Feeling Overwhelmed?

So this is where I am today!  Feeling overwhelmed and not sure what direction to go in.

I woke up remembering today was Gram’s birthday.  My grandmother would have celebrated her 106 birthday today…. I know she is celebrating in heaven with all of my other angels; BUT this got me to thinking – scary, right?  My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and on any given day, her memory was shot.  With my MS, on any given day my memory is shot.  I think of what a struggle it is for me and I can’t imagine the pain and frustration she felt for so many years….. Yes, I squirreled but this is all part of me being overwhelmed.

This is the month things get crazy – I have craft shows every weekend from now (okay last weekend) till the second weekend in December.  Some week-ends it is both Saturday and Sunday, some it is just Saturday and then there are a few mid-week events I squeezed in.  WHY?  Yes, tis the season of selling angels and helping people make memories BUT I can’t seem to admit things get to be a struggle.  MS has caused me to walk a little slower, my brain is a little foggier and some days I just can’t seem to move because I am so tired.

In the past, my blogs and my focus have been on my business BUT things are changing yet again.  I’m not sure what direction I want to go in and some days, I’m not even sure if I want to keep blogging.  SHOCKING, right?  I have been blogging since 2013 first on a daily basis and then I cut it back to 4 days a week.  Now, even that seems overwhelming.  I wonder if anyone is still interested.  I know my recipes get a lot of sharing so that is definitely at hit.  The problem is, I struggle with finding new and different recipes to appeal to everyone… even ones I would like. So, today I am thinking of trying some of the things I used to do when I was feeling overwhelmed in my business…..

In the midst of all of this craziness, how do you manage to NOT feel overwhelmed in your business or in your life?  How do you manage to not loose your focus at the busiest time of year?  I found an article in The Self Employed which may have some tips to help you….

1.  Reset:  Before you panic (unless you already have) press the RESET button.  Make a list of things which need to be done and rank them by priority.  At the end of each day, give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to relax, reflect on what you did and get ready for a new day.  You can’t change what happened yesterday but you can take control of today.

2.  Eliminate Outside Influence:  Do you have your own business?  Juggling kids and a job?  Juggling a chronic health issue?  Set aside time for it – maybe just a 1/2 hour, or an hour or even several hours.  Finish the most important tasks WITHOUT interruption.  Then focus on your family and enjoy.   Did you know it takes you 20 minutes to get back on track after a distraction.  YIKES!  Definitely time to weed out the distractions!!!

3.  Focus Down One Task – EAT the FROG  – you know the most daunting thing or the thing you hate to do the most.  The quicker you get this done, the easier the rest of the list will be to get done.  Get your productivity snowball rolling down the hill.  That works not only in your business but also in preparation for the holidays. Yup, it is going to be here before you know it!

4.  Ask for Help – alright, I know no one can do it the way you do it BUT they can help.  It doesn’t have to PERFECT but if someone is willing to pitch in, let them.  From helping get ready for the holiday meal to doing the small things in your office.  This is the hardest thing for me to do!

5.  Learn to Say NO!  Novel concept, right but it will not be the end of the world.  Remember you can’t do EVERYTHING.  As John Maxwell says – manage YOU because you can’t manage time, we all get the same 24 hours in a day.

Block time for work THEN enjoy the holiday.  Block off time for family and friends so you can enjoy without the guilt feelings.  What is your best tip for getting through this holiday season or just the every stress of juggling lots of balls without loosing your mind???

Have a blessed day!

 

 

Moving on With MS

Today we are headed to the MS Center in Teaneck for my annual visit.  Truth is, I am really nervous.  The last year has brought some definite changes in my health.  I don’t always notice them but on a recent visit with my daughter in NC, she told me she is seeing the change and not for the good.

