living her best life…#33

Last week Pat wasn’t feeling so great. Not because of her chemotherapy treatment, but as a result of the side effects of homeopathic supplements prescribed by her naturopath intended to boost her immune system. It’s always trial and error attempting to learn what works and what doesn’t. 

Since then Pat’s had an awesome experience which I’m certain gave her spirit the boost she needed. No doubt about it.

Just won the Division II State Championship Soccer title!!!

Brad and I are not at the stadium. We watched the game on TV. The team won handily, beating Kamehameha Hawaii from the big Island by 7 to 1. 

It was so cool to see all the boys on TV as well as the parents whenever the cameras panned the crowd. What touched me most was hearing the announcers mention that the white arm bands worn by the boys were for “Aunty Pat.” There was also a colorful poster hanging in the stands which read…Get well Aunty Pat…from da Boys. Seeing that brought a lump to my throat.

Not only did we get to watch the game, but we were also provided dinner by one of the soccer families. Lynn and her son Justin had dropped the meal off earlier in the day. This is the fourth week our soccer friends have provided us with prepared food.

I’m still in awe at the level of support we continue to receive.

The team, along with their families and friends, are celebrating tonight’s win with a big potluck just outside the stadium. Another family took candy leis we’d provided to give to the boys from us. They will be up to their eyeballs in leis…literally! They will probably be bursting with pride as each of them has his picture taken with the trophy. 

Finally, the parents can let out a big sigh of relief. The season is nearing an end. All that’s left is the end-of-the-year banquet which is always tons of fun. It’s what we did last year…and previous ones as well. Can you tell we kinda miss it?

Anyway, just wanted to share this moment as it was quite special and meaningful for both Brad and me.

Chat again soon…

…love you always…

…and all my supporters.

………pat…and hugmamma.

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living her best life…#32: second cycle of treatment

More from Pat as we continue to follow her journey through the everyday challenges of living with…multiple myeloma and amyloidosis.

Received the following last thursday.

Hi [hugmamma]…

It’s now after 1 a.m.. The steroids make it hard to sleep. It’s not like I’m bouncing off the walls. I feel tired, but I just can’t fall asleep. Brad’s snoring doesn’t help. Since Aiden left for college, I can use his bed if I get desperate.

Yesterday was the first day of my second 4-week treatment cycle. Fortunately, it went just fine…like the previous cycle of treatments.

There were a lot of patients again today. I’m getting use to it.

I took the last available seat when my name was called. Sitting next to me was the woman I saw during a previous appointment who was just beginning her treatment. Her daughter was with her again. They both smiled at me. I didn’t recognize them at the time, but now that I think about it…that’s who they were.

Unlike previously, I did not feel guilty about doing better than others. I realized we all cope in our own way.

Those with seemingly lengthy treatments have family popping in now and then to ensure all is well. Some are talking on their cell phones. Some are preoccupied with their IPads or laptops. And some are enjoying their snacks…as if they were at home in their favorite recliner. I had to smile at one guy who was out like a light…”sawing some serious wood.” As for me, I was able to write some overdue thank you notes. Now I just have to remember to mail them tomorrow. [hugmamma here: Pat remembered. Her thank-you note to my husband and me read…

Thank you for the Valentine’s Day gifts.

I really enjoyed the movie MALEFICENT! And Ethan hasn’t found the chocolates yet.

Thank you also for your continued love and support. Those quick text messages are a great comfort. And the emails and blog keep me in the right frame of mine.

I miss you guys and can’t wait until we can visit in person.

Love always…Pat.

[hugmamma here:These words brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Lucky for me, I married her brother…and gained…a loving…lovely…younger sister.]

I was with three other patients towards a back corner of the room. We were all facing one another and it seemed as though we were in our own separate sitting area. I thought “Wouldn’t it be fun if we were all chatting gaily while having mani-pedis???” Hmmm…I wonder if the Oncology Department has a suggestion box?

Before going in for my treatment, Brad and I went to visit his parents. I think it helped for them to see me looking like my old self. When they offered lunch, I was so hungry I said “YES, PLEASE!!!”

Evidently I’d not had enough, because after my treatment I went to Costco’s food court while Brad was in Home Depot. I felt no guilt as I enjoyed a mocha freeze. I need the calories!

Took my home meds. Much easier with regular pills that dissolve more readily than the gel-coated capsules. Still tastes yucky though!

Over the weekend I had started a food journal as the dietitian I’m seeing had suggested. It made me aware of what I was eating which is something I want to continue. Journaling also ensured I ate…AND made smarter choices. At least I think I did. What I’m not certain about is if I ate enough. I emailed the information to the dietitian, so I’ll see what she says.

