Friday, February 6, 2015

Be Kind

Every year at this time I get anxious as I sit down to write my personal fundraising page for the MS Walk.   I don't know about you, but it's hard to open myself up and let people see what's really going on inside. It's hard to be vulnerable.  In years past I've had a "theme" of sorts to my fundraising.  Whether it was hope, strength, joining together as one for a cure...this year I'm struggling.  I'm exhausted, forgetful and to be honest a little afraid.
 I've got some decisions to make regarding medication that I have pushed off for over a year.  This past year I tried a new avenue with a more holistic approach.  I tried acupuncture, went to a nutritionist and saw new doctors up at Duke Integrative Healthcare.  I "cleansed" my body of gluten, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy and meat.  I started seeing a therapist to help me accept this diagnosis, some 5 years later.  I started taking a private Pilates class to help my body be less stiff, to work on my balance and to challenge myself mentally. I quit my job last September because it was just too much for my mind to handle.  I got confused and it started taking me longer and longer to get my projects done.

Through all this I have I have done my best to remain positive.  I've tried to take something from each of last year's experiences to move forward.  After many a crying conversation with Stephen, we decided that if I was going to quit my job it wasn't going to stop me from working.  The focus was just changing.  The focus became working on me.  Trying to find a rhythm to a disease that has no rhyme.  My job was to focus on getting me stronger, physically and mentally.  We bought a piano last October so I could challenge my mind to learn something new.  I now take Pilates classes three times a week.   Sometimes that is all I can do...go to Pilates and then come home and rest.  Other days I can go on for hours and then later that night it hits me like a ton of bricks that I have done too much.   It's hard to accept that I do not have control over how my body feels and reacts to MS and life's daily stresses.

I have learned something very important along the way.  It's funny because I have always preached this to the girls, ever since they were little.  It is simply to be kind.  Be kind to others.   Try to understand that everyone comes from a different place and we never know what has happened to them before we meet them that day.  They could have had a fight with their mom.  Maybe their dog is sick.  Maybe their best friend said something mean.  Maybe their parents are getting divorced and they don't know what to do.  Maybe they just don't feel well.  It could be anything under the sun.  No matter how they treat you, you must be kind in return.  I never really told them to apply that to themselves.   This year as I have explored new ideas and approaches to my MS and I have found one common theme in all of it.  Be kind to myself.  Treat my body and mind the way I want to be treated.  Take care of it.  Challenge it.  Understand that there are some days when it's not going to do what I want it to do.  Let go of unrealistic expectations.  Embrace the challenges and be proud that I give my best and it is good enough.

As I reread what I have written so far I have to correct myself and say that I am not struggling with a theme this year.  I've learned something new about myself this past year and I need to share that with all of you.  BE KIND.  It's that simple.  This is something you all should do whether you have Multiple Sclerosis or not.  I think if we make the choice to be kind to ourselves the results will be tenfold.

As I've said, MS is an unpredictable chronic disease for which there is no cure.  If sharing my story with you has touched you heart, I ask for you to thoughtfully consider donating to my MS Walk team.  The funds raised go to local people right here in NC, as well as much needed funds for medical research to find a CURE for MS.

As my beloved New England Patriots have said "Do your job".  Well they did theirs and won the super bowl!  I'm going to do mine and win this fight against MS.  I would love to have you by my side supporting me on Saturday, April 11th for the MS Walk.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

21 day cleanse...what was I thinking?!?!

You read it right...S and I are in the midst of a 21 day cleanse, day 17 to be exact.  Trying to jump start our bodies by cutting out most of the things we LOVE!!  We cannot have gluten, caffeine, animal products (that includes glorious cheese!!), sugar (my addiction is on hiatus) and my beloved wine (alcohol in general).  It literally took me about 9 months to make this decision.  Yeah, it was that major for me.  So every night I am trying to come up with vegan meals for us adults and then something the kids will eat.  With 2 kids one week and 5 the next it has been tricky with all those different mouths to feed!! 

