Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘dizziness’

In Search of Better Balance

Have you noticed my posts getting farther and farther apart? I’ve been feeling quite badly about it but can’t afford to stress even a little. I mentioned a few posts back that I had taken on a bit more these days than previously. As the winter weather let go its icy grip, signs of life showed up in my apartment in a big way.

Note at mailboxes said "Can’t get myself down the stairs but the first one than can will get to take me home from #2048." It worked.

Note at mailboxes said “Can’t get myself down the stairs but the first one than can will get to take me home from #2048.” It worked.

My daughter helped me pull out several large boxes of craft materials from the far reaches of my garage. I rent a garage to store things so as not to be too cluttered up here. Riiight! One of the boxes was from a new toilet if that gives you any idea of the size. When I moved out of my home 4 years ago, we pretty much tossed stuff in boxes and hoped for the best. I wasn’t in the best of shape then. The other box was almost that large and I have found several boxes of old photos as well. Have you ever started looking at photos and been able to stop? I spent a whole week going through, sorting a bit and tossing a lot of duplicates.

No more tea cups for this cabinet. Still hunting paints and glue gun. Have glue!!!

No more tea cups for this cabinet. Still hunting paints and glue gun. Have glue!!!

With all the joining I have done to make friends in my new home, I’ve overloaded myself a bit with classes and projects. I’ll have some photos of the finished work shortly. Little by little, I’m starting to find how much I can do and what needs to be eased off from. Setting limits is something new for me.

This replaced the recliner in my bedroom. Put it together myself but took a few adjustments. Still WIP here.

This replaced the recliner in my bedroom. Put it together myself but took a few adjustments. Still WIP here.

But the kind of balance I’m talking about here has more to do with my Bells Palsy than my creative endeavors. Since acquiring health insurance this year, I have the opportunity to get some medical assistance for the balance. A new acquaintance at the quilting group let me know my HMO had vestibular integration therapy available. The first job was to get a different primary care doctor. The last one was quite dismissive. That done, I requested some therapy to get my eyes working together again which in turn, helps with my standing balance. If I’m in a dark room, I start to tip over and closing my eyes, well let’s just say that’s a dangerous move when standing.

After a trip to a neurologist, (the third one in four years) I was allowed to get physical therapy for my balance. I have exercises to do twice a day. Some are standing holding onto my kitchen counter for support. (I don’t have a chair) The rest are sitting and turning my head and looking up and to the side that is unaffected. I’ve found I must do these when I don’t have to drive anywhere. Oddly, they add to the dizziness but I’m going to do whatever I can to get well.
Even after four years, I am noticing movement in some parts of my face that was flaccid and I can almost make a complete smile. Still a bit odd-looking but hey, I’m happy with any improvement.

Flowers from my new friends garden. Made me feel better immediately.

Flowers from my new friends garden. Made me feel better immediately.

Funny how much I took for granted before Bells hit like a hammer. Unfortunately, healing of any nature still requires lots of rest. I’m not a fan. Moving and doing have been how I lived in the world, now I rest a whole darn bunch. Hang in there with me a bit longer. We shall see how effective these exercises are.

Have you ever taken your health for granted and wound up with a major wakeup call? Do you believe your health is connected to your emotions and what’s going on in life or just something that happens?

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
~
Hippocrates

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Last Anniversary

Have you seen those t-shirts or coffee mugs that say “I have one nerve left and you’re on it?” When people ask me what brought on my Bells Palsy, I refer to that quote. On a stress scale of 1-10, I was at a 15. What happened? We had an accumulated 6 feet of snow that brought down our second canopy. I had tried to talk my husband out of buying another. It was supposed to hold a 40 pound snow load. It collapsed onto the truck, Jeep, tractor and boat along with 6 tanks of propane. That I could handle. What brought me to the last nerve and off the chart stress was when he wanted to file another insurance claim. It would be his fifth in that house, even though we had collected on only one other. I begged and pleaded not to call them. Yup, they paid, which made him happy, then they cancelled our policy. Cancelled homeowners is a big deal and scared the heck out of me. I lost it and within a week, I had what the doctors thought might be Shingles. No visible signs of shingles on my scalp, just the other symptoms. I got something so much grander.

