Category Archives: Health Journey

Just Decide

How many times do you ponder what to do? You take hours, days, sometimes weeks to decide what to do.  Whether it be about what to wear in the morning, what route to take to work, what to make for dinner or big ticket items like what career to pursue, what doctor to see, what trip to take, what to do to be healthier, to lose weight, to eat better.  We all have decisions to make every day! And yes, decisions can be scary and they can be exhilarating all at the same time.

It’s not enjoyable to be stuck. It’s not fun to worry about what you should do or what you should not do. I recently spoke with someone who is dealing with Lyme’s.  He is sick, he’s tired, he’s tried several different options and now he’s immovable. He cannot decide which path to take.  Both paths have advantages and disadvantages. Both paths have scary options and desired options. Both paths have unknown results and consequences.  He cannot take both paths, so I said pick one, any one, just pick!  He cannot gain any ground by sitting and thinking about it.  Yes, it may not be the right decision, but it’s a decision. You can always make a new decision. It could also be the best decision, it’s still a decision.  It’s a step forward; it’s putting everything into motion, its moving ahead….its getting unstuck!

Once you decide, you will feel like you’ve already won!  You are more than half way there by just deciding!  Deciding is the first step in learning, in knowing, in finding the desired outcome.  You have 100% control.   I encourage you to look at your pending decisions, look at your options, review all possible scenarios, but whatever you do, just decide!

What did you decide to do today?

Lori

Laughter

On my way into work this morning, I was listening to Joel Osteen on XM radio. He was speaking today on the benefits of laughter.  For those who know me…..I love to laugh! I love to laugh with friends, with coworkers, with family, really with anyone.  I love the “catch your breath” moment when I can’t stop laughing or when the tears are streaming down my face from laughing so hard. Everyone loves to laugh, right? I bet you can remember a time when you had a really good belly laugh!

The message today reminded me of when the girls and I were driving down to visit my father (I’ll give an update on him shortly) one day earlier this summer. On our drive, we played a game where we think of things we are hoping to see like llamas, a pink water tower or maybe a tractor driving alongside the road and if one of the things we listed is found, then the person scores points.  After accumulating a certain number of points, the person gets a prize. Most of the time, the girls get something from DQ and I get the girls agreeing to vacuum the house for a week. Win/win, right?  Well, this was the first time we were playing this game and I said brown cows thinking brown cows were not as common as black cows. To my disbelief, within 2 minutes we drove by a farm with at least 100 brown cows in the pasture.  Are you serious?  OMG!  I couldn’t believe it!  Who would have thought?

We broke out in hysterical laughter. I almost had to stop the car because we were laughing so hard.  It was awesome!  I think we smiled the entire way to Tyler and back after such a great, catch your breath, tears streaming laugh!  I share this story because I learned several things that day.  I learned “brown” cows are not rare, I learned a good laugh can make your day, your week or even your month more delightful and I learned the memory of that moment will bring so many more laughs for years to come!  Yes…we still laugh every time we drive by!

It’s these moments that make me cherish my life and make me so grateful for my girls, the laughter they give me and just the precious gift of laughter! I encourage you to laugh today.  A small, medium or big laugh will make your day and maybe even your week so much more joyful and happy! And I believe everyone can use a little happiness and joy in their lives!

As promised, my father is stable at this time.  His kidneys are functioning around 11% and his heart is working fiercely to keep up!  With 24×7 care and three solid meals a day, I think he is doing quite well! Thank you for you continued prayers and kind thoughts!

P.S. Don’t forget to laugh today! 🙂

Second Chance

Summer brings many storms, but there is something about watching the lightning spread across the night sky that makes me appreciate how powerful Mother Nature can be. I also appreciate how powerful prayers can be along with second chances. What started out as an ordinary weekend with a trip to Tyler to visit my father turned into a weekend of many prayers, tears and a second chance.

My daughters and I went down Friday afternoon to visit with my dad who was feeling pretty good after experiencing a couple of weeks of complications – from showing signs of a stroke to excessive water retention due to his failing kidneys. He was in great spirits when we left! However, when we returned Saturday morning, things had changed. He was experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath and nausea.  They moved him to the hospital for monitoring and testing. After a few tests they determined he had a mild heart attack sometime Friday evening and was continuing to aFib (irregular, rapid heart rate). By noon, the doctor came in and told my dad that he will likely go into cardiac arrest sometime within 5 to 48 hours. My dad has a ‘do not resuscitate’ order so if/when that happens the hospital will not do anything to stop it. The doctor did not believe my dad would survive much longer, yet the hospital would continue to give him medicine to slow his heart rate (140 bpm) and lower his blood pressure (170/140) to give him comfort along with morphine to ease his pain.

I made several phone calls to our family. At 4pm, the pastor from his church came to pray and give him his final communion, and talks of funeral arrangements were underway. I sat with my dad that afternoon saying my goodbyes.  I told him I did not want him to suffer, but I needed him here. I did not want to lose my biggest supporter, I did not want our daily check-ins to end, and I did not want to lose my dad. He told me to continue to fight for my health, to do what I can to be and feel healthy but he felt this was the end and told me to live a happy and good life but he needed to go now.

