Why is Everything I Want a Secret?

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Source Google Images

While looking through quotes and inspirational affirmations I’m struck by the use of the phrase, “The SECRET to…”
The SECRET to being happy
The secret to being content
The secret to being successful
The secret to losing weight
The secret to gaining weight
The SECRET TO LIFE
SECRET? As if each one of these things really fall under the meaning of the word SECRET.
In the dictionary, the very definition of SECRET has nothing to do with how to gain the things, feelings, experiences we desire because SECRET means something meant to be kept unknown, or something meant to be unknown, such as where you hid the cookie jar from the children who happen to love the Oreos. Or “Hey Marge, what’s your secret to such shiny floors?!” “Oh Ella, it’s vinegar! I use it for EVERYTHING! But don’t tell, it will be our little secret.”

I think it’s rather smug of those who write books, give lectures, or advice citing they’re going to tell you their secret to happiness. That is the one that really gets to me.
How people choose to feel, or what they strive for in their lives is not secrets. It’s available to us all.

Below is the Merriam-Webster dictionary meaning of SECRET.
The use of the word, SECRET or phrase, “The Secret to…” sets us up to thinking what we desire or aspire to is so unattainable that it’s kept under lock and key, available only to scholars, the righteous, the enlightened.
No, these things we seek aren’t secret at all. They are for the taking, free, meant not to be kept “unknown” or hidden. Every human being has access to it, and once some of us realize this it’s easier to attain and for some may just lose its importance to us. As in, if there’s a secret to happiness, well maybe it will require covert activities and great difficulty in finding it and I’ve got dinner to cook, kids to bathe, groceries to buy, a house to clean, a job to do. I say No again, it’s not a secret. It’s attainable and may require work on ourselves. No one holds the key to these things we want, it’s a matter of what we aspire and then looking to ourselves for its priority in our life. If it’s very important to us, we live long enough, we’ll figure it out. Maybe what we want doesn’t even exist in its total, perceived form, so it’s a secret, that’s only for conspiracy theorist to figure out. Good luck with that.

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Source; Google

What Does a Girl Got to do Around Here to Get Some Service?!

You know something is taking over your thoughts, your days, your life when your iPhone automatically types out Achalasia when you type an “a” and a “c.”

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88 lbs. and Not Happy

My iPhone’s predictive text ability, something I wasn’t aware of until the word, “Achalasia” would pop up allowing me to simply hit my space bar to insert the word that was easy enough to remember how to spell but how nice not to have to type each letter out! Well not really because it meant that Achalasia was a word I typed a lot. Therefore predictive text took over. A great tip for iPhone users but a harsh reality for me that this word showed up in my texts, notes, emails, searches so much it became “predictive,” she is going to type that word again. That word is a medical condition that is rare? Experts stating 1 in 100,000 sufferers? I believe that but why do I always have to have the odd or special problems? I’m special, no doubt, but this special? This isn’t something I want to be special for.

January 22, 2018 marked a year since being told, conclusively, I have Achalasia. Yet, the procedure which was explained to me as the treatment to relieve this horrible condition, the surgery the hospital GI specialists told me I would have still hasn’t happened. It isn’t because I don’t have insurance or they found I didn’t really have Achalasia. I definitely do, I’ve had all the follow-up diagnostic tests to confirm. My problem swallowing has gotten worse if that’s even possible but it is. Why? Why haven’t I had a procedure, any procedure from POEM to Heller? Well it’s because of a crazy year of mix-ups, falling through cracks, the passing of my dear, sweet sister who just wanted me to get fixed and not suffer, my missed appointments because I already had three of those endoscopies, are you sure I’m to have another? My life and my questioning has delayed my ultimate goal. But through this year I’ve become anxious, I had so many negative experiences with doctors that I had just had it. I wanted to give up and try to live with Achalasia. But you can’t, at least I cant. It’s too painful and in July another EDG (endoscopy) which was to be another surgeon’s look to make SURE I have Achalasia ended up with a balloon dilation that didn’t help and a call from the nurse several weeks later informing me the lab results were back from biopsies taken and I now have Barrett’s Esophagus. This Barrett’s thing I’m frankly too tired to explain but I will say that seven months prior I didn’t have it. Could waiting so long, and putting off the surgery be causing me more problems that are serious enough to get it done already! I don’t know anymore.

