Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another infusion down and aftereffects

If you are one of us who routinely has to get "stuck" at the doctor's office you know that when you are flaring it becomes a more difficult process.  I am still at the tail end of the flare that began back around the fourth of July.  I have also been working my tail off and between the two I am swollen up enough that I am up a shoe size and my rings will not come off my hands. 

Generally I just go with it because it's such a part of my life that I can make minor changes to accomodate so I didn't even think about it when I went for my infusion yesterday.  I went in and got on the scale (blech) and then settled in to my chair.  Usually I take along magazine articles to read but this time I just wasn't in the mood to read them so I put them off to the side.  I got my "reward" Macchiato (*yay Starbucks) arranged on the little table next to me so I could reach it when it was time and the nurse brought me a water and offered PB crackers.  I love those stupid things but after discussing that they are SIX POINTS for that little package at Weight Watchers this past Wednesday I had stopped and picked up  Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Sandwiches and even avoided the ever-so-tempting chocolate covered option so that I could join my fellow infusers in "snacktime" without going whole hog and wasting those 6 points. ** On a side note- if you haven't tried these pretzel sandwiches- they are a favorite of mine.  I can't even bring them in the house because I would very easily eat the whole 10oz bag mindlessly. After the visit- I left them in my car so that they are there for the next infusion**  Needless to say they were a treat and for half the points.  While I was at the store, I also picked up cookies for the nursing staff at the infusion center.  They are terrific and really make the visits pleasant.  But I digress.  Once I was all settled in, they came over to take a look at my veins.  I warned them that I was flaring and swollen- which was met with a sympathetic "Oh NO!" and the news that they also had to do labs at this visit.  After checking out my arms out came the heating pads.  I sat for about 15 minutes with the pads on my arms trying to get the veins to show themselves. 

Finally we got the visual of a vein on my right forearm.  The infusion nurse came over and popped in the IV line and got me all taped down and started the saline drip.  She tried to get my labs from the infusion line and it just wasn't happening.  She moved on to the next person and sent back one of the other nurses who was able to get a good stick first time from the left arm.  Since sleep has not been my friend for several weeks now, I was able to doze off during the infusion but when I was awake, I could feel the tingling from my thumb to my bicep as the medicine worked its way into my system.  Two hours later, I was done and they removed all of the apparatus.  Unfortunately- my arm was being uncooperative and didn't want to stop bleeding.  That meant that the nurse had to hold several guaze pads on there fairly firmly to get a clot and I had to be careful with it after so it didn't start back up.  By the time I was done I was fairly worn out so I went home and napped.  Each time I have had the infusion it has made me exhausted on the day of and the two hour nap helped a lot.  Also each time- the next day I have been very sick to my stomach- so this time I popped a fenergren before going to bed last night. 

Fast forward to this morning.  For the first time- I am not feeling sick!  That means the fenergren worked and that is a terrific thing.  I do have the immodium standing by just in case but so far- so good.  I have a fairly large bruise on my forearm and a much smaller one on the spot where they did my labs but neither are horrible.  I do still have tingling from my thumb to my shoulder which feels weird, but again- not horrible.  So far, this is the best "day after" of all the infusions. 

And on that note- I am off to do some last minute sprucing up before I head to the airport to pick up my friend! 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Being a Tourist

Next week my dear friend is flying in for a week and this time both my honey and I are taking vacation to spend with her.  I am thrilled that Jim gets to take some vacation as well because he works a lot of overtime and usually takes his "vacation" one day at a time.  The last time he took off more than one day was when we had to get back to MA for his mom's funeral.  To have him able to take most of the week off with us is a blessing. 

One of the fun things about having friends and family visit is that we get more of an opportunity to be tourists in our own town.  For this visit we have planned a trip to  The Louisville Mega Cavern  and  The Louisville Zoo  on Sunday with dinner at BD's Mongolian Grille for dinner.  Tuesday we are hitting The Coca-Cola Museum because my friend is as crazy about Coke products as my other half is Pepsi and I am coffee.  That evening we are doing a dinner cruise aboard the steamboat Spirit of Jefferson .  Thursday we are seeing the hometown Louisville Bats and Friday we are touring Waverly Hills.  It's a packed week of seeing Louisville. 
  One of Jim's and my favorite things to do is to just get in the car and drive around the city learning more about it.  We like to check out the different neighborhoods and stop at the hole-in-the-wall places that only locals know and discover places new to us.   After three years here- we are still enchanted with the city and all it has to offer so for us to see it through fresh eyes makes it even more special.

