Unexpected advocacy…..the people who need us most, when we least expect it.

Last Wednesday afternoon, my daughter and I headed uptown to get an MRI on her knee. After registering with the front desk, we found two empty seats and settled in. Good thing that the seats were sort of comfortable, it proved to be a long afternoon.

A little while after we arrived, a woman rushed in and tossed her coat onto the seat next to mine. She disappeared for a moment but then came back and sat down. She asked, “Have you been waiting long?” The room was packed with people but no one seemed to be going anywhere. Responding, “no, we haven’t,” placated her momentarily. But then she started fidgeting and rifling through her purse.

Obviously, I was only concerned about my daughter. But this woman – I’ll call her Ruth – decided to chat. If I had been on my own, I might’ve been more receptive to it. But, right out of the gate, I was feeling more annoyed than friendly. Each time she said, “What’s taking so long? I wish they’d just call my name already,” I got more stressed out. I even texted my daughter, “I wish she’d stop talking to me!” I feel badly about that now.

More than an hour after our scheduled appointment time, the technician appeared at the door, ready to collect my daughter. They’d estimated that the test would take about 30-40 minutes. It dawned on me that I was facing a lot of small talk. Suddenly those 40 minutes seemed like hours.

As I watched them walk down the hallway, I felt a mix of emotion. Fear about potential results and sadness that she had to get the test done at all. Ruling out cartilage defects, tissue damage… all of it loomed large. It’s still blazing bright on the marquee in my brain. “What’s wrong with her knees?” Please, let the answer be something easily remedied and noninvasive. I returned to the patient lounge and sat down. At that exact millisecond, my new friend started saying something like, “I hope she doesn’t need surgery. I really hope that she doesn’t need surgery.” Ugh. I took a deep breath and said, “me too.”

After a few minutes, Ruth started relaying her story, a genuine medical nightmare. This is what got my full attention. A bad fall resulted in four failed hip surgeries (two arthroscopic, two open), at two different hospitals. Six surgeons performed those procedures. Afterward, an additional six doctors – from different specialities – said that no one should’ve operated on her in the first place. And – finally – four dismissive lawyers said she had no grounds for a lawsuit against the surgeons or the hospitals. What a mess! To add insult to massive injury, she lost her job. Sleeping for more than two hours at a time is all but impossible. Sitting is brutal, especially since she gets searing, spastic pains through her lower abdomen and hips.

To top it all off, she’d spent the night before in the ER with her parents. Her father – who has Parkinson’s and takes blood thinners – had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. They had to rush him to the hospital just before midnight and didn’t get back home until after 3 a.m.

At some point in the conversation, I turned to really look at her. What I saw broke my heart. Here was a woman who had reached her breaking point. She was obviously exhausted, anxious and fed up. Who could blame her? She was getting two MRI’s done that night, one on each hip. And she was there alone. “Look at me,” she said, “A woman in her 50’s with all of these problems….. how do I start again? What am I supposed to do?” I obviously had no answer. But what I could do was listen. I could validate her experience, her feelings. What Ruth needed most at that moment was a friend.

Periodically, she kept checking the time, saying she had to update her mom. They live in the suburbs, about an hour & a half from the city. At the rate the line was moving, she would be there until 9, at least. If it hadn’t been a school night….. if I had been on my own, I’d have stayed until she got called in. But I couldn’t. As it was, our own trip home would be long and my daughter had homework.

When it was time for us to leave, Ruth thanked me for listening. “At least it’s a friendly waiting room. That makes all the difference.” She’s right.

We’ve all experienced a super quiet or even hostile waiting room, with everyone anxious and impatient. I know I have. Sometimes, the thing that calms the nerves is having a friendly face smile back. Someone who distracts us, when we need distracting the most. Despite my inner grumblings, I distracted her. Ruth didn’t deserve the rotten outcomes she got. Four times no less! We deserve better, as patients and people.

I’m usually a pretty good gauge of folks in need. But the mama bear in me was irked at my focus being pulled away from my daughter. I couldn’t expend that energy, not at first. I’m seriously praying that Ruth gets better news from these new MRI’s. I’m praying that my daughter’s results come back quickly so we can figure things out. I’m praying a lot, for a lot.

