Sunday, December 31, 2017

Why Our Family does Not Celebrate New Years ( But it's Ok if you do!) or Make New Year's Resolutions. Taylor Swift's Good Year of 2017. 2018 Beginnings and Beating the January Blues.

*I have written a version of this blog post every year, but every year I feel it is worth repeating. I copy and paste my old post, make a few relevant changes, and post it, with the hopes that it will reach the people who need to hear it.*

The new year often goes unmarked for our family. Sometimes I am still awake at midnight and I hear the fireworks of the neighbours and their cheers. I smile slightly but have no inclination to get out of my comphy bed. I love that they want to celebrate. I also appreciate those who make resolutions or words they want to live by. There have been certain years where we set the clocks back and and at 8:00 pretended to count down with our kids...

Until the fateful year we joked about what we did at mealtime one Eve...and we were shocked at their tantamount tantrums. Our children are usually easygoing, but my daughter ran to her room sobbing. My sons both flopped their faces INTO their supper bowls. I have pictures of their crying faces covered in rice. And I could not stop laughing. I know, I am horrible that way. I was so shocked at their heightened reactions that it spurred me into laughter. Which only deepened when they came up for air from their stir fry bowls and were covered in rice. My husband and I were gasping for breath we were laughing so hard.

Later on we had a family discussion. I realized what they were truly upset about was the fact that they naively trusted us...and we broke that trust. It was actually the first time, at ages 11, 9, and 7 that they had experienced the fact that maybe their parents were fallible and not always reliable. In hindsight, I think that is pretty impressive. At first, I felt guilty about causing such chaos. But then I realized that at some point they need to take steps of independence away from us. They also need to know that we will not always be there in the ways they want us to be. And if we could talk them through it, and help them see why parents sometimes do this sort of thing ( give a celebration but fake the time to protect sleep ect.) maybe they will feel less guilty about survival when their time comes.

We did mini celebrations because we felt obligated to. New Years Eve is a World Wide Cultural Event for many. It was one of the last traditions, in a growing pile, to go for us. (We still have some traditions.) We thought that we SHOULD ring in the New Year. We felt that we were depriving our children of experiences thus we would throw some sort of event together last minute. We would usually be exhausted. However, It was fun when our attempt at some sort of festivity happened, but in general most of our New Years Eves were pretty ordinary (minus the lovely ones we spent with a single gal friend who felt like part of our family.) None of us are party people...Well, perhaps my daughter is sometimes so we try to appease her in this regard occasionally or find alternative ways for her to experience the social fun she craves. We are a family that does not look to the next big long weekend or holiday for our fun. We like the day to day. While we did hold on to a few key big events like Christmas or Birthdays, in general, we prefer the ordinary beautiful. Although, as Tolkien remarks, "It is no small thing to celebrate a life." Celebrations and markers of events can be important to the human experience. I am not negating that and I know for each person, the choices will vary.

Near the end of our New Year's death, I would participate in the "words for the year" that were popular. But even in the tough years where I needed a word for the new year to inspire me to live the next, it felt false. It simply did not match my journey. The word would change within a month or two. I often felt that it was like giving a post title to a blog post that was not written yet. Some people write their titles first to get their story going. I have never been one of those people. As you can probably tell from my horribly long, convoluted, laughable blog post titles. I write them as an afterthought and try to cover the main points. Titles will never come first for me. It's not wrong. It just is not me. I need to write my story first and then give it a title as an afterthought. Or at times, if I do mark a new year it is usually my Birth Day...the start of an official new year for me. Even at those times, I am careful about my goals and write them loosely. Goals are important to a psyche but only if the goals are flexible and if they do not set the tone for our entire existence or give us our meaning.

I really used to struggle with expectations and do still at times, but in general, I have found that any expectation for a year can not possibly be met in the way I hope it will. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse. I want to live in the NOW. I like to go to sleep on New Years like every other night and wake up to a fresh day of opportunity, heart ache and delight... like every other day. Perhaps part of it is that I am an Aspie and prefer gradual transitions? Perhaps my idealism hopes that if I treat each day as a possibility- no more and no less- I can simply BE? Whatever the case, I feel I am healthier if I do not mark New Years.

