Dear 15 Year Old Me – Tag

This is so incredibly exciting! This is something that Everyday Magic With Jubilee and I have been working on for a few days, e-mailing back and forth, trying to create a wonderful tag for you all. Thank you Jubilee for trusting me and joining me in creating this phenomenal tag – I’ve enjoyed the process!

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve often times looked back, either that is on positive or negative decisions I made at the tender age of fifteen. This tag helped me dig a little deeper at what my life was like, things I went through and what I would tell the old me – all these years later. The one thing that absolutely stands out is a heartbreak I experienced at such a young age. I met a boy at fifteen, I thought we’d be in each others lives for the long run, and boy was I wrong! It’s one of those things you experience – some you wish you hadn’t, and heartbreak – at any age, but especially at a young age, can be devastating. And so here through the tag I’ll look back and I’ll share some details on that, and give the fifteen year old me some words of encouragement.

3.Dear.15.Year.Old.Me.Tag

Rules:

•  Post the tag and image above.

•  Mention the creators of the tag and link back to their blog.

This tag was created by Everyday Magic With Jubilee and Mom Life With Chiari. You can click on the highlighted names to check out more inspirational posts from their blogs. Make sure to tag them in your post so that they can read your letters of encouragement.

•  Thank whoever nominated you and link back to their blog.

•  Nominate 5 other bloggers that you love and notify them by commenting on their latest blog post.

Often times we may wish that we could go back in time and give our former selves advice and words of wisdom. If you could go back in time, what would advice or encouragement would you give to yourself?

Dear 15 year old me,

1. Don’t be hard on yourself because …

true beauty isn’t on the number you wear. Your beauty shines from within. Try healthier alternatives to losing weight, you’ve dropped down to a size 0 and are having to buy new clothes due to rapid drop in weight – I see you, and although the world celebrates a thin body, it’s making you sick. You’ll be blessed that this will only last but a short time and you’ll be saddened by what you made your body go through. Don’t be so hard on yourself, the decision to once again enjoy eating will be a great one!

2. The relationship you’re in ….

isn’t going to be forever. I see you, don’t be saddened by this. You know the words that were said, the moments that were shared, none were meant to last forever. Don’t fall so hard, I see you. You’re loving, you’re investing so much of your time, your heart, your everything, you’re risking it all, is he?! I see you, you’re believing and hanging on to his every word, I know it’s hard, to believe things won’t turn out the way he’s saying but, trust me, one day he won’t think about anyone but himself. I see you, wanting not to believe me now, but trust me, the ring, the endless flowers with handwritten notes, the album you both made together with moments shared now printed for a forever, he drew your names on the inside, I see you! Yes, it’s hard to believe that the future that you both speak about often will only be nothing more than that – spoken words. I see you, not believing me again, I know! But trust me when I tell you, that when he makes his plans to leave on vacation to his homeland, don’t give away what’s most precious, God loves you sweet girl, don’t do it! God loves you far more than this boy ever will. Why are you risking so much?! I see you, giving your heart out, is he? Oh I know his family is amazing, but does he think you are too?! You’re so much more than you know sweet girl, and a man that loves you will value you until the end. I see you, does he?

3. You will get through this because …

you are stronger than you think you are, you just don’t know it yet. You’ll run into many walls because you’re so angry and hurt by the break up – don’t be, stop and mourn! If you don’t mourn, you will continue to be angry and on a path to self destruction, it isn’t your fault it didn’t work out, it never was, I see you! Thinking you’ve lost years of yourself, you’ve lost your heart, you think you made a fool out of yourself – don’t! Somethings are worth risking and sometimes heartbreak comes in different forms, I know, I’m sorry it happened too. But stop what you’re doing and dig deep in yourself to overcome these feelings, because living in darkness will do nothing but destroy you. You’re working by day and being angry at night. You’re upset thinking that you’re alone in your feelings, and no one understands the loss that you’ve experienced! A pregnancy will come out of your actions, this is what God has in His plans for you, to save you! Otherwise, you will continue down the wrong path and you will thank your baby girl everyday for being such a sweet girl.

