Author Archives: carolyncordon

About carolyncordon

Wife, mother, writer, dog enthusiast. Spending too much time on writing and not enough time on vacuuming. Apparently. I can't see a problem. I have suffered in my life, I have had wonderful things occur in my life. Concentrating on the wonderful things makes it easier for me to live a great life.

Chronic Illness – Unexpected Issues

When you find out you have a Chronic Illness, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and others, you will probably try to find out all you can about your new ‘life issue’. You’ll search for it on the internet, via search engines, and follow up on all of the links you find. You’ll ask your medical people about it, I’d expect too, and you’ll quite likely check out Facebook pages related to your illness.

These are good ideas, the more you know, the better decisions you can make, but you know what? These sources of possible assistance can only help up to a point. And you may find the people round you may take it upon themselves to help you too. It’s human nature to want to fix things for other people, for some people, and that is a lovely thing, quite often, but only up to a point.

Some people have minds that are closed to other possible actions rather than their own ideas, on ways to fix things. But much of the time, our problems are well outside of the understanding of such people. They can be dismissive, ignorant, and simply won’t listen to you if you try to explain how it actually is for you. These people can be irritating in small doses, and postitively toxic in larger doses.

The people who can really help you are the ones who know what it’s like, because they are living though the same things as you. Only a person with MS, for example, knows what it feels like to try to continue on through a bad time of MS Fatigue, when your whole body, all the way through to your bones, feels tired … Having friends who truly know, and who really do understand, can be a life saver! You will have at least those people who know what you really mean when you say, no, I can’t, I’m too tired.

If you have one of those ‘invisible’ chronic illnesses, as such as MS, etc, you must remember to care for yourself first, and others after, otherwise you will burn out and have nothing left for anyone, including yourself.

If any of this rings true for you,l please, feel free to comment here, and add to the discussion!

Advertisements

Ready for Summer

I’m well aware of the summer heat in my part of Australia. I live in South Australia, and summer is definitely here, and blazing hot at times!. We have already had some 100 degree (C) plus days, and next week things are going to get hot again.

Today wasn’t quite that hot, but I was going out to watch my husband play lawn bowls, and wanted to watch him from outside, not inside the clubrooms. I like to be able to say something, when I see a good bowl, for example, and though I could have still done that today inside the clubrooms, there wouldn’t be much point, if the players couldn’t hear me.

I know how badly getting too hot can affect me, because of have MS (multiple sclerosis), so I got myself prepared for some protection from the effects of too much heat, after being reminded about it by my husband, who is also my carer to assist me living with MS.

So my husband was a good carer, I was a good client, and I got myself organised with my cooling neck tie, to get it all puffed up with water, and lovely and cool, before I needed to go. These neck ties are amazing things, with some kind of white crystals inside, that absorb water, and keep very cool for a long time.

You can more or less wear them straight away, once theye have absobed enough water, or put them away in the fridge or freezer, to keep damp. If they dry out, which they will do if they don’t get soaked again, you simply soak them in water again, and so it goes …

So I went to the Mallala Bowling Club, and was amused at myself, for getting there at the wrong time. All of the bowlers walked off the bowling rinks when I pulled up in my car, to watch! I wasn’t upset about that, because I knew I’d just mistimed my arrival. The game had already been playing for about an hour and a half, and it was time for afternoon tea.

I could have gone inside with them all, that would have been fine, but I wanted to give my neck tie a good work out. The temperature inside the clubrooms is always pleasantly cool, or even possibly too cool. (My husband and I have different ideas about the ideal temperature for inside.)

Having given the neck tie another run, after leaving my collection of them buried away in various drawers, I am happy to report that I felt nice and cool when I was out today! When I came home, I took off the tie I’d been wearing, and put it in the freezer, to keep cool. When I need it again, I can simply get it out of the fridge, and let it defrost a bit.

These neck ties are definitely a useful thing to have, for people needing to keep cool in the heat. I’d love to know where other people have visited, and needed to keep cool, so they too wore their neck tie for the job. Please leave a comment!

