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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Refashionista ramblings

I have been very busy again, hence the intermittent postings and random poetry. Here's a little about what I have been up to.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were yoga filled. On Friday I attended two yoga classes and then went to "practice teach" in the park with a group. This meant doing even more yoga. I was so beat I went home and slept for over 12 hours.

On Saturday I spent some more time at yoga. First, I took a class and then I went to teacher training for three hours. It was great but when I finished, I was exhausted again. I met some friends for dinner and when I got home I passed out for another 12 hour stint.

Sunday was no different. We met at 9:00 pm for teacher training and then did a "Moon Flow." It was advertised as "restorative" but it was actually an hour and a half of hip and heart opening stretches (ouch). After that I practice taught with a small group for a while and then I took another yoga class. Class was followed by another 3 hours of training that included even more yoga. By the time it ended, I was pretty fried. In fact, I have been rather tired ever since.

Since Sunday I have gone to a yoga class every day but the good news is that after tomorrow, I will have finished all my class hours. By the end of Sunday I will have completed 200 hours of teacher training in 2 months. My mom says this is amazing. I guess it is. When I started training I still was fighting the tail end of an exacerbation and still having some issues with bladder control and balance. Now, although I'm tired, I seem to be symptom-free. This is probably one of my greatest physical accomplishments of my entire life. It is definitly my greatest spiritual accomplishment.

I am really glad to be finishing up but I also feel fulfilled by my experiences. I think this proved one of the best coping mechanisms I could have found during the time I adjusted to being diagnosed with MS. I still have moments of fear about the future but mostly I am just trying to enjoy each day and not concern myself with whatever pitfalls the future may hold.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm not Promising the Moon

The quiet, cool of city streets,
A deep January night.
Pavement crawls away beneath my feet,
As the soles of worn shoes
Tap out the beat,
Of the music playing softly in my soul.
I close my eyes,
Feel the movement of gently rushing air,
Lift me up on pointed toes as though to fly--
And I sigh,
As my body sways to the sound,
Of the growing crescendo
Rising off the silent ground.
Pale and lovely,
the full moon, cracks her smile,
Before I have trudged another mile--
I feel her sweet breath on my neck,
And the way she calls my heart,
Makes me start--
To let the tiny jewels of tears,
Condensed behind my eyes release,
A storm of blue that unfolds--
Unabating 'til the deluge is spent,
And all the tatters of my dreams are rent.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bhakti- The Yoga of Devotion

I was drifting somewhere in the space between this world and that. I floated in a thick grey mist but I could hear sounds. I followed the sound until I found myself in the yoga room where I often practice. There was beautiful music playing and I felt my heart open and move. A voice caressed me and said, "Now flow to the music however it moves you." I poised myself to dance in that space but suddenly I was awakened by my alarm. I lay back disappointed. I was moved to follow that voice into the flow.

Today I found myself in that space again but this time I was awake. At first we chanted, led by the voice in my dream. Then, we moved into a practice accompanied by music like that which I remembered in my dream. We moved as one and then the instructor said, "Now flow on your own however you are moved." My skin prickled with deja vu and I embraced that alluring moment again. Now I did indeed flow as I wished, a yogic dance to the music.

A guru may be a teacher but if you put a comma into the word after the "G," and then repeat the letters of the word you hear. "Gee, you are you." Long before I entered the room today to engage in Bhakti (the yoga of devotion) I knew deep down that this was what my soul craved. I awoke from my dream but my dream came to pass in my waking life. It gives me chills just to know this.

I have been living in a state of self-doubt. I often think I see myself through the eyes of others and I do not like what I see. But this is a trap. Even if I see clearly what they see, it is a voice inside me expressing the distaste. I deem myself unworthy of regard and loathe parts of myself and yet in yoga they tell me that, "Inside, you have everything you need for a beautiful life." They say that our best teacher lives within us. If this is true then I must forget what I believe others see and decide for myself what parts of my behavior and modus operandi that I despise. Then, without judgement I must decide what changes, if any, I should be trying to make. This is all so clear to me in moments like this, moments where I truly find myself awake and living that which I have dreamed.

