Crashing into Fall!

Hey hey!  It’s again been a minute since I blogged on here, but it’s been in my heart to start writing again so here I am!  Let me tell you how life’s been… it’s been a titch bumpy.  I’d even call it rough at times lately.  Let me fill you in…

As some of you might know I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease (Chronic inner ear disorder with no cure that causes vertigo, ear ringing and hearing loss that eventually becomes permanent to some extent) in August 2016.  I had a rough month or so while I got the symptoms under control by cutting back on Sodium and cutting out caffeine complete.  I know.  Anywho, besides a day here or there where my ear gave me the business… I was in “remission” if you will for the better part of the last year and half.  Minding my own business, traveling, living life, kind of pushing the diagnosis to the backburner.

Enter in August 2018.  Almost 2 years to the day from my first episode of Meniere’s, I had a flare up… and almost 10 weeks later I’m still battling to get more than 3 days symptom free.  I’ve had a lot of resistance to the flare up… maybe I’d even call it denial.  The symptoms had been so manageable and gone for so long that I was like “nope, nope, this isn’t happening… nope”.  Well, reality was telling me otherwise.  Since this latest flare up I’ve seen a regular doctor, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Acupressure-ist (?), and have had an MRI and visited the ER.  Let’s just say I’ve been around.

I have a calendar where I track good, medium and bad days.  Good days mean I don’t have any vertigo and can carry on like a “normal” person.  Medium days mean I have just enough vertigo/dizziness to make me super fatigued and slow me way down.  Bad days mean I can’t get out of bed without help and/or vomiting.  Luckily I’ve only had a few of those bad days.

At the beginning they thought I had Labyrinthitis (which is basically very similar to Meniere’s except it is viral or bacterial and it is not chronic).  However, my ENT eventually felt like it was actually a Meniere’s flare up instead.  During this time I have googled just enough to find mainly really scary, depressing and extreme stories.  Which is one of the reasons I wanted to share about my recent experience so that maybe someone else going through it might find it and find something besides a traumatic story.

Have parts of this season for me been traumatic?  Absolutely.  However, I’ve also had some really beautiful things happen.  I have such a wild appreciation for good days.  I pretty much haven’t had alcohol in 10 weeks and have been eating good and tracking my food (to try and find triggers).  I’ve started a daily gratitude journal with a friend and we’ve been sharing that experience.  I’ve been meditating daily to try and reduce stress (which can definitely be a trigger to the symptoms).  I’ve been listening to sleep stories to help me fall asleep at night and find that it help with anxiety I usually have before bed.  I bought a new pillow that is much more comfortable for my head and neck.

I started getting massages again.  Even though I’ve been restricted on the workouts I can do… I CAN DO daily walks with my dog and I have been doing about 2 miles a day with her.  I’m working towards having more grace and kindness towards myself and capabilities on “medium/bad” days.

Finally, I absolutely cannot leave out the 100% love, dedication, and caring that my husband has shown me during this time.  He has been the MVP of this story!  When I feel like a burden or feel less-than because I haven’t been able to shower in days because I’m afraid I’ll fall and hurt myself… he still tells me I’m beautiful, capable and loved.

I’m sure there are more, but the things I’ve been able to do… have given me a sense of control back in my life.  They feel like tangible things I can do to put myself in the best position to have a good day.  I have asked myself many times “what is the lesson in this”.  What am I supposed to learn through this season of my life?  I find peace in calling it a season because even though seasons might hang around a little longer than you’d like them to… they are still just a season and they change/move along eventually.

So, my hope is that if you are in a hard season as you read this… you will know that it will change and move along eventually.  And while you are waiting for it to get on its merry way, you will try to look for the lesson and maybe just find some small tangible things you can do for yourself during this season to help you find the best version of yourself you can be!

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Game on.

Holy cats.  My last post was in January.  I think about writing in here all the time.  At least several times a week.  I often talk myself out of it because I don’t think I have something important / funny / informational enough to share.

But, that’s just my gnarly inner critic getting in the way.

I don’t have anything earth shattering to say, but wanted to break the non-writing cycle.

What’s my life been like lately?

