Sunday, December 28

Oh, What A Relief!

I wanted to let you all know that after much thought, prayer, and consideration, I have decided not to have the defibrillator implanted at this time. I also came to the decision to come back and review my options in six months- that way I haven't completely closed the door on this issue.
I have to say that it is a tremendous relief to have this taken off of my shoulders. I hadn't been sleeping, and I found myself crying a lot over the idea of putting a foreign device into my body and having to rely upon western medicine for the rest of my life. It just didn't sit well with me at all! I am so grateful that I am now able to move forward into the new year with my focus being on health and growth, and not having to spend more hours in hospitals and doctor's offices. Some may be afraid that I will just drop dead without it, but honestly, my intuition is telling me that I am going to be just fine. I really do believe that what we choose to focus on increases, and if I am looking at my poor health and what the doctors have to say, I will be stuck in this place for the rest of my life. On the other hand, by choosing to look at how fantastic my life can be, how good it feels to be well, and how amazing it is to grow and move forward, I can achieve these desires and leave the sick girl in the past where she belongs.
Before I end this post I just want to wish you all a healthy and happy new year- we all deserve a fantastic 2009- and I hope that we can all heal, grow, and prosper together!

Sunday, December 21

Learning to Trust My Intuition

The last few weeks have been crammed with doctors appointments- what fun! I went to see yet another cardiologist and two other physicians who specialize in implanting defibrillators. All of them have recommended that I have the device put in, but they don't do much else to convince me that it's a good idea.
Between the first and second specialist, I had called my main cardiologist and asked her to give me a realistic percentage of how much greater my risk for sudden death is compared with the average population. She responded by saying that I have a 2-5% greater chance per year of having my heart go into irregular rhythm which can lead to sudden death without a defibrillator. Well, after hearing that, I was pretty much convinced that I didn't need the device put in my body, and I have to say that I felt such a sense of relief and joy, that the next few days I felt very positive and happy. I haven't felt this way in months, and I was grateful that I finally felt like I was moving on.
Then on Friday I went to the second specialist and he said that my chances of surviving over the next five years without the defibrillator was 80%, and if I did have it the number would increase to 85%. He also said that the device helped those with clogged arteries a bit more than someone with Cardiomyopathy and an otherwise healthy heart. Okay, at this point wouldn't you think that he would say that he did not recommend the surgery? I really felt that this doctor, the most conservative one at this facility, would say that it wasn't necessary at this time. Sadly, that wasn't the case. He said that he did recommend it, and he went so far as to say that it would be a shame that someone as young as myself would have their life cut short because I didn't go ahead with this. What?! Then he said that I would be an excellent candidate for a heart transplant should my injection fraction go down more (it's currently at 30% and a normal person is about 60%). Now, there I am sitting in his office trying to be calm and to remember that this is only his opinion and that he knows what he is talking about, but the more he spoke the more my neck became stiff and painful. My stomach also began to knot up. As much as I tried, I was not taking all of this very well. The straw that broke the camels back was when he pulled out the defibrillator in order to show me what it looked like, and I could not believe how stinking big it was? I mean, seriously people!
It may seem like I am being overly dramatic about all of this, but the thought of putting this foreign body inside of myself does not sit well with me at all. In fact, my mood plunged dramatically after the visit, and once again I felt the dark cloud of depression and frustration move over me again. I felt the same way when all of the doctors were telling me to go on heart meds, and in the end I gave in and my body rejected them. Is this my body's way of telling me that this is a bad idea? I am torn between listening to the "experts" and listening to my heart (intuition)- what if I make the wrong choice? What about all of those people that think I should move forward with this? What about what I WANT TO DO?
As you can tell, I am still a bit frustrated about the whole thing, but thankfully I have some tools that I can use to navigate through all of it: talking about it, praying, meditating,being still and allowing the answer to come, and finally I can really listen to what my body is telling me. The only area of uncertainty is the fact that I am not sure if my intuition is clouded by my fears and other peoples opinions, or if it is clear as a bell and I am afraid to follow it. All I know is that when I thought I wasn't going to go through with this I was thrilled, and now I am in turmoil again- that says a lot if you ask me.

Saturday, December 6

Take the Time to Pamper Yourself

I know that it's been a while since my last post, but that's due to the fact that I have had many doctors appointments and many things to evaluate and consider. I am being faced with task of deciding whether or not I will have a defibrillator implanted in my chest as a precaution against sudden death. Supposedly when you have Cardiomyopathy, there is a much greater risk of dying- the problem is that none of the doctors can give me a straight forward answer as to how much higher my chances are. It makes a big difference if you ask me!
I could get into the details of all of this fun stuff, but I have decided to blog about something else entirely: pampering yourself. I was given a wonderful gift certificate for a massage for my birthday in October, and I finally made the appointment and spent the afternoon indulging in the spa experience. I used the facilities, drank the cucumber water, was treated to a special birthday bath, and then I had a wonderful massage by a very gifted masseuse. The reason that I am telling you all of this is because I feel that we all need to practice self-love and self-care regularly. Unfortunately, if you are like me, you tend to put off taking care of yourself until you think you will have the time. Or until you get all of the items on your to do list checked off. At the rate I have been going it's no wonder I don't get around to taking care of myself like this too often.
Having a massage reminded me of how much we all need to pamper ourselves. It doesn't have to be a big event- you can light a candle and sit and relax, take a long bath, go for a gentle stroll, or buy yourself some flowers. Do something enjoyable and self-loving every day-especially if you have been ill. Life is too short to keep pushing yourself and never taking the time to stop and recharge your batteries. I realize that it's a busy and hectic world we live in, but in order to thrive I believe that self-care has to be on the top of our list. If we don't make ourselves a priority then who will? I am making a promise to myself to do something that brings me joy, makes me laugh, or let's me relax everyday- can you do the same for yourself? You will be glad that you did!

Monday, November 24

The Importance of Gratitude

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
~ Melody Beattie ~

On Wednesday I will be going out of town for a few days with my family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, and it got me to thinking about how important gratitude is for all of us. In fact, it's absolutely essential in order to be happy- at least in my experience. Feeling gratitude and expressing it has done wonders for me. It has helped to pull me out of some of the darkest times of my life; the simple act of sitting down to write a list of what I am thankful for has shifted my perception completely over and over again.
Over the weekend I saw a friend of mine, and I was telling about how I have felt improvement in my physical condition. Then I went on to complain that I had gone on a walk and by the end of it I lost all of my steam and was very tired. I told him that I was disappointed in the way my body was holding up and he replied that at least I was doing better, and I had been able to do more than I had in the recent past. The conversation continued on in this fashion- I would gripe about something and he would throw it right back at me with a positive. He finally stopped me cold when he said that there is so much to be grateful for in all of our lives, and until we are able to see that and embrace all that we have, we can never be happy. He calls himself a glass half full person (who formerly was the opposite) and shared that it has brought him more contentment and joy than all of the years he spent feeling like he didn't have enough combined.
I have to say that I totally agree. No matter how badly I have felt physically or emotionally, I have always been taken care of. There has always been a better day around the corner, and I have always had things in my life to be grateful for. They say that what you give attention to increases, so why not make the good things in your life multiply, instead of creating more grief and frustration? I whole heartily recommend making a gratitude list everyday and letting it remind you of just how blessed you are. Even if you can't see it at that moment, the more you do it, the better you will feel.
I wish you all a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving, and remember to take a look around you and let in all of the things that you have to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 16

