Hello world!

Hello world, I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Michele otherwise known as Katasee in the electronic world. I’m a 47 year old woman who took care of everyone else but herself for the majority of her life. I’m a mother of seven, well not technically, but I did raise seven boys, three of my own and four foster sons for the past 30 years. I’m what most of you would call a caregiver… either that or really stupid.

Over the years I’ve worked as a candy striper, cashier, a volunteer, a liquor store manager, full charge bookkeeper at a cemetery of all places, as an accountant and comptroller for a large manufacturing company and then leaving it all behind in the name of saving my marriage to become a houseparent in a group home in Anchorage Alaska where I worked with my husband every day for the past 25 years.

Most recently my job title changed to a Home Alliance Coordinator (foster mom with a fancy name) taking care of developmentally disabled young adults in my home since they were children for the past 25 years. During that time we cared for over twenty two different individuals that lived in our home 24/7, 365 days a year. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been called an angel sent from the heavens above to do a job no one wanted or could do their self. I’ve also been told how stupid I was for this chosen line of work. It is definitely not for the faint at heart that’s for sure. However it has been very rewarding for the most part, but like everyone else, there were times when even I questioned my own sanity.

Ten years ago was one of those times… even though I thought I had it all, feeling on top of my world, doing what I wanted, playing tennis every day, being a stay at home mom and wife and overcoming challenge after challenge, overcoming the unexpected. I had risen again from a fate that was placed upon me, beating the odds … the problem is I took everything for granted, including my health, my freedom, my physical appearance, my children, my family, my home, my job and my health care insurance.

Here I was being a good wife raising my children, doing a noble job I thought. I loved most days and was having the time of my life… then one cold September morning while doing my daily routine everything changed. It was as though spirit was saying… “No this is not the life you were supposed to live, you still have many lessons to learn…”.  I was faced with a new set of circumstances I wouldn’t bestow on anyone. I was severally beaten up one morning and held hostage for over an hour by one of my foster sons whom I had taken care of as one of my own for the past 15 years, right there in our home after my husband had left to take our children to school. After enduring a two hour torturous event… my life would change forever.

After months of dealing with severe pain, black and blue eyes and bruises over my entire body and having people look at my husband as though he was some kind of monster, like he was a wife beater or something… which couldn’t be further from the truth. I also had to deal with having a cast on both my arms, something I don’t wish on any woman… try having your period and needing your husband to change your feminine napkins or tampons, or bath you,dress you and put on your bra…etc…Talk about embarrassing.

I endured months of painful physical therapy from the soft tissue damage done to my head and neck and shoulder,  a cracked vertebra in my neck, the onset of migraines and radiating pain down my right arm. If that weren’t enough, I also had to deal with the pain of my eight fingernails growing back after they were ripped off one by one while being held down with two broken arms. On top of all that I now had to deal with the onset of  PTSD, and the diagnosis of sever Crohn’s Disease and fibromyalgia brought on by the tremendous amount of stress my body had endured…. I spiraled into a world of depression, self doubt, and fear. .. I did not wish my life on anyone, nor did I want anyone to deal with my pain. So I retreated further into my own black hole at one point telling my doctor I could no longer be held responsible for my own actions… Evidently not all medications are meant to make you better, some have such drastic and severe side effects that it’s worse than the disease or ailment that it is treating…. Prednisone is now a dirty word in my home.

I have always been able to deal with all my life issues… everything that God threw at me… even when it was so bad no one would ever expect anything good to come of it… I’ve overcome sexual abuse as a young child, sexual promiscuity and food addiction in my late teen’s early adult hood… I even overcame the affair my husband had with my best friend on my 27th birthday…My entire life, sexuality, and reason to live came into question, but I prevailed…I survived. Everything I have experienced I’d like to believe made me stronger, made me who I am today… made me learn to love life and not take everything for granted.

I never knew that  by engaging myself in extreme exercising regimes and sexual promiscuity, in reality I was trying to fulfill the empty void that lingered deep within my body, mind and soul from my life experiences. I’ve always managed to come out OK, seemingly unscarred no matter how bad things got. My husband and I always managed to stick together, no matter what was thrown our way or how bad things got,  we’ve always been able to work through everything. Not an easy feat in today’s world.

But this time it was different. I couldn’t pull myself out of the darkness. I finally sought counseling after living a year in my own hell. I learned a lot about myself while in counseling. I learned that I’m a woman who never knew what my passion was until someone asked me to write my story. A story so profoundly emotional, riveting and unbelievable… that even I had a hard time believing that it was my life we were talking about or I was writing about.

Filled with perseverance and the will to never give up… I found that writing helped to quiet my mind, release the built up energy, and free my soul from anger, guilt and the compulsive actions I once took in order to numb my mind and body. Finding a new love I emerged myself into the writing world… learning everything I could, going to conferences, seminars and taking classes in between bouts of being on medication trials, 18 blood transfusions,  several hospitalizations, and constantly being sick.

