InspiraBlog

Start Before You’re Ready

This is my eighth InspiraBlog entry. When I re-launched the blog, I made the decision to post a new entry each Wednesday.  Sometimes, I don’t post until the afternoon or evening.  But, so far, I’ve kept to the scheduled day.

I have made attempts to start blogs before and, around the third week, I missed my deadline by a day. The following week, I let the deadline slip by two or three days. Then, I only posted once a month and not on a consistent day. Finally, I ended up feeling lousy about myself and stopped blogging altogether because I’d lost my steam and I figured I’d lost my audience.

So why resurrect the blog?  Because I enjoy writing and I want to use my blog to help people, especially since I have so much to share about the experiences, realizations and lessons from this past year of bed rest and healing.

I was scared to do it.  Will people read it? Will it resonate with with my audience? Will they stick with it from week to week?

I have a small audience, but I know growing an audience takes time, so I remain committed.

For now, having a small audience is a good thing.  It gives me time to work out the kinks  … if need be, change the day and time I post based on when the blog stats show I am reaching the widest audience, find out which topics are resonating with people and focus on those areas (and weed out the topics that don’t resonate) based on the readers’ comments.  It also gives me time to increase my confidence.  I keep my blog posts in the draft folder until the very last moment and it takes me and a lot of guts, and sometimes hours, to press the PUBLISH button.  It does get easier–that is, less nerve-wracking–with each blog entry I share with you.

Before I re-launched the blog, I kept telling myself I wasn’t ready.  But that was my fear talking and I can tell you that the fear has significantly decreased in the past month and a half.  So perhaps this blog should be titled Start While You’re Still Scared Because the Fear Will Disappear.

Do you have a fear you want to overcome or a start before you’re ready experience to share?  Also, what topics do you want to read about in future blog entries?  Please post in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, InspiraGang!  See you next week!

Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda … Yada, Yada, Yada

Yesterday was 9/11. I also had a wound check-up scheduled.  On the way to the appointment, we passed Heartworks House, where the memorial ceremony was taking place.  Knowing that I had to take care of my health, I still didn’t want to be going to the doctor.  On this day of all days, I wanted to be at that memorial supporting my friends.  Thankfully, I had the Heartworks meeting to look forward to last night (via Skype) and it did my soul a world of good because …

My check-up did not go well and I was bummed.  Last week, the doctor declared the wound healed and stopped the stem cell treatment, even though I have the availability of three more applications of the treatment.  I had an uneasy feeling from that moment on and it would not go away.  I should feel so much happier hearing that the wound was healed.  Why didn’t I feel like shouting the news from the rooftops and celebrating?  Well, now I know.  The wound is not fully healed … NOT YET.  In the past week, the wound opened up slightly–those pesky .2 centimeters (2 millimeters)–a minuscule amount, but distressing nonetheless.  So, I started “shoulding” all over myself.

I should have listened to my intuition.

I should have known this thing wasn’t healed yet.

I should have insisted on continuing the treatment.

I didn’t and I was pissed off at myself.

Was all hope lost?  No.  We are resuming the treatment next Monday, and I have faith that it will work and the wound will heal completely.  Still, the nagging questions and negative thoughts linger in my worn-out brain.

What if I this thing doesn’t heal?

What if I did have the surgery?  Would it have worked and would I be up and about by now?

What if I wasted this whole year?

Then, it hit me…  I was wasting time on “should haves” and “what ifs.”  It’s a huge waste of friggin’ time, my friends, and it doesn’t do any good.  It’s counterproductive and it just makes you feel worse.  You can’t change the past, but you can make changes in the present that positively affect your future.

What I can do going forward is:

Regain my positive outlook.

Keep saying and writing my positive affirmations, especially “I am healthy.”, “I make healthy decisions.” and “My derrière continues to heal.”

Continue to reach out to you, my InspiraGang, when I need a boost of encouragement.

Please keep the prayers, positive vibes, cards, letters and visits coming.  In fact, I would love it if you would post some positive thoughts in the comments below.