Natural Treatments for Depression

Over the past few months- in fact it's almost been just about a year- I have been struggling with depression and anxiety. I have tried many medications over the years because I have gone in and out of depression a few times before, and almost all of them made me feel sick, or off in one way or another. Recently, I have been looking into natural ways to deal with my depression, and here is what I have come up with so far:

Omega 3's
L- Tyrosine
St. Johns Wart
Vitamin C

Elimination of allergic foods
Avoid gluten and wheat products
Limit sugar (including fruits)
Cut down on caffeine
Stop using artificial sweeteners
Limit alcohol consumption
Drink enough water

SAD lamp if depression is worse in the fall and winter months
Get some form of exercise everyday
Take in some sun daily
Take up a hobby
Go to a support group or therapy
Ask God and the Universe to help you find solutions
Love and accept yourself

Please share anything that you may have found helpful on this topic - I appreciate whatever input you may wish to provide. I know for myself that life is too short to feel like you have nothing to look forward to, and I am hoping that I can find the best natural solutions so that I can enjoy my life (and pass this knowledge onto to you too!).

Monday, November 10

Finding Balance In A Crazy World

I have always felt that achieving balance is a very important thing for all of us to strive for, especially in these tumultuous times. In addition, if you are struggling to overcome chronic illness, the need to be balanced is even more critical. I have a list of activities that I know bring me peace and serenity, but I have to admit that I get caught up in running around and getting things done, and then I pay for it by feeling sick afterwards. Not a great way to live your life if you ask me. Even if it is simply a way to remind myself, I am going to list some of the things that bring me peace and balance in my life:

Tai Chi
Helping other people- being of service
Talking to someone who I can trust and who has my best interest at heart
Going for a walk
Riding horses
Reading- especially an inspiring book
Going to church
Sitting out in the sun and soaking it in
Putting my feet in the grass
Going to the beach and watching the ocean
Getting a relaxing massage
Doing things I have a passion for
Being out in nature
Learning about new subjects that interest and fascinate me
Being quiet and sitting with a heated pillow to warm and relax my body and mind

Those are some of the top things that I have done to help me find balance- sometimes I desire more energy; most of the time I need to just relax and let life happen. Feel free to share what works for you- I appreciate any suggestions and I will post them on my blog to share with others as well. Now go and do something good for yourself!

Sunday, November 2

The Results Are In

On Friday I got a chance to speak with my Cardiologist about the results of my heart biopsy. It was just as I had imagined- they still cannot find the cause of my Caridomyopathy. In hindsight, this was very good news, but at the moment I was quite upset. In fact I felt devastated for a couple of days afterwards, to be completely honest. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I wanted them to find some terrible thing wrong with my heart; I just wanted an explanation. What in the world is causing my heart to only expand to about half of a normal person's capacity? This seems to be a great mystery for me, and up until yesterday, it was a question that I was determined to have answered. Not just because I want to know how someone my age winds up with a heart condition, but because I want to get better (dammit!) and if we knew the cause, then wouldn't we be able to hone in on a solution? Makes sense to me!
The conversation with my doctor was confusing, and at times she contradicted herself. I am now going to have to go and see a rhumatologist, and meet with a team of doctors to be evaluated for a defibrillator to be implanted in my body in case my heart just up and stops one day. FUN, FUN, FUN. Yes, I am still feeling a bit bitter about the whole thing, but I have chosen to stop trying to figure things out and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Going over and over in my mind what I think is causing my illness isn't doing me any good- and for today I have decided to turn it over to God and relax as much as possible. I really have no business stressing about all of this- it just makes matters worse and I am still healing from the biopsy- so making the choice to stop struggling against this is a very good one indeed.
I have many calls to make tomorrow to doctors offices; I am debating on whether or not to call my Cardiologist back for some clarification. She is a fantastic doctor, but she doesn't have much patience when it comes to answering questions, and I have to get over the fear of pissing her off and just stick up for myself. I may also go and see another Cardiologist (yet another opinion) if I still feel that she isn't going to help me progress any further.
Well, that's the long and short of it for now. I am going to stay in the moment and once again do my utmost to trust that everything (even this) is working out for my highest and best good.

Thursday, October 30

Staying In The Moment

I was going to title my post "Waiting is Hard to Do," but since I have chosen to stay focused and positive, I feel that "Staying in the Moment" is much more appropriate.
I have been waiting to hear back about my heart biopsy results (which should be ready today or tomorrow), and I have to say that it hasn't been all that easy. On top of that, my body is still in the process of recovering from the procedure, so that has left me with a lot of time by myself to think and project about what they may have found, and what that might mean for my future. I am sure you can only imagine just how creative my imagination can be!
Anyway, I went to my primary care doctor this morning, and he didn't give me very much to be hopeful about. The one thing that helped to ease my stress a bit, was the fact that he said it takes much longer to recover from the heart biopsy than it does to get past the cardiac catherization. That was good news to hear, because I have been thinking that I should have bounced back from this already instead of feeling weak and in pain for the last few days.
He went on to say that I should not get my hopes up that they will find anything from my biopsy- even if something is detected, most of the time they can only treat the symptoms and not the cause. So my question was this (once again): why did I just go through all of that?!!! He replied that it was absolutely necessary to run the tests for my condition, and that it helps the doctors to rule out possible causes. It also will help us figure out what direction to go into, regardless of what the outcome is.
Well, once again I left the visit feeling rather deflated, and after coming home and resting a bit, I have realized that I have been looking for answers outside of myself once more. I know that the solution is in my Higher Powers hands. I know that He wants the best for me. I am also trying to get over blaming myself for having caused all of this- which I feel is essential to my wellness- and will do what I can to set my thinking back onto a better train of thought. Honestly, I haven't been reading or listening to any of the inspirational material that I normally add to my daily routine (except for my twelve step work), and I can feel an absolute downturn in my outlook. I am going to commit to all of you that I will (at the very least), lie down and listen to one of my Law of Attraction Cd's on my iPod. It never fails to make me feel better, and in fact, it just might get me back into right thinking again. I am so glad that I decided to post on my blog today- it has helped me to see that I do have a choice in how I feel, think, and act. Best of all, if I end up backsliding on my progress (which I feel I have) I can always get right back into it by listening to something inspirational. Which is exactly what I plan on doing!

Sunday, October 26

Whew- That's Behind Me!

