Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bleeding Heart

I haven't written a poem in such a long time! Last night's dream have me inspiration:

You appeared to me
In a dream I knew wasn't true.
For the first time in a long time
I felt nothing for you.
In the dream you wanted me,
You said it was a perfect match.
I didn't believe your misguided eyes,
And guarded my heart from the snatch.
Fool me five hundred times and yet I waited,
Hoping one day you'd realize your loss,
But now I'm far away, much smarter,
And still guarding my bleeding heart from the toss.
So keep coming to my dreams
I know I'll pass the test.
I'm giving my bleeding heart to another
In hopes he'll hurt me less.

Who can relate?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Alternative Medicine

Write about alternative treatments and regimens and tell us how you feel about them. What do you support? What is crazy? Have you used any?

Well since I've been a pill guinea pig in the past, I'm constantly searching for alternative treatments for migraine. The first I've tried was the diet that I've been on for a year. Yes, I cheat, but for the most part I stick to it and I've noticed improvement in intensity and frequency in my migraine. If you're unsure of what diet I'm talking about, check out my blog post about it. http://themigrainechef.blogspot.com/2013/04/breakdown-of-headache-diet.html

Besides the diet, I've tried Botox, vitamins instead of meds, massage, and exercise. I've been meaning to try acupuncture and other types of massage aimed at specific nerves. I'm always open to alternative medicine because I HATE side effects! However, some of the alternative methods may not be for you. Be sure to do your research before attempting. 

I wrote a small screenplay for my filmmakers group making fun of a doctor's visit and the doctor recommended drilling holes in the patient's head because Google said so. It's amazing what people will believe these days. I fully support the diet, Botox, and using exercise to keep the blood pumping. Vitamins are great too. I'm deficient in B and D so I take those daily vitamins as well as magnesium and melatonin. It's all about what works for YOU!


Say WHAT?

Okay I'm way behind but here's Day 6 of the WEGO Health NHBPM:

What’s the most ridiculous thing you've heard about your health condition? Was there any context? What did you think at the time you heard it – and what do you think of it now?

The most ridiculous thing I've heard about migraines was all the "remedies" like coffee (caffeine is a migraine trigger), a crazy green smoothie where half the ingredients are common migraine triggers, and how they can be "cured." Many just don't understand that migraines are about controlling triggers, not finding a cure. I'll always have them, but some days will be less than others. Since many don't understand, I constantly get "have you tried this?" and "well my aunt's dog's godmother did this and she was cured." Most of the time I get annoyed and just say that yes I've tried it or I calmly say that I've tried everything I can afford/handle at the moment. If I tried every remedy on the internet, I'd be even more broke than I am! 

Now when I hear people trying to help, I educate them. I let them know that I know they mean well and are trying to help, but my doctors and I are developing plans to try out. I also mention that due to this illness I'm very stressed and frustrated which can trigger another migraine so I do not wish to talk about it often. I use my writing as a tool to express feelings and concerns as well as share what I've tried and how it worked/didn't work. Many can read and choose to take it in or not. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Training Wheels

Write about a time your health condition forced you to grow up and take the training wheels off (so to speak).

My journey began when I was already a fully functioning adult with bills to pay and a job to support them. My training wheels were off and way behind me. When I started having more problems with my migraines, I felt like I needed crutches, not training wheels. Something to lean on when it got too tough but would go back into the utility closet once its use was done. 

A couple months ago when I made the decision to move from KC to my parent's house in FL, I felt like I had crutches and training wheels back on. My parents pay the majority of the bills and I work as much as I can. My ego hurts a lot, but I know this was the best option. Once all my medical and personal debts are settled, I can take those training wheels back off and find a new place to call home. 


My Mascot

Give your condition, community, or self a mascot. Who is it? What do they represent? What is their battle cry?

I am a chronic migraineur, have a vitamin B & D deficiency, allergies, carpal tunnel, and parasthesias. Most of the time I feel like a broken doll but I don't want that to be my mascot. 

I'd rather my mascot be a teddy bear with a bandage on its head. The reason would be because I'm not a perfect teddy bear straight from the manufacturer. I'm rather a teddy bear with boo-boos, mostly on its head. At first you think, "awe how cute," but then you realize he needs help. He represents what many spoonies feel on the inside but are afraid to show. His battle cry would be, "I'm okay!" He constantly reassures others and doesn't feel sorry for himself. He stays smiling even with the bandages because he knows it's all going to be okay.

What about you?



Little Engine Post

Write 3 lines that each start with “I think I can…”
Then write 3 lines that start with "I know I can..."

I think I can finish a 5k.
I think I can make it today without a major migraine attack
I think I can achieve my daily goal.

I know I can smile all day because I'm blessed.
I know I can continue to be creative and inspire others.
I know I can be the person my dog thinks I am.

What are your lines?


Favorite Fridays

Ok I'm a couple days late for the Wego Health 30 days, 30 posts National Health Blog Post Month but here goes!

Tell us what your favorite health apps are and how people can find them:

As many others do, I look to WebMD for many of my health needs. They seem like a very reliable source, but most of the time when I search for something, a very bad illness shows up and I get paranoid. I'm sure that happens to many of you.

For the past couple months, I've been slowly doing the Couch to 5k program which can be downloaded from any app store. c25k is challenging, but a great way to start jogging. I'm hoping to finish a 5k by the spring. I'm starting week 5 (remember I said I started a couple months ago) soon.

There's a free app I've found called Workout Trainer that has many different exercises for different parts of the body. I like using it when I'm sick of "just jogging" or need a quick workout.

