Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, overcoming adversity, tagged Airline Pilot, Captain Sully, coaching illness, Flight Simulator, Greg Katz, health blogger, illness coaching, self-empowerment on August 27, 2012 |
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Many of us get on airplanes numerous times throughout the year. We travel on planes for business and pleasure. We reunite with family and friends, make important presentations, and some even travel long distances for affordable healthcare. Ever wonder about the man or woman who is flying the plane and how prepared they are for various in-flight happenings?
Do you remember Capt. Sully who landed that jet in the Hudson River? He’s one of the most prominent heroes in our modern-day culture. We all watched videos of the landing as it was unfolding and now for years, we’ve had various accounts of the cockpit ordeal. He attributed the success of the landing to years of experience and training.
One of the advantages that pilots have that we don’t have for our own lives is training in a simulator. Pilots go in and learn how to divert catastrophe within these simulators. They are trained for many hours in strategies to avert disaster based on mechanical or weather issues. The question is always if under pressure can they access that training and information when it counts.
What if we had a simulator for life? What if we could enter a training facility that gave us scenarios and we learned ways to cope and if we didn’t get it right the first time we got to try again? Following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness wouldn’t you like a do-over? What a luxury it would be to train in ways to handle the stress of a diagnosis, the insurmountable pile of insurance forms, or merely what it will take physically, emotionally, and spiritually to get up each day and face life’s biggest challenge…Living!
Unfortunately, we don’t have this life simulator as an option. We are forced to live in a world with no second takes, no do-overs, and no rewind. We are living a life of on-the-job-training and for some that’s very difficult because they don’t have the tools to cope with their health challenge.
Creating a personal toolbox of coping strategies and a support network to rely on will help easy the stress and strain of living life in real-time. The more life experiences you have the more tools you’ll collect. The key is to assimilate these life experiences into your being so when you need them the most; they are accessible. Living with a health challenge poses many new life situations that no one every told us was a possibility. For many, it’s uncharted territory and that can be scary.
What’s in your life toolbox? How is it helping you to cope in a world without a simulator?
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Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Living with Illness, newly diagnosed illness, overcoming adversity, tagged coaching illness, Greg Katz, health blogger, holistic health, illness coaching, paradigm shift, patient empowerment, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatologist on July 11, 2011 |
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Being diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness is all about transition. It entails shattered assumptions about what you believed your life was supposed to be moving forward. It entails a shift in thinking, not to a bad place, but to a new place. Making the shift may take some time, but anything worth having is worth putting in a little elbow grease and dealing with the learning curve.
I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease as a kid so I’ve always known that there was something different about me physically than others. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was a secondary diagnosis about seven years later. I was part of a campus organization that raised money for kids charities. One of the events we held was a 24 hour dance marathon. I was participating in the dance marathon and noticed that as the marathon progressed my feet were in more and more pain. It wasn’t the type of pain that comes with your shoes being too tight, or just from being on them a long time. It was a sharp and focused pain. I finished the marathon and took to bed for a couple of days thinking it would resolve itself; it did not resolve itself.
This began my consultation with doctors and each doctor would give me a different explanation. I remember the day that rheumatologist said that I was one of 3% of psoriasis patients that get something called “psoriatic arthritis”. I went on a course of anti-inflamatory medication and it helped, but I still woke up every morning with pain. In addition to the pain, I was also taking a new set of medications and had to watch for the side-effects that accompanied the new medications. It was a shift for me because I now had more than one health challenge to keep tabs on and they were impacted by each other.
There was a day of surrender when I said to myself that “This is my life…now”. I would always be at risk of being incapacitated by pain and the possibility of being unable to walk. I would always have a new specialist in my life. I would always be walking the tightrope balancing the triggers of both diagnoses. If I took it as a bad thing I’d be giving myself the license to be miserable forever. Understanding that “This is my life…now” was freeing. It allowed me to explore new treatments both traditional and complementary. Once I embraced the statement, “This is my life…now” I felt more in control of my life and my illness.
How will you make this statement part of your life? What steps do you need to take to embrace this paradigm shift?
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Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity, tagged brain injury, coaching illness, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Greg Katz, health blogger, holistic health, illness coaching, mind body connection, patient empowerment, soul rehab on June 13, 2011 |
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This weekend the news was of the new pictures of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. There were two photos released; one of her alone and the other with her mother who has been by her side every day at the rehabilitation hospital. Why was this so newsworthy? It shows that hard work pays off. It shows what can be accomplished with a great team of doctors. It emphasizes the importance of strong family support following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness or injury.
Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range back in December. It’s truly a miracle that she survived the shooting, but somehow with advances in treating brain injuries she lived. The road to recovery is still progressing. News reports state that she may be leaving the inpatient rehab program by the end of the month and will be an outpatient for many months to come. The reports from the doctors, her family (her husband is an astronaut who just returned from commanding the space shuttle), and her staff is that she’s making daily progress, but still has a way to go.
