Reflection, Nomination, Idea, Execution

2011  calendar page turned up to show the new year 2012Image: dream designs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Intro:

Living with a chronic vestibular disorder, I am reminded daily that I am living with a life altering condition. That daily reminder fuels this blog. It encourages me to find ways to become a better version of myself despite this disorder.

Nomination:

I was recently nominated for the WEGO Health Activist Awards Best Kept Secret. I feel blessed and humbled that someone in my community cast a vote for my nomination (Be sure to nominate your Health Activist Best Kept Secret).

After reviewing the list of nominees, I was taken aback. There are so many wonderful people living with and supporting awareness of various health conditions and disorders.

Idea:

For a moment, I found myself lost in another person’s story and passion. After reading several nominees blogs, I had a thought. Could a shift in focus away from vestibular struggles help me through my vestibular struggles? Educating myself on other medical conditions and focusing on another person’s journey may be the best way for me to pull through my own condition.

I currently attend 3 doctors visits monthly  These visits make me nervous. I realize vestibular disorders are complex, and in 6 years, I have yet to find a “cure.”! I realize that with each visit, therapy, adjustment, and exam that doesn’t deliver a “cure”, my options are narrowing.

Despite my supportive network, at times I feel alone. What would it feel like to be reminded that I am not alone? To be reminded that there are others in the struggle, and despite their conditions, they are moving in a positive direction.

Execution:

* In 2012, I would like to educate myself monthly on a health condition other than my own.

* I will purchase a T-Shirt monthly supporting a disorder/condition/cause. I will wear that T-Shirt to my 3 doctors visits each month.

* I would like to hold an interview and highlight a disorder/condition/cause each month on Abledis.com.

How can you help? :

If there is a condition or a disorder I should know about, please alert me!

Final thoughts:

2011 has been a year of change and growth. Thank you Lord for your many blessings. I am blessed for the addition of wonderful people that have come into my life this year.  Thank you to my fiance and his family for their unwavering love. Thank you to my family for their support. Special thanks to my gram. Gram you are an inspiration and blessing. Thank you to the doctors that are mentoring and helping me find answers. For the first time since being diagnosed with a vestibular disorder, I am actually welcoming a New Year. Cheers to 2012!

Much love,
Marissa

 

Appreciation Toward My Accessibility Setup

Marissa sitting alongside her walking sticks reflecting

I was feeling introspective on my walk today. I found myself full of appreciation toward my accessibility setup. I am rocking my new prism glasses and walking long distances with my trekking poles. Armed with my cell phone, glasses and walking sticks, I am able to walk solo around the neighborhood. I found myself loving and appreciating the independence. Cheers to moving in a forward direction!

Much love,
Marissa

Vestibular Perspective On Websites

As you may know I have suffered from a vestibular disorder  (chronic imbalance/vertigo) for 6 years. I am noticing websites are becoming more animated and motion and movement are becoming dominant. I struggle viewing certain websites that are filled with motion/movement because of my vestibular condition.

Derek Featherstone, accessibility expert, is kind enough to look into a  possible solution. I have tried to disable JavaScript and disable images but neither option worked. Most websites became unusable. Derek asked me to provide 10 websites that give me trouble. I wanted to give the vestibular community an opportunity to express what websites are bothersome to them when viewing the web.  However, I started to think there are conditions outside vestibular disorders where movement and motion on a website could be bothersome.  Would motion and movement on websites be an issue for the Dystonia community, Ataxia community, etc? My friend AKA my brother Blake Watson doctored up the code on a beautiful Automattic theme so we could have the following site.

I would hate to see the web continue to move forward and we get to a place where viewing websites is unbearable for a group of users. I am hoping this site will give a voice to the vestibular community and other disorders that deal with issues of movement/motion when using the web. I also hope it will give designers and developers a little insight into how certain communities are experiencing the websites they create.

Much love,
Marissa

Perception vs Reality (Audio)

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Update: It’s important to live your truth. Members of my family are seeing the joy I am experiencing attempting the vegan lifestyle. They have been willing to try the food and are starting to become open to the idea. Cheers to moving forward and living your truth!

“Transition is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become.” ~ William Bridges

* Thank you Marilyn for exposing me to this quote!

