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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Work, Sleep, Repeat again

Lately this is just about it... Work, sleep, repeat-- it does not leave much time for blogging either. Right now,I'm actually still working but I'm just watching the desk at the yoga studio, so it's pretty mellow. The last two days, I stayed at school late. Yesterday, I made parent calls for conferences this week until 5:00, then I drove home, ate and slept. Today I worked, went to a union meeting, worked some more and then came to the studio to work some more. Tomorrow I plan to go in early to meet with a student and then to work a bit more before the day officially starts. The hardest part, honestly, is getting myself out of bed. I can't seem to stop hitting snooze. Tomorrow I'll try to stop doing that and just get up. Maybe there will even be a nap in my afternoon forecast if I'm lucky. Maybe I won't even take work home.

Thursday, I'll spend all day in the salt mines from about 6:30 am until 8:30 pm, because we have parent/teacher conferences. I am dreading that long haul. Ever since my diagnosis, I have yet to make it through the day after conferences without being ill from fatigue. I am going to think positive since it seems I have been training for long days lately (LOL). I also just met another co-worker with MS, so I feel like I might have someone to commiserate with during tough times. She has had the disease for nine years and seems to be doing great. I think she is even busier than me, so I have a good model.

The good news is, I get a three day weekend. Of course, I'm working on Saturday. I am hoping it will be fun. I am presenting a yoga class at a diversity conference for teens. I'm not sure what to expect, but I have my fingers crossed that it will go well.

Sunday will be mostly about sleep. If I can get anything done during conferences, maybe I will work less this weekend. Last weekend, I worked at least eight hours on stuff for school, taught two yoga classes, and cleaned my house. I did watch about four episodes of "Dexter" while I worked. This made it all a little less painful. The rest of my time, I slept. I slept about twelve hours between Friday and Saturday, napped three hours on Saturday, slept another nine hours Saturday night and then took a two hour nap on Sunday. Many people with MS may be asking how I have been managing to do so much. Look how much I slept :) I admit that when I am working or commuting, I spend a lot of time fantasizing about my next nap.

Overall, I have been feeling decent, just tired, but I am having an irritating side-effect from my Copaxone. The lymph nodes under my arm and breast are swollen and hardened. I called Shared Solutions and they told me to call the doctor. Do you think I did? When I get a minute, I'll get right on that. Maybe tomorrow? I don't want him to suggest I try a new medication. I would like to stick with my Copaxone while I have to work all the time. It doesn't seem like too big a deal, so I am hoping the doctor will tell me to stay the course... Anybody else have this problem with their Copaxone? I know it's the drug, because when I took a few days off, the lymph nodes went back to normal and this side-effect is reported by some other folks on Copaxone.

These days, I'm trying to remain as positive and present as I can. I am truly just living one day at a time, but that keeps things more manageable.

Today I am thankful to have enough energy to maintain this schedule so far. I am also thankful to have the comforts that I am lucky enough to have.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I thought I better write this down before I forget it (LOL). All my introspection seems to have paid off.

A few months ago, my mother repeated a question to me posed by her meditation teacher. The question was, "What is your true heart's desire?" I realized that the answer to this question is much more important than having a tangible dream. It gets at the essence of what we really want without all the problems caused by expectations (our own and those of others).

I know what my heart truly desires. Above all things I desire freedom.

I want the freedom to do whatever I might dream of doing. I want freedom from the constraints of fear. All my kicking and screaming is in direct protest to things that I see as impositions on my freedom. The irony is, in order to have certain freedoms, I have to give up other ones.

If I want the freedom from financial duress, I have to work. If I want independence and the ability to care for myself, I have to work and I have to find ways to take care of myself, even if they seem like impositions. In order to have freedom from home ownership, I have to take good care of my house so it will sell. Having seen these ironies, I resent these constraints on my freedom less. At the moment, they are the key to many of my freedoms.

