happiness

Where were you when you heard the news?

I was sitting in Tulip Room 2 with my girl waiting for a doctor appointment. I had left my phone in the car and was just sitting there when her phone buzzed. She looked down and casually said “the Queen is dead” and I promptly burst into tears.

A few minutes later we could hear two women talking about the Queen’s passing. We couldn’t make it all out but they were clearly upset and sharing some of their memories of her. When my doctor came into the room it was the first thing we spoke about and it turned out that it had been her processing the death.

Those of you who know me may remember that I fell madly in love with Lady Diana before she married Charles and my love and respect for the People’s Princess carries on today. I’ve also had a lot of respect and admiration for Queen Elizabeth. No matter the situation, she has always conducted herself like royalty, I’ve never heard anything bad said from her or about her (not saying there isn’t anything – but really if there is it must be fairly uncommon – her children are another matter).

Lately I’ve said that the only thing that would be worse than the Queen dying is him becoming king, and with that her becoming queen consort. Bleh. Mostly it’s just that I don’t like how they were dirty with Diana.

And it was pretty much the same thing my doctor said – she just said it with more kindness than I just did. Really upset about the Queen, but even more upset that she was going to now be called queen. Then we had a long and lovely talk about how much we both loved Princess Diana. Finally my girl understood what I was saying when I said that there were so many of us in my generation who loved the People’s Princess.

I’ve loved the Queen too – for all of my life. And I sure will miss her. I will miss her class and grace. I will miss the way she kind of reminded me of my Auntie Mary who is also gone, and who also made it to a lovely old age (95). I am grateful though that I was given the opportunity to process the information of her passing with an adult whom I trust and admire and respect. It was very meaningful to be able to share our memories of both the Queen and Princess Diana with each other.

God Save the Queen.

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happiness

Struttin’

This is first and foremost a happiness blog. 8.5 years ago in one of my darkest times I started looking for moments of happiness in my world. Sometimes it was really hard for me to find even one thing that made me happy in a day – often it was seeing Henry the Heron on my walks – but I made a point of continuing to seek a moment that brought me joy. Eventually my life started getting better and better. Then it got worse. Then it got better again. And so it goes with life. Up and down and sideways. But always back to happiness. My understanding of happiness has deepened and changed over the years, but at the end of the day – those things that bring a legitimate smile to my face are still moments of happiness.

Enter TikTok

Yes, I know- I’m too old for TikTok. My kids banned me from it for ages, just like they did with Snapchat. But at some point this summer TikTok found me and we have been friend ever since.

Good thing or else I wouldn’t know about 🎵corn🎵.

Even better (in my opinion) is Thumpasaurus and their song Struttin. Not only is their own video hilarious, but tons of other people are also posting their Struttin’ videos. And now every single morning the first thing I do when I get up is sit and watch a couple of Struttin’ videos and laugh and smile and then I’m ready for the day. Ok, sometimes I also watch some Corn videos, and that guy Max who spent all his money at Disney (gosh he’s funny).

Today I was able to make my own public happiness moment as Bear the Dog (who is very shy and generally stays off social media) gave me the perfect Struttin’ video. And so I have officially joined the world of TikTok as more than an observer – I am now a participant. Or I should say, Bear is.

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMNKkGAgy/

This seems to be the only way I can get the link to work – but I highly recommend watching Bear strut (you need the volume on) for a smile.

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happiness

SIBO: Inflammation

Well the good news is I’m feeling much better than I have been – both during my horrid shake drinking episode and the weeks that preceded that. Unfortunately I’m still feeling pretty crappy – but I’ll take it compared to where I’ve been

I saw my naturopath the other day to assess were we are at and figure out what to do moving ahead. His concern is that I seem to still have a lot of inflammation. I agree- I can feel it throughout my body. And I’m so, so, so tired from all of this.

The inflammation part I am kind of curious about. I think I’ve had inflammation in my body for years- decades. And on a side note, I think I’ve had some pretty intense food intolerances that have periodically created inflammation as well as other things since I was a little kid. But I’ve had a few weird inflammation flare-ups in the last 20 years or so. After I had the boy my tailbone became so sore I couldn’t sit for 2.5 years. It was awful – I sought help everywhere you could think of and had some pretty amazing professionals on my side. But I couldn’t seem to get the pain to go away, until finally it did and I immediately got pregnant with the girl (no tailbone pain with her fortunately). Years later I had plantar fasciitis for almost 2 years – that was awful as I could barely walk. I worked for a long time with my chiropractor and eventually it went away too. Not too long after that, I developed a frozen shoulder and could barely move that arm for almost a year. But then I left my marriage and so many of those issues went away. I figured it was extreme stress that brought on many of my physical issues.

I still think a lot of this is brought on by stress. Life (thank Goodness) has been a lot more quiet the last couple of years, but I’m still processing and recovering from the shitstorm that we walked through and apparently that is also what my body is doing. I’m learning how to have a better relationship with myself, learning kindness, learning to rest (as opposed to sitting and stressing and calling that rest), and deepening my relationship with the Divine.

