"Live life on purpose ~ not by accident" ~ Alicia

"When it hurts to look back, and you're scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there."
-- Author Unknown

"A laugh is a smile that bursts.” ~ Mary H. Waldrip

"Set your goals high and don't be deterred by those who say it is impossible." ~ Steve Fossett

"Our Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless."
Jamie Paolinetti

"A day without laughter ~ is a day wasted"
Charlie Chaplin

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
— Martin Luther King Jr.

"Gratitude is an inner smile shared" ~ Alicia

Sunday, July 25, 2010

View from my perspective

Hello my friends - I am sitting here listening to my new Lady Gaga CD ~ Sitting on a heating pad with my Diet Coke with Lemon. Life is good. Really, I am looking at mountains, at my dog Tyler and learning how to relax. Key word ~ learning. Do I really relax? Hmmm - I have 8 books around me, I am writing a book and my brain doesn't slow down. This is not good for me. Or is it. From my perspective, slowing down is giving up. However, I have slowed down, don't misunderstand that. Not working is killing me. Not to mention adding a tremendous stress...but that is for another time. I know many people with Chronic Illness understand what I am talking about with the inability to know from one day to another if you can work full time. Of course, that leads to financial worries. I digress. Resting is doctor ordered. So is exercise. I have ordered coaching, writing a book, developing a Teen Coaching program (which is on my 3rd year), and now I have been invited to become a Peer Coach at a very prestigious hospital in Boston. So what is my point this week. I don't know. HA! Hope. I did go to the Rheumy and he is confident that I won't be deformed by this disease! YAY! He has 8 more meds we can try if this medicine doesn't work ( we can start with going to injection mtx next). He really feels that we can win this battle. Hope! I brought him my coaching information as well as a Seminar for people with Chronic Illness that I am beginning. He was glad to review it because he believes in the mind/body wellness! Now that is my kind of doctor! It is actually at their Hospital where I was approached to be a Peer Coach. Trust me, my friends, it has been a tough week ~ I don't know why I have been crying a lot. But I wanted to write about new ideas. About hope. About seeing opportunities as exactly what they are ~ great opportunities. Make sure, everyday my friends, you look at your life ~ and never overlook the small blessings and hope. Some weeks it may seem like you ended up with a negative tally ~ I want you to re~review your week. That is what I just did. I had a really rough week...but I walked, I did yoga, I saw friends, my doctor gave me hope, my mom supported me when I cried. My big brother from Jersey called me several times and kept it real and gave me some great ideas to relax ~ he gets it that I don't know how to relax...he listened. My kids came home, my family is wonderful. I am blessed. I have hope. So do you. Together me and you on this journey ~ we will thrive ~ I promise you that. I will not ever give up. Healing hugs~ Alicia

Monday, July 12, 2010

Choices we face everyday, my friends.

Choices ~ Choices we face every day My friends, I’ve been thinking about the choices we face ~ and get to make every day. Some related to our Rheumatoid Arthritis, or other Chronic Illnesses ~ others, choices from normal everyday situations. Let me know your thoughts and if you can relate. When I wake up ~ sometimes I feel a sense of fear ~ of what my day will bring. Waking up to stiff, swollen hands, feet that shuffle like Tim Conway’s “old Man”, and just plain old blah. I just don’t know what will come. But I have choices ~ fear or faith. Opening up our eyes to a bright new day ~ we can say, "thank goodness I woke up on the right side of the daisies", or we can start our day grumpy. Shuffling to the bathroom to start the medicine routine ~ you can hate the fact that you have to take some of your meds now (and a bunch of them) - and they give you side effects...or we can say, "wow - people spent so much time figuring out how to make meds to improve my quality of life." Off to the second part of the medicine taking ~ with food...shuffle downstairs, find something that is appealing (sometimes with no appetite) so you can take the rest of the meds to loosen you up. You can be grateful for knowing that in about an hour or so, you might be a little looser ~ life will be a bit better. :), or you can grumble because you don’t have any appetite. I know, for me ~ I am very competitive ~ even with myself. When I had shoulder surgery, I used to time myself for getting ready (17 mins). Now, I could get discouraged that now it takes me a full 1 1/2 hours to get ready if I take a shower and do my make up and tiny bit of hair. (bangs) Or ~ I can be glad when it is all done and I look pretty good. Losing hair sucks. It just does. I am finding good product that is going to help nourish my hair. I am grateful I have thick hair (for now), so it isn’t that noticeable. I can just keep trying to keep it looking healthy, and not crying when I lose a hundred hairs in the shower or I can fall apart. On the hair subject ~ I don’t have energy to get full on ready each day, so on most days ~ I am just wearing a headband. (now, that makes me look bald!) :) Today, I bought a funky hat to wear. So I can look funky and have another look on a tired day. Choices. To end this blog ~ choices we face starting each day...I find how I look, affects how I feel. I have to take the time (albeit slow) to put a little makeup, do a little something with my hair, and I just went out and bought some cute dressy tank tops (from TJMaxx on sale), to go with my comfy black and tan Naturalizer sandals. Do I stay in bed, even though I feel like it? Nope ~ haven’t once. Do I take a nap? No, I do a few Yoga poses (down dog is great to get energy), or go for a little walk. Am I bummed out? Sure am. Does the pain suck? Mmmm hmmm. Does ice cream help? YES! :) Do I have faith? Tremendously. Faith in my “Big Guy”, faith in my doctors, and faith in myself. So, when you get up everyday ~ do a mental checklist...get up ~ check ~ good attitude ~ check ~ taking meds to help you with quality of life ~ check ~ eat ~ check ~ exercise ~ check ~ ice cream ~ check! Feel good about yourself from the inside out ~ or maybe ~ somedays (most days) feel good from the outside in, but if that makes you feel even a little bit better to face the world, isn’t it worth it? Working to Thrive, my friends. Let’s beat this thing together. Please follow my blog and write to me - I know most of you are writing on Facebook pages your very positive feedback - but post it here to help others. Thank you for your time, and honesty. Healing hugs - Alicia

