Posts Tagged ‘insomnia’

For the better part of my life I’ve jumped into a nice hot shower, gone to bed and fallen fast asleep.  Who doesn’t, right?  For approximately 5 years now, the level of the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue that I live with has made these 2 things incredibly difficult, painful and troublesome. I’ve come up with several survival plans to manage these necessities of life. However – during my father’s illness and passing and the domino effect that still continues to follow – it’s been quite, shall we say, challenging.

For tonight, I will execute one of my little feeling better tricks: The Gratitude List. More often than not, writing it works a heck of a lot better than thinking it… And I am so grateful, that, somehow, I am still sober…

I am grateful for the Tucson clouds.

I am grateful for the Tucson clouds.


I am grateful for my favorite flowers.

I am grateful for my favorite flowers.


I am grateful for, Peaches, my father's cat.

I am grateful for, Peaches, my father’s cat.


I am grateful I live on a quiet cul-de-sac.

I am grateful I live on my father’s quiet cul-de-sac.


I am grateful for the times I remain hopeful that some day I will live pain free.

I am grateful for the times I remain hopeful that some day I will live pain free.


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me, my big brother and my dad. michigan 1959

me, my big brother and my dad. michigan 1959

My father peacefully passed away 12 days ago.  I have vivid dreams of him almost every night.  While my grieving has been quite unbearable and I do not seem to have the energy to answer my phone – I am comforted to know that perhaps my father has finally found my brother. My dad would be so happy to see him again. . . I love you Dad.  I know  you promised that I will be happy again – but I just don’t think that it will be today. . .  but maybe tomorrow. . . 

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IMG04047-20131228 Tucson fireplaceAnother late night as it reluctantly creeps towards a dark early morning. I can not sleep. I can not seem to breathe. My loss of appetite is bothersome. My entire body thumps with each beat of my weary heart.

I am well aware that I am not the first to walk in the wake of a loved one fighting to live. Cancer has only one destination in its horrific plan. However, my father has a much different plan. A clever plan. A plan so clever that all of us who are around him seem to be baffled as they watch him walk with out the aid of a wheelchair or a walker. And they watch him gain weight while he can only have nutrition through a tube that protrudes from his belly.  This feeding tube is due to the damage of the radiation – not the damage from the throat cancer. Even with the confusion my father lives with now – my phone rings in the middle of the night and he tells me with his painful sounding voice – before any of the caregivers bother to tell me when I call during the day – that “something is wrong“.  (By the way, I have found even better medical care for Dad!)

If these remarkable things have occurred, then why my bottomless sadness?  Why the isolation? Why the sleep deprivation? Why the private meltdowns…?

Because my father’s soul is changing. His larger than life personality is changing.

Once again it is all about the choices we have to make in life and then learning to live with and accept our choices.  And today – today was the day I saw the true reality that he is indeed beating the throat cancer, but the radiation and chemo treatments seemed to have relentlessly beaten him into becoming another person that resides inside his skinny body.  Quietly I hope this is temporary. It must be temporary.

While I was sitting with my father and holding his hand today, without warning, another piece of my heart broke away and crashed on the floor as if it was an ice glacier slipping into the Antarctic Ocean.

I have never admired my father so much – nor has he ever taught me such an important lesson in life.

As much as I long to sit and spend sweet time with the love of my life who lives in California – I will remain in Tucson to fight for my father so he can be as comfortable as possible for as long as he chooses – because this is the right thing to do.  And because of all of this, I am full of gratitude and I see and feel that God is with us at all times.

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…enjoying sweet memories of simpler times makes todays complications more do-able…

my brother & me in Michigan 1961

my brother & me in Michigan 1961

…I have no regrets, Dad, no regrets…

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Dad's neighborhoodLast night it was my intention to shower before bed. My body begged to rest for a moment, knowing that showers are quite a work out. Not recognizing the heaviness of my daily fatigue and exhaustion, I had fallen asleep…

Early this morning I woke up on top of my bed, cold, in my robe, with the throw blanket over me and Grace sound asleep at the foot of my bed. Knowing she can be my personal feline heating pad, ever so slowly I moved my toes towards her and gently tucked them underneath her warm and cozy catness. She didn’t move or open her eyes as the sound of her distinct loud purr filled my bedroom.

I felt my spirit rise like the morning sun. My body still had not moved – yet my gratitude was overwhelming me. My true joyful spirit snuck out from me and rejoiced the sunlight coming in through my windows. I felt it in such a way as if I was watching my spirit look out of the window as it noticed the wind suddenly appear to greet the trees. A joyful feeling indeed.

