Ten years and Engaged!

Untitled design (1)

A long time ago, in my early 20s, I came out to myself.  It was a watershed moment (literally, in terms of tears!) in which a lot of things I understood to be “weird” about myself suddenly made sense, and it was a time that I grieved for the “lost” years.  The efforts in my past relationships that were always, inexplicably, lacking.  It was also a time when I came to terms with how I would measure up to expectations: my family’s expectations of me, and the general culture and society’s expectations of me, and how I would adjust my expectations of myself, so that I could live a happy life.

I know my mother had difficulty adjusting to the idea of me being gay, a different future than what she’d visualized for me.   I think that Mom just needed some time to adjust, and some parents need that time.

You know who fixed it with my mom?  Kathryn.  Kat was the first girlfriend I ever brought to meet my parents.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that meeting shifted my mother’s whole idea of what my life as a gay person could be like.  She really liked Kat.  She told me so.  And then she said, “I think I understand now, why you’re gay.”

Maybe it was just that my Mom needed Kat to complete the picture that was partially erased when I came out to her.  It was a huge relief for me.  Not only did Mom like Kat, but she was able to visualize her daughter’s life in a new way, in a way that could be happy.

I am the first girl that Kat brought home too.  She introduced me to her family nine years ago, after we’d been dating for a year.

That’s right folks, on June 23, Kat and I will have been together for 10 years!

In that time, we’ve been through quite a lot.  We moved across country to Vancouver Island.  We supported each other through new adventures and tough times, and we’d both lost a parent.  We’ve been through a lot together.

We’re also getting dangerously close to 40 (stop laughing.)  If these next ten years go as quickly as the last ten years, we’ll be 50 before we know it!  I realized that if we are very lucky, if Kat and I get to be old ladies together, I want us to have a wedding to look back on.  I want us to have photos – not just selfies taken at arms-length, but professional photos of a beautiful day where we’re wearing gorgeous dresses and holding flowers and telling each other how much we love each other.  I want that memory for the future lucky old ladies to be.

So I asked Kat to marry me.  I didn’t do an elaborate proposal or anything – I just decided to tip-toe into the conversation.  I said, “I think I’d like to be married.  What do you think?”  She said, “Yes, I think that would be nice.”

That started a conversation which we would pick up time and again over a few months, and eventually, I talked to one of my hospital coworkers who is also a marriage commissioner – and I reserved the date of our 11th anniversary with her, which just happens to fall on a Saturday.

That night I went home and said to Sweetie, “Okay, so I can change this if you want, but I saw Judy and asked her to hold June 23, 2018 for our wedding date.”

Kat didn’t want me to change it.

Just like that, in little baby steps, we’ve tip-toed into the idea of what our wedding will be.  It will be very small, on the beach, a few family members, a couple of friends.  Kat and I both have our mother’s wedding rings, which are deeply sentimental for us, and the rings carry the commitment of our parents’ life-long marriages.

We get to spend our 10th year together as “fiancées” too, which is fun!

Until then, we’d love it if you could join us in happiness!  10 years and counting!

 

 

George: Divine Self-Love

Holy crow, George Harrison has been around a lot. This is reminding me of three years ago, when it was practically every day I felt like I was talking with him, John, or Kurt. This is the type of thing that makes you feel like you must be making this up, or have delusions of grandeur or something – where I question myself to make sure I’m staying grounded.

And then I get another email from yet another blog reader who says she just found this blog, and George has been talking to her!

Gotta love those synchronicities.

So before I get into the latest with George, I thought I’d give you all an update on life here: My trip to Ontario to visit my family is right around the corner, and I’ll be offline for much of that. I will not be checking my email much at all for the first two weeks of June, so please hang tight. I will potentially be on facebook, Instagram, twitter – but the best way by far of contacting me is through email because your messages will never get lost in a pile of spam, and I *will* get to you, I promise.

The Weight of It news: I was all stoked when I went on the Endo(metriosis) diet and lost 10 pounds easily – hurray! That’s usually what happens when I’ve hit the nutritional sweet spot, the weight just falls off. That’s how it’s supposed to happen.

Then it stopped coming off. At least it didn’t come back on. That’s huge. BUT my nutritionist is really honing in on things with me now. These statistics may not mean much to you folks, but I know there are at least six of you who are on the same general track as me. The approach we are now taking is to tweak the nutritional balance of my meals. Although I’m eating between 1600 – 1700 calories per day, and I’m reasonably active (not sedentary, but not athletic) this alone *should* have triggered weight loss.

This is what a family doctor will tell you. Weight loss is simple. Calories in minus calories burned. Eat less, move more.

For folks like me, this can make you want to scream, and then give up. Don’t, my friends. I love you, don’t give up. You CAN be healthy. You just need more input.

What’s it been for me now, three years of trying? It’s a learning experience. I’m right there with you.