If I can find the energy, I have the freedom to do what I want, almost whenever I want. It makes me somewhat giddy. Here I was feeling trapped, only to realize that for almost all freedoms, there is a price. I guess the question is whether it is worthwhile. I'm tired but something tells me that if I look at things through this new lens, they look a hell of a lot more beautiful than they did yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my freedoms. I must have freed things up a little since I have been blogging again:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teenager without the pimples

I like the blog because it helps me travel light. I like the way it keeps me writing on a regular basis but at times I am unsure about it too. There are still the questions: what belongs on what blog? How much should I really say on this blog? Should I stick to the topic of MS? Does the "Living!" part in the title of the blog give me license to expand the topic? The truth is since it's my blog, I guess it can be anything I want... Hello obsessive stranger.

I'm in the midst of a round of angst. Do you ever really get over it? I suspect it's not just a teenager thing, but maybe I just spend too much time with adolescents, and it's rubbing off. My angst seems to cycle. Sometimes things just seem to flow along. I feel confident, certain of who I am and what I want. Then I flounder--

Audience awareness is stifling me here. I'm thinking, folks are sick of hearing me whine, maybe I should leave this post hidden in some drawer. I feel myself chickening out. I can't even write this here. Ok, I really can't. I'm going to hide this in the poetry blog and never speak of it again. Ok, I'm not, I prefer to be honest, critics be damned.

I feel trapped. I am always wanting change, seeking an existence that is more me but I am stuck in the same pattern of life again and again. There are bills and they must be paid. I have this almost unreasonable desire to disappear off the grid but I am mired in obligation. How will I pay for the car, the student loans, the house or even just for food? I keep dreaming of this bohemian life where I am a sort of travelling artist, performer, yoga teacher or perhaps even a circus star, but how do I reconcile these desires with being a grown up? Sometimes I really despise the life of a grown up. It's just not nearly all it was cracked up to be.

I somehow keep thinking that the older I get, the better I will have it figured out. So not true. I know less every day. I keep talking myself down with the reminder that the present is ok. This really works, try it. During the ten minutes I make myself believe this, I feel great. Too bad it isn't providing me with clues about the meaning of life--

I imagine that sooner than later, this spell will pass and I will be back to my optomistic, annoying self but I think I might take a little longer to wallow first. While this is uncomfortable, I have been spending a lot of time alone lately just thinking. Somehow, this doesn't seem like an entirely bad thing. I don't plan to be uncertain forever. I imagine that something may come of all the time I have been spending with my own thoughts. It seems hard for me to make big changes fast but when I make a change, I really make it.

Today I am grateful that my life is comfortable enough that I can waste an hour complaining (LOL). Seriously, I do feel better and I am grateful for what I have :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Julie, Julia and Me

I just finished watching the movie "Julie and Julia." It's not the kind of movie I would usually be compelled to rent, but one of my yoga students said to me, "You should really see this movie, it reminds me of you."

I was somewhat intrigued, so I finally sat down to watch the film. I think I understand now why the film was recommended to me. One, Julie (the main character) dreams of being a writer. Two, she gets her start as a blogger and three, she follows her passion as a guide to her art.

I find that I am by no means either Julie or Julia, but they did remind me of a few important things. If you love something, do it, even if you don't know where it will lead you. Making a dream reality does not necessarily happen overnight and you have to stick with the things you love, even when the reward is not immediately apparent. I guess you do the things you love, purely because you love them and not because you are seeking approval from someone else. Both ladies did seem to be working for approval, but there was also something else driving their efforts. I think that was their passion for the thing they loved; cooking.

I remember my own early blogging. I'm not entirely sure what compelled me to do it, but when I was really sick, and I was not sure what MS had in store for me, it felt like I was doing something. More importantly, blogging brought me back to one of the things I love. It brought me back to writing and it gave me a reason to write. I think I felt that I had a story worth telling. I also thought that maybe someone who needed my words would find them. I wrote for myself but I was never unaware of my audience. I guess the idea that I had an audience sometimes kept me writing when I might have stopped otherwise. Julie made some great points about following through. Maybe it does not really matter, but sometimes I feel best when I feel like I am doing something. I am still not sure why. I am learning to get over the idea that I am my accomplishments but when I have no goals in mind, I find myself adrift. Sometimes, I just feel like I need to produce in order to have a reason to get up every day. I long for free time but when it is before me, I am sometimes anxious in the not doing.