My reward for not managing my stress.

My reward for not managing my stress.

Today marks the four year anniversary of my bout with Bells Palsy. Every day I wake up wondering if it will be the day it’s gone. Do I feel sorry for myself? Absolutely not! I’m so grateful because it pointed out so many things that were broken. Six months later I moved out with the help of family. I couldn’t drive anymore and it took all my energy to pack one box. But each day, I packed and slept then packed some more. My husband brought me boxes. They were stacked everywhere for those six months. Do I have stress in my life now? Yes, real life stress that is usually under the scale of five. I’m pretty easy going so to get me ruffled, takes a whole load of bad stuff. I will never willingly allow that kind of stress in my life again. Yes, stuff happens. Most, with common sense is easy to manage. The kind that makes you sick, is usually a long time in the making.

You've seen this before but I look so much better than when this started.

You’ve seen this before but I look so much better than when this started.

The toughest part of this whole illness has not been my inability to drink ANYTHING without a straw or the fact that my kisser doesn’t work. No pecks on your cheek from me. You have to put up with a hug. I don’t mind that my daughter orders for me so the wait staff can understand what I want, or my smile isn’t as endearing as it once was.

For me, the toughest part has been the constant dizziness that interferes with my ability to walk and drive safely. But I am getting well enough to drive more and more. It’s not quite like vertigo. It feels like my brain is sitting in a bowl of Jello and sloshing around. I can promise you, it’s a weird feeling. I keep telling everyone I meet, that Bells Palsy and Shingles come from the same Zoster virus. If you are over 60, get your shingles shot. You don’t want shingles either. Please watch your stress levels. If you are that stressed, something needs to change or your body will do it for you.

Last year’s anniversary blog was a bit more upbeat. I think it may be that this year, I haven’t been out of the house in 7 days. Our steps were covered in ice and snow as were the sidewalks and street. A large portion of the country is dealing with the same thing. Cabin fever due to weather. I have always tried to venture out once a week at least. No one was going anywhere last week.

It wasn't much and so pretty, but brought this city to it's knees.

It wasn’t much and so pretty, but brought this city to it’s knees.

Today the snow has melted, the temps have climbed high enough to melt the ice, and I will be heading to the post office to mail cards that may need hand stamping and a small box of fabric and patterns to my sister-in-law for her to make up for her granddaughter. Lightening my load and realizing my limits is a good way to celebrate this day. I really want this to be the very last anniversary I have with Bells Palsy. Here’s where I would wink and smile at you but you’ll just have to imagine it with me.

The black plastic bag was to keep it dry on the way to mailing. Small but heavy.

The black plastic bag was to keep it dry on the way to mailing. Small but heavy.

Are you struggling with cabin fever or just enjoying the coziness of winter’s cocoon? Or like me, having a bit of both?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Little Balance

The last week has been quiet and I’ve been unbalanced. I’m hoping it comes from the change in barometric pressure. When I get this tippy, I hold on for dear life.

Last week was the first time I’ve seen a doctor in three years. I have Medicare now and thought I’d get acquainted. As I walked down the narrow flat-yellow hall to the doctor’s office, I almost went completely over. I’ve never had that reaction before. It’s like the wall was moving. No one seemed concerned. The doctor wasn’t happy with me because I refused the flu and pneumonia shots. I take no medications and other than residual effects of Bells Palsy, I’m quite healthy and work to stay that way. He really didn’t want to address anything to do with the Bells.

So the time down has been spent reading a great deal. I received this little book for my birthday from my ex-daughter-in-law. It was a quick read and I enjoyed it. I don’t think we ever get done growing ourselves into who we want to be. The idea that we are supposed to stay the same while life changes all around seems ludicrous.

