This Too I Can Accept

And I can feel overwhelmed and enraged and thankful and fatigued and empowered as I practice surrendering to the fuckenings.

The CAT scan the Gynecologist ordered based on his YEARS of EXPERIENCE as a MEDICAL DOCTOR and his CONCERN for his human patient who he thoroughly EXAMINED and deemed it quite MEDICALLY NECESSARY to gather more information to make the next right DECISION to actually treat me and the medical ENIGMA-ness that is my BODY was DENIED by our insurance company. By some ridiculous person who does not consider my humanity or the knowledge of the doctor- HOW INSULTING . A CAT scan costs a LOT of money even with insurance. DUH.

And this is not my first rodeo with playing this game. Last year they initially denied an MRI ordered by my neurologist. How is that even a thing with someone who has MS-?! I asked if they would rather pay for me to be hospitalized again from the stress they were creating because that would be even more expensive for them and since they were mostly concerned with money, wouldn’t it serve them better financially just to listen to my doctor? And I’m not even a math or business type person, but even I have a tad of common sense.

The CAT scan that was already done yesterday that showed some further significant issues regarding my colon and small intestine that require a referral to a Gastroenterologist before we can even address the other stuff happening that the GYN can help with.

The CAT scan that was a comedy of errors because the Tech could not understand that I physically could not put my left arm in the position she wanted it in and then was pulling on that arm as I was screaming-NO, NO you can’t move it that way, OWWW, please STOP, I have shoulder impingement syndrome from MS( which I had already EXPLAINED) and you could dislocate it- while I was holding my right arm with the IV in it straight up. And she kept saying that if I kept my arm up in the only position it can go back in that it would hit the CAT scan machine. I kept saying – OK, it can hit the machine then but I cannot get it in any other position.

So that was a complete clusterfuck of ridiculousness and unnecessary pain.

So now we wait to get in with the gastroenterologist. And to probably have a million more tests to figure out WTF my body is doing NOW- now that my thyroid can no longer be attacked because its gone, I guess my body is attacking these other parts of me?! This too I can accept- what is more pain at this point? I’m getting used to it. What else can I do but warrior on and cry and laugh and scream from such a primal place inside and inhale and exhale.

And fight with the insurance company. I have already called the two people from the insurance company that tried to “help” me appeal their decision on denying further physical therapy appointments in 2018 and 2019. Their “help” was quite ineffective as all of my appeals were DENIED… I’m sure they will be thrilled to hear from me again.

So now I will pretend I am back on my acupuncturist’s table where for at least 20 minutes I have a cessation of pain and can feel all kinds of cool stuff happening and I will count down the days until my next massage. Ever so grateful to have these lovely experiences with these two different types of healing energy. Ever so pissed off and over it at the same time that I accept it all.

It’s a weird feeling to be both proactively fighting and surrendering at the same time- a good weird.

So as this next batch of Fuckerys continues, for all of us humans in all the different forms that it may present in our unique lives, may we give ourselves permission to show up for ourselves in the ways that create the good weird- the fighting and the accepting, the staying and the surrendering.

Inhale. Exhale. Laugh. Cry. Repeat.

It is hilariously and sadly validating when one of your doctors calls you a medical enigma.

I’m writing this with my left foot propped up because I have strained it from overuse ( but YAY the x-ray showed no breaks or fractures!!) Always funny to tell the doctor- I cannot really feel my foot all the time because of MS so right now I’m not really in that much pain per se and I can’t even really feel you touching it right now but sometimes I can REALLY feel it and it HURTS in a WEIRD way-MD 360 Dr was like- but can’t you see the bruising and swelling?

So I’m already frustrated that I can’t walk with my life-sustaining friend all week…Poor Mac the dog will NOT be happy and will be running around the house like crazy whining and looking at me like I am his enemy.

