Tag Archives: life

About to launch

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One day in August I had the thought that my bucket list contained too many overseas travel items and I had no plans or money to go anywhere anytime soon. So, I worked out a way I could pay for flights right then and booked a three week stay in England.

I am now hours from leaving on my trip, with three winter weeks in England and a day in Paris on my itinerary.

How will I go on my own, travelling with illness issues? Dunno
How will I go in the freezing temperatures for three weeks? Dunno
Will I survive? Yes
Will I enjoy myself? Yes
Will I be exhausted when I return? No doubt

I will try to post about how I am going sometime when a free wifi and my iPad meet.

Signing out from Australia.

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A feeling of peace

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Today is the first day of holidays for most teachers and students in Victoria, Australia.

I am sitting in my lounge room watching Bargain Hunt on television, feeling a little pain but a lot of peace.

It is a good time to bring my thoughts together in words. These are my thoughts:

The working year is finished. I don’t have to plan anything right now, but I will have to at some point in the next month.

As exhausted as I was I attended the staff Christmas social function. I dressed up but I’m not sure I looked ok, I think I looked fat and was boring. I was too tired to know.

My son graduated from his postgraduate study on the weekend and it was a great day. Strangely, I really enjoyed the graduation ceremony and the speeches. I am very proud to have a son who achieves highly academically and who cares a lot about others.

My family visitors have returned home and it was lovely to see them as I won’t see them on Christmas this year.  I hope they don’t think that I am becoming a sad, tired lump of a person.

My niece is the cutest little thing. I can’t wait for the next baby to arrive.

I have a short manageable to do list for the next few days. But right now I don’t want to move.

In six days I head to England for 3 weeks of adventure. I have no idea how this will go.

My coughing is gradually going away again and I have to feel well by Sunday, cross fingers.

Tea tastes wonderful on holidays.

Cheers to a restful day.

A work friend gave me this cute red teapot set, she said it just reminded her of me the moment she saw it.

A work friend gave me this cute red teapot set, she said it just reminded her of me the moment she saw it.

Stella Young TED talk

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Stella Young TED

Stella Young died unexpectedly last weekend at age 32.  She was a comedian, journalist and advocate for rights for disabled. Here is her TED talk from Sydney in April this year. Her speech provides much food for thought, enjoy.

 

A Quick Coping with Chronic Illness Quiz

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A Quick Coping with Chronic Illness Quiz

Question 1.

You have had a busy week, worked hard and kept up with life’s requirements and responsibilities. It is Saturday and your family is all out for the day, you are home alone. Do you:

a) Sleep in bed all day and have a shower just before anyone comes home

b) Write a list of all the jobs you need to do around the home and get as many done as possible

c) Get dressed in your favourite jeans and top and head to the local shopping centre for a days shopping, coffee and the beginnings of painful feet

d) Spend the day reading, sipping cool drinks and enjoying the peace and quiet

Question 2.

You have your bags and you are heading home after a busy day at work. Your body is telling you to sit down and your feet are starting to shuffle. A co-worker sees you walking past and calls out in a panic for your help with a cut and paste disaster on a Word document. Do you:

a) Tell them they will work it out, otherwise to redo it, and keep walking

b) Tell them that they will have to find someone else, that you’re leaving

c) Go over and manually help fix the document

d) Tell them the name of someone else who is good at that sort of thing

Question 3.

Christmas Day is approaching and your family, who live in another state, has been asking about whether you will be flying to be with them on Christmas Day. You haven’t been well and you have a long holiday trip planned for after Christmas, which you haven’t really saved properly for. Do you:

a) Tell them you are coming and then find the cheapest flights available

b) Tell them that your health has been bad and that you need to rest before your trip

c) Tell them that it is just one day and that you will ring them, that will be sufficient

d) Invite them to come to your place instead, knowing that they will never do that

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Answers

Question 1.

All of these answers are acceptable, it just comes down to which option makes you feel most happy. All options have flow on effects, especially mental ones, such as the satisfaction of getting jobs done around the home or the feeling of restfulness and centredness after spending a day relaxing with a book, so remember to consider this as well. What will you get out of the action v’s what do you need right now. It is important not to keep thinking over the other options all day with guilt that you didn’t choose them. Choose your option and enjoy.

Question 2. 

The right thing to do here is c. This should be a quick fix to help someone and then you will be back on your way home. However, depending on how tired you are and how much pain you are in, the other options may slip out. Be careful to not let illness get in the way of you being the person you are without it. Checking your inner voice to make sure it isn’t driving negativity is very important and it can be hard to do that when in a lot of pain. If you do slip up, don’t forget you are human and you are in pain and sometimes you can’t be everything.

Question 3.

The problem with this question is that you probably want to jump on a plane and go be with your family for Christmas. However, life with illness means that you have to plan your energy use very carefully. Your body doesn’t care if it’s Christmas Day, your birthday, graduation day, the day you are presenting a proposal to your bosses, your children’s school concert day, the day you leave for a trip overseas, etc. Your body needs rest constantly, in order just to get through a normal day. Be very careful with planning big events and trips. Sometimes you will have to say no to some things in order to say yes to others. Don’t fight it, it is just the way you have to live with chronic illness.

