“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” -Walter Anderson

Source: http://www.despair.com

Wow – it’s been longer than I thought since my last blog. I had all the best intentions in the world…but I got overwhelmed. I got overwhelmed by work, by my own work ethic (can you say Over-Achieving Super Mom?), by my body’s inability to keep up with the workload, and by medication choices that were put in front of me due to medication side effects.

Work-wise…well, bottom line is that when the poop hits the fan, the work has to get done. All my years of training have created in me a work ethic that ensures I meet deadlines. Period. This means that when something needs to get done, I get it done where I can (even if it is not “my job”). This ethic conflicts with my energy levels in that my body says “Yeah, whatever. The work will still be there tomorrow – I am taking you down now.” As a person with high expectations of herself, that is a hard pill to swallow. For me – that is a signal that I need to do more gentle yoga and mindful meditation to practice better “non-attachment”. I am on a much needed week-off right now as I pushed myself in recent weeks to the extreme limits in order to meet deadlines and makes sure the workshop my colleague and I were facilitating went well.

Medications-wise…AAAAARRRGGGHHHH! That part is just plain frustrating. The side effects of some medications are often worse that the illness they are treating!!!! And the most frustrating part of it is that every individual reacts differently to medications, so you don’t know what side effects will impact you until you are actually on the medication. Currently, in order to lesson the side effects of my seizure drug (Keppra) and tackle MS Pain and sleep problems, I am starting an additional new seizure drug called Vimpat, with the intent to get to lowest doses of both together so that we minimize side effects and maintain the success rate of seizure control. This one is so new, that little is known other than clinical trials. SO…basically, I had to decide if the risk of trying this new drug is worth the potential side effects. Is it worth it?

It is often the choices we have to make that can paralyze us. For example, in going through the seizure med options with the doc, I found that my choices boiled down often to the following:

  • drug a – weight gain, hair loss, psychosis
  • drug b – weight loss, hair loss, documented significant drop in IQ (as much as 20 points in some cases!!!)
  • drug c – weight gain, rash, double vision
  • and so on….

So – my choices are: fat and bald, and potentially out of my mind; skinny and bald and “stupider” (pardon the choice of word); fat, itchy, and trouble seeing…and the list goes on.

It was alot easier for me when I decided to stop the MS meds – the only other option afforded me has a side effect of death due to brain issue, so even the docs agreed to keep me of the MS drugs. For the seizures though it is another story – the meds may save my life, no matter the side effects. My seizures are violent and sudden, and each time I have had one i have been significantly injured in some way, so the docs are not eager to see me off them for my own safety.

Erg.

This is where the overwhelm can hit hard – sometimes I just want the whole thing to stop. Just stop. I get tired of having to choose. I get tired of having to think of what effects my choices will have on me, on my family, on my work and on my ability to work. I don’t want to have to make decisions between Poop Box A, and Crap Box B. I can find myself exhausted and overwhelmed, not just by the meds themselves, but the choices of what we are willing to give up while on that particular med in order to maximize the positive benefits of that same med. And that can also lead to tears of frustration and even anger at being in the situation to begin with – anger at your body, anger at the disease, anger at the situation in general.

This is when I turn to yoga the most – it helps keep me centred, or re-centre me when I have lost my focus. It helps me see the situation from a more non-attached prespective, and see the moment for what it is. There are many different ways to go about dealing with the emotions, but the most important thing is to never give up.

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” -Charles R. Swindoll

Namaste

Carolyne

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