I have so many things rolling around in my head right now, I am not even sure where to begin this blog. This past week or so has been a simultaneously rough, wonderful, standard, unexpected, frustrating, and relaxing week. Between saying goodbye to one way of life, embracing new people into your life, and trying to see every challenge also as an opportunity – my head and emotions are spinning!

I learned something new while at my fave doctor’s office this week – that MS can create stomach motility issues which in turn can affect one’s ability to eat, increase nausea, etc. So they will be sending me for barium testing which follows the barium through the entire GI tract to see how the food gets digested. Did you know that if your tummy does not empty properly, it can create nausea? I sure didn’t. It turns out that they aren’t so much concerned about my nausea as they are that I get full so fast – portion size is definitely no longer an issue for me! So while the nausea is a challenge, there is an opportunity here for me to learn more about how MS is affecting my body, and share it out with you all as information that may be helpful to someone somewhere.

A weekend of Yoga training at our Teacher training was challenging and wonderful – challenging in that my MS fatigue was in full force – so I struggled more on the mat than I expected to, again facing the moments of despair (“I can’t do this!”) to euphoria (“I did it!”). But it was another opportunity for me to listen to my body, honour its needs – whether it be my spine and muscles screaming out that they are unhappy so modifying to a less challenging pose, to my MS fatigue making me loopy, dizzy, and word-challenged so honouring that there is no need for me to be the class clown and come up with jokes all the time.

My sister is visiting me this next little while, and we have challenges and opportunity together. She has her own health issues to consider, so both of us are facing the same challenges and opportunities – challenges to honour our own health needs while we face the opportunities to help each other out. I must admit there is a certain Big Sister pleasure in finally getting a chance to “torment” my baby sister with helping her and checking on how she feels frequently. Two Alpha women in a small home together, strong-willed, and stubborn – each trying to make sure the other is comfortable and taken care of properly. My sons find us hysterically funny! (Just call it a bit of sisterly payback! Love you, BH!)

On a sadder note, my loyal and aging companion Nicky, is facing health challenges of his own, poor old puppy. His knee, previously injured in our car accident in 2008, blew out this week. I will be taking him in for a full diagnosis – but at this point serious surgery and weeks of immobility are looking likely. This raises issues of concern for my family regarding my own heath, because Nick is not a small dog, and they are concerned for the toll caring for a seriously injured and/or disabled dog would have on my own health.  My sister already suspects that I may have had a nocturnal seizure in the middle of the night earlier this week when I was hitting my fatigue peak. As a result, I have different considerations than the average family when dealing with a seriously ill pet, and the reality of my own health situation relative to my family’s needs, including my pet, hits me full in the face when having to look at it all realistically. But – That is a bridge we will have to cross together as a family – a challenge and opportunity if I ever faced one.

When life gets a bit crazy like this, my favorite thing to do is walk in the trees. I had a chance to do a focused meditation walk earlier this week at York Redoubt park. The morning was sunny and frosty, the air was crisp and clean-smelling. While my habit has always been to watch the path in front of my feet, so that I don’t trip given my sometimes uncertain footing, this time I found my eyes drawn repeatedly to the sky, to the play of the leaves against the blue sky – so crisp, so gentle, so striking. And I had a bit of an epiphany as I looked up and savoured the fall colours of yellow, orange, red, and green against the blue sky, feeling the roots and rocks beneath my feet as I continued to move forward without looking at where I was going: no matter where we go in life, if we trust ourselves fully, the path will always be forward no matter how many times we may stumble. As that thought struck me, I came around a corner in the trail, into a patch of bright sunlight on a bit of a hill overlooking the water – and a pure white quartz rock lay at my feet. I chose to take that stone as an opportunity – an opportunity to recognize that maybe I had just received a confirmation of sorts.

I don’t know what will unfold over the next days…but challenges and opportunities abound, don’t they?