For everything else, I use Google.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

No Time to Workout? I Call BS

So many people complain they don't have time to work out. Well I'm here to tell you that you can!
What's the first thing you do when you go home? You change. Instead of jammies, get decked out in comfortable gym clothes. While you're cooking dinner, use the low times as opportunities to do quick workouts in your kitchen. Pushups while the chicken defrosts in the microwave. Plank while the French fries bake. So many possibilities.
Same goes for tv: during commercial breaks, do a different exercise to break a sweat. No more flipping channels, No more late night snacks. This will keep you energized, alert, and on track to a healthier you.
Time for me to do some pushups!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Less Stressful Way to Achieve Goals

If you really think about it, long term goals are super scary. One of mine is to be debt free. At this time, I can hardly imagine that coming true. Today, I took an hour to brainstorm and reflect on anything without using a computer and here's what I came up with:

1. How to achieve a debt payoff goal: Focus on the small things. By making just an extra $20 a month in payments, you are just that much closer to achieving that goal. Break your payments into how many times you get paid. For example, I have a $100 month payment to my old landlord so I plan on sending $25 a week. Seems less scary, right? By rationing out your payments, you don't get as stressed about making that monthly payment. If I had a car payment, I would do the same. When you break it out, it's easier to make an extra payment because it doesn't seem very large compared to your paycheck.

2. How to achieve a savings goal: Just like a debt payoff goal, trying to build a large savings can seem overwhelming. I decided to cap a budget amount from each paycheck to go toward bills and the rest is instantly put into my savings account. It may only be $10 a week, but once debts start going down, I can move more toward savings rather than debt. Watch your account grow and grow! Choose the right savings account for your goals. For example, if you already have an amount that could give you more interest, talk to your banker about making a switch. Some money market accounts require at least $1,000 to get a better interest rate. The same goes toward an investment portfolio. Talk to an expert to get the best return for your type of investment style. I'm aggressive so once I get back into investing, it'll be more into stocks than bonds. I'll still have a CD or bond that I can contribute toward to have a "safer" investment in case my main investment tanks. Always have a back-up!

3. How to purchase a home after a set-back such as foreclosure: My first home is currently being foreclosed and I'm okay with that. The problem is I'll have a very difficult time purchasing again in the next few years. My current situation makes it seem I'll never own a home again, but there's always hope. I was searching on Zillow and found some very low cost condos near a beach. The properties are very dated, of course, but I love a project. Since they are lower costing, I can set up a separate savings account to purchase the property (or similar) without financing. This will obviously take a while to accomplish, but when it comes to home ownership, I'm prepared to start small and build up. Some banks will let your purchase after 2-3 years depending on how your credit bounces back. Work with a lender as well as a finance expert to get your credit back on track. The more cash you have to put toward a property, the less risky you seem to a lender.

4. New career path: With my migraines, it makes it difficult to be on my feet all day or stare at a computer screen for the same amount of time. I need a more flexible career path so I made a list of what I want to do rather than what I can do. If you just do what you can instead of what you want, you won't be happy. I've written down real estate agent (flexible hours), teaching (requires both sitting and standing plus I love helping people learn), teaching English as a second language (opportunities to live overseas for a bit), getting back into banking, moving up in retail (would require some good shoes for standing so long), and purchasing small condos for short-term renting (very risky industry). When I make plans, I definitely do my homework so stay tuned to what goes on. Getting my teaching certification is already in progress and I'll be working on my real estate license plus TESL/TEFL certification early next year.

5. Family planning: Right now I'm 27 and in no position to give a child a great living situation. So for now, I choose to remain childless and work on my situation. In a few years, I will definitely begin the planning, but only once I get my debt/income situation under control. In the mean time, I'll work hard, enjoy being just me and my pup, and travel. There are still so many things I want to accomplish before I have children. If you notice my typing, I am not planning on having a spouse. That's because I am completely comfortable being just me and that's okay. If I meet the man of my dreams, great. If not, that's fine too.

So what do you think? Did that lower some stress on your situations too?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Affirmation: I Desire True Wealth

Today's affirmation has to do about the true wealth in life. For me, that includes my dog, family, friends, and desire to complete my ambitions. My dog, family, and friends offer support and love during the good and bad times. My desire to complete my ambitions keeps me working hard for what I want. I don't have to make a ton of money to be considered wealthy.

What's the true wealth in your life?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Spoonie's Slump

Today has been a big challenge. I woke up in intense pain and my whole body felt like it was on strike. Not only did I have my usual migraine, but my arms and legs were so sore as if I ran and did jumping jacks in  my sleep. Still not ruling that out as a possibility :)

So I thought of going to a doctor. The ones I called said, without insurance, I'd be paying a minimum of $75 and it's due at time of service. Since I'm seeking assistance for migraine, the price went up. Since my account is significantly less than that, I decided to stay home and "tough it out." Unfortunately, this is the first time I've decided to decline medical help. So I began the process of applying for health care assistance. The problem: I do not have children. It's very difficult to get any assistance no matter how much you make (and I'm definitely in the poverty level) unless you have mouths to feed. I have chosen not to have children at this time because I cannot properly provide a fulfilling life while I'm sick. I'd hate to put a child through that.

The other day I applied for the Affordable Health Care program from http://www.healthcare.gov and each plan was half my month's pay. I couldn't believe it! When I chatted with a representative, she said I could appeal. I'd hate to have to get a second job just to afford health care because I'm already working as much as I physically can. Working more would only trigger more attacks, which would cause me to go to the doctor more. Not a smart idea.

