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I HOPE YOU HAD A MERRY CHRISTMAS,

From Some of Santa’s Reindeer!

We had the best Christmas with our baby reindeer!
I planned to release this on New Year’s Eve, but couldn’t get it done. Dennis has been struggling to use his left hand to drive his wheelchair. A few days ago, he was too weak to use his phone, which is his primary source of entertainment. It’s painfully frustrating for him. It’s scary because that’s all he has left, losing his hand would be a game-changer.

“Stay positive,” “Fight Harder,” Kick that MS in the Butt.” All sentiments offered by the world when facing disease.
The thing is, a call to arms doesn’t work for me. When you push me to fight, to get up and crush it, honestly, I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head (of course, there will be two little holes so I can watch Call the Midwife.)
I try to gather myself and put my “game face on,” but it feels false. Sort of like if I wore that underwear with the butt pads in them, (I am not blessed with a curvy butt, more of a pancake than a bootylicious apple). I would look like a Kardashian, with a shapely attention-grabbing fanny, but I would feel fake…
I have been grieving these latest changes in our situation, and wondering, how can you be a fighter when it’s not your natural inclination?
I asked the universe to send me some help. Some way, to be me, but yet get the job done.

God bless all you fighters, all the conquerors, and all the winners. Fight on, fiercely, you Zena princess warriors; you mighty Thors, you kilted Bravehearts. You wake to slay.
I am married to a fighter, and this is one of his favorite poems


Fight on my men, I am hurt, but I am not slain; I’ll lay me down a-while, And then I’ll rise and fight again.”
Thomas Moore

It has served him well through situations that would break most men.” I know fighters, and I love you.
But, I have felt less-than the achievers and the strivers, those with necks bejeweled with gold. Unworthy compared to those people who love to kick ass. Maybe, I am weak? But I’m just not a fighter.
Science tells us when we encounter a threat; we have a fight or flight response. I guess I’m an anomaly; I don’t want to do either. I want to sit down with the threat, hold hands, drink a strongly brewed pot of Calming Chamomile Tea, and come to a mutual understanding. A good old fashioned affirmation circle (*with the ball of yarn), would be the ultimate outcome, but at the very least, a long, squishy, hug.
The truth is, most of the time, I feel like can’t we call it a tie and throw a theme party?
Of course, when forced to, I will fight, and it isn’t pretty. If you are an excellent little Dibbuns and give me lots of comments on this post, I may tell you about it.

So, what’s a gal to do when she doesn’t resonate as a fighter? I have heard there are two types of people, winners, and losers. I don’t like to fight, so am I a loser?
Dennis and I have been “losing” to MS each day, year by year, and nerve cell by nerve cell. I needed a new way to look at things less, grit and determination, more co-operation, and harmony.
I remember being newly married and honestly thinking, “Love will slow down the progression of Dennis’ disease.” A wise friend said to me,’ “I was not aware of your superpowers.” As it turns out, love doesn’t stop disease; it just makes it easier to bear.
So, I have watched Dennis lose the ability to drive, transfer, go to the bathroom himself, feed himself, hold a job, and move anything but his head, neck, and left hand (which is weakening) —we are not winning.

Usually, God speaks to me in patterns and puzzle pieces. Rarely do I get that big Oprah “AHA,” moment. It’s little nudges and coincidences that tickle the back of my brain and then move into my heart. So I prayed for wisdom.

God delivered and sent me puzzle pieces to put together to release me from some of my angst. Although existential angst will always be a part of my “brand.”
The first puzzle piece came via a friend.
Flow


I have known Claude Czaja for twenty years. Our children grew up together, and I am good friends with him, his wife Carla, and their two children, Blake and Katie. Along with other very challenging events in their lives, four years ago, Claude was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer. What ensued was a difficult battle that lasted for almost a year. Then last year, Claude was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Uggghhh. I know, but once again, he saddled up, endured the treatment and the surgery, and is doing great.
Claude and I were at a wedding, and we were discussing his health and Dennis’. I told him that I struggle with the words we use to describe how a person responds to the disease of the body.

When it comes to fighting physical disease, we use a lot If battle imagery. He’s beating Cancer. She’s fighting MS. She conquered breast cancer. He’s fighting ALS, with every fiber of his being, etc. Truly remarkable, but am I the only person who feels uncomfortable with that? Dennis has continued to decline, are we not fighting hard enough?

The bitter truth is the fight is fixed, regardless of someone’s ability to fight, sometimes we lose.

Claude said something that gave me pause, and I took a deep breath to inhale the wisdom. He said, “I don’t see myself as fighting Cancer so much anymore, but as flowing. I am flowing with the disease. I am doing everything I can for my health, but with the understanding, I am moving in a current that I ultimately cannot control. Where this current takes me in this life, is unknown. How I will live my journey to my destination is what I can control.”

Flow, hmmm…

It was the beginning of a new mindset, but I still felt a little unsure? If I’m not wholeheartedly fighting, am I just giving up?

Next Piece

I love to swim, and I am feeling nudged to go swimming at the local aquatic center. I looked up the hours, etc.. starting Googling around and found the second piece to my puzzle while browsing about swimming.

