Validating Tiny and Related Perception Issues

I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager.  Okay, looking back, I wasn’t remotely fat.susan reima captree  However, I had morbidly obese aunts on my paternal aide and a maternal great-grandmother I never knew with obesity issues.  This caused my parents to be scared at the least hint of weight on my part.  I always assured them that I would not be obese due to my love of clothes.  That being said at one low point in my life, I weighed about 50 pounds more than I do now! I am about 30 down from when I joined SP.  I weigh the least I have in my adult life.  I find it funny that I obsess now if I go up 2 pounds and I literally feel and see it.

This year, for the first time, I have been referred to as tiny.  I find this difficult to wrap my mind around.

This week I did a tea party with people I’ve never met.  I wore my little Boho thrift shop find dress.  It says it is a size 4 but that’s a manufacturer vanity lie. IMG_0828 (1) Anyway, I walked (relative term) into the house and the host and her sister exclaimed that I was “adorable” and “so tiny”.  I guess it must be true.  I do not, do not perceive myself as tiny but am thinking I may need to rework that assumption.

Adorable was problematic for me as well.  Egads, I have entered little old ladydom!

What else did I learn/ reflect?

Well, the  reason that I finally achieved tinydom was because of my condition.  It’s not a diet.  I have changed the way I eat for health reasons.  Wait!  Isn’t that why people diet?  For me, it was the realization that what I eat impacts how I walk and possibly the progression of my condition.  If I am doing it correctly and completely, I do not have, gluten, eggs, yeast, dairy, red meat and sugar and very low fat.  The reality?  Even if I limp for the rest of my life, I am gonna have that chocolate.  I do need to get back on a stricter track as I feel and see my deterioration.  I am a fighter.

The host’s sister was diagnosed in the last year with another version of my diagnosis.  Mine is supposed to be a continual path of deterioration; hers can come and go.  It was great to physically speak with someone who gets it.  But also what I realized is that I may be made of sterner stuff.  My parents NEVER  accepted anything a doctor said as gospel.  I went to Johns Hopkins and was exposed to pre-meds so know that clay feet are a step up for some of these people.  I persevere.  I saw this woman as giving in.  Yes, I get fatigued.  Yes, I get discouraged and upset.  We pulled up to this woman’s house and I freaked.  There was a small flight of steps going in.  Once in the house, which was beautiful and charming and originally built in the 1920’s, there was a step but no railing into the main part of the house.  It was about 2 inches but I needed help.  In the main area, there was a minute saddle dividing the area.  Luckily, I saw someone else trip so I didn’t need to fall on my face.  I definitely felt I was getting the little old lady treatment by the guests.  I know, I know I should be grateful  but there’s that issue of perception again.  I still think of me as that young, vibrant woman instead of a vibrant, older lady with mobility issues.

I also realized that attitude means a lot.  I have down days and yesterday, I pretty much couldn’t move due to the expending of physical and psychic energy the day before.  But I continually fight. I believe in the possibility of miracles.  It makes a difference.

Badlands

I have discovered Amazon Prime Music and I am in love and enthralled.  The music of my life at my fingertips, for free.  Well, for the annual membership which I use for tons of other things so this is just bonus.

I think I may be like many people in my age range.  I have albums of my music or as my little nieces say “What big CDs you have:.  I have downloaded some of it on my ipod.  But….  There are all those albums and memories.  I am in Amazon download frenzy.

This weekend  I found Badlands.  Serendipity.  I get through my life with music.  When I lose the music I know I am in bad shape.  After a long bad time years ago, I knew I was going to be alright when I heard Springsteen on the radio and felt joy again.

