Here and Now

Never let the things you want, make you forget the things you have.

 

For a dreamer and a natural born planner the struggle is real. A never ending battle to focus on the here and now. How often do we stake claim on a goal for the foreseeable future and blow full steam ahead, but forget to “stop and smell the roses”? Lately, I have been so fixated on the future that I have not stopped to look at what is right in front of me, and above all be grateful for it. I found myself transfixed yesterday in a moment that was both invigorating and self-actualizing. It was the moment I realized, time waits for no one. This is not a new lesson but one that from time to time I fail to keep in the forefront of my mind. As I stood in a moment with my son, standing in the grass of our front lawn I realized just how much I focus on things for my future that I want to give or do. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to create what I believe to be a better and brighter future, I do see a problem missing out on moments in the here and now.

So with that I took off twirling and throwing my little man. Running around on the lawn and eventually throwing us both in the grass, worn out and gasping for breath (who would think I am only 30). In one simple moment, that smiling face brought me back to the here and now. The here and now to be grateful for that small moment. The moment’s we as people with chronic illness only dream about when we are in a hospital bed or bedridden from our diseases. In that moment, my son reminded me to live. Not in any way shape or form am I saying that I am fixed from this thought process, but that moment, a moment shared between mother and son transcends through every aspect of my life. Stay focused Christina… Take a moment and taste your coffee, smile at the passing company, and above all remember that life is here and now, be grateful. Tomorrow is uncertain for all but especially those of us fighting battles. Hell, today is uncertain. What I know is as I went to sleep staring at my son’s face, I thanked him for the lesson. He will never know the true depth of what he teaches me regularly.

 

Happy Monday Morning!

 

XOXO,

Undefeated Grateful Me

 

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Getting to know the new me…

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.

I have searched for the eject button on the recent path of my journey, to no avail. In the years since my diagnosis I have done what I always do, plow through, head held high, never looking back. As of late that methodology has not been as comforting. Life’s lemons are still sitting on my porch waiting to be made into it’s potent beverage. I have stared at them not quite understanding what to do with them, as my normal kick ass, straight forward approach has had me coming up drained and in the same place. Stagnant and drained are pretty substantial words to describe my current state of being. I have pondered and scoured for an answer to the “why” and it wasn’t until several days ago that I found the answer.

Let me be clear, my friendship with my chronic illnesses is nothing new. We are several years in and I thought that I had gotten a nice hold on them. What I wasn’t ready to admit to myself or the world around me was that, I no longer knew who I saw in the mirror. She looked familiar, she sounded familiar, but all in all not the same person. Really, it should have come as no surprise to me but it surly was. As I was in my beautiful world of deep cleaning and ridiculously loud music this week, the answer to the why was so very clear.

I no longer knew myself.

For someone that knew who she was and where she was going in life at a ridiculously young age this was a catastrophic blow. It all made sense though. The feeling of being lost and alone even when I was surrounded by the people that loved me most. The feeling of unease and uncertainty when I had the best support system someone could ask for. It all made perfect sense. When all you know is this semblance of a person that handles life with a vigorous fire that can never be snuffed, then you find yourself confused and depleted from life’s lemonade, you can’t help but feel shaken down. Right now, in my life I am getting a shake down. One day I woke up and I was in another body that had unimaginable pains, unclear thoughts from what could only be described as a foggy state, and a back bone that no longer stood straight. Who was this person? How did this happen?

Getting diagnosed wasn’t the hard part, reacquainting myself… well, with myself has been the most excruciating experience. Trying to do this while living life on life’s terms, well now your asking for too much. Having to work, be a wife, a daughter, and fuck it a productive member of society… All the while trying to understand what happened to you… Now that’s a damn epic mission. Nevertheless, I realized it and all of the missing pieces came together. I hadn’t realized that it was going to be a grieving process or even a process period. The vibrant woman was now a slower moving version of who she used to be. A more jaded and fatigued version of who she used to be. The woman that looks back at me in the mirror is tired, depleted, and honestly a little angry… Not the old me that was the fire spitting free spirit with endless energy. Can I place all of the blame on chronic illnesses? Well sure I can but that’s not who I am. I take responsibility for my actions and my part in the situation. I could have done more about my illnesses. I could have done some more soul searching. In the end, I won’t look back at what I could have done, to me thats a waste of perfectly good brain cells that I should preserve for days that the brain fog sets in.

So where do I go from here I asked myself. Well to the beach of course! So I find myself at the beach, searching for answers to questions I thought I already had the answers to. I am searching for answers and way to steer this new way of life for me. To figure out how to still be that firecracker powerhouse that is determined to teach the world all the while possessing a body that does not match the soul.

What I have come to realize in all of this is, this is normal guys. I am no different than anyone going through any struggle. It is real, it is normal, and it is going to be O.K. Now I just need to find sticky notes to help with the brain fog and some great heels!

