My sister-in-law, Annette, was born and raised in Wild & Wonderful West Virginia! Her and my brother had their reception in Wheeling. My husband, Gary, got his BS from West Virginia University located in Morgantown. That’s also where I earned my MS degree. Heck, my parents live only 10 miles from the PA – WV …

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I think all the ladies in this photo look fabulous. But in my mind the selfie ladies on the right are talking about angles, lighting, and product placement. Whereas the woman on the left.  For her I imagine a thought bubble floating above her head that states, “Fuck yeah I look good!” She doesn’t need …

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As Anthony Bourdain’s passing took over the internet, I wondered why this particular celebrity death affected everyone so much?  I enjoyed Bourdain’s story telling, either in print form or on TV. He inspire me to eat differently and have a more fluid culinary point of view.  His suicide caught me by surprise and saddened me …

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I absolutely love this commercial.  It’s a catchy, high-energy advertisement for Hospital of Special Surgery (HSS). The song takes residence in my head as I enjoy the fun, fresh moves of the actors as well as the expressions on their faces as they move.  Motion allows them to show joy, excitement, confidence, curiosity, and even aggression …

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Failing to Surrender

February 16, 2016

Although there are many approaches to healing chronic, non-healable conditions, I’m fairly certain they all have one thing in common.

Surrender.

You have to surrender your need to heal yourself if you want to heal yourself. If you’re determined to fix your health problem you must be 100% okay with not fixing your health problem.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m starting to believe it’s true.

I think this type of surrender is different from traditional surrendering because when it comes to sporting events, you flat out lose if you surrender. During wartime you not only submit to your enemy, but hand over territories, fortifications and armaments upon surrendering. Neither would be helpful to me as forfeiting or submitting to multiple sclerosis doesn’t seem like a good idea. That feels more like giving up.

In his book, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender, author David R. Hawkins notes that it’s more important to focus on feelings rather than thoughts. Then, since we are not our feelings and because feelings come and go, he suggests that we simple bear witness to them without trying to resist or alter them.

Hawkins wants me to be neutral with my feelings. But if you add my recent nervous system work into this equation, Irene Lyon would ask, Where are those feelings showing up in your body? How do you actually know what you’re feeling? How does your body give you this information?

Fo example right now I’m ambulatory, but when walking around my house I have to drag my leg everywhere. When I think about my leg, I get scared for my future. I picture myself in a wheelchair while thinking about the four different stairways in my house! Then I follow that thought and picture me being a prisoner in my home before saving up to move. Then I follow that thought and dash my dream of vacationing in Positano or returning to my yoga studio on a regular basis. Then I follow that thought…

Hawkins would tell me to cut that shit out! Ignore your thoughts and just focus on your feeling which is fear.

Lyon would take it a step further and tell me to do the work. So I’d orient (note that I’m safe), scan my body and notice the pressure in my chest, my climbing heart rate and how I’m holding my breath. In other words I’d recognize that fear shows up in my torso, vascular and respiratory systems.

I can’t change fear and frankly, I don’t want to. I need fear in case someone breaks into my house or I’m ever stuck in an elevator with Bill Cosby. But I can do the following:

I can change what my body does when fear shows up: I can breathe. I can feel my feet against the floor. I can acknowledge the pressure in my chest but once I orient to the room and notice there’s no wheelchair to be found, I will no doubt notice the pressure subside.

I can be neutral regarding fear every time it shows up accidentally because of my thoughts: Fear created the wheelchair not reality. It doesn’t exist. And although it’s not always pretty, my leg still climbs every damn staircase in my house. So fuck you, fear. I’m good.

As for my need to heal MS. I have to surrender that as well. Hawkins claims that “surrender is complete when a person has let go of needing or wanting a physical healing to occur”.

In other words, I need to be okay with not being okay while I do the daily work to be okay.

Okay?

Day 35: Failing to Actually Have 366 (It’s a Leap Year) Failures

February 12, 2016

After putting my failures (and a couple of my success) out for the world to see this past month, I don’t think daily blogging is necessary or even achievable. I gave myself a year to focus only on my MS journey. A year to be “all in” and willing to risk failing fabulously, to see what I could achieve. Basically I’m trying to figure out what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be tweaked and what needs to be thrown out all together.

This blog was started for a couple reasons: To keep me on track and to put my diagnosis out there for when I run into people either in Frederick, MD or back home in Washington, PA. I thought it would allow me to skip over the 20 minute MS conversation and instead be able to spend that time catching up with friends and discussing more important things.

If someone with MS stumbles on this blog and benefits from my experiences, that’s awesome. But I’m not writing it specifically for the MS community. There are so many wonderfully researched, well written MS blogs out there (Here are 25 to check out if you’re interested). I certainly can’t re-invent that wheel so I’m not going to try.

A final reason for this blog was to come out of the disability closet. It’s exhausting to hide a limp or pretend to be well. It’s also exhausting to be chronically ill. It’s exhausting to do all the mental, physical, nutritional, medical, emotional and spiritual work to self-cure a chronic condition. It takes a hell of a lot of energy to walk poorly. Walking without a limp is certainly more efficient.

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I’m convinced that the only way to gain back my energy and fix my gait is through movement and awareness, not by sitting in front of a computer writing about movement and awareness. So I’m going to spend more time doing and less time worrying about getting a post pre-scheduled for each day.

Since my diagnosis I’ve learned that an all or nothing attitude is futile. Be it writing, walking, or healing, some days will be better than others so it’s best to do the work daily and document that work as needed, when able or when inspired to.  And besides, now I can take my time and honor my creative side writing posts the way I see fit, not just to quickly hit publish on a daily basis.

I was away this weekend which made blogging tough. Although I failed to write a post, I thought I’d officially use my blogging failures as opportunities to showcase blogs, sites and other artists, writers and scientists that I follow. One of my favorite blogs of all time is The Blog That Ate Manhattan (TBTAM), written …

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