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January: Month of new Beginnings



The last couple of months have been a challenge. First my emergency back surgery and then of course getting sick with bronchitis. My immune system is suppressed due to the drugs I have to take in order to keep my body in balance. I have learned a lot about myself these last two months. I started by picking 6 focus words that I wanted to dedicate myself to for 2015. I didn’t know where these words would take me or what an adventure it would be. All I knew is that all six of these words were important enough for me to focus on in order for me to become my best self. A reminder, my 6 focus words are: Proactive, Surrendering, Serve, Nutrition, movement, and self-care. In the last two months each one of these words have come into play. Some a lot stronger than others in what the lesson I had to learn from them. They spoke quickly and effectively to my heart and soul. They quickly made themselves known to me.

At the beginning of January I bought this awesome planner where I could write out my goals for the month. I was able to keep track of all the medical stuff along with the food choices and all those things I must keep track of without having different locations and journals. I love it. It has made my life so much easier. With my health I have to keep track of my oxygen levels, blood sugars, food choices, water consumption, heart rates, caregiver hours, and movement. My fitness pal did not offer me a chance to customize their application to what I needed. I hated it. I’m thankful I found a planner that works for me.

My goals for January were quite simple. I chose two things to focus. Moving more, and getting a timer to help me get up and move every hour. I’m going to break down each of the focus words and how they popped up in the month of January. Just to warn you, this will be a long post.

Surrender: Yet again, I was sent to the hospital. This time with breathing issues. Martin Luther King Jr Weekend I contracted Bronchitis. That caused my breathing to spiral out of control. My lowest level was 77 percent. I ended up having to use oxygen for a couple of days, along with high dosages of steroids and other medications while I recovered. It scared the crap out of me. Both literally and figuratively. I was so embarrassed by the whole thing that I broke down and bawled in the ER room. Although, I was alone with no doctor or nurses or family members. I needed to cry. Let out all of my fears and frustrations. I feel a lot clearer with my motivation and my goals. I realize that I needed to breakdown more barriers that were keeping me from surrendering to Jesus and allowing Him to move in my life. I had my own agenda. I wasn’t truly working what His agenda for my life. I’m still processing what that will look like and I know I haven’t gotten it in just one months’ time. Thank goodness there are 11 more months to go. All I know is that Surrender is a big deal to me. It involves trusting and having faith.

Nutrition: While in the hospital I was put on the antibiotic Levofloxacin. In August, I had a bout of C-Diff due to antibiotics. I was told at that time that I needed to ask and be put on probiotics at the same time while taking them. I did so. I noticed a huge difference. I started feeling hunger for the first time in many years. I believe that my stomach had stopped working due to all the immune suppressant drugs that I have been taking in the last 6 years. I was gorging myself because I wasn’t getting any nutrition. I never could fill up the hole that seemed to be there. Since I wasn’t getting nutrition I was always in the mind frame that I needed more food mode. I have been taking probiotics for the last week in a half and I have noticed the difference in my hunger, getting full, and being satisfied. It’s an odd feeling to me. It has caused me to question what I had previously believed about myself. That I was a gorger of food and that it was an addiction. I still believe I am an emotional eater to some extent, but the probiotics is helping me sustain being full and feeling hunger. Real, hunger. That is amazing to me. I have made the decision that as long as I am taking immune suppressant drugs such as Rituximab, prednisone, and hydrochclorquine that I am going to be taking probiotics too. It’s a good investment for my well-being.

Movement: January has been a month of physical therapy. I’m no longer getting PT therapy at my home. I am hoping when I see my primary on Wednesday I will be able to go to Aquatic therapy at Touchmark. Movement is going to keep me active and agile with my illnesses. After getting the approval. I will need to purchase a swimsuit. I found one that I like, but it is $70. It looks like a tennis dress that Serena Williams would wear. It’s modest and doesn’t show off my assets too much. I’m nervous about being in the swimming pool with my trach, but I am going to trust the Pt therapists who says it can be done. It’s a leap of surrendering to God.

Proactive: With my last scare with Bronchitis and breathing issues with it. I realize that I am proactive. When a problem occurs. I am right on it and ready to ask or call for help. I still struggle. I still have that monkey mind that tells me I am tough I can handle it. The weekend I got sick. I did have that thought. I quickly realized it was a big fat lie and called 911. I got the help I needed. I also realize that being proactive is keeping track in my planner of all the things I must in order to maintain my well-being and improving it. My lists of medications helps me communicate to the ER and other doctors what I am doing so that mistakes are not made. There are a few tweaks that I need to do. Such as, finding a good place for the adapter to the bagging system that Firemen and Ambulances uses to keep someone breathing. I have a specialized trach and it requires an adapter for the bagging system they used in order to keep someone breathing if they are not. I asked my nephew who is a med tech to guide me to what needs to be done. That is the first thing. I must show and tell my friends and family about the adapter and where it is. Communication is a proactive things you can do for well-being. I’m not so good at communicating things, but I am learning. Team work is a proactive thing in well-being too. You can’t do it alone. I am an independent, stubborn woman, and that is a struggle for me.

Self-care: Man, oh man, I struggle with this one. Right now, my self-care seems to be focusing on my environment. I hate clutter. I cannot thrive in clutter. It drives me bonkers. I have been living in clutter for quite some time. Thankfully, my brother and my nephew are helping conquer my clutter issues. They know me and I am learning that how they show love is by doing. My brother especially shows his love my doing. Like I said, I am independent and I like doing things myself. I am realizing that I am not capable of doing it all on my own. I need help. The last couple of weeks. My brother came and helped me get my bedroom organized. That is helping my moral. I feel free and refreshed with the way my bedroom is looking. My nephew is helping me every Monday for a bit in organizing and cleaning my apartment. I am hoping this Monday the second day of February to have my carpet cleaned. I know it is going to be amazing and look awesome. In fact, this Monday he came by and put together a bookshelf for me, vacuumed, and helped me organize my medical supplies. I have a lot of medical supplies from the trach care stuff I have to use on a daily basis. My self-care involves allowing others to help me and not feel shame or guilt for their help. I am grateful. I am humbled. I do feel guilt and shame, but I am also realizing that I need this for my own well-being.

Serve: Serving is a thing that I want to do. I realize that I can’t do much right now. I do right now have a slew of shampoo/body wash, and hygiene stuff that I got from my stay in the hospital that I am hoping I can get to Love Overwhelming that will be help the homeless. I want to serve in this big gigantic way, but I realize that is not possible right now. I can do tiny, small things to help. I can help spread the word of the supplies they need and how to help them. I also can love and support the people in my life and beyond who just need someone to listen to them and tell them the truth with love and kindness. I’m still learning what serving looks like.

I’ve been thinking about what my February goals will look like. It’s hard to believe this is the last week of January. Sunday will be the beginning of February.

I am thinking nutrition will be a big factor in my goals. I have been rereading and going over “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo that I received for Christmas from one of my sisters. She has a breakdown of meal plans for those with different types of issues. I have noticed that probiotics is in almost every single one of the plans she has. I got some sticky notes and a highlighter. I’m hoping to go through the recipes and follow it for at least 30 days to see how I feel. Since I already have noticed a big difference in using probiotics in just a week in a half. I am sure I will notice a difference when I am eating differently. And of course, movement will be a big part of my month. I’m hoping to start Aquatic therapy. And then of course keep organizing and changing my environment. I want to especially concentrate on the kitchen and get some essential tools that I know I will be needing.

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