Here’s hoping that the many unexpected advocates find us when we need them most. Here’s hoping that the many Ruth’s out there get a break.

Here’s hoping the universe hears me.

Sending peace and good wishes to all of you.

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

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Rational irrational anger…..

If you’re someone coping with stress – which is pretty much everyone on the planet – you know that it’s good to try and live life as peacefully as possible. That being said, you know – I know – that it’s virtually impossible to remain calm all the time. And so the cycle of irrational anger begins. That flash of reaction, words exchanged, it’s tough to keep it together. Even though I preach a pretty loud positive game, I struggle mightily with this subject.

As someone who’s dealt with my health, or lack of, for nearly two decades, I can attest to feeling like you’re in a free fall most of the time. When I was first diagnosed with Lyme and then lupus, the world seemed so uncertain. Everything seemed uncertain. We were only married three years and then our lives changed in the span of a few short months! It was the summer of “let’s make plans! Wait, not so fast!” Between May (when we took our celebratory graduation trip to Disney and I swelled up like a balloon) and July 4th weekend, (when I was bitten by the tick), the world flipped on it’s head. I was sad. But, more than anything else, I was angry.

Over the years, I’ve felt anger at normal life things, of course. But then there’s this irrational version. By that I mean anger that doesn’t help. It’s an emotion that won’t get me anywhere by feeling it. It’s different if you’ve argued with someone. Or you have a situation that can be dealt with. Anger isn’t the best option, but at least there’s somewhere to go.

With my health, who or what can I rage at? My DNA? My immune system?? Can I scream at my cells to fight better battles?? If only. “You have to do better Beck, come on.” And then, suddenly, I feel 100% well. Can you imagine how awesome life would be for people with cancer, diabetes, pain?? Life would be so good.

But, as it stands, I can’t shout over the carpal tunnel burn in my right wrist and hand. I can’t stew over the numbness in my face when I’ve slept on my left side. (Yes, that’s happening. 🙄) I can’t be snide to my lack of sleep. See what I mean?

So I’m faced with emotions that have nowhere to go. And the first person who stirs a less than charitable response in me, gets the full brunt of upset that has literally nothing to do with them. Well, not entirely.

As patients, so much is out of our hands. And now, with doctors and the medications they prescribe at stake, people are more on edge than ever. Can you imagine if people who needed insulin were suddenly told that they were being forced to cut back? Or the same with chemo? It would unleash a justified, outraged reaction from everyone. But pain medication? Go ahead because there’s an opioid crisis. Really?!?!

Everyone deals with pain. Monthly cramps, migraines, backaches. Everyone. Deals. With. Pain. But patients in pain are expendable because there’s a crisis. What many fail to see is the crisis of living in intractable pain. That isn’t on everyone’s list of things to care about, unless you have to care about it.

I’ve been lucky. I think the morphine I received via medtronic pump for six+ years, quieted my system down a bit. Fatigue and discomfort get me more on most days than the bad days of old. But there are people without that break. Warriors struggling to stay afloat because of this national crisis.

We aren’t drug addicts. We’re patients like everyone else. And forcing doctors out of business isn’t the answer. And we absolutely do have a crisis. One viewing of the Netflix documentary, “Heroin(e)” will gut you. Seriously. It’s heartbreaking. Addiction is a disease and I sympathize with everyone trying to survive with it. But I struggle with stories of group members trying to find a new doctor because the old one ditched them. Meanwhile, they have to ration their meds. That’s not an answer. Those are scenarios that make desperate people more desperate.

Hence my anger. Rational or irrational. I’d give anything for normalcy. Whatever that is. I’m sitting here, looking at the day I should have spent being productive and knowing that it wasn’t. That makes me antsy and annoyed. I’m tired, I think I fell asleep at 6:30 this morning. Back up a few hours later.

It’s probably good that I didn’t go outside today, I’m feeling grumpy. They can’t all be good days, right? It wasn’t the worse though. I got caught up on a favorite show. Rested more than I would have.