Joan of A Short in the Cord wrote about affirmations yesterday. I commented on her blog that in yoga we use "mantra" (a repeated word or phrase) to calm the mind and to self-affirm. That is what Bhakti is all about. We chant various sanskrit mantras for so long that at times we seem to become one with each other and with our words. There is an electricity in the air. Sometimes I fight these feelings of union because they remind me of a past I have chosen to leave in my past but at times I embrace the feeling and I am lifted outside myself. Gone are my worries, obsessions and self-doubts and I am left with a feeling of pure bliss.

Update 7/26/08

I have been quite occupied recently, mostly with yoga. Yesterday I attended a total of three classes. Boy was that overkill. Today I feel like a truck ran me over. I intended to go to class at 8:00 am today and then go to the park to practice teach but instead I lay in bed and groaned. I am trying right now to get psyched up to hit a class and then attend teacher training but I am still not sure about taking class before training. I guess during training we have a class today too and I am fried.

On a different note, I have had some good things happen to me over the last few days. Physically, I have felt good until this morning and I have felt very strong in yoga. Financially, things are really looking up. On Thursday I learned that the insurance company for the driver who hit my husband and I in our car accident was ready to pay out. The accident was in March and I fractured my sternum and missed three days of work. I expected to be paid for the missed work but I was delighted to learn that I was also getting a sizeable payout for my "inconvenience." At first that sounded crazy but now that I think on it, my sternum is still a periodic cause of discomfort so the accident did prove incredibly inconvenient. Little did I know at the time that my first relapse would be far more difficult and painful than my sternal fracture...

I also had some new students in my Yoga 4 Kids program on Thursday and so I actually made some money. The class went great and it was really nice to get paid.

After class on Thursday I went back to Urban Peak (a place for homeless youth) and took a dish for the kids. All of us who volunteered got to have dinner there again. Doing this karma yoga always makes me feel great.

Today and tomorrow I have teacher training. My husband is camping with friends for the weekend so I am just chillin'. Last night I had two invites to go out but I found that I was so exhausted that I just wanted to be alone. I did some sewing and refashioning but I hope to at least get dinner with a friend tonight. Tomorrow will be a long day and this will be a long week of yoga but we finally finish next Sunday. Yeah, it's been great but I'm ready to move on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Behind the clouds there might be a rainbow

Samadhi, a feeling of exquisite esctasy where we realize that we are one with the divine and we enjoy a feeling of complete bliss. We stalk this elusive state. We may not call it Samadhi but our souls yearn to find this peace. Everything we suffer pales before Samadhi. Would we know this perfect state if we were never tried?

I used to think that Samadhi was only for the mystics, those who pursued and mastered a spiritual life. Since I was afflicted with my first relapse, I have experienced this state more than once. The first time was when I was near delusional with steroid-induced insomnia. At the time I did not label the experience "Samadhi" because it was so much more than that as well but I remember several lucid moments from that night where I was outside my body. I spoke to those both living and dead. I communed with spirits and beneath it all was the joy and certainty that I was going to be alright. I no longer judged myself or others. I voiced prayer after prayer for mankind, even the ones I formerly disliked. The veil of this plane was lifted and I could see the "divine" nature of everyone and everything. I accepted myself and my place in the world without doubts.

Since that day I have sought that state again. The day after I actually felt for a time like I was becoming "enlightened." Alas, enlightenment and Samadhi are more elusive than that... Yet there are moments where I again forget the reality I am chained to and I experience several moments of perfect bliss.

You cannot be the same after you have tasted Samahdi. You look for it behind every bush, in every experience and you try to avoid the unpleasant people and situations that make you turn your back on Samadhi. At the same time you know that Samadhi can be found again, even as you face the path you must tread every day, like it or not. I struggle behind dark clouds of my own making and yet beyond them I can see the rainbow that is Samadhi.

Today is a good day. For the first time in a really long time, my body feels strong and great. My mind is at peace. When I went to yoga, for a moment, I was near the rainbow. I felt my heart fill with joy. The music filled me. So complete was my content that I almost cried with the pure beauty of that moment. I was reminded that behind the clouds there just might be a rainbow.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Karmic crap

One of the hardest things for me about yoga teacher training is when we do things that remind me of my upbringing. I was raised in a spiritual community (some might call it a cult)and my dad was/is the leader. About a week ago I got an email from my dad regarding some "tests" he had been doing regarding my MS. In his email he asked me several questions. One of them was along the lines of "what do you think I actually do?" This gave me some pause because throughout my childhood I was surrounded by the members of his community and I had at least a partial lens into what I thought he did. Color me crazy, but maybe I am completely wrong about the work he does.