So for those who may be new to my blog, I will give you a brief history lesson.  I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) in February 2016.  I should say, I was told I had it BUT the doctors didn’t want to write it anywhere except on my chart.  See my symptoms didn’t fit the checklist they had for an MS patient.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) covering nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

Let me back up just a little bit. For years, I have been complaining about not being able to remember things. As a recovering addict of 26 years, I always said “the drugs killed my brain cells” and life went on.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago when after my husband suffered a health crisis, he started saying ” you are different”. I talked about “not remembering things” to the doctor but no one seemed concerned. Then there were other health issues: IBS, glaucoma, chest wall syndrome (yes, it is real), unexplained weight gain, loss of sex drive (yes, I am telling all), adjustment disorder with depression and periodontal disease. Believe it or not, I was okay with it ALL until the night I fell apart telling hubby how bad the memory issue had become. I truly thought I was on the same road as my grandmother – Alzheimer’s. At my  next primary appointment, we finally got him to listen to how bad things were with my memory.

After countless visits to the Neurologist, MRIs, a spinal tap, endless blood tests, and an EEG – there was no treatment options available.  Just wait.  So wait we did, and in 6 months, I was blessed with no changes in my lesions.  Then in June 2017, we noticed some more changes.  Difficulty with my joints, not sleeping, and mood swings.  The new MRIs showed more and enlarged lesions so it was time to take action.

For some it may sound crazy but I opted to wait until now to go to the MS Center for treatment options. Why?  I didn’t want to be sick for the Leadership Incentive Trip.  I wasn’t sure what the future held and I wanted to enjoy the trip with my daughter. In the meantime, I have been working with a chiropractor using holistic options to help with some symptoms.  An adjustment monthly helps with the tingling.  A gluten free and dairy free diet has helped me to feel better.  The CBD oil and the iodine drops help with brain fog. It is a journey and I definitely struggle with all of the things I can’t eat.

This is not about a “pity” party or being Negative Nellie. Just for today, it is about squashing the inner gremlins who want this life challenge to defeat me.  I am not ready to give up fighting but some days it is hard to keep up the fight.

So, today we head to the MS Center to see the MS doctor.  I’m fearful but I trust God has a plan for me.

I am blessed to be able to work from home.  My WHY is about giving back to others and not letting MS take over my life. I will continue to use my business and my blog to encourage others who are struggling with this disease or any chronic disease. I want to bring a smile to those who are struggling on the inside but on the outside look “normal”.

Life has definitely become a challenge for my friends and my family. They have learned to be more patient, not only with me but with each other.  They are learning even if “I can’t remember”, I still care.  We are learning to embrace each moment – pictures become more important than ever – they do help me to remember a little.

“My planner” is the key to keeping my life in order.  I am learning I can still have a successful business despite the memory issues – lots of notes, systems and a sense of humor.  My customers are amazing despite my inability to remember the names of products or prints.  I am amazed with 98% of my business being online, I am able to grow and pay my bills.  Customers even joke when I call them by the wrong name or confuse them with someone else.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s blog which is definitely more personal than I have written in a long time. All I ask is you continue to keep me (and my family) in prayer, and be understanding when I give you a blank look as if to say “I should know you but I don’t”.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

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Christmas Eve day… the hustle and bustle reaches immeasurable heights as last minute shoppers make the final dash to the malls for the perfect gift.  Holiday office parties are in full swing.  Others are home preparing for family and friends to arrive – dinner cooking (is it fish? or turkey? or ham?).  Kids are eagerly counting down until Santa will arrive bringing gifts for one and all.  While still others are grabbing a quick dinner as they head to church to celebrate the real reason for the season…

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As for our family, the holidays have changed so much.  The first change came when breast cancer took Elsie from us.  She was the glue which brought us all together – no matter what happened all year long.  The changes continued when Alzheimer’s took Grams from us.  Belinda grew up and headed to college – more changes.   During the first 4 years she was in North Carolina, she traveled home where we spent Christmas with us.  Five years ago, kidney cancer took Edythe (mom’s middle sister).  Now Belinda is married and holidays are shared with her extended family in North Carolina.