Good, Bad, or Useful? Look at your Life …

Is it mankind’s greatest mistake, to believe in the advertising mantra: ‘I have these things, therefore I am?’ To have many things, equates to nothing really, if you don’t have Self. Self respect, self knowledge, self actualisation, self belief …

As a person dealing with a few challenges in life, as many do also, I know, that things can quite easily change from good to woeful, sometimes. Illness, abuse, disrespect, financial troubles, they can pile up and up until it seems nothing can ever make things go well again. My previous blog post on this blog was this one, where I was touching on the concept of thinking deep things. I suspect this blog post here is even deeper than that previous one.

If you give in and do nothing things won’t change. But if you try things out, as they come along, changes of different kinds are much more likely happen. You need tools though, if you are going to make good and lasting changes. Family and friends who truly care about you, that’s the best tool. These are the ones who you have to trust, and believe. They may be watching you as you destroy yourself, as you hold, perhaps, to toxic people who don’t really love you at all.

If you’re wondering about these things, and whether you life could be better, this could be a useful first step:
Make a list of the people in your life, family, friends, and others. Mark each person as Good Bad or Useful
Then write up all of the Good people, the Bad Ones and the Useful.

Some of the people can be in more than one list, if so, write a short note about when they are in each list. For example you may put down a workmate who has been fun to be with, but who is also competing for the same jobs you are … write it down.

Then go through your lists again and this time, list the ways each person is in that group. You may realise a person in your ‘good’ list actually has more ‘bad’ things … you have to think carefully, and weigh it all up.

Fun to be with, but never pays their way, leaving you happy for one night, but unable to pay your rent? You have to think about it, and think hard, looking at what is in your own best interests. I hope you realise which list they should go in.

You may know others who are not much fun at all, really, but they are dependable, and will be there if you need them. These are people to cherish, get to know then better, learn what they enjoy doing, you may be surprised, and find they become real friends, in the good times, not just the bad times.

Think about your Self. Who are the ones who care about who you really are. Who can help you understand how to attain the deeper things that may be there for you? Who might show you ways to make yourself proud first, so others can see that, and realise you are worthy of respect …

If there are toxic people in your Bad list, they may not like the new you, but hopefully, you will have people in your Good or Useful lists to help you cut out the toxic ones, and move away from them.

There are organisations to help in some ways too, explore them, add them to your Useful list, or even you Good list, if you can make good connection with them. Community groups, service groups, medical people, these can go in your good or useful lists.

If there are organisations from your past that lead you down bad paths, add them to the Bad list too. There may be a venue where things have shallow appeal, but with bad results, such as hotels where toxic others hang out, or gambling establishments where you have lost much needed money. Add them all to your Bad list.

Doing thing like this, from time to time, when things seem headed in bad directions, they can help, certainly as a starting point. If you get help from others, these notes
can be invaluable resources to share with you helpers, who will be ‘in the loop’ and understand your situation better, and so be able to better target their assistance.

I believe it’s people, not things, that are the most important. I’d love to know what you think about this.

Thinking Deep Things …

I’m not really thinking deep things, not completely. It’s more like considering the thought of thinking deep things, then getting distracted, and thinking a variety of trivial things instead. Sometimes deep thoughts may poke their heads up, but then along comes a photo of a puppy or kitten, and I’m off with the trivial again!

Is that a bad thing though? I don’t think so, not really. I make sure the important things get done, by me or by somebody else. Bills get paid, plants get watered, Missy (our dog) gets fed and let out for toilet breaks. Clothes get washed, dried and put away too, sometimes by my husband, sometimes by me. 

Well, actually, the putting way of clothes is definitely my job, as heavy work in the garden is definitely my husband’s job. We’ve been working at sorting these things out over the many years of our marriage, and I think we’re doing a good job of it. We both know I have some issues from my chronic illness of Multiple Sclerosis, but we also both know I am capable of some things.

How many things though is something only I know, at the time. I may think in the morning I can do something, then the time for it comes, and fatigue has hit me. I don’t know when that will happen, but I do know some of the things that may bring on fatigue. I work hard at limiting those things, which leads to a much better life for me, and for everyone!

