Looking for answers to life's questions

Archive for February, 2012

In Search of Self Care

I am feeling better each day. Once again I can sense the possibility of wellness approaching. I remind myself that I am not my illness. It’s just an experience I’m going through and not a definition of who I am. The weather has been nice and warm this last week so it’s back to pulling weeds and getting the ground ready to plant. My son drove us to the nursery yesterday to buy hedging plants. He bought 14 of them so I get to dig the holes and plant them around the fence line. The shovel keeps me balanced. I am fully myself when digging in the dirt and making it possible for things to grow. It’s very meditative. He’s patient with my digging holes to compost green waste from the kitchen. Not something a bachelor computer geek is interested in doing himself. I’m an organic gardener when I have a garden to tend. I’m going to miss this when I finally go back up to Oregon this spring. It will be apartment living for a while. I have found a complex that is on a bus line, walking distance to the community college and the grocery store. How much better could you have it?

So with all the resting I do, it occurred to me that it was the chiropractor, not the neurologist told me that the nerve endings take so much longer to heal in the head than on most of the body. Why is that? Why would the chiropractor be the one to tell me? But 2 years to heal? I’m not the laying down and do nothing kind of person. Yes, I’ve been resting way more than normal but I still like to push myself to a point. I wonder if I had gone to bed and stayed there if the Bells Palsy would have gone away faster. Someone had to walk the dog. I miss walking the dog. I want to call all the doctors’ offices and let them know how complex this illness can be. I don’t think most of them know. But since I no longer have medical insurance, I can’t go to them anymore and the last doctor I went to didn’t want to hear about it.

I tend to lean more heavily on alternate modalities of treatment these days anyway. Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. as well as a small regiment of vitamins. I do not take any prescription drugs. At my age, that’s rare. Most people my age are constantly talking about the drugs they take for this or that. The thing is, they never get well enough to stop taking the drugs. So what’s the point? I want to see wellness as the end result. So I take my B-vitamins, D-3, CoQ10 and now in the last 2 weeks, Protandim, an herbal combination. I’m wondering if that isn’t what has given me the boost in the healing department but it’s too soon to tell. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. My son pays for and insists on the Protandim. No, I’m not peddling. Just doing my own research. I’ve finally eliminated the sugar completely from my diet and all the starchy stuff. It’s down to organic basics. I guess if you’ve tortured your body with extreme amounts of stress and poor eating habits for much of your life, then turning it all around takes a bit of practice and time.

I think that’s been one of the many gifts of this illness; accepting that it’s ok to take care of myself. I’ve always been the care giver. I would never take care of someone else the way I didn’t take care of myself. I haven’t rested since I was able to walk but that is another story for another time. The guilt of putting my own needs first has been removed. I am learning to trust that everything will work out ok and I don’t have to be tortured to be worthwhile.

Stress is a part of life. It forces growth; like it or not. I’ve decided that I want my growth in slower spurts so I’ve trimmed the stressors and changed the way I look at some of them. I think it will be healthier in the long run. I’ll keep you posted on whether that works.

From my heart to yours,

In Search of Understanding

The anniversary day has come and gone. I’ve had a full 2 years with Bells Palsy. I did not think that was possible. Why hasn’t it gone away? What is there left for this illness to teach me? Those are the questions I ask every day.
I decided not to stay home and wallow in self-pity so I dressed, made my breakfast, did the dishes and cleaned the stove. Then I walked the 15 minute walk to the bus stop and caught the bus to the bookstore. That’s just the place for a book addict like me. I spent an hour and a half there, spending only $10 on 2 paperbacks. One novel and one self-help book as well as a large iced tea so I could sit and peruse the others I finally left behind. They were too heavy to carry.

I have been working on a spreadsheet to list the books I own since I have a habit of buying some books 2 or 3 times. So far I have over 100 books on learning how to write. I still don’t know how but I’ll keep working on that with all the free time I have. I own the same number or more on self-improvement and even more on spirituality. Then there are the novels and memoirs. I think the sewing and craft books exceed them all. I may have to sell them if this doesn’t go away. Most of my books are in storage 1000 miles away. But the kindles and the books I brought with me as well as those I have picked up while here at my son’s house have kept my mind busy.

