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Monday, November 30, 2009

Health status update and some insights that are working for me

It has been about 10 weeks now since I fell ill. A lot has happened in that time and it has mostly been wonderful. For whatever reason, we have been able to see my illness as a blessing and used it to refocus on the simple but important things in life. Oddly enough they are generally the things that fill a great amount of the immediate time and space that surrounds our life. Family, close friends, pets, comfort food, sunrises, sunsets, time spent on positive projects, early morning walks, the feeling of the ground beneath your feet, cold air on your face, the smell of a baby, the laughter of a toddler. Not since college have I taken the time to really focus on being better and healthier like I have recently and back then it was a very thin approach focused at broad based learning and physical strength. Since becoming ill, I have taken a much more complete approach at getting physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. My internal dialogue has never been so positive or reinforcing.  I am able to see the positive in almost anything. I am able to stay present or regain presence easily in most situations. I make healthier more conscious decisions, and more consistently. I spend time on my physical health but have been forced to refocus on the simple basic things like stretching, yoga and meditation. I am assessing what does and does not make me happy, what is avoidable and what is unavoidable and how to accept the unavoidable knowing that I am doing everything I can do.

I just got a call from the Rehab co-coordinator and they have granted me two more weeks with my Rehab without Walls – where they come to the house for therapy. This is great news for getting back on track before transitioning to outpatient therapy.  I have slid backwards since the birth of the baby, but the good news was that I started to get a bit of a cold and I was able to fight it off, even with the tremendous lack of rest. Our families have been awesome and Jennifer’s parents are still with us and have been so helpful. My ability to walk is greatly reduced as I fatigue and I have had to use the cane most days at some point over the past week. There have been nights were there was only 3-4 hours of sleep and prior to this my body has been requiring 12 hours of sleep each day. The most prevailing symptom is fatigue, without a doubt. It is very obvious how focus, positive mentality, and consciousness or presence is all much more difficult to manage when you don’t have enough rest.

I am using today, Monday morning, as a time to refocus, get back to some simple short term goal setting and try to not lose any more ground this week. After that I can get focused on regaining the recent loses. I am walking and functioning around the house pretty well, I have to take breaks and try to find some time to get horizontal and rest even if it isn’t napping. I can help out around the house a fair bit and can play with Wyatt pretty normally but I have to watch to not burn up to much energy in one blast, it made me sick the other night after a good wrestling session but it was worth It! I can cook a full big meal and do simple grocery shopping, take care of the dog (but Grandpa Doug has been doing a great job of that), and I can help with the baby by changing diapers and getting Jennifer what she needs around the house. I am able to run to the store and drive to the mall but have learned that the commotion and amount of energy required by a full trip out on my own is probably a little too much still and I have to be careful and make good decisions or I pay for it.

All in all things are very good and I am so grateful for the health that I have, the lessons I continue to learn and the health and happiness of Jennifer, Wyatt and our newest addition, Olivia. Life is good and only getting better each day.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. How could anything get you down when you have this in your life (see picture below)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Morning that Olivia arrived in our Life

Olivia James Moss – November 24th, 2009 – 7 lbs 13 oz

10:15 AM

I am sitting here in the ante partum ward at the Good Samaritan Hospital. This is the same hospital that I was in just 6 weeks ago. This Morning I was down in the cafeteria getting a snack and I ran into the X-ray technician that had the stomach cancer that she called frank. I told her that she was a real inspiration to me and that I thought of her from time to time and that her positive spirit helped me out while I was in a potentially bad place.

Jenny is laying in the bed in her room. They have hooked up her IV and got her prepped to go into surgery in about 45 minutes. I am not really very nervous, I have a lot of faith that everything will be fine. It is one thing to recognize and respect the seriousness of a situation and another to worry or dwell on it. Jenny is asking me right now to get her a book on creating a positive sibling relationship from the start and figure out how best to introduce the baby to Wyatt and specific to his age. Always the good mom, worrying but planning and educating herself on how to handle things. Jenny is a really good mom. Wyatt is really sweet and fun and smart child and Jennifer’s parenting has a lot to do with it. I think we are pretty good communicators and that we understand the importance of communication and how it relates to both ours and Wyatt's happiness.  So sometime today or tomorrow I’ll run out to Borders and see if I can find a book for her.

