Skin in the Game

Sometimes the most obvious advice is exactly what I need. A while back my brother, Dooley said to me, “I never go into a meeting without first knowing exactly what I want the outcome to be.” Honestly, this had NEVER occurred to me. I always just showed to meetings and rolled with whatever was happening. It’s fair to say I just never gave it a moments thought.

Last month I had a meeting with the Director of the Farmers’ Market. My first instinct was to do what I’ve always done  for a meeting – um, that would be to do nothing. Then I remembered Dooley’s advice and I thought I might just do it differently. Almost nothing in my life is as it used to be, so why not this also?

I spent a couple of hours, I wrote down what I wanted. I wrote down what was needed. I wrote down how my skill set could fill the needs. I wrote down my presentation.

I did it differently.

Dooley is a genius! I left with a raise and a promotion.  I am now the Marketing Manager for the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. I feel like a real live grown up. I am busier than I have been in the last 10 years. Having responsibilities is more empowering than I could have ever imagined, it is  a game changer.

Most importantly, I am able to do the work. I have the energy. Granted, I am only a month in, but every part of me knows the energy will only continue to increase. I am rebuilding my body at a cellular level. This process is very slow, but it is working. I know I will have a full recovery. I just have to let go of exactly what that looks like.

The healing protocol from Dr. Wahls is changing my life. It has demanded of me my undivided attention. It has asked for me to put all my skin in the game. My money, my time, my faith, my commitment, my spirit; I’M ALL IN!  My dedication to myself has never been so strong, or felt so right. It takes courage to love and believe in yourself on this level. Strange concept, but it holds pure truth.

Some of the changes in my life are quite intentional while others just seem to be happening to me by not doing. I know this is vague. It’s like I am finally getting out of my own way. Ever since I started the diet, I have changed; thankfully, but not intentionally. My old life is falling away. This is interesting, humbling, surprising and sometimes hurtful. What fascinates me is while it’s difficult, I also know it is necessary and okay.

“I want my life back!” was a statement I used to make often. Now I am so looking forward to all that my new life is bringing to me. My old life was a lot of fun, but I don’t want to stay too long at the fair, it’s time to do it differently.

This might be what ‘surrender’ is for me. I am surrendering my old life. Looking forward to a new life. Sometimes it feels like a trial by fire, but It feels right. It feels scary. I guess it’s what it feels like to lean heavily into faith.

Until next time -c

Long Time

It’s the night before my 41st birthday and feels like as good of a time as any to FINALLY write something in my blog.
It’s been a long while. Lots of change. New city. New house. New friends. New job. New doctors. New ideas. New dreams.
Life just keeps throwing me changes. Some changes are so uncomfortable i can’t hardly bear it. Some are so delightful, i can’t believe my luck. Sounds a lot like life.

I have decided to start writing again because i am 5 months into a new treatment plan for MS, and i am improving. Albeit glacially slow, but i am definitively improving.
I am following a doctor named Dr. Terry Wahls. She cured herself of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. This is not a pleasant diagnosis, and i bet if i would go anywhere near a neurologist, i might be given the same diagnosis. Good thing for me, i don’t have a neurologist.  So no such diagnosis can befall me. How’s that for twisted logic? 11 years ago i was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS, I dabbled in some MS drugs, they did not serve me well, then i moved and i never sought out another neurologist. For better or worse, it’s how I’ve done it.

Dr Terry Whals is my hero. She went from a tilt reclined wheel chair to riding her bike in less than a year. My recovery is not moving at the same clip as hers did, but it’s moving, so I’m on board.  Among other things, the Wahls Protocol is very food-centric. Each day i eat 9 cups of greens/veggies/fruit. It breaks down to 3 cups of greens, 3 cups of sulfur veggies and 3 cups of colored veggies and fruit. Plus some grass-fed meat or fish. Then each week i have to make sure to eat seaweed and one serving of organ meat (seriously nasty). The upshot of the whole deal is I am constantly thinking about food, buying food, preparing food, eating food, and don’t forget – cleaning up the kitchen. In that order.

I call it my Cadillac diet, because inexpensive this diet is not. I hemorrhage money on this diet. As I can’t think of anything I want more in the world than to be better, It is money well spent.

Even as I write this I cannot believe I do this diet. I mean I am the girl who just built a brand new house and did NOT put an oven in my kitchen because I never cook. Well clearly THAT was folly. Oops.
When I first started the diet it took all my effort to get it right, now I am a pro. I make a mean salad, my morning smoothie packs in more nutrition than I used to get in a week,  i cook up greens to perfection and I am even starting to branch out from my hamburger or single piece of Salmon. I am learning to love fish. Who am I? I have hated fish my whole life. Like I said, lots of change.