So what is a spoonie to do? My solution is to keep applying to programs for assistance, making appeals, and stating my case so I can get the care I need. I'm not looking for handouts, I just want to be able to afford a reasonable amount of care. Stay tuned for more.

What have you done when you couldn't get help that you needed?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Affirmation: I use my VICTORIES to fuel my greatest challenges

Reflection:
I build strength upon strength, even my defeats provide the seeds of great accomplishment.

Once a person has a victory, no matter how small, their confidence rises. With more confidence, a person can work on more challenging goals with more ease. Each victory is fuel for a well-oiled machine called life.

This week, my small victories include making it through each shift at work (all on my feet constantly) without screaming/crying/wanting to give up. Each time I accomplish it, I feel like I can conquer the world. Obviously I'm limited so it'll take me a while to actually conquer the world. When I had a horrible migraine during last night's shift, I was able to finish without a tear. My hands shook, my heart raced, and my mind was cloudy, but I made it. That's a victory in my book.

This week's challenge: finding a way to work with a new headache specialist without insurance. In order to qualify for disability, I need to have support of a doctor. Mine is in KC and I moved to Florida, so I need to begin the doctor hunt once again. Very frustrating, but once I achieve this small victory, it will fuel my desire to get the help I need.

What have been your victories this week?

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Art of a Great Idea

Ever have one of those moments when the light bulb turns on in your head and suddenly the greatest idea of all time appears? I have...many times. So what do you do next?

Personally, I am very fond of lists. I use them to track my budgeting, make decisions, and map out goals. I start out with outlining what my idea is, what industry it goes to, and how to make it happen. For the past six months, my ideas have mostly revolved around food, writing, film, television, and business. Pretty wide spectrum, right?

I am firm believer that if you only succeed in one genre, then you aren't a well-rounded person. In my career, I've worked in food, retail, entrepreneurship, and the financial industry. Even though I may note be a huge boss, I am still a well-rounded person. My experiences in food help me create delicious dishes and keep to my headache diet without difficulty. In retail, I learn how to be organized, patient, and a salesman. As an entrepreneur, I learned the hard way about being your own boss and the "other side" of the paychecks. Finally, in the financial industry, I learned how to keep on track with a budget, how credit works, and what to do in an emergency (financially).

I'm currently working on my grocery shopping guide to the headache diet, but that doesn't mean I'm not outlining my next ideas. Tonight, I'm actually working on an outline of a novel I'd like to live out. Too bad it's so expensive. Can I be a world famous writer already? :)


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Affirmation: I accomplish little tasks effectively

Reflection:
Doing little things well is the foundation of my success
www.affirmationstation.com

As a spoonie, sometimes it's the little things that make the most impact. When you're three spoons down, getting the laundry done, cooking dinner, or freshening up the bathroom can make a world's difference. I try to take my life one spoon at a time, which means I look to the little things often. Today, I have a tutoring session, going to do Zumba (if spoons allow), and plan on getting some more accomplished with my Headache Diet Grocery Shopping Guide. With each little task, I can evaluate my spoons and move on to the next. If I focus on the big things too much (finances, career situation, living situation), I'll stress out too much and ultimately cause a flare. Yes, keeping up with the bigger items are very important, but it's the little things that build up to it. Here's an example:

Goal: Debt free
To accomplish this goal I need to focus on each bill. Paying little by little and working with each debtor will help me get to the final payoffs.

Goal: Getting back on my own
To accomplish this goal, I need to gradually purchase the small stuff we never think of (dishes, hangers, furniture, etc) so I do not freak out and have to buy it all at once. This helps lower the stress which can lower the chances for flares.

Goal: Build a long lasting career...in something that works for me
This one is a bit difficult. I was a banker before and had a flexible schedule, but my migraines made it difficult to keep a full-time schedule. I constantly had to use personal/vacation time to make it up, which isn't good. For now, I am working part-time in retail, tutoring students in math, and hoping to create some revenue from my books. Will either of these create a career path? You never know. I am also looking into being a certified teacher in business, science, or math (or all) so that's another possibility. I can use my degree for something and feel accomplished by molding young minds. For now, I can't stress on it. I need to do what I can, pay what I can, and see where the wind takes me.

It's all about balance. By accomplishing the little tasks effectively, you are ultimately helping the big picture become brighter. So if you find yourself looking to the big things, write down each small task to accomplish it and take it one task at a time.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Attack of the Brain: Revenge of the Migraine

Yesterday I had a bad situation: My pain level was at 12, insurance ended the day before, and I was in no financial situation to see a doctor. I debated going to Urgent Care, the least expensive option. The other part was I was eligible for COBRA but haven't had any information to activate it.

So what is a spoonie to do? I chose to sleep as long as I could. Once my parents got home,  if my pain level was still above 10,  I would be taken to Urgent Care. Thankfully, the pain lowered to a range of 5-7 which is manageable for me. How sad is that?

If a completely normal, healthy person borrowed my body for a day, they'd think they were dying. My body is used to constant pain so I only react to the top pain levels. As I'm typing, I'm at a 4. Stiff back of the neck and mild headache.  This is my daily battle.

My next thought was disability. I feel like I'm not worthy of it since I'm able to walk and have good days. However, I cannot work a full time job anymore. How will I support myself if I can't work like a normal person? So the long process begins. Will I be approved? I'm not sure, but I've got to try.

