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So, I seem to have lost my focus. I still fight for the freedom of Burma and Tibet, but I am not so vocal here. Others are and do it just as well. I think I would like to rededicate this to writing, photography and my own renewal. Burying myself beneath helping others find freedom is not helping myself find the freedom that I need in my own life. I have led myself into this place of stagnant illness and slipping life and now is the time to fight back. I have too much to live for to let myself die.

Yesterday I started the process of living. We went for a walk in the woods, it exhausted me and gave me a medication resistant migraine. But I still won’t let that get me down. I am grateful that I was able to revel in the beauty of the trees and the november air. I am grateful for so many things. I am happy, I am beautiful, I am succcessful and alive.

I won’t let negative thoughts take me any lower than I already am.

I can beat this and crawl my way slowly up this mountain.

“The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done,
we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change.
So that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger,
but in wisdom, understanding and love.”

– Jennifer Edwards

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It is the hardest thing to master. I hold on to everything with tightly clasped palms, afraid to let the rancid cockroach within them fly free. I cannot forgive them for what they did, no matter how long I berate myself or force myself, this round peg into the square hole of their choosing. I cannot accept what they did and lay it down on the road. I cannot unburden myself so easily. I hide behind fighting for the freedom of others, but what of myself? Trapped here? Sliding down a one way street to only one outcome.

I don’t know how to win this fight, I don’t know how to use my spirituality (what remains) or my knowledge to fight off this demon. I am an army of one, standing solitary against an angry hoarde.

Perhaps it was always supposed to come down to this.

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.”

-Pema Chodron

I have to step away from Burma for a moment to make a selfish post. The reason my blogging about the Burmese monks and the junta’s crackdown has dwindled over the past couple of days is that I am once again suffering a relapse into illness. This time a very serious one–the most serious yet. I have been having seizures since Thursday night. The ones over the past couple of days have been mild, but nevertheless disturbing. I am scheduled for an MRI and EKG. I am exhausted and very ‘out of it’. Which is why these posts have been fewer than I would like.

I want to be a voice for people who have no voice–but I can barely speak for myself at the moment.

I haven’t posted here in a very long time. Mainly because I have gone through a long period of difficult health concerns which have led to me being diagnosed with Celiac Disease (amongst other things). Celiac is an autoimmune disease which causes the body to attack the intestine in response to ingestion of gluten. It’s been a learning curve over the past week or so. Gluten is in EVERYTHING (Even lipstick)!! I am fighting a desire to return to past behaviours. It would be so easy to use this as an excuse to dive headlong into “oh but there isn’t anything I can eat,” when in fact it’s just really, really difficult. Some people have been very understanding, and others simply ridiculously unempathetic and bullish. I am also amazed at the grocery store and how difficult it has become to navigate. At first I thought it would be easy… but there is malt or wheat or some form of gluten in everything. Take for example the cereal isle. Every inch of it useless to me. The rice has malt on it, which I can’t eat, and I’m to stay away from oats too… it’s a nightmare. And of course, companies making gluten-free products seem to think that because I have an autoimmune disease I must also have wads of cash. A small box of cereal costs over $5. It’s insane. I guess as someone said to me “well, you could always starve to death…” Yeah, great. Thanks.

It’s just been one of those… months though really. I’m returning to school completely unprepared. My medication is costing an arm and a leg (and I can’t really afford it) and I’m being run into the ground by medical expenses by all the tests which got me to this place in the begninning. It’s all happened so fast really. I’ve gone from happy and healthy and enjoying self-discovery in India, to being ill and somewhat depressed fighting the world for my two cents. I’ve heard that meeting great beings, such as the Karmapa and the Dalai Lama can cause negative karma to ripen, but really, this is getting to be too much!!

I’m going to try and update here more often. I miss journaling, and I miss my photography. Time to kick both back into gear with the oncoming Autumn and a time for rejuvenation and recovery…

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately–just quietly thinking. I am very sick at the moment, with something that has yet to be diagnosed. I think it’s probably more autoimmune stuff, nevertheless it’s very disturbing to find myself ebbing away like this again.

My mind returns often to India and the peace and calm surrounding Dolma Ling and the nuns. I long to stroll out into the fields behind and lose myself amongst the long stems of wheat and barley. I long to awaken to the silence of the towering mountains, disturbed only by the call to prayer and the rythmical chanting of devotion.

It is a feeling I will never forget. A moment I will never forget. A journey that I could never forget even if I should try. India changed me, in ways I am still not sure of. The people I met changed me, the things I saw, the sounds and smells… all of it.