Here’s hoping that a better week is coming. Acknowledge your feelings. Someone told me that even irrational feelings have to be acknowledged because bottling them up only leads to a meltdown. That’s true.

I wish you peace. May each day bring you a sense of calm and an outlet for those tough moments.

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

Thanksgiving…… and the eternal quest for peace………..

Dear Friends,

As we propel ourselves full force into the holiday season, I am reminded of how quickly it always sneaks up on me! My sisters begin asking “who’s playing holiday music?” I start asking, “Isn’t it too early??” But it isn’t – and it’s here – ready or not!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, (besides my daughter’s birthday. That is my favorite day). There’s no pressure for gifts. The hottest toy/technology/outfit/(fill in the blank) can wait a few weeks. For my family, it’s about getting together to share a meal…. to spend time together. For the first time in more than a decade, my mom and all five of us kids – with spouses and kids in tow – made the trip to my brother’s beautiful home. We’ve been together in different configurations on holidays, but not all of us like this in a long time. It was amazing.

We’re a close knit group. Texting every day, sometimes in multiple chains. Our kids are close. They all enjoy being together, even though they range in age from 3-20! It brings me tremendous joy to watch the older kids playing with the little ones. They’re “best friends,” according to Nora, my four year old niece. I love it.

I enjoyed myself so much and returned home on Saturday to pick up where I left off, getting back to real life. I’m in the midst of planning two shows: the annual holiday performance and the spring musical. And pre-planning the professional dance company’s costumes for the upcoming season. It’s fabulous and fun work, of course, but stressful.

And so, with holidays and projects approaching, I’m on an eternal quest for peace. Desperate to “keep calm and carry on,” I’m reading multiple books on meditation. It’s become a bit of a mantra for me to say that “anger doesn’t help. Worrying doesn’t help.” What helps is how I respond. I cannot control anyone else, just myself. And that’s very hard to accept in various circumstances. Things that could be better are occasionally out of my control, and that is that.

What do you do for peace? One of the things that truly gave me a sense of calm was the reiki treatment from my cousin. Seriously. For the skeptics out there: it helped me. But I was open to the experience. And that’s essential.

I’ve been told by three of my doctors that I need to meditate, that it would help my pain and the other nonsense that comes with having multiple health issues. It’s hard to find that moment of quiet. And I don’t mean external quiet. I’m referring to the noise in my head that won’t stop. We all have that noise. The “I have to do” lists that keep adding up, the “I have to be somewhere” appointments that are forever jumping into my schedule. Our schedules. This is the stuff we all face, whether we’re chronically ill or not.

What do you do for calm? I’m really asking. What brings you peace? Please feel free to comment. I can use the help!

I’d like this holiday season to be an in-the-moment, slowing down and relaxing stretch of time. But I’m realistic. I know we’ll be wishing each other holiday greetings and then a happy new year before I know it! 2018 will be here shortly!

I’ll try to find my quiet. And if any of my reading materials help, I’ll definitely share them! In the meantime, I want to send gratitude to each of you for supporting this blog. It means so much to me that you take time from your busy day to read about my wacky life. ❤️

Thank you so much.

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck ❤️

To enjoy or not to enjoy….. the question of happiness…….

Have you ever read something that impacts you so much that you keep going back to it? I have, many times. Recently, I’ve been returning to the quote, as seen above. “I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

Attributed to a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhãt Hanh, who travels around the world for speaking engagements and retreats. He’s also an advocate for peace. Did I mention that he’s 91? I’m only 44 but there are days that I feel 200. And I generally don’t travel beyond a 10 mile radius.

It made me wonder, can anyone make that promise? Somehow I imagine that he can, especially since he said it. I bet there are countries around the world where people can live up to that promise. Places that can boast of regular vacations for all, healthcare for all and longevity. I picture beautiful the beautiful people in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”, drinking wine and eating fabulous meals. That’s not my life, or the life of anyone I know. LOL.

But can we make that promise? Too often, we get clobbered by “real life.” For most people, the everyday concerns about jobs/finances/healthcare/family care take priority status. People simply cannot enjoy every moment. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Throw health issues onto the pile and you’re just asking too much. Getting a life-changing diagnosis is too much.