There are other holidays I mark that others do not feel significance for. It really comes down to personality. I do not resent the go getters who party on New Years and make lists of ambitions. It simply is not me. I hope they do not resent that I like the night and new day to be as ordinary and extraordinary as it is every other day. I feel this way of mine prepares me more for the onslaught of messages that try to tell me that getting healthier, achieving status, getting money, being free or whatever will FINALLY make me feel better or have a good year. I have had health, status, money and freedom- immense privileges but with them I have also had sickness, insignificance, poverty and restriction and I have found that BEING through all of these has brought enrichment. In some of the privileges I learned and in some of the hardships I learned, but in ALL I WAS. I guess that is what I celebrate on New Years, but what I also try to celebrate each day when I wake up...that I am alive, that I am grateful for the breath I am breathing and will continue to choose at this moment, to make it what it IS.

Goals and expectations and words for the year are all fine in theory. In fact, I love reading some of my friend's posts on these mindful pursuits, but for my personal story they don't fit. I have struggled too much in the past with living up to an ideal I put in my mind. I have found the years I thought would be the best, turned out to be ordinary or the worst. I have found that the years set up to start horridly have ended in beauty, and some years have just been really hard. But, if I really think upon it not EVERY moment was hard. I smiled at points. I became. I had some beauty. The years that have been beautiful in sum- have had tears and pain. We often forget about the multitude of moments that make up our years. Profound is in the day to day ordinary with no marked words of description to describe, yet the fact of Being brings out contentment. The things I want to hold close to my heart are already in it. What I want for who I am, is already inside.

This MOMENT, this moment is what I have. I chose to share it briefly with you, because I know I also have something to contribute to the conversation. Those who write goals and ambitions also have something to contribute just as those who do nothing at all. 2017 was a political year. Many called it one of the most miserable years. Taylor Swift got in trouble for saying it was a great year. THAT is how jacked up our system has become. We call anyone on everything that is not "appropriate,""fair," or make sure that statements are checked for "white privilege." The people who call for "free speech" ironically cross words off of other's vocabulary or reign in freedom of speech and call it "hate speech." There IS hate speech and I don't support it. But banning words or not allowing people to express themselves is not the way to fight it. It is getting ridiculous. I used to be a social justice warrior, and in some senses I still am, but not one who is carried away by such statements. Why can we not see the beauty, the balance and the living even in terrible times? So what if Taylor Swift had a good year? In reality, she did...and it does not mean that she didn't experience heartache, grief or apprehension. She simply enjoyed the fruits of her labour in a tumultuous time in history. She also actively chose not to participate in controversial subjects. This doesn't make her less brave, she simply has a personality who chooses to use her bravery elsewhere. Good on her. I also applaud the people who reach out to their own and actively make a difference in lives because of their own hardship. We don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Why waste time judging it? Some of us can do this, others can not.

A party or an ordinary day on New Years is the perfect way to ring in the New Year...but it's only perfect if it suits you. If it makes you a better person, a more compassionate person, an ordinary person who sees ordinary as extraordinary or a person who thrives on existence- then go for it!  If you are an introvert who likes to avoid all New Year's festivities and likes to lay low through the January Blues - embrace that. If you are an extrovert who prefers to party hard through the January Blues- embrace that. January is hard because of the weather, the post Christmas bills or because of the way we agonize over the old and new year...What if beauty and life is just in the daily?

We are all hiding and exploring in our varied ways. Regardless we each have to face ourselves. It is better if we face ourselves with honesty and perception into who we really are instead of living an expectation or a word or a list of what we should be... or worse, sanctioning those around us for what we think THEY should be. Let's work on ourselves first, eh? Yet, if those lists and words truly show your soul- they are part of the experience too. BE what you need to BE because that is what is brave.

Happy Right NOW. Yes, we all need a will to try. But it can be moment to moment. May your right NOW be filled with all you need for the next minute. May you find contentment and beauty already. You are already standing on what you need. You ARE.

And for those that still love to hear it...I celebrate with you in spirit the beautiful hardship of endings, and the hopeful beginnings, so Happy New Year! A little more cheer, happiness and love through out the world and genuine well wishers of any beauty are ALWAYS a good thing. 

