Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Later Than You Think

Those who know me outside of "bloglife" know how much it meant to me to earn my Masters in Holistic Nutrition in 2008. Nutrition gave me back my life from Lupus. So at the age of 50 I went back to school to earn my Masters in Holistic Nutrition. The mission and yes, the passion, of the rest of my life is to help others the way I was helped. Because you see, western medicine isn't. It's shameful not once in the sixteen years I was battling active Lupus not one of my physicians (and I had a regiment of them) ever asked about my diet.

You know even a mechanic would check to see if you had gas in the car.

But I digress. After I earned my Masters I turned to the next step of my journey. How do I help people understand the standard american diet is killing them? How do I help them understand there is an urgency to them understanding this? That nutrition CAN make a difference in chronic illness. That nutrition can even prevent chronic illness. New research is even showing that proper nutrition can STOP bad genes from turning on. Do you get the immensity of that information? This is HUGE. It's so huge it makes me feel, well, it makes me feel, inadequate.

You know though I've been in remission for eight years, Lupus stole quite a lot of time from me. There were years (yes, years) when if I wasn't at work I was in bed resting so I could go to work when it was time again. There were times I couldn't get out of bed. Literally. But in all that downtime Lupus taught me something too. It gave me an appreciation for the time of my life which I don't think I would have had to such a degree had I not gotten sick. And in a very unmistakable way, it taught me time is elusive.

I have a friend who puts it this way, "it's later than you think."

A few years ago while working a nightshift I had the privilege of watching the sunrise with a cancer patient. She was a delightful, perky lady; a truly amazing person. To this moment I am in awe of her attitude. It's one sunrise I will never forget. Yeah the sunrise was beautiful but that isn't why I will remember it. I will remember it because that lady had such an awesome spirit. I felt so privileged to be able to share that sunrise with this person. It almost brought me to tears only I didn't want to cry in front of her. She was special. And perhaps, just perhaps, cancer happening to her didn't have to happen. Perhaps the standard american diet is what killed her. Processed foods are greatly lacking in the nutrients your body needs. According to the W.H.O. 70% of cancer can be prevented thru proper nutrition. So you might give some thought to changing your diet for the better to one brimming with whole foods . The human body can repair itself if given the nutrients it needs. In fact a properly working immune system kills cancer cells everyday. Yes, I said everyday. Eating nutritiously is vitally important. And please consider this today, not tomorrow because...

I have a friend who puts it this way, "it's later than you think".

As I sat down to write this blog post I thought of various clients and friends who only sporadically eat well and supplement with vitamins. Then they complain and blame the vitamin or supplement when really it's their inconsistency which fuels their health problems. Worse yet I thought of clients who sporadically purchase childrens vitamins. Because what they are teaching their children is it's ok to put health second. They are unintentionally setting-up their children for an unhealthy life. Meanwhile time flies by.

I have a friend who puts it this way, "it's later than you think".

Do you get what I'm trying to say? Time goes by quickly. It's elusive. And sometimes you run out of it. Life is such a priceless, wondrous gift. Wellness is the foundation of the quality of your life. Without wellness you lose choice. I've been there and done that. It's not fun. Unfortunately, it's really easy to let time fly by and to take wellness for granted. And it's a mistake to do so. Wellness must be taken care of and nurtured. Treasured. How many times have you thought "gee I should eat better" or "I'll quit smoking next week" or "gee I should exercise more" or "I'll do better tomorrow".

Tomorrow you may be sick. It may be later than you think.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Uncommon Courage: A Life of Significance

This is an old blogpost from 2006:

There came a time during my long journey with Lupus when my mother asked me how to cope with illness. She was well into her journey with Shy-Drager, a very debilitating version of Parkinsons. To say it's difficult when the roles in life turn is an understatement. I wish I had been full of wisdom at that moment. Maybe in a small way there was some wisdom in what I said.

I told her my philosophy was to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going and that's what she had to do too. We agreed we would do that together for as long as we each could. Then we had a discussion about what we each wanted and didn't want in regards to medical treatment. We made each other promises to safeguard each others dignity in the event we couldn't do it for ourselves. There were no tears during our conversation, but in the years since her passing I have often wilted into tears when remembering it. I kept my promise to her, there was no medical intervention with feeding tubes, IV's or medical machinery at the end of her journey.

Thinking back on the difficult times of my lupus journey I can say it's really not a simple thing to do to "keep going" when in the grip of 24/7 pain, shortness of breath and overwhelming fatigue. In fact, when faced with an incurable illness it takes an uncommon courage to even want to keep going. There were many times when I begged God to take me home.

But at the time when my mother and I had our conversation, I simply thought that to put one foot in front of the other and keep going was all I knew to do and certainly didn't think of it as courageous. To me it was just survival. In fact, everything I did; changing my diet to one without processed foods, being a guinea pig for an investigational drug, reframing my thoughts, exercising when I was physically able and my physician would let me, incorporating daily meditation, trying glyconutrient supplementation, was all, I thought, just a matter of survival. Not just to stay alive, but to keep my lifestyle and my independence.

But I've been told by four different people in the last few months that they view me as courageous. As I sit here pondering my journey to remission I have a hard time thinking of myself as courageous. It blows my mind anyone thinks of me as courageous. My journey to remission wasn't about courage, and though I thought it was about survival, it really wasn't even about survival; it was about having a significant life. Everyone wants their life to mean something. I have always thought one of the worst things about chronic illness is the loss of human potential. Illness illustrated to me very clearly the insignificance of monetary success and about personal growth and living a life of significance. Financial freedom means nothing if you're not also making a difference.

It takes real courage to live a life of significance. It takes insight, (some would say wisdom), to understand you can live a significant life even if you are coping with a seemingly incurable illness. Sometimes that is hard to see when you're living with 24/7 pain and little hope for respite. When illness strikes and your dreams suddenly seem unreachable; you must understand your illness, no matter what you no longer can do, does not make you any less important to the world. You must understand every existence is significant. By putting one foot in front of the other and keeping going you are, in fact, living a life of significance. You are giving value to life. There is nothing more noble.

So whatever hardships you are coping with in your life; change the things in your life which are negative or don't promote wellness and keep on keeping on. You are precious and your existence is significant.