FLOW STATE

Definition: when a swimmer becomes one with the water. “It’s a powerful and intoxicating feeling. You feel in control, albeit remotely in a sense, as though something bigger than yourself has taken over, at the height of your abilities, unleashing your skills and talents with relative ease.” – Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Flowing isn’t just letting the current move you and laying around like a pot-head, wondering what will happen next. It’s a conscious act of working together with something bigger than yourself. It’s flowing with TENACITY. Hoooray, I am nothing if not tenacious!

The last piece to my piece came while thumbing through a National Geographic magazine at one of our many Dr. appointments. I saw an article on,

Riptides

The third piece to my puzzle.

There is a guy named Jamie MacMahan. He has spent many years studying rip tides. MacMahan is a professor of oceanography and researches rip currents. He has developed a controversial new theory on how to survive one.

MacMahan says, “Swimmers usually don’t know a rip’s present until they’re in its clutches. Panicked victims often try to swim directly back to shore-against the powerful offshore. Swimmers familiar with rips might try swimming parallel to escape”. But MacMahan’s research suggests doing the unthinkable: GIVING IN AND GOING WITH THE FLOW.

I need to surrender to my natural state, flowing more than fighting.
I am a Flow-Fighter!
Like Flo-Rida but,

Flo-Rida

more white, more middle-agey, more elasticy skin,
and less, cash flow, coolness, and tattoos.
I understand all you type A’s out there would like to punch me in the face, tell me to pack up my pancake, hippie-ass, and ride my peace train back to Canada.

That’s understandable, flowing for you is as uncomfortable for you, as fighting is for me. We are, however, of equal value!
Dennis is fighting as hard as he can. He is my little honey badger.

I am flowing while I fight.

Dennis, “Why is your sign in capitals?” Me, “Because it’s my blog.”

We are in a new decade, 2020. Wow. Let’s face the challenges it brings with personal authenticity. I’m just to darn tired to try it any other way. So, fight, flow, do both, don’t sink.
“And Jesus loves me, yes, I kno-o-ow
So, I keep on rolling with the flow.” Charlie Rich & Auntie Lee-Lee
*Affirmation circles may be done in a circle going person to person. Truly positive people, though, know if you want to get some life-affirming energy going, a ball of yarn is tossed to and fro. What you end up with is a beautifully interconnected web. Ahhhhh, I feel better just talking about it. If someone in your group is a knitter and could knit a meditation blanket out of the wool, extra points of Zen!

8 thoughts on “I HOPE YOU HAD A MERRY CHRISTMAS,”

  1. Leana, read your post which was thought provoking and beautifully presented. Know that others share in the daily struggles you both face and hopefully this helps in carrying on in this new decade. Wishing you both peace and blessings. You have shown amazing fortitude. Martha

    On Sat, Jan 11, 2020 at 6:14 PM Frolicking to Fifty! wrote:

    > leanaconway posted: ” We had the best Christmas with our baby reindeer!I > planned to release this on New Year’s Eve, but couldn’t get it done. Dennis > has been struggling to use his left hand to drive and text. It’s painfully > frustrating for him. It’s scary because that’s a” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You can call yourself whatever you want, but I can think of a better word to describe you. An angel sent from God on a difficult mission. A mission that many people would choose to opt out of. God bless you Leana. He is going to keep giving you and Dennis the strength to Flow/Fight this journey. Hugs to both of you from MO. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leanna, I couldn’t agree more with Karen. Your gift is so apparent and so alive and real… . You are ‘an angel‘ designed to love and care for Dennis at this time of your life and his. We all know that love conquers all. You are an amazing woman of strength, courage and love … the love that is providing life for you and Dennis to have this “Precious Present” that will live forever in your heart and the many loved ones around you.
    You have set an example on so many levels. Many levels of greatness, courage, strength, persistence, faith and your gratitude shines bright. Be encouraged as your puzzle pieces come together. Be blessed and know you are a beautiful lady that is being held in the palm of our Father God. He is the greatest Daddy ever!!! ✨

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, great perspective on facing life’s challenges. You are genuinely my hero and a shining example of grace, courage and wisdom.

    In the immortal words of Michael Jackson … you’re a lover, not a fighter. BUT, you are a do-er and not a quitter. You my friend ARE tenacious about the ones you love, and I’m grateful to be counted among them.

    And that little peace train of yours … it’s my favorite mode of transportation and the little engine that could. Your focus on the windshield as opposed to the rear view mirror is contagious. I say “all aboard!”

    😘😘😘

    Steph

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your blog always leaves me with a sense of awe. You are an amazing human, Leana, and you are flowing through life with more dignity than most who have little or no obstacles. Thank you for reminding us to reflect more, love more and yes, fight more! I pray Dennis maintains the use of his left hand, but if that is not God’s plan, I pray that God helps both of you work through the new challenges this will bring.
    I love you, my friend.
    Tracey

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Leana, Thank you for your latest blog, frolicking to fifty, and I want you to know that you and Dennis are sent warm thoughts from us daily. Do I have your permission to share your writing with some of my friends at a small meeting of women on Thur? I like your description of embracing the flow of your lives. Does that make you a “flower”rather than a fighter ? Sorry I couldn’t resist. Love and hugs, aunt m

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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