Monday, March 26, 2012

A Change of Tune

In the last few months I've had several conversations with people on the topic of "what ifs."  In fact, these conversations have become so regular I figured I'd write about it.

The conversation/email/text usually starts with the question, "How do you deal with all the what ifs?"  You know the endless questions with no answers:

- What if I never get better?
- What if I can never do the things I once did?
- What if my spouse isn't in it for the long haul?
- What if I lose my job? my friends? my future?
- What if....?

The list goes on and on.

First of all, let me say that I think it's perfectly normal for these questions to cross your mind. After all, when facing any sort of life challenge you can't help but wonder what you're up against. In fact, sometimes these "what ifs" can prompt us to move and act and plan accordingly. But here is what I have learned:   More often than not, these kinds of what ifs can be paralyzing. They zap you of your energy, strip you of hope and make your mind run in maddening circles.

So what do we do?  How do we avoid sitting under that looming gray cloud?  Maybe the answer is found when we change the conversation, adjust the tune and shift our thinking.

Instead of "What if I never get better?" ask, "What if health is just a few steps away?"

Instead of "What if I can never do the things I once did?" ask, "What if I learn incredible new things, things I never imagined doing?"  

Instead of thinking that life as you knew it is over, think "What if something great is right on the horizon?" 

This line of thinking makes me want to move forward, look for answers, fight for hope, believe. And this is so important because actions follow thinking. While I do consider myself an optimistic person, I am no Miss Sally Sunshine seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. I'm a realist, but a realist who believes in the power of hope.

If I focused my thoughts on what I was told - there is no cure, you will have to live with this disease for the rest of your life - I would have done nothing.  Why bother?  Instead, I asked, What if I could be the small percentage of those who go into remission?  What if I let this pain teach me something? What if this makes me a better mom, wife, woman?  What if God's best is right around the corner?  What if...?  And then came the actions.  The looking for answers, trying alternatives, the changes - inside and out.  I put my energy into not just feeling better, but being better, living better.  All of a sudden I didn't have time to wonder if I'd ever be "cured" - I was too busy living my life and living it well.

If you've been paralyzed by "what ifs" I would encourage you to change the conversation.  After all, what if a simple shift in your thoughts could set you on a new and amazing course?  It's at least worth a try.


Friday, March 9, 2012

When Healing Happens

There was a time - not that long ago - when I dreaded the question, "How are you?"  Most of the time, I answered with a polite, "I'm fine, thanks."  But the truth was, while I was doing my best to move forward, find solutions and stay positive, I was also very afraid.  Afraid of the disease getting out control, afraid of the complications and the long list of "what ifs."

But today, when someone asks, "How are you?" I can't help but smile (and get a little teary-eyed).  I can't help but think about where I've been and where I'm going.  For months, I have blogged about my journey.  Many of you have been reading from the beginning, when there was lots of pain and little answers.  You have seen me through the fears, doubts and struggles. You have seen me vulnerable and honest, broken and afraid, resilient and determined. You have seen it all and you have so graciously journeyed with me.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the end of 2011 had me seriously re-evaluating the future. The risks of my treatment plan were outweighing the benefits and it was time for a change of plans.  Little did I know that those change of plans would dramatically change my life.  Since the beginning of 2012, I have been on a nutritional program that has made an incredible difference in my health.  I have been able to cut my medication dosage in half, my blood work has been normal (for the first time in over a year), my inflammation has decreased and the pain has subsided (not only does my husband NOT need to help me out of bed, I am up to 20 minutes on the elliptical).  And get this, I haven't been sick at all in 2012.  Keep in mind, I was the girl who was told she would have to wear a mask on airplanes or crowded places.  My immune system was weak and that resulted in constant sickness, infections and food poisoning.  Today, I am getting stronger - cell by cell - I am healing.  Let me say that again.

I. Am. Healing.

It is so powerful, humbling, liberating to write those words.

The good news doesn't stop there.  My quest for health, wellness and prevention led me to start my own business, Thriving 365.  Yes, from Thrive Out Loud to Thriving 365 I am living and breathing health and hope. I have partnered with Shaklee, the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S., and am now able to share natural, alternative solutions with others.  I wasn't looking to start a business.  I was simply looking for answers and this is where it led me.  Please click here to visit my website and read my story.

This post has been a long time coming.  Several months ago, during a very dark time, I wrote, "I know something great is on the horizon.  I just know it."  It seemed crazy at the time, because the horizon looked anything but great.  And yet, here we are.  I know that this journey is not over.  Healing is a process, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

With Love,