Whatever this is that I’m going through I feel like I’ll be a happier and much more complete human when I reach the other side- but damn this has been a long journey. I’m really grateful for all the people I’ve got in my life who share their love and support. I haven’t talked recently about my “tribe”, but I continue to feel very blessed and thankful for the people who God has put in my life.

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happiness

SIBO: ElementALL Diet Day 9

I quit! I was hoping to make it until next Monday when I see my naturopath, but this morning after I had my 26th shake in a row I felt like complete crap. Foggy head, massive anxiety, upset stomach, and just gross gross gross.

Is it more die off? Is it a reaction to one of the ingredients? I don’t know. All I did know was that I wasn’t making it for lunch. I went back to my hamburger soup. I was a little worried because it’s been so long since I have had to digest anything I wasn’t sure how it would go.

So far it’s meh. I didn’t get sick from the soup but I wouldn’t say I feel better. I figure if I need to I can do partial elemental diet but at this point I have a fairly strong aversion to the shakes.

What is weird to me is that there’s nothing in the shakes that should be aggravating the sibo. But my aches in my neck, throat, shoulders, other joints, and the general anxiety for no reason tell me something is up. Hopefully I get answers by Monday!

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happiness

SIBO: ElementALL Diet day 7

It’s been a week since I’ve had food I could chew. Or felt full. And I’m very whiny about that.

One thing I’ve realized throughout this process is that I’ve never been really, truly hungry for a prolonged period of time – and that is a privilege that I have totally taken for granted. Even now when I constantly feel so hungry, I’m not really – my nutritional requirements are being met.

Back in the days when I was teaching there were 2 schools I worked at that provided meals for the students and often those meals were the only times those kids ate. Which of course means that holidays and weekends were extra rough on these young souls. I always felt for them, and was so grateful that they were at schools where they were being fed, but I don’t think I really understood how awful it must have been for them having nothing to eat. And honestly, I am aware that even now I don’t have a real understanding of what it must be like for one of these kids because like I said although I’m hungry my nutritional needs are being met. And also I’m fortunate enough that I am getting professional help to deal with this – how many people are living a life where they can barely function because helping with these kinds of illnesses isn’t covered through regular medical care? I’m ashamed to admit I had very little understanding of things I would have lumped into the larger term of IBS. This isn’t just an upset stomach or feeling kind of crappy. It affects my mental health, my ability to digest food, my joints and general pains in the body, brain fog, and so much more. Quite literally it stops me from being able to do the things I want to do, things I need to do. It feels like I’m debilitated by the equivalent of a paper cut – but it’s so much more than that.

I’m still having my existential crisis. Although it now comes with a side order of grief, which makes sense since I’ve stuffed down so much of my grief to “deal with it later” – which I suppose is now. I have stayed committed to staying off social media while I go through this aside from posting on my blog. But yesterday when I opened my ipad I saw a notification from this dog I follow on Facebook. Poor Bradley Bear (BB) is a Pyrenees/beagle cross and is just the cutest little guy. On Friday his 18 year old cat sibling crossed the rainbow bridge and poor BB had been quite distraught. So when I saw the notification I figured I’d just go on fb to see how poor BB was doing. Not well it seems. He had a rough couple of days and on Monday they took him to the vet to find out that his kidneys were in total failure and they made the decision to put him to sleep yesterday.

I spent the whole day crying for this dog. Which kind of shows you where I am at emotionally. So this morning I once again cheated and looked on FB to see how the poor owners were doing. What I discovered was that when they went to go to the vet for his rainbow bridge appointment he was doing so much better – so he’s home on hospice care and being loved for a few more days. You just never know what is around the corner.

I don’t know why I’m sharing BB’s story but it really affected me – and made me realize how much of my own grief I’m holding in and probably need to deal with.

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happiness

SIBO: ElementALL diet day 5

Well, I’m still doing it. Still feeling like crap, but still doing it. I keep thinking “this is the die-off phase and it won’t last long”, but it is still going on. Today has more sibo-like feelings in that I’m quite achy and joints are a bit sore. But I know there’s no way I’m eating anything that is activating sibo so it must be die off.

Although I feel like I’m starving to death I’ve actually gained 3 pounds. Because.. of course I would. So that’s great. I’ve lost about 30 lbs though since I’ve been working at this so I suppose in the bigger picture it’s not the end of the world. It seems as though sibo either causes massive weight loss or weight gain – and my body has always responded like a 17th century peasant heading into a famine: “Oh I must preserve every ounce of fat I have to survive what is coming ahead”.

I have also entered into some kind of existential crisis. Who am I? how do I fit into the world? What is the meaning of life? Who is God? What is the Universe? A lot of these are questions I often ask, but they feel different right now and the answers I’m coming up with are significantly different. A Course In Miracles talks a lot about the willingness to see things differently, and the further I go on this journey the more I understand that phrase. Just when I think I kind of understand things, something inside shifts and once again I see things differently.