And then I go to my regularly scheduled GYN appointment (shout out to that wonderful practice for moving me around since I was still at MD 360 during the initial appointment…)

And then the gynecologist who I have never seen before becomes my new BFF for lots of reasons :

1) my quirky arm had a difficult time putting on the flimsy paper gown so I accidentally broke the arm hole and I was just kind of holding it up and he came in and said “Let’s get you a new gown because that doesn’t look too comfortable and we have a lot to talk about”

2) he’d actually read my very very very long chart and was familiar with my story and made me feel not only physically comfortable but seen and heard and understood (which certainly helps as he’s about to give me a pelvic exam and we all know how fabulous those are- NOT)

3) he spent a long time listening to the new issues and then, upon the exam, discovered some interesting ( hence the word medical enigma) things going on and then calmly explained that the next step would be to get a CAT scan of my whole lower and upper abdominal area and go from there. And he basically had it scheduled immediately so that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow. In between seeing clients- which we all know is one of my favorite things to do. So I’m very grateful not to have to cancel the whole day.

And this dear man wanted to see my foot that was causing extra trouble and we talked about how because of not being able to do all of my regular exercising while recovering from surgery, its an overuse injury from walking more than usual and because I’m not 21 anymore and have MS – blah, blah, blah. And he understood because he says he has been there and uses exercise to manage stress as well. Lots of compassion going on in that exam room today. And to top it all off, he said he loves to operate and will gladly do that but thinks it’s best to give it a bit more time because of all my body has been through recently AND we have to impatiently wait for what the CAT scans show. He gets me and we have only just met- gotta love that!

So what a day. A day of some fuckenings. Or as one of my MS soul sisters says- Fuckerys. Both words are powerful and necessary!!

At least I can do my strength training exercises. And write. And use all the other outlets I incorporate into my high maintenance lifestyle of existing as a human in this body of mine.

So please send some love to Mac (our Old English Bulldog) as he has to suffer this week as well. He is looking at me like WTF right now because this is the time we usually go for our walk.

And please also send some love to my family as I might be a tad moody and more irritable this week as well- nothing they aren’t already used to…

And I will continue to offer gratitude to all of you out there who are living examples of kindness-givers and encouragers as I give myself permission to feel all the emotions. And painful things inside.

So may we all practice giving and receiving compassion- to ourselves and to others. And to letting ourselves honor one another’s experiences with acceptance and humor and empathy so that we may keep inhaling and exhaling and laughing and crying and repeating that process together.

Just Keep Writing

A very dear to my heart woman of wisdom, strength, and humor told me this today.

So many people-an inordinate amount actually-I know and love are going through such intense heartache and grief and fear right now. This very second as these words are being typed.

I’m overwhelmed by the resilience of the human spirit. That spirit that, although weary and gripped by fear and pain, and questioning EVERYTHING, that sometimes feels like it just cannot take one more breath, somehow, keeps going. And going.

Many of my clients ask me how to hold it all together while surviving the grief and loss. It saddens me that they believe they have to hold it all together all the time. I mean, how is a human whose child just died or has just miscarried or found out some horrendous news about the health of a child or themselves or another loved one (insert any heartache here) supposed to hold it all together? And what does that even mean? Because, really, trying to hold it all together can make it even more horrible than it already is. It can wipe that resiliency right on out in my experience as a human and a therapist. What is this holding it all together crap so many of us think is helpful? How does it serve us and humanity collectively to consistently hold back tears, to put on a “pretty” or a “strong” face for others, to wrap our pain up in a cute little package with a fake smile on top?

For those of you who know me well, this is where the cussing begins- Because of course it doesn’t fucking serve us or anyone else well- it only creates more suffering- the pretending that takes inordinate amounts of energy, energy the grieving and suffering do not have to give, because just staying alive amidst the pain of whatever it may be takes all the energy. All of it some days. And this is why isolation can seem so necessary and vital. In isolation, holding it all together does not have to be achieved.

