Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Squash and Shame

As an athlete having RA doesn't jive so well. I have experienced pain before but it's all been self induced. I've pushed pushed myself up 14,000 foot peaks with my bike strapped on my bike, and not stopped for 24 hours; I've ridden my bike with no more than an hour of sleep per night for 5 days, I've gotten lost and bushwacked 3 hours by myself to find my way out down some steep and overgrown ravine. I can endure not only pain but uncertainty. I'm still realizing that perhaps I did not come here to "heal" my RA but to heal me.

Although it's my second official day on solid food, the realizations keep flowing. Yesterday I had steamed zuchinni and today it's steamed squash. I know, the same thing right? Well technically it's winter squash and I'm grateful for the variation. They said when I start eating again I will have some flare ups, hopefully only minor, and then as I heal my gut, they will go away.....eventually! I am healing my reaction and emotional relationship with RA. Knowing what I knew then and knowing what I know now has helped me not only understand this disease process, but not be so scared of it. Instead of reacting, crying, getting angry, becoming irritated with a stranger, or praying for it to go away forever, I am sitting or learning to sit. Again this isn't me, this RA, it's just something I have.

Back to the bike and my point of all that, besides tooting my own horn. The point is I am so happy I ran myself into the ground on my bike because who knows if I'll do it again, who knows if I want to. It seems like a had a really short go of it, luckier though than some. My friend James Lindenblatt had an even shorter go here on earth and he did a lot. I am grateful for my life here and now. I have been ashamed of having RA because I relate it to being weak. Having a "crippling" illness is not me and giving in to this is surrendering to RA and I have not wanted to do that. I am learning that by surrendering I gain power. I can have this in my life without becoming it. As soon as I attach so much emotion and reaction and let negative opinions affect me, I have not surrendered, I have drowned.

Please understand that when I say negative opinions, I mean anything that is fear based. the "well you can't do that" or "you have to take meds else your joints will be destroyed". I need to be positive, that is my medicine and please respect that. I know you mean well, but when I'm hit with these "can't" and "shouldn't" statements I have to work extra hard to not let them turn my stomach to mush and that hurts me. Please know I am a smart well read woman and I know what I'm doing and I will do the best I can.

Although I surrender I am still strong and inspired and if I can describe my journey I feel the following verse from Dylan Thomas' poem "Do not go gentle....." describes my thoughts the best:

                                                  Do not go gentle into that good night,
                                                  Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
                                                  Rage, rage against the dying of the light

I am not losing I am just following a path I had NO idea existed for me.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Breaking Fast; It's Not About the Food

I'm going to try and post a ridiculous video documenting my first juice ingestion. It's a bit dramatic. I feel pretty self absorbed during all of this, the eating, or in my case the not eating and such. I just read a profound statement that reminded me not to attach myself to any of this; not the illness, the pain, the fasting, the healing, the whatever. I'm not any of this, I'm just me. I have been self absorbed over the past few months and some of my relationships have paid the price. The fact is although being in pain daily is hard, it's not all I have. I am so rich with friends and family and a great husband who loves me unconditionally. I have three therapy dogs who at times drive me up a wall, but at the end of the day make me a better person. I'm reading this book by Ann Lamott and she says "Having a good dog is the closest some of us will ever come to knowing the direct love of a mother." I am lucky enough to be a mother of three and although they are not "good" all the time, they are never not happy to see me.

My next book to read is Anatomy of the Spirit. Caroline Myss talks about why so many of us identify with their trauma or their dis-ease, as if it identifies who they are. I have been definitely mulling this one over even before I read the book description. My work is to find away to have pain but not let it have me. Eating feeds the body, fasting feeds the soul.

Ingrid struck my heart strings yesterday reminding me that we don't need to be fixed, we need to be loved. When you imply that someone needs fixing you're saying they're broken. Nobody wants to feel broken. I am guilty of wanting to fix people including myself. If I've ever made you feel that way I am truly sorry and I promise to no longer do that.

Back to some self absorption time. Today I broke my fast with cucumber juice, 4 glasses, one at 8:30, 12, 3 and 5. Just as I was finishing one they would bring me another. Key to re-feeding is to go SLOW and sip. Stomach not so great today but during fasting all things get wacky including our female cycles; at least it's not a UTI, as I initially thought.

During this whole fast I've been absolutely obsessed with food. I spend a lot of time looking at food, talking about food, talking about things I can make and how with my food limitations I can create these masterpieces of deliciousness. My roommate Kat and I call it food porn. I am obsessed, I LOVE food. I simply cannot wait to go home and start making food. Everything I make for the next
month will be only cooked vegetables but I am ready. I think of how I can cook them: steamed, roasted, baked, dehydrated, mashed, pureed, made into a burger type dish, a casserole, a stir fry without rice. It is remarkable to go without food for so long, the appreciation I have is tremendous. And when I think of those who are starving not by choice I am truly empathetic. I hope this little fast makes me a more generous and caring person.

Day 10; Horizontal Time

It's 5:30 a.m., the morning of my breaking fast day. Yesterday was the tenth day of water. I will get cucumber juice sometime around 9:00. I wake up stupid early and go to bed much later than at home, just so I don't wake up even earlier than stupid. 

I had a wonderful visit from a dear "old" friend, Ingrid, yesterday who lives nearby. Prior to yesterday we hadn't seen eachother in 5 years nor spoken. Ingrid is one of those friends that you can literally pick up where you left off with. We sat and talked from the minute she arrived to the minute she left, 3 hours later. She is such a dear sister and having her visit was a true gift for many reasons. 

Yesterday was exhausting. I spent a lot of time in the horizontal position, my new favorite pose! My legs are getting weaker, and walking downstairs is a task in itself. I feel like these are all very normal expectations of a faster. Soon to pass as I begin my caloric reintroduction today. Last night I once again hit the bed exhausted only to find myself wide awake with brain activity. It really has its' similarities to my experience racing the Colorado Trail. 

My brain is struggling finding words. Again a normal thing, my fasting cohorts have the same problem. Writing this blog feels boring right now. I moved rooms though, I have a great pod with quiet people who mostly don't come out of their rooms. I refer to us as the skinnies because there are two men that don't get out of bed much in order to conserve energy and not burn muscle and then Kat and I. A lot of people here aren't that thin, hence there retreat to health I think. I have befriended a fellow Kat and she is my new roomate. Having eachother makes a huge difference and we both feel we don't need to leave the unit since the other is here!

I decided not to put up with intrusive and toxic roomate anymore, Kat helped me seal the deal and I am so grateful I followed her advice. 

I am not feeling so great right now so I am going to go. 
Stats: 135.8, VS normal, mostly pain free (in comparison) but morning stiffness in left index finger and soreness/swelling in tops in bottoms of feet. 
Lots of stomach gurgling (detoxing)
Waves of nausea this morning. arghhh, just in time for juicing.