Category: Health and wellness

KNEEds must….

During the last few months, I’ve been caught in the middle – in an alleged battle – between my orthopedist and my insurance company. All because of my knee. Yes, the knee that popped, then bruised and would have been replaced by now if I hadn’t said the words, “I have RSD.”

When I said it – and my doctor subsequently read about my history of lupus in the chart – he returned to the room and explained why he won’t operate on my knee unless the situation becomes desperate. I’m not there yet.

He had a plan of giving me a cortisone injection then, (OUCH), and three gel injections over the course of three weeks. But there was a catch, as there usually is. “It usually takes about six weeks to get approval.”

Let’s back up for a moment and talk about the timeline here.

I got hurt in early August.

Two weeks later, 8/22, I felt my knee popping and the pain was excruciating. Getting home was an ordeal. I couldn’t put any weight on it.

That led to an ER trip on 8/23. The X-ray was negative, as I anticipated. I got referred to an orthopedic doctor since they felt it was tissue/nerve related, not bone.

After waiting because the doctor was away, I finally got to see him on 9/6. That’s when the cortisone was administered and they supposedly started the process for the gel injections. I was told that they’d call me when everything was settled.

That brings me to 10/25. No call, no word about the gel injections. Technically, I should have been notified the week before. So I called….. and was left on hold for a while. Then told, “can I call you right back, Mrs. McClintock?” Those words aren’t usually a good sign. But sure, sure you can. She called about ten minutes later saying that, somehow, the insurance company didn’t get back to them. They’d call me back. I called my insurance immediately and was told that the office had filed for my medication but was missing information, so no one could approve anything. I was getting more annoyed by the minute. But I calmly called the office and relayed what the insurance agent said to me. She fumbled a bit but said they’d sent everything over after I called and I’d “have approval in about two days. We’ll call you as soon as we have it.” Sure, sure you will.

So on 10/28, I waited. And waited. No call. Friday came and went without a word.

On Wednesday, 11/2, I received a letter from my insurance company, explaining why they were denying the request for injections. It had to do with the medication my doctor asked for. They wanted him to try other meds first. Sure, ok.

I called the office, since no one had called me, and told them about the letter. The response was, “Yes, we know. They want the doctor to order something else. It’ll get approved this time.” Wait, what?!? Why not just request that med in the first place?!? Once I recovered from that nonsensical conversation, I agreed – again – to wait for a call about approval.

On 11/21, yes it took THAT long, I received a letter from my insurance company approving the shots. Finally. The only issue was that the approval expired on 12/20. When I asked about it, the office and the insurance said that the shots had to at least be started by 12/20. When all of this began, I’d asked how fast I could be seen once the approval was given and the meds were delivered to the hospital. Apparently, these injections have to be administered in a timely manner. The answer? “We can see you that week, don’t worry about that.” Ok, I won’t. Until I have to.

The meds got delivered. They had to get my permission to deliver them to the orthopedic doctor, it was a lot of hoop jumping for knee shots. Calling the office to make that quick appointment I was promised, I was told, “the doctor is in the OR this week & he’s the only one who can administer the shot.” How about the following week? “He’s at a conference, then he’ll be away for the holidays.” Wait, what??!?! What happened to “we can see you that week?” Now what? Well, they’d have to ask for an extension from the insurance company. At that rate, I couldn’t be seen until January. Wanting to be certain that everyone would be honest about why the appointment had to be put off, I made sure the insurance folks knew it wasn’t my doing. At the rate this whole mess was moving, I’d never get these stupid injections done at all.

This leads me to 12/19. A hectic call from the orthopedic office saying that the extension was denied. Then the approval was completely rescinded. This time, I got a letter saying my diagnosis “didn’t meet the requirements of medical necessity.” Huh?? They’d already approved it based on my medical diagnosis! This was ludicrous. The manager called me back to say that the doc was scheduled for a peer to peer conference call with someone from the insurance company. After that, they were certain everything would be worked out.

They weren’t counting on the denial that followed. Approval wasn’t happening. In fact, policy was changing at the start of the new year that would affect all of their patients with severe osteoarthritis. It meant that countless patients who could get less invasive gel injections – to avoid surgery – would be left in the lurch. Not good at all, Meanwhile, the meds were sitting in the fridge at the office, waiting to be administered. And in a tug of war between both parties. At the end of the day, I’m the one who was being punished.