So let’s start honoring our grief and loss and heartache and pain with the gift of allowing it to be seen, for letting the tears fall even if you are in public and not giving a shit about appearances. How freeing it can be to not have to constantly hold it together. Maybe holding it together can be holding space for your own suffering, not forcing smiles or false words. Let’s redefine “holding it together” so that it’s more acceptable to ourselves (and others) to show up without always wearing the masks of bullshit. By not feeling like we have to sugarcoat our experience.

And, of course, I am not advocating for emotional dumping of ALL THE THINGS in inappropriate places or with people we barely know. I mean first within our own belief systems internally and then with dear and trusted friends and family, health care providers, and colleagues that we consider trustworthy. Because don’t we ALL experience these heartaches and traumas at some point in time?

So may we all begin the permission giving process of grieving out loud, teary and snotty and human or quiet and numb or dark-humored or in whatever way is YOUR way.

And to each and every one of you out there right now, please know I am consistently sending you compassion and healing energy for peace and resilience and that I am taking those inhales and exhales right along with you.

The Gifts of Teenagers

As my kids have grown into teenagers and young adults, I realize the joy I experience when having meaningful and in-depth conversations with them- I marvel at how these same people, who I sometimes still see through the lens of early motherhood ( you know, that they are still little humans who need me to wipe their tushies), are truly their own people with their own views and critical thinking skills and abilities to communicate and to engage in healthy debates.

After a 2 hour conversation covering numerous important and meaningful topics – no topic off-limits- with my son yesterday, I fully experienced the magic of seeing him as the young man he is becoming. The honesty and ability he has to clearly express himself and his thoughts and feelings, the research he does to make sense of humanity and to figure out for himself all of the different perspectives that resonate with his innate sense of logic and kindness, hearing his internal processes that guide him to make informed decisions about his belief/value system, and his willingness to listen and express curiosity is truly heartwarming and melts my soul.

The cognitive dissonance that I am continually making space for and accepting is that he is still my “baby” AND he is absolutely his own individual person separate from me. ( And smarter than me in many ways)…It’s that push/pull inside of wanting to hold on and knowing I have to let go- there is a song ( can’t remember who sings it) about holding on loosely. And that is the place that is hard and makes me happy all at the same time. And that is what my young mom self could never begin to imagine- even though I knew intellectually that obviously my kids would grow up. But knowing this and living out this experience is different. It’s a good weird.

Just like pretty much everything in life that continually changes. And changes again. Every relationship- especially our relationship with our own selves.

I have always seen my kids as my greatest mirrors and teachers. Parenting has a tendency to really shed light on who you are and where you need to be intentional on how you need to grow and stretch as a human to role model and practice embodying your highest self. This is a challenge- all the time! And the privilege I have to be their mom – words cannot even express or do justice to this gift.

So I will be intentionally practicing holding on loosely to my baby who is actually no longer a baby and hasn’t been in many years. I am already looking forward to all of our conversations yet to come about ALL the things-hearing his perspectives and experiences with that sense of wonderment that warms me. So maybe by the time he leaves for college in just a couple of years I will feel more comfortable and ready ( like I really have a choice…) And I will also firmly grip all of the memories of raising him, every phase, as I allow myself to enter into this shifting space of motherhood.

So may we all give ourselves ongoing permission to hold on loosely to whatever it is that we find ourselves firmly gripping. And the self-compassion when we find it so difficult to do so.

Recovery Days

Yesterday was a HARD day. A day filled with all the pains. The pain of being a compassionate, empathic human who loves her work AND recognizes how emotionally and spiritually painful it can be -as well as the physical pain of just sitting in my therapy chair can be- who knew that holding my body in that upright position for hours could take such a toll on my neck, shoulder, and arm? And my quirky arm is supported with a comfy pillow the whole time.

This is why I am in a deeply committed relationship with my heating pad. We are in love.

The emotional pains of being a mother were loud yesterday. A mother who wanted desperately to step in and nurture and protect and who had to hold all the space internally and externally without hovering or over-stepping. This is not natural for those of us with maternal instincts that are such driving forces – surging, powerful forces that flood us.