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Acceptance ©

Acceptance is such an important part of my RA journey My friends, acceptance is key to not being stuck in the muck with RA or any other chronic disease - but it is a tough one to swallow. Blech - who wants to swallow what comes with RA? YAY! I got a diagnosis! Now, I am more ill from the “cure”. That is a tough pill to swallow. Ones that you know will make you sick before they make you better - IF they make you better. Being an optimist, I always want to stay hopeful - look on the bright side. Phew, this RA and my “cure” has tired me out. At least this week it has. You know what though, let me count my blessings - I enjoyed a relaxing day with my loving Brit - by the river - had a great BBQ the next day with a friend of ours. On Monday, I had to cancel with a friend because the Methotrexate was kicking in full force. So, I chilled with my love and my kids and pets. Life could be worse - Is it hard? Yes. I had to leave my favorite Gentle Yoga class today because I almost passed out and was so ill - but I was shown so much compassion from my friend and instructor. We need to look beyond the blahs, pain and fatigue of the daily grind, my friends, and find the simple blessings. I called my doctors’ office to speak to the nurse about the Methotrexate effects - when “she” called me back - wasn’t I surprised to hear Dr. D on the phone saying - “Hi Alicia, this is Dr. D and I understand you aren’t feeling so well.”... What a blessing! We are making changes to my Methotrexate and Leucovorin (Folic Acid/Calcium,etc) times and doses so that I will have a better week next week. Dr. D. thinks it is going to work - we will just have to keep a close eye on things. So, my friends, acceptance doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen by yourself. It isn’t an easy journey - but it is a necessary process to go through for us to have healthy, vibrant lives and to THRIVE! I don’t know about you, but I am not letting any disease, any person, any company anything stop me from living the best life possible. Join me as we learn how to accept life on life’s terms - and THRIVE! ~ Healing hugs, Alicia

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Join me on my RA Journey

My Friends, first of all - this is a new path for me - so I want to let you in on my journey. My coach recommended that I do a blog - so this is my version - I am doing a little newsletter. After 3 years of pain, extreme fatigue and joint stiffness (as well as shoulder surgery and pt for other things) - I finally got a correct diagnosis of RA. It was frustrating for both myself and my doctor, because we went to many doctors that were not helping me. During this time, I tried to take time off from work to get better - and was replaced, let go or was forced to quit

For me, that has been the most difficult part. I spent 11 years going to school at night to get my BS degree, worked hard to become successful and independant. Now this disease has cut me off at my knees.

After the first career loss, I was determined to retrain myself and became a (Internationally)Certified Life Coach and started You Empowered Coaching - It is my passion and if I may proudly say, I am doing what I was meant to do. With my reputation, a second career opportunity came - Managing 360+ people - coaching them to succeed in life and sales. It was fabulous being the only Certified Coach, and I loved my team!

Major problem was - something was terribly wrong with me. My body was breaking down, and fast.

Every joint - both hands, both hips, my spine, my shoulders...the fatigue was unimaginable - and now I couldn’t move in the morning - not even to do my yoga, which was a ritual. My doctor said I had to take a break from work, or it would kill my body. So I did. They replaced me. Corporate America. Good news is that I found out what was wrong after they replaced me - I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Good News, bad news. Great doctor - harsh medicines. I was already losing my hair because of another medicine...or so I thought. Quickly my new doc - Dr. D told me that it was because of my illness. JOY!

This new medicine is a cancer

drug - used to weaken my immune system that is already attacking itself and my joints. It is a smaller dose than if I have cancer, but it kicks my butt. If anyone gets sick - I am in big trouble - I have NO resistance anymore. Or energy. But I do still have my sense of humor :)

So, why am I writing this? Hmmmm - well - I guess - the first thing to go with my health was my work - my careers. Then my social life has really diminished - my fault mostly - and I want to change that, with open, honest, truth of what it is like to be me right now. I have pulled away, disconnected, not made plans, not called - because I was suffering - because I could not travel - because I would always need friends or family to come here - and I did not know how sick I truly was. I did not want to be a taker. I am a giver...so, to need people is so difficult for me.

People say - call me if you need me - well, I can’t. Not yet. But if you call me - that would be great. If we did make plans (and you know, I have always been a social person) - they may be a little tentative right now - and at our place may be perfect. I still love to cook, entertain, goof off, laugh - my regular old goofy self...just, I have been isolating because it has been a hard, tough, long year. I know others who have RA feel the same way...when you are sick every day, and the meds make you sicker - it ain’t easy, but with support and compassion - we gain strength. With healing hugs - Alicia