Back to what I was saying about worry, it is fine to recognize the seriousness of a situation but worrying too much about the potential things that could happen is really a waste of energy and causes undue stress. I am not really a worrier. As long as you are doing what you can to affect a situation positively, there is no sense worrying because things are going to run their course and in the long run, be fine. I am certain that everything will be fine. Very soon we’ll be in the OR and they will be delivering Olivia and then putting her in Jenny’s and My arms for the first time.

It is crazy to think about my having being one floor above here, in my own bed, just 9 weeks ago. There was so much uncertainty and fear. I have come so far, stayed so positive and had so much support. I can walk into the hospital today on my own and be a real support to Jennifer like a husband wants to be for his wife. I am very lucky.

Jennifer I love you and thank you so much for all of the sacrifices you have made to bring us our little Wyatt and now Olivia.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baby Olivia will be born today!

I am sitting in the Antepartum ward with Jennifer. We are just about to go in and deliver Baby Olivia James Moss. Stay tunes for pictures and details!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I just decided to start running...?

Nine weeks ago I got up to walk to the bathroom and I ended up in an ambulance headed to the emergency room. Since then,  the longest I have walked was about a mile. Today I jogged 3 miles. I just overcame some big hurdles, mental and physical hurdles. I jogged for three miles. The first response I got was “that’s great”, the next response I got was “you shouldn’t do that, you can’t do that, what are you thinking?”. It was for those people that I just kept running. It is not that I don't love and respect their opinions it was just that I needed to wield some control over my life and test to see what my will was capable of in the midst of this recovery. I am going to hurt, yes. I am going to be stiff, yes. I might take some steps backwards in the short term, and that is fine. Today was about mindset and will and personal power.

I went out with the intention of jogging a few 20 meter reps and doing some light stretching. When I got outside, the sun felt good on my face, the cold air felt good in my nose. I thought about my buddies at training camp in Denver sweating and hurting, and when I got done the first 20 meters, I heard myself say, “keep going, you can do more”. That little voice in your head really does have a lot of control over the things that we do or don’t do. While I was running I thought about how people will tell me that I shouldn’t be doing it. I thought there would also be  people who would share their experiences with me - some good and some  bad. Some other people would say good job! I thought about all of the different people who would think one way or the other. It was a pretty good metaphor for life. They can all have their opinions but ultimately what matters is that I get to decide. You need all of those people in your life. The supportive ones just want to support whatever you are doing, the others want what’s in your best interest as well, they just want you to think things through a little. Somewhere in the middle has to be the right answer. What matters though is that you make the decision and it’s yours to reap the benefits of as well as the repercussions.

If you are worried for me, thanks so much for worrying. If you are excited for me, thanks for being excited. Whatever you are feeling, thank you very much for thinking of me at all.

I am pretty excited; a little scared of how this will turn out, but mostly proud and sore, those two often go hand in hand. Now, a real good stretch.


Monday, November 16, 2009

All coming together - Part 1

I have been spending a lot of time analyzing and meditating about new habits vs. old habits, on healthy habits vs. less healthy habits. I keep returning to the reality that we all live in relatively set patterns. Patterns or paradigms that we create and that over time become more and more engrained. We often recognize these but rarely do we accept the responsibility for why they are what they are. We have a tendency to make excuses or blame other forces for why we live the way that we live. To rarely we use sentences that include “(something) is the way it is because I choose it to be” or “(something) happened as a result of the choices that I made”. Instead we say things like “(so and so) did this and so it turned out poorly” or “this keeps happening because of my boss or my co workers”. How often do we really honestly, and I think that honesty is the real key here, assess what our role is in our own life? If we are unhappy unsuccessful, coming up short or repeatedly doing something we are not proud of, who is responsible? I would dare to say that when things work out well, we are much more inclined to take credit then when things turn out poorly. Excuse making and the language that we use in both our internal and external dialogue are a different topic that I have spent a lot of time on recently but today I would like to discuss our roles in shaping our reality.