Anyway, I do certainly remember snippets of my childhood that involved my dad's work. One of the things I remember was the body work he did and that he trained other sto do. The person being worked with would strip down and then both stand and walk around in the nude so that my father or whoever was working with that person could see the subject's posture. I am not sure what they did with the data that was gleaned or how the subject was then worked with but I do have a distinct image of the work in my mind.

Yesterday morning at yoga teacher training was reminiscent of this childhood memory. A woman came in and worked with our posture. First we worked with partners and noticed things about their bodies and posture. It was a "non-judgemental" environment. The teacher then selected a few of us to come up front and she asked the group what they noticed about us. I was selected to come up front. The woman had several things to say about my posture. One of the things she noted was that they way I held my hips was usually associated with bad menstrual cramps. I laughed and told her we should talk but on the inside I was already sobbing.

One of the hardest things about me getting MS has been trying to answer for myself and sometimes others why I got this disease. I look at other people who have always had unhealthy lifestyles, spewed negativity into the universe and never excercised a day in their life and they are not sick. I read all this yogic literature and books about energy work and am informed that we hold all the crap that happens to us in our bodies. This crap often manifests as an illness. I see those who have abused their bodies be fine, I read about how we create our illnesses and then I feel like shit. If I choose to believe that we create our own illnesses then I am filled with horror, sadness and guilt. What did I do so wrong that I should find myself not only karmicly punished with MS but with cramps and the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis and allergies to boot?

On the one hand, I want a spiritual life. On the other, I don't want to believe these things I am being told. It seems fraught with judgement and the judgement seems to be that I am somehow bad.

I told this to one of the other girls in my teacher training and she said, "Maybe you are just imagining the judgement." Perhaps she is right. I thought that I was now beyond fear but I guess that it must still haunt me. I have always noticed many things about others just from their body language but I think I sometimes overimagine their opinions of me. I speak and I see myself through the imagined eyes of another and I am an ugly thing. I am all my faults. I talk too much, I'm conceited, I'm not centered and I speak too much and too quickly. Am I even grounded in reality anymore? Is this really the way that I am perceived? Does it matter how I am perceived?

For a short time I quit caring about pleasing others. I stopped caring how people saw me. I really believed that I am my own best teacher. Now I waver, a fragile stalk in the wind. Some moments I am certain I can find my own route back to Samadhi (the recognition that I am one with the universe and everything in it, outside time, place and space). At other times I find myself weakening and believe that I am indeed being punished or that if I don't listen to my father and/or the other teachers in my life and follow their advice, my health will surely get worse.

I want my personal power back. I want to believe that I can handle this and learn what I need to learn all by myself. Sometimes I think that there is no one I can even talk to about this whir of thought. I am torn between my old beliefs and my new ones. I am conflicted by new ideas that reflect how I perceive my past and my father's work. There is an enormous primal scream hidden behind my lips, my soul is an abyss. I howl into the darkness of my questions and only my own voice comes back to mock me...

Friday, July 18, 2008


The thing I like best about blogging is the sense of community. I have been welcomed and found by other MS bloggers. Now that I have been on here a little while and I have regained my health, I really enjoy reading the blogs I have discovered. The comments section on each blog is a treasure trove of information and resources. I keep finding new bloggers who intrigue me. I also like actually knowing a little bit about the people reading and commenting on my blog. Now when I get a comment from a regular blogger, I remember who they are and what they have been writing about. I can actually take the advice I receive and consider the source. I love getting into comments from other MSers because I feel accepted. I feel like other people with MS get where I am coming from and judge me less.