I am happy to report that I got through my Cardiac Catherization and the heart biopsy just fine. It funny, I kept telling myself that it would be a breeze- drop into the hospital and then leave in a few hours. It was far from that, to be honest. I have had other out patient procedures before (a few endoscopies) and I was in and out after some light sedatives and was able to rest for the remainder of the day and that was it. This was different for some reason, in fact it felt more like I was having surgery than just running some tests. I suppose the fact that they were rather invasive makes it feel that much different.
I had the typical IV put in my arm, and serveral drugs administered before, during, and after the procedure, but it was the actual tests themselves that were a bit hard for me. Well, to get more specific, I didn't like the heart biopsy. Before Friday came, I kept having visions of being able to feel the doctor taking pieces of my heart and it made me uncomfortable to even imagine it. When it actually came time to do the biopsy, it's not that I could feel them snipping away, but I could feel a lot of discomfort and my heart felt irritated every time they went in for another section. I was able to watch all of this on the monitors, and after a few minutes I decided to look away and give myself a break. Yuck!
It was also a bit uncomfortable to have them go into my arteries through my neck and my groin, and I have to say that these areas have caused me the most discomfort as they are going through the process of healing and repairing themselves.
I won't get into how sick I became on the way home from the hospital (I was really surprised by how violently my liver reacted to all of the meds), but let me just say that I unfortunately had to leave a few messes on the side of Sepulveda Blvd.
Now that I have spent the last few paragraphs on my "orderal" I am going to focus on the good that is coming out of this: first of all, it's behind me. Yea! Secondly, they found no blockages in my arteries, and there is no fluid surrounding my heart. This is great news to say the least. The biopsy results should come next week, and I am making the decision to be okay with whatever they may or may not find. I have spent months desparately wanting to know what has caused my cardiomyopathy, but I must get to the point where I am okay with not knowing. Who knows, maybe they will find something- stranger things have happened!
One final note: today is my birthday, and I am determined to enjoy it. I have been resting and taking care of myself, but I have also been looking forward to my annual birthday dinner with close friends and family. I believe that having this to be excited about has helped me to stay more positive, and to heal just a liitle bit faster. There really is something to be said for having things in life to look forward to- I think it makes all the difference in the world. Especially for people who are dealing with chronic illness.

Thursday, October 23

Time To Take A Look At My Heart

Well, its finally here. Tomorrow are my two tests at UCLA- the cardiac catheterization and heart biopsy. To be honest, I don't know what makes me more nervous: having my life disrupted or hoping to God that I didn't go through one more test for no reason. As my personal way of dealing with this stress, I have made myself run around all day long trying to prepare for the "event," and for the days following. From what I have read and have been told, the recovery time is about 24 hours, but I know from past experience that the stress alone can set me back for a few days, so I can just imagine what all of this will do to me. Having just said all of that, my job is to push these fears and projections aside and focus on the fact that it is going to turn out beautifully. I will show up at the hospital; they will do the tests; I will stay in recovery for a few hours; then I will go home and rest. End of story. It doesn't have to be dramatic or scary- I can actually choose to go with the flow and have faith that everything will be okay. I really believe that deep down I don't like the idea of my heart being messed with, and I know that having a biopsy taken of it just isn't sitting well with me. If I were my heart I wouldn't like being invaded with a bunch of scopes and surgical tools! My hope is that my body will be accepting of all of this, and that the results will more than make up for any stress or discomfort that these procedures may have caused me. Please keep me in your prayers and send good thoughts- I can use as many as I can get!

Saturday, October 18

Transitioning Into Fall

I wanted to pass on this great post about our current change of season- I have struggled with the move from summer to fall for years and I really enjoyed what Steven had to say on the topic.

Enjoy the Energy of Fall
By Steven Sonmore L. Ac. | October 12, 2008

“In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony…” The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
There is a slight nip in the air. The days are starting to get shorter. And just as the squirrels have gotten down to the business of storing nuts for the winter, we find ourselves a little more serious and less carefree than in summer. Whether you’re preparing for school or preparing for a new business venture, you know that Fall has arrived.
Fall is the beginning of the yin cycle when the daylight lasts less than twelve hours. It’s a time of harvest when we gather the colorful fruits and vegetables for winter storage. Pumpkins and squashes are our symbols of bounty. We also store wood for the fire and get out our warm clothes for the colder, darker days of winter.
According to Oriental medicine, the season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. It’s a good time to finish projects that you began in spring and summer – harvesting the bounty of your hard work. Of course, it’s also the perfect time to begin more introspective, indoor projects.
During the summer, which is ruled by the Fire element, we deal more with the external – traveling and playing outdoors. Fall, on the other hand, is a time of organizing your life for the winter season ahead and coming more inside your body and mind to reflect on your life.
The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall and the Metal element. Lung is associated with the emotion of “letting go.” This process is difficult for those who love the summer. They find it hard to give up the long days of sunlight, warm temperatures, and open windows. Others feel differently and love autumn, from the crisper air to the vivid red, orange, and yellow leaves on the trees. If letting go of summer is hard for you, extra support from your licensed acupuncturist may be in order to help you make the transition. That’s right…acupuncture works on releasing emotional issues as well as physical ones.
Various systems of self-mastery teach that by controlling your breath, you can achieve and maintain physical vigor, mental clarity and emotional tranquility. The ancient Taoists developed a practical discipline of breathing called Qi Gong to increase vitality, extend lifespan, and prevent disease. This is a wonderful skill to learn as the Summer gives way to Fall.
Sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancients advised that people should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn. “Soul and spirit should be tranquil and to keep their lung pure they should not give vent to their desires.”
Lung is considered by Oriental medicine to be the “tender organ.” This is because the lung is the uppermost organ in the body and especially susceptible to wind and cold. During the change in temperature, be sure to dress for the weather! I see too many people still dressed for summer at the beginning of autumn, which is an open invitation for coughs, sore throats, and the common cold.
The lungs control the circulation of the Wei-Qi, which is the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds. The Wei-Qi circulates on the surface between the skin and muscles and works to warm the body. If the Wei-Qi is weak, the skin and muscles will not be warmed properly. This is why people tend to feel cold when they’re sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness in the Wei-Qi, making a person prone to frequent colds.
The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Using a netti pot with some sea salt and water helps rid the nose of excess mucus. If you suffer from a runny nose or sinus infections, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for alleviating that problem.
What you eat also greatly affects the health of your lungs. Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.
The transition from Summer to Fall is a time when the Qi is instable. The Qi from healthy lungs should descend. If the Lung Qi goes upward, it is “rebellious,” and the person experiences a cough. The Lungs inhale the Heavenly Qi (air) and exhale the “dirty “Qi (carbon dioxide). Now is the time to strengthen your Qi to prepare for winter and get a “tune-up” from your licensed acupuncturist to strengthen your immune system.
“There was temperance in eating and drinking. Their hours of rising and retiring were regular and not disorderly and wild. By these means the ancients kept their bodies united with their souls, so as to fulfill their allotted span completely, measuring unto a hundred years before they passed away.” Huang Ti Nei Jing Su Wen
You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the signature box is included.
For more than 20 years Steven Sonmore helped people transform their health problems into solutions for attaining better health. Steven is a licensed acupuncturist, Oriental bodywork therapist and herbalist. He offers complete health care with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, Oriental massage, and facial rejuvenation. He is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineFor more information call 612-866-4000, visit

Monday, October 13


The last few weeks I have been in waiting mode- trying to live my life and not think too much about my upcoming tests on my heart. I have to say that it has been an interesting time; I have felt much more hopeful, but at the same time I feel like everything is on hold until I get the results of the cardiac catheterization and the heart biopsy. I have this constant feeling that I should do more, be more, grow more; but in reality I have to take things one day at a time and do the best I can.
I am finding that being my own worst critic is not helping my health or my emotions one bit. It certainly isn't allowing me to grow spiritually either. If I am feeling critical of myself, then I am blocking God's love and God's will from really coming into my life and making it fantastic. Heck, I would be happy with an improvement, we don't have to get to great just yet. I really can't complain because I have been taken care of completely since all of this began in February by having the best doctors, money to live, and emotional support from my friends and family. What more could a gal ask for?
Another thing that is becoming clear to me is the importance of self-love. The more I beat myself up, the more I make myself sick and unhappy. I know that many people have problems loving themselves, and I find it hard to understand why we feel this way. Is it caused by our home environment growing up? Does it stem from school or the media? How about from society as a whole? My guess is that it's a combination of all of these and it's our job to let go of this old programming and remember the truth: we are all amazing people- whatever we have accomplished today is enough. More than enough. I am doing what I can to remind myself that I am here for a reason, and that God doesn't make crap. I read in a wonderful book that I should look in the mirror everyday and say to myself "I love you, I really love you." I must admit that when I first started doing this it felt very uncomfortable and silly, but the more I do it, the more I am starting to realize that I am worth loving. Period.
So, I thought I would share this with others who may be struggling with self-love and self- acceptance in the hopes that they too can begin to cherish the most important and wonderful person in their lives: themselves.