But Badlands is more .  Years ago I lost the job that I loved.  Why do we say lost?  I didn’t lose it, they let me go.  Eight and a half years of mostly love.  I believe the roots of my present condition hark back to that time.  I used to work insane hours happily.  I didn’t understand why people couldn’t wait till Friday or were upset at Mondays.  I travelled  all over the world for that company.  However, there was one trip.  I was really sick before I left.  I was going to spend two weeks in Japan and Taiwan and fly back to California to work a trade show.  Then I would stay a few days in Los Angeles with my boyfriend’s best friend.  Men who did that trip used to spend some days in Hawaii and their wives would fly out to meet them.  I was unmarried and wanted to go to the beach in Thailand (bucket list though the term wasn’t used then) .  Instead, I had to fly back to California to work.  One of the guys gave me advice on how to fly so sick.  “Blow Afrin constantly up your nose before landing.”  Well it worked.  I made it through landing.  Who knew half an hour later that the pain would be excruciating .  I was really sick.  I was the company’s “little girl”.  The men I had to meet for business were terrified that George (the president) would be furious if anything happened to me.  I was constantly plied with soup. I slurped my way through Japan and Taiwan.    There is a reason for everything .  I was in the same hotel in Tokyo as Mike Tyson.  His posse insisted that I “party with Mike.”  I couldn’t even croak.  Just nodded “no” numerous times and kept on going.  My brush with “destiny”. When stories came out about those girls later,  I totally believed.   I left Taiwan at 11 a.m. in the morning, landed in Los Angeles at 11 a.m. the same morning (international date line) and worked till 11 p.m. that night.  I was so sick I couldn’t think of staying in LA after the show.  Back in NY, I collapsed  in JC Penney’s.  I was diagnosed with pharyngitis.  I truly believe that disregard for my health is a source of my ultimate conditions.  And ironically enough on my return I found as scared as everyone was of telling George being furious if anything  happened to me they were also terrified of telling him that I was too sick to undertake that trip.  So, after all that dedication, passion and bad health, I was cut loose in the world.  I was gutted.  I lost my livelihood and most of my friends.  Well, I guess they weren’t my friends.  Actually,  I do still have some from those days and some have died.  In fact,  I had a card this week from one of them.  But with no money and no job ,  a disastrous marriage, I felt cut off from everyone including myself.  I would wake in the morning feeling as if there was a huge pillow in my face.  I left my then husband ( I love that phrase “my then husband”) and moved back with my parents.  They couldn’t acknowledge depression.  My mother was a pull yourself together type. She said to me at the time I had to learn how to do it myself because she wasn’t always going to be around to do so.

I was back in my childhood bedroom.  Me and my record player.  I started to play Darkness on the Edge of Town and Nebraska obsessively.  Badlands helped me through.  “Talk about a dream, try to make it real.  Spend your life waiting for a moment that just doesn’t come.    I believe  in the faith that can save me .  Raise me above these badlands. For the one who had the notion, notion deep inside, that it ain’t  no sin to be glad you are  alive. I’m gonna find one face that ain’t looking through me.  I want to spit in the face of these badlands.”  And that’s what I did.  I made it through the badlands.

 

And here I am again years later.  Another job “lost”.  Financially crunchy.  Up against those Badlands again.  It all came rushing back again.  This time I do not have my mother to put me back again.  I am starting to crash.  One thing I know I can’t and won’t go back to that freefall again.  Well, I still feel the joy of the music again.  And I still retain my resiliency.  Resiliency feels like a curse sometimes.  I used to tell my mother I felt like a Joe Palooka punching bag.  Every time you hit me I spring back.  My spring is getting kind of rusty.  This time there’s the extra wrinkles:  no parents, my condition, uh, actual wrinkles, a mortgage.  We wonder when I go for a job with my outfit coordinated cane/walking stick what the impact is on the hiring decision.  I had an interview where I had to get in and out of a van.  I would have and have had the same difficulties in the past with heels.  I am not the most graceful or coordinated person as numerous airport shuttle drivers can attest.

I see my resources dwindling as I hold onto faith.  And yeah, I’m blasting Badlands again

Lotteries and Windfalls

As with many people in the US a few weeks ago, we caught Lotto fever.  Over 1 billion is worth a flutter.  Overall, I am opposed to the lottery.  Originally in New York it was supposed to fund schools.  Really?  And look at the schools in Detroit.  But enough of that.

We bought a few dollars worth of tickets and began to speculate.  What would we do?  Husband announces that first thing we get the absolutely best doctor in the world for what we call MC (my condition).  Ok, you may say I am in denial but it works for me.  Everyone is different.  And after that we would buy a nice house.  We would pay off the one we currently live in.  I must paraphrase Hyacinth Bucket a.k.a Bouquet – the house that is now next to the used car lot with the massage parlor.  The parlor or message store as the police referred to it in a report I made after I had another flat in my driveway is temporarily gone.  Funny enough, as soon as we returned from police, the big sign in the front was gone.  Do I need to say more?