Anyway, contrary to popular belief, a calorie is not a calorie. It depends very much what that calorie is from. I’m not a big food documentary person, I had my fill after watching “Supersize Me” – but I’m going to recommend a movie that my friend turned me on to recently, and I enjoyed SO MUCH I didn’t even knit or scroll through facebook while it was on. This movie had my complete attention. It’s called “That Sugar Movie”. It’s about a dude who maintains his healthy lifestyle, same exercise and SAME CALORIES, the only thing he changes is he eats more “health food” that has sugar in it.

The difference made me feel vindicated. I have had this “a calorie is not a calorie” argument with multiple people, most recently with a *nurse nutritionist* who was adamant she knew more than I did. Hint: No one knows more about dieting than a person with disordered eating, no matter what your body type. Those of us who have been overweight and back again, for decades, we know what usually causes gains and what causes loss. Those of us who have developed some type of eating disorder, due to the toxic combination of popular food availability, marketing, nutrition messaging, and well, just society in general right now. I don’t need to get into that, you know what I’m talking about. Never mind how the most convenient and available types of food are engineered to be addictive. I’m preaching to the choir here, I know.

Anyway, I’m enthusiastic about my recent upgrade to the free app “Lose It”. I’ve been using the free version of this app ever since it came out, but I just upgraded to the “premium” version so that I could break out the nutrition information in the foods I eat, to be sure I’m hitting these key figures per my fabulous nutritionist:

Less than 24g of sugar per day (including fruit and veg – this one is HARD you guys!)

Less than 150g NET carbs per day (carbs minus fiber)

Around 60g fat per day (avocado, flax, fish)

At least 65g of protein per day

Nutrition is incredibly complex. I’m so glad I have the help of a nutritionist who has specialized in metabolic issues. She *was* trying to get me to eat a lot more grains in the beginning, but they’re all required to start at the Canada Food Guide. Insulin resistance is a BIIIITTTTCH to fix.

Anyway, if you would like to be my friend on Lose It, please look me up (Kate Sitka) It’s kind of like facebook for weight loss, and it’s a very positive community in general. No psychic stuff on Lose It please, just weight loss and nutrition geek friends! Remember you need to upgrade to the “Premium” version if you want to track nutrition stats and measurements. I’m tempted to just throw out the scale and only track measurements at this point!

Okay, enough about this mortal body, let’s talk about immortal consciousness!

George: Try Vegetarian, it’s the best overall diet for your health.

Kate: Et tu, my friend?

George: It is the truth!

Kate: I am getting so sick of beans and lentils, man!

George: I did too, and that helps with the weight loss! (winks)

Kate: For heaven’s sake George. I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with you.

George: I’m offering, being helpful my love. (big smile, golden light)

Kate: I appreciate the love. Remind me George, what were you saying about the collective meeting the individual consciousness?

George: Ah yes! (Shows me a dot, with a pulse, which rises. A pulse like a heartbeat – everything is vibration, this is common knowledge, the pulse is at the beginning. It’s simple to look at each lifetime as a pulse, each pulse as a life, a heartbeat in the life of the overall soul.

Kate: What I was shown was visual with a conceptual download which I’ll do my best to paraphrase. (This sort of communication is often like a flash of understanding or inspiration, followed by grapple with English words to attempt to translate it before the complete picture fades. I drew it and then make the above infographic)

The black dot represents consciousness as we perceive it in life. We are solid, fixed, and fairly opaque most of the time. We’re tuned for physical existence. George shows me the pulse of our heartbeat, the pulse of our breath. How we live has a relationship with how our individual consciousness functions. Those with heartbeats (mammals, birds, insects) have a more solid, here and now, consciousness. Moments separated by beats. Lifetimes separated by clear birth and death events.

Those beings whose bodies do not have heartbeats, who are more plant-like (or actual plants) have a consciousness that is more fluid – their lifetimes flow like air across a membrane. Their heartbeat is the pulse of the planet, the turning of the globe, the rotation and the orbit around the sun. When one tree in the forest dies, it’s consciousness does not leave the planet. It rejoins the collective of that forest – and will emerge as a part of a seedling or multiple seedlings – easing from one into many and back again with ease, like an ocean evaporating into rain, drops of rain forming pools, lakes forming rivers, rivers returning to the ocean.

George reminds me of a past post, the sea urchin consciousness. Here’s the excerpt:

“Recently, we had the opportunity to observe, communicate with and then eat a live sea urchin. Urchins have been a food staple in our region for hundreds of years. It was amazing talking with this creature, which could best be described as a collective consciousness like the Borg from Star Trek. In the picture of the urchin, see how each spine waves individually? Each spine is an awareness. As the fisherman broke apart the living collective to access the roe, the edible part of the urchin, I was braced for the urchin to feel pain.