I don’t want to get maudlin about it all. But if I’d asked the same question of myself ten years ago, I probably would have cried. That was pre-pump, pre-spine surgery, pre-real relief. Things were difficult. I was difficult to deal with I’m sure. Maybe not all the time, but I’m 100% sure my family coped with a lot. I’ve written about this in previous posts, so we don’t have to relive it now.

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”

There’s another quote, from the movie “You’ve Got Mail,” that I often think about, and never shared with anyone. As I sat in the theater – crying over the fictional romance between Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox – I was struck by a simple comment made by Meg Ryan’s character: “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?”

It’s a good question. I’ve started and stopped so many projects because I didn’t think people would like it or I just didn’t have the energy. And that was before RSD. Since my diagnosis, of RSD and lupus before that, I’ve been just brave enough to carry me through each day. Baby steps brought me back to life, becoming a substitute teacher and a costumer. Way too many times, my husband had to convince me not to give up, that I could manage.

And what about enjoying things? Since I’ve started school again and started to feel more like a “normal person,” whatever that is, I’ve warmed up to the concept of happiness. Personal happiness. I’m thrilled for others and I’ll be the best cheerleader anywhere when it comes to my loved ones and friends. But it took a long time to wake up the idea that – medical crap or not – I’m entitled to be happy, to enjoy life.

Getting sick is awful. Your life stops in those awful moments, “You have ——.” I know for a fact that when my podiatrist looked at my foot and said the words, “I’m sorry, but I think you have reflex sympathetic dystrophy. It’s rare, but I think you have it,” the air got sucked out of the room. I could hear him talking, but it was like listening through a fish tank. It took years for life to improve, to even consider happiness.

I can already tell that this is rambler. I’m sorry to those of you who’ve gotten this far. And a GIANT thank you if you’ve made it all the way to this word without asking, “What the heck is she going on about?”

My life is blessed. My health has reached a somewhat steady pace of calm, (famous last words), even with my knee, arm and back issues. Even with the day to day discomfort. Even with…. blah blah blah. My small but valuable life is worth every second and I should try, even when the fatigue is kicking me down, to live my best life.

That said, my best life may include days when I can’t do more than walk to the store or make dinner or just sit and binge on Netflix & gummy bears. Maybe I’ll power through days when I can get to Manhattan and walk around for hours. The days when I have a class and have to drag fabric or texts, I will revel in those days. I accept that those moments may be my happiness. Happiness that we’re eating sometime before midnight. Happiness that there are new episodes of a favorite show, (Hint, hint “Bosch” and “Stranger Things.”). Happiness that I can look up and see the magnificent texture of a tall building. Happiness in supporting those with the same diagnosis as me, to help them on their bad days as they help me with mine. There’s power in that.

If that is enjoyment, then I can make that promise. “I promise myself to enjoy every moment of the day I am given to live.” And I’ll mean it.

Wishing the same for each of you. You’re lives are worth it. You deserve to enjoy each day, even if it’s just a moment or an hour. You deserve it. ❤️

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

Remote healing…… the invisible threads we cannot see….

This week, I paid for all of the excitement and stress of last week. Not a huge surprise.

By Saturday afternoon, I was genuinely worried I’d miss my Sunday sewing class. But, by some miracle of adultness, I wound up in the classroom. A feat I’m still uncertain about.

Monday afternoon found me feeling exhausted, but staying home was not an option. I had an appointment that only came about because the initial back & forth between the receptionist & I got lost somehow, and she thought I was polite. I’ll take an earlier appointment ANY day. (Thank you Ma, for raising me right). And let’s not forget – (what was that quote?) – that I have a lot going on but I’m a nice person. LOL.

I can recall Tuesday mostly because I remember the intense Mack truck sensation running through my head. The chills started and stopped for hours. There’s never a good time to get sick, but this really wasn’t a great week for it. I had a meeting at my daughter’s school on Friday that couldn’t be rescheduled. College stuff, etc.

By Wednesday morning, I was convinced I had the flu or some other virus. After all, I’d seen several students complaining of the same symptoms I was having. AND my daughter was coming off of four days with it. But by the afternoon, I couldn’t quite tell if I was sick or just flaring. My chest wall hurt so badly, matched only by the agony that’d settled between my shoulder blades. Without sniffles, fever or other cold symptoms, a lupus flare seemed to be the perpetrator.