Stress is a major cause of fatigue, and hot, humid weather can cause it too. Today is hot and humid, but I have the air conditioner on, and I’m being careful to keep inside as much as possible. The dog doesn’t like hot weather either, so her toilet breaks are refreshingly fast!

I have been working on something involving thinking today too though. One of my volunteer jobs is to put together a newsletter for my local town, the Mallala Crossroad Chronicle. It comes out monthly, and I have to get it finished and sent off to be printed tomorrow, so it’s ready to be distributed before the Christmas break. I’m pleased with how this newsletter is looking so far, and I certainly expect it will be all done before close of business today.

So some deep non-trivial thinking has certainly been happening today on my part. I have consulted with providers of material for the December issue, I have placed various things in various places in the newsletter. Some of it is fun, some serious. I am very proud of this newsletter, and I know others in the Mallala community appreciate getting it to read, once a month!

I’ve also had some random thoughts on religion, politics, the weather and climate change, and grief. Only the weather made it into the Newsletter, the other things were for my own ‘amusement’. If you are interested, the Mallala has its own Facebook page here, where you can look at each issue of the Mallala Crossroad Chronicle in glorious colour (the copies I deliver around the place are in black and white).

Mindfulness Meditation

I look at the way my life is flowing along nicely, and I am glad. Things happen, necessary things. Some of them happen because of me, some because of others. Bills paid, groceries purchased, we eat well and live comparatively well.

Illness is always there in our lives, in our household, even our dog has a chronic illness that requires treatment, including tablets twice a day! But the tablets are also purchased, Missy takes the (disguised) half tablet when given to her, and she allows to have her eyes treated with her medicated gel.

Missy is almost mindful sometimes, although other times she gets very loud and excited. There was a cat close by this morning. I could hear Missy barking, but I knew my husband was outside and he would deal with whatever it was. I felt calm, but interested to kjnow what the uproar was about. It was the same cat that’s been around before. Missy couldn’t get to it, the cat left, and all became calm again.

At the moment, Missy is lying down in the next room waiting for my husband to get home again. I’ll let her out again in a few minutes, she’ll go out, pee, possibly roll around on the grass then lie down on it. She loves rolling around on the grass, and I wish I could see into her head and know exactly how it feels for her – it looks like it must be something very special, the way she gets into it … It looks like some blissful thing indeed!

She’s lying down with her head toward the door at the moment – Is she being mindful? Or is she possible meditating? I will never know, but I am a writer, so I can imagine, and make up stories about how it may be for her, or for another, possibly imaginary dog. I’ve written three books about a dog, a made up dog, named Buster the Dog. These books were fun to write. In the books, I pretend I am Buster the Dog. The first book was about Gardening, the second about Mindfulness, and the third was about the Dog Buddha.

I felt very happy writing these books, and getting the illustrations from a clever friend. The books have more than paid for themselves financially, and also have given me and other people much fun and happiness with my words. I like making other people smile, and even sometimes laugh. If I can keep on doing that with my words, what a glorious life that will be. 

I try to be mindful, I think on things and then react, most of the time. Sitting at peace, outside, at one with Nature there for me, the grassed backyard, the trees, birds, the sky with clouds, or sun. The world is all there, waiting for me to do the things I need and want to do, good things, good times … My mind is at peace sitting outside, or even where I am right now, on the sofa, window to my left, where I can see different trees, and birds who come along for a drink from the bird baths our there. 

Life surely is good. I always work to remember that, and remember that every bit of good I can do, will add to the greater good for all. A fine thought, surely – one I’d like everyone to take up and think on, and do, as well.

Exercising Does Help!