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So Thin, So Sick

To be fair, I’m at fault for canceling and bringing to a halt the follow up consultation with the surgeon who didn’t do a surgery to fix, but did repeat diagnostic endoscopies to look for himself. He was to be the surgeon who would do the Achalasia surgery but he didn’t have all the results from the previous EDG’s and EUS’s and barium swallows and CT scans, etc. So I was to learn that more procedures would be ordered so he would have the important information he needed to proceed.

However, my husband and I were about to experience his interrupting first consultation, leaving us feeling like we’d just experienced the ultimate “minimization of your symptoms. You’re not that sick and I know why” consult. It was a “no you’re not going to tell me what you are suffering from, I’m going to tell you and it’s going to be based upon questions I will ask and will answer too because what you are saying isn’t what I think you should be saying….. you aren’t throwing up, you have acid reflux. That extreme pain you’re feeling, the one when the liquid is trying to move through your esophagus but can’t and it feels just like your pancreatitis pain? That’s heart burn. ” By the way, after leaving I tried heart burn medication I purchased myself just in case that was it! But it wasn’t going to be that easy. That medication did nothing, absolutely nothing.

When I woke up from the EDG he did, I experienced another traumatic procedure and another rude, dismissal.

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I’m On My Way Up

So the fact I have just had it with the medical establishment is an understatement. But I have to say, there is always hope. I’ve drawn on that hope, remembering the three different specialists in agreement and informing me that finally, they’ve all found what I was suffering from. It’s their consultations I cling to. I believe them, and I cancelled further visits with the surgeon and have decided to wait and see the original GI Specialists who give me hope. Even though one of them rushed into my hospital room after a week’s stay of pain and worry to tell my husband and I, “I looked at the EDG and yes, my colleague was right, Achalasia! I have to run, I’m picking my wife up at the airport and I better not be late or I’ll hear about it!” We looked at each other and fortunately his phone was charged enough to Google Achalasia so we would know what it is.

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Bring on the Chubby Cheeks!

These doctors that found Achalasia need to see that I didn’t get that surgery. That I’m worse and quite frankly I’m afraid of doctors and hospitals because I’ve learned some hard lessons through all of this. That you can tell them your symptoms all you want but it just takes one doctor or nurse to doubt you and prolong your agony. But it takes just one doctor who sees you lying in a bed, wasting away, to take a moment to sit down and talk with you, not to you, but with you. Not rushed to speed through your symptoms, but to look you in the eye and you know they’re listening and not interrupting you. You relax and you finally tell your story, history, and your hopes. Having a doctor ask you, “what is the worst part of your sickness this visit? What do YOU think could be causing this?” Then they calmly go through a list of legitimate questions allowing me to answer and finally you hear it, the only thing you honestly want to hear, a true, sincere quest to help you, “well, we are going to do everything we can to identify what is causing this. Hopefully we will be able to and if we can’t I know of another specialty hospital that has more diagnostic tools we may refer you to.” Music to my ears, a feeling of relief like no other, instant tears of gratitude and sheer exhaustion once he leaves the room. I dropped my head down and sobbed, he heard me, he’s going to try and get to the bottom of this. Thank you Lord for this doctor.

This is the doctor I have an appointment to see. The specialist in a group of specialists that know their stuff and I trust. Saying I trust a doctor is a huge step forward for me. I honestly am afraid to go to a hospital now. I’m afraid of procedures. I’m just afraid of the very people who are trained to heal us. I’m not going through my entire story why, but it’s well founded fear and I now have an advocate with me at all appointments and hospital stays. I honestly could write a book about my experiences if I was a writer, but I’m not.