Saturday, October 4

Cardiac Catheterization

Last week I went to see another Cardiologist and it was a great visit, but it turns out that she does not specialize in heart failure like my current doctor does, so needless to say I felt a little bummed out. She did, however, give me a lot of great information:
- She believes that I am currently seeing one of the best doctors there is for Cardiomyopathy
- She agreed with the cardiac catheterization and the biopsy as the right direction for us to go
- I am indeed a unique case, and a visit to a new Rheumatologist is probably a great idea
- That if it comes time for a defibrillator to be implanted, I should compare doctors and hospitals (hers being one of them)
- The chances of my needing a heart transplant are very slim- I am at stage 2-3, and I would have to be at a stage 4 (Whew!)
-If nothing improves in the next couple of years, stem cell therapy is a great option

Even though I felt like it was almost a waste of time to see her (just because she couldn't be my new doc), I did leave the visit feeling much more confident and certain about my current cardiologist and the upcoming tests I have chosen to undergo on the 24th. As scary as the tests seem to me (once I really think about it), I am hopeful that they will shed some light on what is really going on with my heart and my body. Wouldn't it be great if the mystery was finally solved? I have learned, though, that I can't just put all of my eggs in one basket and when it doesn't pan out I feel deflated and depressed once again. I can only do the next indicated action, which is to take care of myself physically and emotionally, show up for the tests at the end of the month, and then go on from there. I also have to remember to keep working on the emotional issues that most likely caused these problems, and I am committed to doing whatever work I can to improve my health- on all levels.

Wednesday, September 24

Decisions, Decisions

Today I was able to finally speak with my Cardiologist about the test I did last week (CPX test), which measures how well my heart and my lungs function while exercising. It turned out as I had expected: my lungs are fine, but my heart is moderately limited (this is in the middle of normal and severe). She did mention that it is more limited than even the Echo cardiogram showed, which I felt was not good news, and that it would be a good idea to take the next step of doing a cardiac catheterization and heart biopsy. Fun! My doctor did say that I am not the usual case- my blood pressure is very, very low. I have more fatigue than expected, and I cannot tolerate the prescribed medications. Of course she had to mention that there are risks involved; my heart could be damaged during the test, along with some other issues that I frankly tuned out after I heard the first one.
After I spoke with her, I began to get tied up in knots about making this decision. Questions like: should I put my body through this? Is it really necessary? Will they really find something, and if they do, can it be treated? After a few minutes of that torture, I reminded myself that I thankfully have an appointment with a new Cardiologist tomorrow afternoon. I was supposed to see her in October, but it turns out that an old friend of mine knows her assistant and was able to put a good word in for me. This reminded me that I am really being taken care of. This friend called out of the blue after six months, and then after a few minutes of conversation, it comes out that I am trying to get into see her Cardiologist at which point she makes a phone call to get me in sooner.
All of this shows me that I don't have to figure this out tonight. I also don't have to figure it out by myself. I just have to do what is in front of me and ask my Higher Power and the people I trust and care about for guidance and support. I also can go within during meditation and quiet time to see what is the best course of action for this situation. Yes, it is stressful to have Cardiomyopathy. It is also scary not to know the cause or the solution, but it is even worse to believe that I am not going to be okay and that I have no one in my corner cheering for me. Gratefully, I know that I have God and more people than I even realize watching my back, and all I have to do is relax and know that I am completely taken care of. Always.

Sunday, September 14

Acceptance and Faith

On Friday I went to see my Cardiologist for an Echo cardiogram and to check in with my doctor. I was quite happy that I took the step of asking someone to go with me; in the past I have usually gone alone, and for some reason just driving to the appointment was enough to bring me to panic filled tears. On the way to UCLA, I made it a point to remember that God is always with me, and that whatever the results of the test were, I was ALWAYS being taken care of. As with the last three tests, nothing had really changed with my heart. My Cardiomyopathy had not improved, and I was prepared for my doctor to basically give up on me because I have been unable to tolerate the medications, and I seem to be a rather challenging case. In fact, I was so sure of this that I have an appointment to see another (Cardiologist #4) in October. Well, as it turns out, I was way off base as to how the conversation would go with her. I was actually projecting quite the opposite of what was said - what happened instead has given me more hope than I have had in a long time.
Suddenly, I feel like my doctor is very interested in finding out what is going on with me and we talked about several tests that she thinks I should do in order to figure this whole thing out. The reality is that I am not the average Cardiomyopathy patient; my blood pressure is very low, my heart is stiff and not weak, and I can't handle the meds. I am also quite young (which people love to point out to me). Additionally, she suspects that there is something muscular that may be going on in my body that is contributing to my weakness and she is hoping that the tests will help us find that out. I may end up going back to a Rehumatologist in the future to see if they can find anything out too.
As scary as some of the tests are (the first test is done while riding a bike and wearing a mask that will help to monitor several aspects of my body's function, the other two tests will be done at the same time: doing a biopsy of my heart and exploring the arteries and areas surrounding my heart for possible blockages and fluid that may be behind my heart) I am really glad that I haven't come to the end of the road of finding a solution. I know that I have said that I don't need to try and figure this out, but at the same time it would be nice to know how to treat this, and exactly what will help me to get better once and for all.
I still plan on seeing the new Cardiologist- I don't feel that it will hurt to get another opinion, and from what I hear she is also a fantastic doctor that specializes in women's hearts and is open to natural treatments such as acupuncture, which I feel very strongly about and I know is what will truly help me to heal and move on from this. I am choosing to stay positive and in the faith today and not get caught up in how much I don't want to do these tests. For all I know, I won't have to do the biopsy, but even if I do it may just give us some long awaited answers and solutions to this life altering condition. It helps to know that God is with me through all of this, and that family and friends are there to support me- without that I don't know how I would deal with even half of the issues I have been going through. To say that I am grateful is an understatement; to tell you that I am blessed is the absolute truth; to remember that I am always okay is essential.

