“Kim, I haven’t seen you for so long…”
“Kim, I noticed you don’t post very often on Facebook anymore…”
“Kim, I haven’t heard from you in months…”
These are the comments I hear most often.
Sometimes I just stop hearing from people altogether. I totally get why.
Today, I’m coming clean about my life
It’s not that I’ve been keeping secrets. I’ve been trying to navigate a chronic health condition with grace, which is tricky. It’s taken me the last three years to sort myself out and I’m still learning. Chronic, as in daily ongoing pain or discomfort, for me, is a state that produces a myriad of thoughts and emotions to wade through. It’s an experience rich and full of divine texture, but it’s quite a balancing act.
What’s the health condition?
It’s a complicated, neurological immunity disorder. It affects all of the body systems. How does something like this occur? A collection of factors, that do not begin overnight come together to create the perfect storm. (I will be writing about it in the future.) At the onset, one internal system gets out of whack and begins to borrow support from other systems. If not caught, one by one the other systems become shaky as well until collectively they all now need support and restoration. It’s a miracle really, the way our bodies work to keep us functioning.
The disorder causes me to experience a variety of daily symptoms. Some of them are pretty gnarly. I choose the word “experience” on purpose. As part of the experience the symptoms are free to leave at any time. If I refer them as “my condition,” or “my disorder,” they sound permanent, don’t they? I do my best to keep things neutral.
My plan, in this post, is to speak from the heart and keep my intentions clear. I plan to share just enough to help you understand how I got to the place where I’d consider something as drastic as a fundraiser for myself. It’s been a big, big decision. The Warrior part of me has had to yield and understand-sometimes Warriors need help too.
The balancing act, the balance I strive for is the maintenance of a healthy perspective. I must consciously choose to keep my view attuned to the higher plan. Because toxic feelings will make a condition worse, I must allow myself to experience feelings of frustration, sorrow, loneliness. I need to honor the loss of “the things I was once capable of.” Then, I need to let go of sadness so I may transition back to hope. Hope is where the healing is. I always find my way back to the belief that no matter how long symptoms have been hanging out with me, this too shall pass.
Sometimes I don’t tell others what’s going on because it’s hard enough to manage my own feelings. I hope you care about what I’m going through, but I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Pity and sympathy are heavy energies to process, while compassion and empathy are energetically supportive. How to be really supportive to a person experiencing illness? Visualize the person you care about as healthy and whole. That’s working with creator energy. I hope you see me in your mind as a healthy, whole and vibrant. That version of me is available. I affirm it.
What follows is the short of it…
The truth is that I’ve been sick for years now. So unwell that life’s a hazy blur. I sometimes don’t feel like I’m here on Earth. Life has shrunk so small that I now choose between things like washing my hair or going to get groceries. Days are designated as either outdoor or indoor. On the outdoor days I push myself to get supplies to last through the indoor ones. I find it hard to clean the house and hard to take care of myself.
Every choice I make is an assessment~what will it cost me energetically?
Inside the confines of my own neighborhood I look somewhat like a bag lady. No make up, big messy hair, tank tops, sweatpants and flip flops. When I’m out, though, you’ll never be able to tell what energetic compromises I made to leave my house that day. I might yawn in front of you, or speak slowly and stumble on my words a bit. I might have a baseball hat on because I couldn’t do my hair. But, if you see me, you probably won’t notice anything. You’d have to look deep into my eyes to see what’s going on. Why? Because I look fine on the outside.
People often encourage me to get out of the house and go to support groups or to meet a friend for coffee, telling me, “You’ll feel better once you get there.” They’re right. I do. I appreciate every moment that I spend with friends. What may be hard for you to fathom is that, for me, engaging at all- talking, listening, connecting the two together to have a coherent and fully present conversation- that, my friends, actually uses my mind which uses my energy. Talking to, or seeing friends isn’t a complaint. The visit simply factors into my assessment. I have to plan for that use when I’m balancing my energy account.
The mantras I used to use don’t work anymore. “Power through it.” “Suck it up.” “Shake it off.” “Have some coffee,” or “Just set your mind to it.” Applying these now has a major consequence.
If I make an incorrect assessment about my energy reserves I become overdrawn. The energy deficit (E.D.) is a harsh creditor that doesn’t negotiate. E.D. is a thug who doesn’t care if I’m out of food or will miss a doctor’s appointment. When he catches up to me, he rips the life force from me.