Until Next Time.

 

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva!

The 26th mile…

I try to be grateful for the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I’m on and to relish each day as a gift.

Thud Thud Thud… Breath Breath Breath…
Sweat beading down my face, the air at my back. The blissful pain in my calves. The fire of another breath of air filling my lungs. The cramping in my side because I had too much water before I started. The sound of the internal thoughts and feelings running through your mind. Do you hear it? The pounding of the pavement? It’s invigorating…

I have always had an affinity for running, although the time has come in my life that I can no longer partake. In my teens I would run to stay in shape for whatever activity my beautiful ADD would obsessive over at the time. It was an amazing release! This was of course the time before iPods existed, if most can actually remember those days. Of course to carry a walkman while running was just not acceptable bulkiness, nevertheless it allowed me to become one with my emotions and my thoughts. Often times I was running around a track or down a trail either leading or following a team of girls, but honestly even back then I knew I was far beyond the mindset of the young ladies I was running with. While many worried about prom and cliques, I worried about my family and what I would amount to in life. Now, that is not to say I didn’t indulge in my formative teenage years, but anyone will tell you I was a unique mindset even then.

I have always wanted to run a marathon, more so for myself and whichever beautiful cause I was supporting at the time. I have always wondered what that last .2 miles must feel like (YES I AM AWARE A MARATHON IS NORMALLY 26 MILES AND 385YARDS, Which normally equals to 26.2 miles give or take). I have always wanted to run and know what the feeling of crossing that finish line was like. To be able to collapse to my knees and thank the lord for giving me the energy to do it. All in all a beautiful vision/ dream of mine. Knowing my family they would be there at the finish line with Wipes, TONS of water, gatorade, bananas, and last but most importantly LOTS OF HUGS AND KISSES! I would know my family was there because we are loud and we show support and love much louder than most! There would be signs and bullhorns and extra TLC at every turn.

In the recent months, and honestly since I was diagnosed with Lupus I have seen my life as a journey. I will say that the recent months though have taught me a great deal. I wasn’t allowing the journey of my life to take shape, because I wanted to control it at every turn I saw fit. If something wasn’t right, I needed to put my spin on it. I awoke myself recently in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and emotional pain that would rival most of my Lupus flares. In those moments of tears and raw pain seared emotions I realized that I wasn’t allowing things to create it’s own journey. It’s very hard for someone like me that is used to taking care of things or being the one people depend on, to not fix things. Control freak? Maybe…. Type A personality? Probably… Warrior? HELL YES!

I have used my Lupus as a weapon, which in reality is not healthy but necessary. It’s not healthy because using it as a weapon is a crutch but it is necessary for the warrior in me never to give up. Can you see I am fighting a conundrum? So I sit and I write…

I have since started allowing life’s journey to form in front of me, although never allowing it to slip from my grasp and placing the flare I so often do on things. I go back to my metaphor… Thud Thud Thud… Breath in and out… Heart rate elevated… sweat beating down my face, back, and legs… The metaphor for running for me is my current state in my journey. I feel the earth below me moving and although it is still there is a vibration in it for me. Have you ever felt your journey taking shape? Have you ever stopped for just a moment and felt life shift ever so slightly under you?

My current view in life… is just that! I feel as though I am running a marathon and I am in the home stretch, I see the finish line to the journey I am on but do not see the rest. I feel like the journey I am on is going to come to an end , but there is something so amazing about to open up. As if the next journey’s light is shining so brightly I can feel it before I even hit this journeys finish line. So here I am journey… Running… I am in the last .2 stretch of this marathon and I am gearing up for the next…

I am hoping for lots of love, laughter, and amazing energy!!!!

XOXO,

UD

Setbacks

I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.
Colin Powell

2 weeks I tell you!
I never realized the severity of my pain, until it was longer present. The loving caress of modern medicine helped me achieve what I thought was impossible… a pain free life. Unfortunately today, just 2 weeks from the first blissful day I am suffering an epic setback.

Today is a 6 or 7 kind of day. In my house we go on a 0-10 scale for pain.
0-4- Is an amazing day. I can jump, run, and have energy that will carry me most of the day.
5-7- Rough… Swelling and pain accompanies most of my body. My body hurts to the touch and I have a bit of brain fog.
8-10- Debilitated. These are the days I drink my morning coffee out of a straw!

Today… Well I am a 6-7. Not truly terrible, but in enough pain to render me a bit useless this beautiful morning. This setback though, hurts more emotionally. Truthfully when you live with a chronic illness that is accompanied by chronic pain you learn to live with it. The pain and symptoms become a part of your daily life, so to be honest there comes a point that you forget what life was like prior to it all. The 13 days prior to today were amazing! I was able to climb a jungle gym, to stay awake for a 9pm show, and experience consecutive day’s of getting dressed with no pain or having to pick out an outfit that wasn’t difficult on my hands. On day one… I didn’t believe it, I walked around as if I was in pain just because I was fearful I may have been hallucinating! 🙂 Yes, quite a crazy concept but again I didn’t remember what life was like prior to all of the pain and hurt. By day 7 I was back to being the closest version of “me” I could remember. I was doing laundry, reorganizing my office, and banging out papers for school like if it were the easiest equation in a math book. I laughed a little harder and swore that I would live each day a little more now, which I thought was impossible since I am one to climb a tree if I feel compelled to.