Tuesday, September 9

Choosing to Focus on Wellness Using the Law of Attraction

I have been really diving into the new Jerry and Ester Hicks CD, "Money and the Law of Attraction," and it has helped tremendously in keeping me positive and focused on what I do want in my life. One section of the book talks about illness and why it is so difficult for some to come out of being sick once they have come down with an ailment. The main point that Abraham touches on is our habit of focusing on what we don't want. Talking about being sick, thinking about it, making it part of who we are as a person. The more that we do this, the more we perpetuate the illness- and that is exactly what I have been doing for the last four years. The book also mentioned that in order to become sick in the first place, one has to have denied their joy and the things in life that make them happy for quite sometime. Once again that rings absolutely true for me. The trick here is to keep focused on what I do want. To tell the story of how I want to feel, how I want to live. That can be a strange concept, when that is how you have come to think of yourself- always sick, always wishing for it to go away.
The other side of it is sharing how I feel with others. What do I say when they ask me how I am doing? I have found this to be the biggest challenge of them all, but I can really see how valuable it would be for me to make this part of my everyday life. When a friend asks how I am feeling I can say that I am feeling an improvement or that I am focusing on feeling good today. It is still not totally clear to me how to make this part of my normal routine, but I am willing to keep at it, because on the days when I do tell a better feeling story, and I do focus on what feels good, things work out beautifully in all areas of my life.

Thursday, September 4

National Invisible Chronic Awareness Week

Have you heard about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week? September 8-14, 2008 will feature 20 seminars via Blog Talk Radio, (4 per day, M-F) plus tons of people are helping spread the word by blogging about invisible illness issues. Do you get tired of hearing,"But you look so good?"or weary of the stares when you park in a handicapped spot? This is our chance to educate the public as well as remember we are not alone. Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA live with an illness and 96% of it is invisible.So join the cause today! They have daily guest bloggers at, lots or prizes, articles, and it's a great way to make some new friends and attend a conference without ever leaving your home. The main web site is: .

Wednesday, August 27

Onward and Upward

I am so happy to be feeling more positive the last few days; I think it took me a while to shake the troubling discussion I had with my doctor last week. What I did to come out of my funk was to write about it in the form of several God letters, telling Him what I was concerned about and asking for His help in getting past how down I was feeling. On top of that I have decided to stop trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with me. For years I have been trying to find the perfect answer to why I wasn't well, and even more so, why I was still sick. I have realized that all I can do is ask for my Higher Powers Guidance, and then do as I feel I am being directed. I can't afford to get caught up in what ifs, whys, how's, and the big one: what is the ANSWER to all of this? The other thing that I am working on, which I feel will be a big help with my illness and my outlook, is letting go of the idea that this is all my fault. That I have attracted the Fibromyalgia and the Cardiomyopathy into my life because I don't have my shit together. I have also found myself upset at the thought that I have chosen to be sick because I can't or won't deal with life on life's terms. Even if that is the case, all I can do is ask for the help in getting past it and growing so that I can allow health and wellness back into my life. I know that the Universe is always sending me complete wellness, and it's my job to let go of old thoughts and beliefs that block it from coming in clearing out my illnesses.
One final note: I have faith that the more work I do to change my beliefs and my need to be sick, the faster I will be back to my old self: whole, complete, and perfect!

Thursday, August 21

Side Swiped At the Doctors Office

Today's visit at the doctors office went well in the areas where I was afraid that it wouldn't- then I asked him a pointed question about my inability to tolerate the prescribed medications and what my prognoses would be if things didn't improve. He said then I might have to be a candidate for a heart transplant (actually he was much more direct than that). After he said that I asked him some further questions: can this get better on its own? He said yes, that sometimes whatever caused the Cardiomyopathy has left and the body is able to repair things on its own. I asked if he had any patients that had this happen and he said yes he did.
I am doing what I can to not focus on the big scary statement he made, although I have to admit that its right there in my face if I choose to think about it. I was able to call my acupuncturist and talk to him about what was said. He is remaining positive, and pointed out that most doctors have to paint the worse case scenario in order to cover their own behind. He was also excited that I have an appointment with a new cardiologist,who from what I hear, is going to be a great fit for me. Not only does she specialize in women's hearts, but she is overseeing an acupuncture study for people with heart problems. I am going to see if I qualify for the study when I go back on Tuesday. I am grateful that I am not sinking into fear or despair one more time. I am also happy that I was able to make calls asking for support and not calling my friends and family in tears looking for pity. I can finally say that I am tired of people feeling sorry for me- it hasn't done much good for me except to keep me stuck in the same old pattern that I have been in for most of my life.

Tuesday, August 19

The Power of Words

So, I made a commitment last week to not complain for seven days. At first I thought that this was too difficult to accomplish and I balked at even trying it for a day. This was last Tuesday, and I have gone six days without complaining (at least consciously). What an amazing difference this has made in my life already! I have always known that words are powerful and that what we say, think and do creates are reality, but I never thought of approaching my life in this particular way. Now, I have to admit that not complaining can be difficult for someone who has been dealing with chronic illness for several years. It starts to become all a person can talk about, and even on days when you are feeling better, it is very tempting to talk about how bad you were feeling, or how you are afraid that you will never get better. For me, it has become my story or some sort of strange badge of honor that I carry around and whip out whenever I want to feel unique or feel that I am in need of some attention in the form of pity. Well, all this has done for me is make me create more and more of the same. Not only that, but I keep attracting more people in my life that do just that: complain.
These last few days have been a challenge because it has become very familiar for me to talk about my Cardiomyopathy and Fibromyalgia and what my body was going through - at certain points I felt like I was at a loss for words when speaking with friends. What do I talk about when I am not feeling well and they ask me how I am doing? So far I have focused on talking about how they are doing, or I share with them that I am working on being positive and I am certain that everything is going to work out. Honestly, it has been a new experience for me and it feels so much better not having the need to tell everyone how crappy I feel. Strangely enough, the bad days seem to pass rather quickly when I am focusing on gratitude and the solution, as opposed to calling all of my friends in the hopes that they will feel sorry for me and give me some sort of comfort. All of this has made me realize that being a victim is really an old and outdated way for me to think and live. Do I want to look back at the end of my life and regret the fact that I didn't do much with my life except for suffer and spread my suffering around to others? Or do I want to drop the poor me routine and live up to my God given potential? I have to say that the latter sounds like a much better alternative to me- I know that it is going to take some practice and patience to change my old ways of acting, but if I work on it daily I can only imagine how much better my life will be! I challenge all of my readers to try it for seven days and see how much better it makes you feel- I can pretty much guarantee that you will be thrilled that you made this commitment to yourself too.

Sunday, August 10

The Courage to Keep On Going

The last few days have been rather challenging physically for me, which usually affects my emotional state as well. My day on Thursday consisted of starting Cardiac Rehab and I have to say that I pushed my body harder than I should have. It wasn't so much the appointment, it was all of the walking and going up nine flights of stairs to get there. I am hoping that one day soon I will get the lesson of how hard I can really push myself; the trouble is that it changes from day to day and week to week, so I won't beat myself up about it.
When I begin feeling weak and dizzy I can easily go into the fear and the poor Me's instead of taking it as a time to rest and recharge my body. I so desperately want to be well (at least most of me desires this) that I get discouraged when I start to feel badly again. What I have noticed is that being ill gives me a great excuse for hiding out in my house and avoiding my life in a lot of ways. I did this for years as an obese person- being 75-110 pounds overweight gave me a great reason to not go out and be social. Now that I am a healthy body weight, I have an illness that seemed to begin when I got thin a few years ago. I know that there is a connection with my sickness and my emotional issues, and among those issues is my need to hide and not be a part of the world around me. A lot of the time I want to grow and become more comfortable around different people and enjoy new experiences, but it seems that when I am the most uncomfortable about an upcoming event, the easier it is for me to feel worse and worse before the day comes. Now, I have to say that I can go either direction with this: I can get upset with myself and feel depressed (which will perpetuate it), or I can feel grateful that I can clearly see the pattern and I can pray to my Higher Power asking for His help with this. I really think that the second option will help me to get better that much faster- and once again I am struck a feeling of thankfulness because no matter how dark things seem to get, I still find a way to get myself back into the game. Nothing has kept me down for very long. Not the Fibromyalgia, not the Cardiomyopathy, and certainly not my fears about showing up authentically in this big world we live in. The fact that I have a wonderful God in my life today, and that I am able to count on Him at all times, is what gives me the absolute courage to keep on going. The only time I am in trouble is when I forget this and begin to panic- the good news is that someone is always there to remind me that I am never alone and I am amazingly always taken care of.