Then after a house for us, one for each of the boys and husband’s sister.  And then?  Well, lots to real charity.  In fact, the other night there was something on the news about local people being displaced and renovations  would have run a few million dollars.   Husband said, “We could have done that in a heartbeat if we had won.”  Well, we didn’t.

Recently, I have undergone significant financial reversals.  No, not the stock markets.  More along the line of no income.  It appears that hopefully after all the belt tightening, this is about to change.  As I anticipate this, another list to make.  Late last summer, a man who saw me commuting, pulled up his pants (nothing lewd here) and showed me a device on his leg.  He thought we had the same condition.  It’s a Walkaid and there’s also another product called Bioness.  They cost a few thousand.  We didn’t have any money when we spoke to the doctor about it and she said it might give me the same results as the Ampyra or it might be better.  It tops my new wish list.  I had to cut back on my traditional donations.  I was an officer at a bank years ago.  One of the first things I did when I received it was write checks to my favorite charities,  My co-worker thought I was odd but it used to give me a kick, almost as good as sex, more like a deep kiss.  Donations to AAUW’s Legal Advocacy fund and the County domestic violence unit.  My two favorites.

So what else have I been thinking about and missing?  Well, as I have said before clothing is my life.  Therefore, I shop.  I love the air in stores, the undercurrent, the lust.  It energizes me.  I remember being in Paris once hungry and tired but in track of a shop I had heard about.  I found it and revived like a flower in water.  Due to my own personal economic downturn I haven’t been able to do it for ages.  I am surprised.  This situation has made me less materialistic.  Clothes and cosmetics aren’t really part of this list. When I received word that things were going to be ok, I admit to flipping through a Smithsonian sales catalog and seeing some Christmas necklaces that would be wonderful for my elves next year.

So what else is on the list?  I want a car.  I wanted one for my milestone birthday.  And not just any car, a “luxury” car.  I am known for saying carwise I am OK with a box, wheels and a radio.  I certainly do not see a car as a reflection of who I am.  My ex-husband and my brother always derided me for that.  I wanna Buick, like the commercial.  It’s cute.  My brother-in-law who is amazing with dealers and dollars couldn’t make it work for me.  The car represents getting something for me and for once not settling.  That’s what it’s about.

This is what I have learned during this setback, downturn, whatever you want to call it.  I no longer want to settle. Not in terms of what I do for a living, not in terms of a car, not in terms of my health.  Oh, right after car on my list I have sliders for Zumba for my sneakers and a personal trainer.

It’s been a huge lesson and one way or another, in my mind, I have won my lottery.

January 2016 Check In and Prior Year

Start of a New Year so it’s time to not only look back at the previous month but also state of being (so much more than health) for the last year.

How did I feel this past Year?

It was definitely a mixed year.  I had some highs and lows.  Getting the Ampyra and being able to walk more was great.  I also was able to get nice “things”.  It was an acknowledgement that I was good enough.  I made my milestone.  I spent it with one of my best friends.  I lost 20 pounds because I ate right, not diet.

I lost my job and that’s what I did, it’s lost. So, maybe that’s a low.  We’ll see

How did I feel this past Month?

It’s the holidays – a bit frazzled.  I am surprised despite being home I didn’t get a lot done for the holidays. It’s like losing in a way.  Overall, a bit calmer.  Still trying to sort out.

What did you do for yourself this year?

Well, I did more exercise and was more mindful of my health.  The biggest thing is that I stood up on the job issue and have not taken it lying down.  I also validated myself  by believing I was good enough.

What did you do for yourself this month?

Well, the Elves Workshop was a blast.  I have more fun than they do.    Spent time with the kids which was great.  Applied for jobs like crazy.  Still trying to reconnect with me.  Restarted my gratitude journal and my journal.  The gym.

What did I eat this year and how did it make me feel

The beginning of the year was better than the end.  I slowly drifted off plan.  It clearly reflects in my health.

