#flashbackFriday (view the video) Before MS, my oldest niece and I would go on hikes on Saturday mornings. I’m hopeful that one day we’ll be able to do this again.
I’m a control freak and I often feel that I’m not in control of my body when it comes to this disease. Reality is that even in the space of uncontrollable situations, there are things I can control: how often and the types of exercises I do, what things I put in my mouth (and when), whether or not I ask for help, my response to the challenging days, etc.
In 2014, I helped heal myself by adopting a “Me first” attitude. I woke up and immediately went to the gym (weights, elliptical, pool) and ate the most nutrient dense foods.It helped me ambulate without pain or discomfort. Things changed with the death of my great grandmother in October 2015 and my aunt in February 2016. I didn’t put me and my health needs first.
I’m going to get back to that place. Today I start to reclaim some of what’s lost.
It’s a bfd because it is the 1st day of the 4th quarter of my year long effort to take care of myself.
Everything flows from my 5 categories of self care: Nutrition, Exercise, Stress Management, Brain Health, and having more Love & Support in my life.
It is my belief that those powers combined form a the basis of my healing and prevention of the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.
In the 3rd quarter I started a ketogenic way of eating (Nutrition), I joined CrossFit (exercise), I joined Toastmasters (Brain health), saw a therapist regularly (Stress Management), and let my friends into my struggles (love & support.)
I’ve made many positive strides, I also had a few challenges that I’m working to move past. It is mostly around taking on other people’s pain and struggles as my own. I am a great friend. I’m learning to be that great friend without sacrificing the needs I have. I’m not as extreme as the kid in the YouTube video, but I know that there are times that I need to worry about myself.
I expect big things from myself in 2015 and in this 4th quarter in particular.
In July 2007, I attended Camp Obama in Burbank, California. There, I met one of the most important people in my life. He was a trainer at the ‘camp’ and recited a poem called “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy. That poem stuck with me all these years.
“…And what can be more special than that there is no boundary. And there should be no boundary to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at.” a Stephen Hawking quote from “The Theory of Everything” opened my eyes.
After 26 months of living and struggling with the symptoms of MS (first being unable to walk to my mailbox before my legs stopped working, chronic fatigue syndrome, being declared legally blind) and how it’s affected my thoughts on my value/worth to society, I realize that I can still be of use… I just gotta figure out how to be of service.
My self woth/self-esteem has been tied into what I can do for others. The last 6 months has been an exercise in turning that energy inwards. I promised myself one year of self-focused care on June 26, 2015, I will complete that one year. I hope to have a better understanding of who I am and what I want in my life and how I can be of use.
On June 26, 2014, I decided to take charge of my life. I embarked on a total lifestyle intervention focused on 5 key areas of my health: nutrition, exercise, stress management, brain health, and having more love and support in my life.
Focusing on me meant I had to rid my life of all toxic things and people. Anything that did not serve to benefit my health in any of the aforementioned 5 categories had to go, including my mother. I wrote her a 4 page letter telling her that I loved her but had to love her from a comfortable-for-me distance.
I’ve been a people pleaser my entire life, and after getting this MS diagnosis, I was still trying to please others… make sure other people were happy and taken care of. That wasn’t serving me well. I believe that diminishing my risk of stress has helped me see the positive progress I’ve made thus far.
This song is my anthem as I become the person I’m destined to be.