Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Inkling 14: Meditation and Reflection

Inkling 14: Meditation and Reflection

That all meetings should start with a 5 minute meditation and then a Bible passage where everyone reflects on what word or phrase struck them, what is the passage saying to the individuals, what is the passage calling you to do in the week ahead. As a reminder of the importance of our relationships with God, self, and other.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What do nearly tweener boys talk about?

On our way home today I asked Sonshine, "What do boys talk about when there's only boys around?" Reply: "Video games and sports." Me: "Do you want to watch more sports to have something to umm, more to say about sports?" Him: "Nah, we just talk about who's our favorite teams for the different sports."

Apparently Sonshine sees just enough sports on TV to contribute, no ESPN analysis yet required. Soon girls won't be these eewy creatures to be run from...though the girls have started to notice him and he doesn't seem to mind in that surly posturing boy way that they do.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Did I just read that right?

So I was going through FaceBook to see what my friends are up to, and my cell rang so I answered it, and I happened to glance to the side and see a pregnant belly, which led to reading the caption...see picture below:

I almost clicked it, but I don't want FB thinking I'd like to see more Ads like this one. Does taking the drug to prevent masciline daughters then create feminine boys? And who would even think of taking a drug like that when it's scary enough hoping that the baby is born healthy.

Ugh, I could go on and on about all the reasons this Ad is wrong and offensive...but my kiddos are growing impatient that their masciline mama isn't ready to play yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The beginnings are piling up

I have this habit of reading 5 or so books at the same time. Usually this isn't a problem; however, I've flooded my queue with heavier reading. Heavier in that most of it isn't fluff reading, but reading to retain which causes me to read a little slower, pause for reflection more often, and a need to set it aside long enough for my unconscious brian to sit with it too.

Spanish study is going well while Greek continues to flounder.

I watched "The Buddha (2010)" last night. It's well done, and interesting; however, there's a near constant soft music going in the background that if you're tired will soothe you right to sleep. It's a 2hr documentatry, and my subconscious heard the last half of part 2 more then I did. It was also neat seeing someone I know in a "real live" documentary.

I've been itchy to get outside and take some photos, but the family schedule still has us with longer commutes then we're used to. Though the plan is to go to the Fair this weekend - just need to remember to bring the camera.

I'm ready for Summer to be over and for Fall to begin.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I wasn't one to have panic attacks as a child, teenager, or young adult. Panic attacks became part of my life when I started recognizing that something was wrong with my body in my late 20s, but I couldn't figure out what, nor were the doctors I was seeing at the time able to diagnose the problem either. The symptoms I have were beginning to present themselves when I lived in Panama with my ex-husband. Now my next statements are not a ding at military doctors, but more at the system; it's rare for you to see the same doc twice on purpose, you tend to get who ever is available that day. If you do see the same doctor more then once it's because I treatment plan is in place. Luckily we were close to returning to the U.S. and I was close to getting my degree with "real" health insurance and could see a "real" doctor. By this time, I'd been going in circles with the doctors for 1.5 years. So, when the symptoms would flare, and usually at night I'd start panicking, and I'd end up flooding my body with adrenaline. At least for me, I find that that surge of panic has a very metallic taste. Flooding my body with adrenaline did not help, and often made things worse. I can't tell you how elated I was when I saw my PPC doctor, explained my symptoms and within a month had a referral to a specialist.

Within 3 months of seeing the specialist, my body stopped being my enemy (well, I stopped seeing my body as the enemy). She said I think it's this and let's try this and go from there. The panic attacks stopped, because I now knew that these symptoms have a name, and medicines, and that the flares will pass, and best of all -- she didn't tell me it was all in my head like my ex-husband and the military doctors. I think her believing me was the most important medicine she could have given me. She gave me a gift that day.

So, a few days ago I had a full blown panic attack in the middle of the night like one at the very beginning when I didn't know what was wrong with my body. Because now I don't know what these symptoms really are, and is the medicine doing potential damage to my body for no reason. The wife held me, and tried to reassure me, to relax...try to breathe - use meditation...all good advice, but hard to put into being when fear gets in the way. I couldn't take deep breaths, I couldn't pray the prayers I could think of because they had too many words, in the end I used a military cadence: left, left, your left right left. I could match short breaths to the words, the familiar rhythm, and I fell back asleep.

Over the past few days I had to ask myself what's the worse that could happen? And I went to all of those places - cancer, removal of body part, a bag attached to my body, new meds, new exercises. Did I/do I think I have cancer, no, I don't because I don't think you can have cancer for over 8 years and not show signs of it (and if you can, keep that to yourself please). Do I think I'll need a body part removed or an apparatus added, no because my symptoms though bad for a healthy person are mild to moderate for someone with my diagnoses (though an apparatus still scares me). New meds, not such a bad thing especially if I can get off the drug that every person with xyz gets prescribed and there's no generic, and it's the one that isn't good to be on. New exercises, hey if that's all it takes to make my body part work lead the way. I looked up what the new specialist thinks I could have instead, and it's way less scary. Finally, I realized if I was diagnosed correctly then my life doesn't change. But, if I was misdiagnosed then there's the possibility for improved quality of life. This has helped, I'll get worrisome, but not overcome.

