Claustrophobic, me? Yes!

I’m writing this post at the request of a friend. I was texting with her the other day and I can’t remember how we ended up on the subject of her husband being claustrophobic. I disclosed with her that I too was claustrophobic, something that I rarely talk about. She told me that when her husband has “an episode” she gets very frustrated because she doesn’t understand why her husband has to feel this way. I told her that I completely understood him, and thought to myself she should understand it too since she suffers from panic attacks. Why, you may ask? Because the sensation is of entrapment.
Let me give a bit of background as to why I developed this phobia. It started when I was a child. I was about 2 or 3, I was the youngest in my family, and to be accepted I practically let my brother and cousins do what they would like or else they would not hang out with me. I’m sure a lot of kids feel this way. My female cousin is 7 years older than me and my brother is 5 years older, when my aunt and cousin would come visit the kids would go into the bedroom to play and the adults would stay in the living room chatting away. We used to have a foam bed that was used as part of our “toys”, try to understand that in Cuba kids had to make due with anything they could carry. My brother and cousin thought it hilarious to roll me up in the foam bed and sit on me. I was small so I was completely covered, making it hard for me to breathe. They didn’t mean any harm by it, and I never told my parents until I was much older, all I knew is that I wanted to play with them. So, many years have passed and I easily get triggered back to those moments when I am in an enclosed space.
Feeling that sensation of a space closing in on me, not having the liberty to move as I please scares me, just the mere thought of it makes my heart palpitate. When I board an airplane I feel fine, I actually love it because I know it’s moving, but as soon as that plane lands I can not stay in it for long. I get this tingle in my whole body, I feel the space is getting smaller, I start to feel the oxygen decreasing, and if I don’t get off it soon, I will hyperventilate and have palpitations.
I took a class while finishing my masters that dealt with disorders. I always remember the professor’s expression to help us remember certain disorders, and I specifically remember that for a panic attack is “I feel trapped”. Maybe now, DC, will be more understanding of her poor husband’s annoying condition.

God Bless!
Have a great night, dear readers.

Exercise and Water: Miraculous Discoveries.

I don’t know if you remember a while back I was a bit upset because my lifestyle change was not really doing all I needed to feel better with my illness. As a result of this, I started looking at each particular aspect of my life and the things I could improve on or leave the same. I looked at my diet, and thought “there are a lot things I don’t eat, which help me with my inflammation and joint pain”, I didn’t change anything there. Then I looked at my water intake, you may remember that I am a big fan of drinking massive amounts of water daily and on the benefits it has on the body in general. But I realized that even though I adamantly defend water and all of its benefits, I was not following through on my advertising. While I was drinking water many times during the day, they were little sips, giving me the feeling that I was drinking a lot. I immediately took precautions and started drinking 8 glasses of water or more a day. This has been happening for the past month, and I can honestly tell you that I noticed a big difference in my muscles. The difference was almost magical. I could not believe that what my body had been missing was water. 

Shortly after that I made an appointment with a podiatrist. Ever since I was a child I had had problems with my feet, but after being diagnosed things had been getting worse. I wanted to find a solution to this problem, so I reached out to my podiatrist who promptly told me that I needed to exercise. He said that many of my symptoms would improve, so after all of my doctors telling me the same thing I decided to go to the gym- best decision I’ve made. I’m using muscles that I only feel when I’m in pain. I am so happy that I’m able to stretch, I actually just came back from the gym and after stretching my body feels more relaxed. I’m so glad I made the decision to join the gym. Exercise has wonderful benefits, such as; decreasing inflammation and fatigue; two major symptoms of lupus. I wake up in the morning sometimes and I feel pain in my muscles, but it’s workout pain. I’m very hopeful I will only receive benefits from this new adventure in my lupus trajectory. Give it a try! 

The Best Salsa Songs!

