After visiting various medical message boards recently, I couldn't help but notice: There are two types of people in this world. 1) People who are victims of circumstance or 2) People who create what they want.
When I'm being a victim, it's easy to tell. I whine. I complain. I blame people. I say things like: "People are stupid. It's not fair. Nobody cares."
When I'm creating what I want, that's obvious too. I set goals. I view setbacks as learning experiences. I say things like: "Now what? How am I responsible? What will make a difference here?"
To be honest, I've had my feet planted in both worlds (especially lately). Some days, I'm focused on what's possible, what I CAN do, and planning the next steps. Other days, I'm in the bedroom with the blinds closed feeling VERY sorry for myself and wishing the world would go away...even though there's no cheese down that tunnel.
The truth? We all have tough times. We all have things we wish were different. We all have dark days, nights, and afternoons in between. It's what you do with them that matters.
So, today, rather then get swallowed up by pajamas, I set out on a mission:
A) Call two people I've been missing
B) Get tax receipts in order
C) Drive to the doctor and get questions answered
D) Research insurance information
E) Write this post
F) Cut four book covers
G) Listen to a positive CD
They're not BIG steps, but they're steps...and that's important.
Without knowing much about your circumstances, I'll bet you have a few small steps you could take too. If so, won't you join me on a teensy-weensy journey?
Today, rather than sulk, stress, mope, cry, scream, or go crazy...
1) Write down two things you have been putting off or complaining about
2) Do something about both things in the next 24 hours
3) Let us know how it goes
Altered Today: Butt out of bed/hair combed on head. Shoes on my feet/out in the street. Control what I can/make a new plan. Ask others to play/end post in new way.
Tags: Autoimmune Disease, Feel Like Crap, Free Life Coaching, How to Create the Life You Want, Jack's Mannequin, Low Immunity, Lupus, Lyme's Disease, Sick and Nobody Understands, Small Steps towards goals, Snap out of It, Swim
NOTE: The following post was written earlier this morning during a flare up. I went back to bed and feel much better now. If you called or were concerned, thank you. Flares can last for as little as 2 minutes or as long as two days. You never know and that's one of the sucky things about Lyme and other autoimmune diseases.
As Denise Lang wrote in her book Coping with Lyme Disease, "The experience of Lyme is such that a patient will have unusual symptoms to the point of being disbelieved by doctors and family and finally disbelieving him - or herself. The disease follows a waxing and waning course. You can't predict how you're going to feel from one symptom to the next."
Although we don't know for sure that I have Lyme yet, my symptoms certainly fit the bill. It's a crazy disease. One day your chasing down the cause of rashes, the next your chasing down stomach or arthritis pain. My hope in writing this is not for pity, but to shed some light and understanding. If it helps just one person be more sympathetic or figure out what's bothering them, it's worth it to me. Thanks for reading.
It's 6:41am and my mind is going crazy. My left foot aches, both hands hurt, my right hip burns, and it feels like someone applied Vick's VapoRub to the inside of my chest and stomach. I'd give anything to rest, but I'm wide awake - jacked up with energy - even though I barely slept for two hours.
Since 2:00am, I've stared at the clock in the bedroom. The pain is unbearable...like the pain that makes you call 9-1-1 in a fancy restaurant. It won't subside, so I grab my pillow, feel around in the dark for some socks, find my computer, and hunker down in hopes of a quick passing.
Desperate for relief, I limp to the front bathroom. Hot water + epsom salt provide some comfort, but it's still pretty awful. The pain and chill migrates. My face tingles. My forearms turn cold. My neck stiffens. My left elbow feels broken. My side feels like it's being stabbed with a dull poker.
To distract myself, I look up classes at the YMCA. Yoga, Tai Chi, or light stretching sound good, but I can't bring myself to get dressed or put on tennis shoes. Restless, I turn on the television. Sadly, I watch Vicki Lawrence promote a George Foreman knockoff grill. Now muted, the Appliance Direct lady (wearing her traditional green plaid outfit) tries to sell me a dryer.
I no longer feel positive or accepting. My fingers ache, my jaw hurts, and honestly, if I had them, I would take some heavy duty narcotics.
In pain and miserable, I finally start to feel sleepy. So, I check my spreadsheet, take my prescribed herbs, and shuffle off to bed. On my way there, I worry about: finding receipts for my accountant, mailing a package, scheduling lab work, canceling my phone service, how my husband's doing, and how we're going to stay afloat in the upcoming weeks.