I was a sweet easy read. Gave me some food for thought.

I was a sweet easy read. Gave me some food for thought.

The mail last week brought this beautiful sympathy card from the wonderful Alys at Gardening Nirvana after I had to let sweet Gracie go to her final sleep. The colors in the card reminded me of another blogger I love to follow. I wonder who that could be? I had to sit with the kindness and thoughtfulness for several days. I’m not usually on the receiving end of these things. She is a woman of many talents and an extremely large heart. I love blogging just because I get to meet such terrific people. I mentioned to Bethany at Journey to Ithaca that you don’t have to see or talk to people to know their hearts. It comes out in their writing. There are so many like them that keep me going when the going gets tippy.

Loved the colors. Reminds me of someone?

Loved the colors. Reminds me of someone?

Little envelope inside card. All handmade.

Little envelope inside card. All handmade.

She made the whole envelope as well. How talented can a person be?

She made the whole envelope as well. How talented can a person be?

Not all my time has been spent in a book this week. My daughter was over on Saturday to bake chocolate chip cookies for her handyman friend. My kitchen is bigger and brighter so the baking goes so much easier. The cookies are for barter. The friend puts her AC unit in her window in early summer and removes it when the weather has turned cool. Yes, we are there once again. Since he will take no cash for the few minutes it takes and loves (homemade) chocolate chip cookies above all else, we put the oven to good use heating the apartment at the same time.

The other half went to work with her to entice them to hire her on permanent.

The other half went to work with her to entice them to hire her on permanent.

Since the temperatures have been dropping like a rock and I had the ingredients, I baked up another 9 dozen cookies and stored them out of my reach. Warmed up my toes and I’ll be ready to pass them out for all the holiday events. Yes, I start early. The holidays take a lot of energy so I have to be strategic with it. Sorry to bring the subject up to those that aren’t ready to deal with it. Cold weather does that to me. How are you bringing a little balance into your life? Are you finding the weather is throwing you more curves than you field? Is it summer, fall or winter where you live or changing every day?

“It’s not that I believe everything happens for a reason. It’s just that . . . I just think that some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It’s the universe’s way of providing contrast, you know? There have to be a few holes in the road. It’s how life is.”Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Signs of Summer

The last week has been a rough one. The little bit of warmth we had for a week vanished bringing in rain, wind and winter temperatures. I actually broke down and turned on the heat again. That was especially necessary after I wound up with a bacterial infection that required antibiotics. I had a good laugh with the pharmacist when she explained that the medication could cause dizziness. Could I get any dizzier?? Uh huh. More on that subject much later. I’m still bouncing off the walls more than usual so getting anything done was tough. I get lazy when I’m not up to par.

Even my homework for writing class was sadly lacking in creativity. The prompt was gossip and I didn’t care for the subject matter. Making up a story was easier than trying to find three real life episodes of participation. I don’t enjoy gossip in any form. Maybe that’s why I spend so much of my time alone.

Can you see the stippling stitch around the design? My first try at it.

Can you see the stippling stitch around the design? My first try at it.

It’s hard to be creative when all your energy is going toward getting well and staying upright and warm. In spite of it all, I did manage to get a little done. My shirt is cut out and ready to sew. Wanting to get ready for the Memorial Day weekend, I planned out an embroidery in my software program and prepared the fabrics. I finally finished the project yesterday afternoon while my daughter was over drawing out her pattern for a shirt she is making. I’ll post photos later when the shirt is finished. Here is the wall hanging I did to encourage summer to make another appearance. I tried something I’ve never done before. I quilted around the design. It’s hard to see but my daughter liked the effect. I’ll try it again and get more practice.

This will hang through Labor Day.

This will hang through Labor Day.