4. Don’t get caught up in thinking …

you are weak, you’re not! Believing something someone says doesn’t make you weak, or naive, it makes you in tune with your feelings, it makes you a risk taker, you risked it all! You will slowly begin to restore the faith you had in men and you will slowly begin to open your heart again. You will go through so much, you will be diagnosed with a rare illness, Chiari Malformation + Syringomyelia – 1 in 1,000 people have it, because you’re so strong! I see you, you don’t believe you can take on this illness, but you will – with all the strength you have in you! You’ve dealt with the news as best as you could, being positive and praying for strength – you’ve got strength! You’ll also be a mom to six little ones, I know – how amazing! That doctor that told you today you weren’t going to be able to carry a child due to the state of your ovaries, God is far greater than any of that! Don’t take the medication, God’s going to heal you and you will carry not one child, but six. You’ll be criticized, judged, and persecuted for having your babies but have courage, because they’re your gifts from Him. You’ll have six c-sections, I told you, you weren’t weak, you’re stronger than you know sweet girl! And they’ll have your eyes – yes, the Korean features will continue to live on through them. And they’ll look up to you, for advice and endless laughs because they love your jokes!

5. These experiences will help you learn …

that you have more strength than you know and you will begin to heal your broken heart. It’ll help you have more patience with yourself, be more loving and caring, because you are absolutely beautiful just the way you are. It’ll also remind you, that the only love you can crave for, is God’s. He won’t let you down, He won’t make you believe things that will turn out to be untrue. He’s there, He sees your pain, He sees your worries, He sees you the way I see you, such a beautiful soul, was broken and slowly is getting back on her feet. Because life is full of experiences, we learn from them and continue moving forward, not back.

Nominees:

Gods Whispers Of Truth

The Eclectic Contrarian

i Scriblr

Bereaved Single Dad

Sparkkling Thoughts

A Crack In The Pavement

Daily Grind Of A Stay At Home Mom

My Lil Place

Four Jordans

Simply Chronically Ill

Something To Stu Over

OJs Pride

Wonky Brain Blog

To all my nominees, I admire your strengths, your writings and look forward to reading your answers.
All my best.
A-

Exercising With Chiari 1 Malformation

Exercising With Chiari 1 Malformation

I often refer to my short life time as, pre Chiari life and post Chiari life. The things I used to do and the things that I can no longer do. And I say that I can no longer do, because of the physical limitations I have now since my Chiari + Syringomyelia – a congenital diagnosis. It’s baffling to know how much a diagnosis can be the result of so many life changes. The most simple things can now take so much effort and energy – not to mention can bring on some unwanted physical pain.

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My pre Chiari life, the married life, the stay at home mom life with kids included in particular enjoying lots of the outdoors. My days consisted of going outside daily. I especially loved to run, so I would get the littlest ones in the stroller while the rest peddled beside me in their tiny bicycles. We had a daily schedule that included the outdoors, after breakfast we went outside with the ball and spent sometime breathing in some fresh air and after lunch, right before their nap time, I’d get us all ready so that this mama could get a nice jog. So, simple, so refreshing, something the children really looked forward to.

My life post Chiari includes a lot of doctors appointments – from regularly visiting the neurologist and primary, to regular MRI’s to CT Scans, medications – most on trial run to ‘see’ if they help with the pain, what pain you ask, back pain, neck pain, head pain, anything from vertigo to headaches, imbalance and sensitivity to light from the sun to headlights, just to name a few.  My weight with all this going on has – understandably has been fluctuating and now being at the heaviest. Aside from the obvious and that is the pregnancies I’ve had, Chiari isn’t much help in this area either.

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When it comes to exercising, Chiari can really feel like it’s holding me back. I know what you may think and I’m really trying not to be ‘Negative Nancy’ but, with the physical pain I have, it’s hard to get outdoors. My goal is to lose the weight but not break my back in the process – literally.