"I can't deal with that now," I think before I publish this post. One minute at time. One minute at a time.
Altered Today: Sharing Myself, Understanding Chronic Illness and What It's Like to Be Sick
Tags: Appliance Direct, Autoimmune Disorders, But You Don't Look Sick, Chronic Fatigue, Cold Inside, Epstein Barr, Lupus, Lyme Disease, Mysterious Disease, Syptoms, Understanding Chronic Illness, Vapo Rub, Vicki Lawrence, Vicks, What it's like to be sick
It's 5:43 and I've been staring at a blank computer screen for hours. It's not like I have nothing to say. I have too much festering. Still, somehow, the thought of letting it all out just feels dangerous.
In a nutshell, I went back to the doctor today. I have good news and I have bad news. The good news? I'm not crazy. Twenty-one pages of diagnostics yielded lots of valuable information and confirmed what I had feared/hoped/resisted/worried about. It's not "just in my head"...I really am sick.
The bad news? My diagnosis is not conclusive. In the doctor's words, "I think you are headed toward a diagnosis of Lyme Disease, but we can't treat it until we get you stabilized and your body can handle it."
"Can't treat 'til what? Think I'm headed?" I questioned inside.
In detail, he went over the findings and the plan of a attack.
-A severely compromised immune system (the first line of defense in fighting infection). SIgA is 7.2. Normal range goes from 51-204
-A reverse T3 of 332 (sign of Adrenal disfunction)
-Positive for two bands of Lyme Disease (23 and 41)
-Two kinds of strep in my intestinal tract
-Positive for H-Pylori Infection
-Yeast in my digestive tract
-Disrupted cortisol levels
-Polyp in my gallbladder. Cyst in my liver
-Ignore the polyp and cyst (re-image in six months)
-Rebuild the immune system and kill strep and yeast through herbal tonics
-Get more blood work to specify co-infections (or missed strands of Lyme)
-More tests to rule out other things that could present as Chronic Lyme (Lupus, Epstein Barr, Mono)
-Manage symptoms with continued rest, diet, and vitamins
-Address Adrenal symptoms with DHEA, cortisol regulators
-Follow up in 4 weeks to re-access
It's not sexy. It's not glamorous, but it's what's happening right now.
Altered Today: Letting it out instead of ______________ (drinking tea, hiding under the bed, crying, sleeping, burying my head in a coconut cream pie, etc).
Tags: Adrenal Fatigue, Co-Infections, DHEA, Elisa, Epstein Barr, H-Pylori, I feel crazy, Is it all in my head, Is Lyme Real, Lay it Down, Low SIgA, Lupus, Mono, Not quite Lyme, Positive for 2 bands of Lyme, Reverse t-3, Sick or Crazy, Testing for Lyme, Western Blot
If you've ever been to a bad 80's wedding, no doubt you've limboed. You stood in line. You listened to questionable music. You followed others while you marched around in circles--just waiting for your turn to bend over backwards, scootch under a tiny little pole, and hopefully make it out the other side without landing flat on your back.
The key to the game is simple: Be flexible enough to make it, but strong enough not to break.
It's also a good metaphor for life (and love, and illness...) and everything in between.
The dictionary defines limbo as:
a) a region on the border of hell or heaven
b) a place or state of oblivion to which persons or things are regarded as being relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date
c) an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place
d) a place or state of imprisonment or confinement
e) a state of uncertainty or waiting
f) a dance
It can be a blessing or a curse. A fun game or a forced obligation. The gateway to pain or the start of a new adventure.
It's all in how you look at it.
Tonight, as I prepare for tomorrow's doctor's visit and anticipated test results, I'm thinking a lot about my attitude. It's been a long five months and I'm anxious for answers. It's also possible that whatever answers I receive will only lead to more questions.
Whatever the news, I'm choosing to dance (...even if I don't pick the music). If you're in Limbo, I hope you will too. In the meantime, here's a Lullaby for a Stormy Night.
Altered Today: Patience, Attitude, Dread, Thoughts about Sickness.
Tags: Bloodwork Results, Do I have Adrenal Fatigue, Do I Have Lupus, Do I Have Lyme, Doctor's Visits, Health, I Hope You Dance, Illness, Is Fibromyalgia Real, Limbo, Lullaby for a Stormy Night, Vienna Teng, Waiting for Lab Results, Waiting for Test Results, What's Causing My Insomnia, What's Wrong with Me
Altered Today: How I Communicate. Inspiration for this post courtesy of You Are Your Own Muse by Vivienne McMaster
Tags: Altering How to Communicate, But You Don't Look Sick, Dog Recovery from Vestibular Disease, Health and Healing, Kathy Tagudin, My Week in 12 Pictures, Photo Journal, Photos by Angel Tagudin, The Ups and Downs of Chronic Illness, Vestibular Disorder, Visual Self Expression, You Are Your Own Muse
You know they never really owned you.