Well, my step son is going to be 16 soon and that is wild to me.  He was 9 when I first met him and it’s such an honor and privilege to continue watching him grow into adulthood.  Also frightening sometimes as well… being a part of a child’s life means shaping them into the person they will be as an adult, so it’s a constant tug of war to find the balance between setting good examples, parenting, and fun.  I do the best I can and often wonder what moments will stick out to him later in life… hopefully mostly the good ones.

I’m working remotely most of the time again. #hermitlife So it’s back to a life that involves mostly stretchy pants, pony tails and dual computer monitors.  I’m still consulting and loving it.  It’s such a gift to be able to go from one company to another and help them through a project/process/issue and see them through to the other side.

I am still loving the married life.  We have worked hard to create a life we both really enjoy and love.  It feels like a collaboration most of the time and I look forward to continuing to grow and experience all that this life has to offer.  Next year will be our 5 year anniversary and we are planning on going somewhere… we are considering Hawaii or Italy.  So, I’m excited to see what we decide for that!

I feel like my circle of humans has gotten sparklier and more awesome lately.  I’ve been making an effort to go to more events that sparkly awesome people go to… So we can all be awesomely sparkly together.  There are so many wonderous and magical people out there, you just need to look for them through the fog that comes over us during the humdrum of every day life.

So, anywho… I feel like I’ve satisfied my need to write a little ditty on here.  I’m looking forward to the weekend, sleeping in and adventures with the hubs.  Peace out :)

 

Loss of a Fur-Family Member

We’ve been devastated by the sudden loss of our main man Brodi last Friday 12/29/17.

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About a week before Christmas we noticed that he hadn’t been eating very much food and that he looked skinny.  We took him into the Vet on the Friday before Christmas and found out he had lost 15 lbs.  Otherwise all the blood work, urine analysis, xrays, stool samples, etc… came back looking normal.  We thought it was just a bug or some kind of food aversion he had suddenly developed.

Fast forward to after the holiday weekend and we got a second opinion at another Veterinary clinic in the area and they did some additional tests and an ultra sound.  The results were devastating.  Brodi’s stomach lining was 5 times the thickness it should have been.  A normal health stomach would have three different layers in their stomach, but in his xrays there was only one layer because another type of cell had taken over everything (cancer).  His pancreas was also inflamed and had cysts inside of it. His gallbladder was backed up and full of the toxic sludge that should not be just sitting there.  The stomach had become so inflamed that it had pinched off the passageway for the Gallbladder to empty into the stomach.

We found all this out on the Thursday after thanksgiving.  We talked about surgery and quickly ruled it out.  The odds of finding something curable were low; and the odds of him recovering from that kind of exploratory surgery (which likely involved removing the pancreas and gallbladder) were even lower.  We were told he had days or weeks left… it all depended on his ability / desire to eat food.

We had a goal of him eating three and a half to four cans of wet food per day.  The entire following Friday he ate nothing.  No begging, pleading, or trying to put the food in his mouth… would work.  He was laying around and sleeping most of the day, but not interested in eating.  I called the Vet and we had to make the decision to say goodbye to Brodi before he starved to death or the cancer started to spread and cause him more discomfort or pain.

Brodi was so excited to see his leash come out that he got up and danced around for the first time in days… it broke our hearts.  It was almost our undoing.  We didn’t want to say goodbye to our sweet soul.  However logic won out through streaming tears of emotions and we took him in.

The Veterinary Clinic in Lodi could not have been more thoughtful, caring and accommodating.  They made what was easily the hardest decision I’ve made to date… as easy as it could have been.  Right at the end the Vet turned to me and reassured us that we were doing the right thing.  We both broke down into tears and said our final goodbyes.

I don’t think I can properly put into words the physical and emotional heartache this has caused us.  He was dealt a bad hand.  He was the best and sweetest dog.  The scariest part was having really no warning (that we noticed) that cancer had taken up residence in our dog and had gotten so bad.

He was a part of our story, our daily lives, or future plans and I will forever be grateful for the time we got to spend loving him, receiving love from him and having him in our family.  He would have been 9 in June this year.

We’ve cried at least once every day since we said goodbye.  It will be quite a while before I can look back with just smiles and not smiles and tears.

This is responsibility we take on when we accept a fur child into our lives.  It was hard, but everything that came before it made it worth it.