Any spoonies have days like me? How do you cope?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Home is Where Your Rump Rests

With this new move, I am having a difficult time adjusting. The time zone is different, the weather is different, and the drivers are absolutely mad. All the same, I remember the wise words of Pumba: Home is where your rump rests. Right now, My rump is in unfamiliar territory. Here are some tips to adjusting to new areas as a spoonie:

1. Drive around - If you want to know how to get around, the best way is to go for a drive. Normally, the first place I find is a mall. I like going in, seeing the shops, and maybe make a purchase or two  to help fit into the local fashion. In my case, I need more warmer clothes.

2. Local radio - Listen to the local radio stations to find out some upcoming events to socialize. Sometimes doctors do ads so you can find out who's in the area.

3. Cuisine - I love trying new foods. Now that I'm in Florida, I'm in seafood heaven. The difficult part of trying new foods is the headache diet. Must restaurants understand special diets and will accommodate. Don't forget to tip well for their trouble.

4. Job hunting - When searching for a job in unfamiliar territory, it can be stressful, which can trigger a flare. Try not to overdo yourself. Since it's the holiday season, I picked up a job at a retail shop (one of my absolute places). Make connections at networking events to help find a permanent position.

5. Meetup - When I was living in KC all alone, I found a wonderful app called Meetup. It connects people with similar interests and creates friendships. I enjoyed all the experiences I had with my KC Meetups and my first Tampa one was so much fun. It's a great way to make friends with groups and feel safe.

How so you cope in a new area as a spoonie?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Affirmation: I Overcome Obstacles with Ease

An older affirmation is needed for me today. I had my first day of my new job (it's part time, but hey it's a job) and when I got home, I was shocked at how drained my bank account has been. From the travelling, overdraft fees, food, and just overall debt payments, I am absolutely a wreck. I can't believe how bad my situation has gotten. I have to remember, though, that many have it WAY worse than I do. I am extremely blessed to have gotten an opportunity to live with my parents instead of being homeless with so much debt.

So this old affirmation is reminding me that I have overcome previous obstacles with ease and I can still do it. I've got a plan to do some liquidation in order to payoff large debts and by working this new job plus tutoring/babysitting, I can get back on track. I can do this because I have an amazing support system: friends, family, and fellow spoonies.

So enough with the negative thinking! It's time to focus on the positive. I have a roof over my head, food on the table (not provided by me unfortunately), and people who love me. If I keep the positive thinking, I can remain focused on the tasks at hand.

How do you overcome obstacles?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Unemployed Workaholic Spoonie

So now that I'm all settled into Tampa, the job hunt begins! My biggest concern through the whole process is I am afraid to start a job and then have to leave due to migraine. This rainy season hasn't helped me much! Unfortunately, I do not sell enough books to do that full-time (but one can dream), so I need to find something. Here's my tips for the job hunting process as a spoonie:

1. Knock on doors - I went to the mall the other day (since it's holiday hiring time) and just went door to door asking for openings and applications. Most said you fill out applications online, but one in particular let me fill out an application, talk to the manager, and schedule an interview the next day! Being persistent (and owning half a wardrobe from the store) helps. My first interview went well and I have  second one today.

2. Don't be afraid - It's tough to go through what we do, so don't get discouraged if your phone isn't ringing off the hook. In my case, I am applying for jobs in finance and retail. I haven't had too many phone calls, but this job market is super competitive. There's always going to be someone with more experience/education trying to get the same job as you.

3. It's up to you to disclose your illness - I have been open and honest in my interviews because I'd hate for there to be problems when I start work. Does this hurt me? It might, but at least I'm keeping my integrity. You never know, your future employer might admire you more for working under such conditions. I had asked about flexible scheduling since I never know when a migraine is going to hit me, and my body tires quickly.

4. Try something new - I recently started auditioning for acting opportunities. I am a very expressive and creative soul, so I figured this would be up my alley. Unfortunately, they don't pay you millions of dollars to start with (who knew?!), so taking classes, doing free work, and networking are in order. In the mean time, I need a paying job to support my income and pay my debts.

5. Follow up - It's been my experience as a job seeker and a manager seeking employees that friendly follow-ups after an interview (typically a day or two after) are a great idea. It lets the manager know you're serious about wanting to work with them and you have a good work etiquette. Try not to sound desperate though (it's like a date). You want them to want you.

6. Just keep swimming - Like Dory says, "just keep swimming!" Don't give up because you haven't found anything within your first month. Try temp agencies, make friends, and gain local references to help you.

Let me know your experience with the job hunt as a spoonie. Or if you're employed and seeking new employment, what have been your experiences?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Spoonie's Debt

If you are like me, you are underwater with all your debts and your phone constantly rings with a new unfamiliar phone number. Today, I answered one and almost cried to the supervisor on the phone. I know they are just trying to do their job, but I am trying to survive!

When the associate finally answered after I gave four aggravating "hellos," I was already in a bad mood. If you're calling me so often, why aren't you immediately on the line to answer when I pick up? He's spouting out numbers and I'm explaining my situation. Obviously he doesn't understand, but he says he does. I explain I'm unemployed at the moment because my debts got so unbearable that I moved halfway across the country to live with my parents. The next question he asks, "well what about your spouse?" Excuse me? Do you really think I'd be in this situation if I was a two income household? I got a bit snappy, which I regret, but come on people! So then he says, "well why can't you borrow from friends and family?" I then explained paying debt with another debt doesn't help the situation. My primary focus is a job (or two) so I can gain income to pay off these debts. That's how the cash cycle works!

