Five months later….

Can you see two teeny tiny brown specs on the grass by the first tree? A pair of sweet little rabbits.

Can you see the teeny tiny brown spec on the grass by the first tree? A pair of sweet little rabbits.

So here it is, the month of July already, five months since my last post where I left you hanging at my review of chapter six of  the book, Clean – Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate by Alejandro Junger, M.D.

Much has happened since the winter. You as well?

At first, I thought I’d write about what happened during my unannounced blogging break, then I decided not to. I realized that I’d be writing about things I don’t necessarily want to remember.

I’ll just say, I’ve had my challenges (physically and financially).

Who was it that said, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.”

Since I’m still motoring along, I must be stronger.

Time will be the teller.

Some of you know I have another blog, Miracle Mama, where I inspire uplifted thought through the sharing of  miracle stories, inspirational interviews, products and services.

Over the next several months, I’ll be implementing new ideas to grow and expand the site.

If you know any miracle stories or have experienced something you want to share (maybe something uplifting or helpful to others) please contact me via email. I would love to hear from you!

I hope all is well with everyone. I’ll be around to see what you are up to soon.

Hopefully, you will come to visit me at Miracle Mama for now.  🙂

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The Future is Now

New year celebration!

New year celebration!

The thing I love about blogging on WordPress and posting updates on Facebook is that, whether I like it or not, my life is on record. That is, parts of my life are on record.

Having a record comes in very handy as we come to the end of another year. I can travel back in time to view snippets of life’s moments. For instance, I see that I began 2012 in the same way I’m ending 2012: focused on diet.

In January 2012, I learned that Dr. Terry Wahls healed from MS through diet.

In February, I learned that Joe Cross healed from a rare autoimmune disease and lost 100 lbs through a change in diet.

In March, I learned that Anita Moorjani healed from stage four Lymphoma, although, diet had nothing to do with it. That experience, was a very out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. I’d say; a miracle.

During the year, I noticed that health challenges were up and down for me, as was sticking to a healthy eating program.

Still, through it all, I have come to the conclusion that the foods I eat affect the level of RA symptoms I experience and in fact, they affect how I feel generally.

Yet, because of an event that occurred the year prior; I learned In The End, Only Love Matters.

And so, I have learned not to stress myself out over the little stuff, like diet, health challenges, financial challenges, silly drivers, etc.

I learned that I must make the best of each day no matter what seems to be going on in the moment because how I think, feel and react to what is going on in the moment is creating my future.

“The future is Now;” when I heard Ti Caine say these words, a light bulb went on.

To me, this statement means; if you’re not changing what you’re thinking, doing,  how you’re feeling or reacting in the moment, chances are, you’ll be doing exactly the same things a year from now and you’ll wonder why your life is the same.

Been there; done that. And, still doing it, to a point.

Even though, I learned about Love and I learned about Gratitude, it’s in the moment-to-moment practice where it really counts.

So — by this time next year, I want to say, I’m the proud owner of a “clean” body (clean being detoxified of allergens and toxic substances), I increased my income by $400 a month and I increased my level of peace, joy and gratitude.

I guess, another way of saying “the future is Now” is: We create our future each and every moment.

If I want health, abundance, peace, joy and gratitude in future, I have to make the choice Now —  in each and every moment.

And so, this blog post amounts to my way of pondering, picturing and planning the best year ever.

Wishing everyone many blessings and thank you very much for visiting, reading and commenting on the blog.

May we love lots, laugh lots and live lots. And may 2013 be your best year ever!

Marianne changed her Profile

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Just thought I’d have a Facebook moment and let followers know that I’ve changed my profile script.

Since WordPress doesn’t make the announcement, it seemed like a good idea for a new post, but I could be wrong.

Here’s the new “About me” on my profile pic;

“He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother.” These lyrics are some of my all time favorite. When I was growing up, I used song lyrics to describe how I felt about my life. In my early teens, this inclination died and was no more. Many years later, every now and then, it returns…and I smile. The Meaning for My Life (formerly Grandeurvision) is about: Love, Life and Presence. Miracle Mama is about miracle stories to inspire a life free from doubt, fear and limited thinking. I write from my heart when I feel inspired to share something. Welcome, friends of the world.

So what do you think?

Inspired by a comment on my friend, Ken Wert’s blog, Meant to be Happy, the profile update is meant to help bring out the authentic voice that lives inside.

Ken wrote a blog titled, 5 Signs Personal Development Blogs Are Hurting Your Personal Development.

One of the comments mentioned the importance of learning to listen to our authentic voice stating that our authentic voice knows what is best and always speaks the truth.

I whole-heartedly agree and found myself thinking that sometimes the lines are blurred.