Oh, and please share the link to this blog with your friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you for being there for me, InspiraGang.  You heal me and I am eternally grateful.

Until next week,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

The “New Normal”

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 was a memorable day.

It was the day I received the news that my pressure wound healed.  It was also one year ago to the day that I broke the news of my wound diagnosis on Facebook.  Fifty excess pounds ago as well, I realized as I watched the video.

I knew when I shared the healing news that some might think this journey was complete, that I would immediately be sitting up and that my life would resume as it had before the wound interrupted it.  I also knew that would not be the case.  A “new normal” is now staring me in the face.

When the doctor told me the wound had healed, he also said that I was to continue on bed rest and come in for weekly check-ups for three more weeks to ensure that my derrière stays healed.  If it does, then I can start what is being called a sitting protocol.  This is where I sit for perhaps a half-hour a day for a time, then an hour, then two hours, and so on, until I reach this “new normal”, which is supposedly sitting only eight to 10 hours a day for the rest of my life.

Yup.  The wind was knocked out of me with that news this past February.  I have not shared it widely until now because I have been absorbing this gut punch.

More accurately, I have been trying to figure out how I can buck the system, or at least modify it to fit my lifestyle, because I couldn’t imagine how I was going to do all the things I wanted to do with this restriction.

Despite my handicap, or perhaps because of it, I lead a very active life … out and about on a regular basis facilitating my inspirational workshops, networking, spending time in my favorite virtual offices writing new inspirational material, creating websites and social media profiles, meeting with clients, socializing, etc.  As long as I had access to a wheelchair-friendly restroom, I could move about my day easily and with few restrictions.

But now … Hey Universe, Is this really the “new normal?”  Are you telling me I am sentenced to sitting only eight to 10 hours a day for the rest of my life?  How the frack am I going to do that and still maintain an active lifestyle?  Un-freaking-imaginable, not to mention, un-bleeping-acceptable.

Is this punishment for my already embarrassing weight gain that supposedly contributed to the pressure wound in the first place? (Shaking my fist at the sky)

Believe me when I tell you that bitching about one of life’s crappy curve balls becomes counterproductive very quickly.  I have to move on and figure out things like:

  • How to get in a bathtub (Sitting on a hard surface, even for a short bath, will probably be a no-no.)
  • How to drive ( I cannot drag my butt over the wheel of my wheelchair to get in my driver’s seat like I used to do.)
  • How to travel by car or by plane for long trips  (Wouldn’t a tour bus be awesome?!)

Have I figured any of this out yet?  Nope, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  I have tons of logisitics to figure out.  As Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figureoutable.”  Well, let me tell you, InspiraGang, I am up to the challenges.  I can do this.  I know I can.

More to come on this topic in future blog posts.

When you were faced with a “new normal”, how did you deal with it?  Please share your experience in the comments below.

Your never-normal InspiraGirl (and thank God for that!),
Andrea

TV or Not TV

I love TV.  I will even go as far as saying I am a recovering TV addict.  I used to keep the TV on all day and, sometimes, all night.  It was a comfort and a stress-reliever.  Mostly, it was a way to escape life’s  problems.

I used to live by the TV Guide.  I even quit Junior Scouts because the meetings were on Tuesday nights when my all-time favorite show, Happy Days, was on.  This was back before video recording technology hit the consumer market, so before I quit scouts, I begged my parents to put an audio recorder in front of the TV so I could HEAR each episode when I got home.  Let me tell you, listening to Joannie kiss Chachi for the first time was just not the same as seeing it in living color.  Of course, there were summer reruns.  But even that was not as thrilling as watching my favorite programs when they first aired.

Yes, my addiction was that bad.

When I entered my freshman year of college, I chose not to bring a TV into my dorm room.  I lasted only two weeks without my precious Panasonic.

If you are in my Facebook community, you’ve seen how much I used to post about TV–from Ace of Cakes (feeding my food addiction as well) to Glee to The Big Bang Theory–and let’s not forget my #WeGotCows Facebook posts EVERY time the movie Twister was on AMC, TBS or CMT.

