Week 23- Here’s to your health!!

It’s been something!! We are coming to an end with MKMMA and I can’t believe it. I know I’ve been behind with the blogging but I will finish strong. Not an excuse, just an explanation… The beginning of February I started to notice I had a little back pain and then it became severe lower back pain. I think my back pain was gradual which then became almost debilitating by mid February… So much so that to bend at my hips was excruciating, driving a car, getting dressed, etc.. You get the point.

I had an MRI of my spine which looked pretty good except one level the disc in my spine there was an annular tear. This is to say that some of the fluid in the disc had leaked into my spinal canal and was an irritant. Hence, pain. I don’t know what I did or was doing to get this tear in the disc but some of the fluid was leaking or had leaked out….At this point I just wanted to know how to get rid of this pain…

I started off with conservative therapy with an oral steroid taper as I had contacted a Pain Management physician. The oral steroid taper didn’t seem to help… Next step was an Epidural Steroid injection to decrease the inflammation and the pain. At this point, the pain and benefit from the potential relief of the pain outweighed the risks of having the procedure…

So, I had scheduled the Epidural Steroid injection for Friday 3/4/2016. I’d hung in there with the pain just to make it to Friday to have the injection for some pain relief…. In the meantime, I had developed a cough and started to feel like I was coming down with a cold on Sunday 2/28/2016. To head this off at the pass, I started antibiotics on Monday 2/29/2016 to make sure that I would have the injection. Whatever I had contracted, it didn’t work… I was too sick to have the epidural spinal steroid injection for my back. I spent Friday thru Sunday trying to fight off the upper respiratory tract infection to no avail. Monday and Tuesday (3/7/16 & 3/8/16) were horrible as I went into work…. It’s all a daze… But, now I have emerged from the haze of medication, mostly, to feel like I’m on the road to recovery!!! Yay!!!

My back is still sore… I have a persistent deep cough and not sure when that will go away… I’m still here!!! I’m feeling better and my mobility is getting better… I’m still here!!!

I write this to say that I’ve been out of the game… sidelined… but I’m still standing!! Literally!! LOL!!! Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t take anyone for granted…. The sun will rise in the morning, this I’m sure!!! 🙂

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Week 18-Habits

Things are starting to sink in….habits are easy to form. Not only the good habits but the bad… And, it’s what we do daily, good or bad, that takes hold. So, why not form good ones. It’s so easy to form a habit without knowing that you formed it. For instance, recently as we all have done, we move more. Well, why not eat better too??? So, I’ve started making by meals for work so that I have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and due to late work hours, sometimes even dinner. Point is that it’s an unintentional habit. This habit just seeped into existence. So, now imagine what Mark has seeped into our lives, right under our noses, but WITH intention… If not now when???

Week 17- Unconditional

Everyday is truly a blessing… Each day is a blessing… One day at a time…one step at a time…One moment…Once second at a time….

No going back…no going ahead in time that hasn’t happened or hasn’t been… There’s just now!

Everytime I come home, I’m welcomed by Faith & Charity…my teacup chihuahuas. They only seem to know that I’m home. They come great me when I return home from work.

You find unconditional love in family, people, and loved ones… Cherish your relationships…

Week 16- So What’s That Old Saying?

So, I worked today. I wanted, and more or less needed, to make some extra money. Through out the day… at work…. sometimes in that quite time… I think on these old sayings which seem to be weaving their way in the lessons that Mark is teaching. Like “why put off tomorrow what you can do today?”

Start now….Do it now! I’m glad that I’m not alone with being just a “tad” behind in the work…

All this swirling in my head. There’s no time like the present…Do it now!! If at first you don’t succeed, try try again…. Start now… Better late than never? You have to start somewhere…Everything has a beginning and an end… Tell those you love, go tell them you love them now… Well, I don’t know if that’s definitely an old saying…

Bottom line, I got it, START NOW!!!

Week 15-I’m here!

Hello!! Such a simple sentence…. I’m here! In more ways than one I feel I am a survivor! Today, well, January 29th, has been one month since my friend passed. It’s odd how you forget that feeling right after someone close has passed away. I remember I had this feeling when my grandfather died. However, this is different. There was no time to say good-bye. And, I can’t explain why but because I am still here I feel guilty a bit. I’m still here enjoying the good and the bad parts of life. I’m still here to see the small acts of kindness. I’m still here experiencing the fun of a cold wind blow against my face or my bougainvillea still going strong or an egg, cheese and spinach breakfast. I must remember my friend but not dwell on it… I must remember the good times we shared…Life is meant to be lived and so I live!:) I’m still here!!

Week 14- Getting Back

I haven’t been myself. To me the world hasn’t been itself. On December 29, 2015 a close friend and colleague was killed in a car “accident”. On her way to work she had some car issues on a major Interstate and was trying to make her way to the shoulder when a Tahoe switched lanes unexpectedly, rear ended her car and that was it…. In an instant she was gone! In an instant life has changed forever.

