34. You Are What You Think



You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat”.  Well, while too many jelly donuts may make your tummy resemble Santa’s, shaking like a bowl full of the stuff, besides watching what food you put in your mouth, you also need  to watch what thoughts you are putting into your mind.  Negative thoughts can affect your body in a negative way, just as much as the food you eat.  I believe this could explain why so many patients who receive a devastating terminal or serious health diagnosis seem to,  many times,  immediately get significantly worse.  Being told that you have cancer and need a horrible treatment,  or that you have a terminal disease,  and only have a few years left,  is a bit unsettling, to say the least.  When negative thoughts  fill our minds,  they can become all that we focus on.  If those negative thoughts are health related,  they can take over,  and become our main focus.  Add to that,  the stress and thought patterns necessary to get through everyday life filled with treatments, doctors, and worsening health,  and it’s a wonder anyone gets better at all.  I believe if doctors could change the way they present the news of an incurable or serious illness to their patients, the recovery and survival rates would skyrocket.  Just letting people know that besides medicine, there are other areas of their lives that can hold the answers to improvement in their health, even something as simple as the thoughts they think,  would make a huge difference in a person’s life.   In the placebo effect,  patients who think they are receiving medication get better when they only received a placebo and no medicine,  because they thought they would get better.  This proves the power that our thoughts hold.  

Author and queen of affirmations, Louise Hay,  said that disease can be reversed by changing your mental patterns.  By eliminating those negative thoughts that automatically play in your head over and over, and replacing them with positive affirmations, you can reverse the patterns that created the disease.  More and more books are being written with similar beliefs.  Philosopher and author, Wayne Dyer, said that when you change the way you look at things,  the things you look at change.  Or, if you change your thoughts, you change your life.  That is true for every aspect of your life,  not only your health.    

I believe that I live in a world filled with mostly good people who are helpful and kind,  with a few bad ones mixed in,  who I almost never run across.  That is exactly what I find to be true.  I run into kind,  helpful people where ever I go.  Does this happen because I believe it is so?

Maybe a little denial isn’t such a bad thing either.  I constantly read blog headlines and personal comments from ALS patients regarding their diagnosis as a death sentence.  While that may be the story they have heard from their doctor,  why let that be your only focus?   I believe if you live with the belief of no hope, and no cure, then that’s what you’ll get.  I truly believe that a big part of why I have survived way past the prognosis of  a 2-5 year life span,  was because I simply refused to believe that was going to happen to me.  Some might say I live in denial, because I believe that no illness is a death sentence, and no situation is hopeless!  As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”  My answer is, “Great!” 

The Law of Attraction,  says that whatever you focus on is what you attract to your life.  When you constantly talk about your health problems,  you only attract continued health problems.  If you constantly talk,  or think, about how you have no money,  and how you hate that you have no money,  and you have too many bills,  etc..  You will continue to attract no money,  because that is all you are focused on.  And on, on it goes,  no matter what the topic.  So if you want more money,  or a job that you love,  try not to think about what you don’t have,  and think about what you do want.  Focus on how you would feel if you had lots of money,  or the job of your dreams,  or how you would feel if you could walk again,  or whatever it is that you desire.  Focus on the good stuff and ignore the unwanted bits of your life,  as much as safely possible.  Day dream about what you want to happen in your life,  and soon,  your life will catch up with your dreams.


33. True Love -or- Watch Out For Blind Dates

One fateful evening,  many years ago,  my grandmother went out on a blind date with a man who would be my grandfather.   They were together for many,  many years after that night.  Married for 60+ years.  It’s a long story,  but my parents got together as result of blind date (not theirs)  also.    Similarly,  I was fixed up on a blind date by a friend,  with a guy who had just returned home after being in the army.  That was going on 33 years ago,  and we have been apart little since that fateful night.  True love.

When you think of Valentine’s Day,  and true love,  flowers and candy probably come to mind.  Maybe a night out with your significant other.  But,  I think of someone who does literally anything and everything I need help with,  and buys me flowers to boot!  You know it’s true love,  when you are diagnosed with not just a serious disease,  but one known as one of the worst you can have with no cure,  and your spouse (or significant other)  stays by your side to help you through it.  Not just sticking with me,   but also going along in my quest for better health.  Never letting me give up on getting better,  and taking me wherever that journey leads us (which has been all over the U.S. ),  both when he believes in that particular part of the quest, and even when he does not.  Helping me eat dinner since I can’t lift my arms to feed myself.   Getting up at 3 a.m. to get me a drink and a pain pill,  because I can’t get up myself.   Helping me with all personal care,  including bathing,  going to the restroom,  and getting dressed.  Doing the laundry,  walking the dog,  making dinner, or buying whatever I want for dinner,  and on, and on it goes.  He helps the kids with car maintenance, and home repairs.  Did I forget to mention how he seems to be able to fix anything,  which saved us a ton of money over the years?  That has nothing to do with love,  but just shows that the Universe gave me a bonus on top of the true love it sent me!