I even ironed my little flags I’ve had for years. I’ll put one in the deck flowers when the rain stops. This one looks cute on the covered entrance to my door. They are for good Feng Shui as you enter.

Red flowers by the front door = good Feng Shui. The flag makes it better.

Red flowers by the front door = good Feng Shui. The flag makes it better.

I managed to get a rose-bush my sister gave me for Mother’s Day into a bigger pot to give it some room to grow. It was in a cute little tin pot but the heat on the roots in the sun didn’t seem like a good idea. I love yellow roses and want this one to survive. It’s had plenty of rain, now it needs a little sunshine. Come on sun!

I'm hoping this survives.

I’m hoping this survives.

I’m not complaining. I have nothing to complain about. Especially not the weather when so many parts of the country are hit with catastrophic weather. For so many, Memorial Day will include actual memorials. My heart goes out to everyone who has suffered loss. My dad was a military man for 20 years, so my prayers are with all those that serve, have served and their families too.

a closer look

a closer look

Memorial Day usually signals the coming of summer which is really not for almost another month. We pretend that it’s here with the attempt at barbeques and warm weather clothes. My grill is under the eaves of the building to keep off the rain and I’ll be wearing a flannel shirt. How about you? Are there any signs of summer in your neck of the woods?

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~ John Steinbeck

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Next Step

In this season of gratitude and giving, there seems no end to my list of things for which to be grateful.

On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, I stopped at the mailbox on my way to run errands. It was the first dry day in a week and since I don’t drive at all when it rains, there was much to be accomplished. Windshield wipers add to the dizziness.

I was not expecting any mail but i nside my tiny box was a thick packet in one of those yellow-brown envelopes. It was from a title company in the town where my house was for sale.

The first page read: Congratulations on the sale of your home. Here are 50 pages of documents to read, sign and have notarized. Well, that added to my to-do list. I would need to find a notary close to home so I searched the internet and made some calls, all from the convenience of my front seat with my smart phone. How did we ever live without them?

Arriving at the notary, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to be greeted by a mature woman who knew what she was doing. I certainly didn’t.I handed her the documents. The process took us the better part of an hour and with each page I signed, a feeling I could not immediately identify, crept over me. Before the last pages were signed, I was blotting quiet tears. What the heck was this all about? I had asked St. Joseph to find someone to care for the home and he had complied, within days of my prayer. So why the tears? Melancholy set in and stayed for the next day as well. I would miss that home for all hopes and dreams it represented.

It was a wonderful home

It was a wonderful home

I’ve been afraid to say a word about selling my home because it’s not done till it’s done. Homes have fallen out of escrow at the very last-minute and I didn’t want to jinx it. Yes, I’m slightly superstitious. How silly is that? Waiting until the closing completed, was a must. On December 18 at 1:18 pm I was notified that escrow had officially been closed.

This will be the last thing that ties me to the ex-husband and we can be done. We can both move forward in different ways. In deepest gratitude, I am a free woman in every sense of the word.

oh so grand but not for me.

oh so grand but not for me.

This Christmas season has brought many gifts. The best part is I have both my adult children and my sister with me for the holiday. What comes under the tree is just icing on a very tasty cake. I am filled to the brim with joy and I hope some of it spills over onto you.

The process of selling this home has taken a lot of energy during this holiday season so very little of my usual routine has been done but I am oh, so grateful it has found new caregivers. bringing a fresh breath to the New Year. Here’s a toast to mixed emotions. I am soaking up this moment, then I have to wonder, what’s next? What would you do as a next step?

Sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye. ~ author unknown

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Giving Thanks

In two days, my daughter and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day at a local restaurant together. Neither of us have the stamina for cooking, cleaning or being polite company. I love to eat out, usually bringing home enough leftover food for another meal or two. Yes, I miss the big family gatherings, but life changes and we have to be adaptable. Isn’t that what the pilgrims did? Adapting to a new land and create new customs and traditions. I’m in a new land and just starting to make new friends.