So he directs me to his supervisor because he's probably frustrated that I'm unable to pay anything. She then calmly says all I need to pay is $25 to delay the process for 40 days and she'll waive a late fee plus the credit card fee for me. Now there's some progress! I was still unsure about paying anything since I needed fuel to go search for jobs and even if I snagged one today, I wouldn't get paid for 2-3 weeks! However, I didn't want 75 phone calls from these guys a day so I paid it. If I needed to, I'll have to bury my ego even more to ask money from my parents for gas.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? If you're like me with heavy medical debt, overdraft fees, and past due bills, it should. So what have you done to help your situation? I am seeking advice!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Adventure begins

Well just had my last day of work at my current job. My trunk is filed as much as it possibly could and I'm getting up for a big adventure.

7 states
1600 miles
24 hour drive

Let the adventure begin! Watch my Twitter for pictures and updates :)

Stef

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sharing is Caring

Since it's Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I thought I'd do some sharing. It's my last week at my current job and a new beginning is awaiting me. As a spoonie, I constantly share what it's like to be like me and how to raise awareness. Here are some ways I've shared:

1. #spoonie - By using this hashtag I'm social media, I'm starting attention to myself as well as being people to ask what a spoonie is.

2. Spoonie Chat - Every Wednesday night, Dawn Gibson hosts a chat to talk about topics involving spoonies. This includes stress, family, holidays, and work. I've benefited from it by hearing others' stories and being thankful for myself.

3. Self Publish - I wrote a small ebook about my experiences so far and plan on expanding it. I'm also working on a guide to the Headache Diet to help others not be so frustrated like I was.

4. Talking about it - The best way to share is to conversate. By talking to those who don't understand, it gets them thinking. It also helps others appreciate their bodies more.

5. Special events - Migraine Awareness Month and Invisible Illness Week are just two examples of moments where our community can educate others. Thank you to those who take the time to organize these events.

By sharing, we open ourselves up to those who need it. They could be caring for a family member, having a hard time with a friend, or confused about their own ailments. Either way, sharing is caring.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Affirmation: I Am the Master of My Feelings and Emotions

Throughout the process of discovering myself, keeping pain down, and living a positive life, I found I AM the master of my feelings and emotions. Here's how:

1. I create my own emotions - When something happens, I choose how to feel. My body doesn't randomly break down and leaks with tears. I choose to be emotional in a situation.

2. Art - Through artistic expression, I can resolve feelings and emotions so I can move on and enjoy life.

3. It's MY body - No one can decide how I feel: not a significant other, family member, friend, our stranger. I am in control of my body and emotions.

4. I have support - When times get tough, I have a great support system and they help me get through unresolved feelings to regain my control.

5. Experience - It's taken me a while to get to where I am now. I am thankful every day for the experiences I've had, people I've met, and impact it's made.

How are you the master?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

What Makes Us Happy?

Anyone can fake a laugh,
Force a smile,
Put on a mask to show we're ok for a while,
But what makes us happy?

Anyone can reassure a loved one,
Go out and convince others you're having fun,
But what makes us happy?

Is it comfort, recreation, love, or time?
A significant other, a pet, our even a rhyme?
What makes us happy?

To find it, I search within,
Take me adventures, see new sites,
Go on dates, see my family,
And hope happiness is what I find.

How do you know when you have it?
Is there a magical feeling that shows?
Maybe a sign appears before me,
And gets bigger when happiness grows?

All I know is I want to be happy,
I want to find the feeling and grab it.
Once I know what it's supposed to be like,
I'll share with others and make a good fit.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Cycle of a Spoonie

Today has been a typical spoonie day. Let me explain:

1. Wake up with sore muscles and have to take an extra half hour to hour to fully get up.
2. Try to save as many spoons while getting ready. Put your mask on, get it together, and head out.
3. The commute brings a migraine due to the sounds, lights, and frustration.
4. Once you get to work, you stretch to keep trying to get your sore muscles to wake up.
5. During with you do as much as you can to not trigger a migraine. You take breaks, turn away from the computer, and take walks to keep the leg muscles warm.
6. That 3:00 sugar low hits and you sneak a snack to keep from another migraine.
7. At the end of the day, you're grumpy, sore, and ready for a nap.
8. You get home and soak in the tub to relax and have dinner based on your pain level.
9. Time for bed. It's 8 pm but you don't care.

It's a catch 22: you sleep to reduce pain then get sore from too much sleep. Where's the median?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Affirmation: I am a master mind

I like today's affirmation. It's the biggest positive thought I've seen.

I am a master mind. I can come up with ideas that can touch millions of hearts. I can write words that make a person not feel so alone.

In what ways are you a matter mind?

Every step I take... Every move I make...

So I'm slowly getting things together for the big move. Part of it is going prehistoric. I sold my bed, shut off the cable, shut off the internet, and hopefully will soon will be sleeping on an air mattress living out of a suitcase. Soon I'll be at my parents house with the full amenities. I've roughed it before when I've moved a long way so this is no big deal.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Affirmation: I love to replace destructive thought with creative thought

Today's affirmation is great. It's the reason why I write. I take all the feelings I have about the dangers in my life and turn it into something beautiful. My inspiration can become someone else's inspiration.

When I think of how tough my journey has become, I think of a serene location like the beach. Then I turn the bad into good.

How do you turn something destructive into creative?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Beginnings

Today's uplifting poem about my new adventure in four weeks.

