How to sharpen your listening skills.

Listening is an important skill to have but a lot of people do not really know how to listen effectively. I have learned over the years that the most valuable thing that I can offer to anybody is to simply be a good listener. If you think about it, a truly best friend is a great listener. Most of the time people are looking for friends who will listen without judging.
When talking about my illness to people I have find that I have run across people that simply do not listen. Although it comes from the right intentions, people will try to relate to my illness with something that they have had before and often will hand out unwanted and bad advice when all I really need is for them to listen. We all have our own story, no one really knows how you and I feel, they can relate, but they do not know how we feel. We all handle our trials, troubles and illnesses differently, we are all unique, our internal make up is different, our feelings are our feelings. Try to never say, “I know how you feel.”
Here are some great ways to begin sharpening your skills on listening to others. 
1. Allow others to say what they are going to say. Let them tell their story, an opportunity will come at some time in the relationship for you to tell your story in relation to their story.
2. Stay silent!
3. Bank information.
4. Be open and receptive.  nod, smile, make occasional eye contact, act like you care.
5. Only give advice if the person asks for it and keep the advice short and to the point.
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Realities of chronic illness.

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Today I am at the cancer center for a six hour iron infusion. I will sit in a chair, hooked up to iv with iron pumping into my body. This will give me a little bit of energy for a little while. This is my reality with chronic illness. Most days when I go out into the public I make an effort to look my best, makeup to cover the dark circles under my eyes, hair straightened and sprayed into place, a smile on my face, covering up the ravage that my illness has done to my body. No one would guess just by looking at me that I have been bedridden for weeks, that the pain that I have on a day to day basis might put a normal healthy person into the fetal position and these are my “good” days. Today. I am sharing the real me. Reality of chronic illness.

“The Not So Invisible Illness.”

They call Lupus the “invisible illness,” but to me it’s definitely not invisible. It’s a constant fight to keep normalcy in my family’s life, my husband, kids and I know this illness has stolen more than we ever imagined. I haven’t been able to drive since August. My freedom and independence has been taken, with the risk of fainting because of constant arrhythmias. I have nuerocardiogentic syncopede, and Postural orthostatic tachardia syndrome. My heart rate is constantly above 100 and it takes all of my energy to keep up.  I sweat constantly as if I have run a marathon even though my body is cold to the touch. I have struggled with constant migraines for the last week. My body hurts everywhere and it is more than just an ache, it’s pain that keeps me from sleeping through the night and no amount of pain medication can take it away. Although my diagnosis is SLE Lupus, I also have mixed connective tissue disorder. Mixed connective tissue disorder can manifest itself in many different autoimmune diseases. My entire body is under attack from the inside out. To look at me you would never guess the battle that I fight every day.  I put my happy face on and say that I am ok even though I am screaming on the inside, wishing I could feel better for just one moment, just like so many of us do. I take the tiny moments when I get a small amount of energy and try to fit in as much as I can in those moments only to ultimately pay for days, for doing too much.
Although this is the fight of my life, I still hold on to hope for a cure one day for autoimmune diseases in general. I still hope that God will heal me physically. Even if I don’t get my healing right now, I know that one day there is a place where I will be where the pain, the struggles, the fight for life will be gone. There is a place of peace, hope, and happiness waiting.

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Thankfulness Challenge day 9: What are you thankful for?

Day 9 of the thankfulness challenge:

Today I am thankful for my puppies. They take care of me on my worst days and they are always waiting on me on my best days. They aren’t trained to be service dogs but they are very aware when something is off and they tell me. ☺

 

Attitude of Gratitude.

Attitude of Gratitude

Adopting an attitude of gratitude and recognizing the things that we are most grateful for isn’t just something that sounds nice at Thanksgiving — it’s a lifestyle and mindset that can change our lives.
 

For changes to happen in our life, we have to decide to change. If we wait for something to shift and change on its own we might find ourselves disappointed when nothing changes. In order to make a switch we must make a decision for change. If we practice being proactive to change, we switch our mindsets. When our mindsets change we change our circumstances.

 Gratitude is stress reliever.
Adopting an attitude of gratitude takes us out of the negativity that surrounds us on a day to day basis and puts us in a correct frame of mind. When we have a different mind-set, we find solutions to day to day problems. When a problem is in front of you try to find the silver lining in every situation; What can I learn from this?
 
Gratitude and a good attitude is contagious.
 
I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t like being around unpleasant, negative, or sarcastic people. I find many times that my mood can set the scene in a room whether it be good or bad. If I am grateful and happy it tends to be contagious to others around me and create a positive energy. Of course, the opposite is true as well, if we have a downcast face or a bad attitude that tends to set the mood in a room. Watch your words. What you say is usually how you act, so be aware of complaining and replace whines with positive words. Be aware of your body language and smile even if you don’t feel like it. You can change your attitude and the people around you by simple body language and excitement in your voice. Let’s start with ourselves, we must be the change and watch the world change around us.
 
 

Floating rib.

Let me get real honest right now, if I looked at the big picture of the last 3 years, I might find myself getting overwhelmed. Instead my way of handling things is by taking things a little at a time. The last couple of weeks, I have spent some time at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. I have undergone various tests and the doctors have a few new diagnosis for my stomach troubles that I have been having because of  mixed connective tissue disorder. I finally have an answer as to what is going on with my stomach. Yesterday, I met with a surgical physician, thinking that I was going to end up having an open surgery on my abdomen, when the physician did an exam and found that I have a floating rib that is impinging a nerve. The doctor suggested a nerve block to help with the pain in my side. Although it will not take care of all of my stomach issues, it is one step closer to having less pain. I believe that God was a big part of this, and it wasn’t by chance that the physician found the problem.

I can’t say that I don’t ever start to lose hope, because the feelings of hopelessness does come over me at times, I just choose not to stay there. I have had to face many scary health diagnosis over the last three years and I have had a few brushes with death but even through all of that I try really hard to keep my head up. I know who is in control of my life, I know God is on my side and I know that He can use these doctors to help get my quality of life back. I can’t put all of my hope in the Mayo Clinic and the doctors but God has opened the doors for me to get the care I need. I know that God can work through the physicians to help me and I have complete faith that he will provide answers and the healing that I need. Sickness is not from God, it is a product of this world. I’m going to follow God because He knows how my healing is going to come.

The Bible says that faith is not seeing, it is believing, I choose to live that path.