This is where my week got really interesting. My cousin Robin is a reiki practitioner. For anyone who doesn’t know, reiki is “a form of therapy that uses simple hands-on, no-touch, and visualization techniques, with the goal of improving the flow of life energy in a person. Reiki (pronounced ray-key) means “universal life energy” in Japanese, and Reiki practitioners are trained to detect and alleviate problems of energy flow on the physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Reiki touch therapy is used in much the same way to achieve similar effects that traditional massage therapy is used—to relieve stress and pain, and to improve the symptoms of various health conditions.”

That was the simplest definition I could find that I actually understood and could pass along. The closest I’d come to using anything like this was back in nursing school, when I’d taken an intense course about therapeutic touch. I was fascinated by all of it and came home to practice on anyone who’d let me. I probably had the most success with my brother in law, a treatment helped his back & neck. It was the coolest thing. But as the years went on, I forgot about the training and my own health prevented me from really assisting anyone else.

Fast forward to last Wednesday. My cousin – who’s based in NJ – messaged me that she could do a remote reiki treatment later that evening. Having witnessed and benefitted from her work in person, I agreed immediately. Note: I’m in NYC.

At 7:30 that night, I lay quietly on my bed as instructed. Admittedly, I was waiting for something. At the start, Robin texted me, telling me to take deep breaths. Within a few minutes, I’d relaxed enough to almost sleep. That’s when I began to feel as if an industrial magnet was being dragged from my head to my feet, pulling me toward the surface of the bed. The feeling was so weird and extremely strong, I called out…. It startled me. Then I just felt calm.

As the treatment went on, I had the sensation of being melted onto the bed. There was warmth in my shoulders, neck, abdomen and then legs. After a time, Robin instructed me to take a few deep breaths and to stay hydrated. When we messaged later on, she asked how I was and described what she felt during the treatment.

Ok, here’s where the whole thing took the most extraordinary turn. Prior to any of this, the only thing Robin knew was what I’d posted about feeling sick and achy. No specifics. About half an hour before we started, I got really nauseous. Afterward, Robin asked if I had been having abdominal issues. Not anymore!! Then she mentioned feeling pain in my shoulders & neck, but she stressed that it was more in my left shoulder. Unbeknownst to her, I’d discovered a chain of knots leading from my left shoulder down the left side of my back the night before. The pain had been awful. Not anymore! Part by part, without any prior knowledge, Robin – all the way from New Jersey – felt every one of my problem areas! And, as if she’d flipped a switch, they were NO longer problems! I felt tired but the chest, neck and back pains were gone! So was the nausea.

I’m so grateful for the time and energy Robin used to help me. The thing about any of this is that the person being treated must be open to it. Otherwise, it’s wasted.

A few hours later, I felt emotional and overwhelmed by all of it, but not in a bad way. It’s humbling to see the connections between people – the threads we cannot see – having an impact from one to another.

Maybe people won’t believe me. Maybe they will. I know what I felt. I know what I’ve witnessed. At a family event last year, there were people who’d never met Robin before. My younger sister was in tears because of a brutal headache, she nearly left the party early. Robin saw her and asked about doing a treatment. After about 30 minutes, my sister was laughing, headache completely GONE. That was when a few guests asked if Robin would mind trying to help them. Everyone was blown away.

Our brains are way more perceptive and receptive than we realize. The concept of holistic healing may seem unreliable or even fake to some, but tell that to the countless people who rely on its benefits. Without extra meds, I got relief. So have others. And isn’t that worth a try?

I asked my cousin’s permission before relaying all of these details since she’s not someone who’s ever walked around bragging about her talents and skills. So I decided to brag for her. Robin is AWESOME. My husband wanted to post testimonials for her. This is mine. As someone who, for more than a decade, has been forced to rely on conventional treatments and procedures to relieve my chronic pain, I celebrate anything that doesn’t add another pill to my daily regimen.