I will try to make this as much about me as possible. I think it is integral that we truly desire to change our paradigm if it is to have any chance of changing. You, reading this, may be very happy with your situation or life, or might not be in the right head space to desire to stop and think about it, so I will focus on me and you can take from it what you like.  I want to change my ways of doing things. I want to cut out some of the old unhealthy thoughts, actions, phrases, people, etc that contributed to my being less than optimally healthy and successful. I do not blame anyone or anything for my health or well being. It is nobody else’s responsibility to make or keep me happy and healthy, it is entirely my own. I make choices everyday, all day, that shape my existence and create my reality.

I would suggest that making decisions to repeat behavior is easier than making the decision to eliminate a bad behavior. That the potential pain of making a change often seems greater than the downside attached to repeating a poor behavior, this may not be true, but it is our measurement of it that matters and therefore our own responsibility. If I return to a previous topic about pleasure seeking and pain avoidance, this aligns very well, we view the old pattern as less painful even though that is likely to be untrue. It is the process of changing that we view as the truly painful part. It is no secret that we typically resist change. Even though the something off in the future looks and smells and likely is better and healthier, that uncomfortable road of changing might not seem to be worth it.

I feel like a lot of what I have been thinking about has suddenly come together and I see clearly how it all interacts.

We may or may not want to change. If we do, we then have decide that we want it badly enough to actually outline what that change looks and feels like, and measure it as being worthwhile enough to explore. If we decide to venture down the road of change, we are then open to that experience being uncomfortable and therefore we might stop and decide it is too much, and return back to the old habit because we could not handle the discomfort. This is very key because if we take the time to be honest about this, we can better prepare ourselves for this uncomfortable period. We can say to ourselves “This time of change will be uncomfortable but it will be worth it”, “Once I take that leap there should be no looking back” etc etc. after all once you have made the leap the worst is usually over and you’ll have to re endure the discomfort again if you ever decide to try it again.  (I know this is getting long but I need to keep rolling here while it’s flowing out). If we are on the road to change, and we know it is going to be difficult, what tools could we take with us to help us through what are prepared to be difficult? We could take people that will inspire us? A written page that outlines the goal we are trying to reach and in such a wonderful honest way that we would endure any difficulty to attain it. We could vilify the old habit or pattern as so negative that we would never dare repeat it again. Maybe we should do a little of each of these.

I am on the road to change right now. I am glad and lucky to be on it but I am noticing old behaviors that desperately want to sneak back in. It is uncomfortable at times. I feel the ghosts of old habits calling from behind me telling me how easy it was to be that way and that it “wasn’t so bad anyways”. I find situations that create a certain smell in my nose or feeling in my body that I relate to comfort and it would be so easy to just stop moving ahead and just relax and enjoy easy and comfortable. There is nobody off in the distance saying, we are already here and it is awesome, keep working, you can do it. These are my goals so how could anyone else be there already? I need to be so sure that I want to be better and happier that my motivation is enough on its own. I need to make those old patterns of living unacceptable and be absolute. I realize now that discipline is everything when you’re on the road to a change. Honesty is a requirement to real change. Devotion to your becoming better and reaching your goals is a necessity. Anything short of these things will open the door to failure, allow the old demons in and begin a pattern of failure that will make you more likely to second guess yourself and less likely to try again each time you fail. This is what I am learning and becoming more sure of. It is a big topic for me and I have gone on quite a bit for one day so I’ll stop and make this part 1 and complete my thoughts after some more meditation.

Thank you all for reading and supporting me on the journey that I am on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And now to stay healthy and slow it down a bit...

So, I thought I would write an update on my health today and then discuss some of my thoughts regarding both maintaining and improving my health. As of right now:  I can manage 45 minutes of continuous walking – usually about 30 minutes with a break and then 15 minutes more;  I am practicing very basic yoga to rebuild my muscle stamina; I can function very well in the house now; I have been able to help Jennifer with Wyatt quite a bit more and be less of a burden to everyone;  I drove the car for about a mile – a successful test drive that is leading me to more personal freedom.

I am happy to report that the activities of daily living are no longer an issue. These activities still need to be accounted for, in terms of the energy that they require to execute, but they don’t demand a significant rest period like they used to and overall, I am recuperating very well and seeing positive steps forward each day.