I am also having a similar sense of community at my therapeutic yoga class. People are warm, friendly and non-judgemental. It seems like many of us are on the same page when it comes to treating our MS. Today we went to lunch and I learned several important tidbits. No one in the group I joined for lunch today is on DMDs anymore. I also learned there is a possible "cure" for some allergies using a type of acupuncture. It was also nice to hear other MSers reiterate the importance of living in the present and enjoying life. The rest of the group is a bit older than me and they have a lot more experience with both life and MS. It feels good to have their acceptance and to listen to their insights and advice. I am blessed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Carnival of Moods

I just had another piece published on Lisa Emerich's Carnival of MS Bloggers. I did not publish the piece here because it's kind of depressing but follow the link below to read my work and to see a more uplifting piece or two by other writers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Hip, hip hurrah! I am finally feeling like my old self again. Most of the aches and pains are gone and thanks to my acupuncturist, my right shoulder is finally feeling better. I went to yoga earlier and actually stood in the front row because my spot in back by the door was taken. It felt great to flow without pain again.

I went and bought some more healthy food. My acupuncturist warned me that with the MS I am in danger of developing rheumatoid arthritis and recommended that I watch my dairy and gluten intake.

These foods may not be a problem for me but in many MSers there seems to be a genetic marker for high gluten intolerance. While I doubt that I have this allergy, I am trying to pay attention to my gluten intake. I bought a few gluten-free cereals to try. I also bought some Almonds for protein because I have been relying heavily on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during the day. Next time I may try out the gluten-free bread but one thing at a time.

Right now I am just trying to experiment with how I feel when I eat or don't eat certain foods. I am afraid that I may run out of money before I can get the allergy tests but maybe I can talk my doctor at Kaiser into ordering some tests. They already tested my Vitamin D levels and I actually came back in the "normal" range. They also tested me for things like Lyme Disease and Syphillis. I am disease-free and my blood tests are fine. If only I didn't have any lesions on my brain...

Many of the books I have been reading suggest that there are spiritual and emotional reasons for a body to develop a disease. I am not certain if this is true but it somehow feels about right to me. While I do not know the root cause of my disease, I am trying to pay attention to the actions and thoughts I send out into the world.

I am learning to forgive. I am learning to have greater compassion. I am increasing my acceptance of myself and others as I continue to meditate on Ahimsa. This is probably the hardest part. When I was at my sickest it was the easier to move toward some new or undiscovered, "better" self. Now, without the suffering, the journey is more difficult and yet I do not want the self-exploration or the personal-growth to stop. I am realizing that a time has come where I must dig deeper and try harder to be the self I want to be. This doesn't mean beating myself up. It doesn't mean taking the advice of others without thought. I think it means doing things mindfully and paying attention to the results of my actions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Essential Questions Rewind

Several months ago when I started this blog I challenged myself to study and research five essential questions regarding MS. At the time I posted the questions my readership was much smaller and so now I am reposting the questions in hopes that some of the MS community might comment on their experiences. So far I have only heard from Suzanne Carroll. I posted her letter in May. Here is my challenge to my readers: if I have linked your blog to my page, I hope you will take some time to sound off on at least one of the questions posted below. Email me or just comment on this page. Thanks in advance.

In education, when we tackle a topic, we start with an "essential question," and then the explorations our students complete and the assignments they do focus around those essential questions (at least when we do our work well). Here are my "essential questions" regarding MS.

1) What causes MS (scientifically), is there quantifiable, valid data even available?
2) Can MS be cured?
3) Do "interferons"and other meds help, which seem to have the best results, is there a good body of data supporting one medication or another?
4) Can MS relapses be averted or minimized by life-style modifications, holistic approaches, exercise and meditation?
5) What regimen of diet and exercise works best for the majority of MS patients, or is it really about each individual finding what works for them?

*Since I first posted these I have occassionally commented on them. I have my own theories about all five now but I want to hear from some other MSers about what they have learned. Please take my challenge.
Thanks again,
Nadja (Denver Refashionista)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Help Bill fight MS

Hello all. My hubby just got the following email from a co-worker and asked that I get the word out to friends and family. I am not hitting up fellow MSers on this one because DMDs cost enough and you hardly need another cause to spend money on. For those of you blessed with health, please read the email below and help Bill fight MS.
Nadja (Denver Refashionista)

Hi All!