Browsed through my cancer-fighting cookbook and made a shopping list. Looking forward to trying the recipes.They sound pretty good and I think my family would enjoy them as well. Most of them contain ingredients which I already have or which I readily recognize. I’m sure I can find what I need at Whole Foods or in the organics/health foods sections of our local grocery stores. I must confess to only recently discovering these aisles. Imagine how shocked my shopping cart was…as it rolled warily through uncharted territory!

Looking forward to the weekend. Have a Reiki session with Mica on Sunday morning. And the State Soccer Tournament is also this weekend. Aiden’s high school team, MPI, is the number one seed for Division II.

That’s it for another “new normal” day. I’m going to try and get some sleep so I’m not dragging tomorrow. I’ve got a lot of healthy shopping to do!

Love you always…[and your family].

…and hugs to all who continue to offer…love and support.

…pat………and hugmamma.

living her best life…#22

Received the following from Pat on Saturday, 1/31/15.

Hi hugmamma…

Just checking in.

Today was nice and sunny with just enough trades to keep the house cool.

I had an appointment with Dr. Burke [the naturopath] today. I updated him on the meds I’m taking, and how my first two [chemotherapy] treatments went. He says we’re on the right path regarding the homeopathic supplements he’s given me.

As always, I felt better afterwards.

Mica [my niece] came over this afternoon for a Reiki session with me. It was wonderful. She set up her table outside on the back patio, in the shade. I was looking up at the sky. It’s difficult to explain how it felt…but I was comfortable and relaxed the entire time. Mica said my body was “humming” with life…not in a Frankenstein-ish way…but in a good way!!! LOL!!!

Family friends Tami and Steve also stopped by to drop off some Chinese soup, which I’m enjoying as I write. 

Tami and I were team parents for MPI, [my son] Aiden’s high school soccer team. Her son is a year younger so she’s still a team parent this year. 

Generously, Tami explained that she’s organizing other parents to provide meals for my family once a week. I said I didn’t want folks going to a lot of trouble, but she explained that it would be completely voluntary. No one would be pressured to participate. I thanked her, knowing Ethan and Brad will definitely be appreciative.

I enjoyed the post about Alzheimer’s, and will follow Greg O’Brien’s story. 

It’s amazing how many “stories” are out there, and the resilience and strength demonstrated by the storytellers.

Soup’s gone! I’m going to heat up more. “Talk” again soon.

…love to you and yours…always.

………pat

journeying towards her best life…#19: hello…goodbye…and stuff in-between

Had a nice, long chat with Pat this evening.

Nice and long for me.

Probably tolerable for Pat. 

I’m guessing she was fine with it.

She laughed the entire time.

Never disagreeable.

Pat finds everything I say funny.

Actually, so do I.

Hilarious, really.

Like a screwball…bouncing from topic to topic.

It’s the new diet book I just bought.

To wishing I were there…eating Hawaiian plate lunches. 

It’s about available housing near The Mayo Clinic for her recovery stay.

To my scouring the internet for light fixtures for our upcoming remodel.

It’s asking if her son has a new girlfriend.

To how long before homeopathic supplements kick in.

It’s agreeing that Brad is one savvy guy.

To Pat’s knowing one of her good friends since 6th grade.

It’s her having lost about 30 pounds.

To Filipinos thinking I’m Filipino.

It’s learning that Julie was celebrating her birthday with family on The Big Island.

To Pat’s son texting and calling her regularly.

It’s her wishing she could just yank out her shaky back teeth.

To Jennifer’s Super Bowl Party…minus kids.

It’s Pat’s great conversations with her sons, as she drove them hither and yon.

To my daughter laughing at how I jump from topic to topic…making it difficult for her to keep up.

It’s recipes high in calories to help Pat build up her immune system.

To my husband’s being a little “under the weather.”

It’s how dad…my father-in-law…probably only spoke when he had something to say.

To me me saying I chatter…to fill the silence.

It’s how helpful sister-in-law Bev’s therapeutic massage is for Pat.

To how my legs ached the day after carrying…my darling, almost 1-month-old, great-nephew…up and down his parents’ steps so he’d fall back to sleep.

It’s how much Mel, a co-worker and great friend, misses Pat.

To not being able to postpone her colonoscopy…and tolerating the stuff she has to drink the day before.

It’s Pat’s continuing to feel good.

And to her living in the moment.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat.

Then talking her ears off for another half-hour.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat again.

Then talking her ears off…again…for another half-hour.

It’s Pat saying…”Okay. Goodbye, Millie.”

Then hanging up the phone.

My hubby, Pat’s brother, did get a word in…

…edgewise…and sideways…in under 8 minutes.