It's really not as bad as I thought it would be.  We got the idea from Kathy Freston's book Quantum Wellness Cleanse.  She actually looks at your whole person in this cleanse and how each of us is unique.  It's really a low pressure book.  After rereading some parts, I finally decided to jump in!  My first goal was to loose weight...on day 17 I am down 3 pounds (not very impressive to me, could it be all those veggie tortilla chips and Mrs. Renfros, salsa ?!? Maybe ).  My second goal was to detox my body, which includes what goes in and what comes out.  This past March I ended up in the emergency room, ambulance and everything, with severe stomach pains.  After waiting far too long the diagnosis was in...I was full of shit, literally.  Good God!!  I was embarrassed to say the least...who new poop could cause so much pain?  Well I do and now so do you!  I can happily say that I have met this goal, through the cleanse, yea me!! My third goal was to see if these changes would help my sleep.  As you may know...I'm creeping up on 45 in October...sleep after you are 40 can be non-existent.  I'm not sure if the cleanse actually helped or if it was my discovery of Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea.  My guess's the tea.  I highly recommend giving it a try. 

So on the positive side I met all my goals.  While I didn't melt away into a sleek size 2 like I was hoping for, I'll take the 3 pounds and call it a night.  Who knows, I could shed the rest in these last 4 days!!  I'll keep you posted on that one!  There really isn't a negative side to this cleanse...although last night S and I looked at each other and he said what I was thinking..."boy I'd love a drink right now".  First time in 17 days that I really missed my pinot noir.  We will reunite on Monday for my anniversary.  I think we will make some adaptations to our old way of eating.  I'm not going to stay a vegan 3 weeks/21 days//504 hours, however you would like to note it, will be long enough for me.  I think I'll be able to incorporate the two eating styles into something moderate and still healthy.  I've seen both extremes and I can honestly say I am not interested in either as a life change.  I will limit the process foods and focus a lot more on clean eating.  Real food actually tastes really good!!

I do want to share my intense love for Pinterest  That website/app is outrageously good!  If you are not on Pinterest you need to drop everything and go there (well after you finish reading this post!)  I have found so many recipes and wellness tips I feel like I have found a gold mine.  Never mind the gardening, fashion, decorating and everything else in the world you can think's amazing.  Click on the "follow me on Pinterest" link to the right and you can see all my pins!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on cleanses and clean eating?  What do you think???


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Welcome to my new blog!  I'm so glad you are here.  Many of you have followed me for the past 6 years at She is Running Down a Dream .  For those of you new to my writings, thanks for coming into my little piece of the world.  A little background for you...I am married to the absolute love of my life (lucky me, I know!).  We will be celebrating our first anniversary next week!  Between the two of us we have 5 daughters and a part time dog.  I started my first blog 6 years ago while I was going through some medical testing.  After months of the unknown, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on December 22, 2009.  I used my blog as an outlet as I tried to come to terms with my diagnosis, to deal with the ending of my first marriage, to share lessons learned and for A LOT of self reflection. 

I came to the decision to start a new blog that would correlate with my world as it is today.  I'm a newlywed again. This time with 5 daughters. My family has grown by three amazing people.   Being part of a blended family can have it's highs and it's lows.  New personalities, new environment, new "rules"...really new everything.  Along with that, I'm still working on my ability to accept my diagnosis (and the changes that it brings to our daily lives).  I've taken a new approach to managing my daily living and my health.  It's more encompassing.  It includes the physical, emotional & spiritual pieces as a whole.  Instead of just going by what my neurologist prescribes I am seeking out new alternatives.  It's certainly a process and one that is still in the beginning stages. 

As I begin on this new journey, I hope you will come along for the ride.  It's sure to be interesting as I continue Striving for Balance.  Be sure to follow me so you will get my most recent posts on family, love, food (I love, love, love food!) along with my thoughts, reflections and musings on everything in my little piece of the world!