As most of you know, I volunteer a portion of my time, energy, and support to Multiple Solutions, the Jr. Board of the Chicago Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. On August 9th our group will host the 8th Annual MS Slugfest, an all-day co-ed 16" softball tournament that raises around $100,000 a year toward the fight against MS. For the 3rd consecutive year I am fortunate enough to be the elected chair for this event. This will be my last year in this appointed role, so I would like to go out with a flourish. In addition to performing my duties as event chair, I'm asking friends, family, associates and random people I meet on the street for donations to hopefully surpass my personal fundraising goal of $1,500. Please feel free to forward this note to anyone else who might be willing to participate in this endeavor.

Please click on the link below to visit my MS Slugfest Personal Page:

If you choose to support my efforts, please click on the "Make a Gift" prompt located below the fundraising thermometer. If you would prefer to donate by check, please contact me for further instruction. Thank you for any contributions you are willing to offer.

Additional information about the event can be found here:

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or require any further assistance. For those of you working for companies that provide a "matching gift" program, I encourage you to take advantage of that option. Please note that corporate sponsorship opportunities are still available for this event.

Thanks again. Hope to see each of you soon!

- Bill

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shifting Gears

I have been writing a lot lately about discontent and uncertainty but now I think I am ready to start shifting gears again. Every summer I think I am absolutely sick of teaching, I can't stand kids and I don't ever want to return to work but inevitably, I always find that near the end of my break I get caught up in planning and begin to get ready for work again.
I can feel this change beginning in me. It started with dread about how I was going to handle things but now I can feel that changing. I am starting to think about what must be done. I am thinking about the changes I want to make in how I do things in my classroom. I am planning ways to make the job ever more manageable. Many of the conclusions I have come to involve my students becoming more independent and mature. I think that this is going to be very good for them. There has always been a tendency in my school to coddle students as though they are much younger and lessncapable than they are. I too am guilty of making certain things too easy on kids even when I keep the work rigorous. I now have plans about how to change this and how to better prepare my students for their future jobs or schooling.
I am excited to make the changes. I wonder if I can keep my cool. Can I gain respect just by modeling it and asking for it? Will the kids that know me see how MS has changed and matured me?
I have dreamed of a time where I can walk into the classroom and get respect without a single threat or a raised voice. I think that time may be coming. In the past I have always been a little scared about what sort of freshman I might get. Now, I would like to think that this won't matter. I think the teacher is the single, greatest predictor of student achievement in a classroom. Last year I really got results. I would like to think that this year I will get good results again no matter who passes my classroom door but time will ultimately tell.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A busy Refashionista

I have been busy again this week with yoga, writing and refashioning. The promotion I hoped to get was actually reposted this week so I guess the person who got it must have turned it down. I applied again but I'm not sure if I am allowed in the running a second time. The thing is that now I am not attached to an outcome so perhaps things will turn out differently. Either way, I have already made me peace with teaching again. I can tell it will be hard to go back to work in a month. I am very spoiled right now because between spring break, my first exacerbation and then summer break, I have had months off to do as I please. I have had the chance to be incredibly creative and productive doing things I love. I guess it is good that I also love to teach. Despite this fact, I am viewing the upcoming year with some trepidation.
I am a little afraid for my health under the rigors of my job. It was always a challenge but now I have five classes to teach instead of four. I also have MS symptoms to contend with. I think they have been there a long time but now I yield to them more. I have also noticed that the symptoms around my menstrual period have been growing worse. Fortunately, due to acupuncture, a few seem to be getting under control. On the other hand, the nerve pain and numbness is new. I have not slept well in almost a week so I'll be glad when these symptoms fade out again. My arms and shoulders ache and when I lay in one position for very long, my right hand goes numb. Oh well. I thank the powers that be that I can still work and still go to yoga even if I do suffer at times.
Last night I got out for a while after yoga teacher training. I was able to catch up with some folks I have not seen since my illness. It was nice to see them although I did get the expected, "I have a _______ with MS." And the, "You look great and you're handling this so well." I have heard it said, "It's not how you feel, it's how you look and you look marvelous darling..." I guess my readers will have to be the judge. This picture was taken last night.
Check out my latest refashions at Denver Refashionista.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


According to Wikipedia "Malaise is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, an 'out of sorts' feeling, often the first indication of an infection or other disease. Often defined in medicinal research as a 'general feeling of being unwell'." This article goes on to state, "The 'winter malaise' is another rendition of the term. This is described as feeling run down, depleted, fatigued, "out of sorts", depressed, or a combination of all the aforementioned symptoms. Unlike the colloquial term, the winter malaise is generally not associated with the oncoming of any particular illness. It is the culmination of the body adjusting to cold winter conditions and a possible depressing atmosphere due to either being forced inside due to the cold, or forced into a mundane daily routine because of the winter conditions."

