Cry, Clean, Create

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If you saw my Wordless Wednesday, then you know my furbaby, Max crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He lived 16 weeks after his cancer diagnosis despite the veterinarian gave him only 1-2 weeks. I was in awe how long he fought and grateful for every moment, but, the last week he began hiding under my bed and hardly had the strength to hold himself up, not to mention, he wasn’t eating again, and this time he wasn’t bouncing back. I had to make the almost impossible decision to assist him with a visit to the vet. They were extremely compassionate and supportive. He went peacefully with a final rest of his head on my arm. 

It is a big loss for me as he came into my life only a few months after my mom passed away, and was by my side for almost 14 years. It’s been three weeks and I have yet to get through the day without crying. 

My mom’s death anniversary just passed also, and my dad’s is coming up in a few weeks, adding to the weight of my grief, but for the first time, grief isn’t swallowing me whole. I can allow my feelings without falling to bed for days. This is a huge progress for me, I have never been a functioning depressed person before!

I created a little mantra to help me cope with my emotions during this difficult time.

Cry, Clean, Create.

Cry. When I have to cry, I stop everything and sit and let it flow, until it feels like I can move again. I stop distracting myself from the pain and allow it to be felt.

Clean. Then I will clean something.  Anything from the top of a dresser to mopping a floor or putting clothes away, whatever is in front of me to be done. I lose myself in the act of cleaning and let my system process. It helps me feel productive and proactive.

Create. Creating a nice space on the dresser I just cleaned off. Journaling, or painting, where ever my spirit needs to go. I started working on a scrapbook/journal of Max, a painting, and refurbishing some plant pots. I have been working on trying to open up to my creativity and am finding the value of catharsis through it. It really is a beautiful healing tool.

This mantra has helped me stay grounded and focused enough to not lose myself in the grief and depression. I am also taking some herbal extracts and essences and practicing lots of self-care. Most recently, that self-care includes the gym or a walk. Physical movement helps break up the heavy energy and gets the endorphins pumping.

Grief feels like an old familiar friend these days. With the losses I have endured, I have somehow become stronger each time. Learning to navigate through the pain instead of running away from it. The bellyaching grief is slowly subsiding and giving away to smiles, love, and remembrance.

I close my eyes and I can see all the people and pets I have ever loved. I get sad and may cry because I miss them in the physical sense; but, I know deep within my heart that the bond of love lives forever and that is where we are always connected.

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One of those Days

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Some days I am ecstatic with enlightenment and joy, 

I can flow easily and I feel blessed and loved.

Some days, I feel broken and useless, and unworthy.

I feel incapable and poor, and hopeless.

I feel I will never get up that mountain top and see the view.

I will always be at the foothill scrubbing the mess others left.

I am full of anxiety and grief and depression.

I use my tools like grounding and centering and acknowledging the many different aspects of myself. I validate them and hold space for them. I recognize my triggers and breathe.

Some days these tools work and some days I still cry through my housework, shake through simple tasks and my heart hurts as I panic about everything.

These days turn into a feat to survive without being swept away. 

These days turn into sleepless nights.

Some days I can flow, some days I can barely bear to breathe.

Today is one of those days.

Update: Celebrating Life

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It’s been a bit since I’ve posted, so I figured an update is a good place to begin again. The year has been a whirlwind for me so far. Major events and significant emotions spinning around me. The amazing thing is I remained fairly stable through it all.

If you read my Hello 2019 post then you know it was a mixed beginning to the new year. Shortly after that post, it was confirmed My cat has cancer. At the same time, I somehow manifested a money miracle. On the unclaimed money website, there sat $11,000. waiting for me! Since my Being poor post, I have worked on changing my attitude about money and I truly believe this little miracle was a reward for that work.

The money was its own little tornado. It was a blessing, yes; but, it was also stressful. The fact that I am on disability created its own set of rules; because, you are only allowed $2,000. for assets. After reporting it, I had only the rest of the month to spend it. I used it with the goal in mind to elevate the quality of life for myself and my daughter. It was mostly spent on another car, home improvements, appliances, and furniture.

I was also able to afford x-rays for my cat, to clarify the cancer diagnosis. The vet did not bother with the ultrasound because the x-ray confirmed there were already spread nodules in his chest. She believes cancer started on a cellular level in his GI system. Even the testing to find out what type of cancer would be too aggressive. She placed him on hospice and prescribed steroids to suppress cancer as long as possible. I was financially able to buy him herbal/natural supplements to aid in his treatment. The vet gave him 2-4 weeks to live, and he has lived 10wks. Though his recent decline in quality of life leads me to the inevitable decision to bring him to the vet and ease his pain.