I have come a long way from my many years of health and active pursuits. Training, raising and competing with horses, working in film and television with animals to working for the judicial department in my state as a judicial assistant (law clerk, bailiff, judge’s assistant). To the year I became very sick and told I had to stay in the hospital for days. Since then I’ve been diagnosed with a lot of things, all wrong. But I don’t blame anyone, they did the best they could do with the tools they had and sent me on my way. From pancreatic cancer “possibility” from dark masses seen on a scan to a simple case of “gastritis” diagnosed once that mass disappeared. I’ve had my shares of highs and lows.

I'm Getting ThereI just guess some of us must take the long way round to get to our destination. Others get there quicker, for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter and like I always say, it’s not so much the journey but rather the destination. If you arrive at your destination that hope and tenacity fueled you to, that’s the blessing. I’m almost there, and everything before this day will just be memories of the situations that taught me patience and made me grow as a hopeful, strong person who doesn’t feel people don’t want to help you, it’s all about the money, rather they do want to help you and by doing so they earn that money.

My story isn’t over yet, I’m sure there’s more ups and downs to come, but that’s called life and life is precious. I’m holding at hope, this Achalasia thing will someday be less of a concern of mine. I’m pretty sure about that.

Intuition, it’s a Beautiful Thing

Intuition is a beautiful thing.  It’s that faint feeling that what you feel or hear may be more than what you think it is normal, or what someone tells you it is.  It’s that little voice that tells you that something is not what it seems.  Intuition is knowing yourself better than anyone else knows you to the point that what may sound reasonable enough when told to you, still has you thinking otherwise.  But you move forward, go on, and you live your life accordingly.

There’s a misconception that questioning what your told, or not “buying it” can put you in a class of people doctors and others like to call hypochondriacs.  It’s then you may just shut up, ignore your intuition and messages your body sends you, and move forward, go on, and live your life accordingly again.

That is what I have done for many years, at least since my early 20’s.  It’s wayyyyy back then when I’d lean down to get a drink from a water fountain and end up standing there trying to make the water go down.  Most of the time, I would just calmly walk to the restroom and spit it out.  Because it just wouldn’t go down, and it hurt in my chest. Not bad, but enough to make me think to myself, “well this can’t be right…” so I would tell my mom, and she would say “we need to get that checked,” and a doctor’s appointment would be made.  I didn’t like doctor appointments, only because they reminded me of the only times I saw a doctor was when I broke my arm in 2nd grade PE, or I broke my collarbone in 6th grade recess playing football with the boys, or when I broke my tailbone numerous times from tripping while jumping rope, to falling on the balance beam in gymnastics.  A doctor’s visit surely meant something bad had happened and I was going to either get a cast or have x-rays while the technician pulled, twisted, and manipulated whatever was broken in such a way to get a good x-ray, which was always painful.  Maybe it was the subconscious memory of the auto accident I was in when I was 2 years old where I was trapped under the truck, 7 skull fractures and weeks in an ICU, my parents told if I survived I may be what they used to call “a vegetable.” But miraculously I survived after surgery to relieve the pressure and went on to not be a vegetable, but rather an A student who was clumsy.  My parents didn’t tell me about this accident or my brain injury because the doctor told them at the time it was best not to so that I wouldn’t be afraid to do things in life that might hurt my head. Yes, sounds silly but that is what mom told me when I learned myself about the injury in 6th grade while sneaking a peak at my health records during PE health checkup.  I read all about a traumatic brain injury when two years old.  It didn’t upset me at all, I was intrigued by it, and asked mom when I got home.  She be came near hysterical that I’d learned about it and while crying told me the story.  I asked why is it such a big deal? I’m fine! She agreed, stopped crying, told me she was sorry and yes, I was fine and had no lingering problems from the injury because children’s brains heal much better than adults.  But I do faintly remember what might have been a hospital room and wanting to go home, and I faintly remember standing on the dinner table and being given a raggedy ann doll with the family surrounding me (this was when I got to come home from the hospital I’m told), then given a football helmet (San Diego Chargers) to put on.  Why? Because they didn’t have seizure helmets back then.  I had to wear a kid’s football helmet for a year, with my little dress on, I remember that helmet and just thought I must have loved football when I was little. The main thought here was, I didn’t like hospitals, doctors, or San Diego Chargers. I now know why.