The other thing I realized is that I have to let go of the shame I feel at having my condition. You can't contract it, it might not be hereditary, they don't know why or what causes people to get the condition, and they're not even sure it's been "properly named." The shame shut me down (I allowed the shame to shut me down) during my visit with the new specialist. And that has caused me anxiety, but when we meet for my pre-op appointment, I'm going to tell her about my feelings of shame, I am going to describe my symptoms, I am going to ask questions about "bad" med, and then I'll ask her to now begin explaining the pre-op stuff. I claim my condition, it doesn't claim me. Reading "Kitchen Table Wisdom" helped alot, and I had no clue about the author's medical condition the morning I heard that wee bit on NPR. Her own story is woven into the book, and as I finished it last night, it occurred to me that her medical condition did not stop her from living, it changed how she lived, but it didn't keep her from living.

Naming my condition in my blog makes me feel weird, I'm not there yet, maybe I won't ever be there. But, I can now say and spell it without having to use it's acronym and then slaughter the only part I could remember hoping the medical professional could fill in the rest. I've finally gone to the 2 big websites and went through the content, there's two books I'll get if I was correctly diagnosed. And if I was misdiagnosed I'll research and ask better/more questions, and I won't feel ashamed.

I keep thinking that this has been a year of facing my worst fears, I hope I'm done, at least for a good while anyways.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Not liking the start of this 40s thing

So when I turned 30 I've dubbed it the year my body began to disfunction. Inner ear imbalance leading to temporary vertigo. The abdominal area as a whole picking up 2 new acroynms of life changing chronic conditions. I don't remember anymore what a normal fully healthy body feels like; I do know what normal for me feels like with every great once in awhile a slow awareness/realization of "oh, hey, is this what a normal body feels like" it's a wonderful moment that I try to savor for as long as possible. I try not to stress out when my conditions "flare." I thank God every day that my conditions are both mild to moderate and not disabling, I pray for healing in whatever form.

So when I turned 40 I was scared that something new would come or my conditions would suddenly change. So far "new" is my mouth. I have to get a gum graft and an information seeking biopsy done (no worries of cancer). I have some more major work coming in the Fall. And 1 of my conditions I've had for a very long time might have been misdiagnosed. But I won't know until the end of September - I have a inpatient procedure the 2nd week of September so I'll take prayers for all going well; and get results at the end of the month. If I have been misdiagnosed (which I'm not entirely convinced of) then I can get off a medication which isn't good to be on long-term and it's been long-term a few years ago. It's incredibly expensive, causes dizziness, and fatigue. Hence a good portion of my fatigue is medication based.

Part of me is afraid it will be something worse, part of me hopes it's something else that a differnet medicine would work better for me, part of me just wants well enough to be well enough.

I don't want my body to fall apart every decade. I keep reminding myself that my life is not my body, that whatever comes my way I can cope with with God's help and the love of my family and friends.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Eudaimonia, a type of happiness that rests on the realization of personal goals and potential. I just discovered this word while reading this really good article written for Psychology Today on meditation: Mastering your own mind.

On my way to church yesterday I caught a snippet of Speaking of Faith, and heard some of her interview with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen. Dr. Remen spoke about the power of stories and about how doctors have a love for their patients and want to see them get well, stay well, be well, but also about how they don't feel they have the time to talk to their patients about feelings but instead focus on treatment/treatment strategies. Then I caught mention of Dr. Remen's book "Kitchen Table Wisdom" and I checked it out of the library later that day. I haven't read far into the book yet, but it too is good.

Are there coincidences, probably not, so I think of late I'm being reminded of a few things:
1. I need community, well really I'm learning to know when to ask for help, which involves community.
2. I need to meditate, and I've begun with the wife going along with me (humoring perhaps), to do a 10 minute meditation with the kiddos right before bedtime. Next step extend that time into my own meditation time.
3. I thrive on stories, the sharing of stories, the listening to stories, and not just those within the pages of a book, but real live in-person told stories. It's also I've realized what I like about blogs, blogs that people write about what's up in their life; blogs that people write about a vocation I hope one day to be a part of.
4. Facing my worst fear(s) isn't always as bad as I thought it would be.

I find I keep walking between a certainty that I'm on the correct path, and a well what if it's no then what...and if the what if is so then it will be what should come to be - however, it needs to be a vocation that involves story sharing and helping others. I believe this is how I cope with ambiguity: I visualize being a priest, a pray for guidance from God...and then in those times of doubt I allow myself to imagine a life where I'm not a priest. I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm trying to plan and as little as possible control my future, which I do and don't have control over ya know :)

As September gets closer, I find myself excited and anxious; I'm ready to resume the next steps of my process. There were things I needed to learn this Summer, and though Summer isn't over I am ready and expectant for the Fall.