A call on 1/4, letting me know that the denial was still in effect. They promised not to give up. That was at around 10 a.m. About an hour later, I received an automated call stating that “the prescription ordered” by my doctor was approved and in effect until April 2018. What med was this and from which doctor? Minutes later, the phone rings again and it’s the ortho office. “We don’t know what changed or why but we’re not asking. They approved it!”

I have NO idea how it happened that a decision could be denied in the morning, then completely flipped in the afternoon. But I’m not asking the powers that be about it. Apparently, the universe wants me to have these injections. Denied. Approved. Denied. Approved. Sure, ok. Why not?

This new phase begins on Wednesday. Supposedly. Update to come……

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

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Starting fresh…. the best of intentions…

Happy New Year, friends!

I was dismantling Christmas in our apartment and started to think about the ornaments we cherish.

We’d collected five years worth of loved decorations when our daughter arrived. Then – happily – our annual tree became a time capsule of her favorite things. Great examples are two special ornaments. One is a beloved “Blues Clues” figurine from when she was two. (It was a popular show about a young man named Steve, who lived with his dog, Blue. Their house was filled with sweet, talking objects). The other is a framed picture of her at around three years old. The frame is made up of Disney princesses, a major favorite at that time.

As she got older, my daughter became enamored with fairies. So, each year, I’ve purchased a new fairy for the tree. This year included! It’s one of our traditions, one I intend to keep up for as long as possible.

The word “intend” reminds me of my focus this week. I don’t make resolutions, I make my intentions known – to myself! – and do my best to stick with them. I’ve been told that my way is a “cop out” of sorts, I disagree. I’m never disappointed and usually meet my own expectations each year. Let’s compare definitions:

Resolution – 1) a firm decision to do or not to do something. [2) the act of solving a problem, or a contentious matter].

Intention – 1) a thing intended; an aim or plan. [2) (medicine) the healing process of a wound].

There’s something less intimidating about having an “aim” versus a “firm decision.” When we falter with new year’s resolutions, we punish ourselves. Is it worth feeling bad about whatever the issue is? Or just start again? I prefer the latter.

As people dealing with chronic illnesses can attest, sometimes the biggest daily goal would be considered minimal to the average person. Perfect example? Getting dressed or taking a shower. Showers are major since it’s not uncommon for water to hurt, especially with RSD. Imagine the simple act of a shower, or even washing your hands. Now imagine if that water felt like thousands of tiny ice picks or knives hitting your skin. Or the feel of water hitting a sunburn. When my RSD flares up more, my skin tends to feel like it’s sunburned. It gets very sore. Water being painful….. that’s something no one counts on. It’s a terrible shock.

So my goals for this new year are realistic and doable: 1) keep the weekly blogs coming! (There’s a project in the works that I’m really excited about). 2) to creatively take more risks. I get very nervous when colleagues say they want to tell people about my work. Mainly because I feel like it’s not good enough. That has to stop. It’s not productive and puts me in a rut. So the goal is to work hard and let that speak for itself. 3) Walking. Although I walk everywhere, I used to walk around more and enjoy it. I’d even dance a little bit as I washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen. All while wearing my Fitbit, counting steps and miles. Then the Fitbit completely stopped working. I didn’t replace it and what had been a fun quest, sort-of died out. Tracker or not, I need to get myself up and moving for fun again. Goals!!! 4) Read more! I’m currently into about 8 books. I enjoy reading a lot, I always have. So taking time for it is important. It would also pull me away from binging on great Netflix shows…… briefly. (I mean, seriously, the newest seasons of Stranger Things” and “The Crown?” AMAZING! 😉)

What I intend for 2018 is positive. No one knows what the future will bring. But I plan to make the most of these twelve months. Let’s see where I am, this time next year.

What are your intentions?Or resolutions, if you make them? Let me know in the comments.<<<<<<<<<<<<
f you a productive, joyful year & doable goals.

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

The knottiness of life… looking ahead….

About a month ago, I was invited to speak to our school’s amazing theatrical tech team about costuming. These are the talented, savvy kids who manage lighting, sound and staging for every show. (There’s even a dedicated group among them who help me with the costumes! YES!!). With all that’s been happening around here, I had to change the date twice. Once, before Thanksgiving, (how I forgot I’d planned this event for the day before my favorite holiday – AND that we were due to travel – is anyone’s guess. 🤦🏻‍♀️). The other was after the MRI center told me they could only see my daughter on that specific day. Obviously, my baby will always come first. We agreed – finally – on my coming in last Wednesday, 12/20. It was worth the wait!