This is our family's theme song. Love it.

Imagine- John Lennon

 I still love this song regardless...I also apply it to every day...Happy New Day:)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Photo Catch up and "Here you Come Again; " An Ode to Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness. The 'Wasted Days'.

You may have clicked on the label and are looking for this specific post on Lyme. I included a few more posts where I reference it but this is the one I actually talk thoroughly about Lyme Disease:

*I apologize to my regular readers who are NOT chronic illness sufferers for the many posts I have written this year on my condition. I know it is a lot. But I think this is how I am coming to terms with the new me...writing about it. I also feel that Mono last February weakened my immunity and set my chronic improvements back further than I anticipated. Thus, I have been focusing on this aspect in my writing to come to a point of acceptance. I do feel I have other topics and posts within me, in this new year, but for now, I need to get this out there. I have had at least two attacks a month lately. Which is more than my average of four a year with other more manageable symptoms in between. It's hard on the soul, so the soul needs to speak. Thank you for your patience. This post is also sprinkled with photos of the beautiful moments I have had lately because there have also been MANY. It also shows the contrasts of what is seen, and what is felt. In some of these photos I was at 40% . The dressed up ones with my daughter I was at a lovely 80% of what is generally my 'good normal' (which is what I call fantastic!) and when I was at my lowest I didn't take pictures because I was huddled in bed unmoving...but you get the idea that it is a roller coaster and a hidden illness...which means- I can look pretty average most of the time. *

"Here you come again
Just when I've begun to get myself together..."

A chronic condition is one that lasts or is persistent in it's effects. Yet, for many sufferers of Chronic illness, life can be a roller coaster of moments that are "almost normal" fooling the patient into believing they are improving, only to worsen quickly in a short span of time. It often feels to me like my condition takes over just when I think I've made it through a long time period without major effects.

"You waltz right in the door
Just like you've done before...
And wrap my heart 'round your little finger" (or my body...)

Sometimes it feels like Lyme disease (or Anemia or Endometriosis or Fibromyalgia or Thyroid or ect. ect. Insert any co- condition or primary chronic illness here) are an entity onto themselves. It sometimes feels like the disease is a person who enters my bodily home and decides to take over.

"Here you come again
Just when I'm about to make it work without you.."

Each time I learn new coping mechanisms or healthier habits to 'manage' for awhile and fool myself into believing that 'this time I mostly beat it!'... symptoms manifest and wrap my body around their powerful influences.

"You look into my eyes and lie those pretty lies
And pretty soon I'm wond'rin how I came to doubt you."

No matter how many times I have been down this road I am fooled into believing the lies of health. I believe them when I have gone two weeks without major pain. I think that I must have improved if I managed two full months of the treadmill even WITH pain! Or when I change my diet, switch all my products to organic or natural, de stress, do yoga, practice meditation...the list goes on. But worst of all, I forget the lessons and I have to learn them all over again. The precious lessons that only Chronic illness sufferers learn first hand. The lessons that teach that you can try your best and then let go of the rest. That compassion and easy going acceptance go hand in hand with getting knocked on your butt over and over again. 

"All you gotta do is smile that smile
And there go all my defenses
Just leave it up to you and in a little while
You're messin' up my mind and fillin' up my senses..."

Each time I doubt that my illness will make a comeback, I am proven wrong. There go all my defences that I painstakingly put up, in one foul swoop. In a little while my mind is messed, my senses are backwards and overloaded, and I am in bed wishing for time to pass by. Because time passing by is the only hope for pain removal. Nothing else works. Time passing by is the only way I will not feel the craziness that is the prison of Chronic illness. And then when the worst passes, I fight the fear of dread for the next 'attack.' I remind myself that this beautiful life is what I have. To not focus on the "Wasted days."

(Pictured above: When I tried to quietly read a Christmas Romance novel...this happened. Oh well, they are fantastic distractions I suppose:) 

"Here you come again lookin' better than a body has a right to

And shakin' me up so that all I really know
Is here you come again, and here I go, here I go
And here I go..."