I think of malaise in terms of the first definition but without the notion of disease. The ironic part is that in my case, I guess my malaise is disease-based. Either way, this has been a rather hard week. I still am achy and exhausted, my shoulder still hurts and today, I feel like I would like nothing better than to stay home all day and even perhaps go back to bed. If this were a regular state for me I would be concerned but this feeling of malaise is very infrequent for me.

I know I have to drag myself out for yoga no matter what because I have hours to put in but I really wish I could just chill. Even with the ibuprofin I have taken I feel rotten. I just wish the pain in my arm and shoulder would go away. It has been waking me up for three nights now and even though I stay in bed until ten, I'm exhausted.

I know I shouldn't bitch, at least I am capable of going to yoga and driving, even when I feel like this. I am not in a realapse and overall I have felt good ever since my last exacerbation ended but I am still annnoyed. I am mostly annoyed at myself because I feel like I should be more productive. The book is stagnating. Even though I keep writing, I seem to have lost my flow. I am suddenly doubtful about the last several pages I have written. Are they even interesting?

On a more positive note... I have completed several cool refashions this week that I plan to post in the next few days on my other blog. I have managed to make it to yoga teacher training and to a few classes this week but I hate it when I feel like I "have to" go to yoga. Hopefully, the cobwebs in my head will clear, my malaise will lift and my body will feel better soon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Changing expectations