I decided to teach a few beginning sewing skills during the hour. (Running stitch, how to sew a button onto a shirt). Excited about having this rare opportunity, I put together a mini sewing kit for each of the 30 team members. Granted, I may have gone slightly overboard. Creating a fabric “book” for each student to sew together was ambitious, I admit. But it was well received. So my instinct was correct.

It went really well! To start, most of them had sewn before. That’s a huge help. More than half asked questions, “can you show me how to sew/fix/undo this?” And “What happens if I sew this wrong?” And the answer was simple, for those specific issues anyway: keep calm, see if you can back up a few stitches and then keep going, or – if you must – start again. It’s not the end of the world! It might seem frustrating, like a waste of time. It never is.

I told the kids my own horror stories about mistakes I’ve made, with job related costumes and personal projects. Take this year’s holiday show, for example. I tackled those dreaded stretchy dresses, AGAIN. Each one had to be resewn about 6 times. But I did it & the end result was beautiful. It would have been super easy to give up – believe me, I was tempted. But the finished product looked fabulous onstage.

As we stitched and chatted, they even helped each other. At one point, I was assisting a small group to rethread their needles. A few of the students walked around the room, pitching in where needed, without being asked. It was awesome. And so nice to witness.

At the end, their moderator asked them what they would take away from the class. They made great observations and said it was fun. One said, “I’m glad I know how to do it, but I’ll probably pay someone to fix the buttons on my shirts – once I have a job.” A quiet 8th grader raised her hand and said, “I forgot how much I love to sew. I plan to keep sewing stuff.” I may have imagined it, but I’m pretty sure there was joyful singing coming from somewhere. Though it might have been me……. 😉

While they worked, so many of them said, “I messed up.” “I’m no good at this.” “I ruined it.” I had to keep reminding each of them that a stitch is relatively simple to repair, that they needed to not be so hard on themselves. Sewing is a skill, patience and time will help them improve. No one ruined anything!

Much like sewing, life can get very tangled up, (it’s sewing analogy time!). We spend so much time knocking ourselves down for the stuff we can’t do, that we miss enjoyable moments. I do it constantly. There are days when I hear myself apologizing and have no idea what I’m sorry for! (How many of us do that?! Too many, I’m sure).

My takeaway is that life is knotty. It’s messy. It’s ridiculous. But we can’t change that. What we can change is how we manage the inevitable knots, snags and snafus.

We should start with patience. Look at each scenario individually and see if things can be dealt with easily. If yes, go for it. If not, start over or move on. And if moving on seems the healthiest, most beneficial? Then MOVE ON. We need to stop punishing ourselves. Seriously….. for real….. I mean it! Ok, I will if you will!

That’s one of my goals for 2018. I’m also going to try to be more present. I want to be more available to myself, as silly as it sounds. What I mean is that I just want to make time for my projects. Challenging myself to get more done. My instagram obsession will ebb eventually…… maybe. LOL. But, seriously, I want to be aware of my life without needing to capture every moment. My memory’s become so bad that I try to take lots of pictures and videos. Especially of my daughter. I envy parents of young children who can capture everything quickly with just a smartphone. When my baby was born, phones were just phones. Everyone needed cameras if they wanted to take pictures. And a camcorder if video was desired. We made it work, of course. But it would have been easier with an iPhone.

Anyway. I don’t really make resolutions. They seem great on January 1st, but then I go back to beating myself up for ones not kept. Vicious cycle. One I have no patience or energy for. So, instead, I set goals.

My goals for 2018: to be patient, present, focused, healthier, (i.e. getting all doctors’ appointments done in a timely manner) and to get out more. It’s far too easy to stay home and avoid the world, sitting in p.j.’s and binging on Netflix. (As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in p.j.’s and was watching Netflix earlier 😬). But it’s not January 1st, so no guilt! My goals are safe! 😁

As this is my last blog of 2017 (wow, that seems so weird!), I want to wish all of you joy and very happy Holidays! Whatever your resolutions or goals are, may 2018 bring you peace and comfort.❤️

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

Life in the spin cycle…..

How many of us feel like we’re forever stuck in the spin cycle? And that the universe is standing there with an unending bag of quarters, to keep the machine going? Ugh. I feel a bit like I’m being swallowed up by my life lately. The holidays rapidly approaching, my daughter’s senior year…. far too many things to count. We all cope with being flung around by life, every day. Sometimes not so well. Other times, we win. I’m about halfsies at the moment.