Physical pains of nerve damage shooting down from my neck all the way through my left fingertips- ALL DAMN DAY. Muscular pain in my left scapular area ( but YAY that I have feeling there again-sometimes) from being able to use my weights and therapy bands and practice yoga again.

The pain of experiencing enraging feelings at our healthcare system as I was listening to a friend’s horrible and scary experiences with our “health” care system that did not seem the least bit interested in her concerns and that included a health care provider actually laughing at an important and reasonable question she raised. This friend is a strong woman who knows how to be her own advocate so at least there is that.

So isn’t it wonderful that today was, to coin my husband’s words, a recovery day. A day that started with a massage from one of the most incredible humans with the most magical hands – who knows chronic pain inside and out. Just being on her table before the massage begins fills me with a sense of peace. She always ends the massage with a gentle reminder to take slow deep breaths and to remember how relaxed my body feels at that moment so that I can have that imprint to call on when I need it- because she knows I will need it multiple times before our next session.

And then I got to have lunch with one of my favorite people at one of my favorite restaurants. Yummy and nourishing food for my body and soul. You know those people who you feel safe to be your authentic self with, those people who are so real themselves that they allow you to be? Hang on to those people. Treasure them.

And to top it all off, I had my second acupuncture appointment with another special and smart human I have the pleasure of learning from and connecting with as she is providing another healing tool as well as offering such compassion and warmth on every energetic level. She said something that still has me processing – that struck me in my core- That it took my body paralyzing me to get me to listen to it- to actually slow down and pay close attention and reset. This perspective – Another one of my multiple surprises on this journey of establishing this “new normal” and how to live in a more peaceful way with MS.

So she puts in all these needles everywhere- and as I am lying there feeling all of these zings ( not the painful MS Zings- these are very different zings), my entire left arm- starting way up in my neck and shooting all the way down through my thumb and fingertips is pulsating and it feels very loud and strong- painful but in a new way that I am having a difficult time finding the right way to describe with language.

And this goes on and on and I am breathing deeply into it and focusing my mental energy on telling myself that my body is safe and it does actually love me AND that it can hurt me AND still be safe. And the whole time all of these weird feelings in my arm are doing whatever they are doing. So then the beautiful acupuncturist comes back in and I’m describing what’s happening to her- and she lets me know that this is wonderful feedback- that this is my nerves “waking up”… music to my ears. That this is good pain. And the way that she explains it- with her lovely voice and from a wealth of experience- makes the hopefulness just bloom inside of me. And please know that I am gratefully aware of how fortunate and privileged I am to have the resources to be able to experiment with these healing modalities.

So here’s to the ongoing flow of hard days and recovery days and becoming more intentional about conserving my energy and honoring my body so that it may continue to operate in the complex ways it needs so that I am in balance and alignment with myself, which ultimately empowers me to keep showing up for others.

And so may we all continue to work on finding that physical and emotional and spiritual alignment in whatever ways we feel convicted to do as we find our own balance. And may we give ourselves ongoing permission to come back to ourselves as many times as we need to do so.


My husband and I just celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. Just writing that sentence takes me back so many years. To those very young college kids from two vastly different backgrounds and places who met by happenstance one summer day in 1993. At our summer jobs in a Steakhouse. A hostess and a dishwasher.

Who chose to date each other long-distance during our last 2 years of college. Before the invention of emails and cellphones. We’d write each other actual letters and set up “dates” on our landlines maybe twice a week because of the high cost of long-distance calls. Yes- that long ago. My dear dad generously donated his airline miles to us so we could see each other every now and again.

We chose each other after graduation when we both decided to move to my hometown. Well, I made it clear that I would not EVER live in a COLD place EVER.

We chose each other on a very cold Saturday in 1997 when we said “You are my beloved and these rings consecrate us to each other” and then celebrated in typical Jewish Wedding Style – so much food and dancing and singing. People still tell us that our wedding was one of the most fun experiences- Thank you, Mom and Dad!