I call my attack days Wasted Days. Because I can never get that time back that I wish away. They shake me up so and all I really know is that they take over and my persona seems to go. But there is no way, while I am in those periods of pain and suffering, that I can do anything else. I can not move or talk or watch or read or text. If someone else moves or raises their voice I feel the rising panic of pain. My family knows what to do. My husband realizes when I am feeling what normal people call "sick" I am a tough cookie...and that is when I will start talking slowly because it is a vast improvement from what otherwise feels like dying.

"And here I go
Here you come again and here I go
Here I go."  (Songwriters: Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil/ Sung by Dolly Parton.)

Here you come again...breaking my self into a million pieces. And it takes weeks after a one day episode to collect the shattered remains. One day of pain equals two weeks of lingering symptoms, paranoia of come backs, and feelings of emotional failure.

My friend also has Lyme disease and two co conditions that I do; Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia. She was in the hospital Christmas Eve. I had my attack Boxing Day. We commiserated together and compared symptoms that were eerily similar. Every time I used to go to the hospital for my attacks I was hooked up to an IV with a high heart rate. They were always concerned about my Pancreas and Gull Bladder but each time those were tested, the tests were after infusions of pain killers (I have had them ALL) that did not work or only worsened how I felt, and multiple bags of re hydration I would be released. I decided that my loathing of hospitals outweighed my need for aid, after this happened multiple times. My fellow Lymie also had the exact procedures done and had the same places checked...because that is where the pain is the worst...Pancreas and Gull bladder. Now I usually stay at home unless I think I am severely dehydrated. I can not manage to drink during an attack because it only makes everything worse.  

(Pictured above- my favourite Christmas gifts made by my kids.)

We spoke about the fact that in this condition of ours, if anything good comes out of it's misery, it's our ability to adapt. Not that adaptation or change is easy for anyone...but for us, we tend to bounce back quicker from major life setbacks or emotional traumas, or pain in general...because that is our life. That is our lesson. We also have learned more compassion for ourselves and those we love around us...flexibility. Belief in the good despite the bad. Savouring of the sweet, ordinary moments that many take for granted. When we feel only 40% ok, we take that as a good day and run with it! We see life through a different lens. We are both known for honouring our time, our bodies and not doing anything we don't want to do. Yet, at the same time, being giving to those in our path to give, being thankful and generally feeling the everlasting wells of joy through it all. Which baffles people who only think this can happen with some sort of belief system or God...but it can, and it does. Life is very fragile but also incredibly strong. It is about the paradoxes. Chronic illness brings the paradoxes in spades.

But for the tougher moments, when it seems the illness has taken over and we are just a witness to the passenger that hijacked our own vessels, we simply pass time and remind ourselves to value it later. Here it comes again and here we go...but we WILL be back until one day when we are not. Until then, we focus on the sensory magic...because the pain is accompanied by sensory hell. Thus, the little moments of comfort to us are heaven. Blankets, snuggles from loved ones, kind words, music, hot drinks, nurturing foods, hygge home, wonderful friends, and all that is good become our mantra of self care. The pictures in this post are what I am focusing on right now...and the peppy Dolly song I choose to give some humour to my otherwise bleak condition. Because music changes the mind and opens the soul. This Christmas brought both beauty and pain. But the beauty is what I hope to continuing celebrating. 

(Pictured above: Craft Time!)

"Just leave it up to you and in a little while

You're messin' up my mind and fillin' up my senses..."

Here is to being messed up in the most beautiful ways and filling up the senses with delights instead of horror or pain. To finding innocence in craft time or Christmas Pjs, or making lame, cheesy christmas song videos with the daughter, or enjoying a mug of hot cocoa made by hubby or snuggles with my boys, or watching the window catchers twinkle while Christmas tunes are spinning on the record player...

Song Choice: Here you Come Again- Dolly Parton

Thursday, December 21, 2017

When the Light Filters In; Solstice and Sickness. Vitamin C and Influenza. Autism and Fevers.

