I’ve blogged lots about balance as it relates to mental challenges. I’ve blogged about cancer and mental health. I’ve never blogged about MS but I have donated to it. It’s one of those diseases that isn’t obvious when you look at someone so unless you get to know them you don’t even realize what struggles they go through.
I went to Haiti with a young nurse and mother of 3 who lives with MS. A young friend, Breanne, who went to high school with my son so that’s how young, has MS. She balances her work as a primary years teacher with physical and mental health. She doesn’t let it slow her down and travels extensively despite the fact that MS sometimes makes it tricky to work around. She also regularly goes kayaking and hiking! I’ve also seen the other side of this process when it ravished one of our OR nurses in the prime of her life.
The story below is of a biking friend who speaks frankly with the MS Society about what it’s really like to live with this disease. So here is Kate’s Story.
I’m doing a 75 km bike ride up in Waskesiu in September. I’m riding on Kate’s team and am honoured to have been asked to join such an inspiring group. The ride will fun and maybe a bit painful (old tailbone injury) but more important will be the funds raised by team will go to research and treatment for MS.
This is the link to my Donation Page.
Take care and reflect today on your blessings. I know I am.
Last night’s rain preempted a gravel bike ride, that would have pushed me hard, with two friends who have inspired me. They have been, in turn, inspired by two friends.
Let me set the scene for you. It’s full of people with inspiration, courage, energy, sadness and hope. Continue reading
Sometimes in the midst of chaos there is great beauty. The question is can we stop and recognize it. I think that all the great philosophers must have been gardeners. It gives one time to ponder and draw parallels.
As I grapple with some chaos in my life I am reminded that it’s all about balance. Madly off in all directions with no moderation at all doesn’t allow for equipoise. We all need to build in a daily reminder of gratitude. Then we can sort through the issues and figure out priorities while always keeping our core values staring at us.
I found 5 Vimy Ridge memorial poppies amongst the 2′ tall weeds. Helps bring perspective and balance.
The sunlight dappled through the raspberry patch and while it was a beautiful colour it added a level of complexity to berry picking. The evening tinged light made the ripe berries hard to distinguish.
She thought maybe life’s like a raspberry patch and not a box of chocolates. Chocolates are so pedestrian; mass produced and if you read the key there aren’t even any surprises. It’s all so uniform and easy and she thought that’s not like life at all. Life isn’t easy. Those chocolates are tasty but they lack the smell, feel and taste of victory. Because each bowl of raspberries is a little victory on so many levels and that’s much more like real life is.
No there was much more to it than walking out and picking the big juicy berries on the top. She thought of all the background work that most people don’t ever consider as they eat that berry. How all that time and those little decisions ripple along and collide with the factors we can’t control. The best maintained berry patch can be levelled by a hail storm so intense that there is nothing left but beat up old canes. The new strapping plants growing so pristinely for next year are desecrated.
That’s what life is like she thought. Hail could so be a metaphor for a crisis like a car accident that claims a young life and cripples someone in their grief. Raspberry blight was like that bloody cancer. The one that robs young, old and in betweens of the life they wanted to live. Instead it replaces it with something they never dreamt could happen to them. Cane rot requires the whole patch be burnt and relocated which she reflected, was what those who had lost their relationships or their jobs were often forced to do.
Better to live through a drought, she thought, even though that had its downsides as well. Less berries with a lower quality and perhaps there was some lesson to be learnt there as well. That smaller bowl was worthy of the same respect as the big juicy bowl full of prime berries. That analogy seemed to elude her grasp and yet sat in front of her face but the metaphor wasn’t jumping up at her. Ps late at night these two thoughts intruded: racism and or white privilege.
Pulling her mind back to the picking of the berries she mulled over that the work of keeping raspberries. The mulching, weeding, cutting back of the floricane at the year end so that the primocane could flourish the following year and the disposal of the canes. Those maintenance items were like seeing brushing your teeth, eating properly, getting enough sleep and stretching. Those self care items that people neglect on themselves but will take care of for others or as it turns out for plants. Perhaps the bees were sent along to help like friends do in real life.
But if the care of them was like self care she rationalized then the use of the berries was like the sweet things in life. Preserving the berries for a cold winters day or eating them fresh with farm cream was hugs and laughter all around. And if life handed you little raspberries then make lemonade. Now that was an analogy she could get behind; that some times difficult situations force us to respond to find the best possible outcome. Yes life definitely was like that.
Perhaps I’ve been spending too much time alone in the raspberry patch!
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