But it didn’t happen. All that happened was the collective consciousness separated into its parts – now there were half a dozen singular collectives where once there was one. The message came “Put us back!” and the image of returning some of the pieces to the water formed in my mind. I understood that this would seed future whole urchins. I also understood that when many hundreds of sea urchins are together, they form a singular collective consciousness too, almost like one huge animal. The moment a single urchin is removed by a human, otter, crab etc for food, this portion of the collective is simply unplugged from the larger one, and simply becomes it’s own consciousness. It was so fascinating and instructive, talking to urchins. It makes you wonder about the sheer nature of consciousness.”

So the first thing we need to really understand, our starting place on the game board of understanding all of this, is to be aware that our personal experience of consciousness is not ALL which consciousness is. We experience as humans a TYPE of consciousness which allows us to know ourselves as “separate”.

This awareness of our potential separateness is a spectrum – and it’s a spectrum within species. I did a post a while back about my friends wonderful chickens, and how one or two of the hens saw themselves as individuals, and most of the others existed within a flock consciousness most of the time.

George, are we on the right track?

George: Yes but let’s return to humans. For this conversation, we need only remember that humans believe themselves to be separate from everyone else – even (especially?) from other humans. This is unique. This is “ego” as some now call it – not Freud’s Ego, but simply self-awareness + future awareness+ logical capability.

Kate: I can see why you want to keep this conversation about humans, because I immediately want to chime in about the animals I know who have human-like consciousness. Not all of them are cabable of future awareness and logical thinking, but some do. Maybe 10 – 20 of the pets I speak with can count and understand 5 days in the future. Most simply understand the future as a feeling of time passing, of the light and seasons changing.

George: Back to the dot. I love your focus on your animal friends; I must gently remind you, your readers are human. (smiles) Let’s start with them.

Kate: Okay! Sorry!

George: Look closely – each life pulse, each single lifetime, is filled with variations. These variations are alterations in the timeline. Each lifetime is not a straight line. The consciousness often wants to explore varying possibilities within a lifetime.

Why waste the opportunity afforded by an incarnation when the soul consciousness is not limited by time or space?

Kate: Okay, this is close to the psychedelic image George was showing me while explaining this. Think three-dimensional fractals.

Each additional green dot is meant to symbolize variations on life choices – that time you went left instead of right, broke a limb and couldn’t go to summer camp, chose one school over another, chose one job over another – there are detours available to us and sometimes we choose to live out those variants as well.

Now, take the first image and imagine you’re looking at it from the top (or bottom). It would look like a green circle with a black dot in the center – then remember each circle represents a lifetime, and within each lifetime there are variations.

George: This is integration, the perspective from the top of the pyramid – the god-like view of your own existence. It’s very beautiful.

Kate: Who are you, when you’re looking back on your life? Which circle is George, and who are you when you’re looking at everything from above?

George: (warm smile, love) You only have to realize that the you who you are when you see things from above is the same as the you that you are right now. I am George from the god-like view of my own spiritual history. You will still be Kate. But you will *know* yourself better, and you will have infinite compassion for yourself. This is self-love.

Kate: Wow. I think we’ll stop there for now. Next time we can talk about collective consciousness? That’s what got this ball rolling.

George: Yes.

George Harrison talks about Life Reconciliation!

I was in the car this morning, pretty tired actually, and the dreary weather was not helping me, when after a block or two of driving, this thought drops into my head. This concept like a shoebox that’s full of little notes. It’s time to write another blog post, I realized. Who gave this to me?

George. Of course, George. Dearest George, it’s been a long time.

Not so long for me, my dear.

We were talking in the car about “life reviews” – let me take a moment to elaborate for the readers.

A “life review” is the concept of taking space after your life is over to review the decisions you made during your lifetime, and how your decisions and actions affected your own life and other people. More than that, it’s the process of integrating that knowledge, the full knowledge, the understanding of the full impact *regardless of your intentions at the time*, into your everlasting spirit consciousness, your soul, your “higher self”.

It’s this life review that helps us to make the transition from the very limiting restrictions of our just-past mortal lifetime, and incorporating our recent lifetime’s worth of experiences into the context of *all* of our lifetimes. Past lives. Lives in other times. Lives in other *timelines*. Lives, perhaps, as other species. Even lives on other planets. There’s a lot to integrate, and depending on how one has lived, potentially a lot to answer for, amends owing. Sometimes there’s a huge wash of gratitude, too. Sometimes it’s about realizing just how many people you have helped, how big an impact all those little acts had upon other people and other life forms.

So now you can see why incorporating everything you said and did from THIS life is going to require some processing.

Oh, remember my friend, (shows me lives layered over the same timeline).

George is showing me, reminding me, of the idea that some of our lives are not simply linear. Sometimes, we are living not just one line of possibilities. Sometimes, when we die, or even before we die, we want to go back and re-live a portion of our lives over again, and make slightly different, or maybe profoundly different decisions, just so that we can incorporate ALL of the learning potential we have in this body.