I was grateful I had my furbaby to keep me company when my daughter left for Alaska for a three-week visit with her dad and family that lives there. I usually fight loneliness when she goes; but, this time dare I say, I felt relief. We’ve had a few upsets recently and agreed we need a family therapist to guide us through her becoming an adult. I don’t know when to push her and when to not. Her self harming in the past left me very anxious to not upset her. We need maneuvering and mediating.

While she was in Alaska, I had the opportunity for a few weeks to really be mindful of my own feelings and needs. It was healing, enlightening and enjoyable. The joy came to a halt when I received news of a dear friend from my past had died. I was devastated. Sad because she passed; but, also sad that we had fallen out of each other’s lives. I learned her son had died three years earlier and I wished I had been in her life. Maybe she would still be here? I recognized these thoughts as grief guilt and the overwhelming sadness of my good old friend grief. I knew better than to resist, I opened up and let the emotion take over.

I spent the first day with wine, weed, pizza, and chocolate and said screw my daily routine. The next day, I awoke exhausted and didn’t feel like doing anything. Part of me wanted to push, get up, do your routine!! The other was simply unable. I emailed my therapist and asked, what is a normal response, I don’t want to spend too much time teetering on the tight rope of depression; but, I needed to rest, and mourn, and process. She told me three days, then get back to my routine. On the third day, I dragged myself to start functioning. The funeral at the end of the week brought closure and though sad, I was feeling like I was at a normal and healthy space.

A few days after the funeral, my daughter came home, exhausted and with a bunch to process herself. The next day was my birthday. Shockingly, not a tinge of the typical birthday depression. My gratitude for life was heightened with the loss of my friend. I awoke, did my routine, went to the gym, (I learned to go by myself while my daughter was away), I bought myself big sunflowers, vegan cheesecake, chocolate, champagne, and dandelion greens to make pesto. I indulged and took pleasure in these simple things. I took a long bath and wrote in my journal. I sat in the bath and reflected on all the baths of my life since I was a small girl. I spent my day in appreciation, mindfulness, and gratitude to be here another year.

The same mindfulness I practiced on my birthday I am using now, to cherish every second with my cat. Looking at him and loving him for the last time in this dimension. His symptoms are lasting longer and he is not bouncing back like he has before. He has held on longer than expected and it dawned on me that he has held on out of his love for me. When my friend died, he spent every day by my side. He kept me company while Serenity was in Alaska. He celebrated my birthday with me. He has been there for me through countless tears. He has been an amazing therapy cat and I am so grateful for the time we have had. Now, I have to be there for him and make him as comfortable as possible. Having to come to the decision to let go of my cat has been tremendously painful and I am struggling with depression again. On the other side of that pain, the appreciation for every moment and every breath of life has etched its groove into my soul.

I celebrate my cat’s life, our life together, and the connection we will always have.

I celebrate every person that I have spent precious time with in this life. I recognize how lucky I am to be loved and to love.

The loved ones I have lost I think about every day. When I feel apathetic I shake it off and appreciate the fact that I am still here, I motivate for the people who aren’t here to have the luxury anymore.

I Celebrate Life ❤

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My Cat has Cancer :(

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I mentioned in my last post that my fur baby wasn’t feeling well. He had stopped eating as much and less each day. When I called the vet, they confirmed he was dying, as they stop eating when their organs begin to shut down. After giving him Reiki and feverishly praying, he began to eat again. Though not his regular appetite and still not feeling well, I arranged a vet appointment. He lost four pounds including muscle mass, signifying a chronic illness.

My worst fear confirmed when his blood work came back normal, ruling out any less aggressively treated diseases. The next step is radiograph and ultrasound to determine where the cancer is and if it has metastasized. The cost is between $500. and $700. I am unable financially to make that appointment. I had to borrow the money to bring him in the first place. I can’t help but wonder, if I had the money, could I get him treatment. Could money save his life? It’s so frustrating being poor and not having that choice. Maybe money would be useless. I don’t know.

I believe it’s in or around his stomach, as he struggles with nausea, constipation and throws up bile. It would be nice to know where it is and how much time we have; but, I am just trying to stay in and cherish each moment.

All I can do is monitor his quality of life each day. He is social, affectionate and active. He eats very little still. He will have a good day, then a bad day. Soon enough, there will be more bad days than good, and I will have to make that call.

