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!