I think this accounts for some of our feelings of deja-vu. In those moments, we’re catching a glimpse of the overlapping timeline. Neat, eh?

Neat.

(This sounds oddly hilarious in a British accent. Now he’s saying it in a high-pitched falsetto, just to make me smile.) We can all use reminders to take ourselves, even our journal entries, a little less seriously! We’re all going to the same place. (Shows me a man and a little girl walking barefoot down a dirt road in the summer. The road is flanked by fields and a fence, the sun is setting, everything is bathed in a gold light.)

George, you said something mind-blowing to me this morning, what was it again??

Blew right through your mind, evidently!

Haw haw. Okay, I remember. You were showing me that when someone dies, it’s not just that person doing a life review. The people who are still living are processing a reconciliation too.

Yes, and it’s exhausting! This may be why grieving is terribly difficult work. In other cultures, as one ages, even as one is dying, this gives that person and their friends around them some time to begin the process of life reconciliation. There are some people who work half their lives to prepare for their deaths – that seems excessive to me. I needed only some few years. Anyone with a meditative practice is prepared enough for death. Those who are left behind, they’re doing some very heavy lifting, spiritually.

Life reconciliation is work on the energetic plane. You’re human and your soul is still *stuck* in its’ body, but there are things which can be done to loosen that glue. Meditation is one, just proper sleep is another. Sleep attained through peaceful rest, sleep that is undisturbed by a restless partner or ended prematurely by an alarm clock. Sleep is important spiritual work.

That (saying) “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” No you won’t! (laughs!) You will NOT sleep when you’re dead, my friends! Sleep is a luxury of the living! It’s a spiritual necessity!

While you grieve, sleep becomes even more important. The work which can be done while you leave your body at rest, gives you the freedom to work outside the body for a few hours. Many times this is when people will have vivid dreams of their loved ones – these are actually visitations. Visitations are so much easier while you’re *both* in spirit. The only sad thing is sometimes people wake up and believe it was *just* a dream.

It’s never “just a dream” my friends. The love is real. Believe it when you feel it. Tell yourself whatever you need to say so that you can hold on to that feeling of love.

Everyone experiences a Life Reconciliation differently, but unlike a life review, which we do only at the conclusion of our own lifetime, we experience life reconciliations many times over! We do it for our own sake, as well as for our friend who has died.

This is why it affects you so deeply to hear someone you haven’t seen in years has passed. You might grieve that person, even though you hadn’t seen him or her in years. You’re reconciling all of the decisions you made together – it goes deeper than the human surface. This is well from which guilt inexplicably weeps. Questioning decisions. The finality.

A true life reconciliation is a finality – in that moment, you’re working on closing the circle of possibilities – all of the decisions have been made. For now, it’s all stories of what *did* happen. You’re saying goodbye to what might be, because YOU need to retain enough life force in your OWN timeline to continue to move forward.

If we didn’t do life reconciliations, we would find ourselves utterly swept up in reliving all the possible timelines and choices we could have made with one individual. (Shows me a bulb with roots growing downwards in a natural growth pattern, then shows me a pot-bound plant where the roots have overgrown into a giant tangled web.) What use is that? The purpose of *all of this* is growth outward. Obsessive behaviour (he calls re-doing all possible timelines obsessive) does not move us forward, it tires and warps us. Life reconciliation is essential for us to continue our proper growth. (Shows me a beautiful, healthy, flowering tree in his garden, branches spreading and curving upward, roots spreading and expanding downwards.)

When someone we are close with dies, or when *we* die and we leave behind so many souls whom we love and miss, life reconciliation is something we all do together. It’s a spiritual therapy. We all need it. Our reconciliation of our time spent with this person in spirit, HELPS THEM in spirit! It’s such important work!

I feel like I just woke up after this conversation. Thank you so much, George. Is there anything else you’d like to say today?

Live long and prosper! (spock hand)

Seriously! This is not what I expected!

(Laughs.) Live as long as you can, as long as you are comfortable. Dying with peace is easier when you know you have said all of your “I Love You’s”, all of your “I’m Sorry’s”. And Sleep Well!

Love you, George.

Love to you. (Sound)

Two new podcast episodes AND a Hamilton the Pig Update!

(Pictured: Hillary Schneider and Tareena)

I received a copy of my medical records from the urologist today. He is such a great doctor. He had his office call me because he received the report from the pain specialist in Vancouver, and wanted to know if I needed to see him, because he would be in Tofino *tomorrow* and could probably see me then.

I can’t say enough great stuff about this urologist.

He made me really chuckle though, when I received my copy of my medical records from his office. He starts off by describing me: “This pleasant 37 y/o female presents with…”

I laughed. I try to be pleasant. Now it’s officially documented by a DOCTOR. I’m *medically pleasant*! Ha!!!

