Thursday, May 31, 2012

Live Your Life

Are you the type of person that allows things in life to happen; do you merely respond to those things? Or are you the type of person who lives life to the fullest and cause things to happen? I don't know about you, but I want to be in the last group. In my mind, to be in the first group makes me akin to a lemming. Lemmings may look adorable but .. need I say more?

When I first became ill, one illness led to the next, then to the next, then to the next. What I thought was going to be at most a week or two off work continued. It was a tidal wave of both acute and chronic illnesses. I couldn't get on top of it all. I allowed my doctors to dictate treatment. In other words, I acted like a lemming. Others were running my life. I wasn't in control. I was too overwhelmed to grab hold of what was happening to me. My health, my family, my finances, my faith, let's face it, my life
was totally changed back in Oct. 2006.

Things are different now. It has taken a long time to get to where 
I am at right now. I am still mourning some of what I have gone through. Perhaps the reason for this my health continues to deteriorate. However, it is my life. And as Thoreau said, "I want... to live deliberately, I want... to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and not when I... come to die discover that I had not lived.” Therefore, I've taken charge of my illnesses. I've found doctors that treat me as an equal and don't treat me as a disease or a number. I work with them to find the best treatments available and serve as my own advocate. 

When you are ill or someone you love is ill, you need to help yourself or to them help themselves. Know you/they still have the choice to live life or let an illness run it. Trust me, it feels better to take charge of life, look the illness square in the face and Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Live An Extraordinary Life

In 1998, The Dead Poet Society, became one of the most talked about movies. The main character of the movie was an unconventional teacher named John Keating. Keating tells his students that, "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world". He goes on to say that those who lived before, "They're not that different from you, are they ...just like you... Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things...  just like you. Did they wait until it was too late... to make from their lives... what they were capable? Because, you see ..., these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary".

Burke the Service Dog. 
To make a life extraordinary, it sounds like a daunting task. It doesn't have to be. It is simply doing ordinary every day things in extraordinary ways. It is the single mother who works two jobs to keep food on the table for her children, who makes time to read bedtime stories, and attend their extra cirricular activities. Yes, this mother is living her life in an extraordinary way. An extraordinary life is that of a young woman that has seizures. She has a service dog, has made it through high school and college with stellar grades, has been accepted into graduate school, speaks several languages including Russian, acts as an interpreter for the deaf, trains service dogs for others, and is one of the most selfless people I know. Yes, she is living an extraordinary life; she is an extraordinary person. 

Some people are able to make important moments, such as a marriage proposal, more than the simple "will you marry me?". Watch this clip Is this the world's most epic marriage proposal? shown via YouTube from channel 7 News.

Listen close after you have watched it. WARNING:  Carpe Diem may be calling you to do something extraordinary or perhaps doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. I know it is calling me.

Burke and Elise mastering the art of living life through their various abilities.

*permission given to use my daughter's, Burke's, and Elise's photo

Monday, May 28, 2012

Carpe Diem

Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Although at times, I must confess that I have questioned my sanity at least I know that if I keep getting the same result something has to change. Often the thing or in this case the person that needs to change is me. This is a loose record of these changes and of some helps I have found along the way.

As for a bit of background, I'm married with 3 adult children, 2 dog  that I refer to as "the girls", and a cat

Sarai and Sean (her and very significant other) at a Mardi Gras Garden Party

Although I had asthma and a few other things wrong with me, I was in fairly good health. In 2006, while working as a nurse case manager, I had a migraine which left me with some unfortunate side effects; these affected both my short term and long term memory, and some minor muscle issues. However, it majorly impacted my working memory. The migraine also left me unable to work. 

Joshua in wedding attire.

When you loose the ability to work through loss of your health, you loose financial stability, a career, peers at work, your routine, some of your friends, and at least for me part of how I defined myself. 

I am trying to adjust to these changes and not to judge these changes as good or bad, rather just as changes. It is a hard attitude to hold. However, it is the healthy one to have. Most days I'm just not that healthy.

I once told someone that I want to learn to live before I die. I want to learn to enjoy the moments of each day. My goal is to find the joy in living no matter what that life may look like. This a of record of my journey towards living in joy, not in falsehood, or with a Pollyanna type attitude, but rather an attitude based in reality and hope.

Chrissie being silly

I want to learn to seize the seconds, the moments, and as John Keats would say, ...

        "Carpe Diem.Seize the Day!"