Appointment update

Just an update. Went and actually spent a few hours at the new Neurologist yesterday. Seriously a few full  hours talking with him, not even counting wait time.  All I have to say is Wow! What a night and day difference! This new neurologist had me tell them all about a lot of different aspects in my life, really trying to get a feel to what is going on.  He had questions about work, home, environmental aspects, habits, mental state,  diet, exercise, family, past doctors and treatments I’ve done, both medical and holistic, anything and everything.  We did some tests, checking eyes,  strength, breathing, balance, coordination, etc.  He re-read out loud the reports from my initial diagnosis, and talked about what things meant, and pointed out different parts and explaining them.

I was pleasantly surprised at the end when he talked so honestly about the fact that our science doesn’t have MS really figured out yet.  He talked about how the use of the some of the medications are to kind of weaken the immune system so that it doesn’t do such a good job at attacking you.  They aren’t really to make you “feel” better,  only discourage progress. He wanted to make sure I understood that. He even brought up some newer (and controversial studies out of Italy in the past year) that I hadn’t heard of. They’re premise is that it may have more to do with a vascular issue that leads into the allergens passing through the blood brain barrier (the latter which I had heard about).

He said that if I was in worse shape, and was having common flareups that lasted more like a week to a month, than my occasional day to two day down-time annoyances, that he would be more apt to require some kind of medicinal treatment in my case. He said that at this point I’m doing well,  with all the diet changes and just trying to keep on top of it with trying to lower stress, sleep and vitamins to combat the fatigue.  He said that it sounded like all the things he would suggest at this point, are things I’m already doing.

He would like me to get another MRI done just to be able to compare to the old one, and explained the changes that can occur over time.  So I will talk to my insurance and figure out if we can swing it.

Overall, much happier to see this neurologist. I finally feel like I have one who is a bit more interested in looking into things with me, and not just “take this shot and call me if you start falling down a lot”

**funny side story.. maybe its sad really.. towards the end they were doing a  test of cognitive stuff. I told them I wasn’t proficient in math and they kind of laughed saying there was only one math related question.  One of the last questions, was to ask me to count backwards from 100 by 7’s.  I was like “seriously? its not evenly divisible by 7”, so I started counting backwards on my fingers, subtracting 7 each time.. I was so nervous to get it wrong, that I think I probably did..  luckily they took pity on me somewhere in the 60’s and didn’t make me continue.

Avoiding the warpath..

I  have this image  that each one of us has our own personal shed where we house the tools we use to cope with our problems.   There are many tools we actually have at our disposal, but ironically its  in our nature  to choose only a few to utilize most of the time.  These “favorites” can become over used, and can get to the point where they no longer function… but out of habit,  we use them anyway.

I believe Anger to be one such tool that is severely over-used by many of us.   Anger is comfortable, because its primal, and has been used since we were infants.  Children cry and throw fits when they feel hurt in any form.  In most cases it works to gain them the attention needed for someone else to be empathetic enough to fulfill their need.  During childhood, when you don’t have the communication skills and your needs are simple it works rather nicely, but there is a point in which its effectiveness is diminished, because there are far better tools, and people start expecting a little more.

As an adult, being quick to anger, may let you work off some steam, but in the long run it just prolongs the suffering on all sides.  Anger rarely brings about solutions for adults, and many times our reactions based in anger serve only to make our path to resolution more difficult. This is because anger induces  you to focus mostly on yourself.  When we feel hurt, its easy to talk ourselves into demonizing another party who we decide caused our anger.  In our minds we strip them of having “feelings”, and more often than not, we assume and input ulterior motives that make it easier to stay mad at them. We do this because it makes them easier to attack and it fuels our justification for staying mad. Anger is like a fire that burns hot and bright for a time, but leaves things in worse shape than the original issue would have.

When you react out of anger, you may feel a  rush of justification, but it tends to be short lived, and doesn’t really get you closer to any lasting solution. If you commonly use  anger as a coping mechanism, it makes you less trustworthy as a person.  You end up diminishing yourself to that of a child in the view of others all because of how you choose react to problems. They cannot then trust you to make healthy decisions, so some will even go as far to start treating you like a child.  This in turns infuriates  the original person, which causes another flares up and the cycle perpetuates.

As an adult, anger should serve more as a red flag, than a stance.  We are all going to feel anger, but we should use it more as an internal indicator as to when something within ourselves is out of place. We should want to find solutions, so if we feel close to reacting out of anger, it should tell us we are using the wrong tool to overcome the issue. Things are rarely as black an white as they appear when we are seeing red.