The odds are that if you’re reading this you weren’t shot in the head at close range. However, the diagnosis may have felt like you were shot in the heart. It may have shocked your soul to its core because you believed, as we all do, that we’ll lead long healthy lives. One of the questions is, “Can your heart go to rehab?”(not cardiac rehab, soul rehab) to recapture the faith in your own body? How will you measure your progress? What does recovery or wellness look like to you?
I guess the real point I want to make is that health and healing is work. It’s multi-dimensional including body, mind, and spirit. Just like an athlete who trains for a competition, you’ll need to do more than simply take your medication because healing needs to take place on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels of your life. Think about what body, mind, and spirit rehab looks like to you?
Remember, Congresswoman Giffords is not only a role model for healing, but a goal model. Her ongoing journey is an inspiration and I wish her well!
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Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, overcoming adversity, tagged coaching illness, Greg Katz, health and healing, health blogger, holistic health, illness coaching, impact of cortisol, laughter is the best medicine, mind body connection, Norman Cousins, patient empowerment on June 7, 2011 |
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If you’re on a personal pilgrimage toward health and healing, you’re always on the lookout for things that will improve how you feel and aid the body in rebuilding itself. It’s interesting because although in this blog we focus on you, the individual with a health challenge, there are some things that are good for anyone whether or not they have a diagnosis. Find your magic is one of those cross-over issues.
Finding your magic is not about getting a black top hat and a wand, saying an incantation, and waiting for the miracle to happen. Finding your magic is about creation. It’s about those small or big things that have an impact on how you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The body is a complex machine and one of the concerns is the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released during times of stress. Prolonged or continuous releasing of this hormone certainly impacts your health, that’s not just for those with an illness. Finding your magic is about creating experiences that will eliminate those negative influences on your body, mind, and soul.
This isn’t simply about visualization, which I believe to be extremely effective for reducing stress and guiding the body toward a place of peace. This is about creating experiences that become part of your everyday life. Those experiences don’t have to cost money. Last weekend I made a batch of blueberry muffins. I made a couple of pots of coffee, brought out the muffins and all my neighbors came over for an impromptu gathering just sitting in the driveway. It was a great way to start the weekend, not to mention having a few good laughs (good for the immune system…just ask Norman Cousins).
Perhaps your magic comes in the form of a venue. I find I’m most at peace when I’m near water. I love the sound, the smell, and the experience of the ocean. It’s expansive nature and its enormity helps me put things in perspective. Creating art in my studio produces a magical experience for me. It gives me the alone time I need to re-energize my soul (I’m an introvert and I recharge my battery alone, not in groups). I love the process of creating and I get the added bonus of a finished piece of art when I’m done.
Magic isn’t only something you see in a Harry Potter movie. It’s those moments in your life when you take a breath and acknowledge the wonder of it all. Yes, having a chronic or life-threatening illness ups the ante on the need for magic, but no matter where you are on your journey to wellness, magic is within your reach. How do you create magic in your life? Tell us by leaving a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d appreciate you forwarding this post to friends and family who are in need of a little magic in their lives!
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Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity, tagged Eat Pray Love, Greg Katz, health blogger, holistic health, illness coaching, living in the question, living your best life, mind body connection, overcoming challenges, patient empowerment on June 6, 2011 |
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One of the things I admire most about screenwriters, or just writers in general is that they have a way of capturing an intense thought with a beautiful metaphor. There’s something elegant when a nugget that enriches our lives can be put into a sentence. It makes the idea, thought, brain tickler easy to remember making it something easy to return to throughout your day. These types of thoughts or questions are like a playground for my soul because they allow me to dive deep and think about what I know and what I believe.
In the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” there’s a line that says, “To get to the castle, you have to swim the moat”. You may think this line is a bit harsh when considering how it pertains to your life with a health challenge, but let me tell you, the truth isn’t always pretty. They also say that anything worth having is worth working for…do you believe that? Basically the line from “Eat, Pray, Love” is saying that there are often obstacles between us and our final destination. These obstacles don’t have to be huge; but they are placed in our way to get you to ask yourself, “How badly to I want to get better or well?” or “What will my journey to health and healing entail?”
You have enough challenges with your diagnosis that entail treatment, change in diet, added activities to your daily routine, and of course doctor’s appointments. Your moat will be personalized to your life because even when two people have the same diagnosis; they don’t have the same journey to wellness. We each take on our path to a richer, better, and peaceful life in different ways. The moat is way for you to stop for a moment giving you time to think before you do. It asks that you consider your options before jumping in to the first thing you think will help. It requires that you be grounded in your body, mind, and soul.
Let’s face it, the simple thing is to call to the castle and ask for the drawbridge to be lowered. Unfortunately, I don’t think living with a chronic or life-threatening illness is quite that easy. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but it will require some effort. Crossing the moat can be right of passage instead of a burden. It can demonstrate that in your daily life, not just dealing with your illness, you’re still teachable.
What does your moat look like and how do you plan on crossing it? I hope you’ll share your journey..simply leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com
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