We have continued to choose each other all these years. Years of learning about ourselves and each other ( because what 24 year olds really know who they even ARE, let’s be real), and conflict, and annoyances, and figuring out our love languages( and how to relate and receive love and “speak” each other’s languages), and acceptance, and laughter, and raising children, and agreeing to respectfully disagree, and silences, and forgiveness, and talking, and compassion, and humor, and hugs, so many hugs, and PARENTING ( parenting is the BEST of times AND sometimes the WORST of times – you know it’s true), and affection and kindness and gratitude.

We learned to choose to let ourselves have independence and autonomy and to grow as individuals. To be whole humans – not buying in to the ridiculousness fictional notion that we are responsible for making each other happy. Disney movies are not always our friends, y’all…We figured out along the way that it’s up to each of us to provide fulfillment and find purpose and meaning for ourselves and to support each other’s paths. This has been an evolving process over years and years AND it will always continue to be evolving-I am the first to admit that the struggle has been real for me-So many limiting and false beliefs I had to unlearn.

This man that I am fortunate to call my husband shows his love through his steadfast strength and strong devotion and protection, his acts of endless service on behalf of me and our family. Through all sorts of different caretaking ways that I never even thought would be a part of our story. I am continually overwhelmed and grateful for his deep sense of knowing what I need to take care of myself even before I do sometimes-his ability to be the reasoning voice of suggesting rest days and staying in my pajamas days and not over doing it days and conserving my energy days. MS has effected him just as much as it has me- just in different ways. Ways we are still discovering and processing.

This year we chose to try a Near/Far Infrared Sauna at a lovely local spa place. Not only do some MSers use this (with caution) to manage pain symptoms, and to sweat and for relaxation, most middle aged folks- especially hardcore athletes like my husband- have some kind of pain at all times somewhere in their aging bodies. If you are interested in learning more about this type of healing modality, Google it!

As much as I enjoyed being in that sauna, I noticed after about 20 minutes that my quirky arm was making itself known very loudly- all the numbness, tingling, weakness that let’s me know my time is UP. My legs were also becoming symptomatic. And I was barely sweating- Google MS and Thyroid issues if you care to learn more about this issue. So anyway, I got out and put a cold towel around my neck and sat down. I don’t think I would have been able to drive myself home- so fatigued and relaxed at the same time. So having a home infrared sauna would be FABULOUS!

The rest of the Anniversary day was spent on the couch binge watching Curb Your Enthusiasm together. We Love Larry David. And each other.

Theme of the Day

Sometimes there will be days where every single brave human who sits on my couch will be grappling with the same exact underlying issue. Today was one of those days- I call them theme days and marvel still at the universal commonalities that create internal suffering- and I choose to use them to check in with myself because those theme days typically resonate strongly with my own perfectly imperfect humanity.

Today’s theme was how we outsource our power and our inner knowing. We struggle with getting quiet inside and listening to how our body feels and tolerating distressful emotions. We jump into our heads ( and over-thinking, judging minds can be very scary places) to immediately escape into the familiar territory of intellectualizing and over-analyzing and creating fiction and stories about ourselves and others that typically do not serve us well yet trick us into believing we have some sense of control. When in reality, if we can learn or re-learn to come back to our own selves, to sit with the discomfort, to stay with ourselves, to practice curiosity, to use our breath to send calming messages to the places inside that feel tense or stuck or scared or enraged or bereft AND sometimes it may be ALL of these feelings at the same time- only then do we actually have the ability to connect with our own power, our own intuition, our own relationship with listening to ourselves-which ultimately leads to existing in this difficult and beautiful world in a way that increases peace and decreases suffering. And knowing we have the power to practice this and to be in a more trusting relationship with ourselves- that is choosing peace- even when our external world is full of strife and never-ending to-do lists, and ALL the life circumstances that will occur- How profoundly empowering! And making intentions to honor our own internal wisdom in whatever ways that make sense to us- that is one way we can heal from whatever it is internally that creates the turmoil, the panic, the shame, the distrust within.