Examining your glass…

Enjoying a few hours in the sun this past weekend, my daughter returned from playing outside with neighborhood friends. She’s getting so big so fast, and its sometimes hard to believe that the girl standing before me was that pink little bundle I brought home 11 years ago. Still sweet as when she was 4, she hands me a few flowers that she had picked outside while playing. “For you Mom” she says…. what a sweetheart! She knew I hadn’t been feeling well, and picked me some flowers to cheer me up.  I told her to put them in some water, so found a small glass and filled it half full of water, and placed them on the counter to display. Simple little flowers, but they were so pretty… and purple no less, my favorite!

What is inside my “glass”.. what is it I really contain? We should question this often, if for no other purpose than to remind us of who we are, and attend to needed repairs and alterations.

It has become increasingly obvious that to me lately that its really the small things that give us the greatest joy.  Size does not really convey importance.  Its not even the “flowers”…..  it is the spirit in which they are given that is most touching.  Small, simple, pure and perfect.  When motives are simple, life is just so much better.  I think we would all do a lot better if we were able to keep our motives plain, simple, and honest. A small gesture of value goes a long way.  We all have days that we need a reminder of  value in ourselves as well as others.

We commonly equate value with success. But.. is this correct? I suppose it depends on what we consider success to be right? What do you think of when you think of someone successful? Is your first thought wealth? Is it being known? Is it winning in competition? Being better than someone at something? Is it building things? Making the world a better place… and what do you consider better?

What do you personally identify success as being? I think its an important question to ask yourself.  I think that for something we consistently desire.. “to be successful”.. its important to understand what your brand of success is and why. What are your real motives behind your beliefs and actions…. not the rehearsed ones that make you sound better, but the real ones that control you from the subconscious. I think its a valid question to ask. Knowing the answer frees you up, helping you better decide what actions invoke progress, and which just invoke drama.

Efficiency is beautifully simple, and encourages a feeling of well being.   I want live more simply, to  be quicker to get to the root of any issues.  Less drama, more results.  Less judgment, more exploration and understanding and respect.  I want opportunities to be cooperative, and find healthier ways of dealing with things.

I want to spend the time I have appreciating and showing appreciation for all the masterpieces that has been created around me.  We are all masterpieces, we just rarely realize  it.  Wither or not you can find it in yourself to believe in a benevolent God, or simply consider us all to be a complex accident of nature, the fact cannot be argued that each individual is incredibly unique and diverse.  There are no exact copies, and even those raised under the same settings will still vary in many ways.  We are all individually one-of-a-kind… irreplaceable, so we can stop trying so hard to prove it to everyone, We actually are “different” or “special” or “unique”, and its a given.

Once we get past that preoccupation, it seems a lot easier to simply realize we all have value. There is a level of respect that should be maintained in all of our contacts.  Ever notice how much negative reaction is caused when someone starts feeling undervalued, or starts undervaluing those around them ? So many issues could be stopped by simply adhering to a more respectful nature. Strive to separate yourself from the desire to assert yourself as   “better” than others, and refocus instead on building inspiration to help many be “better”.

I think its even incorrect for us to live under the assumption that there is a single reason we were put on this earth.  Every decision we make, both seemingly trivial and important inspires a choice. Each choice we make ripples out and affects so many.  So I would say there are probably a little over 6.8 billion reasons why we are here.  Like it or not, we are all sharing time, space and resources.  No, our reason for being is probably not tied to a single event decided on by fate, but really our reasons would be dispersed by each interaction we have, which is why respect is so important. This puts us more on the hook for how we react in our daily lives. Respect is your most formidable tool in most situations.  When shared it opens up options that beforehand seem impossible.

If we know this all, then why do we focus so much on judging each other, and enhancing separation? Not one of us will leave this world unscathed from being misjudged, no matter how noble our cause.   What real damage does it do me to allow others some comfort? To allow others to love who they want?  To have different ideas?  As long as all maintain a level of respect in what is done, and things aren’t done purposely to damage or exploit each other, than who is anyone to judge?… and why waste that energy doing so?

“Chocolate Soy Cake”

Mostly I’m just really tired today.. Need to find some energy from somewhere though, because I need to put together some kind of plan for my son’s 7th birthday this weekend.

My “Baby” is turning 7 on Friday… He said he wants a “Chocolate Soy Cake – so Mommy and Haiden can have some”, and he wants “a bunch of different kinds of apples..” Kylan has a thing for apples. He is too cute. ” 🙂

I laughed and told him that we could probably figure something out that would be better than a “Chocolate Soy Cake” because that didn’t even sound good to me. We’ve baked with soy flour off and on, and it doesn’t seem to have a very good after taste in baked goods for some reason.

Makes my heart melt that he so earnestly wants to make sure we join in on his festivities. I have been blessed with three pretty remarkable kids. So different, yet very sweet and good-natured in their own right.

