Help Me Find a Pair of Water Shoes!

Babe and I were in the backyard taking in the sun. The pool looked exceptionally beautiful. It was hot outside, and the pool was glistening. I should be able to, dive in, and swim, right? Not so fast. I always seem to find myself perched at the edge of the shallow end of the pool feet submerged in the water. I swear there is a magnetic force in that pool water always tugging at me. Why do we want for things we can’t have?

I have been in the pool post vestibular disorder, but there is always a fear. The doctors warned me, never put my head underwater because I could drown. I understand that once I submerge my head underwater visual cues would be removed, and my visual orientation would be impaired. Also, the motion of the water brings unpleasant nausea and has triggered a vertigo spell or two.

Stairway To Swimming Pool

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Heck. Today I wanted to get into the pool. I even checked in with Siri to confirm the temperature outside. I was stalling. Gotta love smart phones! I finally stumbled across a post that stated 80 degrees outside is considered prime swim weather. As fate would have it, Siri had already alerted it was 81 degrees. I proclaimed my desire to get into the water, and Babe didn’t discourage me.

Next thing you know I was in the water. Pants, shirt, bra and undies. I didn’t care; I was in! It was freezing and I considered jumping out. Glad I didn’t give up. I was forced to stay in the shallow end! My movement began to stir the water into a forceful motion, and I started to feel yucky. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. I elected to hold onto the edge of the pool and look away from the water. Did I tell you, I have not physically ran in 7 years? Running can be a trigger that  provokes dizziness and vertigo. I then started running in place. Before I could wrap my head around what was happening, I yelled out, ” I am running!”. I turned to look at babe, and I was greeted with a huge smile. I then asked babe to set the stopwatch and time me. “Set it for 10 minutes!” Once again he didn’t discourage me. He set the timer and I started running in place holding onto that edge. I pulled my hands away from the edge, and the buoyancy of the water held me in place. I screamed again, “I am running”! It was quickly realized I wasn’t going to make the 10 desired minutes. Babe yelled out, “How about we shoot for 2 minutes?” My reply, “What about 3?”. I made it to 2 minutes, and I fizzled out. But who the heck cares. I ran! I ran for the first time in 7 years. It may not have been in the traditional form, but it was my way, on my own terms!

Babe asked me to hold onto the shallow edge while he went to retrieve a towel. I had an opportunity to be alone to think about what I had just accomplished. I began to feel motion sickness as the water shifted me about. Babe hustled back and helped me out of the pool. The weight of the wet clothes felt tremendous. That weight represented the heavy burden this disorder has placed on my life. Babe started to wrap the towel around me, and I hugged him close and began to cry. He held me tight and said, “I am so proud of you.” I am proud of us. We have been in this battle together for 7 years, and we may not win every battle, but we will win the war!

Much love,
Marissa

2 Pieces Of Tape = Better Quality Of Life?

Marissa with tape on glasses

Ok, so I am walking around this holiday season with two pieces of tape on the inner part of my glasses. This is called Binasal Occlusion. My neuro eye doctor believes this will open up my visual field. The vestibular disorder has caused me to see the world in tunnel vision. I often look down when walking. With the prisms, I am walking more upright. With the addition of tape to the glasses, I am not bumping into as many things around the house as usual. It’s looking like I will have to wear the tape a few more months. Can two pieces of clear tape equal a better quality of life? Time will tell!

So, if you see a guy or gal on the street walking around with two clear pieces of tape on their glasses, pass a compliment or smile! I know I could sure use a little reassurance when out and about. I have been a bit self conscious these past few days, hoping the insecurity will pass.

Much love,
Marissa

Video Blog: 12 Months, 12 Journey’s, 12 Lessons

httpv://youtu.be/lEHbTVUfqyM

Lesson:  Vanity vs The Message:

Wow, this is raw. No makeup or hair done!:) This was supposed to be a dry run, however, I felt being honest and raw was more important than my look, so I will run with it. This is an addition to previous blog post, Reflection, Nomination, Idea, Execution.

If you want to be part of the 12 months, 12 journey’s, 12 lessons, please contact me!

p.s. I know I don’t live in snow country, however, I dress like I do! Loving my winter scarf.

Much love,
Marissa

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

More Than A Work Badge?

What are we holding onto that is keeping us from moving in a forward direction?       (Audio to come)

Marissa's work badge pre-disabilty I have gone through and thrown away pre-disability career memorabilia. From binders to pay-stubs I have purged myself of physical work memories, however, I have been unable to throw away my work badge. Pre-disability and post-disability are in a power struggle. Letting this work badge go and standing in my current truth is scary. Am I ready to let go and address the fear in letting go?

*Please excuse the raw photo. This poor badge has taken a beating!

Much love,
Marissa

We Fight

We fight to be cared for.
We fight for independence.
We fight for grades.
We fight for love.
We fight ourselves.
We fight each other.
We fight to be understood.
We fight for acceptance.
We fight for what’s right.
We fight to fight.
We fight for employment.
We fight when we’re unemployed.
We fight to keep our homes.
We fight to save our marriages.
We fight to save our relationships.
We fight for quality of life.
We fight systems.
We fight for equality.
We fight to be heard.
We fight for respect.

We are good at the fight, but when do we learn to surrender?

Perception vs Reality (Audio)

Play

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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