Protein Smoothies are my Life these daysThey did a good job of keeping this from me because I had no intuition that something may have happened to me as a child when I was older and had migraines. Not once was I told that maybe they were due to a head injury.  I just assumed hormones and would lay in a dark room.  Fortunately I no longer have them.

Back to this swallowing water and intuition thing.  Through the years this problem persisted.  Slowly getting worse, with food getting “stuck” or me having to take small sips or bites and just wait for it to go down.  Every few years I would make a doctor’s appointment and go in to explain this phenomenon.  Each time the doctor would tell me it’s nothing, it’s normal, just take smaller bites and smaller sips.  I’d leave the appointment mad I’d just spent money hearing something I’d already been told but my intuition had me thinking I really needed to have it checked.  No one else I knew had this problem, and those I told would just shrug and say I don’t know, never had it.

It wasn’t until much later in my life that this problem had escalated to the point that I wouldn’t eat sometimes because I just couldn’t handle the pain of those times the food would get stuck.  It didn’t happen every time, but enough that it became somewhat of a funny issue amongst my family and friends.  How I would take a sip, then hit my chest hold one finger up and say, “give me minute” and we’d all wait until whatever made it’s way down and the pain of something stuck in my chest was gone.

During this time I was losing weight. A lot of weight. I had several “attacks” where the pain in between my breast bone was so severe I’d be taken to the hospital, then admitted for possible pancreatitis or unknown abdominal pain. Actually, one time I really did have pancreatitis because the lipase test came back severely high and the scans showed a pancreas about to burst.  So, my swallowing problem got lumped together as a pancreas issue.  No science or explanation behind it, just told, when the pain hit it is probably your pancreas.

But I just didn’t think that was it. Still I was seeking an answer from doctors about the swallowing problem and being told nothing is wrong there, its your pancreas now.  I would keep mentioning it to the point where doctors and others would think I’m being a bit of a hypochondriac.  Just believe what they told you about your pancreas and let it go!

I did let it go but the problem got worse and worse. My intuition turned to an all out belief that something is wrong right HERE (me pointing to the area where my esophagus meets my stomach). The doctors would humor me by prescribing heartburn medicine, or chalky liquids to drink when I felt the pain only to have the heartburn medicine and chalky drink get stuck along with the water I drank to take it.  It didn’t help, only added to the problem.

When you go to a doctor or are in the hospital, they always schedule you for a two or six week follow-up.  I went to those follow-ups and would tell them, I’m no better, no I do not have heartburn, I’ve lost more weight, and the attacks are getting more frequent. Each time from then on, I was told many different things, like changing my diet, journal the foods I’m eating to identify which was causing me “discomfort.”  I couldn’t get it through to anyone that it was a swallowing then getting stuck then bad pain then throw it up or just wait it out situation.  It wasn’t heartburn. It felt like I’d eaten an elephant and now it was passing through trying to push into my stomach.  I would have visions of snakes that eat big rodents and the outline of the rodent they’d just eaten was halfway down and I’d wonder how in the heck do they tolerate that pain?  Every time in the hospital, when asked by a doctor what it felt like, I would use Sigorney Weaver’s character in Alien, when the alien comes out of here stomach or wherever.  I never saw the movie, just saw that part.  That there was enormous pressure right HERE and now it’s extreme pain and vomiting.  Yep, must be your pancreas.

With each new doctor run in, my intuition turned to “your missing something and I don’t have an x-ray machine at home to look so your hypothesis that I’m stressed therefore I’m having nervous gut problems” is wrong.  I wish it was right, really I do, but I’m not liking your dismissive attitude and your suggestion I make an appointment with a therapist to discuss what deep seeded trauma is causing my nervous gut issue.  So, I shut up and decided not to mention it again, just deal with it because I didn’t want to be labeled a hypochondriac.  I’d already been suspected as being anorexic, but beat that rap when people close to me saw that I tried to eat and during the times my swallowing problem was not happening, eat I did, and a lot! Then I was suspected of having bulimia. Well, she’s very thin and she runs into the bathroom after eating a bite of something, case solved, she’s bulimic, lets have an intervention.  No intervention was held but my family probably all figured I was indeed bulimic and just didn’t want to hurt my feelings as long as I didn’t lose too much weight.