Discrimination or Deciphering?

Not to long ago, I had read an article on how some are “suddenly” worried about being discriminated against because of something they had posted on their facebook, or other social networking sites. The specific article had gone on to talk about how they were worried it was going to get to the point where someone would be denied a job because they are a “fan” of a certain band. The article had been penned in the way to infuriate and worry the reader that they themselves could be discriminated against in such a way.

Because I’ve always been kind of a believer in that if its something you are worried about sharing with everyone, then just don’t post it, I kind of felt myself having less sympathy for this “hypothetical” situation. Furthermore, if a company is really rating how good of an employee “you might be”, by guessing that because you like “Band X”, you must be a slacker…. I’m not sure I have much confidence in that kind of decision-making logic, so I might just well be better off not being put in that position to rely on them for my employment. I could just as likely wear a red shirt to work one day, and be deemed as aggressive risk because of some internet poll… who knows. Aside from disappointment worked up by our own personal expectations, really not being hired by a crazy company.. its still in my view its kind of a no harm no foul.

I had kind of shrugged off the article, and not really thought about it again until today.

The reason I thought about it today, was because I had received a friend request on facebook from someone who had a name I didn’t recognize at all. So in trying to figure out why this person had selected me as someone they wanted to be “friends” with, and because my memory isn’t always so good with connecting names and faces, I followed my normal steps to see if this was someone I knew.

First I checked to see if we had any mutual friends, and their location… because sometimes I can realize that I do actually know the person once my brain associates them with a place I might know them from. It’s a sad statement on my memory banks I guess, but I have been pleasantly surprised a few times in re-discovering someone I had known and had actually would like to check in with from school or elsewhere.. who I just didn’t recognize maybe because of a new name or something.

.. no dice, we had no mutual friends in this case..

So second, I look at their page to see if I recognize their picture, again because sometimes the face/name association part of my brain doesn’t work as quickly as it should.

… this person looked slightly familiar, but kinda in that way where they look sorta like a few people you know, and you start wondering if it is a sibling or something.. lol

Third, still not being sure, I took a look at their info page to see if anything they’ve put up there – rings any bells at all.

Upon viewing their info, I found out that they did have an plainly stated and outlined wish to “sell” and/or “push” an idea. Definitely gave the real impression that they were gathering “friends” to do so. They were also apparently a pretty vocal and obvious fan of one of my least favorite “talking heads”. I’m not really wanting to be spammed, and least of all, spammed with repeated viewpoints I’ve already heard, that I already disagree with. Let alone the fact that I didn’t know them from Adam.. (bad pun that is funny only me because that was this guys first name.. hehe) Also, had no real interest in sharing any of my more personal information with this individual at this time.

So…. I went ahead and chose to ignore the friend request at that point.

But then I got to thinking.. I started to think about that article.

Had I just in a different way, discriminated against this person by choosing not to “friend” them, the same way that they were talking about prospective employers doing?

If you removed from thought, the obvious differences between sharing with “A friend”, and with a “prospective employer”, I guess that in my attempt to decipher who this person was, it probably did fall inline with what I had read about. In a way, I had chosen not to associate with that particular person because of what they had posted (in addition to simply not knowing them). So from the article’s stand point, I had probably discriminated against that individual. It’s quite possible that he is a wonderful life-affirming individual who I have just lost out on getting to know. But even in that case, its really just my loss right? All they’ve lost out on at that point is being associated with a “discriminating friend”, and that’s not really a loss is it?

It had then occurred to me that we make these kind of choices all the time. Its not new. Its not something that never happened before these social sites came to be. In many cases it isn’t even malicious. On a regular basis humans use whatever information they have to decipher a course of action. It’s our perception of the information, not necessarily the truth of the information that influences our decisions. At the same time, it’s also our perception that regulates how deeply we allow ourselves to be emotionally wounded, and how intensely we feel wronged.

It makes me think that maybe the whole issue is one of not only perception, but over-sensitivity. Its our past experience generated perceptions that lead most individuals to select a specific choices, and it’s our choices that we are judged on. It can walk a fine line between considered discrimination or simple case of deciphering, all dependent on the viewers perception. Kind of interesting the understanding that the exact same steps taken before making a decision matter less, than the outcome. In many cases, nothing actually becomes offensive until the outcome is not the one that we like… and then all the sudden it can become a major injustice or travesty, a personal attack, or a example of discrimination.

If the person in the original article had been writing about how someone had landed a job because of something they had posted on their social networking site, then the tone would have been much different. Possibly even praising the use of those terms to find out about a prospective employee by the prospective employers.