You just carried them around.
And one day you put 'em down and found your hands were free.
The deed's been done. The letter's been sent. I have officially ended a 5+ year relationship that should have ended long ago.
Past the fear and the doubt, I know I'm doing the right thing. Still, I can't help but look for reassurance: some sign that I'll make it, some consolation that I'm not crazy, some hope that everything really will be ok.
With no one to turn to but my dog and my artwork, tonight I'm going to an unusual source for inspiration: from me to me. Below is the letter that I wrote to myself (actually to all of us). Feel free to alter the words...as needed.
Dear ________ (insert your name here),
I know you might not believe me when I say this, but you’re still in there. Despite the doubts, despite the concerns, despite the pain, despite the “am I crazy?” conversation, there you are. Tough. Strong. Resilient. Capable.
You have so much to give to this world. Don’t let fear and illness stop you. You are brilliant beyond measure and have many, many more amazing things to do in your lifetime.
Have you forgotten?
Have you forgotten how you trounced around foreign cities and built a life without knowing a soul?
Have you forgotten how you survived so many unspeakable moments where others would have shriveled up and died?
Have you forgotten how many people love you and appreciate you...right now, just as you are?
Have you forgotten that everything wonderful thing in your life was born out of not knowing and possibility?
Have you forgotten that you created this opportunity and that you can create others just as easily?
Have you forgotten that all is well and you’re ok?
Have you forgotten that you must be willing to let go of the life you have planned to have the life that is waiting for you?
Have you forgotten that I believe in you and you can count on me?
Make room for Love. Make room for Joy. Make room for Miracles. And, if that doesn’t work, watch this video.
I love you with all of my heart,
Altered Today: What I Say to Myself
Tags: Altering How You Talk to Yourself, Ani DiFranco, Be OK, Best Motivational Speech Video, Garden of Simple, Have You Forgotten, Ingrid Michaelson, Inspiration for Living, Notes to Myself, Pep Talk, Poppies
I'll admit it. I yelled at the QuickBooks guy today. In hindsight, I'm not proud of my actions, but really...how much questioning can one girl take?
It all started with a simple phone call to "deactivate" my on line payroll processing.
Me (after being on hold for 10 minutes): Yes, I'd like to cancel my payroll service.
Random Pushy Operator Girl: Why? Ms. Tagudin. Are you going out of business?
Me (not really wanting to discuss it): No. My bookkeeper is handling my payroll now so I don't need it.
Pushy Operator Girl: I don't understand. So your bookkeeper is handling your payroll and you don't need it?
Me (obviously not giving her an answer that fit into a neat little box): Yes. That's what I said. I no longer need it.
Now Super Duper Pushy Operator Girl: But Kathy. May I call you Kathy? That's really not a reason I understand. Can you tell me some more about why you don't need the payroll service?
Me (now completely annoyed): I'm cancelling because I don't need it. I don't know what else to tell you. I just don't need it.
Extra Pushy Operator Girl: So, do you no longer have employees?
Me (now ready to kill someone): Yes. I still have employees. I just don't need the payroll service.
Now Super Duper, Duper Pushy Annoying Operator Girl: Ok hold please while I process your transaction.
(2 minutes later)
Annoying Operator Girl: Ms. Tagudin, I have Tom on the line to discuss closing your payroll service.
Tom (cheesy smile coming through the phone): Hello, Ms. Tagudin. This is Tom. I understand you would like to cancel your payroll service?
Me (turning purple from biting my toungue): Yes Tom. I would like to cancel my payroll service.
Tom (obviously oblivious to the sound of disdain): So...can you tell me WHY you'd like to cancel your payroll service?
Me (now completely disgusted): No, Tom. I would not like to tell you WHY I'm cancelling my payroll service. I just don't need it anymore. End of story. Period.
Tom (still oblivious to the sound of disdain): I understand, Ms. Tagudin. However in order to better serve you, we need to know why you are cancelling.