I convinced myself that I was missing something if I didn’t have the TV on.  As it turns out, I was missing out on life because I had the blasted boob tube on all the time and I had to do something about it.

So in May of 2017, when I temporarily moved into The Cave, I decided to give up my satellite TV box to see if I could curb my habit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I still had my laptop, meaning I could access the websites of the TV stations of my favorite shows whenever I wanted.  But since I use my computer on a daily basis for work, it turned out that I did not want to be on it as much after business hours.  Because of that fact, I also started to get more selective about what I do watch.  I realized how much I was numbing my brain having the TV on almost all the time, i.e. not just for my favorite shows.

Yes, I still watch Big Bang (mourning the recent breaking news that the upcoming season will be its last) and I will pop in a movie when I am making my handcrafts in the evenings and on weekends, but not all the time.  If I am not enjoying a conversation or the silence, I will choose to listen to some fantastic podcasts or radio shows that have expanded my horizons.  (If you are looking for something new to listen to, click that link in the previous sentence.)

In addition to making better viewing and listening choices, here are other benefits that have resulted from curbing my TV viewing habits:

  • I work smarter and more efficiently because I am not constantly numbing my brain
  • I feel more creative, especially when writing this blog
  • I am more engaged in life and making plans for the future now that my wound is almost healed

Will I kick more of this habit?  Well, to find out the answer to that burning question, and to read about a myriad of inspirational topics, tune in each Wednesday for a new episode of InspiraBlog!  Oh, and you can subscribe to the blog on the right sidebar of this page or any page on this website.

Until next week,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

P.S.  Fun Fact:  Even though I am a recovering TV addict and I really like the image I chose for this post, I have never watched a complete episode of The Simpsons.

I Get By With a LOT of Help From My Friends

I LOVE my friends and family.  They are awesome and I am eternally grateful to them for helping me deal with the ups and downs of this healing journey.

Initially, I was hesitant to call people and ask for help.  I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.  To this day, I sometimes still feel guilty that my handicap is an inconvenience.  Once the pressure wound diagnosis hit, my guilt began to escalate.  I was inconveniencing my family and friends and I hated it.

But, conversations I’ve had with my friend Megan McDowell, Founder and Executive Director of Heartworks, have helped ease my guilt and have also given me a new perspective on accepting help.

Heartworks is a local grassroots movement of women committed to replicating and sustaining the palpable kindness witnessed in the wake of September 11th.  Inspired by the healing that takes place through receiving and giving, we offer hope to people experiencing acute illness, injury, or grief, while taking part in our own self-growth.

As a Heartworker who is grateful and honored to help others, I have also been in the position to learn the lessons and blessings of receiving help … not just once, but twice. The first time was in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when Heartworks helped ease our stress of being displaced from our home for a couple of weeks. The second time–which actually feels like countless times with all of the kindness Heartworks has shown my family and me throughout the past year–is this healing journey of mine.

As a person who needs more help than usual because of a physical handicap, I am happy to be able to offer help to others as a Heartworker.  It fills me up like nothing else.

Now, I am on the other side of the coin and need even more help.   At first, I had trouble accepting it because of the aforementioned guilt over inconveniencing people.

Thankfully, while on bed rest, I have been able to attend Heartworks meetings via Skype.  This way, I was able to hear and be reminded of the message consistently expressed by Megan at each meeting, as well as in our personal conversations:  Helping others and feeling needed gives people joy and deep satisfaction.  So, when you accept people’s help, you are not inconveniencing them.  You are helping them feel good.

Currently in my twelfth month on bed rest, people often tell me they think I must be going stir crazy.  But that is not the case.  My family and friends keep me busy and happy with all their visits and I have met many new friends through Heartworks and social media.  In fact, a schedule is in place wherein at least one Heartworker per week comes to our home and brings a lunch to share with me.  So more than anything else, I feel blessed, AND spiritually, emotionally and physically well fed. 😉

So, as for getting by with a LOT of help from my friends AND family … I am not just getting by … I AM THRIVING.