Our entire family ended up having Influenza the last 10 days, at the same time, with mostly the same symptoms. I, surprisingly, recovered the fastest and had the least symptoms. We are still in recovery mode and any little activity sets us back, but we ARE on the mend. Fevers were all 103.3 at their highest. But my fevers only lasted on and off for 48 hours, due to excessive vitamin C treatment. Which created heartburn and high acidity I am still dealing with, but beat the Influenza easily with high, regular doses. My family had Vitamin C too but in lesser amounts. I think it enabled them to not have secondary infections. It's not something that is toted by most doctors but if your body can handle higher amounts of vitamin C during an illness, it definitely works. Here is a dosage guide (click) and an article on How the Flu is Reduced up To 85% with this method(click). It DID work for me. We DID have confirmed Influenza but it seemed relatively manageable when it wasn't horrible. (One caution: I did end up on the 3rd day of high doses of vitamin C with my tongue coated in cankers. This symptom only lasted an evening but it was painful. I also had wicked heartburn and coughing from heartburn because of high acidity...which I am still dealing with but I prefer that over the Influenza symptoms. I had to quit Vitamin C on the 4th day completely but by then I didn't need it as desperately. I would not recommend this method if you are sensitive to Vitamin C or have GERD or esophageal issues. DISCLAIMER: Always take responsibility for your own health, know medication and vitamin reactions, understand your body and check with varied professionals before making decisions.
(Pictured- the new green shelf I was speaking about in my last post.)

Sickness is similar to darkness. Sometimes there are light filled moments. Other moments the deep depths seem to swim on forever. Solstice and sickness tie in easily for me. One of the most frightening aspects of sickness... is the wondering...when my children are sick. That is my darkness. Even as they get older and even if I have the same bug, I wonder what if it gets worse? What if I am missing something? What if I don't get them help in time? All of this culminates in the shadows of the night. In these murky times, I am needing sleep because I'm sick but I am not sleeping because I'm worrying about their sick bug. This time, I ran through all the options from pneumonia to meningitis to strep to major influenza. If need be, I will take them to the doctor because they have the diagnosing tools I wish I had access to (bloodwork, x rays ect.) I will often research to figure out which treatment is better for them and which treatment needs medical help and which treatment I should do at home. That is the darkness before the coming dawn. 

And then there's those light moments when they grab your hand while you are in an uncomfortable position, but they just hold it because they need you like a lifeline. Aglow in their neediness and childlike trust, the light balances out the smoky. And you smell their stinky smells of sickness and it doesn't matter as much, because they're your kid.

We have our usual protocol to enable a sunnier picture, which I always forget until we are part way through the sickness; *Tylenol only if the fever is over 102 for prolonged periods or there are extreme aches and hallucinating. Otherwise we let the fever run and do its miserably good work. *Honey and Cinnamon in tea constantly. *At least 4000 mg of vitamin c drinks per day while sick (That's at least four tablets dissolved) other sites swear every few hours. *Uptake of vitamin D while sick (ONLY if you are not high in Vitamin D already), *Rest Rest Rest! Even when feeling better.* No going out unless it's medically necessary or for needed products until all symptoms are gone. *Water, Water, Water!* Natural disinfecting rosemary, thieves oil and tea tree on hand for constant wipe downs. *New pillow cases every night and new sheets if it's really bad.*Boiling toothbrushes and regular hygiene practices. *A stash of towels, soaps and allowance for soothing showers anytime it's needed to aid decongestion. *A garbage bag and TP near each bed for nose stuffiness.* Nutritious foods when possible.
Man oh man it's a lot of work! But once I remember and have my stashes accessible we live in our room, with all kids sleeping on their various made up beds, and we survive together. That is my favourite part...being together (unless it is the stomach flu and then I want to be FAR FAR away.) But being together is my shimmering moonlight in the night tide.

I panicked one morning when at five am my youngest woke up screaming like in an exorcist movie. It was exactly like when Katie in Harry Potter, gets lifted into the air and screams loud (yet eerie silent) in terror, because she was poisoned by the Opal Necklace. Except my daughter says Katie was less scary. His eyes were unblinking and his one arm was stretched into the air. He kept yelling in a distorted voice I've never heard, nor could he replicate now, "I'm death. I'm death." I now understand how in lesser enlightened times, that they thought this was possession and did not understand fevers or seizures. 
"No baby you're gonna be fine...weird, his temperature dropped down from 103 to 96.5." At that statement, he stopped his screaming, looked at us and said,"My name is five??" Then he blinked and with certainty he yelled, "My name is five!" with his hand shooting up into the air. I gaped for a second and then freaked out at my husband, "He thinks his name is FIVE??? He doesn't know his name?!" That propelled me into panicked action (which I regretted later.) He has never had night terrors like our other son so this was new to us. I have never seen anything like it except on movies. I was running around gathering kids and getting dressed while my husband stopped him from flipping around and doing weird things. My husband mentioned over the screaming that maybe he needed Tylenol? I said no. My son blinked and then stopped screaming again and in a stellar Cookie Monster impersonation with an exaggerated hyped up voice he says, "Give me Tylenol! Give me Tylenol!!" Then his actions went back to a horror film.