All this time, years of choking, begging, feeling like maybe it is all in my head, being at odds with family who felt I was a hypochondriac, that my problems were self induced and most likely because I liked sugar too much, since I ate a lot of it when I could.  Now that suggestion is correct, sugar is bad and I did eat a lot when I could swallow which probably didn’t help matters. Thousands of dollars spent at doctors, therapists who would sooner or later tell me that I didn’t really need to keep coming unless I wanted to, that they saw no mental issues. All those tests coming back “normal” you are as healthy as a horse, giving my doubters even more reason to doubt me and view me as an attention craving, nervous stomach women.

All this I put up with and lived my life as the swallowing problem revved up to pain I’d never before experienced but had no one who would really help me.  I’d been diagnosed with Lupus 7 years prior, so that was now the official diagnosis, “your lupus must be causing some kind of nervous stomach issue.”  Until that one day in the city, when I had an “attack” after eating a real meal, that rivaled no other.  Admitted to the hospital, I finally was assigned a GI Specialist.  Specialists love to do procedures, thankfully, to take a “look see” at what might be happening.  Since my pancreas was given the honor of being the cause I was scheduled for an EUS (Endoscopic Ultra Sound) to be performed by  the God of EUS’s in my state.  A GI Specialist who practically invented the EUS! He was to put me to sleep and using the endoscope go look around my pancreas to see why it was causing me problems.  What he found was a very healthy pancreas but an esophagus that was closed off at the bottom, a diagnosis called Achalasia.  Where the bottom of the esophagus is abnormal and closes off, not allowing food and liquid to pass through easily at first, and over time, not at all. Therefore severe pain ensues and food hangs out down there, fermenting and causing nausea until it either got through some how or I got sick and vomited.  The doctor wrote on my pictures of my EUS the word “achalasia?” and I was told that I may have achalasia. But, after years of being told nothing was wrong, I blew it off and was just glad my pancreas was ok. I didn’t even ask what achalasia was, but it was written next to the endoscopic photo of  a tiny, tiny hole which was the inside of my esophagus that should have been a large opening.

It would take two more stints in the hospital and a weight loss of down to 88 lbs to convince me that my intuition that something was wrong with my “swallower” later to be called my esophagus, was spot on.  I was told, after several more endoscopies to make dang sure, and other tests to measure the pressure in my esophagus to confirm achalasia, that this was a problem in the making for years. The fact that it wasn’t addressed and subsequently fixed had led to another diagnosis, Barretts Esophagus, a pre-cancerous situation where my esophagus has been fighting so long to do its job but couldn’t therefore it is pretty damaged.  You mess with something inside your body too much, it seems to develop cancer.  Fortunately I am told my Barretts is early, early and chances I get cancer of the esophagus are hugely low, they are there, but I’ve time to have it address as well as the swallowing problem which by now it epic.

There’s always that feeling of wanting to say, “I told you so” but to who I would say it I don’t know.  This was years in the making.  I can say I’m angry, I’m angry that years ago this was a minor fix and had it been found it would just be a small issue and once fixed I would have not had these health issues, I’m angry at the GI doctor who said there’s nothing he can do for me, that I have gastritis most likely and need to stay away from spicy food then told me I didn’t need a follow-up appointment.  I’m angry that my attempts to follow my intuition and get help for something that I felt was wrong was taken as attention getting behavior most likely. I’m angry that achalasia itself has destroyed my teeth, my ability to have a nice dinner or even go out to eat which I haven’t done in years. I’m angry that, through no fault of their own, friends and family felt I was bulimic or had “issues” and didn’t understand when I couldn’t come over for dinner or I was too tired or in pain.  Besides, who in the world has heard of Achalasia?! Only 1 in 100,000 people have it, a number I feel is probably higher because of people like me suffering through it and not being diagnosed correctly.

However, I am hopeful that the surgery that has only recently been developed to fix the esophagus by cutting the damaged muscles or sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus and wrapping part of the stomach around the bottom so that you can swallow will be done if I decide to go through with it.  Which, I will.