Good Evening, Dear Readers, 

For a while now I’ve been making a list of my favorite salsa dance songs. Before getting sick, I used to dance A LOT, so much so that I started teaching Cuban salsa locally. That was so much fun! Now that I don’t have the same energy and stamina I still reminisce over these wonderful songs. One of them I danced at my wedding, we did a rueda, which is very Cuban and lot’s of fun!!! Here is the list of my favorite songs: 

  1. Juliana – DLG  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB8jjy9IGuA
  2. Yay Boy- Africando (danced rueda at my wedding)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDk1_TAp58Y&feature=kp
  3. Los Campeones de la Salsa- Willy Chirino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbZ60nfNlWk
  4. El Preso- Fruko y Sus Tesos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ephl7l7YKNY
  5. Anything by Los Van Van 
  6. Salsa con Coco- Puerto Rican Power http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUyZWm5Ynak
  7. Un Montón de Estrellas- Polo Montañés http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUhKDHCYS98
  8. Acuyuye- DLG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfm-eXPUSGs
  9. Muevete- DLG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuHjAIvIakU
  10. Bajo la Tormenta- Salsa Giants http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSMTEC0TuSM

The Institution of Marriage

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What is marriage? Lately, this topic has been on my mind. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m going through a divorce, which by the looks of it will not be an easy one. I grew with the notion that a marriage was forever. After all my grandparents were married for 60 years until my grandfather’s death. My parents have been married for almost 40 years; these were the two most influential marriages in my life. Naturally I thought this was how my marriage would work out. Silly me! This posting is a combination of things I am living all having to do with marriages, so bare with me as I express several things to you. There is a specific couple that comes to mind, a marriage that is friends with my parents. They have been married for 30 plus years and now because of resentment and anger they are living under the same roof but they do not speak to each other. I simply don’t understand this. How can this be? After a lifetime together they come to the point of living like strangers? If this is happening to a couple that has been married for that long, what can I expect? Not much! I feel as if the institution of marriage were being lost. I remember a class I took while completing my undergraduate degree that talked about the history of marriage. I remember that the book, which name I do not remember, explicitly talked about why people got married in the past, and it definitely was not for love. It was to bring two families and their land together, to procreate a male heir, for financial purposes, basically for logical reasons, love never came into play, but ironically those marriages usually lasted longer than the marriages of today. I wonder why?

In my opinion, love is something that must be worked at everyday, people tend to forget that, they think that once married all the work is done but I think this is when the real work begins. I saw this clearly with my husband, once we got married he completely forgot that in order to maintain the love we had to work at it. It’s funny, I remember when we were dating or recently married he said to me “it is the man’s job to keep the romance alive”. Ask me what he did to abide by that comment? There’s a saying “none are more blind than those who refuse to see” I’m that person, I didn’t want to see what was under my nose. I mean the guy started giving me hints long before reaching this point, I also think that my illness was his determining factor for leaving, let’s not forget that.

I can understand that it’s hard to let go of a relationship, especially when in love, but it’s better to let go before you are more involved then wait until pregnant or married to suffer even more. I have a friend who recently found out her fiancé is a prick, but the guy cries and begs, and I know it’s just a matter of time before she goes back to him. I wish I could spare her from the unending suffering that her life will be if she decides to have a serious relationship with him, but I can’t, I can only sit and watch and support her when she needs it.

If I could do it over again, I would not have gotten married. But for those who already took the plunge, don’t give up so easily. Marriage is a sacred institution that should be respected. If you are engaged and happen to read this, ask yourself if you love this person enough to be with them when the going gets rough, also prepare yourself because the love you feel now will not be the same love you feel a year from now or 5 years from now, you have to work hard to stay in love. People decide to marry because they’re in love but they don’t think of the worse case scenario, they don’t think that life will not always be so pleasant, and that you could one day fall out of love with that person, but this is when you really have to work hard to fall back in love with that same person.

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Mignon McLaughlin said, A successful marriages requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Plans? What are Those?