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be talking with the pelvic pain doc and getting the ball rolling on my surgery. I’m really looking forward to it, what a relief!

This, my dear friends, is why I’m a little behind on cross-posting my podcast episodes. If you listened to Hammy the Pig part 1, I hope you have noticed that Hammy the pig part 2 was posted one week later, as promised!

Again, I really encourage podcast listeners to simply subscribe to the podcast through itunes if you have an apple device, or through stitchr if you’re on android. That way the episodes will download the moment they’re released, and you’ll know about them before anyone else! You can find me by searching “Kate Sitka” or “Joyful Telepathy”

I loved my conversation with Hammy, and I admit, I fell in love with him, a little bit… which is why I took it rather hard when his human, Cassandra, told me she’s started the process of re-homing Hammy across the island.

Heartbroken!!! Not only was I so looking forward to talking with Hammy some more in the future, but I immediately worried about him! I already have one pig friend who was rehomed and I have no idea where he ended up, whether he’s happy, or even safe.

Hammy, I’m sure will be fine. For most pet pigs in general though, they have a very tough time in life. Fewer than 5% of pot belly pigs remain in the first home that bought them as a pet. More than half of pet pot belly pigs are re-homed MORE THAN 10 TIMES before they are 10 years old! And they live to be 20!

Pig rescues are few and far-between. Pigs also bond so strongly to their humans, (although they might not demonstrate that through cuddling, but through other behaviours like monopolizing attention, being needy / whiny, being possessive or even being destructive) so getting re-homed can be extremely difficult for them.

Again, I am sure Hammy will be fine. Hammy has been a very lucky pig.

This week, I’ve been fantasizing about buying a farm and filling it with pig rescues. And horses of course. Maybe a llama. Sweetie doesn’t say much when I talk about that!

Speaking of horses, there is ANOTHER podcast episode that went out last week, my conversation with Hillary Schneider! Hillary is a coach who is also a horse person, and she had a small herd of horses that help her assist her clients. I’ve been friends with Hillary on facebook for a few years now, and her journey has been fascinating. (She posts a lot of beautiful horse photos, too!)

You can listen to that episode here!

That’s it for now my friends! Be well, everyone!

You too.

(womb artist credit here.)

I had a bit of a surprise this week.

You folks remember how I’ve been writing about the stabbing bladder pain that showed up last summer? How this came on the tail end of a two-year struggle with weight loss, and my theory that it was about hormones, cortisol fatigue, insulin resistance, maybe estrogen dominance?

Here’s the latest.

My nutritionist has just had a new baby, but she’s still happy to work with me for the sake of continuity, and she herself has used diet to correct an estrogen imbalance that had been causing her own weight to stick on and never, ever seem to budge. Over the past month I’ve quit coffee – that’s HUGE for me, given I used to *love* coffee so much and that Sweetie and I have owned a coffee roaster. Never again. This, more than any other single thing (though all the other things have had a cumulative effect) has made me feel better. Even if it’s just that I am not on a clock when I wake up anymore. I don’t *have to* have coffee anymore.

Instead, I’m a convert to matcha green tea. I like to make mint tea, and then whisk in some matcha with a tea ball, and then add some almond milk. It works great with lavender tea too. I don’t drink black tea either. This is on the recommendation of my nutritionist, and my naturopathic doctor. Basically cut out dairy, wheat, sugar, anything processed, any coffee / black tea. My food has been a lot of recipes from “Vegan Under Pressure”, and I’m gradually shifting into an 8 week meal plan masterpiece my nutritionist has compiled for me, complete with recipes.

Oh, and I’m not really eating chicken anymore. Maybe once a month, only if it’s organic. No beef, no pork. Basically, I am a pain in the butt to have at dinner parties.

I will be eating fish for sure.

I’m not sure if I’m losing any weight yet, but I have felt a shift in my body. I think, nutritionally, I’m finally on the right track… at least for now.

Anyway, the surprise came a couple of days ago, when I saw a new doctor, a pelvic pain specialist in Vancouver.

Holy crow, you guys. It was really great. Stressful, pretty painful, but great.

Women, you especially know what it’s like to talk to your doctor about period / pelvic pain and be given birth control or other meds that don’t work. That’s the story of 1 in 10 women. I actually think that ratio is higher, and that women power through or stay silent about pelvic pain, and simply stop going to doctors after years of not getting help. Because I am a talker, and I tell pretty much anyone who asks me how I am (assuming we’re friends) what I’ve been going through, pain and weight wise, many women take this as permission to share their stories with me.

In my estimation, I’d say chronic pelvic pain affects at least one in three women. I think the problem is that “menstrual pain” is considered to be normal. It’s normal if, after exercising, you feel better. Sure, then that’s a great way to cope. It’s not normal if you can’t walk, have to miss work, throw up, pass out. *So many women* have opened up about years or decades of doctor’s appointments and frustrations. Doctor’s office options are pretty limited. Birth control. Mirena IUD. GNRH antoganists, with synthetic hormones added back.