Then at 8pm something, I cannot explain, happened. A switch was flipped. My prayers were answered. A miracle occurred. My dad had been stabilized and the doctor believed he would pull through. By 9pm, my dad was sitting up, talking and eating. By Sunday morning, he was a different person. He said he hasn’t felt this good in months. I watched in disbelief. I sat there in shock at the sudden change of events. It really was like someone flipped a switch and he was fine.

I have not cried as hard as I did this weekend. I have not felt such heart ache as I did seeing my dad so close to death. And I have never witnessed a miracle as I did Saturday night. My dad was given a second chance. The doctor came into his room Sunday morning and said “Tom, it obviously wasn’t your time to go! I didn’t think you would survive beyond 7pm last night.” My mom also told my dad that God gave him a second chance; that his work wasn’t done here. She asked my dad if he knew why. He looked at me and said…. “she’s sitting right across from me!”

I cannot express the emotions I experienced this weekend. Such sadness and heart ache to shock, joy and gratitude for more time with my dad. I thank God for answering my prayers and for giving my dad the gift of more time…for giving him a second chance. I am also so grateful for my mom for coming at a moment’s notice, to Michelle for coming down to help with the girls, to Katie for making a trip down to bring me things from my house, to Diane for opening up your home to my mother and I and finally to all the family and friends who visited, sent messages, called or just said prayers for my dad. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

As I sit here this morning, I am filled with such great emotions and still remain in awe at the miracle I witnessed this weekend and am so very grateful and humbled at my dad’s second chance!  When I called him this morning the first thing he said was “It’s so great to hear your voice.”  I could not agree more, Dad!

Tough Lesson

Summer is unofficially here – my girls are almost done with school and road construction has started!  Enjoying the warmer weather makes my commute to and from work so much more satisfying when I can have the windows down and the sunroof open!

Update on my treatment:  I’m one month complete and have to report it’s been going much better than expected!  I definitely have my tough days, but overall, its been manageable.  I still need 1-2 naps a day (yes, sleeping in my car at work is not beneath me) yet feel my energy level is slightly improving.  Hoping round two this month brings even better results!

As some may gather from my book and this blog, I am a fighter.  I want to be healthy. I will do whatever I can to have a good quality of life, and ultimately, whatever I can do to improve my health.  I’ve learned that not everyone has this same attitude. I’ve learned some people, while they value health and life (and may have very different circumstances than I) are not willing to go the extra mile to maintain it, improve it or just keep it.  The hard part for me is I learned this recently from my father.  His health is failing. He has many problems including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure as well as not being able to get around without a wheelchair and has constant pain in his legs and feet.  This past week he was admitted to the hospital with kidney failure. He was given the option of dialysis, but he refused.  He has now been admitted to hospice. He has made the tough decision to not fight for his health, for his life.  I do understand his health isn’t good.  What’s so saddening for me is he has been my biggest cheerleader when it comes to my health, yet he feels so differently about his.  This is a tough lesson to learn especially when it comes directly from my father. I will have to accept his decision, because it is his to make, but I will reiterate that I believe yours (and his) health matters, and its worth fighting for!

Finally, please keep my dad, Tom, in your prayers for his continued comfort and peace.

Lyme’s DNA

I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a sabbatical from here, or maybe life in general, so its good to be back! While I’ve been away, life did throw all sorts of twists and turns at me, but I can confidently say my navigation skills have been challenged and I think they are almost perfected now!

The distractions have been good; however, they have caused me to delay starting a new treatment. The treatment is a doozy, so I’ve been prolonging the start for a couple of weeks now.  The treatment consists of 20 vials of Lyme’s DNA which I take one vial every three days for the next two months.  The vials become stronger as I continue the treatment.  The positive side is this will help build up my immune system to fight Lyme’s now and in the future.  The less positive aspect is I am now putting Lyme’s DNA into my body. Yikes!  More Lyme’s means more symptoms.  More symptoms mean not feeling well.  Not feeling well means I really need to look on the bright side!  Yep, this will make me feel better in the long run!  So with a queasy stomach, a heavy heart, a quick prayer for strength and tears in my eyes, I took my first vial this morning.

Happy to report, I’m still standing (of course its still morning!) Admittedly, I am proud of myself for putting my big girl pants on today and taking the plunge! High five!  As I continue with the treatment, I’m going to wake up every day saying I feel terrific!  Positive mind, positive attitude, positive results!

My encouragement to you….take time today, this week, or this month to improve and celebrate your health….take it from me….It really is worth it!

Slowing Down

A warm (almost) spring day has made me appreciate the days I can leisurely go about my day.  Myself, like most people, run from activity to activity without any hesitation….Basketball tournaments, hockey practice, piano, work, appointments, and just everyday must-do life activities.  While all of these activities are probably necessary, I tend to forgot about the days I can sit and read a book for an hour, go for a bike ride with my girls or just take my dog for a short walk.