Passion does seem very important to me. I have a hard time getting excited about things I am not passionate about. Creating art and writing, inspires me. Yoga, dance and song, inspire me. It is my passions that carry me between the mundane tasks of life. While I long for free time, it is not free time I really want, it is time to pursue my passions.

I am trying to plot ways to balance my committments with my desires. It seemed to me that Julie lacked that balance, but Julia somehow had it. I'm trying to see my way to a life that is balanced, where I keep doing the things I love, but do not stress myself out trying to do too many things.

I had to remind myself earlier about having compassion on myself. It seems I can always tell a friend to take a break, but the minute I find myself under the weather or hanging out in bed, I feel guilty. I question the validity of my rest. I wonder if I am truly ill or just depressed. I find it so hard to take a break. I find it hard to justify the time I spend doing the things I want to do rather than the things I have to do. Again, I guess I am just seeking balance--

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reflection 1/16/10

It has been so long since I even had a minute to think about blogging that I almost don't know where to begin. I'll start with the facts.

I have been super-busy since the beginning of the year. Actually, I have worked every day since January 2nd but the end is in sight. Monday, I have the day off from teaching school and teaching yoga. As I mentioned in December, this month I have a number of extra committments. Little Animals (yoga for ages 3-7) has kicked off successfully but teaching such young kids, is more than I bargained for. Luckily, I now have a plan and only two weeks left to go. I have also been subbing like crazy at the yoga studio and on Sunday, I also taught aerial yoga again.

Then there is my regular teaching job... This term is nuts. I teach three yoga classes in the morning. This is great but also very demanding physically. Today it seems to have caught up to me. I am completely exhausted and my whole body is aching.

I am currently teaching "intervention classes" all afternoon to kids who got Ds and Fs last term in Language Arts. Their major commonality is that they speak English as a Second Language but in other ways, they are a bit more diverse. Some of them are special education students. Some are good kids who just need help with English. There is another group with attendance issues and last but not least, the fabulous group of "behaviorally challenged" kids who make the whole process hell for everyone. Each day is a battle to get a word in edgewise. There are a few kids who never shut up. They can't seem to control the foul language spilling from their mouths or to stop sexually harassing people. I have been called "woman" twice, to which I snapped, "I do not belong to you and I am not your woman. Don't ever speak to a teacher that way..." Yesterday I had to kick a kid out for telling a girl to "Open her legs." Dios mio, where do these children come from?

Despite the insanity, I sometimes suspect that a few kids are learning in my room but none of us have been set up for success here. I am still wondering what my boss was thinking. It seems genius to throw all the struggling kids into one room, leave no supports or time for remediation and to expect us all to succeed. Then again, who am I to judge? So I keep trying my best, working more than I have in years and reminding myself that I have a mortgage to pay.

I have determined that there is no room in my life for MS at all. Any exacerbations that planned to visit will just have to wait because time off is out of the question. I am hanging on by thinking positive thoughts about my prognosis, sleeping whenever I can, trying to follow my diet and forcing myself to take my copaxone shot even when I want to hurl it out the window.

I realize that you can't will MS away but I figure I will just keep trucking as best I can for now. I won't dwell on what ifs? even when I feel sick like I do today. I will think positive thoughts about tomorrow. I will live in the moment, one day at a time reminding myself, "I am ok right now."

Sometimes I find myself complaining or fixated on the things in my life that are not working but I try to remember that it is a good life. There will be hard times and times when I can't do everything I want to because I am so busy surviving but the truth is, I live a comfortable life. Lately, I have been thinking about the people in Haiti and trying to send good thoughts their way. My troubles seem small when I compare my life to those of others, even those in my own city. I have a great deal to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful to live in a nice house, to be able to care for myself and to have loving people in my life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'd Rather be Blogging

Perhaps some of you are wondering where I have gone. So busy, I can hardly think. January promises to be very hectic but I am still alive (LOL). I'll be back when some of the dust clears...