The Gift of Care Givers

After years of struggling to maintain a balance between my disease and Steve’s life, who endeavored to make my life more comfortable at a considerable sacrifice, my health finally required that I have professional home care, and the thought was intimidating to me. Was it because I had to admit that I am getting weaker, or the fear of losing my privacy and independence? With considerable trepidation, I agreed, and to my surprise, I am enjoying the care and attention.

My caregiver is a lovely young woman, a beautiful soul, and a charming companion. I feel like I have a loving daughter with me, someone who cares and likes to see me happy.

People like her seem like angels to me. They put themselves into your shoes, put your interest ahead of their own, and give without restraint or limitation. Having an angel assisting me is like a dream come true. When she arrives in the morning a few times a week, it is like the sun is shining, and her smile touches me deeply, even if it is through her face mask. I was never aware of these selfless and caring people and feel grateful for the pleasure of finishing my life with them. Please do not worry about me. I am still functioning and alert but getting weaker rapidly. I am still learning how to maximize my home care but am getting better at it. One thing is sure: I enjoy every moment of it.

There were times when I thought I would have to move to a retirement home when my need for additional care manifested itself, my husband being a willing but not professional care giver. These last few years took a toll on him, and I didn’t want to increase his burden. Now I know that I can enjoy my time at home to the fullest, and I am grateful. It is like a dream comes true being surrounded by compassion, empathy, and kindness, and no additional burden for Steve. There is no space for feeling sorry for myself, but rather a deep sense of being blessed and grateful.

I cannot express the depth of my gratitude. If you ever had a fleeting thought of “what will become of me and how will I cope?” do not worry. There are angels amongst us who will share their kindness and skills and make your life worth living right to the end. One thing is sure; with their assistance you can enjoy every segment of your life!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

Intuition

Intuition can play an essential role in our lives, and it is worthwhile to be open and listen to it. Don’t discard thoughts and feelings without examining them and evaluating if they are related to anything happening in your life or perhaps to some dreams and aspirations you are harboring.

I have used my intuition for a very long time. My metaphysical studies encouraged me early on, and it became second nature over the years. These days I mostly use it for my health, and it can surprise me.

Recently I suffered tremendous pain due to an enlarged spleen. It was so unbearable that the doctors at the Mayo decided to hospitalize me for a few days to develop a plan to control the pain. My stay started with a blood transfusion of two units in the emergency room, followed by intensive pain management in the hospital. A few days later, I was discharged, and for about four weeks, I was pain-free. It was a real blessing, and I was delighted and deeply grateful. I had forgotten how wonderful a life without constant pain could be. But then, the pain increased progressively, and only more pain medications made me comfortable.

I also became symptomatic for severe anemia, and my CBC showed that I was urgently in need of a transfusion. I received two units of blood at the Mayo Clinic. We returned home, and the next day my spleen pain was gone, like before. I went to bed that night and asked my higher self if there was a correlation between my hemoglobin level and my spleen pain since it happened the second time. I always talk to my higher self, but you can call it anything you are comfortable with. The next morning, I woke up feeling confident that my spleen pain was related to my anemia. This sounded far-fetched, but I believe in my intuition and decided to submit that question to Mayo’s palliative care team during my Zoom meeting. My question surprised them, but after some consideration, they concluded that my intuition might be right because a higher hemoglobin level allows the spleen to work more efficiently. Conversely, a low level puts more stress on the spleen. The Mayo team concluded that it is logical and a possibility, although not clinically proven. I thanked my intuition for giving me that insight. Moreover, it might open a door for me to participate more actively in my care. How? Well, I will keep detailed notes on what medications I take. I’ll have my blood checked more often and have a blood transfusion sooner rather than waiting to become symptomatic from severe anemia. I have to see what the future brings, but not having to suffer so much pain would indeed be a miracle sprouted from my intuition. It is a thrilling thought.

How can you develop your intuition? Try making sure that the last thoughts before going to sleep are something you want your higher self to work on during your sleep to give you more clarity. Lie with your eyes closed, open your mind, and allow your intuition to communicate. I have found that it is a powerful tool.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Life is Good

Yes, life is good as long as we allow positive and beneficial thoughts to vibrate within us. There are times we have to work on it, and consciously invite positivity into our lives, but hanging on to negative thoughts and feelings is not the way to live a happy life.

Every morning I tell myself that life is good, and I bless our little Yorkie Romeo, who is vital to my mental health. He cuddles and distributes kisses, looks lovingly at me when I am in pain, or do not feel well. He and I share our bed and feeling that warm little body pressed next to me brings pure bliss. I believe our furry friends play an essential role in our lives. Romeo is a big part of my being able to say life is good, despite advanced cancer and its complications. He continually brings joy, happiness, and laughter into my life.