What did I eat this month  and how did it make me feel

Uh,  holidays?  Totally lost it.  Last year I didn’t touch the cookies.  This year I ate them all!  Still tried to mitigate when possible.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel

I am going to answer for both the month and the year.  I increased it this year.  Partly due to the Ampyra, and part due to what I wanted and needed.  After the job ended, I started the gym more.   However, it’s not like in times past.  I realize it’s because I can’t take classes so miss the social bits.

For whom or what are you grateful?  What matters most in life?

Again, I feel blessed, especially at this time of year.  I can still walk.  I have friends I love and who love me.  Life is still full of possibilities.  I still feel joy.  Friends, health and love are what matter.

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement

Still working on that mission statement.  I am thinking about joy.  Someone commented recently that I have always been smiling since I was a child.  And she should know.  So sharing that joy.    And whilst I don’t want to be a poster child, I am partly out about the MS.  Okay, I still don’t accept it.  However, if coming out prevents people being treated the way I have been jobwise, then so be it.  I guess at the end of the day I want my life to have mattered and changed someone else’s positively

Conventional medicine  Just the Ampyra and Baclufan.  Waiting for coverage for the biotin

Symptoms – Well the stress hasn’t helped.  I am a bit weaker.  My balance is the pits.  My hands are going but I am fighting.

What symptoms are most troublesome  – Walking as always. A bit wobbly too.

Do I blame myself for things – Same as always. Of course! Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. However, getting back to me, slowly, slowly but surely!

How is stress level?

Moderate.  There are days it peaks for sure.  When I take money out of savings to live and when I have to charge things.  But not commuting is so huge.  This still applies.  Feeling not working but am optimistic.  Stress is down a bit and manageable.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?

So aside from my Christmas pudding, a serious return to the right eating, sticking with the gym, gratitude and attitude.

Make 2016 count!

Politics, Friendship, and Mortality

I just found out a few hours ago that one of my childhood friends passed away in his sleep last night.  Losing anyone so young is hard.  Well young is relative but I still feel relatively young and as my former sister-in-law said earlier this year “anyone dying before 80 is young.”

So, my mother worked with his father and we grew up on the same street.  His dad drank heavily and so did he but that’s what we did then.  He transferred in high school to an exclusive Catholic high.  I went to college with 6 boys from that school.  They told me that his drinking so disgusted them that they themselves threw him off the bus.  We used to drink at the same bar in our late teens and early twenties.

A memory – the New Year’s Eve  I was 21, I ended up at a party at his house with my two best friends.  The other Tress(same name) and I had dates.  Let’s put it this way, she was going out with Donnie and when I was around we used to double with his best friend who was called Hoppy, seriously.  He was far from hoppy but around 6 foot something and a solid 200 pounds plus.  He was a time filler for me.  Our other friend was just along for the ride.  Our original plan was to have a sleepover at my parents and then the guys came up with this party plan.  Somehow towards the end of the evening we ended up at J’s house.  His parents were there and some others too.  Not mine; not only did they no longer go out on New Years anymore but my mother didn’t like his father – read heavy drinker.  And it must have been very heavy as the first time I was drunk in public  was at her boss’s home(same company)  when I was around 16.  Different era, different mores.  Anyway,  Hoppy takes me over to his parents “Ma, Dad, this is the girl I have been telling you about.”  Big shock to me.  I don’t, didn’t do relationships, especially at that age.  So I am doing the drunken nice girl chat with parents and when I get away, M,  my other friend is in Hoppy’s lap, cooing to him “I want it and want it now.”  Different era, stumbled out of the house and walked the two long blocks home including one block that was a ballfield.  And it was a four lane road opposite parkway woods and a parkway.  A drunk 20-something couldn’t do that now.  Went into the house and my parents called out and asked where everyone else was.  The other Tress is with Donnie at J’s house and M?  M is f*cking her brains out with Hoppy”  Now you have to understand that was a big evil word then and I am known for not using “bad” words.  Upshot?  Parents yell at me for the profanity and M  comes in much later.  The other Tress never spoke to her again.  I am more forgiving but have to admit that I saw her in the subway 20 years ago or so and she was completely grey! Revenge is a dish best served cold.