I found today after spending the afternoon enjoying the sun on my face as I walked through the park and finding a little bit of time to sneak in a 30 minute nap, made me refocus on the advantages of slowing down and taking some time to appreciate the simpler things in life.  The sound of cars driving by, kids playing outside or just listening to the wind blowing in the window.  Its days like these that make the craziness of everyday life more enduring and gratifying.

I am personally very grateful for the quiet, relaxing days – I vote we have more of them.  I challenge you, today, to take a few minutes to slow down. I think you, like myself, will also succumb to the benefits of just slowing down.

New Love

I’ve found a new love!  He’s sweet, loves to cuddle, smiles and only has eyes for me (just ask my sister…she was feeling a little left out!) His name is Luke and he’s all of 8 pounds and 2 1/2 weeks old.  I just returned from a quick visit to Portland where I met my new nephew and honestly fell in love the second I laid eyes on him!  I couldn’t put him down as he melted my heart with every little coo and cry.  I miss him already and its only been 6 hours!  Always difficult to leave family especially when they are so cute and cuddly!

Returning quite emotional from a short trip, I am excited to visit my doctor again tomorrow.  I finished the new meds more than a week ago and have been feeling rough since.  I thought the medicine, while I was taking it, was supposed to make me feel bad. Yet I felt fine until I finished it. Go figure.  I am more than curious to hear what the doctor has to say about that…..I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m unique!

After spending some quality time with my sister and her family, I am feeling refreshed and grateful for an opportunity to see the miracle of life and mostly just some quality time to hug, squeeze and kiss my new love!  May you be blessed with such miracles in your life too!

Needed Girl Time

Sun, sand and ocean….Yes that was the theme for 5 days on a quick getaway with two dear friends!  We laughed, talked, cried, relaxed, swam and laughed some more!  Maybe had a fun, fruity drink in there too!  It was an experience the three of us will be talking and laughing about for months!  Already planning our trip for next year!  I did not realize how much a little girl time could change my perspective and make everything seem fun, refreshing and normal for a short period of time!  Oh memories really do last a lifetime!

Overall, December has been a good month for feeling better. Only one nap a day so life is good!  I will start a new treatment in January which I hear can be a bit rough, but I’m grateful for the short glimpse of how I can feel when my health is improving!  Cannot imagine what 100% feels like, but its getting closer!

Finally, don’t forget to make time for yourself today and even sneak away with some friends to experience the pure joy of friendship and learn what sun and laughter can do for one’s outlook!  Amazing!  Thank you girls!

85% Human

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!  Still in surprise the holidays are almost upon us and yet it feels like 2015 just started! Ok, not just started, but its already November 22…Seriously – this year has flown by! So much to be thankful for this time of year…please remember to take a few moments to think about all the wonderful events, memories, people and opportunities that came your way!

I’m thankful for my strong, never failing, body.  I’m 6 weeks into my new treatments and feeling the effects, both good and bad, on a daily basis. When its a bad day, I wish I could just sleep, not move and sometimes not even think. When I do have energy, I’m happy, humble and, most of all, I feel about 85% human!  I’m grateful for the good days and am beginning to tolerate the bad days. Soon there will be more good days…

As I navigate the new waters, I’m humbled by my body’s response. I appreciate and am thankful my body hasn’t given up!   What I’ve found most helpful is to calm my mind, relax my body and just let the storm pass.  There’s a rainbow after every storm!

Be blessed, be safe and be thankful this Thanksgiving!

Rough Road

I love the fall season in Minnesota with the colorful leaves and the fall decorations like big spiders on people’s doors or scary things hanging from the entryways! Just love it.  Although it also means we are coming upon “Why do I live here season?”  Don’t get me wrong- I enjoy winter; however, I sometimes think I should live somewhere warmer and just enjoy winter from afar!  A girl can dream!

I started treatment for Lyme’s Disease two weeks ago and treatment for SIBO this past Monday.  Honestly, I have to admit – IT IS KICKING MY BUTT!  My doctor said both treatments could make me feel lousy!   Lousy is an understatement.  I generally have pretty high tolerance for anything but when my daughters have to put me to bed at nights, that’s when I know its been a rough road!  Battling with severe fatigue and abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, RLS, blurred vision, night sweats, etc, etc, etc.  Remember this is only the physical side effects, my emotional and mental state is for another blog post!

I am still trying to find humor in all of this which was the case when I made my dad chuckle the other night when I talked to him.  He said he was worried about me.  So I told him I was worried about me too!  Thanks Dad! A little laughter goes a long way especially since this has been the toughest week yet.

On the bright side….. I hope I turned the corner today.  I was able to shower and get ready this morning without thinking how much time do I have to nap before starting my day!  I’m still severely fatigued, but a little more energy and a little less of everything else!  As I say in my book…I may not be where I want to be, but I’m doing the best I can right now!

“When life gets hard, challenge yourself to be stronger” –Unknown

I wish you a joy filled day today and may your Halloween be filled with lots of scary stories, chocolate candy and little smiles as the children run up to your door.