Wednesday, August 6

Medication vs. Herbal Remedies

I have spent the last three years learning that medications do not work for me, so it was a shock when I agreed to go on several new medications once I was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. Don't get me wrong, I didn't just cave overnight! I spent weeks agonizing over the decision- in fact I went to three different Cardiologists hoping to find out that meds were not the answer. The reason that I feel so strongly about prescribed drugs has nothing to do with politics or what I feel is right and wrong. No, my feelings about medications comes from having to take dozens of different pills, hoping to find one or two that either didn't make me sick or didn't help me at all. At one point (in the first year I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia) I was on 8 or 9 different prescribed medications, and that was after trying so many that I completely lost track of what they were. Not only that, but 99% of them made me feel terrible. Weren't we trying to get me to function better and to feel good? This certainly wasn't cutting it in my book.
The trouble with all of this was the fact that I just took the doctors word for it and didn't spell out in black and white that I was incredibly sensitive to drugs. To this day most doctors have trouble believing that I can only tolerate some meds, and if I am lucky enough to handle it, then I can only take pediatric doses. Now, it may sound like I am bitching about all of this, but in truth I am looking at the positive side of it all. My body has decided that the heart medications are not going to work, and one more time I have had to stop and listen to what my internal guide says I should do. The answer for me is to help my body deal with my health issues naturally. I have come to find out that if I just take a pill, or tons of supplements, my body never learns how to get back to excellent health on its own. I will always be reliant on something from the outside to make me well if I choose this path, and my goal is to become healthy and stand on my own two feet.
So here I am today- without the Beta Blocker and the ACE Inhibitor- and I am back to counting solely on Acupuncture and herbs to get me back on the road to recovery. I have to say that I am already feeling a lot better after only two days of this different approach, and if we can get my blood pressure to come back up to normal (which we will) then I will be one happy camper. I once again have to stay in the faith that I am in the solution, and that my Higher Power is guiding me every step of the way.

Saturday, August 2

Keeping the Faith

Its been a few days since I have posted anything and I wanted to check in and write about what has been going on with me. The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a rollar coaster ride as far as my health is concerned. My body has decided that it doesn't like the extremely small dose of the Beta Blocker I was on, and after I called my Cardiologist and told her what was happening to my body, I was told to cut the dose in half. My blood pressure has always been rather low- and once I really started getting sick my pressure got even worse. For those of you that know about Cardiomyopathy and heart conditions, the people that have these issues usually have high blood pressure, so when they go on the medications they get the added bonus of their pressure going down. With me it's just the opposite: before I started the drugs I was about 95/78, and a couple of days ago my pressure was 82/54. When I called my doctors the next day I was told that if my systolic (top number) got into the seventies I had to go to the emergency room.
Now, most people would be thrilled that they could cut down on a medication and hopefully get their blood pressure to stabilize. Unfortunately, that wasn't my reaction. I was afraid that by taking away the Coreg, I would no longer be able to exercise as much, and I would return to basically being a couch potato without any motivation. To be honest, that last couple of days have been hard emotionally- I tend to get very weepy at times and then I flip over into feeling irritated and rushed. I know intellectually that my body is trying to re balance itself, but while I am going through these big physical and emotional swings it feels like I am never going to get out of it. I can't tell you how much a person just wants to be well after dealing with three years of being ill. That's why I am writing this book about overcoming chronic illness; I want others who are feeling the way I have been feeling (and have felt) to have hope when they are in the middle of a flair up of their disease or condition.
Thankfully I have many tools at my disposal: great doctors, wonderful therapist, a loving family, supportive friends, inspiring authors, and most of all God. With prayer, and my continued efforts to have faith, I am getting through this one day at a time. I am also confident that the more I practice having faith in my Higher Power, the faster I will get well and stay that way. If I can pass anything on to those who are struggling with illness: there is always someone worse off than me; if I stay positive and in the faith then everything will work out for my highest good.

Tuesday, July 29

Los Angeles Earthquake!

If you don't live in Southern California then you probably didn't feel the earthquake that took place a little over an hour ago. I had just finished my lunch when the shaking started and I went and stood in a doorway (forgetting that we no longer are told to do that- we are supposed to go under a sturdy desk or table). I was really grateful that it was a rolling sensation and not the jerking type that I found out later happened at the epicenter in Chino. I live about 5o miles from Chino, and I was glad that it didn't do very much damage at all.
The reason I am bringing this up is due to the fact that the earthquake got me to thinking. I felt the initial panic as I was standing in my kitchen doorway wondering how long the shaking was going to last, and will it get worse than it is right now? Afterwards I felt gratitude because I had gotten up and taken a shower and got dressed this morning. I had a difficult night last night and I haven't been feeling all that strong, so I decided to sleep in. At the rate I was going, I probably would have stayed in the house in my pj's for the rest of the morning, but something told me to get myself together and put some clothes on.
My thoughts after the event settled on those who are dealing with illness. How awful to be someone that needs to rest all day long, or even worse, someone who is bedridden and can't fend for themselves? My heart really goes out to those in this situation- I have to trust that they will be taken care of, but at the same time I can only imagine how terrified someone in this predicament might be. I know that there have been times in my life when I didn't have an ounce of energy left. How could I have handled an incident like an earthquake or some other disaster that required me to be at the top of my game.
I suppose I am only speculating (as usual)- I have to remember that I am always taken care of and that those who are truly ill will be cared for. I realize that this was not a major earthquake, but it did get my wheels turning. Faith has to be my main focus, but I also have to be prepared (batteries, flashlight, first aid kid, water, cash, canned food, prescriptions), and sadly I only have a few of the items listed above. I am happy that today I received a wake up call. I live in a place that is subject to startling changes at anytime, and it's my job to make sure that not only I am taken care of, but that my loved ones are prepared also.

Saturday, July 26

Top Ten Weight Loss Tips

Top ten things I do each day to keep over 100 pounds off:

I haven't mentioned this in my blog until today- I used to weigh 250 pounds and I am now maintaining a healthy weight range of 142-147 (I'm 5'8"). If I was still obese I am almost certain that my health problems would be have been ten times worse because of it.

1. Eat six times a day- healthy meals with protein, veggies, starchy veggies, some fruit, some oil. I also eat organic as much as possible, and I limit eating out to a couple of times per week.

2. Exercise- I try and walk (sometimes moderately hike) everyday, and I do my best to practice a healing form of Chi Gong two to three times per week. It has done wonders for my body, my mind, and my overall health.

3. Pray- I keep as connected to my Higher Power as possible. If I don't remember that I am not in charge and I try and control things, then my food and my life get completely out of hand.