Much love,
Marissa

PETA’s 2011 Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50 Contest. My vote goes to

My Vote for PETA’s  2011 Sexiest Vegetarian over 50 Contest, goes to Marilyn Peterson. Marilyn is the author of the highly reviewed book Vegan Bite By Bite.

The cover of the book Vegan Bite by Bite

I will be using Marilyn’s book as I transition to a healthy plant-based diet. My vote goes to Marilyn because she is not only a beautiful person on the outside, she is beautiful on the inside. Marilyn has sent me words of encouragement and is guiding me toward a healthy lifestyle. She has devoted her life to making sure there is an accessible blueprint on how to transition to a plant-based diet. That makes Marilyn the sexiest person I know over 50!

*You can learn more about Marilyn by checking out her website:  Veganbitebybite
*You can also purchase Marilyn’s book: Amazon.com
*Please join me in voting Marilyn Peterson PETA’s Prime’s 2011 sexiest vegetarian over 50: PETA website

Much love,
Marissa

In Need Of A Good Habit, Or Two! (Update)

Man with hand on head standing at a sign with three arrows points 3 different directionsImage: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

30 days ago I set out to add three achievable healthy habits into my life. My 30 days are up and I have learned a great deal about myself.

 

Health Habit #1: Drink nothing but water for 30’s days.

Goal achieved: Yes

Challenges:  First few days I was in panic mode. It became clear that I was consuming very little water in my diet. I soon became parched. I wasn’t consciously transitioning to drinking water only. If I couldn’t drink soda, ice tea, or juice, I didn’t feel like drinking at all.  After the first week I began to feel really dehydrated and my quench for water kicked in. After the transition I became addicted to water.

 

Health Habit #2: No pastries, candies and ice cream for the next 30 days.

Goal achieved: Yes

Challenges: This was a much harder challenge then I had anticipated. Pre-challenge, I consumed a sweet daily. The first week I found  a lack of  sweets causing irritability.  I was not pressured by outside factors when it came to drinking water only. Yet, often bombarded by pressure to consume sweets, I almost caved in. The temptation throughout has been shocking. However, I feel this last week, the temptation has tapered off. People are expecting me to say no, therefore they are no longer suggesting.

 

Healthy Habit #3: Spend 20 minutes each day, for the next 30 days, sketching

Goal achieved: No

Challenges:  I have failed this healthy habit miserably.  With my condition this is not an area that I have much control over. There are days where the imbalance and dizziness is so strong and I can’t imagine staying still and sketching.

 

What I learned:

There are still aspects of my life that I can control. What I put into my body ultimately is my choice. This has been a true revelation for me. It has inspired a new passion within me to take on a healthier life style. I may not have the same control over my life as I did pre-disability, however,  I will work to make sure to appreciate and foster the aspects of my life I still have control over!

Much love,
Marissa

 

In Need Of A Good Habit, Or Two!

I went from energetic and ambitious to lifeless and unmotivated. Living each day constantly imbalanced, in fear of the next vertigo spell, was driving me insane. Participating in daily healthy habits to having no schedule or plan was becoming detrimental. I would wander the house like a zombie, each passing day uncounted. Every non action, I was slipping further into depression. Leaving behind daily healthy habits, laid ground work for complacency and fear. I was grieving the loss of my active lifestyle.

Pre-disability healthy habits:

* Active in the gym
* On a healthy weight loss plan
* Weekly trips to the grocery store
* Participated in a full time job
* Enjoyed sporting and musical events
* Date nights with fiance

These last few months have been deeply introspective. I am pulling out of the dark shadows, finding ways to participate once again. I am learning how to create healthy habits under new life constraints.

Current healthy habits:

* Daily Journal
* Keeping up with the blog
* Listening to audio books/reading books

With each positive habit implemented, I feel myself regenerating. For the next 30 days, I challenge myself to partake in daily healthy habits.

30 day healthy habit challenge:

* Drink nothing but water for 30 days
* No pastries, candies, and ice cream for the next 30 days
* Spend 20 minutes each day, for the next 30 days, sketching

These habits, although simplistic, have a purpose. I believe setting healthy, attainable goals, is the best way to keep myself motivated and mentally fit! To keep myself accountable, I am listing my goals on 43things.com, and posting the goals on the blog sidebar. Cheers to once again forming good habits!

Much love,
Marissa