My current existential crisis is asking for quiet to absorb and sort things out, so I’ve stepped away from social media (I’ll post this but I’m choosing not to look at or scroll through my social media) so that I can have some quiet time for my brain. I have to say, it’s nice having my phone off and not getting constant notifications about every little thing. Of course that needs to be balanced with some social interaction because we need each other. I keep thinking of Thoreau and his quiet time at Walden Pond – not totally isolated, but living in seclusion – and also his famous quote about leading lives of quiet desperation.

I think about this quote a lot. And I think it is as true now as it was in the 1840s – at least for me. Maybe even it’s this quiet desperation that led me to be sick. For sure it was the anxiety and trauma that surrounded it. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

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happiness

Sibo: ElementALL diet day 3

I had no idea it was possible to be so damn hungry and so repulsed/scared of food at the same time.

After I drink my lunch today I will have completed 3 full days of the ElementALL diet and have 10 more to go. I have to say at this point that the 10 days is stretching out in front of me like eternity.

The bad: I am soooo hungry. I’m getting enough calories, and I’m getting proper nutrition, but I’m so so so hungry. The shakes still taste like unsalted horse sweat after said horse went swimming in a stagnant swamp. I’m also hungry. I am in a committed relationship with the bathroom at this point. I get quite hungry. Still quite bloated. And finally, the hunger.

The good: this is the third night I’ve slept straight through. I’ve struggled so much with my sleep over the years and being able to close my eyes and not open them until it’s time to get up is something I had kind of accepted wasn’t in the cards for me. A lot of my sibo symptoms have lessened. I have a bit more anxiety today, but in general my anxiety is so much less than it was a few days ago when I was in active flare up. Same is true for depression and intrusive thoughts. My joints barely ache anymore. My headache is almost gone.

No matter how bad I feel right now or how I’m complaining, it’s nowhere near as bad as I felt a week ago. And a week ago I didn’t feel nearly as crappy as I did earlier this year before I started working with my naturopath.

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happiness

Sibo: ElementALL Biological Diet

I have the best naturopath. I had an appointment on Wednesday to go in and discuss the sibo flare up that I have been struggling with. It had been a good 10 days of pretty intense pain and feeling generally unwell, and while I had been able to go through the notes of past sessions and find a few herbs to help relieve symptoms somewhat I was still in dire need of help.

So when I got the call that my naturopath was sick and couldn’t see me that day I almost cried. I actually did start crying when they said the next available appointment was in 2 weeks. But instead of shutting down, which was my normal behaviour in the past, I told the receptionist exactly what was going on and asked if there was any way she could ask my Dr if he had any advice.

After the call I had a little pity party. Actually, it was like I split into two people – PityPartyMelissa and NewAndImprovedMelissa. PPM was all “see, this is why we never count on anyone for anything, everyone ends up abandoning us, you can never depend on anyone ever”. And NAIM was like “dude! The man is sick. You haven’t been abandoned, you know he will help you out. Something will come through and you will get direction about how to help make things better. Seriously, breathe and chill a bit”.

After about a half hour the phone rang and it was my naturopath, sick as heck, but who gave me thirty minutes of his time to listen and give me some advice about how to feel better. I am so grateful for the amazing people I have in my life who are helping me heal.

We decided that on top of the herbs I was taking he was going to put me back on the tincture of death, ADP (because it works better than the regular oregano oil pills I was taking), and….. start me on the ElementALL Biological Diet by Bioclinic. The idea with the elemental diet is that it’s pre-digested food and gives the digestive system a break as well as not containing anything that would feed the sibo bacteria.

It’s probably a good thing I was feeling so crappy because let me tell you, these shakes are not for the faint of heart. I got the chocolate flavour (and I use the term chocolate – and flavour – loosely) because my Dr said that the other flavour had a strong after taste of vomit. Yum. The smell of the shake just about dropped me to the ground. I have discovered it tastes much better if you can manage not to breathe while drinking. To me the after taste is kind of what horse sweat smells like but like if a horse had been swimming in a stagnant swamp before sweating. So it’s delicious!!

I am now a day and a half – or 5 meals – into my shakes. I cry a little every time it’s “meal” time, but I’ve been sticking to it and not having anything else. It’s easier because literally everything I was eating was making me so sick. Here’s what I’ve found: my headache is almost completely gone, my joint aches have significantly decreased, my stomach is still pretty angry but it has settled down a lot – and I’m apparently in die off mode now which means I’m staying close to the bathroom. But I’m feeling so much better. And best of all – after spending days and weeks not sleeping and feeling so anxious because of being tired and feeling unwell – for the last two nights since starting the shakes I have slept right through the night (which never happens) and my anxiety has dropped from a 7 to a 3. Which makes the fact that I am almost constantly fantasizing about eating piles of mashed potatoes easier to handle. I am feeling more connected to myself again, present in my body, and I am grateful for the fact that I have the resources available to me to be able to seek the help that I need.

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