4. Journaling- I try and write every morning about what is on my mind, especially if something is troubling me. I find that this helps to keep me emotionally grounded and I no longer need to turn to food to cope with my feelings.

5. Drink plenty of water and stay away from soft drinks, coffee, and blended drinks of any kind. I usually drink different flavors of iced tea, and I brew several different kinds at home most days. As a side note: I no longer use artificial sweeteners- I prefer liquid stevia for all of my sweetening needs.

6. Don't eat processed foods- the amount of chemicals and additives in processed foods are nothing that my body needs. They don't give me the nutrition I need (usually they are empty calories), I feel like crap after I eat them, and in my personal experience most of them cause me to crave more food after I eat them. They simply aren't worth the trouble. If I need a quick snack I can have a piece of fruit and some nuts to get me by.

7. Prepare meals/food ahead of time- I try and cook a lot of my food in advance. I will buy five or six days of protein and either bake it in the oven or BBQ it. That way I always have healthy foods available when I come home to eat. Same goes with my veggies- I make several days worth at a time so that I am always prepared for my next meal without having to think about it (sometimes that can get me into trouble!).

8. Limit fruits- personally I have problems with my blood sugar and I find that when I eat a lot of fruit it not only goes straight to my stomach (the pooch), but it causes my blood sugar to drop about an hour after I have eaten. This is a big set up for a binge and I avoid eating fruit by itself as much as possible. If I do have fruit, I combine it with a protein to keep my body stable. I used to only eat fruit twice a week; now I eat it every other day instead.

9. Support group- I regularly attend a support group for people with eating problems. If I wasn't open to a group I would either see a therapist that was familiar with weight issues (I do that also) or I would find a buddy who would exercise with me and we could support each other in our weight loss.

10. Acceptance- I know that this is a hard concept for people, but it has worked wonders for me in all areas of my life. I had to accept that I was overweight and I needed help. While I was loosing the weight, my focus had to be on getting my insides better instead of obsessing about the extra weight I was carrying. Once I accepted myself as I was, and felt gratitude for the fact that I was doing something to improve the situation, the weight began to come off easily. I have also found that self- love is extremely important and telling myself that I love myself in the mirror everyday has become part of my routine.

Thursday, July 24

Feeling a Bit Funky

It has been an interesting couple of days- I had tried to add a new medication for my Cardiomyopathy (an ace inhibitor) and I could only last five days before I had to stop. The drug made me extremely nauseated at first, and after the first two days my blood pressure began to drop. I was becoming more and more sleepy and I wasn't up for much of anything. By the last day (the last straw!) my blood pressure was down to 82/52 and I couldn't stop crying. This was not the answer for me and I couldn't get off of it fast enough. Before I began this drug I had been getting stronger on just the Beta Blocker I had been prescribed, and I was able to exercise more than I had in almost three years. Well, the ace inhibitor seems to have thrown my hormones out of whack because I keep feeling like my period is going to show up and I have a hard time with my energy levels. Some days I am okay, and by the next day I am feeling tired and in need of rest. The worst part of all of this is my emotional state. For those of you that are dealing with health issues, I know that you understand. Especially hormonal ones. I have been very, very sensitive to everything the last few days, and I am on the verge of tears several times a day. One would think that they were having a breakdown, but I know better. This is my body's way of trying to right itself. I truly believe that it wants to have all of my systems in perfect harmony, and that I just have to give it the time and acceptance to do its job and heal itself. It's not always easy though. I get scared wondering if I will feel good again; then I remember that I have to stay in the faith, and the fear thankfully passes. I have to trust that my heart is on the mend and that my Fibromyalgia is on it's way out the door. It has taken me three years to get that I have a choice in the matter- that I don't have to roll over and give up, telling myself that I will always be ill. I have learned about too many success stories from people who were once seriously ill and are now healthy and strong to let myself believe that somehow I am different. I am not different- if they can get better than I can too! This is the thought that keeps me going, and I hope that it can help you keep going as well.

Sunday, July 20

Illness be damned!

The following is the result of staying in the faith- especially when it came to how my body would hold up during my singing performance last night: Okay, after all of that fuss that I made this last week over performing last night I have to say that it turned out fantastically. This basically tells me that I am once again full of shit. That may be too harsh- my fears were based on past experiences to a certain degree, and some of them were projections of possible ways that I could screw up. I also worried that my Firbromyalgia and my Cardiomyopathy would drain me of my energy before I even got on stage. I am happy to say that I handled things differently this time: I didn't run the songs in my head over and over again for days at a time (I would do this so much that I had the songs running in my mind when I went to sleep and when I got up in the morning!). I prayed over and over again for God's help in letting go of my ego and to let me come from a place of service and sharing my gift instead. I also got some perspective from my sponsor who told me to be grateful that I am blessed with this gift and to let myself feel happy that I can share it with others. She also said to stop calling it performing, but rather something along the lines of sharing. This helped to take the weight off of my shoulders for some reason (I'm not going to try and figure out why, I just know that it helped). I also made certain that I took things easy the day before and was as gentle and loving to myself as possible. The last thing I did differently was to set my intention that morning for what I wanted to have happen at the show, instead of journaling about my fears and what I was dreading, which is also my old way of doing things.
The experience was one of the most wonderful that I have had in a long time. Yes, I was a bit nervous in the beginning as I was waiting to go on, but I sat and prayed for God to use me as His instrument. Earlier that day I was able to do a sound check for one of my songs and the house band that was playing that night jumped in to jam with me. It was AWESOME! It was completely unexpected (I was suppose to be accompanied by acoustic guitar only) and I have to say that when I hear drums and bass come in I am like another person. I feel completely compelled to move and be in the moment- I absolutely get carried away by the music and the performance. This just isn't the case when I sing with a piano or a guitar by themselves. On my way back home I was really grateful for the chance to sing with the band (I have been wanting to do that for quite some time now) and I had the desire to have them play with me that night, but I knew that it was a long shot and I let it go.
Well, fast forward to last night. It turns out that they were able to play with me for one of my songs. Members of the band actually sat and listened to the song on someones iPod so that they could back me up! I got up on stage and all of the things I was afraid of pretty much vanished. My first song was just with the guitar and it was good- but when we started the second song everything changed. It was like a match was lit and I was the one all fired up. My mom made a recording of it and I have listened to it over and over again because I still feel the excitement when I hear it. Anyway, I was able to dance, sing, engage with the audience and really enjoy myself. As I said earlier- it was the time of my life. I can only put out there that my desire is to sing with a band more and more. I refuse to make it an impossible thing; I am choosing to see it for what it is: absolutely something that I can achieve.
Afterwards I got a huge amount of applause, and lots of recognition once I got off of the stage. I have to admit that my ego loved it, but at the same time I worked on taking in the compliments with grace and did not try to block it by shutting myself down or by belittling the compliments in some way. All I can say is that my night rocked and I can't wait to have more and more experiences like this in the future. Even more amazingly is that I have once again been shown that doing the things that I truly love and have a passion for are absolutely not going to make me sicker- they do just the opposite- help me to get well that much faster!

