Take that Trip!

In 2011, FH and I travelled to Italy.  FH had never travelled abroad, so it was a momentous occasion.  We bit the bullet and bought the expensive tickets, made the reservations (gotta love TripAdvisor) and it was the best money we’ve ever spent!

Our most memorable visit was to the Vatican, which was stunningly beautiful, and gave us, or at least me, a chance to connect with the Catholic spirituality of my extended family and ancestors.

We got up very early to beat the lines, which was a great blessing. You would think at the Vatican there would be more significant blessings to be had, but when we left at 3:00 p.m., and the lines were around and around the blocks outside the gate, we knew we had been guided to get on that bus at 7:30 a.m.

As a lapsed Catholic who loves the ritual of the Catholic Mass, but not the politics of the Catholic Church (although the new Pope is pretty cool), I am happy when the spirit of Catholicism that I knew as a child seems vivid for me again. I’m still a very spiritual person, but I have a hard time feeling connected to organized religion. Luckily, the thing about Catholicism is that once you are baptized, and for me, confirmed, you pretty much will always be a Catholic no matter how far you stray.

Even if I had not been raised Catholic, I know I would still have been enraptured by the beauty and majesty, art and architecture, of the Vatican.

For those of us in the so-called middle class (does it still exist?), it can sometimes be hard to prioritize how much fulfillment can be gained by travel, by seeing places that are huge and important and amazing. Places that catch our breath and make us consider history, and our place in it. We worry about our retirement accounts, mortgage, rent, the need for a new car pretty soon, college funds. BUT, when we are on our death beds, what are we going to remember? I would bet I’m going to remember lighting candles for my deceased, very Catholic, Grandparents at the Vatican.

Take a trip.  You won’t regret it. Save up if you need to.  It doesn’t even have to be far away. Visit someplace important and historic near home. Be an explorer where you live or travel far away. It doesn’t matter. Just find some way to think about something bigger than your day to day life. Do it soon. It’s worth putting in your budget!

Recovery from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

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Hi and thanks for stopping in! Today I’m talking about how I’m  getting better from chronic illness. Despite all of our amazing advances in medicine, there is still so much we don’t know about the human body.  Our doctors and alternative health care workers try their best, but it doesn’t always help that much. For many years now I have been experiencing Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. It’s been pretty awful. I had to stop working because of the fatigue, pain, depression, and brain fog. Finally I am feeling so much better. Knock on a lot of wood.

I have been trying all sorts of treatments for the last few years, but recently my Primary Care Physician (who is the “specialist” in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia at Kaiser) and I had hit a dead end. She’s a good doctor, but I knew I needed to do something else. After reading the very helpful book, CFS Unravelled – One man’s search for the Cause of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Discovery Essential for You To Recover by Dan Neuffer, I started seeing a naturopath.

I had genetic testing done through 23andme and it turned out that I have MTHFR, CBS, and COMT genetic defects.  These defects are common, so I’m not that much of a mutant.  The main result is that I have problems with my methylation pathway. I’m not going to try to explain it all because it’s very confusing, and others on the internet probably can explain it better than I.  What I can say is that it affects the way my body processes nutrients (like not being able to get benefit from regular B vitamins) and the way my body processes toxins (like not being able to get them out of my body very effectively). If you want to learn more about it I’d say look up “methylation” on google. Or look up “methylation and [condition you’re interested in].” It can cause lots of issues, like Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Anxiety, Autism, and Addiction, to name just a few.

I have been getting methylcobalamine (methylated B12) shots every two weeks and taking methylfolate (non prescription methylated B9) pills (Douglas brand), Zinc, Fish Oil, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and NAC. I cannot tell you the difference this has made in my energy, brain fog, and depression. I’m a different person.  My fibromyalgia pain is still here, so I hope that next steps with the naturopath will help with that. We’ll see. As far as the depression, I had a storm of bad stuff happen recently and I was upset, but didn’t fall into a hole. I feel like my bad feelings are not sticking around as long as they did before. Hallelujah!

If you are suffering with an illness and not getting relief from traditional medicine, I recommend you try naturopathy and get tested for genetic snps (defects) that may be precluding your healing.

P.S. Here’s an article of interest regarding methylfolate and depression, if you’re interested.  I’m surprised that this connection is not talked about more.

Calming Trips to the Beach

cropped-img_0590.jpgThis year I was lucky to go on two beach vacations. I’m a Pacific Ocean Girl by birth and in my heart, but the Sea of Cortez and the Atlantic Ocean were both magical to visit. All the oceans are one, so me, loving the Pacific Ocean, I love all the Oceans. Is the sea between Baja and Mexico proper part of that? Oh yeah, everything is a part of everything (!).

Being near natural bodies of water is so calming and soothing to me. I feel like the tide going in and out, the sound of the waves crashing, the wind, all of it is so healing. Imagine the sound of the waves right now…don’t you feel calmer? We all rush around and feel so stressed in our culture.  The wild water of nature reminds us that that is all illusion. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do. Maybe look at some shells,  go for a swim, read a book, put your feet in the water, watch the sun set.  OR just do nothing.

These were taken in April 2014, Near San Felipe, Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. The tide goes out miles every morning. The first shot is in the early morning. The second two, later in the day, as the water crept up the beach. It’s the same place in all three photos, the water magically pulled in by the moon.

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In September we went to a wedding in Cape May, New Jersey. Before I met FH I had never been to New Jersey and had no idea how beautiful it is. FH has lots of relatives in Cape May, and it’s a wonderful place to visit. This was taken with my iphone on my birthday in September 2014.

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After Cape May, we did a little road trip to see friends in Virginia. Along the way we visited Chincoteague Island, Virginia, home of the famous wild ponies. Another really magical place on the Atlantic.

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