I am determined to post this tonight, so I’ll cut it short. I know a lot of people are following The Wahl’s Protocol, I would love to hear from you. Support in numbers…

Here is a link to Terry Wahls Ted Talk, very interesting. I encourage everyone to watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

Moving

Moving has a way of getting right to all those places in my psyche that I have so efficiently tucked away. I’m moving in October to Santa Fe, NM. It’s bittersweet. Crested Butte is my home. It is my familiar. I feel safe here. However, not walking and living in a town that snows 400 inches every season has finally taken its toll on me. I sold my house. That move in and of itself set me emotionally upside down. My initial reaction was one of complete loss. I thought, “I can never come back!” I have a flair for drama when really rockin’ my self pity routine. Then I sat with it. The house, is just a house. It’s wood, plaster, nails – you know it is the stuff that makes up a house. The attachment is how it makes me feel. Again, I feel safe; this has been my home for seven years. My work now is to separate how I feel in this house from the house itself. I am working to come from a place of abundance, not lack. Abundance says, you are safe always, you can come back and buy another house, Crested Butte will always hold space for you. Lack screams out the opposite on every front. Lack is the lazy way to do it. I needn’t call on faith, muster any courage or take any chances. I have spent some time in lack, I know it well. I also know it is not my friend, it will not serve me.

So I continue to pack. I don’t want to shove it all in box and deal with another day. I am dealing with it now. I am finding pictures of me, in the not too distant past, standing. Those are hard. This illness is hard. Then I stumble on pictures of my best friend, Andy. He died last year, that’s hard too. I miss him more everyday. It does not get easier, that’s hard. I wish I could launch into all the things I that I am unearthing from past that bring me joy, but so far this part of the move has lacked balance. Cleaning out the office, where one puts all of the letters, the photos, the cards, the memories has, so far, been hard. My goal is to have the office done by Sunday. That will be cathartic. All of the memories lined up like little soldiers. Neatly organized and placed into boxes. Everything in its place. It seems to be the best I can do for now. And as I know, sometimes you just gotta take that and call it good. I’m looking forward to packing the kitchen, I mean how much emotion is a plate going to evoke? Me thinks, none. I always like to start at the hard spot and then let it get easier.

Another note on moving, how is it that one person has so much stuff? I’m not a pack rat, but it seems that once all my stuff found out that I was seeking to organize, minimize and store it, it quickly formed a revolt and began multiplying. It is me versus my stuff. The naive thinking of “one box ought to do for this” has been tabled. This is war. Armed with boxes and label-er, I’m going in…

Hello old friend

Oh my poor neglected blog. Hello old friend, i’m back.

Truth be told, I wanted the blog to help document my amazing gains that i just had to share with the world. The reality is the gains do exist, but staggering they are not. I have more sensation in my feet, better circulation and improved strength. I have had the last few months to sit with my expectations vs. reality. It has been a little rough, but i have found peace with it. The mere fact that i can speak of gains under the circumstances is amazing. Being attached to something looking a certain way can have devastating effects. Once i was able to release my grip on what i thought it should look like, my life has been so much easier.

I’ve started public speaking at any venue that will have me to raise awareness about the Liberation Procedure. By trying to help others i am shifting the focus off myself. My illness has caused me to focus so hard on myself,that i don’t think i stand a fighting chance unless i can loosen my grip. Surrender has grace, control is just asking for disappointment. I am thinking it is really that simple. Habits like to take up residence in my psyche, so in order to change the me-me-me-me-me habit, i am shifting the focus to the 2.5 million people who are diagnosed with MS. That ought to keep me busy!

Here’s a link to my first public speaking event. It is called Ignite Boulder. The speech had to be only 5 minutes with a slide show of 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds.
The crowd was 1350 people, i got a standing ovation!

Back home

As one may have suspected over the years, i was indeed twisted. Angioplasty was applied to my left jugular. I must admit, i was hoping to be more twisted. However, now i look at it and something more minor makes sense. I have been dealing with compromised health and a slow steady decline for 20 years. So something minor but definitely wrong, seems to fit the bill.