For instance, scientists prove that environment conditions an organism. Since we are organisms, this applies to us as well. We are conditioned from birth. (But, don’t believe me. Check out the data for yourself.)

I see from my own personal experience; this is true. Even though, I prided myself of being independent, I see where I took on the beliefs of my environment.

These weren’t my beliefs from my own authentic voice. They belonged to someone else.

Over the years, the authentic voice peeped out on occasion, but I was quite good at silencing it.

So — who is the I that did the silencing?

Ah ha!

I caught you!

I see who you are now.

You are the conditioned self. The persona the world sees. The one who judges, analyzes, compares, calculates, criticizes and protects.

The authentic voice knows truth and doesn’t have to analyze, compare, calculate, criticize or make up beliefs.

It just knows.

Have you ever had a knowing about something, that wasn’t backed up by a data calculation of your mind, and turned out to be true?

I love when this happens!

This is how I want to live every day, every moment.

I want an intimate relationship with my own authentic voice.

What about you: do the lines blur for you too? Do you sometimes silence your authentic voice? 

I’m All Pooped Out!

While it is true that I’m experiencing more frequent elimination due to the antibiotics the doc prescribed, it wasn’t the instigation for my choice of title. No, that would be rude.

When I say, “I’m all pooped out,” I mean I’m tired. Exhausted. Drained. I think I remember my dad used that expression. I hope he meant he was tired.

It’s tax season here in Canada, eh? And although I wouldn’t call myself a hard-core tax preparer, I have been helping-out (somewhat) more than usual in between RA flare-ups and other health diagnoses.

So, what I’m really trying to say, is that I’ve spent more time away from my computer during the last month and a half and haven’t been able to keep up with the blog-neighbors and Facebook friends, for that matter.

This means, I’m lagging behind on all the news and I’m not sure where to start to get caught up being that tax time is gearing up for the final eight days starting on Monday and I’m still not feeling up to the challenge.

I did, however, take some time to kick-back, read Anita’s Moorjani’s book, Dying to be ME and write a review this weekend. I posted it on my other WordPress blog, Miracle Mama. If you have time, you may want to check it out. It’s sooo inspiring!

In the meanwhile, I hope everyone is well and I look forward to catching up soon.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to catch me up on what I’ve missed.

A day in a life with rheumatoid Arthritis – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my story from Part 1 (click here to read) about living with the experience of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Why do I write about this experience?

  • To find people who have cured RA disease for themselves.
  • To connect with others who share a similar experience with illness.
  • It’s for my personal memoir file.
  • It’s for personal therapy.

When did this experience begin?

I first experienced symptoms in my feet more than 14 years ago. My family doctor and physical medicine specialist were stumped about the cause of the pain and inflammation. It seemed that the only obvious choice, at the time, was to prescribe orthotics or specially designed inserts to wear in my shoes making it more comfortable to walk, but before I went through with the orthotic order, another symptom showed up.

One day my wrist swelled up creating a burning pain with redness. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t shift the gears in my car or open doors with the swollen wrist. The swelling lasted a day or so before it subsided.

How is RA disease diagnosed?

When I mentioned the incident to the physical medicine doctor, she ordered blood-work and a nuclear body scan. The doctors hunch was correct; the blood-work tested positive for RA disease and the body scan confirmed the presence of “hotspots” due to inflammatory RA disease in my feet, wrists and hands. A referral to the rheumatologist followed.

I didn’t have a clue as to what this RA”thing” was all about and in fact didn’t care much to find out either. I had a busy life and too many other worries. In hindsight, the symptoms weren’t that bad in the beginning, a bit of a nuisance that interrupted a few things, but certainly not debilitating.

What does one do when one is diagnosed with RA?

The rheumatologist prescribed the standard RA treatment protocol that began my journey with pharmaceuticals. At the time, I didn’t know about naturopathy or about other natural healing modalities like TCM, Ayurveda, energy work, etc.

abridged version

Within the first year of being diagnosed with RA, the rheumatologist tried me on an anti-biotic called mino-cycline. Studies showed that some patients responded well to this form of treatment.

What were the results?

Thankfully, the pharmacist informed me that the studies also showed that it took a minimum of 6 months to become fully effective. As per his advice, I hung in and discovered a much improved condition. My feet no longer hurt when I walked nor did I have flare-ups in other joints. Life was good, except for the fact that the anti-biotic created bouts of severe stomach issues.

The anti-biotic treatment considerably slowed the disease progression. I was able to work out at the gym and walk 5km’s a few times each week. I worked everyday and didn’t take much sick time off.

