5 Goals for 2018

2018 is going to be my year. It’s time to start focusing on myself and discovering my passions. It’s going to be about finding myself again, and focusing on ways to be a better, more happier, me. It’s time I hold myself accountable for my thoughts, feelings, and general attitude about life.

#1 Be more grateful

The past couple years have been rather tough. From all the curveballs life has thrown me, to suffering from mental health, and chronic illness, it’s time for me to focus on bettering myself. It’s time I become more thankful for all the great things that life has given me. 

My plan is to write down three things I’m grateful for everyday. For me, it’s about enjoying the little things in life.

#2 Get healthier

Just like everyone else, right? Clearly this is easier said than done, especially when you add my physical limitations in.  On top of this, I’m the pickiest eater on the planet. This is going to be one of my more challenging goals. Over the past couple years, I’ve stopped eating Chicken Nuggets everyday, but clearly, it hasn’t helped my weight. 

My plan is to achieve this by going to the gym to swim. I’ve always been a fish, but swimming to lose weight? This should be interesting… (I’m open for any tips). My goal is to also give up sweets for 2 weeks, and then again for 30 days… Let’s see if my sweet tooth can survive….

#3 Learn new skills

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but this year I want to take this to a whole new level. I want to learn calligraphy. I’ve always loved the look, so why not learn how to do it myself? I’ve also want to learn how to write with my left hand. I’m ambidextrous in many things in life, or favor my left hand verse my right. 

I’m grateful for any tips, tricks, or ideas for new skills to learn.

#4 Enjoy some me time

I love to read, and over the past year or so, I’ve gotten so busy with life that I no longer have time to myself. It’s time to find time for myself again. It’s time to learn to not let life pass you by, or get to busy to enjoy time for me. 

My goal is to read 30 books. My favorite books are romance novels, & I’m always open to suggestions/authors!

#5 Building my blog

Only seems fitting right? Third time’s a charm right? I want to grow my blog, my social media presence, better my website, & gain followers. (Anyone have website building skills and want to help a girl out?)

My goal is hefty, with one post a week. My followers goal? I’ll share when I reach it!

Though I’ve set more specific goals that I’d love to reach, these are the general goals I want to achieve in 2018. Now it’s your turn to help and keep me on track (insert winking smirk face). 18 goals for 2018, what could go wrong? (Everything, but we’e going to give it a go!)

Different Life, Different Goals

If I had a normal body, I dream that I would be a runner. It would be my release. The burn would help me escape from my thoughts, but the routine would also help me sort them. I dream that I’d play softball on an adult Sunday team, with no stress, just the fun of hanging out with friends, burning a few extra calories, but also consume them in beer & junk food. But, that’s a life I only get to live in my dreams.

My goals are different than yours, as is my reality. Or let me rephrase my goals have to be different than yours. No matter how hard I strive, my body can’t do the things yours can.

It’s definitely something I [still] struggle with daily. I hate that I can’t push my body has far as you can. I hate that I have to work that much harder to accomplish simple everyday tasks. But I have to remind myself that it’s okay and I’m doing the best I possibly can.

Due to my chronic illness, I can’t workout or walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day or get in 30 workout minutes in a day. Heck, most days it’s a struggle to stand 12 hours a day. I have to remind myself that the goals that my smart watch recommends are for the able-bodied population; a population that doesn’t include me. I have to adjust those goals to fit something that I can accomplish daily; even if it is a third of the recommended goal- that’s okay, because that is pushing my body to its limits. My limits are different than yours & so is my body.

It’s okay because it’s the absolute best I can do. It’s better for me to adapt than to push myself too far. I have to remind myself that if I did somehow accomplish those goals every day, it wouldn’t be healthy for me and my body would rebel. And that rebel would send me in a downward spiral; a spiral I try my hardest to avoid.

I can’t run or play a contact sport or reach ‘normal people’ goals. It’s something that I work every day to adapt to. I haveto listen to my body. I haveto set goals that I can reach, and I have to crush them- because dammit it makes me feel good.

But, I have to remind myself that somedays (most days), chronic pain is going to win, and that’s okay too. Some days you win, others you lose, but as long as you’re doing the best you can, that is all that matters.

Not only am I adapting my goals, I’m adapting my mindset. I’m learning that it’s okay to have different goals. It’s okay, because it’s my personal best. I’m doing the best I can, and I have to accept that; and day by day, I’m learning to be okay with that.

5 Things I Want You Know As I Battle Chronic Illness

  1. This isn’t the life I chose & it’s a battle every day.

I didn’t get a choice; this life chose me. Someday it seems impossible to fight the invisible demon, but I’ll fight it till the end of time. I was always taught that I could do anything I set my mind to, so it’s never (and I do mean never) accorded to me to give up– and it never will.

  1. I’m not always going to be positive, but I can promise I’m always searching for the positive. 

Sometimes it’s hard to be positive when life is throwing you a million curve balls. I’ve ran out hands to catch all the balls, but I’ve learned to improvise. Many situations I find myself in are inevitably negative, but I learned from an early age that there is always a positive, somewhere, somehow. So while, at times, it seems I’m looking at something half-empty, I can promise you that I am trying my hardest to find the half-full

  1. My future is uncertain, and that scares me.

 Being a planner, the uncertainty scares me. I don’t even know what tomorrow brings, let alone what my five-year plan looks like. I can tell you what my future kids name are, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to be a mom (I’ll find a way, that I can promise you). Since my condition is progressive, I can’t tell you what tomorrow brings or how I’ll feel, and the uncertainty alone is enough to bury me. I’m trying to live the life I’ve always dreamed out, but it’s an uphill battle everyday.  