Other than my toes under Grace’s black furry warm body – I had not moved. My memory dialed into two nights ago when I took my first dose of a new medicine. With in a few minutes I broke out in hives. Seriously? Hives?! The moment wasn’t about how the hives with their burning red welts felt on my body. The moment was about taking care of this nuisance. This distraction. Take care of it. Get on it. Get into action. Off to the pharmacy I went…

As much as I do get frustrated. As much as I do feel angry that my body can not do the activities that have always been a part of who I am. My spirit greeted the day rejoicing because finally, finally I know in my heart that I do indeed have many choices. More choices than I ever have been able to realise or see. Choices that I feel. Choices that make each day, each moment, the best choice that I can make in that moment.

I choose to sit down and cry. I choose to feel bummed-out knowing that I am missing yet another event. Missing another dinner party. Missing another play. I choose to feel left out or forgotten. But it is also my choice just how long I allow these things in my heart. How long do I allow this dark visit?

I did not miss out on everything!

I didn’t miss the first day my parents taught me how to swim. I didn’t miss my first boy-girl party. I didn’t miss my first kiss. I didn’t miss cheerleader tryouts. I didn’t miss my first prom. I didn’t miss being in my best friend’s wedding. I didn’t miss watching my son take his first steps. I didn’t miss any of my son’s soccer games. I didn’t miss the plane when I flew to Costa Rica to surf for 10 days. I didn’t miss my son’s high school graduation or his college graduation.

It’s endless.

The choices? Endless.

Today I’m getting a chance to find new best choices for myself as I am finding my way. Learning my capabilities. No matter what, I still can make the best choices in any situation and not miss out on any event that is my best choice. Then, and only then, will I continue to not only be joyful, but I can be victorious as well.

I will always have an opportunity directly in front of me to make my best choice. And then my reward is a heart full of gratitude and a joyful spirit that will rise to meet the sunshine of each and every morning.

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1) I am grateful for taking 2 naps today.

2) I am grateful for the acupuncture I had today.

3) I am grateful that my definition of a true friend is even more clear in my soul today.

4) I am grateful for the people around me in my community.

5) I am grateful for caring neighbors in my condo complex.

6) I am grateful for every minute in every phone call from my son.

7) I am grateful  that I am learning how to manage living with Fibromyalgia.

8) I am grateful for many years of solid sobriety before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

9) I am grateful to be the grateful girl once more.

Wearing socks that match your cat is fun.

10) Wearing socks that match your cat is fun.

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“Fibromyalgia is a pain disorder that causes widely distributed pain throughout the body. Without defining medical tests, fibromyalgia is diagnosed by evaluating symptoms, such as multiple tender points in certain muscle areas, sleep disorders and even digestive problems.  The disorder can be debilitating and treatment often consists of finding the right combination of medications, physical therapy and coping skills…”  quote found in eHow health.

Time is passing me by. I’ve found myself in survival-mode-over-kill. Did I miss out on the entire month of February?  But I’ve been quite busy!   I must remember to be grateful for what I accomplish.  I mean, who says one errand a week is not good enough?  Pusing myself to the limit:  Doctor – bed rest.  Warm bath – bed rest.  One errand – bedrest.  Shampoo hair in kitchen sink – bed rest.  Nap.  Eat.  Sleep. Nightmares.  Bed rest . . .  I take responsibility for myself more than I ever have in my life.  What I am saying is – sick girl or grateful girl – my life is my fault.

I can ask the proper questions – I feel it is ok, safe.  What can a short conversation or a short dinner with an old friend hurt?  I am finding my way as I learn to cope with different physical challenges.  Another life lesson in my new life:  a short dinner with an old friend is still allowing someone back in my life.  Not ok for the new julie.  (Damn, I miss the old julie!)  But today?  Today, some old friends do not fit into my new life.  . .  I quickly work to regain my balance.  Just like a package stamped “fragile” as it is being sent out in the world,  I too must be mindful of what I have surrounding me.

Yes, as the quote from eHealth says, “medication, physical therapy, and coping skills. . . ” they are the delicate balance needed for survival with Fibromyalgia.  The new julie.  Yes, I do indeed experience debilitating aspects of the disorder.  I also experience beautiful endless heart-felt gratitude for every life lesson.  I may indeed be a fragile package. (for now!)  But if I surround myself with protective gentle people, I will arrive to my destination whole, complete and comfortable.  I am me living my life to the best of my ability.  Being alive is what brings the gifts of soul-changing life lessons.  Being in this world brings me opportunities to help others, no matter what. It doesn’t matter how small my act of kindness may seem to me – when I am authentic – in return I become the grateful girl once more.

frag box

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