Since all this, I have fought to get the surgery, not because I don’t qualify or I don’t have achalasia, but rather because surgeons wanted to try other procedures that ended up not working.  It’s all in who ya get when you get that referral to a surgeon.  Mine, well I’ll just say he had a different approach.  But I’m free of that nightmare and soon to be back on track with the original specialists who first told me what I had and how he’d fix it.

Now, my intuition tells me that it all makes sense.  It agrees. There is hope where there used to be doubt and judgments. There is a chance for a normal life of eating food and going out to eat.  There is hope for health, no more pain, and a lot more years to make up for these last few that I fought constantly for someone to believe me and for someone to help me.  As far as the damage achalasia has caused my body, I just have to accept it and deal with it systematically.  I’m just glad that my mystery is solved and if the surgery doesn’t help, I’m going with my intuition that this is indeed the problem and I shall seek a different solution! I do not like nor do I agree with the notion that you shouldn’t speak of your health or be quiet if you are suffering, to get on Google and find that natural way to health because some things cannot be fixed naturally, I wish, but they can’t and I’m not ignorant enough to believe that not seeking help when your natural remedies don’t work is a bad thing.  Many things I’ve gone through have been helped naturally though, by naturally I mean by not taking pharmaceuticals, but utilizing natural products.  It’s just that nothing helped this, thus I continued seeking help wherever.

The moral of this story is, if you really feel they’ve go it wrong, and you are suffering, don’t give up.  We know our bodies better than anyone.  Doctors are wonderful, but there are still many illnesses and situations they have no idea how to treat or that they even exist.  Unfortunately it wasn’t my perseverance and fighting attitude that finally found my problem, it was me almost wasting away to nothing that brought me to the brink of death by malnutrition and to the attention of a GI Specialist who could tell something wasn’t right.  But the point is, it was figured out. I’m sure there will always be doubters but I don’t care.  I know what I know and I’ve got to be positive so my intuition will continue to help me when things seem off.

Arriving at Acceptance, the Stages of an Illness

 

EmusedoneWith this new year has come a strange calm. A feeling that the control I thought I didn’t have I’ve never really lost. That being a healthy, active wife, mother for years to suddenly a disabled shadow of a person wasn’t because an illness came and took over, taking my control with it and making me a useless burden. But rather I was never promised the perfect life without struggles, and that is a good thing. Because it’s honestly is through the struggles of illness I have grown to be a better wife, mother and now grandmother.

There are hundreds of books by inspiring writers who are soldiering through illnesses, situations, troubles. On any given day I can turn the television on and accidentally end up watching an inspiring interview of a person who is beating the odds and thriving during adversity or scroll down my Facebook Newsfeed to see more inspiring stories, situations that are far worse than mine could ever be. It’s during these moments I realize that had I not “gotten” Lupus or struggled with Achalasia I think I would have just turned the channel, or just kept scrolling down my Newsfeed until a funny video caught my eye or a new recipe looked like something I should copy down. That my illnesses have made me more in tune to others. Their stories inspire me, some break my heart, some anger me and push me to join the cause. My illnesses opened up a world, one of compassion, understanding and strength. Continue reading Arriving at Acceptance, the Stages of an Illness

How Photography Helps Me

Bald Eagle
My friend the eagle

I’m not a professional photographer.  I’m a person, with a camera who happens to love taking photos of the things in my life that bring me joy or things I want to have to look at in the future.  Being ill with chronic illnesses is a full-time job. Swirling around me are doctor appointments, managing the phone calls reminding me of doctor appointments, invasive tests, pain, questions, medical bills, hospital visits, anger, wrong diagnosis, right diagnosis, trips to the pharmacy, insurance problems, explaining… lots and lots of explaining. This is along with living life as a wife, mother and grandparent trying to act like I’m just fine because everyone has an opinion, if you just keep your struggles or problems to yourself then you don’t have to listen to the well meaning loved ones constant suggestions or, sometimes their anger at you.  I don’t blame them, I understand that they love me, maybe they’re scared but trying to not act it, their life is affected too.  I know when they’re using my illness as a way to not take responsibility for bad or rude behavior or saying hurtful things as well.  I don’t care if I’m sick or 100% healthy, I have learned that if someone sees your weakness, and they know you don’t have the energy to fight, they will do and say things they’d probably never do or say if I wasn’t just too sick to take action. So, I take responsibility and suggest counseling for us.  But back to photography.