As I continue to improve like this, I am becoming more aware of my character and through personal analysis have realized a few important things.  My former desire to move too quickly, to get ahead of myself and to not live “in the moment” nearly enough has become very apparent. After experiencing a small slide backwards two weeks ago, the lesson of slow and steady was really hammered home. I have been walking around the neighborhood every day and I find that I have missed so much of what is around us because I moved to quickly or was trying to do too many things at once. Concentrating on not over-committing is a big one. Staying present with whatever it is that I am doing at the time is a skill worth honing. I am learning to soak up the environments that I find myself in and to consciously stay aware more of the time. When I leave the house or the coffee shop, I take a moment to make sure that I have everything I need and try not to rush out the door as infrequently as possible. These small adjustments to my daily living have provided me with great lessons for stress management. In my situation, I can’t afford to forget things in the house and have to “run” back in to get them. I have learned that moving slow and with purpose is a terrific new metaphor for my life. Slow and with purpose.

These past eight weeks, as difficult as they have been, have been some of the best of my life. On the heels of the biggest storms you find the brightest rainbows.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Everyday Heroes?

I was just thinking, we hear stories all of the time about everyday heroes. Ordinary people, or seemingly so, who do extraordinary things. They save people’s lives, run into burning buildings, land commercial planes on the Hudson River, lift a car up off of someone who is pinned underneath it, etc, etc. I think we would all agree that there is such a thing as the everyday hero.

If we can agree that we are fairly ordinary, but that other ordinary people have been able to do extraordinary things, then we should agree that we have within us the capacity to do these extraordinary things as well. I think that makes pretty clear, common sense.

So, instead of waiting for some terrible or life threatening scenario, why don’t we start tapping into that capacity now? Right now. Instead of some random act or incident that fate drops in front of us, set your own incredible goal and be incredible because you already agreed that you have it inside of you.

You don't necessarily have to land a plane or run into a burning building, but at the very least, shouldn't it make you want to try and be a little bit better today? Be more patient? Help someone to their car? Hold open a door? Then tomorrow do it again and the next day? My advice - become a bit more of an everyday hero, everyday.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Time to blow the top off... Revisiting goal setting

Blow the Top Off…. Revisiting Goal Setting

As a part of my recovery I have been very purposefully reevaluating aspects of my life and deciding which areas are healthy and which areas are not. It is not any one aspect of my life that lead to my illness, more that being ill has lead me to want to be healthier than ever. The more that I do this, the more I realize that I have steered away from a key personal goal of mine. I chart my goals in a top-down format and I have always made a conscious decision to ask myself first, “Will this make the word a better place?” What I am realizing is that many aspects of my life were not working toward that goal. Some areas were, but not in a truly meaningful way. I am generally happy, understanding, and positive. I try to be a good friend and offer my help in any way that I can and as often as possible. What has been missing is a life project that that aims at literally making the world a better place – more specifically, helping the people in it to be happier people overall. I don’t need to preach or presume that I know better but I know that I can always strive to be better and in turn, aim to lead by example. I need to create a life that; fills me with pride, allows me to sleep well at night, makes me happy when I look in the mirror, makes my children want to look up to me, and makes the people around me happier and healthier.

I work hard to be a leader, I always have. I also work hard to be a good friend, family member, father and husband. I know that I can be even better. To fulfill this, I need to consistently, on a daily basis, ask myself, “Have I been leading by example?” “Am I surrounding myself with the people and things that will foster more goodness in the world?” The answer is not a resounding yes, unfortunately it is a sometimes. But, I am still growing and all that truly matters is that I know that I am capable of this, and am making the effort. I will stop settling for less. I will stop letting other peoples language or excuse making become my own and I will not allow others to place a ceiling on my goal setting. I decide what is good enough for me. Average is only good enough if my goal is to be average. I am capable of much more than that. I cannot continue to just play well enough to win. I am capable of being a champion in all that I do. Thank you to the sports world for teaching me how to be a champion. It is time to apply that lesson to life. It is time to set my goals as lofty as they need be and eliminate the ceilings that I have built over my own head. It starts now.

Make the world a better place.

Help others who are seeking happiness to reach their potential.

Start with yourself.

Don’t lead with your left, lead with your heart.