I realized I was stuck in the story that I was telling myself about J’s appendectomy. That I failed him because I listened to his pediatrician these last 2 years- who really missed the mark on taking care of him and listening to him. I trusted this doctor. All the “SHOULDS” that have consumed me since it was confirmed that this was the source of his stomach pain all this time. I have apologized to J and he graciously accepted my apology for not taking him to a specialist or demanding certain tests ( I am not a medical doctor so I really did not know to do this). So today I chose to go inside myself and give my self permission to release my mom-guilt. To allow the false narrative that I am a bad mom to move through me and outside of me. To come back to my own inner knowing that I’m doing the best I can and that I can make mom-mistakes AND still be a damn good mom who loves her children ferociously. The sense of relief and freedom I experienced was immense and immediate.

So I am full of gratitude for the work that I do and the people who trust me with their stories. Who remind me that we are all in this together- this interesting and challenging and lovely and scary reality of being a human being.

So may we all allow ourselves to embody ourselves with curiosity and compassion. And may we all practice getting more comfortable with recognizing and listening to our intuition again and again and again.

Religious Trauma

Deconstructing. Reconstructing.

Unbecoming. Becoming.

Disembodied. Embodied.

Silent tears streaming down so many different faces, sobbing souls so loudly suffering, faces so contorted by pain and shame rendered unrecognizable, uncontrollable violent shaking, vomit spewing from bodies when fear would not let them speak words, blood seeping through clothing from self-harm, disassociation happening right in front of my eyes, suicidal thoughts and intentions, these are just but some of the experiences I have been a sacred witness to in my work with humans over the past 20 Plus years. Humans coming to me with story after story after story of religious abuse and trauma. Humans attempting to make sense and peace out of an entire culture that produced such paralyzing shame and self-hatred- all in the name of God.

As a Jewish person, it’s taken me a very long time and a lot of listening and asking questions and doing my own research to even begin to absorb the ways in which religion, especially the fundamental and evangelical kind, can create all of the descriptions of fear and pain listed above. I have been on the receiving end, beginning as early as 3rd grade, of knowing what it feels like to be “other than” this type of Christianity- slapped in the face by a big 4th grade boy after my mom came to school to light the Menorah during Hanukkah, being told I was going to hell more times than I can count, being judged and shamed and questioned and proselytized to over and over and over ( many times in school by the school- ever heard of Separation of Church and State?) again. Watching my kids experience ( other than the physical ridiculousness- as far as I know…) all of the same stuff. All of that is a story for another time.

One of my numerous clients who was raised in this religious environment of shame and anxiety that produces a disembodied sense of self and humanity shared a podcast with me recently- Jamie Lee Finch on The Liturgists. And then, because I am a seeker, I found a different podcast called God is Grey hosted by Brenda Marie Davies, that further enlightened me on the depths of what so many of my clients speak about who are working through their struggles with religious abuse and trauma. Their struggles with their own humanity.

The Religious Trauma Institute is another resource that provides a wealth of knowledge and understanding- even though I have seen firsthand and have helped people through their traumatic religious experiences, it was always through a lens of my own, vastly different religion and relationship with the divine. Only recently am I able to begin understanding their struggles in a way that is more informed and using the same language- and as we know, words are powerful. So powerful that they can create such torment and fear and self-loathing when heard over and over and over from church leaders – the very same church leaders and youth group leaders who may be their offenders – offenders of sexual abuse. Offenders of emotional abuse.

The very same leaders who may be sending such strong messages of harsh judgment. The harshest and scariest kinds of judgement for being a human being. The same culture that promotes a sense of disembodiment from self. That appears to shame you for having your own intuition and thoughts and feelings.

I have cried in my office more times than imaginable with parents who basically send the message to their children that depression and anxiety and suicide is seemingly preferable than accepting that their children are gay, or have had sex, or are questioning these things, or questioning their own relationship with God, basically just humans – you know- being HUMAN. Using critical thinking skills. Being a sexual being- which is – you know- HUMAN.