This week was difficult, to say the least. (Do I begin every blog that way?? Sorry!) Let me escort you into my personal hell – I mean my particular challenges – of the week.

First and foremost, my daughter has been sick. I hate when she’s unwell because there are times when I can’t do a lot to make her feel better. What started out as sniffles turned into a fever turned into missed school turned into doing better and being back to school turned into me getting called to pick her up and then taking her to the doctor to finding out she had croup. I did get the humidifier which helped a lot. Mom doing something to help her feel better for the win!!!! (Massive run-on sentence for the loss! LOL).

Second, I’m prepping costumes for the annual holiday show at the school. I decided last year to alter a few small costumes into larger, more practical ones. The problems began when I realized that stretch fabric sewn with metallic threads wouldn’t be easy to work with. I did it anyway, much to the dismay of my sewing machine. After successfully repurposing ten dresses into five, the dancers liked them and I moved on to the next project. Fast forward a year and two shows, I found another bag of tiny dresses and thought, “Hey, just rework these like last year’s batch!” Why not? Well, I forgot about the stretchy threads getting caught up in my machine. Ugh. Anyway, after cursing my stupidity, yelling out loud to no one and using a bunch of made up angry phrases, four more dresses will join the closets of fabulousness at our school.

Third, my right arm is in bad shape. For those of you who might be new, I’m a lefty. But early on in my life with RSD, my left hand was taken over as a result of a bad IV. Within weeks of the procedure, done to help my RSD leg, my arm swelled up, became discolored and incredibly painful to the touch. The rest is history. My left hand is ok for writing in small increments, but my right definitely became stronger and more depended on.

A few years ago, I started having trouble with my right hand and arm. It feels like restless leg syndrome but in my upper extremities. Spasms that start insidiously and don’t stop until they’re good and ready. It’s pretty brutal. I get these episodes when I need to stretch my hands or feet. Each movement starts as a “if I flex (my hand or foot), the sensation of needing to move it will finally stop.” So I stretch. Inevitably, nothing stops. The mere act of engaging in the movement begins a chain reaction that hurts and nags. And burns and aches. So I sit there, looking like I’m in the throws of a fit. I guess, in a way, I am. It’s awful.

At around the same time, the doctor told me I have carpal tunnel in my right hand/wrist. He recommended wearing day and sleep braces, (to take pressure off of the nerve), and stretching exercises. I’ve used both. Try having spasms while wearing a sleep brace. My hand ended up bruised from one episode.

But back to the present. When I last saw my doc, about two weeks ago, I told him that the carpal tunnel was flaring a lot. But I was also having that familiar burning sensation up to my elbow. Water hurt, my sleeve hurt. I knew what he’d say, that it seemed like the RSD might have spread to my right arm. I knew it was coming.

But the resident who was assisting with my appointment, (it is a teaching hospital, lucky me), suggested surgery to “help with the carpal tunnel.” I looked at him like he’d completely forgotten where he was or who he was talking about. Seriously?!? Surgery as a rational, viable option? For ME?!? On a limb that – moments before – had been discussed as possibly having RSD in it? No, no, and NOOOOOOOOO. No way. That’s when my doctor suggested a trial for a spinal cord stimulator. Honestly, it felt like an out of body experience. It was a little over a year ago when their efforts to remove my implanted pump resulted in spinal fluid leaking for a week. No way. I’d rather deal with anything than have anyone operate on my back again. As it is, the hardware in my spine will likely need tweaking, at some point. And I’ll eventually have to get my left knee replaced. No one is getting me to sign up for any procedure that isn’t mandatory for my survival.

That’s dramatic, I know. Try seeing it from my perspective. Nearly every surgical procedure I’ve ever had has resulted in some complication. I’ve had enough.

So I complain here, LOL. And just get on with it all. Though it might not be obvious, my fingers, knuckles and wrist are swollen and so sore. Even the top of my hand is blown up. The pain is just way more intense than it usually is. And there isn’t much to be done. Oh well.

I guess that’s enough griping for one blog. I apologize to anyone who made it past the stretchy costumes, LOL.

In any case, the show is Tuesday and Christmas is just over a week away. I just remembered that I still have plenty of shopping to get done. 😬😖

Let me change the energy here. I wish each of you a very happy, very peaceful holiday season. May you know how grateful I am that you spend this time with me, each week. May we feel empowered and fearless as we begin a new year, able to face any challenges with the knowledge that we are warriors – one and all.

Be kind to one another.

Peace and painlessness,

Beck❤️

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❤️

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 ❤️