Me (no longer able to contain myself): You want to know why I'm cancelling, TOM. I'll tell you why I'm cancelling, TOM. I'm cancelling TOM because instead of listening to me and just cancelling my service, TOM, you've had me on the phone for 20 minutes TOM, running me around in circles TOM about WHY I want to cancel TOM. I'm cancelling TOM because dealing with you is like pulling teeth. I'm cancelling TOM because I'd rather be at the dentist than having this conversation. I'm cancelling TOM because Quickbooks is an awful company to deal with and EVERY TIME I have a problem or concern, I have to call you about the problem or concern, then I'm FORCED to talk to you for 1/2 hour about the problem or concern before you HANDLE IT. THAT is why I'm cancelling TOM. Do you understand, TOM?!?!?!?
TOM (starting to get it): So, you're cancelling then because you don't like the service?
Aaaaargh! Somebody shoot me.
Altered Today: Self Expression, Any Civility, My Last Nerve
Saturday Mornings are great, aren't they? Especially when you wake up to good news and a nice bit of inspiration. This Saturday morning was extra special as I received a nice mention from Dana over at Saturday Mornings Blogspot.
After contacting me last week to talk about my blog, Dana took the time to get to know me a bit. And then took the time to introduce me to her readers.
Dana's site features great crafts, awesome how-to projects, and cool giveaways. She also offers tons of links to other creative folks (If you're crafty, you've got to visit Mod Podge Rocks. You will not believe what that stuff is capable of).
Thanks for the mention, Dana.
Altered Today: Connecting with other bloggers.
Did you ever read your old boyfriend's Facebook wall or browse through a friend's photo feed in the middle of the night? Call it nostalgia. Call it crazy. But I shouldn't have done it. Now I'm singing the happily never after, everyone's life is better than mine, 4:00am, bitter, resentful blues.
One ex is a model citizen who attends church regularly, helps the homeless, and takes care of his beautiful wife and 5 children. Another old friend has a gorgeous house, has transformed into a supermodel, and is now pregnant with a baby. Other exes (friends or otherwise) have exciting jobs, thousands of friends, or are saving the world. Me? I'm just trying to get three hours of shut-eye, find two matching socks, get my Facebook followers up to 20, and make it 'til February 14th...which is my next scheduled doctor's appointment.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm happy everyone is leading such a wonderful, super-terrific, amazingly powerful, creative, fulfilling life (insert little bits of sarcasm here). Still, being honest, I can't help but wonder. When will I be on top of the world again?
Seems like yesterday I would laugh when women I coached would say they were jealous of this or envious of that. I can't remember what brilliant advice I gave. I probably had them make them make a list of what they were thankful for or had them journal 20 reasons why they might be the object of someone's green-eyed affection.
So...in an effort to alter my crappy, non-productive, nasty, feeling sorry for myself, hate my life, negative-nelly frame of mind, I am taking my own counsel (When I am finished, I will let you know if I owe some people a refund).
20 REASONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO BE ME
by Kathy Tagudin
1) I have a very sweet, LOYAL husband who always supports me. He would never lie to me or intentionally hurt me. He even understands when I look up old boyfriends on Facebook ("Do you need to call them? he'll ask).
2) I have enough money in the bank that I can afford not to work and take care of my health.
3) Both of my parents are alive and kickin'. We have a great relationship and a lot of love.
4) I have a fantastic art studio that is a special space designated just for me.
6) I have plenty of food in the fridge and plenty of places to go if I run out.
8) I know at least five six people I can call right now if I need a ride to the airport or have an emergency (please don't make me name them).
9) I live in a country where I can worship freely.
10) I am very creative and can think fast on my feet. I am never at a loss for a good idea.
11) I've got no strings so I can wander freely...without vomit on my shirt or Cheerios in my hair.
12) Both of my cars are paid for, run, and are full of gas.
13) I am not living paycheck to paycheck.
14) I have medical insurance.
15) I graduated from college.
16) I can sing and write poetry.
17) I have very, very, very cute thumbs.
18) I have a great bedroom with a very comfortable mattress.
19) I am in Florida...not stuck in snowstorms.
20) I can laugh, smile, cry, talk, walk, run, breathe, eat, smell, see, hear, blink, love, hate, feel, think.
Ok. All better now. You?
Altered Today: Taking my own Advice, Gratitude, Poopy Attitude.
Tags: Can we trade lives, Cause to be grateful, Doctors, Facebook, Grass is Greener, Health, Hoobastank, If I Were You, Jealousy, poppy attitude, stop feeling sorry for yourself, Storm of the Century, Top of the World, turmoil in Egypt, Wish I Was You