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!

.

Product Spotlight: Fold Over Weekender

 

Today’s product spotlight is one of my favorite travel bags – especially a road trip – the Fold Over Weekender.  Flying I need something with wheels so if the fold over weekender had a baby with the Away We Go Roller – I would be in heaven!

I asked my customers what they loved about this AWESOME product and here is what they had to say:

  • I love this! Perfect size! I just used mine this weekend. I went it a wedding up north!
  • I love mine! It has so many usages from a weekend getaway to wedding to a busy day with my daughter !
  • Got this last year for my daughter for Christmas and she loves it and so do I!!! She just used it 2 weeks ago on our weekend trip, and its the perfect weekend/overnight bag. Or whatever you want to use it for.
  • I love it! So much room, not bulky when full, and fits everything.

This versatile travel bag can be worn as either a shoulder bag or crossbody bag using the removable shoulder strap which comes with it. The top fold-over flap covers the zip closure and can be folded down with a lobster claw closure. An exterior flat pocket allows you easy access to your phone, keys or whatever else you put inside. The interior zipper pocket provides a safe storage space.

It can be used as a carry-on. Whether on the plane or in the car, it’s the perfect size to carry all your essentials like makeup, toiletries, phone, tablet, batteries, etc. If someone saw you unpack they’d think it’s a Mary Poppins bag because it holds so much. The dimensions are approximately 19.25” H (unfolded) x 18.75” L (top opening width) x 9.5”D which means it’s also a great size to stow in an overhead bin or even at your feet in the car.

For those of us who used duffels in high school (I know, I am showing my age)…. this is even better!

Another idea… headed out on a cruise – bring it with you! Fill it with towels, bathing suits, sunglasses, flip flops, and sunscreen, and enjoy the ship’s pool while you wait for your room! The detachable shoulder strap makes it super easy to carry.  Because this bag folds flat, you can also bring it with you empty and bring it home full. It’s a great way to tote your souvenirs, extra clothes, incidentals, or even a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies mom sends you home with when you go to visit.

The only downside for me, is the fact it can get heavy when it is filled so it is hard for me to carry.  I can’t think of another one and neither could my customers.

Guess what??? If you spend $35 this month, you can get a Thirty One Fold Over Weekender for $31 (retail price $80).  So you can get TWO bags for less than the cost of just the weekender!  Pretty AWESOME, right?

So where are you traveling to and will your suitcase get lost in the sea of look alike bags?  Stop by www.partywithHope.com and get yours.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Never Forget

  It is Monday morning and we should be heading to Royal Carribean’s Majesty of the Sea for 5 glorious days of my pink bubble. Irma has had other plans and I am home reflecting on so many things…

It is a morning filled with lots of emotion…as a nation, we honor those who were lost on 9-11.  We continue to struggle with the evil which plaques our nation.  We mourn for those lost and honor those whose lives have forever been changed.   This day is one of few memories which I can clearly remember…  I remember as if it were yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ.  We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks.  Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Edythe

September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011 when Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they were my babysitters.  As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

The words describing those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Life seems to be full of moments which ask us to let go when we long to hold on.  I don’t know what you face right now, what season of life you’re in, but my prayer for you is simple and from the heart. May you know the comfort and strength of the One whose love will never fail you, and whose mercies are new every single morning!

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

On My Way…..NOT!

Today’s blog post has been re-written many times.  First filled with the excitement of earning the Leadership Incentive trip and heading on a FREE cruise with my daughter.  Then it was about the delayed cruise and spending some time in NC with Belinda.  This morning, I am re-writing again…
The Leadership Incentive Trip has officially been cancelled. Irma entered our lives and changed everything!  No, I don’t mean the cute clothes from LuLa Roe.  I mean the devastating hurricane which is leaving its mark every where it lands.  Devastating the Carribean as it makes it way to Florida and the US.  
I will admit, I had a pity party last night.  I long for some quality time with my daughter but sadly if Irma continues on the projected track, they will be in its path.  I have weathered many a hurricane but at the ripe old age of 60, I decided staying home was probably a better idea.  
Since the blog posts are already written for the next week while I was supposed to be traveling, I will still be sharing some of my top bog posts from the past.  Some may be tweaked but others will just be “throwbacks” of my most popular ones.  I have been reflecting on the earning period for the Leadership Incentive trip and why I was successful this time when I hadn’t been in the past.
If you are trying to change an aspect of your life, here are some tips which helped me – thank you Patty Lennon

1. Decide to succeed.

There is a goal you are striving for right now which is deeply personal and vital to you. Remove the possibility of NOT succeeding from your mind right now. This means each time you fall down, you get back up because any failure is temporary.  I will say, utilizing this mindset every month has helped me reach my monthly goals even during the dreaded “J” months.