Things keep spiralling out of control,
My life couldn't be more sad.
The bills pile up, the stress does too,
And overall my mind is so mad.

Time to try new things, see new ground,
Find myself all over,
Make new friends, see new sites,
Maybe even find a lover.

I can do anything I want,
Be whoever I want to be.
The sky's the limit, my heart is happy,
This is an exciting adventure for me.

So what's the next challenge?
The new life I can have.
Do I learn new things, try a new career,
Make people cry, or make people laugh?

The arts have always have been a passion,
The muse and inspiration of my heart.
I'll try to make a career of it,
Find what sets me apart.

I write what I feel,
I sing what I love,
I act what I can,
And I know what I'm made of.

So look for me on the media.
I'm planning to touch souls.
My voice can help those like me,
And full some painful life holes.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fighting a Losing Battle

My newest poem inspired by a frustrating ER visit:

Lying in a hospital bed
Crying from the sorrow
Wishing for answers
Praying for a better tomorrow

The doctor and the nurse take turns
Telling me to breathe in and out
There's no way I could relax
When I don't know what my body is about

I get the blood taken, the pee in a cup
Start the IV, tell my sobby tale,
See no empathy, hear no help
Just empty words that feel like fail

"There's no more we can do for you," he says
The same words I've heard in the past
My spirits drown, my heart is on fire,
And I just want to leave fast.

If no one can help me, what can I do?
Do I keep searching or give in?
How can I fight a losing battle
And how to win?

For now I just keep living
Finding happiness where I can
Keep all my loved ones near
And keep living according to plan.

Getting My Groove Back

The past couple months have been testing, but I've kept going. Some ways to help bounce back after a bad streak:

1. Develop a schedule - Decide what you need to do and when it needs to be done. By giving yourself deadlines you help develop a structure to normalcy.

2. Change something - Whether it's diet, hair cut, clothing style, or location, change is good. By doing a big change, you are throwing away the old you and moving forward with a new self.

3. Reach out - I don't know where if be without my Twitter friends who go through the same as me. My family has been great too. Sometimes you need to reach out and ask for help to move on.

4. Take a trip - Have a Pain-Moon and go away for a weekend. Relax, explore new things, and enjoy the moment. It'll help reduce stress and make you feel like you're starting over.

5. Learn something new - Whether it's a new language, certification, or diet, learning something new gives you the sense of accomplishment.

6. Explore creativity - By writing, I've learned things about myself that I never knew. Try some form of creativity to express yourself them keep those feelings in your art. Move on from what you felt at that moment and share with others to help them too.

How have you moved on from a struggling period?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Affirmation: All Power Is From Within

Reflection: 
I know that I am the fount of all that my life is, it begins and ends in me.

Today's affirmation really got me thinking: if all power is from within, then where should I grab it from? I feel as though my power is starting to fade, but there's still a back-up battery to my life. If I keep treating my body as precious as I do, then it should be back to full power soon. 

I started running a couple months ago, but had to stop because my symptoms started getting worse. Now, I'm trying to get back into the groove of running (it's helped me lose some jiggly parts) and drinking water. My theory is that if I keep practicing my instrument, I'll get a beautiful sound once again. I can't let my migraines and other problems get in the way of regaining my power. 

How do you regain your power from within?


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Affirmation: Life Reveals Itself Effortlessly to Me in All of Its Beauty and Splendor

Reflection:

My life is beautiful, I embrace it, love it and accept change 
gracefully. I realise NOW that I'm profoundly ALIVE and am 
filled with a deep sense of gratitude and joy in this new 
day, thank you

My Interpretation:

No matter what I feel in a moment, life will always find a way to slap me in the face. Whether it's to show me that I need to slow down, step back, or find a new path, life will always find a way to reveal itself. I may not understand it's beauty and true nature, but it's there for a reason and I must embrace it. 

When I go on walks, I tend to look around me and smile at what nature shows us. The beauty of the world becomes an inspiration. Sometimes I take pictures to remember, and other times I just smile and give thanks. I am thankful for what this world has shown me and look forward to the future. 

Just as the reflection says: my life is beautiful. Sometimes I don't see it, but I need to remind myself. 

What does life show you when you look at its beauty?


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thought of the Day: "To Be Great Is To Be Misunderstood"

I went on a website that generated quotes and this one from Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired me: "To be great is to be misunderstood." (Taken from An Essay on Self-Reliance)

When I pondered the meaning, the first thing that came to mind is modern day celebrities. We worship them and listen to their every tweet, interview phrases, and media outlet. However, do we really know them? Do we really know if they believe what they are told to say? We misunderstand some things they say out of anger, passion, and sadness and hold a grudge until they apologize.

So if celebrities are so great, then why can't we know who they really are? I applaud those who remain true to their beliefs and are genuinely great. To the others: please let others know who you truly are. Those young fans look up to you.

If I were "great," I'd hope to remain my quirky, loving self.  I'd want my followers to know I believe what comes out of my mouth and I set an example.

So who do you think is great, yet misunderstood?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Nectarines: The Delicious Substitute for Citrus Fruits

When I was first put on the Headache Diet in October 2012, one of my first frowns was toward the "no citrus" portion. Orange was my favorite flavor of...well...ANYTHING! To give it up was like giving up my favorite shirt. 

Then I found a new love: nectarines. They have a sweet taste like a peach, but still has that harsh tart sensation you get from a citrus fruit. I'd eat them for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack to keep the blood sugar from dropping. 