I’m open minded for a number of reasons. Maybe one is that we’re talking about family, someone I’ve known and trusted for my entire life. That likely helped a lot. But another could be because chronic illness is exhausting. Trying new meds or treatments is exhausting. None of us like to do that, or at least no one I know enjoys being a guinea pig. So avoiding the “normal” route to relief is welcome.

It’s been 5 days and I STILL feel good. That’s incredible to me. I’m thankful for it. And for Robin. In addition to helping me through the flare, I’ve felt tremendous calm ever since. Can’t we all use that? Even a little bit of peace in our lives?

I know I can. 😊

Be kind to one another. And try reiki. 😉

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

The weirdness of doppelgängers… seeing our old selves in new places….. 

What is it about trains, as they emerge from underground, that make young children so excited? It’s as if the conductor has brought us all along for a magic trick. The New York City marathon was today. As I rode the subway into Manhattan, I saw lots of families with small children heading in to watch the runners. Each group of kids inevitably turned to look out the windows as we emerged above ground. They even gave loud exclamations of “wow! look!” Meanwhile, the adults barely reacted. Why is that? Have we all become so jaded between life’s various transitions that we don’t even notice them anymore? Beyond the changes of light and shadow, I mean. And though it was early in the morning, time didn’t seem to matter.

It’s sort of felt like that earlier this week. I happened to be a witness in a medical situation. The old Becky snapped to attention, that nurse is still in there somewhere. Clearing the area, I called for help and cared for my “patient” until additional help, mainly the paramedics, arrived.  It was an adrenaline rush for sure. As scary as it was, part of me was angry. Angry at myself – as ludicrous as this will sound – because my nursing career shouldn’t have ended the way it did. Prior to Wednesday, my last non-family medical emergency was a student having a seizure in my daughter’s third grade classroom. I happened to be volunteering that day and cared for the student until mom and the paramedics arrived. But that was ten years – and a lifetime – ago.  Suddenly snapped out of the “tunnel” I’ve been traveling in every day – for years – onto a bright and only semi-familiar track. It scared the heck out of me. I’m not one for surprises like that. 

Though it was mere moments before assistance arrived, I felt like I was having a slow motion, out of body experience. Seeing a person who resembled me, standing in once again as a nurse. Staring at that shadow of my former self: an energetic, young person who was excited to go to work every day. When I think of the circumstances that led me to a forced resignation……. well, there’s nothing to be done and no point in looking back. Not in anger anyway. It’s just been too long. 

All was well in the end, thank goodness, but the whole event was so weird for me. I’ve spent 14 years running laps in my mind about all of this. Being a nurse…. that stupid heel spur……. surgery…….. recovery, or what should have been recovery………. nursing career ending…….. medical stuff….. medical stuff….. medical stuff. It’s taken a long time to blame myself less and accept what’s happening more. There are moments when I look at my husband, the mountain of everything that he took on without ever complaining that it wasn’t fair (it wasn’t) or that he couldn’t deal with it (he’s dealt with all of this like it’s been nothing). I don’t know how he does it. Really. Because I am perpetually playing a track in my head about it, about the guilt involved. Some days are better than others. 

And when, nearly seven years ago, I started volunteering with the dance program….. who knew it would bring a whole new path into my life? I certainly didn’t. It’s meant studying and getting my substitute teaching license. And leaping between costuming the student dancers and the professional dance company. It’s meant finally becoming an FIT student. It’s meant paychecks for the first time in YEARS. It’s meant validation. And I needed it. 

But when we ride the same “train” of sorts, day after day, always in the tunnels…. the slightest light change is off-putting. Am I making sense? After all that’s happened, I don’t expect to play nurse anymore. It’s a door that seemed shut, for good. Unless it’s family. If it’s family, I turn into something that looks like an angry bear in scrubs. LOL. Mama Bear appears and makes people do their jobs, taking better care of the people I love. 

This is probably one of my more rambling blogs, I’m sorry for it. But what a week! It’s not often that we catch a glimpse of our old selves in such an extreme sense. Nursing brought me joy and challenged me constantly. Being a costumer, working with middle schoolers, that’s a huge challenge. And I love it. New chances, new opportunities for joy. 