If I had to pick a 'dead of night' moment- that would have been it. Some of it was funny if it wasn't so alarming. It was like he vacated his body - he wasn't himself. We were panicking to the hospital but when we got there he was fine and didn't remember a thing. I brought the other two because they were too sick to be alone. I needed my hubby if he had another episode. But I wanted to make sure we were not causing brain damage with Tylenol or strep in brain or something but as soon as we got to the hospital I knew it was the wrong decision. After waiting three hours (and five minutes away from seeing a doc) we asked to go home. The nurse was so nice she let us. I wished I would have had courage and asked three hours ago when I KNEW we shouldn't have come up. I only wanted him checked if he stayed that way or to have an explanation. I knew I wouldn't want to do antibiotics (although I DO believe antibiotics can be life saving and necessary in certain conditions) or any test (we already knew we had influenza and had x rays) they asked for so we left and went home. It was a weird morning. The nurse seemed to think it was a seizure from his temperature dropping and previous concussions, which at least was an explanation. 

Home is such a wonderful place to be. Especially when sick. I organize and buy things for my home all year in preparation of being sick, unexpected company and Christmas. One of my favourite days during our illness was when I had enough energy to clean a bit. I didn't push myself but I slowly changed bedding, garbage's, towels ect. Lovingly encompassing the home with fresh, sparkling cleanliness.

Fresh bed linen surprisingly makes such a difference in feeling. The mental hidden corners suddenly feel illuminated and organized. I caved and my dad bought Clorox lemon cleaning wipes for me. Normally I do not use any cleaners that are not natural (like Tea tree or Vinegar) but I wanted something that did not require energy but I knew would kill any lingering virus or bacteria, so I quickly wiped everything down in our communal sick room. The crisp scent almost tricked me into believing we are all normal. We all felt better. It made a difference in our mood and our hope that things would get better. It was worth dragging my feet from one spot to another while being exhausted and having a sore body. I pumped up the Christmas tunes on the record player to trick myself into believing I had energy. Since I was the most recovered (and the mom) I knew it was my responsibility. Solstice for me symbolizes this dance of responsible beginnings, and speaks of beautiful endings, invokes both darkness and light, and shows the rhythm and flow of life.

I'm better at flu's (that are not Tummy ones) than chronic illness symptoms, because I know the colds/ influenza's are usually temporary. My husband calls me, "Super Sickie Mom" because somehow I can be lightly feverish, achy and sick but still clean up. Or just falling asleep after not sleeping for 24 hours when the kids come in, yet, I am THERE, available in that moment, getting up and helping them shower or finding the thermometer or making sure everyone has water. These are aspects of the day to day I am NOT usually on top of. I struggle more with the day to day in general and thrive in crisis. I think it is because I know WHY we are sick and I know it will be over soon probably, and I understand it's my job to be the fierce protector of my children and their health. I know their dosages and the natural ways to avoid most antibiotics- and even when I doubt myself and wait three hours at the hospital only to leave because I knew it was the wrong choice- most of the time - I DO actually get it right! And this shocks me. My husband says he sees that it is very different from chronic illness issues or the tired day to day. I'm just proud maybe that I can actually be capable in some crisis moments and surprised that sickness can bring out the best in me at times. Peace is for everyone, if only for an instant. Crimson is in the embers, bells are tinkling, and the snow is lightly falling.
(Pictured: she was the first to get sick and still the last to have major symptoms. She was the one who gave us the confirmed diagnosis of Influenza at the health clinic. I think she is being hit harder because she has Strep and lingering effects from Mono.)
AUTISM AND FEVERS: Apparently there was a 2009 study that cited Aspies tend to "Normalize" during fevers. What this means is that when we are not hallucinating (which we are prone to) our sensory overload actually is MINIMIZED during fevers, so thus we seem more "normal or capable" because we are not onslaught with the additional details of the world on a higher level. Fevers dull all the other aches I am normally aware of. It's similar to when I had an epidural for the last 6 hours of my first 36 hour labour (which I would NEVER do again and am so glad I had natural births with my other two.) But it is the same feeling with a fever. You know you have massive cramps with an epidural but they are weirdly cushioned. That is what happens to me when I have a fever. I know I am not feeling well or my body is hurting but it's like I took a large pain reliever and it dulled the effect. I become what most people ARE every day...without the major sensory aspect and chronic illness pain. I kind of like it.