Obviously it is a vacation for her as well, so in addition to all of that, we have reserved every other day to relax, recharge and spend time just visiting and lounging by the pool.  On our "down days" I am planning on cooking up a storm so she can enjoy the fresh, homecooked meals that she doesn't often have time for running her store back in MA.  We both need this time as we each gear up for our respective "Rush" seasons.  We will spend time griping about our jobs (she was my boss and mentor), catching up on people that we know,  picking on my poor, outnumbered, husband and just enjoying each other's company.  It is the kind of vacation that I treasure.  No stress, no worries, no big expectations- just good friends and a good time. 

I have one long, long day today, then a meeting tomorrow and I am done with work for a week.  One infusion on Friday and some light housework and I will be done-done-done.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend and upcoming week. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting back in the saddle

"Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other."
— Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
     Well- it's back to work today.  I am most assuredly antsy.  I have been up since sometime during the 3:00 hour- I stopped looking at the clock around then and tried to go back to sleep but it just didn't happen.  Instead I got up and got *semi-productive*.  I cut three peaches to snack on at work.  I cut a big tomato and cuke for lunch.  I got my meds together.  I have started getting together all the things I need to take to my mom next visit.  I figure if I start putting it in my suitcase NOW- it will be there when I can go again.  I seem to forget something every time.  Unfortunately I can't put my empty flower pots in there-lol.  I think I will leave for work around between 6:30 and 7 so I can get a jumpstart on my email.  I also have a client meeting this week so I need to prep for that and go through everything on my desk before I head out to the floor. 

     I have two things I want to express gratitude for this morning.  First is, as I often give thanks for, my parents.  Though our plans changed significantly and they were unable to have all of their children and grandchildren together, they opened their doors and their arms to me and the pups for the week of my vacation.  For three years now I have spent my Thanksgiving week with them and it has become a tradition but midsummer- this was a first.  As I mentioned yesterday- the dogs really enjoyed themselves and were *for the most part* very well behaved.  Mom and Dad tolerated their "missteps" (Auggie has a bit of a seperation issue and helped himself to several things on bottom shelves while we were gone out one day) with far more grace and humor than I did.  For me, it was like having a toddler misbehave in public.  For them- it was both aggravating and amusing.  Needless to say- my stress level was high about it because I would not want them to dread the puppies coming to visit.  We are still working with Mr. Auggie and they understand that.  I am also grateful that my parents do not feel the need to "entertain" me.  I have another vacation coming very soon where we have packed 4 of the seven days (every other day for the most part) with *stuff* to share with my dear friend so it was very nice to just relax, run errands, visit, and have an unstructured week.  I was able to at the least lay down and rest even if I couldn't nap each day.  That was very needed. 

The second thing I am grateful for is how very well my baby sister is doing post bariatric surgery.  Since the beginning of April when she began this journey she has lost over 65lbs and 10.5 inches.  She could officially shop in my closet if she weren't 6 inches taller than I.  Though I guess she could use my slacks as capris for the summer-lol.  I am so very proud of her.  She is working so hard at this.  She deserves this.  She reached a milestone this week in that she is at her lowest weight since 2005 when she spent a full year getting down while her husband was in Quatar.  She is not just letting the surgery do it's thing- she is out there every day walking and has been going to the Y to use their treadmills when it is miserably hot out.  She is so committed and her hard work is paying off. 

As for me- every day is a bit of a struggle.  I think I need to find it in myself to recommit every single day.  I need to find it in myself to push through the prednisone effects and MOVE.  I need to start taking better care of myself and focus on the positive steps.  I need to set rewards for my non-scale victories and not let the scale be my focus and ruin my outlook. 

That's where I am- getting back on my routine and refocused even despite the sleep issues- re-energized.  Just what one would hope for from a vacation.  That's another thing to be grateful for this morning. 


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back from Vacation and Swimming in a Sea of Ben Gay

     This is a double update of sorts.  I had a wonderful vacation with my parents.  Not a whole lot of excitement- which is just what I needed.  We did some errands, we did get some "work" done- but mostly we just spent time together- and that is the most important thing.  The puppies also had a good time.  They LOVE Grandma and Papa's yard and getting to run free and chase the critters.  They were very proud- Harley treed an oppossum and Auggie decimated a Vole.  After that, Auggie just wanted to watch Vole Holes and Harley was able to run without him trailing behind everywhere. 