At that point in time,  J was getting his life back together.  We used to hang in the same bar and have drinks. He was working at the local grocery store stocking frozen food.  He was going back to school.  He was very, very smart.  We had always been in the advanced class.  Then he said he made a girl pregnant that he didn’t even really like (it may have been the alcohol talking) and that was it.

Fast forward years and the advent of FB.  He was mad crazy about his grandson and was a successful guy.  Our high school always has a picnic and three years ago, I went.  Topic for another day.  There’s a candid shot of the two of us jabbering away.

 

But and there is always a but, he was far right and I am far left.  I grew up in Levittown and far right is the way most people lean but back in the day things didn’t seem as absolute.  I always knew that my views were not held by most.  J and I had a teacher in 7th grade who on reflection probably was in the John Birch society.  I vaguely reflect an argument over my not saying the Pledge of Allegiance with J.  Still, see above, we drank together.  However, I just couldn’t take it on FB.  As we and society have aged, we have become more polarized.  I hate hate speech.  Uh, yeah Levittown – 99.6 or 99.7 white when I was growing up.  I was at a high school dinner in Levittown a few summers ago and they were talking about how Nixon was right with Watergate not ‘Nam but Watergate.  Put Obama into the picture and just imagine.  I have only unfriended one person on FB and it was another elementary school onwards person with racist hate.  So, I hid J.  I only saw innocuous likes.

I knew he had moved back onto the Island from a neighboring state.  Today,  I see that he was right here in my town.  He was truly a part of my growing up.  Because I hid him, I didn’t know.  We could have and should have been able to move beyond politics to that common childhood.

When did we as a society become so divisive?  I recently read that people are deciding where to move based on the overall political makeup of an area.  What happened to us?  Where is the veneer of tolerance?  Fake it till ya make it works sometimes.  We are cutting off discourse and therefore growth.  I am guilty.  I am thinking of what I missed the last few years by cutting J off.  It makes this loss huger.

We don’t know what Fate holds for us, why waste time.

I mourn for J and for missteps.

Carpe Diem.  RIP J and I’ll be lifting a glass to Auld Lang Syne.

December Warrior Check In

Oh my.  I am not working a job and just realized I missed!  I am changing the questions from today to the previous month.  It’s more accurate

How did I feel this past Month?

Well still mixed.  I am still not working.  I have been getting much needed rest.  It is grand not to wake in the 4 a.m.  hour.  Having no money – not so good.   I don’t feel right about decimating my savings.  I worked so hard to put that money away.  I was finally at a point where I felt comfortable.  I know life isn’t about being material, truly but it was nice to go to dinner at a nice place and not stress, to get nice “stuff”.  I am trying hard not to be angry and resentful as that takes away from me and only lets them win.  I do believe that the evil you do comes back to you so I know the person behind what’s been happening will get it back in spades.  The way the world and life works I may not see it and that’s alright.  I do know that this time though I am not going quietly into the night.  I am going to fight it to the best of my abilities and limited finances.  So, in a certain way it is empowering.  I have reflected on what I have walked away from.  I have always been a great walker. Uh, slightly sarcastic.  Instead of dealing with anything, I just walked away, sometimes literally.

What did you do for yourself this month?

See above.  The rest and exercise have been great.  A lot of reflection.  I have started to write more and reconnect with people.  I am also evaluating how I have and am living my life.  On the fun side, getting ready for the holidays.  The Elves workshop is this Sunday which gives me enormous joy.

What did I eat this month  and how did it make me feel

Trying to return to good eating slowly but surely.  It has to be the key.  What I have been thinking is that it really specific to each person within parameters.  So no gluten is a no brainer.  Eggs, not so sure.  Definitely non-processed.  Sugar is bad.  I don’t think it’s possible to cut it out completely but it can be taken way down.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel – I am going to the gym on a regular basis.  It’s showing in my waist but not so much my legs.  I am not walking enough now that I am not working.  This has been complicated by my fitness trackers not being accurate.  I understand for the holidays that situation is going to be fixed.  I am not getting the same addiction to exercise that I have had in the past.  It is partially due to the fact that I can’t do exercise classes.  I have been faithful with my Zumba but am beyond frustrated that I cannot do what I used to.  In my mind I feel the rhythm and I know how simple it is and my body won’t do it.