I recently heard about endometrial ablation, and was interested in pursuing that, but then the bladder pain showed up. That became my new priority. I thought it was somehow related to the hormones, but I didn’t understand how. I was cautiously optimistic about this new doc, because she’s one of the best in the province and country.

That’s why I feel so freaking lucky, you guys. Through luck, because of my specific symptoms, I managed to get in front of this wonderful pelvic pain specialist in very short time. And what’s so beautiful about this clinic’s approach is it’s “patient-centered care”, meaning, they don’t follow a generic check list of protocols for all patients. They talk to you, and find out what you want. They don’t *make you* go through all the medical protocols in a specific order. They look at what you want and need in life, what your care goals are.

After laying out my options, I was shocked when she said a total laparoscopic hysterectomy was my best bet at eliminating my pain. My bladder appears healthy, and my new doc has seen this before – the stabbing bladder pain is likely *referred pain*. Nerve sensitivity after 20+ years of painful menstruation. That’s what ignoring menstrual pain for decades got me. That’s also a testament to how powerful mindfulness, meditation, and lifestyle modification can be. You can get pretty far, living with chronic pain, when you have to.

I’ll get to keep my ovaries, so I won’t go into menopause right away, but yeah. I’m getting spayed!

It’s a major surgery with a six week recovery, and Sweetie still has a broken foot. The summer is the busiest time of year out here in Tofino, so I will ask for the surgery to be done in the fall or later. Many thanks to my facebook friend who recommended this site: http://www.hystersisters.com/ SO MUCH useful information and reassuring stories.

I will continue with my diet and naturopathic healing protocols indefinitely. We’re talking life-long commitment here. The surgery does not eliminate the importance of following a diet that is going to ease healing and help prevent future problems. This diet, and hopefully some weight loss, will set me up to bounce back really well from the surgery, and even though my uterus will be gone, my ovaries and the rest of my body will still need the good nutrition of an anti-inflammatory, estrogen balancing diet. This diet, my mindfulness / meditation practice, and my work on using gentle movement and positive attitude to cope with chronic pain are *all* recommended by my new pelvic pain doc. If I hadn’t already been doing them, she would have been recommending it. The gentle movement piece in particular will be essential to restoring a healthy nerve response in my bladder, after monthly inflammatory cycle has been eliminated. It’ll take some gentle coaxing to get my nervous system to realize that certain movements don’t *need* to hurt anymore. I’m not expecting a quick fix, but my friends, I am *so very happy* about this coming surgery.

It all comes full circle.

Sweetie is feeling a lot better since her foot has been put in a cast. She’s mastered showering with a bag on her leg, and she’s knit an enormous sock to cover the plaster. It’s really pretty cute.

So that’s the latest news, my friends. I hope this is somehow helpful to my blog friends – according to my statistics, 75% of my readers are women. At minimum, one in ten of you will have been through something like this, and I’m betting it’s more like one in three. I think this is a part of the negative effects of the silence created by menstrual pain not being considered polite conversation. I have had broken bones and pinched nerves hurt less than my regular monthly period. Yet while at work, out in the world, I’ve had to pretend like things are normal. I breathe through it, or maybe I stay in bed for a day or two. I just lived through it.

How many women at any one time are pretending to feel normal?

It’s not just period pain, either. It’s all women’s health stuff. We don’t usually talk about pregnancy loss openly, the way we’d talk about the death of a known family member. Women feel different ways about the loss of a pregnancy. Men too, of course. Women often don’t talk about struggles to conceive, or maybe they’re grieving their fertility because they have to get a hysterectomy. (I certainly won’t be grieving my fertility.)

Times are changing though, and I’m glad of that, because creating a space for women to talk about what we experience with our human female bodies is a part of our healing. Witnessing and acknowledging pain helps to carry it. So much of our pain experience is all the crap that surrounds the physical pain. A lot of that pain is just, the silence.

Our bodies are so fragile, and prone to error.

I remember a beautiful dog in a session said to his mum, when she asked why he was meant to die at such a young age. He said, “I wasn’t, my body was born broken. It kept getting sick. I left my body because it was going to just keep getting sick. Let’s try again.” (I’m paraphrasing from memory.)

I wish, sometimes, that it were as easy with people. Many of our animal friends will not live long enough. But so many of them get to come back to us, in new bodies. Maybe in your family, you may get to see or wonder if your cousin’s child is a grandparent or great-grandparent reborn. In rare cases, siblings who died accidentally can be reborn at late-in-life miracle babies, or as the child of one of the siblings left behind.

Bodies are prone to error, and so are our lives. That’s why we need spirit guides, or guardian angels. It’s hard being alive. There aren’t many guarantees.