My husband, Steve, is another factor in my endeavor to remain positive about life. He helps when he can. He wanted a slide digitizer for Father’s Day, and now we are traveling down memory lane, providing us with much joy. I look at the slides from many years ago (we started with our Honeymoon) and count my blessings. I tell myself that life is good as long as I focus on what I have and not what I have lost.

Having a progressive and incurable disease could be such a natural invitation to slide down the slope and start feeling sorry for myself. There are times when it takes energy and strength to keep a positive outlook. When that happens, I tell myself that life is good, no matter what, and it brings me back into alignment. I can also look around and appreciate my husband, little Romeo, loving friends, a beautiful and comfortable home, and medical care that allows me to function and control my pain. And now, with the slide converter, I have another avenue for joy and positivity open to me.

If you are stuck where you don’t like to be, change it. Visualize what would bring you happiness, and then dwell there until the dark clouds lift.

Life is good. Let us open our eyes and allow the blessings in.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Furry Blessings

Five little Yorkies have made my life special for over 40 years. I am so grateful that they decided to live with me, and now I enjoy my every moment with Romeo, the fifth sweetie.

I didn’t grow up with a pet because my mother couldn’t afford the additional cost. Postwar Germany was not easy, and she had her hands full to feed the three of us. So, I adopted our neighbor’s kittens, when possible, put them in my baby carriage with little bonnets on their heads, and proudly walked around with them. They must have felt my love because they stayed in the carriage and didn’t jump out.

Life went on, and when I lived in Brussels, I decided to get my first dog, a little Yorkie girl. I named her Sunny, and she became the sunshine of my life. She was tiny, full of personality, and I loved her deeply. It was a new experience, and we both learned together. I took her everywhere, and she participated in my yoga seminars, spiritual workshops, and traveled with me when possible. We emigrated to the States together and she adapted quickly to the different and more restrictive lifestyle, as well as to her new daddy, who adored her.

Sunny was followed by two Yorkie puppies, Gigi and Bijou. Traveling with pets was complicated in the US, and I always felt something was missing during my extensive travel years, not having my two sweeties with me. They were so adorable and brought lots of joy and love into our lives.

Mignonne was number four, a little girl again, and she conquered our heart the first time we saw her. She was such a sweet and loving little dog, and she made a big difference in Steve’s recovery from a heart attack and open-heart surgery.

Now we enjoy life with Romeo, our first boy, and it is a new experience. There is a difference between a girl and a boy, but then it is only logical! I tried to educate myself but wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming love this little boy shows us. All our puppies were loving, but Romeo is one of a kind. We named him when he was six weeks old and still living with the breeder. And he lives up to his name. He is a blessing, and I am so grateful that he decided to live with us. He fills the final stretch of my life journey with joy, love, happiness, and lots of laughter. I cannot thank him enough.

Living with a dog has taught me the meaning of unconditional love and to keep an open heart and mind. They do not need to get even or hold grudges. I am a better person for having spent over four decades with these incredible, noble creatures. I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I know I would have missed so much if I wouldn’t have had the courage to move out of my apartment in Brussels which didn’t allow pets, and move into another one just so I could welcome my first Yorkie. Dogs bring so much love and joy, and I bless every day I have the privilege to be with onr.

Thank you, my four little furry angels, and my loving boy Romeo. I wouldn’t be who I am without you!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Life’s Blessings

Sometimes we don’t see or feel the blessings we are graced with, because we are too busy with other things, and our minds are in overdrive. Does this sound familiar? Nonetheless, with or without our awareness, the blessings are there for us to accept and to appreciate.

Blessings can come in different ways depending on what we need at that moment. Here is one of my recent lessons:

After years of only sporadic contacts with Steve’s brother, his son and family were visiting a cousin in Tucson. We enjoyed brunch with them, and it was delightful. Seeing Ken again after a long time, a proud and loving father, meeting his wife Dawna and the two children, Ephram and Abigale, was indeed a blessing and a gift. I nearly missed this opportunity, though. With a suppressed immune system and not feeling well, I could have passed because of my illness but decided that the universe would protect me, and I am so grateful. I would have missed a heartwarming visit. Watching my grandniece and grandnephew, I saw how children are living in the moment. They didn’t worry about why they never met their grandaunt or when they will see me again. They had fun during the time we were together and were ready to enjoy the rest of their day, whatever it might bring. A lesson to be learned and lived.

Your choice to live in the moment, the Now, is a fundamental life decision. It will shape your life and how you feel about it. Children and animals do this naturally. As grown-ups, we tend to overthink and forget that the only day we can influence is today. The Dalai Lama says it so well: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”

How many blessings do we ignore in our busy lives? We’ll never know, but we can make sure that we will be more attentive and don’t allow fear to paralyze us. I would have never been aware of what I missed, but am so grateful that I didn’t. There are so many reasons we don’t accept or see a blessing. Fear is one example. Hiding behind a disease or being worried about what could happen are excuses that we should evaluate. Are these concerns valid and necessary? Blessings are a gift. Accept and enjoy them.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
author and founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

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