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It doesn’t matter. Be kind to yourself.

To the world: please accept our children unconditionally and look after them

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On freshly pressed right now is a post that is close to my heart. It is from the blog Raising My Rainbow. The woman who writes this blog, Lori, shares with her readers experiences of her family, especially around her “gender creative” son C.J.

Lori's blog tells her story and she has written a book as well.

Lori’s blog tells her story and she has written a book as well.

What has gone down recently, and what has featured on freshly pressed, is that some parents at Lori’s son’s school have spoken up both at a PTA meeting and after the meeting, with some discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic statements around the rights of children to express their gender identity.

One particular issue revolves around children’s right to use the toilets of the gender they identify with, not necessarily the gender they were assigned at birth. Apparently C.J. has not been using girls toilets, this is a rumour. But, he has been bullied in the boys toilets by other boys who demand to see whether he has a penis or a vagina. Bullied in the toilets. And these parents speak like this at the PTA meeting. Perhaps the apples don’t fall far from the trees. What a battle this family and this school have with these parents.

The situation can be read about here To The PTA Moms at My Son’s School and here The Last PTA Meeting I Will Ever Attend.

There are a lot of poorly informed, under-empathetic and under-caring people in this world. For starters, these are children we are talking about. How messed up do we want our future generation to be? Let them just be children. Without all the adult negativity and prejudice, I bet these children would all play happily together, going to whatever toilet they choose. At my school, right next to my art room there are two toilets used by boys, girls, women, men. No, stop it, please. The world is going to end because we share toilets. There’s no intention there, it’s just how it ended up in the design of a new building, we have two unisex toilets at that end of the building. Children have an amazing ability to be flexible of mind and accepting of others. We shouldn’t kill this.

As a teacher in a primary school, I see children who show different degrees of gender identity. We have not had an experience like Lori is going through at our school yet, but I would like to think my school would be very accepting and work through the issues, with the child and all the children’s welfare in mind. I know that I, as a parent of a gay son and one more informed than the average person, will be there to share information and encourage understanding. However, I know parents can be extremely single minded when discussing issues, and that is a problem.

There is a lot to be gained from informing oneself before opening one’s mouth. This article from an Australian TV program called Four Corners is a perfect way to share stories of the children who struggle with their gender identity and acceptance in the world.

Being Me by Four Corners

Being Me by Four Corners

It is through these stories that people can access information, information that they do not necessarily access otherwise in their lives. Not yet anyway. Society, in varying degrees throughout, is just beginning to learn about LGBTI acceptance and equality. There are places where LGBTI issues are open and understood greatly, but I would not think that many suburban or rural primary or secondary schools (elementary or high schools) are there yet.

At the end of the day, these are our children, they are born with promise and a bright future, let’s look after them and keep it that way.

A medicated life

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Hand with pillsIt is concerning that medication is the thing that keeps me getting up and participating in life. I would say I have a love/hate relationship with it right now. Medication that is.

The reason I love my medication is that it does positive things to my body that I cannot do myself, like keep my blood pressure down, dull the throbbing pain I feel in my feet and hands and stop the nerve pain all over my body that drives me crazy. Because of it’s help, I can go to work and do things in my life other than lay in bed or sit on the couch.

The reason I hate my medication is that it doesn’t fix my pain completely and it gives me all sorts of random side effects, one of which is to make the pain worse (yes I know, that is ridiculous) and make me fatigued and foggy. So, sometimes I still do end up in bed or on the couch feeling very useless.

When I feel like that I wonder if there is any point in taking my medication at all. However, if I think constructively I know that the extremity of the pain and fatigue without medication is much worse than when on it. In other words, my medication has a positive effect overall. Plus, this new medication, the one I am currently referring to as the miracle drug in other posts, should have a lot more impact in a positive way, in a few weeks time. Hopefully.

Sometimes I need to take more and more pain killers to get me going and keep me going throughout the day. This is not a good habit to start. So I’m stopping with that.Glass of pills

However, can it be seen that all this taking medication is not only a reliance on medication, but a slow slide into becoming addicted, physically and mentally? If you have to take a medication, and are not allowed to stop it abruptly due to the side effects, then are you not already addicted anyway?

Let’s explore…

Medical definition of addiction:

Compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;

broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful—compare habituation

Medical definition of habituation:

1. The act or process of making habitual or accustomed
2a. Tolerance to the effects of a drug acquired through continued use
2b. Psychological dependence on a drug after a period of use—compare addiction
3. A form of nonassociative learning characterized by a decrease in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus

Thank you Merriam-Webster, it appears I had the wrong word. I am not becoming addicted, that only relates to harmful drugs (hmmm, that is subjective). I am becoming habituated, as definitions 1 and 2b above explain.

Right now I am 41, will I have to keep this up forever? Probably yes. When I was last at the rheumatologist, he said that I would be visiting him for ever. Thats like 30 to 40 years or more. That’s ominous. And, that’s a lot of money.

I guess I can’t think about whether I like this new reliance or habituation of medication or not.

It just is. Move on.