I don’t personally feel like I *signed up* for this pain experience. I can certainly find meaning it in now, in that requires me to allow and welcome help from my dearest friends and Sweetie. But honestly folks, this is a genetic thing. This problem just runs in my family. It’s like the vehicle I leased for this life has a few foibles, and I said “OK, I can deal” and hopped right in. I’m not one to tell others that their pain and suffering is a part of a plan, that they elected to experience before birth. I don’t find that idea helpful to me personally when I’m in pain, so I don’t pass that along to others.

But what I do believe is that we have to know we’re going to wade through some unexpected and necessary pain and suffering. That’s just mortality. Maybe that’s my inner Buddhist speaking. I think we can *make* it meaningful, and purposeful, by moving with it, by trying to grow with it, and by trying to help others along the way.

That’s how I’m approaching all of this, and really, that’s my life’s motto right there. Just try to help each other along the way.

Love you guys!

Hamilton the Pig speaks and Sweetie breaks her foot

I’ve just come back from a week vacation. When possible, I do try to give myself a week in February to do nothing but the things I *want* to do. In this case, I spent a day getting taxes organized, but the other 6 days were pretty much mine to do with what I pleased, so I planned a little mini-break with Sweetie, and I planned to spend a few days in Campbell River helping my friend Ellie move. You may remember Ellie from this podcast episode.

Speaking of the podcast, I had a *great* conversation with a new animal friend of mine! Hamilton the pot belly pig!

image

I’ll add a photo of him to his post later on today. I just love his grunting. Pigs are awesome. The Hamilton Interview will come out on Tuesday, with part 2 coming out a week from Tuesday. I know you’re going to love this one!

Sweetie and I had a little mini-break, where we stayed overnight in a hotel and then watched “Rogue One” in an actual movie theatre! When you live in a tiny town, you can go years without seeing a movie in a theatre. Man is it ever a fun experience when you haven’t seen one in a while! That’s a big difference right there between my life now, and my life ten years ago when I was living in Toronto.

One thing I had really been looking forward to is helping my friend Ellie move.

Well, as it happened, there was a big snow storm on our way home from watching Rogue One. We have to drive through a mountain pass to get home, and since we watched the later show, we reached the foot of the mountain at midnight. In a snow storm. We opted to stay a second night in Port Alberni.

I was supposed to go visit Ellie the following day, but this was just going to be too much driving. It may not look like Vancouver Island is a big place, but it takes four hours in good conditions to drive from my home to Nanaimo, and an additional two hours to get to Victoria (south) or to Campbell River (north) which is where Ellie used to live.

In case you’re curious, it takes 8 hours to drive from Victoria to Port McNeil, even with the speed limit being 120 km / hr through most of it.

Anyway, I am a driver who needs a break every few hours, so driving from Port Alberni, to Ucluelet, then back to Campbell River – way too much in a day.

And the next day, Sweetie fell down the stairs and broke her foot. So the way I see it, things have worked out to conspire to keep me home for my vacation and help Sweetie through the first few days of her injury. She’s coping really well now, but for a while there she was in a lot of pain and pretty much stuck in bed. She’s not weight-bearing on that foot yet, but she’s definitely feeling better.

Now I can hear her crutching around the house, sometimes cursing a bit under her breath, or exasperatedly scolding Mikey for laying down directly in front of her again. He will not move if she pokes him with her crutch, he just rolls over. Mikey just wants to be with her, and doesn’t really understand the concept of being “in the way”.

I’m also feeling quite a bit better pelvic-pain wise. I’m experimenting with this product: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00EEEGEGM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and it really seems to be helping. I haven’t needed the pyridium (a pain medication directed at the bladder) for a couple of months now. *I am not endorsing or recommending any products for medical conditions* I am just sharing my story here. The bottom line is, when you have a chronic condition, especially if you suspect is has a complex cause, you may need to build a team of people to help you figure out what things work and what things don’t work. Ideally we will find ourselves in front of that magic person who has all of the answers, but more often we need to educate ourselves and make our own decisions based on our knowledge and experience of our own body, and the input from trusted health care professionals.

Do you remember all of my “the weight of it” posts? This has been quite an ongoing story. Kudos to Andrea (I think it was you, over a year ago?) who suggested I may have a hormone imbalance. I’ve been working along that theory, and I now suspect I might have endometriosis, which would explain a LOT, including much of my weight gain despite being on a diet prescribed by a nutritionist. Stress > adrenal fatigue > insulin resistance > weight gain > estrogen increase > weight gain > estrogen increase > flaring of pelvic pain > stress & pain > more adrenal fatigue and around it all goes. The killer is the cravings I’ve had for crap food are crazy intense now, so I will not pretend I’ve been eating perfectly well this whole time. I haven’t been doing terribly, but there have been potato chips. That’s all I’m sayin’!