The nectarine and peach are from the same species, but they are different. Nectarines have an orange center and faint fuzz, while a peach has a white center and very fuzzy skin. Nectarines have a glycemic index value of 43. This places them in the low GI category. The nectarine is acceptable in many diets such as gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, low carb, and many others. Great ways to eat nectarines: raw, cooked on the grill, sliced with vanilla ice cream, in cereal, and in your morning smoothie. 

When picking out a nectarine, look for a smooth skin with no blemishes. Also, be sure the fruit itself is firm to the touch, an indicator that it is ripe and ready to go. They can sit on the counter for 2-3 days or in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge for 5 days. Handle them very carefully because their skin bruises easier than a peach.When possible, buy organic because they will have higher pesticide levels. 

Want to go green and use your creative side? Save the pits for craft projects. (Be sure to wash them of course). Spray paint each pit a different color and store them in a glass container with some string lights for a simple table decoration. 

Calories: 62
Calories from Fat: 4
Total Fat: 0.5g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 15g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4g
Sugars: 11.2g
Protein: 1.5g
Vitamin A: 9%
Vitamin C: 13%
Calcium: 1%
Iron: 2%




Monday, August 5, 2013

Reach For the Stars

I've been thinking of this upcoming move and new beginning to my life. There's something I've never had the time (due to working since age 16), resources, or guts for until now: performance arts as a profession.

I've always been an enthusiastic individual. When I was in high school, I participated in many plays, musicals, vocal competitions, and others because I had the time. I didn't have to work, pay bills, or worry about anything. Now that I'm an adult, I want to rediscover my artistic side. I've already started by self-publishing my first book (with many more writing projects to follow), but I want to get back into performance arts like theater, vocal performance, and acting.

So do I have what it takes? I say yes, but some others may say no. That's all part of the industry. While working to pay my bills and financial obligations, I want to be able to go to auditions, acting classes, vocal coachings, and attempt my dream as a teenager. I may have waited ten years, but I think it might be time to try. Migraines, of course, will be a meanie during the process, but I'm a fighter!

I sent in my information to a talent scout with a couple pictures (not professional at all) and I got a call back today saying I'm a very marketable type face. They wanted $700 to get me to begin. Sorry, Charlie, but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't have to pay someone to represent you and find you bookings. They get paid commission based on the work YOU do.

I filled out a performance resume (way different than a professional one) and we'll see what I can do. One of my first jobs to pursue: being an elf for a theme park. Hey it's experience in the field plus I can get my foot in to start singing on stage, acting, and meeting some people who might be interested in using me more. Watch out, world, I'm coming for you!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Unnormally Normal

After all the tests that keep coming up normal, I got an inspiration (thank you insomnia) for a new poem:

Hands tremble, heart races.
Another test result is in.
I sit patiently with sweat down my face,
hoping the answers I seek are within

Doctor tells me to breathe
it's not my worst fears,
the results are normal again
so no need for the tears.

"But doc," I say, "I'm not normal at all."
"My body is aching, my legs are weak,
my head won't stop pounding,
and I feel like a freak."

So how many more tests
can I endure that say okay,
when I'm not normal at all
and I struggle every single day.

So, doc, tell it to me straight
is this all in my head?
Am I unnormally normal,
or is it more than I dread?

At what point do I give up?
When will the agony of unknown take over?
Do I stay unnormally normal,
or keep searching to recover?



What do you think?


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn

I was watching a sad episode of "How I Met Your Mother" and the song "It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn" came on. It got me thinking...

Right now, I'm defeated because in 8 weeks I'll be moving to Tampa to live with my parents. My financial situation is out of control, I'm still single, my career is taking a screeching halt, and my pride is bruised.

Even with all that piling on, I can still smile. I'm on the hunt for a new job/career, well be living rent free, and have my parents with me for emotional support. Things will be getting a lot better and I'll get back in my feet.

So just like the song says, it's the darkest right now but it's always darkest before the dawn. Things will be better and dawn is coming someday.

Keep your chins up, friends! Things seem bad now but it'll get better.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tough Choices

This week I've been thinking a lot about my future. My current financial situation has gotten to be more than I can handle. After a tearful conversation with my parents, my greatest supporters, we all decided that I'd move to Tampa with them.

Thankfully, my apartment allows a 60 says notice which is plenty of time to get everything in order. So I won't have to stress about getting out quickly.

This year in Kansas City has been great, but I think it's time to be with family of some kind. I've been so alone this past year and the crazy Midwest weather is one of my many triggers.

Once I get everything settled and save up an emergency fund, then I can get back out on my own.

I see this as a way to chase some dreams I couldn't go for in the past. I'm applying to jobs like crazy but this also gives me an opportunity to try theater and singing as a profession, a big passion of mine. I don't know if it'd work out or not, but I don't have anything to lose.

This is a hard decision mostly because of my pride. I've been completely on my own since 18 and now I'll be a 27 year old "loser" living with her parents. The extent to my medical and personal bills, however, leaves me no other option.

This new adventure could inspire more writing for sure. Until then, I'll be organizing what I'll take/leave/give away and work hard to get as much as I can I'm good ole KC.

How have other adult spoonies handle going back home to catch up on the financial burden of chronic illness?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Migraineur and the Mall

It's been a while since I've been to the mall (mostly because I don't really have money to spend there). However, yesterday I had a crisis: my favorite pair of cheap sunglasses broke. Every migraineur knows we need sunglasses on a sunny day. My backup pair was too small.