As I traveled to class yesterday, watching child after child reacting to moving from dark to light, from in to out of the tunnels, I began thinking about how much life is exactly like that. We’re all creatures of habit. Day after day, week after week. Every now and again, something happens to change that. I’m not sure why it always seems dramatic to me. 

Being a chronic pain patient, someone who consistently deals with doctors, etc. likely has a lot to do with it. Any time I’m sick, or just rundown more than usual, it takes me weeks to build my stamina up again. I’m not sure that emotional changes are any different. Playing nurse again, mainly because I had no choice, was strange. I closed that chapter out of necessity and basically started a different book! In a completely different section of the bookstore. LOL. 

I ride the same subway line into Manhattan every time. Maybe I’ll start reacting to seeing the light change, to being above ground. Maybe it’ll make those real life transitions less dramatic. Maybe I need to be more childlike in that sense. Seeing the possibilities in any situation, in an uncomplicated way. 

I’ll certainly try. 

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness, 

Beck❤️

It is what it is….. and that’s not much.  

Hello friends! It’s a rainy, gray Sunday here in my fair city. I’m a born and bred New Yorker and I LOVE it here. Even with the crowds, chaos and streets that may not always seem the cleanest. It’s the skyline that makes my heart feel better. It’s the place I learned about from my parents by actually walking around the streets, in different neighborhoods. It’s the place I met where my husband. It’s the place where our daughter was born. I just love it. 

That being said, it’s also been the stage of my entire medical drama – good and bad. There are days when I’m cursing the crowds. Repeatedly cursing the MTA for the subway messes that never seem resolved, even after months and months of alleged repairs. And sometimes, despite my best efforts, the thought of traveling “all the way into the city” makes me tired.  Still, I love it. ❤️

This morning, after sleeping through 3 alarms, I nearly missed my class. I got there – complete chaos and all – with two minutes to spare. The lab is on the seventh floor of the building, so – naturally – the escalators were off. There are elevators, but students aren’t permitted to use them – unless there are special circumstances. I stood at the base of that first flight and cursed everything I could think of: My bad knee……. My jammed-up whole body……..The people who are fit and could easily run up the stupid 7 floors. Those were the folks who earned the most mental venom this morning. After several breaks between floors 3-4, and then 6-7, I thought I’d have a heart attack. But, miraculously, I didn’t. 

I spent the bulk of the class fighting with my sewing machine. Thread breaking, loading my bobbin case the wrong way. It was like I’d left all of the skills I’ve acquired, over 30+ years, at the base of the broken escalator. Thankfully, at some point, my stress level went down. My professor was helping me with the machine and said, “this is very stressful but you’re doing fine. Please try not to worry about it. And don’t fight with your fabric.” I must have looked at her like, “What the heck are you talking about?” She pointed to my left hand, clutching the fabric like my life depended on it, instead of merely guiding it through the machine. I know better than that! But lots of things about today, the class – you name it – had me wound up like I would break.

Isn’t that the case for all of us? At least sometimes? I allowed my fear of the machine, of failing at a task I just learned, guide my actions. I also allowed my exhaustion and stress to make the whole situation worse. We all do that. 

Sometimes it’s easier to hold on tight than to loosen our grip on the things that worry us or annoy us. Mainly because we’re operating under the illusion that we have control. Control over everything. Good grief, I never learn! I DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER EVERYTHING!!! If it wasn’t raining so hard, I’d be screaming it in the street. How many times do I need to learn this lesson?!?! Once? Twice? Ten thousand? 

Doing the best I could today, which – let me tell you – isn’t much, is all I have today. Even as I’m sitting here, desperately trying to summon the energy to make 14 simple costumes for an African folk dance, I’m barely hanging on. But I am hanging on. I showed up. 

And that’s what counts. 

Whatever you’re doing, give yourself a break. Sometimes the bare minimum is as good as it gets. But you’re showing up. You’re making the effort. 

And that’s what counts. 

We can not control everything. And fighting  with the “fabric” of it all won’t change that. Let go a little. I’ll try to do the same. 

Be kind to one another. ❤️

Peace and painlessness, 

Beck❤️