………hugmamma.

journeying towards her better life…#8

Forgot to post the following earlier in Pat’s journey…

I met with my Naturopath, [Dr. Burke], I told him everything and what was likely coming in the way of a diagnosis. He asked me if people were treating me differently. I said no because we hadn’t told anyone exactly what was going on…we wanted to be sure first.

[The Doc] got me thinking. How [would] people react and [would] they treat me differently? I don’t want to be treated differently. After all, I haven’t changed.

After [I got] the official diagnosis, the first two people I told were my friends at work…my boss Tammy, and Mel. They knew everything I was going through from the beginning, so it was only logical [to tell them.] And the timing was right.

I thought about what Doc said and was pleasantly surprised the next day. When I saw that my in-tray was FULL, [my] initial reaction was a very loud…sssiiiggghhh. Then I thought…OK. We’re good here.

…off to a good start.

………pat.

nurturing thursdays: i am taking care of you…as shared by pat

For those of you not yet familiar with my current undertaking, I am penning the journey of a dear friend and relative, Pat, as she wends her way through a thorny maze on her way to living her best life. 

You might say that Pat is awaiting her Prince Charming. He who will kiss her lips thereby restoring her to the life she knew before Maleficent cast an evil spell upon the unsuspecting Princess.

In real life, Pat is suffering not one but two, rare diseases which are no match for a hunky Prince Charming, let alone a lightweight like Princess Pat. Hunkering down within her, for the long haul, are Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis. Both involve an overproduction of amyloid protein cells which are deposited into organs with potentially devastating consequences. 

Pat is undergoing chemotherapy for MM and is contemplating a stem cell transplant at The Mayo Clinic some time in the future. As for AL, she will have to manage its symptoms with whatever resources are available to her. Besides a medical doctor, Pat is seeing a naturopath, an accupuncturist, and a massage therapist. With the approval of her physician she has taken a supplement to reduce the swelling to her tongue. That symptom alone has caused her to lose 20 pounds because she is unable to chew her food. Juices are about all she can manage these days.

Following is a passage from JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young which was sent to Pat by niece Kelli, one of many who are showering our dear relative with loving care and concern. 

I AM TAKING CARE OF YOU.

Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence. Every detail of your life is under My control. Moreover, everything fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me and are called according to My design and purpose.

Because the world is in an abnormal, fallen condition, people tend to think that chance governs the universe. Events may seem to occur randomly, with little or no meaning. People who view the world this way have overlooked one basic fact: the limitations of human understanding. What you know of the world you inhabit is only the tip of the iceberg. Submerged beneath the surface of the visible world are mysteries too vast for you to comprehend. If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you. This is why you must live by faith, not by sight; trusting in My mysterious, majestic Presence.

ROMANS 8:28 (AMP); JOB 42:1-3
1 PETER 5:7; 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7

…we are never alone…

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy other inspirational writings at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/nurturing-thurs-let-it-go/ 

journeying towards her best life…#4

Hillary Clinton first coined the phrase…“It takes a village.” The truth in those three words is becoming increasingly more apparent as the population of the world continues to explode.

As Pat settles in with her adversarial companions, Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis, she will need a village to help sustain her spirits and keep her health from being completely sabotaged.

Sister Kathi and niece Kelli recommended Pat see their Naturopath, Dr. Burke.

Kathi warned me that he could be a little quirky and I thought…”Okay. No worries.”

Every time I see Dr. Burke, I laugh, that’s just the way it is.

To get to his office, I drive past Sandy Beach and Makapuu to Waimanalo, with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Needless to say it is calming. No freeway. No stop lights. One lane coming; one going. [There’s] traffic…sometimes, but it’s beach traffic. So it’s all good.

LOVE that side of the island. 

[Dr. Burke’s] office is in his house. So leave your slippers outside. It’s like going to a friend’s house to talk story.

He did some research on Amyloidosis and said there were studies on the different organs [into which] the amyloid proteins might deposit [themselves.] 

The studies included an investigation into whether or not the deposit of amyloid proteins in the brain might result in Alzheimer’s. Something that would have compounded Pat’s already overwhelming health concerns. Another disease with which she would have to cope. Fortunately, amyloid proteins do not nest in the brain. 

Dr. Burke gave his patient the good news…with a straight face. “So you won’t get any dumber than you already are.”

That was just what the doctor ordered for it brought Pat what she needed…sweet relief.

We cracked up almost to the point of tears and I told him that’s the nicest thing any one has ever said to me!

Seems Pat is pretty fond of her Naturopath for she “always feel[s] so much better after meeting with Dr. Burke.”

And in her own words…

…i think you would like him.

………pat.