BEAUTY IN BEING: Another one of my favourite sick moments was my eldest son asking, "Mom I think I'd kind of like to sleep with my puppies... Are they out of the dryer?" And my heart melted as he rarely asks for his stuffies. Children are so precious. I feel lucky that we had moments of cuddles and being together in the misery. The moment when I looked up at the clean room with the duvets laundered, and the fireplace warmth, and I breathed in the smell of Citrus cleaner and Rosemary and I thought " I can do this. We can do this. A fresh start in the middle of sickness... and hope for health." I actually forgot it was the Christmas week. I'm hoping to infuse some festive songs for my kids the moments I can but when I can't, to take the silver linings. This is where Solstice hits my heart. It's a reminder brought in by the earth that I am enough, I am what I am, and there is beauty and brutality in BEING. Life is here now and I must rise to that.

SILVER LININGS: There are many silver linings like all of us at home together. Or guilt free binge watching- Even though we literally have to rest from rest! We sigh when we shut the tv off and close our eyes and relax. I am grateful for warm showers and plenty of hot water for all of us to take turns when our body is too much. Cleaners of tea tree, thieves and rosemary for the deeper clean moments. Snuggles. Hearing all four of the loves of my life breathing in the night beside me. Regression into the world of ONLY US and not US and the world. Introversion for my entire family! There ARE silver linings. The days are longer, slower and I love convalescing with my babies in the cuddle moments. I also love that our home has southern facing windows so that we experience the sun at it's best. I also haven't been bored once. My family has kept me hopping and when I have time it's either cleaning, filling cups, wiping brows or resting, showering or watching shows. I'm good at being cooped up indoors with my family and being able to be on survivalist mode if it's not involving the gut or too painful or crazy alarming. (Ha ha that rules out a lot?;) I feel like my brain gets a break from all my distracting thoughts and symptoms. All I get to think about is each persons symptoms and getting them through and then characters on shows. My brain is on 24/7 with intense thoughts but it cuts in half with illness. It puts me into the sensory and simplifies some of life into basics. It's a mental break in some aspects even though it's not in others. I don't know if that makes sense? I would NOT love it if the harder symptoms stayed forever or if we would have required antibiotics or deeper treatments or gut stuff but the manageable moments I will kind of remember fondly. Maybe I am weird?

We are now mostly in recovery and trying to keep some Christmas well. My husband missed loads of work but I am not going to allow that to stress us out. It was what we needed and we will just deal with it eventually. Right now, the focus should be on recovery mixed with a bit of festive we can manage. And avoiding mixing bugs with other people or getting additional sickness. Which means a few treats and Christmas movies. When we can, staying isolated, but taking a few winter snow and music drives to look at Christmas lights in the evenings. Playing Christmas tunes. And always plugging in our trees and savouring the warmth of the twinkling lights which lift up my soul.

My tree lights have the same affect on my psyche as a crackling fire would. It is beginning to look a little like Christmas and I can feel Solstice today. I wish for you all for the support during the tougher times. May you all stay healthy and have some festive moments. Wishing you the beauty of sacred beginnings and necessary endings on this Winter's Solstice. For us, it is now for recovery and maybe some seasonal magic. My home is prepared for this. My soul is also. These are the moments that make up our I hope some light filters in...

 Happy Solstice.

Song Choice: Christmas Eve with You- Glee