Welcome to the first podcast-blog entry of the New Year! For the past 2 years, I have been posting video journal entries of my Late-Stage Lyme Disease treatments at the end of 2012 announcing my new diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension with Left Heart Failure. I am posting a written blog as before, but also an audio podcast this time.
In the audio podcast to the left, I read “1 to 5”, which is a journal entry I recently wrote about a new diagnosis (the text is below). When dealing with a daunting prognosis, we remind ourselves that we CHOOSE to continue living a whole life filled with wellbeing, in the face of formidable unchosen challenges and despite statisticians mathematical models. A long life filled with many unmindful years does not guarantee happiness, vitality, fulfillment, lack of depression, or lack of problems. What does provide the opportunity to thrive, though, is mindfully choosing to live in wellbeing despite the daunting issues we face. Many people over the centuries have investigated the facets of happiness and wellness. This is not a new concern for humanity. In his book “Flourish”, famed psychologist Martin Seligman*
describes 5 aspects of wellbeing (in black front below) and I include my thoughts (in grey font):
We start off the New Year with a month named for the Roman god Janus, who is often depicted having two heads facing in opposite directions, as if facing the past and simultaneously looking toward the future. As it is the month of new beginnings, I invite you to think of 1 thing you can do, however large or small, to enhance your wellbeing going forward. We can look to the list of 5 aspects above to determine which facet might be most beneficial right now or come up with something else. Once we think of this activity or quality, we write it down as a goal, using our name and a present tense verb action verb (-ing). (See link for more info about creating SMART Goals). For example, “I, Christina Danyluk, am spending 20 minutes twice per week writing freely uncensored in my journal. These twice weekly sessions are noted in my calendar and time is set aside”. So now, we go ahead and write our own goal which enhances our wellbeing. Writing it down is very helpful to make it real to the brain. So we pause, find a pen and paper or our favorite electronic device and write down the goal.
The next step is to say it aloud...yes, now! Our brains need to hear us say it.
<<< pause here we say goal aloud >>>
And the final step is to think of 1 person who is our ally to whom we verbalize this wellbeing-enhancing goal. Someone who with kindness and with a gentle firmness will hold us accountable to our goal and support us in attaining it. Who will that person be? Go ahead, we make a plan when and where we will tell that person. If it feels awkward, feel free to ‘blame’ this assignment on me :-)
You are marvelous and unique. You are entitled to experience wellbeing, even in the face of unimaginable adversity. I invite us to cultivate wellness in our lives and like a fragile seedling we propagate it even under trying conditions. We deserve to live life fully awake.
We grow inner fitness in the face of outer illness,
We cultivate robustness in the face of pain and disease,
We hand-pick contentedness with what lies before us,
We select curiosity as the pain morphs and remodels,
We propagate the beneficial and weed out the no longer helpful,
We climb the up-spiral as the downward pull becomes more magnetic,
We elect wellbeing as the body declines,
We tirelessly work towards wellness,
We CHOOSE to transcend.
With you in wellness,
“1 to 5” (journal entry ©Christina Danyluk)
I blink again to clear my eyes. Perhaps I have misread the words. And then I blink again and again and yet again. Each time the numbers on the page do not change, but instead they peer back at me with utter defiance. They seem to be saying “so what are you going to do about it?” Everything around me begins a slow deceleration, like pudding thickening on the stove. It is a 1 to 5 year prognosis! I move in slow-motion, everything advances just one small frame at a time like a video forwarded in S-L-O-W mode. My field of view narrows akin to looking through a telescope at the far away galaxies. I can see my hand in front of me, shifting and stirring, but it does not feel attached to anything and just floats in space. I now become aware of my legs because the sensation of their presence is dwindling. Even my head is beginning a peculiar out-of-body venture, floating up towards the ceiling and hovering, exhibiting its autonomy from the anesthetized dismembered body. Time is passing and I do not know how long I perch like a bird peering down at this maimed scene. There is a perplexing silence as if I am in soundproofed room without any ambient noise. The complete silence is overwhelming yet oddly soothing, not frightening.
And then it happens.... I hear the sound of my rapid heartbeat pounding in my chest, and abruptly I begin the long fall from the heights. It is a far descent until the harsh collapse into the my torso. Feeling begins a return to my frigid being and the defrosting commences. I read it once again “currently there is no cure for this life threatening condition and despite treatment, patients still have an unacceptably low expected survival.” It goes on to say “with recent medical advances 3 year survival is still below 60%”.
My insides roar an inhuman other-worldy sound of anguish. I beseech the universe: spare me. I want to live. Do you hear me? I W-A-N-T T-O L-I-V-E. I ruminate options and solutions. I am a fixer, you know, so I will fix this crazy mess, just like I restore and repair other things. I must find an acceptable solution because this prognosis is surely intolerable and completely repugnant. At some point during this long rumination, I finally fall asleep and in my dream-state I effortlessly glide into an alternate universe of my own creation, where all is well.
Once I awaken, I find that reality is still staring me in the face, but level-headedness has returned. Though, I digest the information, I am filled with realistic hope. I, once again, strive for the balance between deep acceptance and aspiring for a better tomorrow. With every cell of my being, each and every day, I ELECT wellbeing and I CHOOSE to transcend.
Like the 133+ million Americans facing medical adversity today, I too, am on a seemingly insurmountable journey. In the midst of overwhelming calamity, what tools can empower us to get on with the business of living and thriving?
TEDx Talk "Why I Smile"
Ready for my TEDx Talk
Pulmonary Hypertension 101
Look Who Woke Up
Heart & Lungs are Fried
Scottsdale Lyme Treatment
Relapse & Snafu
IV Line Infection
I am Walking Now
Will You Remember?
Blocked IV Line - Pass the Drano
Treatments are Working
Lyme Roller Coaster
Going to the Mattresses
Lyme Bulldozer Treatment
One Step at a Time
Focus on Living
IV Pump Demo
Traveling with IV Supplies
Tackling Lyme with IV
Reducing Hidden Inflammation
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