 

 

gentle courage…

Earlier this evening I was on the phone speaking at length with a young woman of 50. She is the one whom I described in my previous email as having multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. I had called to offer my love and support during her hour of need. Instead we carried on with hilarity as we usually do on the rare occasion we’re together. You see she lives in Hawaii. I live in Washington State.

Fifteen years her senior, I marveled at my relative’s matter-of-fact outlook on her future. She’s taking each moment as it comes, doing what she can as opportunities arise. She’s taking supplements prescribed by a naturopath which were okayed by the attending medical doctor. She’s had accupuncture and will soon receive massage treatments. Obviously she is continuing a healthy diet, which includes veggies and fresh- caught fish…straight from the Pacific Ocean by way of her husband’s fishing pole.

Grateful not to receive any special treatment, my younger relative was taken aback when the day after she informed her coworkers of her health crisis, her office inbox was piled higher than usual with paperwork. No slacking there that’s for sure. And yet it’s good to know she’s valued for what she brings to the workplace.

Her husband too seems intent upon the family carrying on as usual. When I asked where he was, I was told “Oh, he’s at the beach.” Now how can anyone shed tears when these two refuse to let a couple of dumb diseases burst their bubble. In fact, when I asked if she was still working regular hours I had to laugh when the answer came back as a resounding “I worked the whole month of December, while my husband was off.” I asked what he was doing. “He went to the beach.” With their son.

Life goes on…as it should. Something about which we wholeheartedly agreed, my relative who’s a very dear friend, and me.

Half the battle is deciding to actively participate in getting better. Maybe having children gives moms no choice in the matter. And that’s a good thing. A great thing, in fact. We give life to our children, and they give us a reason to go on living.

A stem cell transplant may be the eventual route taken on the road to complete rehabilitation. Guaranteed family and friends will sustain our loved one as she goes for the championship in…the Mother of all Super Bowls. I for one will be right there with her, pummeling the enemy into mush. Without hesitation, she exclaimed she’d bet on me to win the fight. I called to lift her spirits, instead she gave my ego a boost.

I promised some comic relief for it was made clear that…

sadness was not part of the game plan.

………hugmamma.

 

 

doctoring…the old, fashioned way…with new possibilities

I’ve written previously that I often seek out alternative health practitioners to help resolve whatever physical issues I might be experiencing. While I do so wholeheartedly it is still not without hesitation at the thought of leaving behind the more familiar world of medical doctors. Those wizened, old men in white garb with stethoscopes dangling about their necks.

My husband and I thought the world of the last 2 doctors we saw with some regularity. They were both General Practitioners, not specialists. Drs. Kinnish and Purden had what many in the medical practice lack these days…a warm, bedside manner. We never felt rushed for time during appointments. We felt as though we had their undivided attention. We could ask questions and not feel dumb. We could even laugh at something funny.

While neither physician had all the answers, I felt as though they were in the trenches right alongside me trying to figure things out as best they could.

Dr. Kinnish retired at 67. Dr. Purden returned home to Canada to work as a hospital Medical Director and teach medicine to wannabe doctors. Both losses left me a little sad because of the compassionate human beings that they were, as well as my being left to seek out a new family doctor.

Even while I was seeing Dr. Purden, I began seeing a naturopath for digestive problems. With a thorough food allergy testing, she got me up and running better than I had been for a long time. Had I continued seeing her, I’m sure she could have helped me resolve other issues as well. Unfortunately, many naturopaths don’t accept insurance which makes filing claims a little tricky. Paying for services up front gets pricey, and dealing directly with insurance carriers can be a headache. Trust me! I use to work for one.

Well, lo and behold. I found a naturopath, Dr. Brooke, who files insurance claims on my behalf and accepts whatever is allowed. I just remit the copay. Hallelujah! And, as with most naturopaths, she’ll spend an hour with me if that’s what I require. I can ask all the questions I want. We can actually have a conversation about all the ailments I’m experiencing. There’s not the usual limitation as there can be with medical doctors…one symptom per appointment, please!

My latest venture with Dr. Brooke, and her colleague Dr. Kerns, is hormone replacement therapy.

Most women seek help when they go through “the change of life,” as my mother use to say. In other words, the dreaded…menopause. Contending with hot flashes and night sweats are debilitating, from what I’ve heard. I was one of the lucky few who didn’t experience these dastardly symptoms. My main problem was insomnia. I don’t think it helped that I was a night owl, inclined to stay up way past the bewitching hour. As I got older, vaginal dryness was also something with which I had to contend.

There are medical resolutions to the menopausal dilemma, such as Premarin. The fact that its literature specifically states there might be a small chance of contracting cancer put me off. And then when I learned it was derived from, of all things, horse’s urine, I was really turned off.