True love,  is my husband staying up all night (when he had already only had a nap in the previous 24 hours) to work on getting the gas fireplace fixed, and making sure I could sleep and keep warm when both the fireplace and the furnace quit working on a frigid winter’s night.

We no longer have a Starbucks anywhere near where we live,  so it is always a treat to get a coffee or frappuccino. Whenever my husband has to go pick up something anywhere near a Starbucks,  I end up getting a coffee.  Even when he is going to a doctor’s appointment,  I get a coffee.  True love.

True love.  I remember when our youngest daughter was sick,  and about to toss her cookies right onto our new couch.  Without a second thought,  my husband put his hands out to catch those “cookies”,  and save our new couch!  True love,  or was it just the fact that hands wash easier than the couch upholstery?  I don’t know,  but I don’t think I would have done it!

True love.  When you are six months pregnant,  and you haven’t been able to “go” for a very long time,  and the doctor suggests an enema,  helping you get that done is definitely true love.

It’s a little thing,  but I almost always get to decide what we watch on TV.  I usually do try to pick shows that I know my husband will like.  When we make big purchases,  like cars,  houses,  and maybe furniture, we usually do that together.  But,  when it comes to the smaller things,  like decorating the house,  it’s all me.  Anything I want,  I just buy it.    It’s not unheard of for my husband to come home and find that a room has been painted a different color,  or we have new curtains in the living room. He just lets me do whatever I want.  Which has gotten trickier over the years,  after I lost the ability to “do”  things on my own.

Now, before you all get too worked up,  I will remind you that I didn’t say that my knight in shining armour did all of this happily all of the time.  Especially if it is 3 o’clock in the morning,  and I’ve already woken him up three other times.   He will not be happy.  But,  he gets up and does it anyway.  Also, when he says he will be there in, “a minute”, I can count on waiting anywhere from an actual minute, to five or ten minutes. And, “stuff”  happens,  when you aren’t doing things for yourself.   Like when someone else is scratching your  leg,  and they accidentally take a bit of skin off whilst relieving the itch.  Or,  they can’t tell how far they are pushing the toothbrush into your mouth,  and gag you shoving it down your throat!   Or, when they try to  remove the  hair out of your eye,  but also rip ten other strands of hair out of your head.  Then there are the bumps and bruises, because when you are just one person helping someone who can’t move at all,   it’s hard to keep fingers and toes from getting mashed or bent in a way they don’t bend.   And on,  and on it goes,  as you can imagine.  But, so far,  only one broken finger.  Probably not a bad record for over 20 years of care.  Maybe that’s the real reason babies cry so much?   We all might just not do as well as we think we do taking care of another person,  so we are the reason they are screaming when we take care of them?  Hmmm,  could be… but,  I digress.

True love is not just about romantic love.  True love can also be love between a parent and their child.  Pure love.  If you have ever had a pet,  you have felt true love.  True love is not made up of chocolate and flowers,  it’s made of tougher stuff.  It’s made up of nights without sleep,  and all the things you would never do for anyone else,  but you would for your “true love”.

I think The Beatles were spot on when they sang, “All You Need Is Love”. Life may not be a bed of roses,  but you can do anything and get through anything if you have any form of true love in your life.

32. Find Inspiration

I think I have mentioned before,  that I went to see a psychic not long after I was diagnosed with ALS.  I hadn’t planned to,  it was just a spur of the moment thing.  In my visit with the psychic, she told me she thought maybe I’d go back to school, because she saw me with lots of books.  Well, she definitely got the book part right, the school part, no thanks!  Not long after my diagnosis, I started searching for answers.  I wasn’t sure what I was looking for,  but the doctors didn’t seem to have any answers,  so I started searching for myself.  So, I started reading,  and reading,  and reading.   Everything from novels, to inspirational biographies, to books filled with spiritual wisdom, and everything in between.  Although I have definitely slowed down the pace, I’m still not done.  The more I read, the more I find that I want to read.  It all started with a little book called,  Heal Thyself,  by White Eagle.   That book led to more books by the same author,  which led to books by and about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… but,  that’s a whole other blog post!  

I also discovered Oprah!  She had just started doing weekly shows with guests that were somehow inspiring.  She was a wealth of inspiration and information.  With nearly every guest came another list of books I wanted to read, and many of those guests had websites, where I found more inspiration.  Now that Oprah has her OWN network, I find inspiration through many of her programs,  but especially on Super Soul Sunday,  and Master Class.  Of  course there is an unlimited amount of inspiration on the internet.  Through people like Jason Becker, an amazing musician who is living with ALS, and is still creating music.  Or, my friend Sarah Ezekiel, an artist who creates all her pieces with a computer eyegaze program, because she is living with ALS.  Or,  my friend Father Sophronios from Greece.   He is a Monk who is living through faith and inspires others with his writings about his experiences in living with ALS. 

Inspiration is all around us. Inspiration to survive any hardship,  to lose weight,  to go through a divorce,  to survive losing a loved one,  to live a better life.  There is inspiration for absolutely any situation you are going through.  Find what inspires you and gives you hope.  Once you find it,  share it with others.  Be the light for someone else’s path,  and you will find the light on your own path is even brighter.