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.