By this time, I had researched a little about RA and anti-biotic treatment. I discovered that some doctors believe RA is caused by some kind of invading micro-organism, either bacteria or virus-like organism. When I asked the rheumatologist why the anti-biotic helped the symptoms, she explain that they didn’t know why it worked for some people.

Is it helpful to stay on an anti-biotic for several years at a stretch?

Several years went by before I became concerned about the long-term effects of anti-biotic treatment. Since I felt fairly good, I decided to wean myself off the drug. At the same time, a friend recommended a naturopath, so I decided to follow-up with a natural healing protocol.

The sound of water

What happened then?

Over the next few years, the RA symptoms continued to get worse and worse until I was completely incapacitated in 2008. I had never experienced such debility before. My entire body hurt, every joint was swollen and painful including my jaw. The only food I could eat was soup because I couldn’t chew or open my mouth wide enough for anything except liquid.

In the meantime, I visited my rheumatologist for regular 3 month check-ups, however, she had to follow the RA treatment protocol as dictated by the medical association. There were only certain drugs she could prescribe. None of the drugs helped and in fact, I believe made my condition worse. I also tried to go back on the anti-biotic however, I couldn’t wait the 6 months for it to become effective, besides my stomach issues had progressed to the point that I didn’t tolerate the drug well.

Is there really help for RA?

By the end of 2008, I had moved up the ladder of accepted RA treatment protocol and into the realm of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers. TNF is a protein that causes inflammation in the body. Patients with inflammatory disease such as RA and Crohn’s are often prescribed a TNF blocker that helps block the protein from creating inflammation in the body thereby reducing the pain and damage caused to the tissue. Sounds harmless enough, right? Let’s see…..

TNF blockers cost in excess of $1,500. per month. From my personal experience, they are not worth the money because the anti-biotic I took for several years was way more effective and only cost $200. per month in comparison.

What about TNF blocker risks?

FDA press releases in 2008, 2009 and 2011 warn of the increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma in patients receiving TNF blockers. In fact, the type of lymphoma identified is very hard to treat.

Is a TNF blocker enough?

Now, I have to tell you that my rheumatologist insists that I take a drug called metho-trexate as well. Metho-trexate inhibits the metabolism of folic acid and generally “screws” up proper cell division. Folic acid is necessary for proper cell growth and formation. Metho-trexate is used to treat some forms of leukemia. It’s not known why it supposedly helps RA patients, except that it inhibits the immune system from reacting, conversely increasing the chance of serious infection. My rheumatologist insists that, according to studies, metho-trexate and a TNF blocker combined are a more effective treatment.

Round and round we go....

What about side-effects?

I won’t go into all the side effects I’ve experienced from taking these two drugs. I’ll just say that sometimes I wonder what is worse, adverse effects from the drugs or adverse effects from the RA symptoms, then I remember what I just went through over the last few months.

How so?

January, February and March of this year brought improvement to my condition. Why? I don’t really know. In a previous post, I talked about experimenting with a self-designed healing protocol; energy work, ayurveda and meditation. I had such improvement that I put off taking the RA injection and meds.

In April, I couldn’t afford to continue with energy work treatments and the Ayurveda herbs became back-ordered.  Meditation wasn’t a problem. Throughout the month I packed to move and the symptoms increased and increased to the point that I became severely debilitated again despite the re-introduction of the Ayurvedic herb and other natural anti-inflammatory substances.

By early June, I had no choice, I couldn’t function at all. I went back on the pharmaceuticals. The improvement is slow, but better than what I’d been through, so that is saying something. However I’m still not convinced that this is the best route to follow in the long-term, but when you have a flat tire, sometimes it needs a patch.

Fiddling through life

Why am I not convinced?

On the one hand, we have 2 pharmaceuticals that alter the immune system and proper cell formation. They are shown to relieve symptoms of disease in some patients. On the other hand, we have an anti-biotic that kills bacteria, fungi and parasites, but has no effect on virus’s. They are two completely different ways of dealing with the symptoms of RA disease. In my experience, the first (TNF and Metho) has had a very limited effect and the disease has progressed like lightening, the second (anti-biotic) was way more effective and slowed the disease progression to a snail’s pace, as I mentioned earlier.

Where do you think all the research is headed in RA treatment?

If you guessed research is going into altering immune system reactions you are correct. The obvious question for me, having tried both forms of treatment is, “Why was the anti-biotic treatment way more effective at stopping the severity of the symptoms and disease progression?”

What’s the plan now?

I need to find medical doctors and researchers who have an interest in the micro-organism cause theory because although I’m not a doctor it doesn’t make sense to me that my immune system is over-reacting for no reason. Maybe I’m naive, but in my mind, it must be reacting to something that is present in my body that is causing it to over-react.

Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it. Part 3 will follow soon. Comments are always welcome.

Disclaimer: I have no medical expertise or training, nor am I a medical researcher.  I am strictly an RA patient who comes across information here and there as I live with the experience of RA disease in my body.

It’s Juice Time!

This post is about the new love of my life. Juicing. Well, it’s also about gratitude because I feel blessed and grateful. Last week, my brother bought a juicer for me. He and his partner have been juicing for a few months now and they love it.

Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer

Over the past several months, I have read a lot about the benefits of juicing and how it can detox and help a body to become more healthy.

Here are the benefits of juicing;

  • Increased nutrition – Juicing releases enzymes for fast digestion and easy absorption. The juice floods your body with increased nutrients.
  • Helps relieve constipation
  • Cleans cells – It takes little work for the cell because the raw liquid is so easy and quick to digest. It helps flush out toxins in the cells and organs.

The price range for a juicer is anywhere between $100 to $2,500. I would recommend to start with a lower priced model to see if you like it and want to incorporate juicing into your daily life. You can always upgrade later.

My first attempt at using the juicer was in the making of carrot/apple juice. First, I washed, scraped and dried the carrots and apple. Then I cut them into pieces, turned on the juicer, fed the pieces through the funnel and watched the juice pour into my glass.

Mmmm fresh raw food

I took a picture for you before I drank it down.

Bottoms up!

Thank you brother for such a lovely, healthful gift.

Many of my readers know that I gave myself a 100 day gratitude challenge toward the end of 2010. The benefit of actively focusing my thoughts and practices on feeling gratitude was immense. For the last 2-1/2 months, my experience of RA disease symptoms is more than I can handle. That’s why I decided to embark on another 100 days of gratitude practice officially starting today. I’ll likely post a blog about how things are going each week.

I’m off to do the gratitude meditation now. Thanks for reading, I appreciate your support.

What’s up?

A snail's pace.

Time fly’s, but as for me, I’m traveling at a snail’s pace. Sometimes I feel that if I were any slower I’d be movin’ backwards (which is actually the truth some days).

I don’t know about you, but I feel that there is just SO much to do and so much I want to do as well. Sometimes overwhelm is just a thought away. I try to avoid that thought.

I blame the rheumatoid disease for the lethargy I feel which is true because when the disease is under control more so, I have a lot more energy. Over the last month I’ve chipped away at stuff I need to get done and stuff I want to get done in between periods of intense pain and inflammation.

Sometimes I’m okay with the snail’s pace because it gives me a chance to pause and be present in the moment. Other times, it just frustrates me. The frustration can quickly lead down a spiraling path to you know where, so I’ve been considering resurrecting my 100 day gratitude challenge. Would anyone like to join in?

There are a couple of new developments in my life for which I’m really really grateful. One is that I’ve got a new juicer. I’ll post a blog with more on that topic later. The other is, I have a guest post on Bliss Habits.

The topic at Bliss Habits this week is “moxie”. I wrote a personal story about the year I fought for my son’s life. The title is, “It takes Moxie to confront the school board and follow your Bliss.” (click here to read).

Bliss Habits, is where Kathy Sprinkle is conducting an experiment to cultivate the habit of bliss. Her goal is to add more bliss to everyday life and help others who want to play along. Bliss is defined as;

 supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment.

Kathy determined there are 13 virtues that lead to bliss. Each week Bliss Habits explores one of the 13 virtues. Here they are;

My Thirteen Virtues of Bliss are:

joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry,

community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise

Kathy states on her welcome page;

Each week I concentrate on one of these virtues. I find resources for study, sources of inspiration and I come up with games to play. I create “Bliss Initiatives,” which are concrete things anyone can do in their own life to foster a particular bliss virtue. Some of these things will be simple; perhaps something like Smile at three strangers today and others will be more time-consuming; make a list of the things that bring you joy today, or more complicated: hand make a greeting card and deliver it in person.

Bliss Habits is chock full of inspiration and practical ideas to bring happiness, joy and contentment to ones life. It has its basis on an idea from Earl Nightingale’s book, The Strangest Secret.

We become what we think about.

Kathy reckons that;

It is not possible to do everything I come up with. We all have busy lives and this project is intended to inspire not overwhelm! Some weeks I have a dozen lofty ideas but am unable to even complete one. I believe in Earl Nightingale’s old adage that we become what we think about so even the inquiry has an effect.

I agree with Kathy, as long as we keep trying that’s all that really matters.  Someone once said;

Progression, not perfection, is the goal.

So if you want to be inspired and add some bliss to your day check out Bliss Habits. If you want to read my guest post check it out here.