I do want to take this moment to count my very many blessings, as I have dear people in my life who are supporting me with so much love and understanding, and I have access to a variety of health care professionals who will eventually help me figure all of this out.

The great news is, not only do I have a supplement that seems to have gotten me off of pain meds, but this very supplement is often helpful in correcting an estrogen-dominant state in the body. I’m not quoting medical studies here, I’m reading personal blogs of people with parallel issues and how they have managed or reversed their symptoms. “Estrogen dominant” is getting to be a bit of a buzz word, but it’s also interesting that it’s a phrase the naturopathic doctor used when reading the very same rest results which the family physician had pronounced “normal”. I *know* that something is going on, hormone-wise, so I’m going to go with the doctor who has a theory on that front, and whose first line of treatment is *not* surgery or prescribing birth control pills – both of these are things I’m expecting from the pelvic pain specialist.

This is what you do when you’re waiting five months for your next specialist appointment. Anyway, if I do have Endo, this next specialist in pelvic pain is exactly the doctor to be in front of, but meanwhile, I’m just going to make the dietary changes that are helpful in managing endo and hormonal imbalance. These changes are also in line with the starting changes recommended by my naturopathic doctor, who I haven’t seen yet but have spoken to over the phone. We are still waiting for my urologist to forward the reports to the ND’s office before I actually go down to see her, but as a naturopathic doctor, she specializes in – and this is her quote – “healthy menstruating females”. In fact she refers to her patients as “MY healthy menstruating females” which was strange but oddly comforting at the same time! Her whole thing is utilizing naturpathic and integrated practices to facilitate hormone balance and fertility.

This is quite the journey I have been on. Meanwhile, the progress I’m making with the supplements and the early diet changes have enabled me to go for beach walks again! That’s a big plus when you live in such a beautiful place as Tofino, British Columbia!

I’ve gotten back in touch with my lovely nutritionist from last year, who is off on maternity leave at the moment but is happy to help me figure out a six-week endo diet, which will again keep me within a gradual weight loss category of calorie intake. Personally, I can’t really make a lasting diet change unless I have a six week meal plan, including snacks, and recipes provided. I just can’t do that on my own. I’ve tried. But once I’ve gotten through six weeks, I am in a much better place to make better food choices again. I’m super-grateful for the help. It will just help me fully implement the changes the naturopathic doctor recommended a while ago…

And here’s the extra-big challenge for me. I think I’m going to give up coffee.

That is huge for me. But coffee, as much as I enjoy it, is bad for the hormones, *especially* if you have an issue like mine.

I’m going to start experimenting with matcha green tea. If I can make a matcha green tea latte that I like, I think I will be able to give up the coffee forever.

We shall see, my friends.

Keep your eyes peeled for that Hamilton the Pig interview, coming Tuesday!!!

I will share with you, my observed phases of moving:

Part 1. Packing.

1. “All my stuff is precious” – starts a month in advance of moving. Stuff is wrapped individually, placed lovingly in a box, labelled exhaustively. Some items are zen-ishly purged. Many of us believe the entire packing process will go like this.

2. “Anxiety” – practicality meets social responsibility as you attempt to give away and donate things you will not want or need in the new home.

3. “Time Crunch” – starts one to two weeks before move date. Stuff is more quickly packed, layered between sheets, towels and other textiles believing “it’ll probably be fine”. Boxes labelled with the room in which the stuff belongs.

4. “How do I keep finding things to pack?” Decision fatigue kicks in. You have become incapable of deciding whether or not you will need this thing in the new home, so you throw it into a box labelled “random crap” thinking it’s okay if you have just one box of random crap. By the time the truck arrives, you have 10 boxes labelled “random crap”.

5. “It’s go time”. You have run out of boxes. Anything left unpacked goes into black garbage bags. It may get broken or thrown out, but you don’t even care.

Part 2. Unpacking.

1. “Optimism and Resolutions.” Look at all the space we have! We will have so much room! What a great opportunity to get completely organized as I put things away! New life! This will be great!

2. Where the heck is the can opener? *buys new can opener*

3. “Ominous foreshadowing.” Why are the kitchen cupboards full, but the boxes labelled “kitchen” only half-unpacked?

4. “I can fix this.” *buys organizational items*

5. “Why did I pack this!?” The discovery of carefully packed items from “all my stuff is precious” phase, but which appear valueless in light of the new home. The stunning realization that your pre-moving purge got rid of only half the stuff you should have purged.

6. “The Over-Purge”. The closets and cupboards are full. The new storage solutions are full. You decide to randomly stuff the remaining items into closets and cupboards making them over-full, or throw out items as you unpack them.

7. “Apathy”. With no enthusiasm to unpack the remaining 2 – 6 boxes, they are relegated to the corner of a room, or a basement / storage space for a year.

8. One year later: “There’s the can opener.”