Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is That Directed Towards Me?

"Behind the Veil of Pain'
Why do others think they can judge what is going
on in our bodies and minds, when they are not
our doctors or they choose not to understand our illnesses?
Have you ever felt a comment was directed towards you, by someone who doesn't understand your situation?  I experienced that today; and although I found it unsettling, I was not thrown into utter dejection, so I must be mastering the art of taking responsibility for my own care.  I have learned to pace myself and do only what I can do for that day.  If I don't I will pay and my family will too, because I'll have several days or more that I have no energy. I have learned that I have a new normal that I can live with.  I do not spend time berating myself over not getting things done that used to be easy for me.  I am not saying that I would not like to do more, but I have learned to be happy about the things I am able to do.  I cannot help what someone else thinks--in fact, I could be wrong--perhaps that comment was not directed towards me.  I am the one who lives within my body, and I know what I have done during a day;  therefore, I have to pace myself according to my own needs--not try to meet what I think is someone else's expectations.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Trimming my Toenails Made Easier

Some of my readers may say to themselves that trimming one's toenails is a subject best left alone; however, I do not take trimming my toenails for granted. In fact, I have never enjoyed trimming my toenails, so I tend to wait too long to do the dreaded deed; but since they are strong little buggers, I must. And today I did it.

I have been contemplating trimming my little beauties for several weeks. In fact, I can't remember when I applied the now peeling nail polish, a good indicator of how long it has been since I had a pedicure. When I see a quarter inch of new nail showing, I know it has been too long since I took care of the inevitable, the need to cut my nails. I want you to know, I do believe in good grooming, but toenails are so hard to do when one has Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. Twisting my body into odd positions to cut them or paint them, squeezes the breath out of me as I bend my protruding tummy to reach--and pulling my legs up close enough hurts. I would love to get a pedicure at a salon, but I would feel guilty spending money on that; so, I contemplate the struggle it will entail, then I procrastinate. Thus I end up with toenails that would rival the strong, long fingernails some people want so badly.

I know that fingernails or toenails which have been soaked first are easier to cut. Since I had decided to take a bath and luxuriate today, this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to try this premise. As I luxuriated in the bath water, I made a plan of attack. My little bag I keep my nail appliances in was beside the tub so I could reach it easily. I pulled out the toenail clippers, made sure the little cover that is supposed to keep nails inside the clippers was adjusted, and I started by clipping the large toenail. It was easier than I expected. Hallelujah! The warm water in the tub had loosened my muscles enough that reaching was not as difficult. Furthermore, for some reason it seemed easier than bending from a sitting position in a chair, or than standing and bending over. Standing and bending over is not as safe for many people that have chronic illness anyway, and I did not want to put myself in the position of falling. Moreover, who likes standing outside the tub, bending over with a dripping, wet body and nails that are drying out too fast? Not me.

I did not cut all my nails on my left foot before I switched to the opposite foot. As my muscles began to cramp a little, I took a short break; then, I began to cut nails on my right foot. Thus, switching back and forth I was able to trim the nails on both feet. After I cut the nails, I gently pushed my wet cuticles back, and the job I dreaded was done. Painting the toenails is a job I will do another day; however, my nails already look better. Also, I don't have to worry about them hitting the end of any closed toed shoes. And if you are wondering what I did with the nail clippings, I dumped them into a small plastic container after I did each nail. Sometimes the clippings do fall out of the clippers that have covers to keep them in, and I did not want toenails going down my bathtub drain. When I was out of the tub and dried off, I put the clippings in the trash.

Dear reader, I hope you have someone to do your nails for you, but not all of us do--or we don't want to ask. Someday, I do plan to have a pedicure done in a salon for a treat, but that is not an option for me now.
Also, I have to admit to feeling a bit paranoid about the sterilization of equipment in salons. Next time I get my nails done away from home, I will ask about the salon's equipment sterilization policy. I prefer to avoid cross-contamination when it comes to my feet. May you feel as good about your toenails as I do today. First step to well-groomed nails done--Check! Until I write again--God bless you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Five Minutes at a Time

Hmm....I remember saying something about transparency in my last post, so I guess I have to own up to the truth.  Because without Truth, this blog will not help anyone else, nor will it be of any value in helping me walk my life's path.  This is a bit frightening, because I grew up knowing I must always present best face forward, even if something did not totally represent the real me.  Maybe, some of you know what I am talking about. 

 I will list a few of the maxims I lived with:

1. Do not wear underpants with a hole in them to school.  What if you have an accident?
2.  When guests came unexpectedly, we usually sat outside in lawn chairs.  Don't let anyone see your messy house.
3. I learned how to put my best face forward, even when my insides were coming apart.
Number 3 sounds a bit dramatic,  but I did see this modeled in my childhood to a degree; and it definitely made an impression on me.

So what does this have to do with five minutes at a time?  Today, I realized that I have something eating at me, and I have to face it.  Clutter is beginning to overtake my house again. Aaaaahgeeee --the clutter monster is invading my life.  And I know there is a way to take care of it:  the aha moment happened for me today.  Don't you love aha moments? 

A good friend of mine, who also has a chronic illness, told me how she began to get rid of her clutter when she had little strength, but lots of frustration over the piles here and there that were accumulating.  She began to move one thing at a time to the place it belonged, whether that be a drawer, a closet, a shelf, or the trash.  That began to build her confidence in knowing she could take control of her home again.

Several months ago, I realized I could begin to attack my clutter five minutes at a time after reading an article that Marla Cilley, the FlyLady wrote.  And it worked!  However, I have taken on a couple of new things this summer that began to make me feel overwhelmed and caused post exertional malaise; so I started letting the house go.  If you could see a picture of my house right now, it's a bit like Old McDonald's Farm, except my song is about clutter, not animals: Here a pile, there a pile, everywhere a pile, pile....  I have what  the FlyLady calls CHAOS, can't have anyone over syndrome.  Add that to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome--it means I have newly coined syndrome -- glued to my chair syndrome.  I have been stuck to my lounge chair avoiding contact with The Mess.  I have been hiding from it, but it keeps bugging me.  Today, I remembered I can do anything 5 minutes at a time, and I can rest in-between.  That means I need to quit writing and get to working and resting.  If I try to clean this up all at once, I will have to deal with post exertional malaise and be back in the same boat of growing chaos.

I'll let you know how The Cleanup goes.  It won't be instant, and it will be an ongoing thing.  By the way, if you would like some encouragement in the area of cleaning house, check the link I am going to add.  And if you have a chronic illness, it is OK to work at your own pace.

  In fact, I have learned pacing myself is the key to feeling better.   Trying to be perfect only made me miserable.
Peace be unto you.  And God bless.  

 FlyLady's Homepage

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A New Beginning

A new beginning...
Breezes of change blow, 
and I know it's my time
      To surpass the limits of this weakened body.

More than a body, easily spent,
A fogging brain losing focus...
I am still me.

My spirit growing,
 God's present purpose for my life. 

Content with each small step,
I'm Happy
Walking closer in His will.

by Deborah Lynne Bolton , copywrite 2012


I wondered how I should start this blog, and I decided transparency is needed to truly help others.  How do I want to help?  I want to let you know that you are not alone.  If you have a chronic illness as I do, it has changed your life in some way, most likely in major ways.  This is not a blog to vent my frustration over being ill.  It is meant to uplift, to encourage you to find things that will  make your life better, and to act on these things.  I'm a Christian, so there will most likely be days I share a short devotion and scripture.  It will be interesting to see how my blog develops, because I want it to blossom into something beautiful.