As I started to feel better with the thyroid supplement Dr. Brooke prescribed, and my fibromyalgia symptoms subsided, I began discussing the possibility of doing hormone replacement therapy, specifically The Wiley Protocol. Up to that point it had helped relieve my dryness symptoms.

Following several discussions I decided to take the plunge, beginning treatment a few months ago. No expert yet, I’m still trying to acclimate myself to the nuances of HRT. I don’t prescribe it for others, unless they’ve done their own research. The decision to alter the course of one’s life is individual. There are pluses and minuses to everything.

What I can speak to is my own experience.

Mine has been a hectic 2014 thus far…having a young adult back in the fold as she decided the next step in her career…a bath remodel that had its hiccups throughout…a dear pet whose life has disintegrated with chronic sciatica…a couple of roundtrip flights which hyper-activates my fibromyalgia…and moving my dancer daughter 3,000 miles away for the second time in a year.

Amazingly enough, with a few late mornings of sleeping in after recently returning from helping my daughter with her move, I have been…good to go. No. I’ve been…great to go! A call from my chiropractor’s office asking if I needed an appointment met with a resounding…”No! I’m fine. Thank you for calling though.”

While I may look the same on the outside…a bulging midriff…chipmunk cheeks…sagging chest…I feel more youthful on the inside. And with that, I can keep on…keeping on.

Baby Boomers are expected to live longer, thanks to technology advancing at the speed of light. However longer lives don’t mean better lives. Our internal clocks have not been altered. We’re still genetically tied to our ancestors whose lives were shorter by decades.

There’s no fountain of youth. Only possibilities which might help give us quality of life for as long as we live.

…and that…I can live with.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

the writing process blog hop

A big ALOHA to all who dabble in the written word…writers and readers alike.

A movement is afoot…The Writing Process Blog Hop! 

From what I gather it’s an effort to encourage more interaction among those who plug into the Internet. Writers like me hope our stories resonate with folks who seek inspiration, compassion, information, relaxation or just want a good laugh.

Claudia Anderson at http://humoringthegoddess.com/ provides all of the above in her blog, a perspective of life through the lens of middle-aged eyes. There’s a little something for everyone…soulful words…kindness and generosity…practical tidbits…bouts when she kicks back… and best of all…humor, both upright and downright. Let’s just say if you enjoy my writing, you’ll go crazy for Claudia’s. It was this goddess who  invited me to join others in stirring the pot, so to speak.

So let me get right to it…

What am I working on? 

At the moment? Nothing.

I’ve dabbled.

There’s a rather melodramatic memoir of life with my mother written before I began hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, back in 2010. I mistakenly submitted it to an artsy magazine in North Carolina. Or was it South Carolina? Either way, I got my manuscript back with a nice note suggesting I send it to a more appropriate publication. A nice rejection, but still…a rejection.

A short article I wrote for an online magazine never got a response. I was incensed when my wittily crafted tale about financing my hairdresser’s retirement to Belize did not garner the editor’s immediate attention. “Her loss!” I thought to myself, and moved on.

Even a joke I sent along to that old tried and true, Reader’s Digest, drew a blank.

Throwing my hands in the air, I turned to blogging…first on Google, then Oprah, finally landing on WordPress where I’ve happily remained until now.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ll take a stab at this one, not having compared myself to other writers in my…genre.

I prefer reading and, therefore, writing…nonfiction stories. My best work comes from what I experience personally. Whether I’m reading or writing, I draw from my own perceptions and personal experiences. Much of it has to do with my upbringing and how it influenced my life as a child, and as an adult.

I’m pretty sure most nonfiction writers subscribe to my methods. Only a few, however, probably write with tongue-in-cheek humor like me. Claudia Anderson being one of them. No small wonder then that we’re ga-ga over each other.

Why do I write what I do?

Why do most writers write what they write? Because of their passion for it! That’s why.

When I began blogging it was as though the thoughts in my head were constantly on the march, warring to be free. Unable to contain them any longer, I finally gave in and allowed them access to the outside world. From the dawning of one day to that of the next, I felt gagged and hog-tied to my computer. Most of the 1,000+ posts I have written on WordPress were published in the early years of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. Only recently have I been able to return to the land of the living.

Just a few days ago, one of my sister-in-laws, a faithful follower of my blog commented…”You’ve not been writing much lately.” A sure sign that I’ve finally said most everything that’s been bottled up inside my head these many, many years.

How does my writing process work?

Simple. I sit down at my laptop whenever I can spare a minute and just…write!

I’ve no magic formula, no set schedule, no hard and fast deadlines.

