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.


24. It’s All About The Journey

This blog post is dedicated to my Facebook friend, and ALS warrior, Tammy.  May you be joyful as you continue on your journey,  no matter where it takes you.


Last month,  my husband and I traveled West in our new(ish)  RV.  We made a stop in Missouri,  then on one side of Kansas,  then the other side of Kansas,  then Colorado,  and finally,  New Mexico.  Then back home through Texas,  Oklahoma,  Missouri, and finally arriving in Indiana.  It was an adventure.  It was our first trip in the RV,  being the second owners,  so we found things we wanted to change,  and a few things we have to fix.  We had a travel trailer years ago,  so it was not all totally new to us,  but it was all new to our 95+lb., five year old Lab mix dog who we took with us.  He adjusted fairly well,  and loved his new bed,  and all the vacation food,  but  he preferred to squeeze into the 12 inch space beside the bed to sleep,  instead of his spacious  and comfy bed.  It was quite a sight.

We probably should have taken a shorter trip for the first trip out.  That way we wouldn’t have been clear across the country when we realized that we needed to order a new converter (don’t ask me what that is,  but apparently it’s very important).  But,  we did have an adventure!  It’s just that adventures aren’t always great,  amazing trips without a single problem.   We had to cut our trip short and come home early.  So our adventure  ended up being more about the journey, and less about the destination.   But,  isn’t that how it should be?   Isn’t that just life?  I had always wanted to visit New Mexico, so that was the end goal.   So many people plan on reaching some sort of goal and they are sure they will find enjoyment in the achievement of that goal,  like a new home,  or retirement.  But,  they end up just working themselves  into a serious illness,  or to death trying to achieve their goals,  planning to be happy one day in the future,   instead of just enjoying the journey and finding happiness in the every day.   I used to do the same thing,  until ALS woke me up and made me start paying attention to the journey and not just the destination.  Because you never really get to your destination.  You may achieve a goal,  but then,  don’t you just have another goal to achieve  (hopefully)?  And another?  And another,  and so on and so on, and it never really ends. I would say that even at death,  it is about the journey, because your trip has not ended, but just continues on in another dimension (otherwise known as  Heaven).  We usually refer to death as an ending.  But,  I know that we are really just living somewhere else.  There is no ending,  just the journey.  Many,  many religions believe that you take many journeys through more than one lifetime.  I am apt to believe this,  because how can a person accomplish anything in just one short lifetime?  I have trouble believing that God only gives you between one and one hundred short years to experience life in the vast amount of time of Earth’s existence, but… that’s a whole other blog post!  Do whatever you can to find enjoyment on your journey,  and don’t worry so much about your destination.  Enjoy each and every day.


18. Use The Good China


My mother has a set of china in her china cabinet that I don’t ever remember her using.   I’m sure she must have used it at some point, but I don’t remember ever seeing it out of the cabinet. We all seem to want to save things for a special occasion. But, I guess nothing ever seems special enough. Or maybe we just forget we have that good china because we never use it.

I have a set of real silver flatware that my grandmother gave me years ago.  I use it at every birthday party and every holiday dinner.  I don’t think I own any item that I wouldn’t use,  aside from my great grandfather’s pipe.  It has been well used, but not by me!

Everyone has something they are waiting to use or waiting to do. Waiting until the kids are grown, or the puppy is housebroken. Waiting until they’ve received that promotion, or until retirement. Waiting for something that may never come, or at least not in the near future.  Why wait?

The same goes for indulging. You don’t order the dessert after dinner, because you feel like you really shouldn’t. You buy the kids each a new pair of shoes, but pass on a pair for yourself. Certainly if you are trying to loose weight, you probably want to skip dessert. Or , if you can’t afford another pair of shoes, don’t buy them. But, treat yourself in some way.  Stop saving, stop waiting! Make an ordinary day special by using the good china, and what the heck, use the good silver too! Take that cruise this year. Don’t wait for retirement. And, open that special bottle of champagne even if you don’t get the promotion. Your life is now!


14. Thank God For Shonda Rhimes  

Find something to look forward to, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  It can be literally anything.  It can be easier to keep yourself going through the hard days if you have something to look forward to, something you want to do or see.  Something you don’t want to miss out on. 

For me, the biggest thing has been my kids. When a doctor told me I had only a few years left to be with my family, I said, no (in my mind).  I didn’t want to miss out on seeing my kids grow up.  I just kept planning and looking forward to our lives like usual, only more so.

But it’s not just the big things that keep you going, it’s the little things too.  Like planning on taking a vacation.  Or maybe something as small as a new coffee frappuccino coming out at Starbucks next month.  Something to actively plan for and look forward to.  

My daughter got me to read one of the Harry Potter books, and that instantly gave me another thing to look forward to.  I couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series, and the next, and the next, until I had read them all.  And then there were the films based on the books to see and to look forward to.  My ALS just had to slow down because I wasn’t going anywhere until I had seen all of the Harry Potter movies!  I saw them all.  That’s when the Powers That Be/God, lead me to Shonda Rhimes.  Also known as the creator of some of the best shows on TV, and you guessed it, another reason for me to hang in there for one more season of, “How To Get Away With Murder “, “Scandal “, and “Grey’s Anatomy”.  I’m not gonna miss out on what happens with Merideth Grey because of ALS!  Ok, I am not saying that all you have to do to keep going when dealing with a serious illness is to find something to look forward to …but, focusing on something besides your illness is a huge piece in the puzzle.  I am looking forward to seeing  Alice Cooper in concert this summer, I don’t want to miss that.  And on and on it goes.  I am just going to keep on keeping on, and finding new things, both big and small, to look forward to for as long as I possibly can.