I would love to hear your experiences with and thoughts and feeling about asking for help. Please share in the comment section below.

In Love and Friendship,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

I Can “Go Negative” Very Quickly

When I started Operation INSPIRATION in 2005, I also committed myself to ongoing self-improvement so that I could “walk my talk.”  With nearly 16 years in the corporate jungle under my belt, one of the realizations I came to was how easily and quickly my mood shifted when pessimism, bad moods, anger or any unfavorable situation came my way.  Looking back, I am shocked at how negative I was and sometimes amazed that I survived in that environment for so long.

Even after years of working to strengthen this aspect of my personality, with the ups and downs of my healing journey, I have allowed myself to “go negative” a number of times in the past year and it scared me.  For example, each time I had a wound check-up, I was extremely anxious because I did not know what I was going to face.

Would the wound be smaller or would the measurements remain the same? Plateaus are hell on the morale.

Would the doctors mention surgery again?  We are have opposing views about that point.  While I am in favor of waiting it out and letting my body heal naturally, (Thankfully, my family backed me up on this.), the doctors–somewhat understandably, I suppose–wanted to see me heal more quickly.  So they have pushed surgery more and more often, especially in the past few months.  During one check-up last June, I felt so bullied that I said,

“Congratulations.  You’ve broken me.  Let’s just do the surgery.”

That was on a Friday.  When I got home, I felt so down that I decided to take the weekend to gather myself.  It took more than a day to boost my emotional strength back up.  But, by Sunday I was thinking clearly again.  I had made an emotional decision in that exam room, rather than a well-thought out decision.  So I called the doctor’s office the following Monday to let them know that I was taking the time I needed to make a an informed decision that was right for me.

That was a difficult phone call to make.  But once I did it, I felt empowered.  While I wouldn’t wish these experiences on anyone, it was a reminder of some valuable lessons:

  • While the doctors can make their recommendations and preferences knows for a course of treatment, it’s ultimately my decision to either have surgery or allow my body heal naturally.
  • Self-care is not just about the physical. Full self-care also includes psychological, spiritual and emotional care, and it’s alright to take the time to tend to my psychlogical, spiritual and emotional well-being and clear my head.
  • I am human and there is no need to feel badly about feeling overwhelmed.  Everyone gets overwhelmed.
  • To me this is the one of the most empowering lessons:  I am a sensitive person and I often feel like I have to apologize for that.  But I don’t.  It’s part of who I am.

Right now, it looks as if my wound is very close to healing… .2 cm in length, width and depth as of this writing.  So, even though I am maintaining an open mind in the event that there are no other options and surgery becomes necessary, I remain positive and strong in my resolve to close up this pressure wound by as natural means as possible.  And so, the healing journey continues…

I would love to hear your experiences with negativity and how you deal with it.  Please comment below, InspiraGang.

All the Best to You,

Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

 

 

 

Food, Not-So-Glorious Food

Huge irony … The night before my pressure wound diagnosis, I wrote and published a blog post about how much I hate the taste of most vegetables.  When I began redoing this website, I took that post down.  That was a low point.  I didn’t realize how negative I was being and how deep in denial I was about my weight issue.

News of the pressure wound hit me like a ton of bricks and I had a huge cry in the doctor’s office.  Prior to writing that vegetable-hating blog entry, I had spent the summer trying to make some gradual, healthy changes in my nutrition, and vegetables were a huge hurdle.  To say that I gagged at the taste and texture of most vegetables was not an overstatement.

Now I was faced with having to revamp my nutritional habits right away to give my body the best chance to heal, which meant choking down more vegetables, of course.  The doctor never even said I had to lose weight.  I just knew.