I called my friend Cynthia’s phone the night before to discuss some issues from that day. Her son answered the phone and said she was unavailable. I said I would speak with her later. As I hung up the phone, I was disappointed that Cynthia and I had not spoken. Why didn’t I ask her son, Harry, to leave her a message to call me back? But, in true Cynthia fashion, about half and hour later, she called me back and asked “Were you looking for me?” I said I did and I dove in to why I had called. She listened, gave me some advice and then said…”Monique, I’ll call you in the morning at work. Right now I’m on my way to the Suns basketball game with my husband. We’ll talk tomorrow.” I said OK. Cynthia was always doing something, going to the Phoenix Suns games, leaving work to go catch Zumba classes, hanging out with friends….. As for the phone call, tomorrow came but that call from Cynthia never did, never will….

I got to the office in the morning and there is an IM (interoffice messaging system) which I use to wish my good mornings to everyone whom I work closely with… I IM’ed Cynthia and she wasn’t on yet. I thought that was unusual as she was always at work before I got there…. But, I shrugged it off as she’s running a little late for some reason and I’d call later. Now it’s 9am and she’s still not on the system. I ask another friend/colleague, Susie, if she knew where she was or if she had taken the day off… She didn’t know… I’d say around 10:30a-11a, Susie called me and says, “Monique, Cynthia was killed this morning…” And, then there was silence….. In that silence, I was trying to grasp or comprehend those words together in the same sentence. How could this be????

At first there was denial. I felt like I was in someone else’s dream and couldn’t wake up. I didn’t know what to say other than “You’ve got the wrong person… It can’t be her… This isn’t happening… What do you mean?”  I know that I’m at work but now it doesn’t seem real. Is this really happening?? Is this real??? I know this isn’t a joke because who would be that cruel? At work, they asked if it would be better if I went home. Went home to do what? Be at home and cry and be miserable by myself. That didn’t seem to be the answer. What was the answer? What is the right answer?

SIDEBAR: Cynthia’s 61st birthday was December 13th. She had so much going on that Susie and I and Cynthia agreed to go out to brunch for her birthday on December 19th. It was a great brunch, great conversation and just all around great! She had talked about her one of the things on her bucket list. She was a great organizer and she talked me into letting her come over to my house to help me organize and declutter. She had been trying to get me to allow her to help me out with this for the longest time and I finally said yes, happily. I had been too embarrassed previously but then thought, what do I have to lose? She was happy that this was going to happen. We talked later and she said she’d charge me dinner and wine… I said that I could afford that and it was a deal. At the brunch we talked about things at work. She was the Head Mammographer in our group and had plans of stepping down, very soon/in the near future. We all shared our thoughts on that….

I shared with Cynthia and Susie that I had a near death experience where someone had run the red light and had I made the left handed turn I was about to make, even though my light was green, I would have been t-boned by someone traveling at least 50mph. ( I know that that was a run-on sentence) Anyway, the domino effect of how that had not happened made an impression on me. With all that being said, Cynthia just shrugged her shoulders. She didn’t say anything other than that shrug. I said to her “Is that it? Is that all you got?” And, with that she gave me another shrug of the shoulders. The topic changed and we all started talking about something else…. but, I wondered and wonder what did that mean??? Another friend of mine yesterday told me that she was probably just saying that that’s life…that’s how things go…I’m glad we had that time together!!!

I was avoiding this blog. I didn’t want to write about this…Cynthia’s death. But, in a way it’s cathartic… But, I must take a break. Through points in my story I was typing through tears…And, then I was angry that she has been taken away so suddenly. I want a re-do. I was that day to start again but with a different outcome. Something, anything to make that domino not fall the way it did. Now I am just exhausted. So many emotions… Now there is NO GETTING BACK!! There is only the new or different normal without my good friend Cynthia! That has been difficult to establish and will continue to be a work in progress!!! I must take from Cynthia that she was full of life and loved life and LIVED her life. I must think that her shrug might have been to say that that’s LIFE and we all MUST GO ON!!! We all must LIVE each day as if it might be our last. ENJOY this journey with those we LOVE. And, that makes LIFE worth living. Cynthia LIVED her LIFE to the fullest and so must I and so must we all!!!

Week 13- Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!! Not sure where I got this photo but it depicts my Christmas. I was not able to make it home to family in AL. But, I had a splendid Christmas with friends and it was just as meaningful! And, who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus?!?!?

It’s wistful to see the cartoons like the “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Each year I think back on when I was that young and really did believe in Santa and those shows. This year I  looked at a couple of the shows and I believed  that inner child was still in there… how exciting!!! To believe that dreams come true…to BELIEVE that my dreams come true!!!

I’m at a loss for words… I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions anymore! DO IT NOW!!! Where I am today is not where I will be tomorrow or next year. What we’ve accomplished is thru baby steps, eating one piece of the elephant at a time, laying one brick at a time… Things are already in motion! It’s already happening.

So, here’s to a very Merry Christmas… to you and yours, near and far!!!