     I, on the other hand, learned a very serious lesson.  I ran out of my prednisone almost a week before I left.  I went on Sunday to refill it and there were no refills left.  The pharmacy offered to fax over a request for me and contact me.   They called me on Friday morning to tell me it was ready and so I drove into Louisville to pick it up.  I should probably admit that my husband normally drives when we go get my scripts- and that I cannot find my way out of a paper bag without a GPS.  That means that when my GPS failed- I got all turned around- and upset- and then stuck in traffic.  At that point, I called hubby and asked him to pick it up while I was gone and headed west.  Not my best moment on several levels.  First- I got myself worked up in a serious way about the whole thing, and second- having been off the prednisone for 5 days- I was half way to a major flare.  Couple that with driving two hours and I was in rough shape.  Fortunately- after conferring with the parents, I went to CVS and had my script transferred, bought two good braces and a couple of boxes of Thermacare and the flare started to subside within a couple of days. 

    What this tells me is that the Orencia either is not working or has not kicked in yet.  The residual pain in my shoulder, hips and elbow are keeping me up at night.  I am going to have to have a serious discussion with my Rheumy about this.  Over $300 dollars a month for infusions is too much to pay if going off prednisone can set me back so quickly.  The pain makes me cranky and the lack of sleep just adds to it.  When I get cranky- it's just not pretty.  I have another infusion on this coming Friday and then my next appointment with my Rheumy is next month.  Until then, I will keep on keeping on.

      Meanwhile, the puppies settle back into apartment life and I go back to work tomorrow.  I have a semi-short week (four days long hours and then a meeting on Friday) and then it's back to vacation.  I am very much looking forward to my dearest friend coming to visit next Saturday.  She will be here for a week and we will have so much fun.  We are planning all sorts of touristy things and have left plenty of time for just gabbing and enjoying the visit.  It will also give me another week of rest before we head into my Rush at work.  That should be just what I need to get through the next couple of months.   

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


ABC Family has a new summer show called HUGE .  This show is set at a weight loss camp for teens and stars Nikki Blonsky (from Hairspray fame) and Hayley Hasselhoff.  When I saw the previews I had some trepidation about how it would be handled but because it is on ABC Family and for the most part they handle difficult topics respectfully- I decided to give it a shot. 

So far, I have been impressed.  I was concerned that they would fall for the easy "fat jokes" for laughs and that the characters would be one dimensional but I was wrong.  Willamena (Blonsky) is funny and rebellious and more than a little angry that her parents sent her to "fat camp".  She is hurting because they do not accept her and is lashing out by refusing to lose any weight.  Amber (Hasselhoff) is a lovely girl who, because she is one of the thinner people at camp and pretty to boot is the center of make attention for the first time in her life.  She is sweet to begin with but the attention is her minefield to cross this summer.  Dr. Rand (played by Gina Torres) is tough on the outside but you can see that she understands from experience what the campers are going through and they have shown that she is not flawless.  Even sibling issues are explored in the characters of Chloe and Alastair.  Though it hasn't been offically stated- when Chloe receives a package from home, she brings Alastair his half- but in the woods far away from anyone.  Rarely does she even speak to Alastair in front of anyone because he is so much larger than she is and has so very many self esteem issues making him one of the "weird" (his own word) kids at the camp. 

The only character I have an issue with so far is Shay (Tia Texada), the camp's fitness coach.  Although not the only person in camp who is in shape (she has an assistant, George, who is the resident hottie and there is also Poppy- the annoyingly perky camp counselor in the girl's cabin) Shay grates on my last nerve.  Think Jillian Michaels in her approach.  Every time she screams at the kids- I just want to punch her in the face.  There is not an ounce of sympathy or empathy in her body.  If I were at that camp- she would be reason enough for me to leave.  If she were not SO grating- she might be a good opposite to Dr. Rand- but unless we find out that Shay was overweight at some point and there is a reason for her seeming loathing of the kids- she will continue to be a stereotype. 

Three episodes in, I am impressed enough that I am looking forward to the each episode.  Rather than focusing soley on weight; we have seen the real issues that overweight teens face.  These include self esteem issues, bullying (from the tennis camp nearby), lack of acceptance and health issues.  As one camper said "It's not so bad being here, it's the only place I have ever felt like not only is the playing field even but we're even on it". 