It’s been ten years since I got beat up that cold September day…ten years since I started to get sick… As my anniversary date quickly approached this year…I found myself still trying to figure out who I am… still trying to not define myself by the things that have happened to me during the past 47 years of my life or by my newly named disease. No matter what I do, I don’t seem to get better only worse with the debilitating migraines, fibromyalgia, constant pain, and other side effects. The only thing that does seem to help is my writing and getting lost in the words along with helping others find their passion by teaching the Artist’s Way… it has helped me keep my mind in a positive light, to see what I have instead of what I don’t. It helps me look forward to a future filled with love and passion instead of pain and misery.

I refuse to define myself as a victim of life or circumstances, or by a disease called Crohn’s, even though it consumes most of my life and affects every aspect of it…I will not let it or its side effects define me. Looking at me you normally can’t tell I’m sick. I do whatever I can to hide it by isolating myself. Call it pride or dignity… I try to live each day as it comes, fill my life with positive people, positive books, and positive thoughts… even when that is sometimes hard to do. I depend on the laws of attraction to bring good into my life….to see the positives, to cherish the gifts brought to me each and every day by the universe.

My whole life has revolved around the wants, desires, and expectations of others… I have based my whole life on fear… Fear of being judged, fear of failing, fear of being overweight, fear of being alone, fear of not feeling good, fear of not getting to a toilet, fear of not having medical insurance, a home to live in, or living a life filled with poverty … Well, not any more… today I take a stance, today I do what I want, what feels good to me, what’s good for me… Today I find my own voice, today I vow to live my life instead of sucmming to it, knowing I have a choice, will and desire to succeed at healing and at living.

So there you have it, me in a nutshell. Love me, hate me, but never leave me… you never know what I’ll say or do next…Maybe I’ll tell you about my move from Alaska to Hawaii to Washington… or maybe my views on our health care system or lack there of,  or the insurance industry and how their only concern is their bottom line… not you or your issues. Or how Social Security denies 93% of all legitimate medical claims,   or how about living with Crohn’s and how one of my medications cost’s over $30,000.00 for each treatment every six to eight weeks…My life is a constant battle between fighting with insurance companies, Social Security, dealing with attorneys, doctors, case managers, social-workers and counselors all in the name of trying to heal my broken body while fighting for my rights and preserving my dignity.

I would love to hear from you, please if you have any stories, insights, or helpful tips, medications successes or failures, or information about Crohn’s, migraines, or fibromyalgia  to share… please do so… Your thoughts, ideas and comments are welcome! I hope that this can be a support system for you, a place where you can feel safe and heard. A place where we can learn from each other, sharing resources and helping others understand the trials and tribulations of living a life with a chronic disease.

May each day be filled with Peace, Love and Light!

Michele

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10 Responses

  1. aloha michele: i miss you and my heart goes out to you. your voice speaks to me…i can actually hear you speaking your words and emotions. dear one…please take care of yourself and know that i think of you often–often sending you much love and healing energy. wish you were here so i could give you a great big hug…and so you could give me one too :] sometimes, “lighbulb moments” have helped with the many struggles we share, so i’ll be sure to pass them on. i miss you lots and miss our creative activities. hoping you are still creating as we both know how much of a help that is…i just got the last few fired pieces back…a leaf dish that turned out quite well, a funky looking tea cup, and several ceramic beads. if i can figure out my camera and send you pics online, i will. blessings michele…oh yes, read doreen virtues book, The Healing Miracles of Archangel Rafael. a hui hou–deborah

    • Thank you so much for your friendship, encouragement, and continued support. I am so grateful to have you in my life, you have taught me me so much. Your energy is a ray of sunshine in my heart. Thank you for being you.

      • you’re welcome michele. i hope by wrting this blog, you will heal. are you reading anything these days about healing? cds? dvds?

      • Hi Deborah, Thank you, yes, I’m hoping that it will start the healing process. As for reading, yes, I’ve been reading several books by Julia Cameron, Daily Inspirations, Recovering soul, several books on Crohn’s, Fibromyalgia, and healing. You know my favorites are Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, Answered Prayer’s, Finding Water, Transitions, Heart Step, Faith & Will, the Writers Life, and The Right to Wright are among my favorites. How about you? any new good healing books, CD’s or DVD’s?

  2. p.s. love all the sunflower photos…you know they are my favorite :]

    • Yes, I know… I thought of you with each picture I took. I look at it daily remembering our wonderful time we spent together. I love and Miss you too<3

  3. WOW!!!!

    • i’m now gathering some of the sunflower seeds from the ones i grew. am doing to sprout them…got a new sprouter and my alfalfa are doing wonderfully. do you text? i can text you some pics.