As a second example of symptoms- there’s the neurological stuff, which can be terrifying. I have to consciously resist the stories and “what if’s” that Fear tries to lull me into. The most seductive Fear draws my concern to my lack of family in the U.S. There’s just me and my mom. Fear asks me: Where are you going to be in twenty years if you can’t improve your brain function? Will you be alone? Will anyone care?
To counteract those fears I choose to stay in the moment. In daily life, however, when I’m in the moment, they sometimes are moments of panic. Isn’t it normal for a human being to have a first reaction of panic when they suddenly don’t know where they are? I may forget what store I’m in. Or, why I’m there. I find myself wondering if this is what Alzheimer’s feels like. In other moments my brain will stop helping me turn thoughts into words (yet my mind is present and totally knows what’s going on.) It’s then that I wonder if that’s what Autism feels like.
More truth? There’s something I keep doing that I know isn’t helping. It’s costing me what little precious energy I have and it’s a big part of why I’m asking for help. It’s my biggest Catch 22. More about that below.
Why ask for help now?
Recently, I went to my first group meeting specifically for immunity type illnesses. There, I learned that things can get even worse. One woman said she’d been living with a Chronic Fatigue disorder since the late 70’s. Another person mentioned, way too casually, the 3 year stretch when he didn’t get out of bed. Naturally, I freaked out. This was the catalyst that propelled me to here. (It dawned on me- I need a health sponsor! So if you want to sponsor me, I’m willing to wear your company logo t-shirts…around my house. Smile.) In all seriousness, I sure hope this post will inspire some lovely people of the world to help me. 🙂
I need to do something NOW. For seven years or so I’ve watched my life shrinking in slow motion. The last three years have been challenging, the last year even more so. My functionality appears to be declining.
“You wrote the book on having a Life of Substance and being New From the Inside Out. Do you feel like a Fraud?”
I was once asked this very honest question and I think it’s a great one. To answer:
Is my life still A Life of Substance in it’s small, limited state? I certainly think so. I’m willing to serve every day and no act of love or kindness is “small.” I may not be out making speeches in front of thousands of people, but I’m always right where I need to be when the Creator calls upon me.
I do not feel like a fraud. Not one little bit. I feel human and fallible, like we all are. But mostly, I’m grateful for all that I learned while writing New From the Inside Out. I have precious memories of those months when I felt great, believed I was healthy, and was filled with sheer Joy. To experience them is to know they are possible again!
I shudder to think what my mental state might be had I not been given some insight to lean on. I’ve come to view my mind’s perspective as a Rubik’s Cube. When I’m discontent I shift my thoughts, clicking this way or that way until…ahhh… all of the colors are aligned and I feel better again, simply because I found a view for my situation that gives me peace.
Learning how to adjust your own perception is priceless because your perspective determines your experience. I was blessed to author a book on transforming the mind because it enabled me to see illness as a soul journey.
Illness has resulted in me becoming my own health advocate. I’ve gained a considerable amount of knowledge on how to love and care for the human body in our toxic world.
It’s only a matter of time before more people correlate the less-than-optimal function of their body with their food supply, toxic personal products and the chemicals in their work and home environment. I don’t believe we all have to get sick to make a change. I can hardly wait to have the energy to share what I’ve learned! Maybe I will help someone totally avoid their own illness.
I’ve done everything I know to do to get better. And now the record can state: I need help. I cannot do this on my own.
Did you know that by the time a person gets to an “immunity disorder” that conventional medicine is limited in treating the cause? There’s no surgery for this. There’s no simple blood test. Doctors order only the blood tests that are “normal” for them to order so they can prescribe the corresponding pill. Yet, there’s a whole host of new and exciting blood work that can reveal root causes. A pill doesn’t heal. It band aids the symptom. If you stack years of those pills and band aids on top of each other, you could find yourself in my spot. It doesn’t work.
If you watch Dr. Oz you may already know that there’s a whole other world of healing available. There are blood, urine and saliva tests that can give a snapshot of how your gut is functioning, panels that can tell what body enzymes you are low on, what minerals or vitamins that you are lacking, even specifically what chemicals are overloading your system. There’s a test that can explain why I’ve rapidly developed multiple sensitivities to my own house! You see, the immune system is engaged in an ongoing battle and the antibodies it’s producing tell the tale of what needs to be healed. I’d love to know what’s causing malabsorption; why my body is not getting the nutrients it needs. These types of tests can truly help people like me. Because there are so many systems struggling, it’s hard to know where to start. The right test could show the shortest route back to health.