I also have to give points to ABC Family for their "Live Huge" campaign.  On the site for the show they have put together a panel of experts to interact with fans to help them with the problems that they face.    According to the site: 

At ABC Family, we believe that healthy living means living life to the fullest. In order to live your best life, it’s important to take care of yourself -- physically, mentally and emotionally. Here you’ll be given tips on how to eat nutritious snacks and meals, add exercise into your busy life, and build a stronger, more positive sense of self -- because living a healthy life means having healthy self-esteem too!

Kudos to them for tackling this subject.  More kudos for handling it in the way they have thus far.  I only hope that the rest of the season is as positive as it began. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to Unhook Yourself from Negativity

This article landed in my inbox this morning courtesy of my daily email from When you are on a journey toward a positive life, that site is a great resource. I am copying the article in total and will link you at the bottom if you want to explore more

How to Unhook Yourself from Negativity Sometimes there are people in life with whom you just don't see eye-to-eye. Maybe they rub you the wrong way or, even worse, just don't seem to like you and you can't figure out why. Ed and Deb Shapiro explain why another person's negativity may have nothing to do with you and what you can do to improve the relationship.
No one likes to be in a negative situation, but you don't always get along with everyone all the time. Once, when we were with the Dalai Lama, he said to us, "If we were together all the time, then we would quarrel!"

However, if someone is being dismissive, fault-finding or disapproving and this is making you feel unworthy, insecure or lacking in self-esteem, then it may be because there's a hook somewhere in you for that negativity to latch on too, a place where it can land that triggers all these hidden self-doubts.

For instance, imagine your mind is like a beautiful garden. If you let a pig in your garden, you will have a hard time getting it out, as pigs really like tasty gardens! In the same way, negativity is like a pig that gets in your garden and causes havoc.

How can you get unhooked? Rather than adding fire to fire by being equally as negative, there is another way. In our article "Turn Your Workplace into a Caring Place," we shared the story of how Helen, who had a critical and negative boss, was able to turn the situation around by focusing on kind and caring thoughts toward both herself and her superior.

When you extend kindness toward yourself as well as toward the person you are having a challenging time with, then an extraordinary thing begins to happen: The hook within you begins to dissolve. This means there is nowhere for the negativity to take hold or to land. By embracing yourself with kindness, you are strengthening and reinforcing feelings of self-empowerment, worthiness and personal value. Sending kindness to your adversary transforms her so she's able to release the conflict. It also acts like a shield so any remaining negativity does not penetrate; it cannot land. You can learn how to do this with the loving kindness meditation.

Deb shares a personal story of how she unhooked negativity in her co-worker

Showing yourself and others kindness is like turning compost into roses. Deb experienced this in a very personal way: "Many years ago, I was the administrator for an educational institute in Hawaii, and for some reason one of the teachers really had it in for me. No matter what I did, she disagreed and made me wrong. For administrative purposes, I had to be present at her classes, and, quite subtly, she soon turned all the participants against me. I realized she was triggering childhood memories of being ignored or disregarded, as I would shrink into a small, ineffective place when I was around her. It then emerged that I was going to have to go with her and the class to a remote cabin on another island for a one-week wilderness program. Not my idea of fun! The only option I had was to focus on her during my kindness meditation practice, which I did by holding her in a loving place within me every day for the few weeks before we left.

"By the time we got to the cabin, her attitude had begun to subtly change and she was no longer making me the cause of everything that went wrong. Over the first few days, she changed even more, every so often acknowledging me, but by the end of the week, she was actually including me along with everyone else, once even asking me for my opinion. The interesting thing was that she didn't seem to notice that anything was different. The whole of the class changed with her. I was astonished to watch it happen. The only thing I had done differently was kindness meditation, through which the hook inside me that she had been hanging all her judgment on had dissolved. She had nowhere to put her negativity; instead, it sort of fell on the floor between us. Eventually, it just slunk away, unable to find a home."

All the negative reactions that arise during moments of discord or disagreement can cause great suffering and anguish, but your own anger can do us even more emotional harm than someone else's words or actions. Extending kindness to others is, therefore, really extending it toward yourself as it leaves you in a gentler, more joyful place.