For whom or what are you grateful?  What matters most in life?

Blessed, especially at this time of year.  We had all the kids the night before Thanksgiving.  It fulfilled a dream I used to have.  I had a family around a table, laughing and talking and eating good food.  I feel grateful that despite not having a job, I have a home and we can eat.  Oh and yes, we somehow managed for now to have decent medical coverage so I can get the drugs I need to keep on walking

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement

Alright, no mission statement yet.  I believe in principles and integrity.  Years ago a minister told me I had an enormous capacity for joy.   I haven’t lost it this go round yet.  It’s important to share joy.  I tell my little “elves” that every year.  So, I hope that is something I will leave behind. And I stand on principle, proud of that.  By fighting back, I am fighting for others too.  At Zumba, I have been told I am an inspiration.  I have never wanted seriously to be a poster child.  However, if I can show people I believe in my life maybe they can too.

Conventional medicine  Well, I received the Biotin but unfortunately it is too expensive for me to get without a job and is never covered by insurance

Symptoms – Walking deteriorating a bit I think but I see it directly relational to stress.  I am weaker.  I had problems with a 2.5 pound weight the other day.  I used to easily lift 45.  I have had a UTI which also has impacted me.

What symptoms are most troublesome  – Walking as always. A bit wobbly too.

Do I blame myself for things – Same as always. Of course! Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. However, getting back to me, slowly, slowly but surely!

How is stress level?

Moderate.  There are days it peaks for sure.  When I take money out of savings to live and when I have to charge things.  But not commuting is so huge.

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?  Eat properly, exercise, have an attitude of gratitude, be productive and positive.

Wishing all joy and health in this season of light and darkness.  We shine light in the darkness and then it ebbs into renewal.  Don’t you think?

November Warrior Check In

How do I feel today

Mixed.  I have been getting good rest.  Down side – I am out of work.  So,  I am not getting paid and there is confrontation in my future.  I am angry which is something that doesn’t agree with me.  However, it is an improvement of the stress that I have been undergoing since August.  I just want definitive closure which I don’t see for the definitive future.  It’s Sunday and I read the Times again!  I am slowly, slowly decompressing and getting back to me.

What did you do for yourself today?

I did my stepper and tried to recalibrate my tracker.  I am reading.  I will probably cook something healthy.  I will play with my tea business.  I calculated everything I have earned for the year so I can sort out my health insurance.

What did I eat today and how did it make me feel – Still thinking about food and making good choices.  I did do chocolate but I am doing so much less of it.  I am looking forward to cooking something from Two Moms  in the raw.

Did I exercise?  What did I do?  How did it feel – Well,  I did the stepper and will do so again.  I have been to the gym twice this week.  Being out of work, I will start going practically everyday as I know from previous experience, it’s the only way I will stay sane and healthy.  It feels good.

For whom or what are you grateful?  What matters most in life?

Ah, I am blessed.  Someone I knew a long time ago said I was one of the few people at school that was authentic and cool and still am.  Kinda validates what I am about.  Grateful that I have the wherewith financial and emotional to weather this storm.

I have an opportunity to focus on getting healthy.

Do I have a higher purpose or driving force in my life?   Make a mission statement

Driving force?  Well, I am standing on and committed to principle.  Hope it matters.

How long have I been treated with conventional medicine   I am going to start Biotin this week.Ampyra since April.  Baclufen.  I am seeing more and more about food.  I am thinking about mostly committing through the end of the year.  I should be at home and can couple it with exercise

The first time I had a symptom – June 2004 walking on the beach boardwalk.  This week I walked 11 blocks slowly during rush hour with a cane.  YeaH!

What symptoms are most troublesome  -still hung up on the ugly shoes!  And my hands seem to be weakening.  However, see stress rearing it’s ugly head.

Do I blame myself for things –  Of course! Yes, I am still blaming myself for not being aggressive against this. However, getting back to me, slowly, slowly but surely!

How is stress level?

Coming down a bit.  Last month, I was returning to uncertainty.  This month is uncertain in a different way.  I feel calmer all in all.  Not getting up around 4 a.m.  Is HUGE!

What can I do tomorrow to make it better than today?   Exercise, structure and move forward

Until next month.