I forgot about illness and stress when I was over there. But since being back I’ve undergone over $6000 worth of testing and treatment. Luckily my insurance still pays most of the tab (though not all) and I hope that this round will be the last for a while…

At least, that is my prayer.

My mind is a mess. I can’t focus on anything. I tried sitting this morning, but I was too unfocused. Thoughts racing from School, to India, to work I still need to complete, plus finding a definite sitter for Fee, plus D leaving on the 27th.

It’s crazy.

I have a plan, and everything I need to do written down… I just don’t… I can’t get the rambling thoughts out of my head. And the comments made by someone I trusted.

I want to be stronger than this–but I’m not.

I was sure I updated this again after my last post–I guess I’m blogging in my sleep or something 😉

Well, the bone scan came back normal by some amazing miracle. The new medication the Dr gave me is really helping me to sleep–though it’s taking some getting used to. I feel tired and sick when I awake every day and it takes most of the day for that feeling to go away.

I got a couple of awesome books from Ruby–both by HHDL. “How to See Yourself as You Really Are” and “The Art of Happiness”. So, with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, I have quite a lot of reading to do!

I go back to school in a week. I am really not ready for it. Nothing has been solved in this time off (except perhaps the vitamin D problem–which will take time to improve) and I have to go back and start all over. I am worried about going to India and missing so many classes. I am worried about leaving my husband and son (even though this is such a once in a lifetime opportunity). I am so mixed up about everything. I’ll miss six classes for most of my subjects. That’s a lot of work. I’m scared my professors will create a fuss and tell me I can’t take their classes if I miss that much work. I’m hoping to take work with me, or complete some things early. I’ll be working really hard before I go and when I get back. There’s one professor in particular I’m worried about, but I can always drop his class if it’s a problem. I’m going to email them all next week and hear what they have to say on the matter.

Okay, well I’m off to finish my morning cup of coffee and read some HHDL before deciding what to do with the day.

I have a bad case of the ‘flu. Part of me feels as though it’s related to everything else that’s going on; all the changes I’m encountering. I’m clearing out my life–though it feels in a way as though I abandoned everyone. I haven’t. Not really. My phone is broken, but I think I’m getting a new one today (free with the phone my husband is getting for his business, so I don’t feel guilty) so I’ll be available again. I also have my specialist follow up on Friday, and I’m really scared about that. I think that’s partly shutting me down. Whatever she says I’m going to be upset…

I don’t understand how to integrate Buddhist thought and illness. I’m not talking about getting a cold or what have you, but serious, life-threatening illnesses. Are they our choice? Are they Karma? Do we have to die that way?

*sigh*

There’s a lot on my mind right now… a lot.

死は我々にとっては何でもない。我々が存在するうちは、死はまだ訪れていないし、死が訪れた時には、我々はいないのだから。

I woke up today and realized exactly what is wrong:

I am surrounded by people who know what they want to do or what they want to be and are actively pursuing it. Whether it be a writer, an artist, a therapist–whatever. And here I am; Jack of all trades, mistress of none. It’s like I just stepped off the precipice and am hanging for a moment midair, before I tumble and turn through the chaos.

I’m so confused. I don’t know what I want to be or do. I keep thinking I’ve found it, but then something always happens to throw it all back into turmoil. I was planning to attend law school Fall 2008. Now I’ll be lucky to graduate before then. My health is seriously making me question everything. If I went to law school I’d do international law and human rights law–but I have lost the drive to push myself through such an intensive and expensive program.

In a lot of ways being sick is causing me to question my priorities and what I want out of life. I want to help people, I want to be a writer, a photographer, I want to travel, I want to have more children…

I have lost my focus, lost my drive. I’m confused and I don’t know where to turn. I watch so many doing things that they want to, they’re living their dreams–dancers, painters, singers, writers–and I must sit and watch, always.

I’m just not meant to *be* anything…

I don’t know. What happened to me? I feel myself disappearing a little more every day… maybe one day I’ll be gone altogether.

The gulf grows wider, and I wonder whether it’s me or them. Sometimes I think it’s me and that nagging mantra of self-doubt. I wonder when I ceased being important. Somewhere between the last episode of House and calling for Chinese. Bare branches crisscross the window like long-healed scars and I close my eyes.

My thoughts, with lives of their own
Flash and flutter
Rise and fall
Come and go
So many butterflies outside my window

And I smile
and I slow
my thoughts
to rest.

Motionless, effortless, all quiet.

Silence; for a moment birdsong echoes. For a moment I’m caught in the simple beauty of the world, but then creeping doubt crawls into the vacant spaces whispering “am I good enough?” through gritted teeth.

I don’t know when I lost you all, I don’t know when I lost myself.