As I am writing this, I am having to slow my own breathing and work through my own secondary trauma of seeing this firsthand multiple times and grieving with my dear clients. So much grieving and pain. Oceans and oceans of grief and pain.

I have had to work through my own rage to be emotionally available to hold space for all of the oceans of grief and pain that these humans have endured all in the name of God- or rather, their church.

I have been fortunate to see the reconstruction and the becoming and the embodiment of self that happens when the brave and scared and sad and lonely and traumatized humans begin their journeys of making peace with themselves and all of their very human parts and their personal relationships with the divine. When they give themselves permission to offer themselves compassion and acceptance.

I could write about this for hours.

That would not serve me well because I need to go sit quietly and breathe and allow these feelings of grief and rage to flow through me.

I encourage you to do your own research if you are interested or moved to do so.

May we all become who we are meant to be and already are and may we all know that we are worthy of love and acceptance and belonging- to ourselves and to each other.

Maintenance Required

Ever since my last oil change- when the service tech forgot to reset the thingy that makes the Maintenance Required sign go away- I have been reminded ( and at first quite annoyed) that maintenance is required. Instead of going back to the dealership and having them fix it, I have chosen to let it be a constant message of how important maintenance really is- human maintenance especially. I’ve started to take a few minutes right when I turn on my car ( because there the message is) -before turning on my music- to check in with my own needs for the day. Some days that includes processing ALL THE THINGS that have happened since 12/15/19.

J’s suffering for way too long before his appendix finally said, “ENOUGH!” Thinking of that Sunday when everything happened so fast and ended with an emergency appendectomy- OY VEY the feelings that flood me. He’s taking the first of his exams today that he missed before winter break. His confidence in himself and his humor and realism are traits that will serve him well and to say that I adore him is an understatement. His hugs are life-sustaining. His smile is heart-melting.

My own surgery 4 days after his ( exactly 3 weeks ago) is kind of a blur- which is absolutely fine with me! I do know that being able to walk outside with my dear friend from the moment I got home from the hospital was the best way of healing, physically and mentally. Our walks and talks are another life-sustaining necessity. And my family’s devotion and love and humor – all so much a beautiful gift. Spending time with my dear daughter while she was home – no words to truly describe that privilege- actually, I wrote a whole blog post about it so there really are lots of words!

My husband, who loves to see me laugh ( even though it hurts while recovering from having your neck cut open), made sure we watched a lot of Curb Your Enthusiasm – nothing like Larry David to bring all the belly laughs!

On my first lunch and shopping outing with O and our friend exactly one week post-op, being visited by the WTF Fairy as my left ovarian cyst was rupturing – nothing like being in Marshall’s with all the good deals and really realizing something ELSE might be wrong….Going to the GYN for that fun vaginal ultrasound the next morning to receive confirmation from the DR that it had indeed ruptured- I refused to let the feelings of defeat and despair overtake me. I acknowledged them and let my tears flow and released them. Then I met my dear hubby for lunch at my favorite Thai place and we just sat together eating after he held me. And then walking with my friend that same afternoon- thinking as long as I can walk outside, I can be ok.

And then learning there actually was some cancer in my body- still processing that one. And so grateful it’s gone. And so angry at Cancer itself on behalf of all the suffering souls.

And just being in this world where Anti-Semitism is existing very LOUDLY and our political culture is so filled with hate and blame instead of solution-focused it makes me feel physically ill and ashamed for humanity (like I need anything else to create those feelings). And Australia. And all the other multitudes of sadness and pain that all humans live with inside of themselves that we will never know.

At the same time-It has been an excellent week- first post-op strength training in the books! Gotta keep that quirky arm ( I found a better word than ‘bad’) moving and strong so it won’t dislocate itself! Have to keep all of my muscles as strong as they can be to manage my MS both physically and for my own sense of empowerment while living with this disempowering disease. Yoga is next for me to add back in-so looking forward to that! As well as my first Post-Op MASSAGE. Currently counting down the hours. And also looking forward to starting Accupuncture next week. And playing Mahjong with my friends!