Tonight we will be at my best friend’s house celebrating Christmas with our extended family.  This year, Rob is off on Christmas Eve so we will be together. Mom and Sal will join us.  As for Christmas Day, hubby will head to work so others can enjoy the day with their family. I will spend the day with mom.

As I sit with hubby looking at the Christmas tree – memories of Christmas Eve’s past flash through my mind.

The many years of trying to get Belinda to go to bed so Edythe, Elsie and I could put presents under the tree.  It was really hard carrying things past HER room to get to the living room.  It always made for a lot of laughs.  The early morning calls to wake everyone up so Belinda could open presents.  Waiting patiently for mom to get off work so we could open presents.  The funny thing was – Belinda wasn’t a morning person so we always had to WAKE her up.  Really, on Christmas morning????  Then instead of opening all of her presents and THEN playing with them.  Christmas morning was a forever process.  We learned games were opened last or at least towards the end or else nothing else would get opened.  Belinda wanted to play with toys as each one was opened which could definitely make for a long day.  Great memories of days gone by…

Cherish the moments with family tonight.  Let the struggles of the year go for you never know what tomorrow will bring or if we will even be here tomorrow.   There are tears of joy, tears of sorrow for those who are no longer with us and tears of anticipation for what God has in store for me and my family over the next year.

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Merry Christmas to my friends, family, Thirty One customers and hostess and all of my blog fans.  You have blessed me in so many ways this year…

MS Will Not Define Me!

 

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Yes, I have been diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis).  This is not about having a “pity” party or being Negative Nellie.  This is about squashing those inner gremlins that want to let this life challenge defeat me.   Here is the medical definition:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

Okay, let me back up just a little bit.  For years, I have been complaining about not being able to remember things.  As a recovering addict of 25+ years, I always said “the drugs killed my brain cells” and life went on.

Fast forward to about 3 years ago, hubby was admitted to CCU with congestive heart failure.  When he comes home, he says ” you are different”.  This statement haunted our relationship for years.  We had our ups and downs.  I talked about “not remembering things” to the doctor.  Other health issues arose: IBS, glaucoma, chest wall syndrome (yes, that is real), unexplained weight gain, loss of sex drive (yes, I am telling all), adjustment disorder with depression and periodontal disease. Believe it or not, I could handle it ALL.  The thing that caused me to break was the night hubby thought I wanted a divorce – the memory issues had gotten that bad.  I was devastated.  We spent the whole night talking while I cried trying to explain how bad the memory issue had become.  I can truly understand the frustration of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Thankfully, we had an appointment with the primary in just a few days.  Between hubby and I, we got him to listen to how bad things had really gotten.

On to the Neurologist.  First, I found out that I couldn’t walk a straight line even without my favorite glass of wine.  Then came the MRIs, the spinal tap, the blood tests, the EEG and the trip to Robert Wood Johnson – MS Center.  No treatment options YET!  It seems that I need to have more MRIs in 6 months to see how things progress.

Hubby has spent endless nights doing research.  I have connected with some amazing people locally who also are fighting this disease.  Looking for alternative ways to stay healthy  – trying the sugar free, gluten free and dairy free.  This is a struggle but it is about baby steps – I am at least cutting back.

I have a new WHY – to not let this thing called MS take over my life.  To use my business and my blog to encourage others who are struggling with this disease.  To bring a smile to the face of those who are struggling on the inside but on the outside look “normal”.

So what does it mean for me, my friends and my family.  They are learning to be more patient, not only with me but with each other.  We are learning that just because “I can’t remember”, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care.  We are learning to embrace each moment – pictures become more important than ever.  I am learning that “my planner” is the key to keeping my life in order.  I am learning that I can still have a successful business despite the memory issues – lots of notes, systems and a sense of humor.

Not to worry, I will not be filling my blog with “my life with MS” posts.  I will continue to share my strengths, hopes and experiences so that I might encourage others.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s blog which is definitely more personal than I have written in a long time.  All I ask is that you keep me (and my family) in prayer, and be understanding when I give you that blank look that says “I should know you but I don’t”.

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!