I have researched natural treatments extensively. I have been studying animal communication and Reiki for animals. I play him sound frequencies that kill cancer cells. I started him on THC free CBD oil made for pets. I give him nutritional yeast for B vitamins and turmeric because it is a cancer fighter. I know I am doing everything in my power to give him the best life possible while he is still with me.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and very triggering. Watching someone you love decline with cancer is heart-wrenching. I have many memories of being with my mom through her journey with cancer. It is the most helpless feeling, an emotion I don’t do well with.

He has been my guardian, my therapist, and my best friend. He is being so brave and doing so well, I am trying to live up to his example, and give to him like he has always given to me.

❤❤❤

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Hello 2019!

Here we are, halfway through January, and I am trying to remind myself that a new year has begun. I started off strong, as most of us do with our resolutions and optimism. My daughter and I had a cozy New Year eve at home, followed by traditional Greek Spanokopita with the lucky quarter, that I finally got! Then we spent the rest of the first week of the year, with a DIY spa day, getting back to the gym, printing weekly planners and getting healthy and organized.

 

The second week….plummet. My heart got broken from a person I thought was a friend, I fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle, and then I bawled and wailed over my cat whom I am still not sure if he is dying. He wasn’t eating much for four days and less each day. The vet confirmed over the phone that it didn’t sound good and that they stop eating when their organs start shutting down. I have been waking up early and sitting at my altar, praying, smudging, crying. I performed Reiki on him and myself. I am somewhere between acceptance and praying for a miracle. I was intuitively guided to go out and buy some cat food with gravy, and thought that may appeal to him. My hope renewed when he actually began to eat last night. This morning he ate a little and drank some water. I read online that cats can have diseases such as kidney disease and cancer, where it appears they are dying but may live a while longer. I am monitoring him and will call the vet back and chat.🙏🙏🙏

Meanwhile I have been reflecting on how every January it seems there is some major trauma or challenge to over come. Last year it was losing my car, the year before bedbugs. Fortunately, with each battle, my warrior spirit gains wisdom, patience and enlightenment. No matter how challenging or painful, I know that I will come out the other side. Even through these present heartbreaks, I have maintained routine, self care and faith.

This year I will continue to love myself, heal myself and nurture myself. My journey thus far has been tumultuous with glimpses of hope. Healing has been painful with reward. Self love has become a multidimensional task, involving so much more than I anticipated.

I have been the caterpillar, completely dissolving, breaking down and rebuilding itself in it’s cocoon. This year, I hope to love and heal myself enough to at least start to break out of this cocoon and view my life as I am trying to manifest. A life of purpose and serving.

2018 had some intense retrogrades and challenges for all. Lots of purging and shedding old ways, people, etc. This theme continues as what no longer serves, dissolves. I hope that lucky quarter goes into effect for me and that 2019 will be the year prosperity and good health can at least be within reach. So far it has been a rollercoaster, hang on everyone!😁✌

 

Giving AND Receiving

 

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The holiday season is here and we are in the spirit of giving. It should feel good to give to our loved ones. Unfortunately, with mass marketing  we can be guilted or pressured into buying beyond our means. The smiles on Christmas morning fill us with gratification; but, then we are left depleted financially. We forget that giving doesn’t have to be material things. We can give our time, our presence, a smile or an encouraging word. We can craft, cook, write or sing a gift.  We should give from our heart and do it  unconditionally in a way that feels good to us. The act of giving and  kindness should be practiced regularly and not just during the holidays. It is said to give what we want to get. 

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Most of us are continuously giving of ourselves to our kids, our families, our relationships, our work, our home, our pets…we usually forget to give to ourselves. This leaves us feeling exhausted. It is so important to give to self first. To nurture your own being and fill your well with love until it flows over, and only then can you give to others. Whether its the holidays or not, giving is an art to be appropriately learned and practiced. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is give-to-self-first.jpg

The other end of giving is receiving. Receiving doesn’t get as much praise. Most of us have been taught to give; but to be too humble to receive. We feel guilt or shame or unworthy to receive. Whether it be a lavish gift, or a simple compliment. We usually shrug it off and feel uncomfortable. The truth is that receiving is just as valuable as giving. It keeps energy flowing. To not receive is to block what that person is trying to give you. We must love ourselves enough to open up and receive what loved ones, our bosses, or God, or Universe is trying to give us. To not receive is to close ourselves off from love, from Source and from our own worth. To be able to give, you must be able to receive. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is receive-deepak.jpg

The goal is to understand that giving and receiving are a constant and natural flow. In order to give you must be able to receive, and to receive you must give, of yourself, to yourself, and to others, and to do it in a way that doesn’t deplete us and without expectation.