It’s 2 in the morning, and while I know I should be sleeping my mind is completely awake. Why you may ask? A big life change is coming my way and as I get closer to that finish line, I realize I am scared. I am scared of the implications of that life change, I am scared I will not succeed. I am scared to find myself completely incoherent 2, 3, 4, 5 years down the road.
I keep having nightmares of this chapter in my life I am about to close. I don’t know why, I assume this is normal and it is my anxiety and freight coming through in my subconscious. I pray every night for God to guide me. I pray for better health. I want so much to one day look back at my life and feel proud of what I’ve accomplished.
At this point I feel frustrated with myself because I spend 90% of the day making plans and looking for a better outlook but because I get scared I don’t follow through. I wonder if many other people go through the same thing? This feeling I am having takes me back to 2011 before getting sick, I remember that I had my life planned out, allow me to share what my plans were: I was 23 and was going to be finished with my masters at age 24 in 2012, by age 25 I would be accepted into my dream PsyD program in Washington, DC and I would graduate by age 27, so in 2015. I would be pregnant by the end of my masters program, having my first child at age 25. So in conclusion by age 27 I would be a doctor, married with a child. Now I ask you, did any of those things come true? Not really, not yet. Does it mean they will not come true? Not really! It just means that God’s plans may be at another pace.
Now I will not sit in front of this computer screen and tell you I am happy with the fact that none of these things came to be. But I have to admit that the man I had married would not have been a good father to my child. I also realize and admit that I needed to become a better human being in order to help others empathetically as a mental health professional should be. But even though I realize God has a better plan for me, it still hurts at times to see where my life is as opposed to what I had planned it to be. Woody Allen said ,

if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans

I guess I made him laugh uncontrollably, no? So as I sit here trying to find the sleep I need, I think that I’m falling back into the routine of making plans and not allowing God to guide me. Do we all do this?
To every negative there is a positive and here is mine. I am happy that I had the endurance and determination to finish my masters. It was not easy to push myself to class feeling like I was slowly dying, it was not easy seeing that I was no longer capable of maintaining a full time class load, but nevertheless I did it! I am happy that I have the hope and desire to continue with my education one day, I am happy that God is not making it easy for me because I have become more appreciative of the things He has given me.
Fellow bloggers and dear readers, life is not easy, but it’s like that saying

you were given this life because you’re strong enough to live it- unknown.

Life

I’ve been contemplating lately what to write about, there are so many things I could discuss, but I’m not sure if I should divulge some aspects of my life or not. I thought about focusing on the good and try to put the negative out of my life, but unfortunately there are some things that can’t be ignored. I feel the urge to reveal that the divorce proceedings have started. Yes, after a year and 3 months my soon to be ex husband and I will meet in court for the first time this month. I can’t tell you the many feelings I have. Somehow deep down inside of me I wish he would reconsider and apologize for abandoning me. But then again I think that he’s not worth those thoughts. Only I know what I’ve been through and the heartache this man has put me through, so I can assure you when I say that he doesn’t deserve any type of affection from me. Hopefully this divorce will not last long and I can be free of this chapter of my life, taking with me the lessons learned.
The second thing that’s been on my mind is my brother. I wish that I could change him, literally change his entire personality and make him be the person my parents intended him to be. Since I know that’s not possible I thought I’d make a joke to lighten this somewhat demanding wish

well you can wish in one hand and crap in the other, see which one fills up quicker

