Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Home is where your story begins."

I have always had those memories. The ones that are dark or a bit unusual. The type of memories that you realize are painful and traumatic but still seem to mesh in among the other more neutral memories as if they were masquerading as typical and normal experiences. The older I get the more awareness I seem to have of those kinds of memories. If you can visualize this; it is like I do a stop, rewind, play again: What the hell did I just remember? What is so striking to me is that I have remembered the same damn things my entire life but out of nowhere I get stricken with this sudden enlightenment to a memories significance.

Memories pass through my mind like a movie reel playing as I experience my day to day life. Normal everyday experiences triggering the strangest and most random of memories. They pass through my minds viewfinder without thought, almost like it is my subconscious that has full awareness of the incoming memories.  The older and more connected I become to my spirit and my inner self, the more aware I become of my thoughts, feelings and my memories. It is an awakening of sorts I suppose. Thoughts, feelings and memories that used to escape recognition are now in within my frame of reference. Ergo, why I find myself doing the stop, rewind, play again; what the hell did I just remember? 

I have started to develop a new image of myself as a child and an adult due to these memories. I see myself in a new light. I have a new understanding of me. I relate better to my own children. Although I do feel emotions (naturally) about certain memories that I am taking a moment to process for the 1st time...thanks to maturity, age, wisdom, whatever you call it, I also feel a sense of objectivity about my experiences. I believe that although I can clearly see correlations to my past and present it does not define me or my future which is where I am actually looking. The future is where all my intentions are placed.

Life is new today. It is a new experience that I am creating and I like thinking about it that way. On a challenging day, it can even come down to a cup of coffee. Hmmmm, I think. Do I want a latte or a cup of Joe? Or ice cream. Do I want Cherry Garcia or Black Cherry from Thrifty's (now Rite-Aid) What do I really want in my life today? Some days the choice is much bigger than a cup of coffee or ice cream. It is about a major life decision or which path to choose for myself or my family. For the first time, I rather enjoy making these decisions. It is all about happiness and creating my life how I want it to be. 

You can't control everything that happens in life but what when you do have a say in something, don't you want to speak up?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Walk this way.

People have often asked me what MS is or what it's like. My daughter's Kindergarten teacher even did a mini presentation on MS to the class the other day after one or two kids giggled to my daughter about my cane and it hurt her feelings. The fact is that MS is one of those diagnosis where sometimes it is associated with an uncle in a wheelchair or a younger cousin who walks funny, maybe even a sister who is still running a 5K every year. MS is as unique to the individual that lives with it which explains why it can be a little mind boggling to not only inquiring people but the very people living with the MS! 

Then come the questions that it took me years to answer myself. Why can I walk one day without a cane, the next I need a cane and the next I cannot walk at all and need a wheelchair. On really bad days I need an electric chair because my arms are too weak to propel myself in a manual wheelchair. Then, maybe I will wake up the next day and my symptoms are POOF! gone. That's right. "Asta la vista baby." In the words of my Governator Ahnold. 

You know what? MS is confusing. And it is not something you can depend on either. Like when you want to make plans to volunteer to do the class basket for the Carnival Auction. I have been so excited to participate in something other than doing the Scholastic Book Orders from home. However, since I had a minor surgery to have my Port a Cath removed and been in a car accident and moved, wouldn't you know it that my energy stores are totally wiped out. (anyone familiar with chronic illness will know what I mean here) I am tired+exhausted+sick tired+weak+too tired to eat or pee tired

My 12 yr old came into my bedroom yesterday morning shouting in my ear, "I CAN'T believe you have that thing next to your EAR and you are still SLEEPING!!!" I barely managed to lift my hand to smack my Blackberry that was wedged under my cheek to shut the damn thing off. My Blackberry gets some good volume which is why I like it, it is better than an alarm clock but it has got nothin' on MS and me. 

I am learning to take care of myself in Physical Therapy, I am so lucky to have the PT that I do, he is addressing all my many, many compounding issues. The one I am really appreciating tackling right now is energy conservation. So, I emailed the Room Parents and told them I was not up to doing the class basket and asked for help. It is a giant step for me in the right direction. Normally I would have just kept on and burnt myself out to the point that the basket, it would be awesome but I on the other hand would be in bed the entire day of the carnival. I am waahahaaay more important than a basket!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ask and you shall receive.

Have you ever really believed that old saying to be true? I mean, really? Admittedly, I haven't. Growing up, it seems my experiences impressed upon me that the answer would always be "No." or "Not right now." or "Not this time." or "Not today." or "Not you." or "Sorry."

Once upon a time, I was about 11 or 12 years old at a charity event where I would be speaking to help raise money for Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. There were a few vendors selling things like greeting cards and gifts in the lobby and my Big Sister and I browsed among the crowd of people. I saw these cards that were so adorable and she could tell that I really wanted them so she told me to ask for them. I was like "What, are you crazy?! For free?!" She said "You are speaking for free! What's the worst they will say, no? Then you won't be any worse off than you are now, just try." So I did, and they said no and I never forgot how defeated I felt at that moment.

I decided at that moment I was better off not asking for anything unless it was absolutely necessary, like life or death or at least in some sort of crisis category. Wouldn't you know that my life has included ironic crisis after ironic crisis? Almost like if God were up there sending me opportunity after opportunity to learn this message that asking for help sometimes is not only OK but an important and healthy part of human interaction? 

I can just imagine it now...God is like "Hey you down there, wake up and smell the roses! What do I have to do to make you ask for some freakin' help? Give you MS? A child with Type 1 Diabetes? An alcoholic Father? C-Diff? Render you unable to walk? Give you 2 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders? Chronic Migraines? Earthquakes?"

In all seriousness, I am learning and growing as a human being and I am liking life more and more each day. A week ago, I wrote that a larger apartment had been offered to me in the same building, at a very reduced rate. As I sit here typing to my hearts content, I am enjoying the noise of the ticking of my new washer and dryer in the background, the bright and sunny living room creating a positive flow of energy that I need sometimes and even my Budgie is singing. Yesterday my whole family, nieces included came down to help, because I simply asked if they would. My old apartment is empty and clean, my new one full and unpacked and my new, happy, blessed, & challenged journey continues...