As a person with the chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), who is managing quite well, really, I am a good example of a few different things. These are not in any particular order, and some days one will feel the most helpful than at other times. So here is the list:

  1. Exercising
  2. Having a nutritionally sound diet
  3. Living with as little stress as possible
  4. Finding the best medication to help
  5. Having a positive attitude in life

My exercise program is very much an on and off again thing. At the moment, it’s mostly very much On, and I’m feeling the benefits of that, I think. I feel capable of physically doing the things I want and need to do, and I certainly like that! I am a member of the MS Society SA & NT and on their Facebook site recently they had a program of six weeks of challenges, where interested people could indicate their chosen challenge, and report on it and encourage others doing their own challenges. My challenge was to do ten minutes of exercise every day, so I tried to switch on our Wii Fit machine to do at least that much or more exercise, with the machine. Six weeks is a good length of time to set a habit, and now I feel as if something is wrong if I don’t switch the machine on in the morning, unless I am busy doing something else. So far I’ve lost a little bit of weight, which is good, but I also feel stronger, which is great!
hula hoop for blog

My diet is pretty well a good diet, I get sufficicient nutrients from eating fruit, vegetables, some grains (not enough probs), nuts, and some meat. I also have a moderate amount of coffee, because I love it, but I make sure not to overdo it, and to only drink coffee later in the day if I am going out, and will be home late. I try to remember to drink sufficient water too (not eight cups of water, because I don’t need that much, I’m a small person, and not a super athelete or physical labourer.

IMAG0304

(the plant above is Purslane, a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which we now have growing at home, and I am trying to eat some of it every day – trying, but it isn’t a habit yet, I hope it will soon though!)

I am currently trying to move into a secular Buddhist kind of life style, and also am looking at the Stoic philosophy tenets. My natural life attitude seems to be that of an accepting realist, one who looks at life, thinks on it, and deals with what life offers to me, or hits me with. I then deal with whatever that is, in what seems to be the best way possible. I don’t overreact, I simply go on with my life however seems the right way to go, thus reducing stress.

chptr12 pic

(picture by Simon Kneebone)

I was diagnosed with MS in 2010, and my neurologist advised me to use Avonex, which is and injecable medication, used once a week, with an injection directly into the muscle. So soon after learning I had MS, I began jabbing myself in the thigh muscle, left one one week, right one the next week and so on. This went on for around two years, and worked OK, but I was very glad to change medication to a tablet form Gilenya, which is a little tablet taken once a day, every day. This is easy to do, and a much more  pleasant way to have my MS meds, that’s for sure. This medication is helping me even more than the Avonex did, and I can see myself staying with this MS med for a very long time into the future.

Having a positive attitude to life. Hmm, I’m definitely a ‘glass half full’ kind of person. If there is a good side to anything at all, I’ll find it, it’s one of my valuable skills! Anyone I meet could become my next good friend, and I treat every opportunity, at the very least, as a new chance to learn. If things go wrong, wow, what a grand time of learning new things that can be! If and when I do something incredibly stupid, which happens more often than I’d like, well at least that’s one more thing I know I should try hard to avoid happening again! I know many people and I’m glad that I can be friends or at least friendly enough acquaintences. Or if they are truly toxic people, I know I don’t need them, and am comfortable in offloading them …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Life is a crazy mixed up bunch of stuff, and I use my life to measure up the good, the bad, and take what I want from it all! I’m currently putting together some ideas, and wise thoughts of my own, with the plan to make it into a published book at some stage, and I have some other ideas for books to come in the future. Life seems to be a very good thing, from where I’m looking!

I write about these things, and I love to talk to others about these things too! If you need a Public Speaker, ask me, I’ll do it if I can get there!

Being Positive Helps

Having a chronic illness is never a super fabulous thing to have. Whether it’s diabetes, arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, or any one of the many chronic illness that can hit a person, it will bring challenges to your life.  My own chronic illness is MS (multiple sclerosis).

I’m fortunate to be living well enough, with my chronic illness, and I am certainly grateful for that. I have found a medication (Gilenya), and a way to live my life that helps to keep my symptoms at a low level. I’m careful to eat well (plenty of fruit vegetables, not too much saturated fats or salt), and to exercise my body. I also think good thoughts, concentrating on the good things in life.

hula hoop for blog

I firmly believe in the good that can come from having a postive attitude to life, concentrating on the good things, not the negative bad things. There has been reputable investigation into this very issue, about the good that positivity can do to your body. This article talks on these matters.

I also have a broad circle of friends, see my family members regularly, and am strongly connected with my communiy. These things all add up to a fine, fun, and fabulous life, chronic illness, huh, step outa the way, I’m busy having a good time!

phun phlower photo