  1. I have to choose my battles- it’s the only way to survive.

I’ve tried being the people pleaser– it doesn’t work. Fighting any disease is scary, fighting a rare disease all on your own? That’s worse than anything you can imagine. I’ve learned that in order to get the best quality of life, I have to listen to what my body is telling me, even if that means upsetting someone, and sometimes that’s yourself. I’ve always had to remind myself, if someone is  meant to be in your life, they’ll understand that it took every ounce of strength you had to cancel plans. Some battles take every ounce of energy that you had for the next 7 days, and half of those aren’t worth the pain.

  1. I’m trying my absolute best.

Somedays it doesn’t seem like it, I know, but trust me, I am. I will never show you just how much this life takes out of me– it would scare even my parents away. But, I am trying, to not only be the best person possible, but also happy & healthy- most days I only get to pick one of those choices.

Meet My Furry Friends!!

I’m probably the most un-lucky, lucky person in the world. Medically speaking, I get all the weird, rare shit that even make the doctors laugh at me. But outside of my bizarre medical history, I’m pretty dang lucky. I have an amazing support system; but mostly I have had the two most amazing service dogs (not that I’m bias).

I got my first Service Dog when I was 8 and he changed my life. King Ralph III was a male lab-golden cross and he was a gentle giant. IMG_1375.JPGHe moved even slower than a snail or at Ralph-pace, as we so lovingly named it. He loved everyone, but he was always partial to our little family. He always knew who needed him & when, always thinking of us before him, right down to his last breath. You see, Ralph thought me a lot, but most of all he taught me about unconditional love.

Ralph went to school with me from 5thgrade to my senior year, so it was only fitting that he would graduate with our class, right? That was the plan… Until the “C-word” forever rocked my world. The day after Christmas 2013, Ralph was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer, that spread to his entire body. We were completely devastated, but hopeful for a miracle that maybe he’d make it to May to graduate. Then, our vet dropped a bomb, “He has 3 weeks, tops. I’ve never seen anything this bad”. I was losing my entire world, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. My boy was a fighter though and stayed with me as long as he could (3 & ½ Months). None of us were ready to say goodbye, but we knew it was time & he was living a miserable life, just to make us happy.

I’m thankful for every day I got to spend with Ralph, and though the “I’ll see ya later” rocked my entire world, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love & miss him every day, & 4 and ½ years can’t change that. (Learn more about Ralph!)

For a while, I couldn’t bear the thought for getting another service dog, even though I needed their help. It took me 14 months to face the fact- I needed another assistance dog. I knew this dog could never replace Ralph, but that I’d love them just the same.

I got Patience V in May of 2015, and again, she changed my life. IMG_0055She is also a lab-golden cross, but has more lab in her, whereas Ralph was more golden.  Patience is again my perfect match. She likes to test my patience (ha, fitting) & give me all the sass. She is my partner in crime & is always right by my side. She has a heart of gold & is always my sassy-silly princess.

Although Patience is perfect for me, she decided that she too needed a medical problem to be just like her momma. About a year ago, she was diagnosed with epilepsy, and I’m pretty sure it’s her way of saying “Momma, you gotta keep your eye on me, while I keep mine on you. Also, I’m tired of you getting all of the medical attention.” My sweet PayPay always putting herself in front of the doctors so maybe they’ll stop messing with me. She does a darn good job at always making sure her momma is okay, and I’m forever grateful for that.

Canine Companions for Independence has changed my life & continues to do so every day. Not only have they provided me with two outstanding service dogs, I have gained an entire extended family of puppy raisers, friends, staff, & support. I don’t know where I’d be without the gift of my two four-legged children, but I do know I wouldn’t be near as successful. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am so grateful that this journey has been paved with pawprints, because I couldn’t do this life without them.

Living A Positive Life

A lot of things seem to be going wrong lately. I have little aches & pains that I just can’t seem to shake & unfortunately, they keep multiplying. I’m in a ton of pain, my fur baby is in pain, and it breaks my heart.  I’ve noticed my personal life suffering because of things (& other people) that I can’t control. It’s hard to take a step back when your world turns into a tornado.

But instead of being Ms. Negative Nelly, and let it consume me, I took a step back. I changed my perspective. I can’t control my chronic aches & pains. I can’t control those around me & how they treat me. I can’t take the pain away from my baby. But what I can do, is change my outlook. I can’t change the people around me, but I can change who I let into my life. I can take steps to actively control my pain.  I can re-evaluate who I let into my life. And most importantly, I can take a step back & embrace the good things in life.

I have an amazing support system of both friends and family. I have the support of amazing doctors doing everything they can to make my pain & illness go away. I have my partner in crime who is always willing to go on any adventure with me. I have the ability to take the time to explore a life many would never know. I can rely on the little things, like getting Iced Tea every day or going to Target multiple times a week.

I’ve learned embrace a small life- filled with daddy-daughter dates, watching tv with my mom, taking my little family (my dog & boyfriend) to get sno-cones, and going on lots of Target trips.

Sure, I could choose to focus on the never-ending pain in my legs, arms, and back. I could choose to live a miserable life, but that’s never been my style.

My illness has tried to suck the light out of my life, but somebody forgot to tell life that I’m tougher than anything it has to throw my way.

I have 124,043, negative things to focus on, but I have 124,044 positive things to focus on. I’ve always lived a life half-full, and that’s how I intend to keep it.

The only thing half empty in my life is my glass of iced-tea.