When you are in a prone position, i.e, on bed rest, for an extended amount of time, it is best to stay away from foods that are not as easily digestible.  So, I had to cut beef almost entirely out of my food plan. But protein is essential to wound healing, so I can still eat chicken, fish, eggs and my all-time favorite food, cheese.  Cheese in moderation, as it is also, of course, a fat.  But I can still eat it—thank you, God.  However, most of the so-called bad fats and carbs are now gone.  Pumpernickel and rye bread have replaced white bread, brown rice has replaced white rice, and potatoes are almost non-existent in my nutrition plan.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a French fry or a potato chip.

Yes, a potato is a vegetable, but I have to stick to the healthier vegetables.  Cooked vegetables are the least palatable to me–hence, the gagging–so I primarily eat raw vegetables in salads with shrimp and chicken to make meals more appealing.  (Again, socking down the protein to help the wound heal.)

Here’s the exception to my statement about cooked vegetables: soups.  I really enjoy soups.  It’s all about a well-cooked bone broth.  Bone broths make vegetable tastier.

Do I eat all vegetables?  No.  There are still some I refuse to eat.  If you try to feed me Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower or cooked cabbage (Red cabbage and cole slaw are okay.), while I will refrain from throwing them back at you, I simply won’t eat them.

The fact is that eating is nowhere near as pleasurable as it used to be.

But… and this is a huge but … My butt is NOT huge anymore.

While that doesn’t change the taste of vegetables, I did switch my mindset about having to eat them because I can now feel and see their benefits, which far outweigh the unpleasant taste (Pun intended.):

  • I lost 50 pounds.
  • My blood pressure is under control.
  • I feel more energetic and much healthier.
  • I feel and look more attractive. (Yes, sexier.)
  • I have a larger and more attractive selection of wardrobe options.

Also, when I do indulge too much in the less healthy foods, I feel the negative effects even more intensely.  The bloating is very uncomfortable and I feel lethargic to the point of falling into a “carb coma”, that nap I have to take about an hour after wolfing down a carb-heavy meal.  These rare, post weight loss carb comas bring about embarrassing memories of falling asleep on more than one occasion among happy, boisterous gatherings of family and friends.  Since I no longer wish to fall asleep and miss any part of a fun party, I am done with carb comas.

As I close out this blog entry, here is my question for you, InspiraGang:

What foods do you dislike and how do you make them more appealing?

Wishing You the Best Health,

Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

 

 

 

 

Affirmation: I AM HEALING

My world changed drastically on August 28, 2017.

That was the day I was diagnosed with a pressure wound that went straight to the bone. I was put on immediate bed rest so it, and I, could heal.

That would become the operative word–HEAL–especially when I realized one day that neither of my doctors had actually said that the wound would heal. So I knew the healing had to start with me and I took charge of the situation.  I began saying the affirmation to myself AND out loud several times a day. It became my mantra: I am healing.  I Am Healing.  I AM HEALING.

Whenever I begin to doubt my body’s ability to heal, I repeat that mantra until I am feeling strong and confident again.  I am a firm believer that a positive frame of mind is vital to the healing process and affirmations are a great tool to use to strengthen one’s resolve.  I knew it would take months to heal and I have always been okay with that fact because, nearly a year later, not only has my wound almost healed, but I am physically, mentally and emotionally healthier than ever.

I have improved my nutrition, I exercise (weights, bands and yoga) consistently, I’ve lost 50 pounds, and my blood pressure is under control.  I also make sure I get enough sleep, which has helped me to work and take care of my responsibilities more efficiently.

Also, while I have been meditating for over 13 years, I now meditate daily, which has made all the differences.

In addition to my healing mantra, I write my affirmations in my journal every day to reinforce them.  This is my current list of affirmations and, as I add others, I will share them with you:

I love.

I am loved.

I am healing.

I am healthy.

I make healthy decisions.

My derrière is healing more each day. (That one makes me smile. I like the word derrière.)

I am creative.

I am prolific.

I welcome abundance in optimum health, well-being, inspiration, creativity and finances.

What are your affirmations?  I would love to see them.  Please share them in the comments below.

Yours in Health and Positivism,
Andrea