Writing for me is…sheer pleasure! Whenever I can spare a minute or two…or 30 or 60…I sit and type. Words clamoring to escape confinement spill forth…like children let out at recess.

One day, however, I will set about to publish an e-book or two. Something that’s near and dear to my heart…my daughter’s foray into the professional world of dance…what it means to grow up Hawaiian in America…the ups-and-downs and downs-and-ups of growing old. 

My hope is that you’ll want to...keep reading what I write!

Jennifer Soames, a Kinesis Myofascial Integration specialist, has graciously agreed to join in The Writing Process Blog Hop. Having published an E-book on her specialty, I am certain you will find a lot of good information which she’s more than happy to share. Whatever the focus of our writing, we all have a story to tell. Jennifer’s is that of helping folks live healthier lives. A topic which affects all of us. See my previous post where I write of Jennifer’s having done wonders for me. https://hugmamma.com/2014/08/26/happy-fascia-happy-me/

Jennifer Soames Bodywork Maple ValleyJennifer Soames, LMP, KMI/BCSI Is a Board Certified Structural Integrator, Licensed Massage Practitioner and author who has helped hundreds of people with chronic pain and limitations in their bodies. She is passionate about educating and empowering her clients to be an active participant in their own healing and transformation. (Photo/bio from her website.) http://instridebodywork.com/about-jennifer/

happy fascia…happy me…

A friend in need…that’s me. A friend indeed…that’s Jennifer.

Jennifer Soames of Instride Body Work has been my body’s friend for many years. She was referred to me by another friend. A good thing. Word of mouth referrals are always the best.

As a massage therapist, Jennifer brought relief to my aching muscles. Between her magic fingers and those of my chiropractor, Carrie Babcox of Issaquah Family Chiropractic, I was able to keep on…keeping on. A good thing in older age.

A few years ago Jennifer upgraded her skills to those of a Kinesis Myofascial Integration specialist. According to Wikipedia…

Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) is a form of Structural Integration (a form of alternative medicine). It involves fascial manipulation combined with movement education. KMI Structural Integration is designed to restore structural balance, ease of movement, and a feeling of ‘fitting in your skin’.

For those unfamiliar with the fascia, physical therapist John F. Barnes offers a concise description…

Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.

Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.) A high percentage of people suffering with pain and/or lack of motion may be having fascial problems, but are not diagnosed.

Today I had another appointment with Jennifer. I’ve started scheduling monthly sessions with her. Sometimes I’ve gone longer than that between visits.

Throughout the hour long session, she intermittently asked me, as she usually does, to assess how my body feels. As is usually the case, I express feelings of lengthening from head to toe, and rib cage to rib cage.

As the appointment was nearing its end, I imagined my fascia smiling. A happy face on a white, ghostly me. Floating. Carefree. Light. Airy.

Jennifer chuckled at my description. 

It’s as though my fascia has finally arrived. It’s come into its own.

No more low man on the totem pole.

No more bearing the brunt of the daily burden without so much as a nod of acknowledgment.

No more just a humble servant.

My outer shell had been peeled away to reveal the mastermind behind the human machine.

My fascia.

I was floating like a ghost…anchored for the first time…to the real me.

The good news is now that my fascia has begun to resume its original form…the one with which I was born…the bad postural habits I’ve acquired over 65 years are beginning to dissipate. My body prefers the improved me, as now afforded by my newly elasticized fascia.

…freed fascia!…free me!

………hugmamma.organ-of-form-with-150x300Photo credit – http://rolfingmidlands.co.uk/

Visit http://instridebodywork.com/ to learn more about Jennifer Soames and her healing powers. The information she offers on her website can help free your fascia…and you.

 

 

a “new” old me…

Following up on my previous post nurturing thursdays: relief…myofascia release, I must admit to feeling pretty darn good this morning. 

Normally I awake with my body already aching as though I’d been lugging myself around for several hours. 

This morning I’m standing here at the kitchen counter as though I’d been given the proverbial “new lease on life.” And to show you that the “proof is in the pudding,” I could actually bend down to pet my 3 cats and one dog without flinching as I did so.

My pets got the benefit of some me and them time. Me cooing sweet nothings into their furry, little ears; them lapping up every morsel of mommy murmurings dropping from my mouth.

Even hubby reaped the benefit of yesterday’s rejuvenating rubdown…without having to undergo it himself.

I slid out from under the bed covers, sashayed down the hallway to the kitchen, and fixed him an egg sandwich, replete with a nicely done, fried egg, a couple of lightly sauteed ham slices, with slivers of cheese sandwiched between so that they’d melt. To complete the morning feast, I sliced a couple of large, juicy strawberries for hubby to nibble upon. Hot green tea with slivers of fresh ginger finished off my king’s 6:30 a.m. meal.