I think we commonly over-exaggerate the impact of some things that happen to us. We give events and other people far more power in our lives and our viewpoints than we should. We could be far happier if we realized that maybe we are better off because of some of these “unanswered prayers” went unanswered. Who wants to purposely be in the position of working for, or having to deal with people who adhere to unreasonable principles? Aren’t we kind of better off without that demeaning influence? I would think the constant “egg shell walking” from unreasonable views would cause damage to me after awhile. I’m just saying, it may not be that bad of a thing, and might not actually be the end of the world.

Please understand that I’m not in any way meaning to insinuate that discrimination is ok. I am merely trying to call into perspective that in which we define as being discrimination. Is it because we were actually discriminated against, or is it because we just didn’t like the outcome? Was it a misunderstanding that was avoidable on our part? or is it because of an actual sense of misguided hate?

All this said, In regards to the original article, It still leaves me with my exact same opinion that I had before. Be a little more responsible… If it’s something you think may inhibit your prospective employment options, and you choose to leave your profile open to the public, then don’t post it! If you have things in your life that could be perceived by any possible employer, as making you a risky investment.. then maybe don’t over-share? If friends are posting pictures and tagging you in pictures showing you in less than flattering situations.. its probably time to consider talking to that friend, or just trying a little harder to not be photographed in less than appealing situations. Maybe even choose to have your social networking be a bit more private..

Just a thought..

What are you going to do now?

Today has been a very good day for me. 🙂 I’ll set up my story in a frame of reference from a childhood memory of a commercial I watched as a kid. This possibly shows my age… but…

When I was a kid I remember watching commercials where they were always interviewing someone who had just accomplished some great feat. They would always say..”So-and-so.. you just [Insert great achievement here]… What are you going to do now?”
to which the interviewee would reply “I’m going to Disneyland!”

We received our tax refund this week, and were thankfully able to take care of a few loose things that needed some attention. We got the kids a pair of shoes each.. We replaced our dryer that had begun eating and leaving black heat marks (scary) on some unfortunate pieces of clothing.. we caught up on a couple smaller bills, but the one I’m most excited about is that after 2 years, we’re finally totally paying off the last (of a certain previously mentioned) size-able outstanding medical bill (that insurance didn’t cover because of the hospital’s terminology use, among other things) from my initial MS diagnosis. No more monthly reminders of the exact worst day I ever remember..yay! We’ve been paying as much as we could every month for quite awhile, and now thankfully we are going to be able to go ahead and knock out the remaining balance. Thank God for tax refunds… seriously! We’d have had another 6 months of this otherwise.

so with that…

“Serina.. you’ve just paid off your MS diagnosis bill… What are you going to do now?”

“I’m going to Disneyland!” 🙂

And its true! with what we had left, we were able to find some really good deals (I guess because April is kind of still an off season), so we are going to take the kids to Disneyland over a weekend. The kids don’t know yet, we are going to surprise them tonight! The closest thing to a vacation we’ve ever taken them on, was a day trip to the coast a few years back… (well make that a morning trip, since we were back at home by 2 pm.)

We had always told them that we would take them someday, and figured that this may be our best opportunity. We talked about it, and decided that realistically, right now I seem to be doing pretty decent with my MS, and while we hope that continues, its in really in God’s hands. If we want to be able to go, and actually enjoy it together, the kids are at a good age where they’ll remember, so we think there is no use in putting it off if we can find a way to make it happen. So we are going to make it happen.

I’m very excited to see the kids faces when they find out. I’m even more excited at giving them an extra special memory that we can cherish.

Take a walk.. on the bright side :)

Come over to the bright side… you know you want to!.. (hehe)

Why is it that if you tend to focus on the positives in this life, you are considered an idealist, but if you focus on the negatives, you are commonly considered a realist?

Its not about attaining perfection. We won’t be experiencing that here on earth, but I think enjoying the good things and promoting more good things for everyone across the board should be more common. A more positive effect is possible, its not an unreal expectation. I don’t believe that positives are impossible, I think they just require a bit more work to become a reality. For good things to happen you need to care, and be a bit more creative. Neither over-criticizing nor apathy will get us anywhere.

I think we have more power over “how life treats us” than we like to give ourselves credit for. I think the main reason people don’t like to utilize this power, is because it calls them to be more responsible, and think things out more than 1 step ahead of where they are currently residing. We may have to take more of the blame for how we set up some things in our lives. To me that seems like being more of a realist, then just allowing and expecting things to turn out badly, or complaining instead of dealing with whatever unavoidable issues come our way.

If the glass is half empty, it may be time to get off your bum and go refill it if you are still thirsty right? Why expect that someone else should fill it for you?

Take care of yourself by nourishing your spirit and allowing hope to inspire a personal drive, that will push you towards positive goals. Its not unreasonable, or impossible. It just may require more creative thinking than we are used to.