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

 

 

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

 

Life is a Gift

When I was told that my disease had progressed to its final stage, it was like a wakeup call for me and a time to reevaluate my priorities. It wasn’t so much that I became depressed and sad; instead, I had a desire to make the best out of the time I had left. Who knows how long that will be? I have no control over it, but I have total control over how I want to live and feel. A proverb came to mind:

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often
we look so long at the closed door that we do not see
the one which has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

I didn’t want to miss the new door that was opening for me, although it would have been easy to stare at the closed door with regrets and longing. I could have stopped there and focused on what I have lost. Instead, I decided to fill my life with happiness and joy. I saw the open door, the infinite possibilities remaining for me, and I felt gratitude. Yes, there are things which will remain undone in my life, but they are in the past, and I have decided to live in the present.

Life is a gift we often take for granted and consider it as an entitlement. It feels like life is a given until it is snapped away. But nothing and no one can take away my joy for living and my desire to be happy. I will live the remainder of my life in joy, and every day will be filled with happiness and laughter.

I wanted to share this because I am repeatedly asked how I manage to remain so positive. How couldn’t I be? I have time left to enjoy my husband, Romeo our little Yorkie, my dear friends, and finishing my book. I have lived an exciting life, and now it is time to enjoy the smaller and simpler things. I still have much to live and to be grateful for, and there is no space in my mind for sadness.

When I saw the snow this week – yes, here in Tucson – I remembered when we lived in snow country with snow storms and such massive accumulations that we had to hire roof sweepers to save the roof. I recall snowmobiling in Yellowstone Park, skiing when I was younger, bringing food into the woods for deer, elk, and other animals, and I could go on. I am grateful for such adventures.

Life is a gift to be cherished and lived to the fullest. Remember the closing door and don’t hang on to it with memories and regrets. It will not open again, but a new one will, and you will have ample opportunities to live a joyful life. It is all up to you!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

Flying High

Fly high, and you’ll find blue skies. This is a meaningful sentence for me. I started feeling ill before Christmas and didn’t feel better for over two weeks. Between the dreary weather and my poor health, I needed something to hang on to. And it was this sentence which allowed me to climb my emotional ladder.

I saw myself in an airplane flying through dense clouds and experiencing severe turbulence. Looking out, I could only see grey. It was depressing, but I reminded myself that the plane could climb higher to find blue skies and smooth air. And it did. That’s how I saw my physical challenge – a cloud cover which could be pierced if I wished to do so. This knowledge is powerful, and since you are in charge, you can fly as high as necessary. Next time, when I need a crutch, I’ll be more adventurous and see myself as a Blue Angel piloting my aircraft, zooming through the cloud cover at high speed, and breaking into a blue sky in no time. It will be a thrill.

Sometimes we need a metaphor to pull us out of a hole. It makes our desire stronger, and we can more easily visualize a positive outcome. Just seeing myself climbing at high speed to clear blue skies helped me leave my self-pity behind. I felt stronger, in control, and confident that I would improve. I know that episodes like this one will happen more and more often, but I also know that I can equip myself with tools that will help me continue to enjoy my life.

Why write about this? I felt compelled to share it in case you are also stuck in a grey cloud cover. There can be many varied reasons for it, perhaps caused by physical discomfort, emotional distress, or both. As long as you know that you can climb higher above the clouds and find blue skies again, you do not have to get depressed and stay down. You might want to create your own metaphor, something which can help you leave the unwanted behind.

You are the pilot of your life, and you are in charge; that is powerful knowledge, and as long as you believe it and act accordingly, there is nothing which can bring you down for long.

I wish you a happy and joyous 2019 – flying high above the clouds into blue skies!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

Yoga and Medicine

Dr. Ruben Mesa is a leading oncologist in the research of myeloproliferative neoplasms, and at this time he is heading a new research program on how yoga can benefit patients with these rare blood cancers. I was very intrigued by this study. The first reported results from Dr. Mesa’s research appear to be very positive.

These developments reminded me of a prediction by Krishnamurti at a workshop I attended years ago that science and spirituality will come together one day to complement each other. At that time this was not something easily accepted, but the talks Krishnamurti had with leading scientists of the time were very interesting and insightful. I strongly believed then that this will happen, and that one day the differences will become complementary and the whole will be enhanced.

I am so grateful that I have lived to see the time when a highly respected medical doctor endorses yoga as a symptom reliever and a way to feel better. It doesn’t replace medications and other essential treatments, but it helps with general well-being. And yoga doesn’t have any negative side effects! It influences your body and your mind in a positive way, and when combined with meditation and mindfulness, it will improve how you feel and enhance your life. I can only imagine what break throughs we’ll see in the coming years in the medical field, and how they will be complimented by spiritual exercises to allow the body mind connection.

Yoga is very powerful, and I was blessed to have worked with Yogi Babacar Khane, who taught three different forms of yoga. You might want to read more about it in Healthy Insights “Yoga”.

The Eastern and Western philosophies are drawing closer, and soon the day will come when they will be side-by-side fully complementing each other. I am looking forward to it.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

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