I sent happy hubby on his way, and after I publish this piece I’ll return to my comfy nest of sheets and quilts to catch 40 more winks.

The moral of this little story?

…go get a massage! pronto!

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing thursdays: relief…fascia release

Just returned from having a massage. Actually, it felt more like my body was stretched to the max.

Not on the rack, mind you. No, no. This is 2013, after all.

Jennifer Soames Bodywork Maple ValleyJennifer Soames of Instride Bodywork at http://www.instridebodywork.com, worked on my body’s faschia. It’s inability to perform as usual has probably been at the root of my recent health issues.

As Jennifer explained it, the faschia is like saran wrap that encases our entire skeleton, not only on the outside but throughout all the nooks and crannies as well.

Imagine then what happens when saran wrap clings to itself. Pulling it apart is difficult at best. More than likely, it’s impossible.

Tossing out useless saran wrap is one thing. We don’t have that option when our faschia becomes stuck.

Most, if not all of us, live with stuck faschia. Over time our movements become restricted. And with restriction comes discomfort which eventually dissolves into pain. Chronic pain, to be exact. And that’s what makes fibromyalgia unbearable.

Chronic pain. And the accompanying fatigue from having to move when the faschia’s constriction doesn’t allow for normal movement.

I imagine old age is hurried along by faschia that’s become stuck…everywhere.

Picture dad, once tall and erect, vital and hardy…barely able to go the distance and cranky as hell. Then there’s mom, usually bubbly, and into everyone’s business (in a good way, of course)…stuck in neutral and wondering where the day went.

Humorous to imagine. Not so funny when you’re the one suffering…for days, weeks, months, even years on end.

After one hour with Jennifer today, I could raise both arms to their full length. Rotating them at my sides in ever-widening circles, I was giddy with delight. Just a few days ago, I could barely do half-circles without feeling like my shoulders would snap.

Between massaging each arm, Jennifer would have me get up and walk around. She asked if I noticed anything different.

Heck, yeah!

The arm that had been worked on felt longer, looser. In short, it felt as though my arm had been reset. It’s as though I’d gone in to a body shop for repairs, and left with a totally new limb. By comparison the arm still needing work seemed compacted, jambed into place, unable to extend.

In the remaining minutes Jennifer massaged my neck, upper back and a bit of my lower back.

The session ended with a massage to my spine while I arched slowly forward as though I were bending over a beach ball.

I left feeling as though Jennifer had rolled me out like homemade bread dough. Under her careful kneading, my body continued to spread. I was able to rise fully, walking tall as I exited her office.

Excited with the results, I enrolled in Jennifer’s 3 session program, each one lasting an hour-and-a-half instead of the usual one hour. My first appointment is the week after Thanksgiving, and the remaining two appointments will follow one week apart. Upon completion I’m certain I will feel like a woman reborn.

I’m a staunch believer in alternative medicine…chiropractic, naturoapathy, massage therapy. Perhaps one day I’ll take on acupuncture.

Our aging bodies can’t keep doing for us without us doing for them. They need maintenance. Diet and exercise are only the beginning. Proper realignment is essential to make sure all the moving parts keep working.

We do as much for our automobiles. Why not for the “machines” we shove through the meat-grinder, day in and day out.

Folks who are non-believers, as I once was, probably feel chiropractic manipulation and therapeutic massage are money pits. My daughter convinced me otherwise. Since her body is pivotal to her career, she feels both are mandatory to her longevity as a dancer.

So it makes sense to enlist whatever help I can to keep my body in mojo mode. I’d like to do my job as a wife, mom, and whatever other “hat” I’m wearing on any given day for as long as I’m able.

My mom, a young widow with numerous mouths to feed referred to our automobile as the family’s “bread and butter.” On weekends we gathered around the Dodge to give it a wash and a wax. Keeping it in tip top shape meant my mom could keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. With the help of her trusty companion, my mom traveled to and from her job at a Catholic orphanage an hour’s drive away.

Your body is your “bread and butter.” Take care of it…and it’ll take care of you. Its as good as having a lifetime warranty.

Visit Jennifer’s website for expert information. I can only offer layman-speak. But if you’re like me and want someone you know and trust to make a referral, then…

…go get a massage…for your faschia, if possible…

…i highly recommend it!………hugmamma.

KMI back work

KMI back work (Photo credit: Dreaming in the deep south)

nurturing thursdays: kick back…you’re allowed!