Saturday, July 19

Fear vs. Faith

Tonight I am singing at a fund raising event- I sang there a few years back and I am happy that I am willing to do it again and not feel that I have to hide out in my house out of fear instead of showing up and facing them. My old MO was to tell myself that I was too sick to go and that I needed to just rest. This way I was able to avoid being an active participant in life (today I know better- I am taking it easy and building up my reserves so that I can be strong for the event). My ego wants me to get caught up in what people think of me, how I feel physically, who will be there that I have to impress, will I perform better than I did last month when my body didn't feel strong and supportive, will I forget the words, will I feel strained and uncomfortable, and the biggest one: will I lose my much needed air because I am overcome by fear and/or emotion?
To say that I am tired of all of this shit running around in my head in an understatement. Today I choose to focus on the truth: I have a gift to share with others and I am going to be an instrument for God to work through. I am also going to look at it as a way of being an example for others who can sing but hold themselves back from doing so (someone came up to me at the meeting this morning and shared with me how much it meant that I was going to perform tonight because she is a singer but is too afraid to get up there and sing). I also choose to believe that my body will absolutely support me. I will have all of the air and support that I need, I will feel fully engaged and in touch with my audience, I will let the emotion of the song give me inspiration and strength, and I will focus on staying connected to God before, during and after I "share" myself with the people there. This is my intention and I am certain that I will enjoy this evening fully, regardless of what happens.

Wednesday, July 16

My Heart

Okay, I was diagnosed with Fibro over three years ago and as I have said before, I am not so sure that I ever even had it. Honestly, its quite a confusing question to try and answer. Did the Fibro open the door to my getting a virus which caused my newly diagnosed Cardiomyopathy? Or did a virus hit me three years ago and cause the heart problem back then? Its kind of funny that I keep trying to figure this out- even funnier is how hard I tried to find out what caused the heart condition in the first place. I suppose its my nature- maybe even human nature.
So, I was told back in March that my heart is not functioning to full capacity (my injection fraction is 30-35% when a normal heart is at about 60%) and that I had to go on several drugs in order to not only stop the progression of the problem, but hopefully it would help my heart to function better. I have to tell you that this really freaked me out at first. It also made me extremely pissed off- I had been spending the last year getting off of the medications (there were many) for my fibro- and now I was being told that I had to go on a couple more. Maybe even for life. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.
The reason why I am bringing this up is to show how stubborn and narrow minded I can be. I know that I am not alone in this tendency to think that I know best; I really thought that the doctors were full of it and now I am finding out that they may just know more than I do after all. The last few months have been difficult at times; my body doesn't like most medications and the ones that were prescribed for my condition were no different. I had some days (and weeks) where I was barely able to function. There were other days where I was able to accomplish more than I have in at least three years. Just a couple of weeks ago I was able to go on a moderate hike. This is something that I put on my vision board in the hopes of one day being able to do, and here I was doing it. One of the drugs that I started taking (Coreg) has really made a huge difference for me. I can only take a very, very small amount of it, but I am so grateful that I am able to exercise a little bit more each day. I am also having a lot more days where I feel strong; where my legs don't feel like they are going to give out on me. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to make plans for your future- just last year I was telling my best friend that I couldn't imagine going on a trip to Italy because I felt so weak and sick all of the time. Now I can see that happening one day soon and I am thrilled.
The reason that I am blogging about all of this is to put out the idea that it is essential to keep an open mind. To trust in what the Universe has in store for you. I know for myself that when I thought there was only one way (my way) I just kept being sick. Once I did what I could to let my Higher Power come in and show me a solution, everything started to change. And it is continuing to change for the better more and more each day.

Monday, July 14

Part of My Wellness Formula

Here are some of the things I do each day to make sure that I not only get well, but I stay well:
  • walk everyday
  • meditate
  • use toothpaste without fluoride (fluoride is bad for your thyroid)
  • don't eat soy (it produces estrogen in the body- not so good for women)
  • use the stove only- no microwave for me!
  • eat organic as much as possible, no processed foods
  • eat gluten free
  • journal regularly
  • be of service- there is always someone that is worse off than me
  • keep positive- if I get into fear based thinking then all is lost
  • be as authentic as possible- when I'm not it comes back to bite me in the ass
  • stay in the moment
  • mirror work (very important) - look in the mirror and say I love you - often
  • avoid drinking out of soft plastic bottles- use aluminum or hard plastic that won't leach into your water
  • use an air purifier or two in the home (you can buy one for the car too)
  • avoid perfumes and scented candles (irritates allergies)
  • clean with natural cleaners only- I love Shaklee and recommend it highly
  • practice Tai Chi several times a week to aid in my recovery and general health
  • do things that I love on a regular basis: singing, horseback riding, being out in nature, being near the ocean
  • eat six times a day to keep my body fueled
  • stay out of the results
  • remember that there is always a solution to every situation- I just might not be able to see it yet
  • share what is working in my life, not what I would like to change
  • laugh often
  • spend at least 30 min of quiet and alone time each day
  • see a therapist to help me deal with the issues that made me sick in the first place
  • listen to my doctors and my acupuncturist- they know medicine better than I do
  • listen to my body and share my observations with my health team
  • if something is not working- stop doing it!
  • take care of myself first- I can't help others if I am laid out
  • regular sessions of Cranial Sacral Therapy- can't beat it!
  • regular acupuncture treatments- I wouldn't be where I am today without it
  • spend time with supportive friends (your people)
  • watch less TV and read more books
  • limit or do not watch the news- its just trying to scare you anyway
  • read and watch uplifting stories that inspire you to be more
  • let the good in
  • last but not least: I pray and stay connected to my Higher Power as much as possible

I am sure that I will think of more items for this list. I just wanted to start sharing what has worked well for me after three years of being sick and what is helping me to overcome not only my illness but my depression.

Thursday, July 10

Is it really Fibro?

I was speaking with a friend of mine today about the fact that we were both diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I was interested to hear about her experience, not only because she is dealing with three different chronic conditions, but because I am in the process of writing an amazing book which is a collection of stories from people who have overcome many different types of disease and sickness.
At one point during our conversation, I had to talk about my recently diagnosed heart condition, Cardiomyopathy. I decided to be open and bring up the fact that I am questioning whether or not I ever even had Fibro. For all I know, I have had this heart problem for the last three years, and because no one ever thought to look at my heart, my symptoms could have been confused for Fibro. Either that, or one was the cause of the other. I just can't be sure.
What I do know is that I have wasted years wondering what I had, how I got sick, and what magic pill I could take that would make all of my problems disappear. I have learned that none of this really matters- what matters is that I do the work (inside and out) that will help me to become healthy and strong. I can no longer afford to look outside of myself for the answers. Support, yes. Answers, no. In order for me to get back to total health again, I have to learn the lessons that this illness is here to teach me. There are no short cuts that I have found, except maybe the belief that I will absolutely overcome this someday soon.

Saturday, July 5


I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about three years ago and I am thankfully on the tail end of my issues with this condition. It has been quite an uphill battle at times, and I decided to share my story of not only how I got sick, but what I am doing now to get well. I have found that not only did I have to find the right doctors to treat me, but I have had to deal with the emotional aspects of the illness as well. Not just what caused me to become sick, but what has been keeping me that way for so long. My intention is to share my experience with others who are going through similar problems. I also want to reveal what has worked for me and what has not worked for me- I know that personally I have benefited from others experiences not only with Fibro, but with many other chronic and serious illness. In the coming weeks I will update my blog, and I look forward to receiving questions or feedback for whatever I chose to write on any given day. I can't wait to share my story with you!