Here are some helpful tips I’ve found while researching safe ways to exercising while having Chiari Malformation.

  • First and foremost speak to your doctor. The doctor can provide an exercise program to get you started and give you the OK to begin.
  • If you’ve been through Physical Therapy, do you remember the exercises you would do with your therapist? They test you to know how well you can bend, walk around, balance, reach, check your heart rate while you’re active, all these go hand in hand with the exercising that you should and should not be doing.
  • Choose an exercise based on the symptoms and extent of the malformation.
  • The right exercise can ease the stress on the neck.
  • There are low impact exercises that you can try such as walking, swimming and pilates
  • Walking, be sure you’re wearing comfortable walking shoes.
  • Pilates, strengthens your core, abs, obliques and lower back, it helps keep your body balanced and stable. It keeps the spine stable and safe. This one is recommended by the department of neurology at the hospital where I was operated for Syringomyelia but they also specialize in Chiari Malformation.
  • Chiari Malformation patients have problems with the vertebra and disc in the cervical spine resulting this area to be unstable. So, many exercises including lifting weights could potentially be dangerous.
  • Lifting weights is not recommended as this can put pressure and strain on the neck. Straining can increase CSF pressure and if there’s an obstruction, this can lead to problems. What is CSF? It’s the medical abbreviation for ‘Cerebrospinal Fluid’ which is a watery fluid that is continuously produced and absorbed and that flows in the ventricles within the brain and around the surface of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Find a gym or classes in your area that offer programs for people with disabilities.
  • Speak to your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen and if you’re going to change it or begin a new one. Your doctor will know if your condition will allow for more activity or will recommend you keep your exercise light.
  • And finally, always listen to your body, never overexert yourself and don’t over do it. If you begin to feel weak, dizzy or light headed, stop right away.

If you have Chiari – or know of someone, and are doing an exercise regimen, let me know in the comments, I’d love to know what it is.

Hope you have a great day.

-A

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Life Perspective After Chiari + Syringomyelia Diagnosis

When I was diagnosed and operated for Chiari 1 Malformation I had three young little ones, my oldest being in kindergarten at the time. So, I arrived to the ER in May 2013 and never imagined the diagnosis that would result from that visit.  You can read more in depth of my story in my post titled In 2013 Life Began with Chiari + Syringomyelia So, after the neurosurgeon came in to my hospital room and told me I needed emergency Craniotomy or brain surgery, I requested to leave home to get things in order before the surgery. The mom in me wasn’t ready for surgery, I wanted to get the house in order before my absence. I can’t ever seem to get my mind to stop, it just never stops. I was in observation for a couple days before my surgery day and during this time I was able to do homework with my daughter from my hospital bed. I was also able to inform her school of the situation that the family and I were having. It really did take a village to get through surgery and recovery.

 

Then you fast forward to 2017 when I had Laminectomy surgery for Syringomyelia, this time I had six little ones – and still do. The recovery hasn’t been easy but it’s also helped me see my husband and the little faces of God’s perfect creation looking back at me. Children really do give you the inner strength you thought wasn’t in you, the courage and fight you thought you didn’t have. I now, few years later look at this disease in a different perspective. I’m not well, probably won’t ever will be and that’s OK. It’s about accepting things for what they are and stop trying to change things that can not.  If I decide to physically shop at a store, I have to know the store, I have to know the layout, so that my shopping trip is as quick as possible. I like to call this my new normal as opposed to something being wrong. There is no normal, there is no right or wrong way your health should be. Also, know that you don’t have to try to make other’s understand what you’re going through, try to explain this rare disorder you find yourself living with. This could be such a burden and so frustrating. If you have even one person you can rely on, that’s great and if you know of another Chiarian, lean on them! Also, feel free to be present in your pain, know it’s OK to not have a good day when living with Chiari, especially when this disease is physically unseen, it’s an unseen disability.

-Ana

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