I had someone ask me once why it was I couldn’t rebound as quickly as my husband from a trip abroad, especially since he reported back to work the day after we returned. The implication was that somehow I was a slacker. I who was a housewife with time on my hands. By that person’s standards, I’m sure I was. That she knew little about my daily routine seemed of little consequence. 

IMG_5044Criss-crossing the country these last 11 years to visit with my daughter has made traveling less than pleasurable. Bunking down on air mattresses for days or weeks at a time takes its toll on my arthritic back. Keeping up with a 27-year-old dancer’s hectic performance schedule is enervating, but it’s also a killer. The inability to maintain a healthy diet eventually takes its toll, as does losing track of my exercise regimen. My brain goes on vacation when I need it the most, and my body and I are left to fend for ourselves. The result is that I’m a total mess when I return home to my sanctuary for old-timers.

Since our daughter’s dance career changed directions a few months ago, our lives have been a mad dash to get her settled in, and moving on. Since September I’ve been to Houston and back 3 times. Each trip lasted only several days. In between trips, I’ve moved stuff around in my house, our storage unit, and elsewhere more times than I care to count…when our daughter moved home…when we helped settle her into her Houston rental…when her bedroom here was remodeled…when I sold antiques and collectibles at a local vintage fair…and when we helped our daughter pack up when she left Houston and headed for her two week gig in Pittsburgh.

My body finally came to a screeching halt when I returned home this week. Rebelling, it seemed to say “take care of me…or I’m outta here!”

Trying to re-acclimate to my diet this week while ramping up my exercises, sent my arthritis and fibromyalgia into overdrive. It didn’t help that I had scheduled back-to-back appointments every day, save Friday. On that day I could not drag myself out of bed.

I decided to take the advice of my physical therapist whom I saw on Wednesday. Darci, a compassionate young woman in her 30s, told me to listen to my body. She warned that I had  gone beyond my limits, and now I needed to stop…and take care of myself. Sad that I needed someone’s permission to put myself first.

My body needed to rest and recuperate. And it was up to me to see that it got it.

So I lay in bed, in pain, but at peace with the fact that I deserved to heal. I knew I would be no good to my husband or my daughter unless I was good to myself.

Nurturing ourselves is not a bad thing. 

…and don’t let anyone tell you differently.IMG_1415

 

………hugmamma.

at long last…

WOW! Have I been on hiatus or what?

With the advent of 2013 I’ve been out foraging through the forests of life, overturning any rock or fallen limb searching for…change.

Rather than stagnate doing the same old, same old, I’ve been giving my cozy, little world the once over. Until I ventured forth outside the boundaries of my old skin…I didn’t realize how glazed over my eyes had become.

It happens…over time.

I liken it to putting on my new eye glasses from Costco last week.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lifting the jazzy, hip eggplant-colored frames to my eyes for the first time I nearly toppled over.

It’d been a few years since I’d updated my prescription. Everything in the retail warehouse seemed to fly at me. The friendly sales clerk advised me to walk around…get comfy with my new look.

Happily, I’m finally settling in with the new and improved me.

My vision is crisper, and my life is catching up slowly, but surely.

I’m getting the hang of French…”Je m’appelle…hugmamma. …Comment t’appelles – tu?” Just when classes are winding down.

Aaahhh…but there’s always French 2.

Juice

Juice (Photo credit: hepp)

Hubby and I are juice fanatics now. Best way to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies. Besides chewing them, we’re now swallowing them as well.

I recommend Bed, Bath and Beyond‘s NUTRI-BULLET. Lots less fuss and muss than those mega-juicers.

Pilates almost did me in. Two privates with a lovely instructor nearly had me in traction.

Five visits to the chiropractor reintroduced me to my old body. Aches and pains that were like old friends…minor by comparison to what I’d endured after a couple of sessions on the reformer.

One 9:30 morning yoga class…an hour’s drive away…was enough to convince me that I couldn’t make it last long term.

So I’m stretching and walking…stretching and walking…stretching and walking.

I made it to 8 out of 10 Creative Writing classes. The folks were lovely, their stories compelling, but I didn’t derive much personally. So I’ll not be returning.

88/365 New Smart Phone

88/365 New Smart Phone (Photo credit: Theophilus Photography)

Instead, I might try a class to learn how to do more with my Smart Phone.

I can dial up friends and loved ones. I can text them. I can check voice mail and emails. I can take photos and view them. I can barely use Tango which allows me to see the person with whom I’m talking.

But it’s the APPS! I’d like to tap into those little gems. Wonders of this advanced social network world in which we live.

We all know…YOU SNOOZE…YOU LOSE!!!

…embrace change!…if i can do it…so can you…

tango dansen op het Spuiplein

tango dansen op het Spuiplein (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (marche vers Pâques ))

………hugmamma.