This is the beginning. After, there’s careful introduction of supplements, tracking, follow up visits and follow up tests. A person on the right path, doing everything just right can take up to a year or longer to heal. If this were about a few hundred dollars, you wouldn’t be hearing from me. Healing a complex disorder is a process and it’s probably more costly than you can imagine. To get a full set of the beginning tests costs more than a thousand dollars.
I’m raising money so I can see the specialists who can help me. Specialists and their protocols come with mega price tags. I know this because I’ve already sold all my furniture and appliances to see them. When money runs out quickly and I can’t continue, my attempts feel futile and frustrating. With the necessary funds I will have the appointments, lab tests, treatments and supplements that stand to change my life! None of these things are luxuries. We are talking about health.
It’s not just about treatments, there have been ongoing unexpected costs adjusting to a strangely different life. My body has staged an all out revolt. As a result of the disorder I have developed multiple allergies and sensitivities, most of which came on literally over night. With the flick of a switch I’m suddenly allergic to the perfume I’ve worn for years, household cleaners choke the air out of me, gluten makes me want to hurl, dairy wreaks havoc on my sinuses, saline solution burns my eyeballs like a blow torch and my regular brand of eye shadow swells my eyelids. Can I get a what the heck? Yeah. What the heck? It takes time, energy, research and money to swap out toxic products for non-toxic ones. But again, this would be valuable information I’m happy to share.
The Catch 22
I feel desperate inside at times, like I cannot endure one second longer. I mean, come on, it’s been seven years already! Although I’m very grateful for the disability income (that I earned while I was a workaholic), disability is not like winning the lottery. My health expenses outweigh my income. I have to create additional income. I’ve tried selling things on Ebay, Craigslist and Amazon. I’ve held garage sales and also turned small furniture items into little works of art.
While pushing myself physically to make the money I need I set myself up to crash energetically. That’s the big Catch 22 of my world.
As I mentioned above the energy deficit creditor is a thug. When it collects what’s overdue, my brain shorts out, body systems crash and I find myself in bed or staggering around in a walking coma. It’s a vicious cycle, one created because I haven’t had the money necessary to support myself and heal at the same time.
Financial concern is also a constant, slow siphoning of energy. Continued low level stress exacerbates every dysfunction within and steals energy from the body that could be used for healing.
Soul journey or no soul journey, I must do something practical to meet my human needs. So, I hope you’ll consider donating to my cause!
I’m a hope addict.
In addition to using creative outlets, it’s been Hope, that has helped me survive the last seven years. When I have a new idea or discover a new healing method, I am in the sweet spot with Hope. Using hope I imagine positive potential outcomes and bathe myself in that lovely sensation. While I love this spot and it’s sensation, there’s a spot that follows it if you plan to launch Hope into action.
Hope is attached to an idea which is attached to me. My hope doesn’t go out into the world without me. Once it’s released it will either soar to it’s potential…or not. When it’s time for an idea to leave the nest, I’m there with it- only I’m five years old again. I move to the edge of the cliff called a leap of faith and look down. I move back. I stare out into the unknown and talk to myself. Sometimes I make fun of the five-year-old me for daring to dream in the face of all the previous disappointments. I’m not sure I want to let go of my hope yet. What if it doesn’t work out? I’m afraid of being hopeless.
What I’m saying, is that I feel like I’m taking a chance with this post and I’m scared. What if no one understands how hard this is for me to do? It feels like a last resort. What if no one cares?
In order for me to hit the publish button I will start clicking the Rubik’s cube in my mind looking for the combo that will unlock Faith. I reflect on all of the markers that pointed me this way. I remember all the times before that I was scared and that I made the decision to feel the fear and do it anyway. I’ve done it before and will do it now because I’m still alive.
Right now, I’m standing at the edge of the nest that’s hanging over a cliff, wondering if my hope will reach it’s potential this time. This is my life. I want to fly.
How you can help~
1. Buy my books on Amazon. (Woot!) Living In The Rear View Mirror: From Substance Abuse to a Life of Substance or
2. Help me spread the word about the books if you like them. Tell your friends. Leave a positive review if you like what you read! (Woot. Woot.)
4. Or, the most helpful…hit the Donate button in the left side column and do your thing. (Woo hoo!)
Thank you so much for reading!
Peace & Love,
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© 2013 Kim Vazquez All rights reserved. www.kimvazquez.com You may make copies of this message and distribute in any media as long as you change nothing, credit the author, and include this copyright notice and web address.