I reflect on the enormity of the past week and i have no idea where to start. Last week was easily the most rewarding, terrifying, hopeful, stressful, joyful and amazing weeks i have ever had. Emotionally, i am still like a time bomb. I know i am not alone. Euromedic packs em in, fixes em, and ships em back out. Because of thisisms.com (TIMS) i knew most of the people. Another first, to become acquainted with people on an online forum and then actually get to meet them. I would meet someone we would exchange the usual formalities one has when meeting a stranger. Then one of us would give our Handle for TIMS and the energy shifted from a meeting a stranger to seeing an old friend. My gratitude and appreciation for TIMS continues to surprise and delight me.

I have been home one day and all i really want to do is rest. I would love to report that i feel wildly different, but that statement has no truth. My changes are little, but they are changes. My feet are a little warmer and yesterday i broke a sweat. i have not sweat in years. As fellow ms’ers know, that is not part of what we do. I am excited and nervous to see how things unfold for me. i will be updating my progress as well as telling some stories of “Adventures in Poland.“ For now this is all i’ve got in me.
until next time…
-c

Got-er-dun!

It has been one hell of an adventure. I will write about it all soon. For now, I leave you with the fantastic news that i have been liberated! My left jugular vein was blocked. The doctor used angioplasty to correct the blockage.
And just for the record, being a hospital + no one speaks english + not really understanding what is going on = the aforementioned “hell of an experience.”

Now i rest, more soon.

Going to Poland

As luck would have it, as fate would have it, as whoever runs this show would have it- I’m going to Poland on March 20th for the Liberation Procedure.
My testing is on the 23rd, followed by more testing the morning of the 24th, followed by the procedure.

Perhaps i should shed some light on how this process works. First I sent off an email to Dr. Simka in Poland. Then I waited. It felt a lot like throwing a bucket of water in the ocean and expecting it to change the ocean. Then I waited some more. Then one day an email arrives to tell me I’m on the waiting list for May 2010. Then i waited some more.
Here comes the bonus moment for me- I am always checking the thisisms.com web site for all things CCSVI. (It’s the best resource available) About 2 weeks ago I saw a post from someone who has to reschedule her March appointment and in doing so is bumped to the end of the waiting list. That would be the end of 2011. i write to this person to purpose a trade, my May date for her March date. By what i am still considering a miracle, i get the best email i have ever received in my life the next morning. It tells me my dates in March, where i’ll be staying, how to prepare for surgery (replete with “groin shaved”), my transportation arrangements, and where to wire the 10k and by when.

I make all the calls alerting every one of my fortuitous turn of events. My brother and his wife handled the wire transfer. I am not really sure how to properly thank them. Words can’t ever touch my gratitude for this, but that is what i have for the moment. So Dooley and Sarah, thank you so much, my intention is to give you a fabulous return on your investment. Thank you for believing me.

Next I have to call my potential travel companion and see if she really meant it when she said, “I’ll go Poland, sure why not?” She said this before reading in the guidebook that , “Katowice, Poland is a very difficult child to love. ” So to Adria, my travel companion, thank you for taking one for team. I’ll try to be entertaining…

Travel – I have to get to Poland. Enter my dear friend and neighbor Dawne. Back in 2006 Dawne won 2 first class, round trip ticket to Europe from raffle she entered that was put on by Joe Cocker. Dawne graciously offered the tickets to Adria and I, *IF* the tickets were still valid and transferable. And so began a very laborious process of obtaining these tickets. The story of how it worked out is both painful and boring so I will spare you the 5 day roller-coaster it took to get these tickets. You know the expression, “It takes a village” well that expression is applicable. A huge thank you goes out to Dawne (for being my hero), Pam Bliss (My mother’s best friend who just so happens to be friends with and on the board of the Cocker’s. Thank you Pam for championing my cause and helping to plead my case. Not sure how you did it, but it worked- thank you), Sue (Joe Cocker’s right hand woman, who endured countless hour on hold with United and worked all weekend on my behalf), The Cocker’s (for the miles and willingness to act on such short notice), All the different people who are in the Cocker’s travel assembly (who also tirelessly dealt with United, and did so on their time off all weekend), Adria (who originally irritated the United representative enough for her to hold our reservation despite the rules), and Dooley and Sarah (for purchasing the remaining needed miles). Thank you all.

Lastly I would not have the courage or conviction to even attempt any of this without unfailing love and support of my mom and dad. I am lucky to have you both. Thank you so much.

Adria and i are flying first class to Poland!

Shiz-bizz-my-nizzel! I’m really going to Poland.
Holy shit.
Thank you thank you thank you-

Until next time
-c