Try Ed and Deb's 3-step loving kindness meditation

It also helps to remember that if someone is hurting you, it's usually because she's in pain. Ever noticed how, when you are in a good mood, it is hard for you to harm or hurt anything? You even take the time to get a spider out of the bathtub. But if you are in a bad mood or are feeling very stressed, then it's easy to wash the spider down the drain. Your own pain spills over and harms anyone or anything in its way. For that reason, someone who incites feelings of discord or enmity actually needs to be loved even more because their pain will be far greater than the pain they are causing. When you become aware of this, you can wish all people to be happy and free from suffering. A truly compassionate and humane act!

Loving Kindness Meditation for Times of Difficulty

    Spend a few minutes on each stage of this practice. Settle your body in an upright and seated posture. Take a few minutes to focus on the natural flow of your breath, while bringing your attention to the heart space in the center of your chest.

     Now, either repeat your name or visualize yourself in your heart so you can feel your presence. Hold yourself there, gently and tenderly. Release any tension on the out-breath and breathe in softness and openness with the in-breath. Silently repeat: "May I be well, may I be happy, may I be filled with loving kindness." Feel a growing sense of loving kindness and compassion for yourself.

     Now direct your loving kindness toward the person you are having a hard time with, whoever it may be. Keep breathing out any resistance and breathing in openness, as you hold this person in your heart and repeat: "May you be well, may you be happy, may you be filled with loving kindness." No need to get caught up in recalling the details of the story. Hold her gently and tenderly, wishing her wellness and happiness.

     Now expand your loving kindness outward toward all people, in all directions, whoever they may be, silently repeating: "May all beings be well, may all beings be happy, may all beings be filled with loving kindness." Feel loving kindness radiating out from you in all directions. Breathe in kindness, breathe out kindness.

     When you are ready, take a deep breath and gently open your eyes, letting the kindness in your heart put a smile on your lips.

Ed and Deb Shapiro are the authors of Be The Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They are featured weekly contributors to, and Ed and Deb write Sprint's The Daily CHILLOUT inspirational text messages. They have three meditation CDs: Metta: Loving Kindness and Forgiveness, Samadhi: Breath Awareness and Insight and Yoga Nidra: Inner Conscious Relaxation. Deb is also the author of the best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Quotes

If you are also one of my "Facebook Friends", you know that I try to start each Monday through Friday morning with a quote. It may sound like a silly thing, but searching for and posting a quote each day puts me in a good frame of mind. My method is to put whatever is on my mind into google and find a quote that reflects what I am thinking so that I can get positive before I leave for work. I also reflect back on that quote through out the day.

While I am searching for just the right one to start my day- I find so many great quotes from so many sources that I really like but are just not "right" for that day. I thought that this morning, I might put a few of them here to share with you.

"When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it." Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. ~Author Unknown~

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” — G. K. Chesterton

“Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” — Shakti Gawain

“What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it-would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.” — Ralph Marston

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”- Unknown

“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don't worry...I'm here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you. -Charlie Brown to Snoopy”

“A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always, always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart.”

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." ~Erma Bombeck

"Sometimes in life, you find a special friend. Someone who changes your life just by being a part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. This is forever friendship. When you're down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full. Your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times and the confused times. If you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows. If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on. Your forever friend holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay. And if you find such a friend, you feel happy and complete because you need not worry. You have a forever friend, and forever has no end." ---Unknown

“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people - your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”--Barbara Bush

“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.” --Benjamin Franklin

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”--Ashley Smith

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”
― Lee Iacocca

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.”
― Lindley Karstens

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive and pain free week.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brick Walls

"Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people"
— Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

Each year on or around my birthday, I like to spend some time looking back at the year that just passed and really thinking hard about what I have achieved and what I did not achieve for the year. This introspection is usually marked by resolutions, if you will, for what I want from the next year of my life. I have not completed this task yet for this year but I did manage to get a small start on it. Rather than doing the ritual "contemplating of my navel"- I spent the weekend with my husband, my parents, my sister and her family which left very little time to look inward until bed time each night.

One thing I did realize is that when it comes to the brick walls that Randy Pausch describes above- I think that I am the one who builds mine. I don't just run into a brick wall standing in the middle of my road, I build it- brick by brick. I am not saying that I am a pessimist or that I don't want changes badly enough to climb over those walls- just that I am the one who stops myself from doing the things that I want to do.