1/7/20- My first day back at work- I was SO EXCITED driving to my office -a space where I feel so connected to MYSELF- in anticipation of seeing my clients and hearing all of their own WTF stories and sitting in silence and breathing with them and asking the hard questions and witnessing their tears and laughing with them about the absurdities of being human. And again today, back at work with different clients engaging in that same practice of connecting and honoring each lovely person’s experiences and discoveries and, as one wise and wonderful human said today, “reckonings.”

So I am owning my own high maintenance self and all that it takes to keep myself surviving and managing and doing what is necessary and adds value.

And I will thank that service tech the next time I see him (hopefully I’ll remember to actually take the van in before running out of oil since I won’t have the typical reminder…) for providing me with that needed reminder. That reminder that was initially an annoyance that then became a surprising beacon of guidance. That annoying reminder that I eventually adjusted to – kind of like difficult circumstances in life that present themselves in the most frustrating ways.

May we all recognize that we all need and deserve our own maintenance- in whatever ways we decide and that continue to serve us well. And may we all remember that we have the abilities to adjust to new and challenging realities. And may I remember to get my oil changed in a couple of months for real.

Just Another Multiple Surprises Episode

Post-Op appointment today with my endocrine surgeon. I was SO excited to hear that I could resume normal exercise activity. I was staring with happiness and vanity at my scar in the mirror ( before having the new flesh-colored tape put on) when the words, “And now we have to talk about the pathology” were spoken.

Y’all. What pathology?!

And this begins the story of how having an MS flare over the summer led to a non-regularly scheduled MRI that showed that my right thyroid gland was being an asshole and trying to choke me by compressing my trachea. I just thought my swallowing and weird -feeling- in -my -throat issues were one of the gifts of MS. Because those can be typical symptoms. The huge lump growing out of my neck was something I was so used to because it has been there since my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was discovered back when I was 40. I guess I wasn’t vain enough to notice that it had shifted and grown even bigger….

Anyway, Surprise Surprise: I actually did have a very small 2 millimeter “baby cancer” carcinoma. Too small for the fine needle biopsy to even find. So small that, as the surgeon said, “ You kind of got a 2 for 1 because the treatment IS the total thyroidectomy.” More on that in a minute.

After his multiple reassurances that I do not need any further treatment- no radioactive iodine treatment which is standard for bigger thyroid carcinomas- and that it absolutely had not metastasized ( way too tiny) and was definitely not in my lymph nodes- I actually laughed. Because this could have been a different story. A story of another Fuckening.

I laughed because I have MS to actually THANK because it’s the reason this was found so very early. It would have certainly been found this year with my regular old MRI- but it could have been bigger and created more problems. Can’t even process all of that right now- and I don’t really have to!

As my son said, “ Now you can’t complain that you have MS.” I called bullshit on that very quickly- as we all know- We can be frustrated AND grateful AND overwhelmed AND joyful all at the SAME TIME.

Back to the interesting part about having a total and not a partial thyroidectomy: initially, the surgeon had said we might just want to do a partial on the right side because that part was the rude part. This is where listening to your GUT and trusting your intuition comes in. I immediately said that, knowing my body and the way it likes to attack me somewhere, I wanted the WHOLE thing OUT because otherwise the left side would just start growing and then we’d be right back here and he’d just get more money for the second surgery. So THAT was the side that had the baby cancer- my “good” part of the thyroid. The part that may have been left in if I did not insist vehemently that I wanted it ALL GONE- and which he was completely understanding about. He hugged me with such warmth and kindness today. Surgeons are human, too.

So, what a day it has been. A Good Day. For many reasons. Thank you, MS. Said with actual thankfulness and not sarcasm.

May we all remember to listen to ourselves. To check in with our bodies, spirits, and minds as we travel along doing the best we can, learning how to be our own experts.

No more big lump!