  4. did you get the photos i texted you??? i wish you were here so i could give some of these gourds to you for carving…they are growing like crazy. the coffee tree is doing really well this year as well…soon, we’ll be able to have coffee from our own tree…how cool is that. it’s quite a long process from cherry to a cup-a-joe, but i am loving being able to even attempt.

    i have been reading alan cohen’s I’VE HAD IT ALL THE TIME,” and doreen virtue’s THE HEALING MIRACLES OF ARCHEANGEL RAFAEL.” it’s interesting that i am reading only two books at the same time…it is usually four or five…a book wherever a comfortable seat is as well as one in my purse–for those moments while waiting for something/someone.

    i’ve read several of the books on fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, leaky gut syndrome, etc., as well as researching lupus on the internet. but what i decided to do long ago is to put all those books in a box and put the box downstairs in a room i hardly go into. it’s there if i absolutely need to look something up, but i am even considering giving them to a clinic/library/used book store. i don’t even want those books in my house because those words have power and not a healthy power. i learned enough about the conditions and all i want to know now is how to live in a way that is beneficial and healing for me. i’ve taken it a step further as well…instead of thinking about what’s bad for me and what i need to stay away from or restrict myself from, whether it’s activities, food, or even people…instead, i try to put my head into that space of being conscious of what is good for me. i try not to think, “i’d really like to have what greg is having for a midnight snack, but i shouldn’t because it’s really fattening and has so much sugar in it that not only is it bad for me, but it’s also so late at night, so i shouldn’t have it. no! i think, ohhh…i could have that one piece of dark chocolate because it’ll not only satisfy my taste buds, but it’ll help raise the seratonin levels in my brain. or, i could have a couple sticks of celery dipped in hummus, because the fiber is what my body needs.”

    i know, it sounds kind of corny, but it really works. that way, i don’t ever f eel like i’m being restriced from anything or losing out by not participating in. i love to go dancing, but sometimes, i need to just stay home and rest, let greg go and have fun, and then next time, i’ll be more rested and will have a really good time dancing with him. “i can’t, i can’t, i can’t” makes for unhappy deborah. the more i think about how tired i am, the tireder i get. i find that if i have picked up weight and am unhappy about, the first thing i wake up with is the thought about being fat. i continue to gain weight. when i don’t think about it or recognizing that i have lost weight and tell myself that whatever i want to wear is going to fit beautifully, it does, and i continue to drop weight. goofy but you get the picture.

    my reasoning…what you think about comes to you and affects your life. what you resist expands and persists, because the universe always gives you more of what you are focusing on. now…i say that now, but i wasn’t always there michele. i went through the anger, the disappointment, etc. that comes with something as devastating as a “so called” long term, chronic illness. i call it “so called,” because doctors like to put us in these named, cubby holes. and then we walk around with these titles, and categories, which we then become identified with. unfortunately…IT then becomes our identity. no matter how ill someone is, that illness is not WHO that person is.

    yes…i do have some difficult days, or weeks, but i refuse to wear it. i hardly even use the words fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lupus, etc. i even try not to use the words, “in pain,” “exhausted,” “tired,” “headache,” etc. i am not always successful, but the more i practice, the better i get at it.

    there’s this, what i call, a very important book called, THE POWER OF WORDS. wow!!!! it is amazing how much of our vocabulary is so negative…every day, almost every hour that we are speaking. it talks about how the universe doesn’t even hear the word, “not,” so by saying,” i will NOT be in pain today–which sounds pretty positive, right?–is in fact a negative statement to the universe. what the universe then hears is, “i will be in pain today.”

    after reading that book, i am constantly trying to reconfigure my speech. i am “not” always successfull in my attempts, but it takes practice. see above ^^^^^… what the universe is hearing me say is, “i am always successfull.” which means, success in my speech is what i am manifesting.

    easier said than done, i know. the thing to know though so that we don’t beat ourselves up…we can’t just jump into that space. long term illness is something we have to treat like a death. we must go through all the mourning stages before accepting. the person we were before the diagnosis is not who we are today…that person no longer exists…today, we are who we are today, and we must be grateful for all of it…it’s the blessing!

    in I HAD IT ALL THE TIME, alan cohen says “What desire seeks, gratitude already claims. All that your heart yearns for is already yours. To claim your greater good, see yourself as already whole and blessed. When you bless what you have, your sense of blessing will quickly and naturally expand until you recognize that you already have it all. When you recognize that you already have it all, your life will manifest the demonstration that this is so.”

    to quote maltbie babcock, “BETTER TO LOSE COUNT WHILE NAMING YOUR BLESSINGS THAN TO LOSE YOUR BLESSINGS WHILE COUNTING YOUR TROUBLES.”

    please begin with doing all that you need to do for YOU and not all those you take care of. this is YOUR life and YOUR time MICHELE. YOU ARE SO AMAZINGLY TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT AND IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO KNOW THAT ABOUT YOURSELF. WE ARE ALL WAITING TO SEE AND KNOW THE REAL MICHELE!!!

    I LOVE YOU MICHELE

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