Priorities for Healing

I have not posted in quite a while. The past few months have been challenging, but before I share some of the craziness, this is how I chose to focus on my priorities for healing. It is so easy to let your own health take a backseat when there is chaos around you… especially if you are a natural caretaker like me.

A close family member had an anaphylactic episode for the first time. She has the same diagnoses as me, but our trauma center was not familiar with it and did not believe her. She ended up in ICU and I had to be there every day to manage her care with the assistance of our mast cell specialist.

Then, I had an episode of anaphylaxis… that scary throat closing kind. My typical had been more cardiac with low blood pressure and low heart rate previously.

Next came several weeks of crazy low heart rates in the 30’s and 40’s, causing me to be short of breath, lightheaded and unable to stand for more than a few minutes.

Then my husband, Brian, had a freak accident. He fell on some unmarked liquid on the floor of a hospital he was visiting for work. He fractured his lower leg in two places, requiring a long leg cast, no weight bearing and minimal activity to prevent surgery.

Lastly, I celebrated my 60th birthday. I had told Brian two years earlier, as I lay in ICU after an anaphylactic episode, that if I was still alive at 60, I wanted a birthday party. This is significant because I had had so many back to back anaphylactic episodes that my physicians were unable to control, that I was not sure I’d still be here. Plus, I am an introvert and dislike parties. I had never had a birthday party. Brian’s leg mishap occurred right before my party, so my kids and I had to do all of the work. My kids each live 30 minutes and 40 minutes away, so I tried to take the bulk of the responsibility.

Here is what I have learned…
1. I cannot care for everyone else and leave myself to last. Hard lesson for me, the forever nurse.
2. I focused on the things that support my health, both physical and emotional. I cooked food to nourish me, meditated more each day, journaled my feelings and gratitude and let go of non-essentials (like my blog and cleaning).
3. I did more of the things that bring me joy. I fed and watched my birds, pet my loving pet, Buddy, colored in my many adult coloring books and spent time with my kids. They are not really kids at 29 and 35 but they will always be my kids.
4. No guilt allowed, over anything. I did the best I could do, with a heart rate that was so low, I wondered how it was sending enough blood to all of my organs.
5. Because I have such difficulty sleeping, I did not focus on the number of hours I slept (or did not sleep). I went to bed each night with the intention to let my body rest, to meditate and listen to soft music with my earbuds. No stress.
So… my family member survived the anaphylaxis despite the hospital. I survived my anaphylaxis well too. My heart rate is still way too low and my cardiologist is discussing pacemaker with my other specialists. Brian is doing much better. He is now in a short leg cast after 6 weeks in that uncomfortable long leg one. He still has a long way to go, but he’s more independent now, so I can have a bit more time for me. And my birthday party was wonderful! I saw family members that I had not seen in almost a year and couple of close friends who are near and dear to me.

Life is good. Remember to make YOU a priority for healing.IMG_4127

 

If You Only Had One Month Left…

No one likes to think about it, but what would you do differently if you had only one month left here on this earthly plane? The only reason I’m asking this question is because I see so many people living a rushed, stressed life in preparation for the time they can slow down and relax or retire and enjoy their life. What if you don’t get to reach that moment?

So many people spend their lives in high gear, racing around, barely noticing the present moment so they can make as much money as possible now for the day they can enjoy it, only to be to sick, disabled or worse, gone.

I’ve had several brushes with death the past two years and it has reminded me the preciousness of today, now, this moment. I was in the habit of living in the present moment anyway but here of some of the things I have amped up:

  • Spend as much time as possible with my kids (34 and almost 28), depending on their busy schedules
  • Make date time with my husband of 11 years a priority
  • Continue to be a minimalist- less stuff with each move and this will be our 6th move in 12 years
  • As has been my habit for many years, keep eating, sleeping and exercise a priority. With 2 rare diseases often kicking my butt, supporting myself in all the other health areas is so very important.
  • Do things that bring me joy and peace, whether that’s meditating, watching funny animal videos or petting my constant companion, Buddy.
  • Truly understand that my time here is borrowed and find love and beauty in simple everyday things.

I often share with friends, family and clients that it’s easy to find joy when you’ve had so many near-death experiences, but why wait for something so dramatic? Think of the things you would do if you only had that one month left and start doing them now. 

I would love to have you share with me what you will do differently or what you already do.

Carrie                                                                                 Christopher

CarrieChristopher

Joy in the Journey

A friend gave me a very special gift today. (see photo below) She, like me and many others I work with, is on a health journey. Some of us are working towards better sleep, weight loss, more energy or some just want to feel healthier overall.

The problem is many dread the path or journey necessary to get them to their desired “place”. We have become such an instant gratification society that we want everything yesterday.  For example, during an initial consultation, a potential client will tell me they want to lose 30 lbs. in one month. When I explain that my program is about a slow, gentle lifestyle change that they can easily incorporate into their daily life, but not lose 30 lbs. in one month, they are not willing to take the healthier journey.

No matter what we do in life, making healthy lifestyle changes, being a parent, working with co-workers, living with a partner, you name it… finding the joy in the journey makes it so much more satisfying. The dictionary meaning of joy is great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. If the everyday steps of our journey bring us that how easy will it be to reach your goal? And that’s what I do… bring joy to the journey. journey