Reading with this illness is sometimes very tricky. I have every kindle set to large print and when I write, I set my font to a size 16 so I can see what I’ve written. The constant dizziness makes it hard to concentrate and the vision gets worse when I’m tired. But on the anniversary day I pushed myself harder to stay distracted. I walked the mile from the bookstore to the mall and then on to the theater where I sat through a movie. Not a great movie but an easy to watch movie. By the time I got home, I had double vision so I reheated dinner, had a conversation with my kids and went to bed at 7 p.m. Maybe the next day I would wake up well.

In the meantime I still want to better understand the gifts in this illness. There must be something I’ve overlooked and still need to learn from it. Maybe I’m supposed to learn how to do nothing. I think I’m a lost cause on that front. Maybe be more grateful for the vision I still have and a body that lets me walk a couple miles a day. I’m trying to understand how I will function in my life if this illness stays with me. I will have to stay close to transportation and necessities. No living on the outskirts of town. There are so many people out there with a multitude of different illness that dictate how they have to live. I want to understand how they cope and continue on in spite of their limitations. Of course, there is no other option.

I know I’m happy as long as I can access a bookstore once in a while and read. Yes, I do order a lot online but there is nothing like the smell and feel of books in a bookstore. It’s like a shrine and I’d like to live there. You would think with all those books, I’d know something valuable like what I want to do with the rest of my life. Heck, right now it would be nice to know what I’ll be able to do. There was not one word in all those books except Louise Hays’ book “You Can Heal Your Life” about Bells Palsy.

I still haven’t found one person that has had it this bad or can direct me to more information. It just isn’t there. I want to understand everything about it and recovery. I want to understand what to do If I don’t recover. I want to understand the weirdness of this world but I think that’s beyond the scope of my capacity. Not giving up though. I do understand that there is always a chance this will reach the one person who can give me information and so I will continue to send these babblings out into the ethers. Who knows, maybe someone else is looking for what I’ve come to understand.

From my heart to yours,

In Search of Health

I’m counting down the days till it’s been a full 2 years with Bells Palsy. Last week was a bad one with the dizziness as well as the depression amped up. Every morning I wake up wondering if today I can keep my balance when I walk. So far the answer has been no.

This week I aimed for small victories. They are of the psychological variety but help some none the less. I finally got together everything I needed to apply for my bus pass so all the drivers know I am over sixty and ride for free. It’s really pretty obvious but some have learned not to presume anything which could lead to an unhappy women accused of looking old when she isn’t. The cane is a dead giveaway but my hat covers my hair.

Then I took my ex-husband to breakfast for his birthday. He drove, I paid. We got our tax papers together in an envelope and after a nice breakfast he drove me to the post office so I could send them off to the accountant. It will be our last year of doing them together but I work hard to keep things calm and flowing forward. Just because living together doesn’t work, doesn’t mean we can’t be civil or even friendly. He enjoyed the morning and I found myself without the typical anxiety. I had him drop me off at the mall so I could get to the bank, take a bit of a walk through the mall and then ride the bus back home. It did leave me quite exhausted but at peace with myself. Since stress is a leading factor for the onset of Bells Palsy, I strive for daily calm. That was actually a big victory to stay calm and relaxed with him.

After an afternoon of rest, not sleep, I did a few chores and when my daughter got home from work we drove to our local AAA where I found out that members can buy movie tickets at discounted prices if you buy at least 4 at a time. You don’t have to use them all at once but you have to buy them in bulk. So now I can take the bus in the afternoon and see a movie if cabin fever sets in. Or I can have my kids go with me if they want to see something I want to see. Like I said, these are small victories for a person who is slightly debilitated.

Everything takes more energy than it used to so at least I remembered to take my B-vitamins. Then we made our way to the local health food store to pick up something easy and healthy for dinner. I have managed to cut out all the processed foods and sugar to give my brain a better chance at healing. That’s been a tough one on a daily basis. But more than anything else, I want my health. The sweet lady at AAA said her sister has had Bells Palsy for 10 years but it only affected her face. I managed not to break down when I heard 10 years. I have to believe that I will get well. Otherwise????

I put this out there every week hoping someone reads it and has something to add. A hint, a glimmer, a new way to approach this. It’s not cancer, stroke, heart or mental disease and I’m grateful. I have looked at all the ways I could be at dis-ease with life and try to make amendments and atonements. I am open to suggestions and experience. Looking forward to hearing from you.

From my heart to yours,