We will never forget him… and always love him.

Challenges and Changes and Blessings… Oh My.

One of the things that I find the most interesting about being a consultant is that you start new jobs (without being fired or quitting) pretty regularly.  Inherently the act of starting over at a new company, with a new culture, and new human counterparts is always a little stressful.  Even though it can be a stressful time, I have also found it to be a blessing.

What is the blessing in starting over?  Well, it challenges and stretches me to believe in myself.  To know that every time I’ve started somewhere new, I didn’t know the culture, the humans, the geography (if I’m traveling) or even the details of the work I’d be doing.  Those facts eventually changed and I learned, adapted and was successful in each endeavor.  I keep proving to myself that there is nothing I can’t learn, handle, or google… to meet my goals.

When I’m approaching a transition to a new client, I often end up in this cycle of stress > gratitude > acceptance > stress > gratitude… etc.  I find myself being my biggest cheerleader and critic, in a healthy way… not in a multiple personality kind of way.  I challenge myself to remember my awesomeness, but allow for some stress/apprehensiveness as well because in a managed fashion it allows me to be better prepared when I do start.

The biggest “bonus” of this cycle is that I have very little fear of ending a contract.  I have faith that everything will work out and that I will find the work I need to find (if necessary) and I hold myself capable of staying employed with the right companies, the right projects and the right people… at the right time.

The super secret bonus to flexing my “believing in myself” muscles is that it doesn’t just stop with my employment.  These exercises leak out into the other areas of my life and allow me to face uncertainty and change in my personal life with a little more calm and steadiness that otherwise.

All that to say that I appreciate the challenges that this career has sent my way and the growth I’ve experienced because of it.  I am pretty darn proud of myself and the person I’m becoming every day.

 

Prompt 11 – What would you do if you loved yourself unconditionally?

If I loved myself unconditionally… I would definitely be more comfortable in my body.

I spend so much time wasting precious brain cells trying to be comfortable in my body where it is in this moment in life.  Logically I know that it is a waste of time, but I think there is something to be said about the technology at our fingertips and the images we are inundated with.  So, while I think I look fine… then I look at Pinterest to get ideas for work outfits and feel like 90% of the results wouldn’t look good on someone who has such a fondness for Wine and Nutella…. like myself.

So, I’ve actually been making this a focus of mine lately (not wine and Nutella… because that’s always a focus of mine).  I’ve been focusing on being more grateful to my body and what it can do for me.  I would like to spend my time focusing on this deliciously adventurous thing called life…. than focusing on losing a couple inches in middle section of my body.

So… here’s to playing with balance and priorities and landing somewhere in the middle.

Prompt 10 – What does unconditional love look like for you?

**Playing catch up on these prompts on this beautiful rainy fall morning.**

What does unconditional love look like to me?

It looks like my dogs.  They love me every day.  They don’t care if I’m hangry, hormonal or having some other human experience.  They are excited to see me every day.  They will cuddle with me even if I was a jerk five minutes ago.  They make me laugh and smile.

The love they show me is contagious.  It makes me want to be a better human for them.  When I’m mad because I’m cleaning up dog fur… for the seventh time that day because Huskies are always shedding, or I’m cleaning up poop or pee because one of them has a serious anxiety problem when it comes to fireworks… I just remember that they would love me if I pooped on the floor or was shedding all over.

In all seriousness, my dogs are a great example of unconditional love every day.  I hope to be more like them when I grow up.

Prompt 9 – Make a list of the people in your life who genuinely support you, and who you can genuinely trust.

Family.

You guys, I have the best family.  I have a Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins (first, second, third… literally hundreds of cousins), Step Siblings, Step Parents, Bio Parents and a Sister I’ve been harassing since the day she was born. that I don’t see for quite a while.  I can go a year in between seeing them… and they still feel like home when we hang out.  I can honestly say without a doubt that I would trust any of them to help me, hold me and cheer for me any day of the week (maybe a slight delay in response on Packer Sundays… ;).

I have many blessings in this life, but my family is one of my biggest blessings.  They have been supporting me since before I knew what a blessing they were.  I cherish each and every family member I have.

If one of my famdangle is reading this now… I love you, let’s hang out :)