I just got back from yoga fresh with an important reminder: "No use crying over spilled milk." What the teacher talked about today was changing our expectations. We often plan our lives with the idea that things will actually unfold the way we planned them. We dream of somehow controlling our own destiny or tiny universe. And to a degree, we can. On the other hand, we cannot control everything.
We often expereince our worst suffering when circumstances do not meet our expectations. At that point we have a choice. We can either get bent out of shape and hang on to what we expected, or we can let go of our expectations and embrace our reality, even if it is not the one we imagined for ourselves.
I have gone through life kicking and screaming against this point of view. I am a control freak. I want to control everything, even the things I can't. This has really only led me to disappointment and stress. MS has changed me fundamentally though. This is not to say that I don't hate disappointments, I am just learning to let them go. I am learning to accept things as they unfold.
At times this is hard. For example: I recently applied for a promotion at work. I really thought my chances were good and I really believed that I would not need to spend another year teaching a classroom full of teenagers. Then, before I even walked into the interview, I saw part of the competition and knew that the role I sought would not be mine. I interviewed anyway with the idea that if I did not get my first choice of position, I still had a good chance of getting a position. Alas, I did not. I accepted this quickly as I assumed that the competition must have been a lot more qualified then me. Imagine my chagrin when I found out that a colleague, 6 years my junior, less experienced and less qualified had gotten one of the roles I sought. When I learned this I was more than a little upset. I even cried a little but then I accepted my fate.
I am now resigned to the idea that my promotion was not meant to be. I am adjusting to the idea of teaching again (MS and all). I am blessed to have tenure now and health insurance. I get to teach yoga. Perhaps this cloud has a silver lining... I can now support my colleagues and let go of my jealousy and/or resentment.
I can also view each thing that comes to pass as an opportunity and not a travesty. It seems to keep me healthier and less stressed out. I'm not nearly as evolved as I would like to be. I still slip back into disappointment when I don't get what I want. I still have a "dark side." Yet, I am finding happiness in the simple things.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I'll keep this short. It seems it's here again... That shitty (pardon my french) time of month. I awoke just before 7:00 am feeling like hell. I decided to stay in bed and try to sleep it off with the aide of some ibuprofin.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the best of luck on that front. It's after 10 am now and I still feel awful. My arms and right shoulder in particular ache. Every time I fell back to sleep I awoke with numbness in my right hand. I don't get it really. I am not sure if for me this is an MS thing or purely hormonal. Do other women without MS get numbness too if they have bad periods?
Anyway... I am up now but I am still in pain. My arms, shoulder, hips, elbows and knees all ache. I had planned to go to yoga but I'm just not sure that I can today. I have to teach at 4:20 so I may just save all my mojo for that. If I don't feel better, I'm going to try a hot bath and some rest.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I am out of sorts today, angsty. I feel a little psycho and impatient. Gone are my peace and calm. I’m stirred up.
Why this detour down a path of demons? It could be the weather. The rain has been falling for hours and it is cloudy and gray. The sun has been obliterated by darkness.
It could be that things don’t seem to be going my way. It could also be that I just spent two hours doing things I didn’t want to do. Most likely, it’s my hormones. Sometimes they make me feel a little nuts. I am so irritable.
Sometimes, there is a little voice that gnaws at the back of my mind. It reminds me that while I feel pretty decent, things could be fomenting in my head. Are there new lesions growing? How’s my myelin? I try to focus on the moment, to not let these voices get the best of me but at times, it bugs me. I value my capacity to think, my lovely mind, above all else. Yet I know… I know that all is not right in my brain and that, I can neither deny, or ignore. Usually, I bless my disease for showing me what really matters but at times all I can think is, “Why did this ever have to come to me?”
I resent my fatigue. I really resent my husband always saying, “I don’t assume that you have done anything while I was at work.” Or, “I can’t count on you for anything.” These sentences are marked by caviats like, “Don’t take this wrong.” But of course I take it the way it sounds. It sounds like I am a burden. It sounds like he is being martyred by my incapacities. It sounds like I’m a slacker.
Am I really not pulling my weight? My guess is that I am but a low level of guilt at being “diseased” is plaguing me. On some level I must be worrying about the times when I won’t be able to help or the times when I feel too fatigued. I almost feel driven to do more now because I can but I resent every minute I spend doing things like cleaning house, weeding, grocery shopping and other tasks that take me away from what I really want to do. In the past these were welcome summer diversions that made me feel like I was accomplishing something during my break but that’s just not an issue anymore. I find meaning in my life through my writing, yoga and artistic creations. I feel like even when I’m not cleaning house I am doing a lot. Sometimes my husband says I must not love him because I allow these things to claim some of our time together. Of course I love my husband or I wouldn’t bother to be married I just have started a love affair with myself. I find that at times I am loathe to interrupt or change the course of my affair.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lazy Saturday afternoon

I'm chillin'. My hubby has complained that I spend far too much time away when he is around so I took the day off from yoga to hang out with him and my mother in law. Interestingly enough, I find myself sitting alone at the moment while he works in the basement (he chased out the "hens") and shortly thereafter my mother in law disappeared without explanation so maybe he chased her away too.
Finding myself alone, I checked the yoga schedule just in case it was not too late to hit a class. Unfortunately, it was and my body could use a rest anyway. Rumor has it that we will be going to a movie around 4:15 anyway. In the meantime, left to my own devices, I thought I could write a little in the blog and a little on the book.
I don't have too much to report but I am excited to be the proud owner of a new sewing machine. I think that the machine is going to really aide the Refashionista cause. I just got a cool Obama shirt from my sister's dad so I am currently washing it in anticipation of a refashioning bonanza. I think it will be super-cute and that soon many people may covet one (If you do, let me know and I'll see what I can do).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Check out the work by Denver Refashionista

I have been busy at work this summer on "refashioning clothes." It has been a lot of fun. Check out my other blog at:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Memoir Excerpt

A few months back I took the time to mention that I was writing a memoir. At the time I outlined for my readers what I meant by that. See A letter to my readers.

Now I thought I would put up a small, and hopefully tantalizing excerpt. My chosen excerpt follows below.