I think maybe I tend to overanalyze things and look for the solutions to problems before they exist rather than searching for the opportunities. That is a mindset switch that I need to make. If I can find a way to break out of that cycle, not only will I get over those walls but they will come tumbling down in the process. The question is- how to do that. That will give me another layer to consider as I decide how to shape the next year of my life.

If you have not seen Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" I urge you to go to Carnegie Mellon's website and watch the entire lecture. If you let it, it will change you. I am going to watch the whole thing tonight before I start back working through this process.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My best emotional therapy.

While laughter may be the best medicine for what ails you, pets are most assuredly the best therapy. 

This is Harley.  Harley is a 7year old-ish yorkie/schnauzer mix that we adopted over two years ago.  Unlike many yorkies- Miss Dog is most decidedly NOT a lap dog.  She is perfectly content to bring me a toy when I get home, get some love and then go back about her business.  Super sweet and mellow; Harley thinks that every dog and person is supposed to be her friend whether they know it or not.  She has taken on the role of indulgent older sister with our latest family member.  She will tolerate him until she gets tired of him, then she will just wallop him.  She also "fusses" at him if he gets too excited or if he is getting in trouble. 

This is Auggie.  Auggie is about 18 months old and is a cocker spaniel/pekingese mix that we adopted 6 months ago.  He is ALL BOY.  He is rough and tumble and will play with you until you drop from exhaustion.  Unlike Harley- he likes nothing more than being in your lap as long as you have a hand on him.  Also unlike my gentle soul little girl, Auggie has some bad habits (jumping up on you, chewing and he just discovered digging-sigh) and is quickly getting used to hearing the word NO.  What we have to work on is that No means stop completely- not just when Mom or Dad is watching-lol. 


Yesterday I unloaded the pieces to put together two new fixtures in my store.  It was early in the morning and I wanted to get it done so I did a lot of in myself.  Not the smartest move I have ever made.  Between the lifting and moving and the "window" of the cab falling on me- I managed to hurt myself.  I had finished and was in my office typing when my back seized up.  I seriously felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat and it hurt to so much as breathe.  I haven't felt that sharp of pain in a long time.  Unfortunately, I couldn't leave as I was supposed to be meeting with my client at 4pm.  Fortunately- I always carry spare tramadol and flexeril and was able to take them to slightly dull the pain until I could get home. 

When I did finally get home, I was in a foul mood.  So foul that when I spoke to my husband before leaving work- I jumped right down his throat.  I was in a lot of pain, I was exhausted and I had stayed all day at work for a meeting that had ended up having to be rescheduled about 2 hours before it was to happen.  It doesn't excuse how I handled my mood but it's a contributing factor.  When I got home, I spent a few minutes with the dogs but not as is my usual routine.  The thing about having a pet is that no matter how crappy your mood, no matter what has happened, when you get home at the end of the day- they are just so happy to see you.  Their little tails wag like they will fall off, they come running to see you- they are just happy you are there.  Just seeing them softened my mood enough that when Jim got home I immediately apologized.  My honey forgave me, hooked me up to my TENS machine and sent me up to lay down.  I turned on my heating pad and gingerly lay down to let the heat do its work.  As I laid there, flipping through the channels and wallowing in self pity, I heard a little "boof" from my right side.  Miss Harley was next to the bed and wanted up with me.  I got back up and put her on the bed and before I could get comfortable again, Auggie was right there next to me.  While I had gotten Harley up- he had circled around to the other side of the bed and jumped up to join us.  Though it was what is usually their play time- both dogs had come up to join me on the bed.  They obviously knew something was wrong because they both snuggled up next to me and just laid there quietly beside me for the next hour.  Harley stretched along my leg and Auggie curled up in a ball at my rib cage and nuzzled under my hand so that my fingers were entwined in his silky fur.  Laying there with those two little creatures looking up at me with their big eyes full of love- I couldn't continue feeling sorry for myself.  I closed my eyes and gave thanks for these two beautiful dogs who were there comforting me when I was in so much pain.  That led to thoughts of how blessed I am that we found *these two* particular dogs when we did and that we were able to adopt them when we did and that I have such an understanding husband and how lucky I am  in the rest of my life too.  And before I knew it- the dark clouds over my head were gone.   In less than an hour, they managed to completely heal my soul and bring me back to a place of gratitude.  It didn't chase the pain away- but it did make it easier to deal with and put me back in the right frame of mind.  How could I not be thankful for that?