“Giving and receiving are different expressions of the same flow of energy in the Universe.”~Deepak Chopra

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I am giving and sending out much love and light to you all through the holiday season and always!!! Happy Holidays and Many Blessings!!💖

My Carotid Artery Dissection

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After four days of throbbing neck pain, I finally called the Dr. I had assumed it was related to my cervical stenosis and arthritis. I also had some cold symptoms and thought it may be a swollen gland. I was wrong. My doctor’s office said it wasn’t related and I should get urgent care. 

I went to the local urgent care walk in clinic, my daughter by my side. After careful examination they decided to send me to the ER for images. They said while they couldn’t hear any blockages in my neck arteries they wanted to make sure, because if there was anything wrong there, it put me at high risk for stroke.

The ER physician ordered a Cat Scan with contrast dye. He explained he wanted a good look at the arteries because sometimes surgery is needed for a dissection; but, he assured me that it was probably nothing because the chances were 1-2 in 100,000.

Feeling a little more relaxed knowing the odds, my daughter and I awaited the results and looked forward to going home.  

We were all surprised as he returned and said something was there, a blood clot. Apparently, my carotid artery had a small tear and it clotted off.  I didn’t need surgery; but they were going to give me an IV of blood thinners.

Relieved there was no surgery needed; but the relief lasted moments and ended when they said they were admitting me. It all became very scary. They had to admit me for observation to make sure I didn’t have a stroke.

The next 24 hrs seemed liked days. I felt very emotional knowing that there was a possibility I could have a potentially fatal stroke. After the shock wore off, the tears came. Then the prayers.

The next morning I met the vascular surgeon, He prescribed blood thinners and a follow up in three months. I felt he was kind of dismissive. I am always suspicious of being treated poorly with basic medical insurance; but, I tried to find peace in the fact that I was being discharged.

I also met with the physician on duty. He ordered a MRI of my brain to make sure I didn’t have a mild stroke already. He was very nice and took the time to answer my questions. As much as I wanted to go home, I was fearful. He said if I had any numbness in my limbs, extreme headaches and/or vision problems to come right back. 

He drew this picture for me to explain exactly what had happened.carotid artery dissection

I also googled and researched carotid artery dissection, and it did not put my fears to rest. I was still at risk for stroke or worse, and it could take 3-6 months to heal.

The MRI came back negative for a stroke; however, it did show White Matter Disease, which I knew about in 2011, when a MRI was ordered for my migraines. It was explained back then as normal; but, this doctor used words like Lyme and MS being possible.

My head was spinning. I didn’t know what to think. The fact that my artery spontaneously tore made me afraid to even sneeze. I anxiously awaited to talk it over with my doctor.

A few days later, the other side of my neck hurt. It wasn’t throbbing pain, more of a sore feeling. Terrified I went back to the ER to make sure it wasn’t happening again. They ordered an ultrasound which showed “normal blockage for my age.”

When I asked my doctor about it, she explained, as we get older our blood vessels narrow and I was right where I should be. I thought to myself, normal???? How?? She ordered another ultrasound in two weeks to see how my dissection is healing and to monitor the blockages and blood clot. She also said that the white matter hasn’t progressed much since 2011. I was to discuss all of it with the neurologist who I have an appointment with on Dec 24. Meanwhile, keep taking the blood thinners, despite they have started making my gums bleed. She said I could skip a dose every other day. The good news was there wasn’t any stenosis and the blood was flowing good to my brain. I could return to my life. I can do my yoga again and not be in constant fear.

Because of the severity and rarity of this, I have to believe it happened for a reason. I started reflecting. I had been working on transmuting parts of me that I viewed as negative. I wondered if those parts were trying to hurt me, because they felt threatened. I also have been struggling with my marijuana dependency, I felt trapped within myself because of these issues. I prayed for help. Now, I am forced to not smoke anything, because it constricts the blood vessels.

Was this an answer to my prayer, a wake up call? I don’t know. I do know that I can’t wait to put this behind me. I hope that it heals quicker than three months. I want to be off these blood thinners and find herbal replacements. I am going to research herbs to help my circulation, my blood vessels, and my brain health. 

I want to live even though I know parts of me don’t. I began working on that in therapy yesterday. I am sure that this incident will begin a whole new path of my journey to health.

I am reminded that health is golden, life is precious and to not waste any time. Love the people in my life. Live my purpose. Fuck the fear. Go for it, reach for those dreams.

Every moment is an opportunity to live the best life I can.

I don’t want to die with regret. 

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