Bald Eagles
Working together

All that comes with being ill with “diagnosed conditions” which is somehow a must have for the majority of people to treat you with respect and honor your less than perfect ability to meet everyone’s needs, I found I needed something to quiet my mind and release this anger.  I’m not an angry person, I thought, but I sure have a lot stored up.  However, by getting my camera and disappearing to my favorite places to take a photo or two or 500 I regain a calm that allows me to forget the pain and all that I must handle and instead, enjoy my life. The only person I should look to, to save me or to help me is ME.  My attitude towards all I deal with is going to either make me an angry sick person with a pessimistic outlook on everything which I never liked being around, or is going to help me see that I’m not totally gone, useless, broken, hopeless and numb.  Rarely am I well enough lately to take these photo opportunities.  But, if ever I get the chance, I fight to do it because it reminds me of all the beauty around me. Continue reading How Photography Helps Me

REMEMBERING My Family SAVED Me 💙

Source: My Family SAVED Me 💙

This is a post I wrote in 2015. About my sister and brother in law. I lost them both, my sister in January and my brother in law the year before. I never dreamed they’d be gone so soon. I never dreamed I would lose them. Family is forever though

Meaning in my Mornings (my mornings are mean)

I said earlier, struggles will come and go, it’s life and this particular struggle has entered my mornings in the past year. It has taken me almost a year to search for meaning in it, because I have to always figure out what the heck?! Why this?’ if I’m the only person who feels this in the mornings, is there a fix? So, I finally Googled “morning depression” because that’s it in a nutshell. I’m awakened every morning in a horrible depression. Usually I’m sweating, in pain, almost paralyzed from even turning over much less putting my feet on the floor and trying to wake myself up from this horrible experience.

Once awake, and when I’ve managed to sit up for awhile, about an hour, the whole event, the depression, sweat, pain fades. On its own, without even a sip of water, it fades. Every single morning.

I’ve prayed before falling asleep that my morning will be normal, my old normal, where it just takes me a bit to wake up, my joints are sore but I’m used to it. I would always greet morning with anticipation of what the day will bring, what needs to be done today, etc.

But, this morning depression has pushed its way to the number one issue I dread, edging out the Achalasia pain when you can’t swallow and everything Lupus. Beating myself up has become a daily exercise.

However, I’ve felt, in my heart, that I need to find reasons followed by SOLUTIONS for this morning depression. Not the old me, where I’d find possible reasons and continue on searching all the bad, sad, negative stories, thus bringing me down even more and pushing that hope I’ve always had so far back in my mind that I felt no hope. I would just feel that this was yet another rotten symptom of my illnesses that I had to learn to live with.

That’s the difference here, an uncomfortable symptom appears, throw my hands up and say, “why me?! Really?! What more can happen?” Never say that, because something more can happen and you’ve (me, this isn’t a “how to handle things” blog, it’s me writing for myself. Getting it out, to revisit when dark days roll through) set yourself up for continually feeling as if you’re being punished. I’m not being punished, I happen to have Achalasia, systemic Lupus, and with these illnesses come symptoms, and with these symptoms come the challenge to identify ways, if not a cure, but at least to learn why and how to make them easier to deal with. Knowledge is power, with this power comes hope.

So, back to this morning depression thing. Since I’ve learned to research with a positive mindset instead of searching to find reasons to feel hopeless, I’ve been figuring out what may be happening and attempting to write things down to compare what might be leading to this. I’ve found an entire group of people who deal with this and the reasons, the research being done, how my current illnesses may be leading to it and how to try and change my nutrition or medications to see if I can ease it.

Continue reading Meaning in my Mornings (my mornings are mean)

Lupus & Achalasia, words that sound cool but aren’t

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