Posts

A Fresh Start: Rehab therapy for your soul

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I didn’t post anything in May. Although it broke my schedule and intentions, I don’t have the energy to worry about it or feel guilty over it like I would have in the past. Plus, May was a month full of lamentations, and there’s only so much complaining and explaining that I have the capacity to write and my audience has the desire to read. Beauty was, and remains, in short supply. But it’s still there, and I still want to tell you about it. Maybe even more now than before. As I navigate my health challenges and look for signs of healing, I’m granting myself the grace to name the simple beauty around me and have that be enough. I’m holding off on anything that’s too complex or deep or metaphorical. I will focus on noticing the one thing that made me smile or warmed my heart each day. I’m only asking myself to see the largest Doorways right now. It means shorter posts, but I’m giving myself permission for that, too. Call it baby steps or re-training with the goal of starting fresh and

Beauty on the Bad Days: What to do when the bad days return

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Four weeks ago, when anyone asked how I was doing, I would respond, “I think I’m on the upswing!” I know now that another down-swing was coming sooner than expected. It’s interesting that I chose that language, but I’ve always envisioned my health as a moving, cyclical, and repetitive entity. Images of pendulums and roller coasters have filled my mind as I sought to make sense of my ever-changing onset of symptoms. I’ve written vaguely about my health over the last several months, but you may not know that I’ve been dealing with severe issues since the beginning of the year that include feeling drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, and short of breath. I’ve been to the emergency department twice and had multiple teleheath appointments with multiple doctors in an attempt to figure out what’s wrong and how to treat it.  I made changes to my medications and reviewed blood tests, and I got better. Then a month later my symptoms returned, and I got worse. After a promising visit with my sle

Beauty in the Spam Folder: How paying attention to my inbox led to a moment of advocacy

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Last week I was scrolling through my inbox. I hadn’t checked it for a few days because it’s an email address that tends to get a lot of spam. Somehow, I got on a list to receive action alerts from a state-wide advocacy group. I didn't recognize the name of the organization, but the issues they’ve promoted align with my values, so I haven’t unsubscribed yet. I usually just delete the emails. But one message in particular caught my eye. “Contact the Senate committee today to support proposed changes in disability parking laws!” Since I use a wheelchair and have first-hand experience with parking challenges, I clicked on the link, thinking I would just fill out and send the provided email template. I’d done this before for other organizations and causes, and it was easy. This level of involvement was within my comfort zone. However, listed under the email option was information about giving live testimony to the committee via Zoom. I was intrigued, so I found the full text of the Hous

Vaccinated! Gratitude for humanity's strength

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Two days ago, I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine!  As someone with a severe underlying health condition, I was invited to sign up for a clinic administered by my local County Health Department. Last week the county sent out a website link that would go live at noon on Friday. I was wary because I had tried a similar sign-up the week before, and before I had finished filling out the online form, the clinic had filled up. It took less than six minutes.  I was discouraged and frustrated.   My doctors couldn't do anything to help me since the county was in charge of distribution. However, my friends encouraged me to try again, reassuring me that I could get in. This time when the link went live, my hands were shaking as I typed furiously. I used my computer rather than my phone so I could click through the questionnare faster. It felt like I was trying to buy concert tickets before the event sold out. But the stakes were higher. When I finally reached the scheduling page,

Out of the Valley: Nine days of beautiful gifts

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In my last post I wrote about some health issues that had me searching for the light around me. It was the convergence of many ongoing symptoms that made it so intense. I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt intermittently drowsy and dizzy and nauseous. My appetite was all but gone. But when I sought medical help (my doctor sent me to the ER), all the test results came back negative or normal. There were just two thin threads to follow. I scheduled appointments with two specialists, but while I waited, my symptoms continued to impact my days. Most notably, I had to avoid screen time as it made everything worse.  In the past, I would have kept my “complaints” to myself, thinking I didn’t want to burden anyone with worry. But I’ve learned that when you’re in a valley, it’s okay to open up and reach out for help. So when my mom and sister asked how I was doing, I gave them specific details. I described my frustrations and the ways I was trying to manage them. They listened patiently and offered

Surrounded by Light: Finding peace in the darkness

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This will be a quick post as I want to give you one more story in 2020. And I need this reminder right now, too, because I’m dealing with some new health issues that make my daily life a little darker. Last week Jupiter and Saturn were aligned so close, they appeared to be one star. In fact, many called it the Christmas Star, imagining it was akin to what the shepherds saw over two thousand years ago. There was a limited viewing window; the planets would dip below the horizon about thirty minutes after sunset. So I bundled up in my jacket and gloves and went to the driveway. The clouds were sparse, and I spotted the planets behind a distant treetop. I sat down on my walker and looked up. Although it was dark, all I could see was the light. There was an almost-full moon shining on my left. To my right was our pine tree strung with colorful lightbulbs along with matching strings along the eaves behind me. Straight ahead was the Christmas Star. I smiled and sighed, “I am surrounded by lig

How The Inconvenience of Quarantine can Lead to Beauty: Making deeper connections through total immersion

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I spent the last two weeks living with my sister, and it was beautiful. When I arrived, I was greeted with cheerful hugs from everyone, including my mom who had come over to visit. It had been nine months since I’d last been in her house, and nine months since I’d hugged my family. It was reminiscent of visiting grandparents, aunts, and uncles several states away. However, my sister was only six miles away, living right next door to my parents. This is what Covid has done. It has made everything “long-distance.” From family and friends to book clubs and volunteer groups, and even church, I may as well be dialing in from the middle of nowhere. To get to those hugs, six adults and three children had to quarantine for fourteen days, then remain in quarantine for another two weeks as we gathered together for meals and movies. And did I mention one of those children was my newborn niece? My sister had to convince the hesitant pediatrician to conduct the baby’s wellness checks via telehealth