Mrs Pilgrim is in hiding. She wants no part of the turkey cooking this year.

This week has been especially dizzy. Odd way to describe a week I know, but the events that add even the slightest stress, cause, for some unknown reason, extreme dizziness. Stress can be good. In this instance some of it is. My house in Arizona went into escrow! After two seasons on the market, a buyer appeared.

I’m going to share a little synchronicity with you. When we were trying to sell my mother’s manufactured home, someone suggested that I get this statue of St. Joseph and bury him in the yard with his feet up. That would help sell the house. “Don’t be ridiculous”, was my response. But I bought one anyway. We finally ended up selling to my son. So much for St. Joe.

Last week I found the flyer that came with the statue. The statue is long gone. So I stood the flyer on my dresser and said a prayer of sorts. I’m not Catholic or any other formal religion but I firmly believe in prayers that don’t involve “gimme”. It was just a “let someone that will enjoy the home have it now” kind of prayer. I kid you not, two days later, we had an offer. Not a great offer, but an offer none the less.

He’s done his job, now I must do mine.

Now for the bad part of the stress. My ex didn’t want to lower the asking price and negotiating with him has been part of the reason we are no longer together. I’ve had to work through this sale with him all week-long. Oddly, he has been more compliant than ever. Now we must see where the home inspection leaves us to see if we can both move on. The buyers are getting the house for what we paid for it 13 years ago.

So on Thanksgiving Day, I will be more than grateful to be in this new land with at least one family member, eating what I hope is a good meal. The sun will shine for the only day in several weeks. I’m fascinated that even the weather co-operates on Thanksgiving Day. I’m hoping to add the sale of our home to my list of things for which I am deeply grateful. I am regaining my health, slowly. I have a wonderful family and friends as well as a cozy place to live. I hope your Thanksgiving Day is rich with blessings no matter when or how you celebrate. I’m grateful you are all there.

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~ E. P. Powell

From my heart to yours,
Marlene

In Search of Another Year

Halloween was the one year anniversary of my blog. I wasn’t sure I would last, especially with titles. What in the world had I got myself into?

I started this blog to try to find others who might offer insight and suggestions into my very odd illness. I’m four months shy of three years with the most unusual display of Bells Palsy. My face looks pretty good now and I’m starting to be able to drink out of cups and glasses without a straw sometimes, but dizziness and the lack of balance still make everyday tasks difficult. Boy, do I have real empathy for those with invisible illnesses.

If you happen to be over sixty, get your shingles vaccine. I didn’t because my mother was certain I’d never had chicken pox so we all assumed, (there’s that word again), that I was immune. All three (chicken pox, shingles, bells palsy) are from the same virus. I’d nursed my brothers and sister through chicken pox as well as my own children. When my son had them three weeks before high school graduation, he was certain he would die from them. I was pretty worried myself. His younger sister got them a week later with a much milder case. If I’d had chicken pox, how could anyone miss it?

After one year, no one has stepped up to say they have experience this or anything similar. What did happen? I found some wonderful bloggers doing some really great writing as well as other interesting things. I don’t want to give them up by giving up. Every day, I learn something new and often from someone new. I still don’t know how to find bloggers. Thankfully, they seem to find me. Bloggers are helping me learn the technology of blogging. They also help to remind me each day to count my blessings.

I keep a gratitude journal just for that purpose; writing each day the best thing that happened. I don’t miss a day finding that one bright spot. Some days it’s the post that made me laugh out loud. Some days it’s knowing there are others out there I can relate to even in our differences. Writing is what we all have in common. I keep so much to myself in a personal diary. I’ve learned that keeping a journal, a diary, and blogging are all different forms of writing. I do all three. I hope to learn to write more in-depth and more creatively.

Thank you fellow bloggers. You have taught me so very much. I’m not sure what direction I will take from here. It’s time for reflection.

Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous. ~ Confucius

From my heart to yours,
Marlene