As I walked in, I tend to always start at Macy's, I noticed some amazing outfits and handbags I'd dream to own. Them the dreaded section full of migraine triggers was I'm been me and the rest of the mall: the perfume area. I tend to hold my breath and run out without sniffing too much fragrance. I'm sure many other migraineurs agree with me. I feel awful for looking rude, but I've been stuck in that section before and ended up with a painful attack.

Another migraine trigger present at the mall: noise. Being in customer service since I was 26, I've learned how to tune out screaming children and yelling parents. However, since I'm wanting to be a parent within the next five years, I haven't been able to tune it out. So now I just try to run into a store when it starts getting loud.

Third migraine trigger in a mall: food. Mall concessions and food courts are full of food triggers like MSG, dairy, and yeast. I always tend to grab pretzel bites, which are full of yeast and MSG. Today, I got a healthy smoothie to curb my appetite. The move thing was the menu had shown which smoothies contained dairy. I thought that was amazing. At an I've cream cart, I found a daily free mango passion fruit gelato to take home for a snack tonight.

How do you avoid migraine triggers at the mall?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Back to Reality - and it SUCKS!

Well, vacation is done and over with. I had a great time visiting with family, not having a care in the world, and being free of any stressor.

Now I'm back and the woes I had when I left are still here. Did I think they would magically disappear? This week has already been challenging thanks to some body aches (weather & hormone triggers) and migraine. I had to cancel my MRI yesterday because I physically could not get out of bed. Tomorrow is my GI consult so hopefully we can do some testing in that area to see what's going on with my body not absorbing essential vitamins.

The other day, I saw a person follow me on Twitter that claimed he "cures" migraines. Sorry, but last I knew, there is no cure. Unless there's some new scientific breakthrough that the spoonie community doesn't know about, then I'm not buying it. I see so many products and even a smoothie that claims to "cure" migraine. If there was a real cure, it'd be extremely expensive, not something you could get at a drug store.

Okay I need to stop ranting. Can you tell I'm in a poor mood today? :)

This week I'm working on the format of my next writing project. It's a guide to the headache diet I keep blabbing about and I think it'll be a good resource to those who want to eat cleaner and reduce migraine dietary triggers. I'm working very hard on it and hope to have it out in print and digital (yes, I'm doing both this time) by the fall. I'm trying not to work on multiple projects at one time because that will slow down my goals. So once this one is out, I have my next one to do! I'm a busy bee but I definitely have been taking proper breaks for rest/relaxation.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation is All I Ever Wanted!

Guys, I need to tell you that taking time off from work to actually relax is a blessing. So much less stress, being with family, and having less pain.

Don't get me wrong, I still have my pains. They are so much less though. My parents and sisters understand so when I need a nap, they let me go with no questions.

Yesterday we went to the zoo and I was doing fine until the end. My knees, ankles, and feet were aching. So when I got back to the house, after sleeping in the car, I took a muscle relaxer and recharged the body battery.

Today begins my ebook's free promotion! Please download it, read (it's a short one), and right me a short review to let me know what you think. All criticisms help me become a better writer for my other projects.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00DOMWPKE/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?ref_=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1_FKRC

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Mind Gets the Best of Me

Oh man sometimes when you look over your own situation, it doesn't look pretty. I did a short entry about the cost of migraines and I'm really feeling it now. I haven't even received my hospital bill or gone to Mayo yet!

Today, I'm doing my budget and things aren't panning out like they should. I'm going to start calling debtors and try to work things out before I look at other options. Sometimes when these situations happen, you just need to cry. So that's what I'm going to do: cry the frustration out.

So many questions are unanswered, yet I don't have to means to have them ALL answered. Anyone else feel that way? I make too much money to get any help, yet I don't make nearly enough to pay everybody. So what do you do? Do I accept defeat and consider moving back with the folks? Do I look at bankruptcy if everything else doesn't work? Do I just hope for the best and try to keep a roof over my head, food on the table (might be eating spaghetti noodles and sauce for a while), and a phone for contact?

So how do you decide which bills are worthy of panic? How do you decide what gets shut off and what dings your credit even more than it already is?

What's next?


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dogs are our Children

I just had a moment with my dog today that pretty much describes a toddler or young school aged child:

When I came home, with a migraine, she cuddled with me for a while then proceeded to tear up a cardboard box since I wasn't looking. This is a popular occurrence because when Mommy isn't looking, the rules don't apply right?

She'd do the potty dance (which is running around in circles by the door) and we'd go out. Sometimes she becomes a little rascal and "fake pees" just to be outside to see if there are people to jump and lick. She faked potty time twice in 20 minutes so she got to be put into time out aka her kennel.

While she was lying with me for a second time, her tummy kept making loud noises. I noticed her bowl was still full from yesterday so she was obviously hungry but refusing to eat. She just got a huge rawhide bone the other day so I could have some quiet time and she forgot to eat! I know that feeling because sometimes I forget to eat while working so much.

I kept trying to get her to eat, but she wasn't having it. So I took her bone and hid it. I told her she couldn't have it until she ate. This is equivalent with telling your child they can't have dessert until they finish their vegetables. They whine and cry, but with some coaxing, they'll eventually give in.

So I had to make a game out of eating. I would throw the food scattered on the floor and she'd suck it up like a vacuum. Then, just like when she gets treats, she sat all pretty waiting for the next round of food. Finally, after I was satisfied, she got her bone back.

Dogs are definitely good training for children, especially the hyperactive ones like boxers. I've learned so much about potty training, structure, and keeping items out of reach. Bridget constantly keeps me on my toes and life isn't boring at all.


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