I wanted to earn this trip as a gift for hubby for our 5th wedding anniversary.  I wanted him to experience my “pink bubble” so he would understand why it is so important to me.  So, in my mind success became inevitable. I was no longer willing to NOT succeed. Which leads to …

2. Get Support.

When you are reaching for a goal you have not achieved before whether it’s growing your business to a new level, changing your health or improving your relationships you will do far better if you have help.  Who can support you in achieving your goal?

I have been sharing my monthly goals with everyone – my team, my customers and basically anyone who would listen. They celebrated and encouraged me every step of the way.  When Negative Nellie stopped for a visit, I looked for someone to help me kick her to the curb.

3. Don’t Give Up.

Whatever goal is most important to you right now it is critical you not give up, especially if the goal is related to your business. The truth is most things fail the first time  around especially in business – whether it’s a new message, promotion or marketing campaign. It is NORMAL.  Everyone falls down. Your choice (and the choice which defines those who succeed) is whether you get back up.  Everything is possible when you make the decision to succeed. No matter what happens do not give up!

With my first LIT earned, what is next for me and my business?  I will admit planning for September has been a struggle.  A holiday weekend led into getting ready for a week away.  I was hoping earning the trip would keep me motivated but the truth is, Vacation Veronica is knocked on my door. As I ponder what to do this week, I am setting my goal for September and am working on a plan to earn the Leadership Incentive Trip again next year.

Using these tips has helped me in my business so I am I am going to apply them to my weight loss journey to see what happens.  I am just 7 pounds away from being back at goal weight so it is non-negotiable.  I want to celebrate reaching my goal and not look back.

The truth is “the Divine will light your path with miracles to make it easier as you go.”  Send your positive energy into the Universe.  What is your goal?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Feeling Good about Jiggle Thighs

NO! This is not a picture of me….I have been on a journey to get back to goal weight since January.  Back to Weight Watchers, walking or moving more and I have been STUCK!  Well, the scale seems to move VERY slowly but those “jiggle thighs” don’t seem to be going anywhere.

I am looking forward to the Leadership Cruise in September so I am on a mission.  I am fighting playing the comparison game. I am fighting the gremlins who want me to be more concerned about what others will think of me than me loving me for me.  I’m sure I am not alone.  Swimsuit season is upon us or at least it will be VERY soon and it makes me CRINGE!  What about you?

I read a blog post on Women Living Well about learning to accept things.  It made me stop and realize I need to look at my “jiggle thighs” in a different way..

For as long as I can remember, I have had “bumps” on the top of my thighs. Yes, they have gotten smaller with the loss of 105 pounds but they are still there! I walk, maybe not as much as I could (or should) but you would figure loosing 105 pounds would have helped to get rid of them, right? Most of the time my clothes conceal them but I still know they are there. Of course you can really notice them as my waist continues to shrink and nothing is in proportion. Maybe this isn’t your problem area, maybe it is the “jiggle arms” or the muffin top or the roll our bra creates – no matter what we all seem to judge ourselves when we look in the mirror..

How about this thought….My jiggle thighs (or your problem area) are evidence of God’s goodness in my life! Sounds crazy, right? Mind you I never notice this or any other problem area on other people, just on myself. Most people don’t mention it – okay maybe an occasional child who is curious but why wouldn’t they be – I’m curious to know why God has blessed me with these wonderful thighs.

Jen Wilken said “The expectation of physical perfection hits modern females early and often. In middle school, girls cut themselves to deal with the pressures of conforming to the ideal. In middle age, women do, too—but allow the surgeon to hold the knife.” WOW! She then goes on to say “We carve the record of our self-loathing into the very flesh of our bodies—a self-marring, a literal carving of an idol. Increasingly, physical perfection is the legacy of womanhood in our culture, handed down with meticulous care from mother to daughter, with more faithful instruction in word and deed than we can trouble to devote to cultivating kindness, peacemaking, and acceptance that characterize unfading, inner beauty.”

Yes, I considered surgery.  We even met with a doctor to see what would be involved.  By the time we left, they had described a procedure which would cut me almost in half.  They would take out the cellulite and the excess skin from the weight loss.  The healing time would be several months.  Then he said “there is no guarantee the bumps won’t come back”. WAIT! You mean even after all of this, and sticking to my WW program there is still the possibility they may return.  I will admit, I was willing to take the chance.  Then after much thought, prayer and discussion with hubby – I decided against it.

So, every day I work on squashing the inner gremlins who want to torture me with lies about the need to have a perfect body or to be an ideal weight. It doesn’t mean don’t be healthy. It means strive for a goal reachable for you. I am learning to accept me for me – jiggle thighs and all – knowing I am beautifully made by God. Most days this is a tough pill for me to swallow.  I am not less than because it has taken me a “LONG” time to reach my goal weight. I am not less than because my body is not a perfect size 10.

Today, I am living in the hope, security and the arms of a Higher Power who loves me unconditionally. Give yourself a break today and know as long as you are trying your best – it is all God is asking of you.

For tips on healthy weight loss check out – Weight Watchers.

Have ThirtyOne-derful day.