Chapter 1: Nadja
Andre Breton (1928), the author of the surrealist book Nadja, asks himself and the world the first question we must all ask ourselves upon gaining self-awareness “Who am I?” I too open my book with this question.
I often find myself exploring the existentialist dilemma; “Why am I here, what is my purpose?” and “Does this life have any promise for us beyond our inevitable death?”
In spite of this general philosophical grounding, I find at times that despite these firm guiding questions and philosophy, that it is in times of crisis where I find prayers and spirituals spilling from lips that scarcely even fit my true philosophical underpinnings.
This seems especially true during the last 2 or 3 weeks of my life (written in May '08). I have been suffering from vomiting, fatigue and vertigo for an abnormally long time. On Monday, April 22nd, 2008 I was admitted to the ER because I was vomiting blood clots and experiencing retching, disorientation and double vision.
Fortunately the bleeding stopped after I vomited up all the blood clots in my system. My throat scope came back and I had a Mallory Weiss tear in my esophagus from all my violent puking but they said I could go once I kept food down. When the doctor learned that I was having double-vision he became concerned that I might have MS (Multiple Sclerosis).
That night I had an MRI. Unfortunately we got the results by 2:00 pm the next afternoon and the doctor told us I had a lesion in my cerebellum consistent with MS. So we went in for blood work and meds.
The next day we saw the neurologist and had a second discussion and looked at my MRI. There were only two lesions so he ordered another MRI.
So now, despite my life-view I find myself asking, “Why me?” I never thought this would happen to me. So I am mourning some of the life I had but I’m trying to start thinking about how to handle the changes in who I was and I am asking myself, “How will I move forward? What’s most important to me and how can I go on as an educator and continue contributing to society once I feel better?”
Here is some honest insight into how this feels for me right now. Whoever I am, whatever my purpose I’ll write my catharsis out and share it to help lift some of my pain and tears and to navigate my why towards the new person I am swiftly becoming.
So I return now to the question: “Who am I?”

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

So tired...

I'll keep this very short. I guess all the activity, combined with heat are finally catching up with me. I am so tired now. On a positive note, I feel pretty decent otherwise. I took an Anusara yoga class this morning and while it kicked my butt, it was a good learning experience. I even learned a new way to do forearm stands and back bends against the wall.
Tonight I have yoga teacher training and my mother in law is coming in for a few days. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be full of energy again so I can take her around a bit while my hubby works.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

1st visit to the Acupuncturist

You are not imagining things... There are 17 needles sticking out of your flesh but you scarcely feel them. You are completely relaxed. You lay on a comfortable table, your head cushioned, your knees propped and soft music plays in the background. This doesn't look like what you would expect from a doctor's office. The walls are not white, the room is not sterile and there is a giant asian print on the wall above you. Do not be alarmed, you are in good hands!

My first trip to the acupuncturist was fantastic. I felt confident in his ability to help me almost right off the bat. After feeling the pulse in both my wrists he asked me if I had an accident recently. And yes, yes I did. He noted that I had blood blockages in certain areas of my body. He noted that my liver had too much blood and was being overworked. He was right. During the CT scan of my body they found lesions on my liver.

He had me lay down on the table nearby. Then he started placing the needles. I didn't even feel the first one go into my foot. He started the treatment for my blood blockages with 5 needles. I got one in each foot, one in each hand and one on my third eye center. He left me with those for a while and then came back to add more needles.

I got 4 needles in each lower leg/foot total. I got 4 near my pubic bone, one in my chest, one in my right hand, one in my left hand, one in my wrist and the one I mentioned on my forehead. I must have forgotten a few but I know I had 17 total. At times, I could actually feel the needles clearing blockages, especially on my right side. The doctor explained that the liver sits to the right. That actually explains a lot because I have been having more pain and stiffness in the muscles on my right and even the traditional medical community had noted the lesions on my liver.

When he adjusted the needles around my pubis I could already feel a difference. When he started I had a lot of pain and tension in that region but as the needles moved my blood, that pain faded. By the time he pulled out the needles I felt much better. He gave me a powder designed for my body and my symptoms and sent me home to return in two weeks.

Right now I feel great. He warned that I may experience some cramping my pelvis and some pain where I fractured my sternum a few months back as the blood begins to flow in these areas again but at the moment, I feel no pain. In fact, I feel the best I have in a really long time. Gone is my muscle fatigue. Gone is my joint pain. Gone is the vertigo and headaches. I am surprised. He didn't promise this. I may just be having a good day but I did an hour and a half of Ashtanga yoga this morning and normally I would be fatigued and achy. Instead, I just cleaned house for about two hours and I am full of energy. I am so excited. This just may really help me.