What I hadn’t realized was that although I was “living my life to the fullest”, I was doing so in the realm of “pained Chris” not the real me. I always considered the repercussions of even a long shopping trip, or a longer drive to the pharmacy. So really was I living? or was I existing within the means I set forth for myself? Either way… I was alive again!!!! Today that feeling was setback, I won’t say crushed because it was real! I remember what it was like before the pain and anguish. I remembered what it was like to be able to be hugged and not cringe at the pain when someone was showing me love. I remembered what it was like to wake in the morning and not have to worry that I wouldn’t be able to do something as simple as brushing my teeth.

So setbacks… I love the quote above by Colin Powell, because in the end it’s my attitude that has gotten me this far. I was not delusional in my understanding that I would have bad day’s along the way, it’s part of the illness I live with. I won’t allow it to crush what I remember now, so thank you modern medicine for the reminder. I will be pushing to find that life again… to find the me before the pain.

Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!
Undefeated Diva!

Moments that are worth it…

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
Aristotle Onassis

Sitting in my car at the stop light, I laugh… and not a funny HAHA laugh… An all out, belly holding laugh.

Soaking wet… freezing… but laughing.

When your someone who has a chronic illness you live with the realism that every choice you make may have a repercussion of epic proportions. So often times you become cautious of everything you do. It’s a natural response to the possibility of the atomic bomb going off in your body. It is human nature to protect yourself against the real pain. It’s so easy to become the over cautious person that never does anything that pushes beyond the limits they have set for themselves.

I pride myself on not being that person, although that normally ends me up on the wrong side of things. I can’t tell you how many times I have pushed myself too far, but to me it’s my way of living and fighting back. So let me go back…

Sitting in my car laughing… Soaked… and freezing…

My elation and sparkle at that moment is from the very moment I decided to live in just 5 minutes prior. Standing in a parking lot and it started to pour… I mean.. POUR…. At that moment I had a decision to make… Run and get in my car, knowing damn well I would still be some form of wet ANYWAY OR dance! So…

I DANCED!

2 weeks out of the hospital and at this point I was most likely going to get sick anyway. I was going to get wet either way, the questions was… was I going to make the being sick WORTH IT! So I did!

I looked up and let the rain hit my face and I did what any blue blooded, American girl SHOULD do… I jumped up and down and laughed at the thought that I was going to reap the repercussions later BUT for now… I was going to make THIS damn moment WORTH the pain!

I jumped up and down and danced in the parking lot… I laughed at my none sense and REVELED… I mean TRULY reveled in the moment. I smiled at an on looker and when he said… Your going to get sick out here… I laughed and told him it was worth it! Honestly, because to me that very moment WAS worth it. For those few moments… those very few moments I was FREE! I was free of the ties of responsibilities and pain. I was free of anger and frustration. I was free of my own limitations and that of my body. I WAS FREE! I knew in my heart that it would hurt later, but in that moment I made it worth the pain!

See ladies and gentlemen, NO MATTER what we do as the beholder of a chronic illness we know those bad days are coming… Sometimes we know when, sometimes we don’t. So when a beautiful moment like that happens we have a choice. Do we take it or not? Many would not have taken it, many would have run to their cars and been upset that they ended up wet even given their precautions. ME… I reveled in it! I chose to LIVE that very moment. I chose to throw caution to the wind and say FUCK YOU precautions and pain… BECAUSE this moment right here… RIGHT NOW… Will be worth it to me, BECAUSE I SAY SO!

So… I made it happen. When I got into my car, I was soaked… and in need of a seriously warm shower and dry cloths. As I drove home I caught a red light. I believed it to be Devine Intervention, because at that moment the rain stopped and the sun broke threw just a small portion of the clouds. I couldn’t help the rumble of laughter that ripped through my belly. I laughed such a laugh that was filled with love and appreciation at that very moment. My life is so amazing and it is moments like this that make it so.

So to my fellow readers out there… I have homework for you!

I DARE YOU … to find a moment in the next couple of days, a moment that you have a choice to make it amazing or take the usual route… AND I want you to make it worth it! Make the moment worth it all… For go your responsibilities and that little voice inside that tells you to do the “mature” thing and take the moment and make it yours.

Then if you want to share that moment, I would LOVE to hear it! Can always email me at
undefeateddiva@gmail.com or leave a comment!

So … on ward to your moments everyone!!!

With Love and a Cough,

Undefeated Diva!