought a whole lot and froze them.
A few months ago, friends of mine brought me 8 cases of mangoes. I peeled them, cut them into chunks and froze them.
Costco had organic frozen Blueberries and I got some.

Last week, I made a Mango Ice Cream that was dairy free, sugar free and preservative free. Just frozen mangoes, and a little dairy free milk. That's it. I loved it!


This morning I made a blend using Organic Kale (stems and leaves) Organic Cucumber, frozen organic Blueberries, frozen organic Bananas, coconut cream, turmeric, and filtered water, and I am loving that too.

(I have to start my own little jingle,something similar to “pa ra ra,  ra ra – I’m loving it”. That’s taken!
 
Anyway, here is what I used:

  • 1 cup organic Kale –stems and leaves
  • ½ organic cucumber (with the peel and seeds)
  • 1 medium frozen organic banana cut into chunks (remember to peel)
  • ½ cup frozen organic blueberries
  • ¼ block of 100% coconut cream shaved
  • ¾ cup filtered water
Put it all in the blender, Set in on High Pulse and…………. till everything is blended. For a smoother consistency, blend for about 3-4 minutes or more.
It did not look that great butit was quite tasty.
I could not taste the coconut and will make a milk and cool it down or freeze it an use frozen coconut cream cubes, and add some coconut milk or coconut water.
 
I could have had the blender run longer for a smoother drink but I was too impatient.
I could have used dairy free milk instead of water to make a nice creamy smoothie but I didn’t think about it.
I could have put it in a fancy glass with two celery stems and an organic strawberry but I didn’t.
 
I always do things in a way that feels right at the time and this felt right just the way it was.
 
It is a hot sunny day and this drink is/was delicious, cooling, refreshing and nutritious.
 
I just put it in a large mug as I did not want to go back and forth to serve a glass at a time. I consumed it all before even I finished writing this article.
 
 


 
 
I think I will make some more mango ice cream later this afternoon!

 
Eat Healthy, Drink Healthy, Breathe Healthy, Think Happy and Healthy - Be Healthy!
It is not that complicated!