this quote always cracks me up because it shows how little effect peoples wishes on or for others actually have. That quote is from the movie Grumpier Old Men with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon- simply amazing movie! My best friend reminded me today that a person changes through motivation. I always wonder what type of motivation my brother may need to cause a change in him?
The third and last thing that got me scared was a test result that came back abnormal. I really won’t go into detail with this because I honestly think nothing will come of it but my first reaction was to cry, scream and simply feel miserable. It’s been a few days since I got those results, as a result my mom and I went on a juice fast, which incidentally ended today but will retake in about a week, and I feel so much better in every sense. As I stated before I am a firm believer that nutrition has a lot to do with the healing process; I believe in that saying of “we are what we eat”! So in the past 2 months I’ve had confirmations of realizations I made when I was first diagnosed: one is the sun and warm weather are my friends, second I cannot eat gluten or dairy because I swell up and get joint pain, and three I have to sleep well or else my body will not let me function even if I eat only fruits and vegetable for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ah the perks of autoimmune! I can’t help and notice that God is forcing me to have a stellar life. I guess my 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, etc. will be on a secluded beach somewhere helping my clients reach their treatment goals. I have so much to look forward to, it’s amazingly thrilling! Hopefully, I’ll have a wonderful man to support me and vice versa, maybe with a few kids. Ah life is good or it will be! Lol
A word of advice: nothing ever stays the same. Cheer up!

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Reminder of God’s Power

Today’s reading is of particular interest to all. It is with much sadness that I must admit that many humans have other gods, and simply forget that all we really need is Him.
I hope you take the time to read today’s Gospel.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” Mathew 6:24-34

Amen. 🙏

Criticism? Is it Necessary?

Lately, Ive been reading a lot of comments on FB about how religious people want to impose their beliefs on others. While I must say that there are some “fanatics” out there, there are those like me that believe in God, and do not impose their beliefs on others. 

Why do non-christians get so upset when a christian says something about their lack of faith? We live in a free country, and we are free to say and do what we want, right? Respecting people’s boundaries and beliefs is an essential part of human living. 

A specific comment comes to mind of a woman that said “I am not less of a good human being because I do not believe in God”. Yes, this is true. There are church goers that sin all week long, and their motto is “God will forgive me”. I do not agree with these christians either. In fact I loathe those types of christians, most specifically in my denomination- Catholic. However, this same woman that made the aforementioned comment went on to bash the true believers, the ones that rely on God for everything, and believe that He is there, watching and guiding. 

This woman did exactly what she had hated- criticized! 

Sunday’s Gospel read:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles. 
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

Matthew 5: 38-48

I wonder if she realized she did “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”?? This particular reading does say pagans do this…Hmm…

Let me tell you why I hold on to God so fiercely. I do it because He is my support. When I went back to the church, I was lost, felt alone, I literally felt as if I were falling into a deep depression. I wrote about this a while back, but my husband had just left me, I had been hospitalized because of the lupus, and I was malnutrition. I felt my world was coming to an end, and the only place where I found refuge was listening to the word of God. Like I said, I don’t impose my beliefs on others, but I do let others know I am a true Catholic.  I honestly think religion is a very personal thing, and some find it and others don’t. Either way, I think that those who can’t find solace anywhere else may want to look up some verses in the Bible. Believe me, everything is talked about there. Again, not pushing just suggesting. 

I have been drifting away from the church lately, I might add. But I still hold my faith up high. I am a firm believer that I don’t need to go to church every Sunday to prove my faith, to prove my love for God. 

Thank you dear readers. I hope my post does not come on as strong. I just felt this particular topic is always a prudent one to blog about. Have a blessed night! 

Lupus Reality

I find myself this morning extremely hopeless. I think by now I have been very up front about my firm belief that alternative medicine is effective, and that lupus is curable. I have faith that God can do this miracle, I mean, I have read stories about people that have been lupus free for many years. When I say lupus free, I mean their tests have returned normal. They have done this through diet change, predominantly. I believe with all of my heart and soul that this is possible, but I think I may be doing something wrong. I went to Cuba, and saw this amazing doctor that has cured lupus, I have to admit I was feeling so great! I thought I would be the next miracle, but as soon as I arrived in MD there was a problem with my brother, as usual,and the change in temperature, I immediately started feeling miserable. I realized the cold weather really takes a stab to my bones. I could barely walk. It was extremely sad to see myself sick again. I could not believe that a week before I had been walking the streets of Havana feeling like the queen of the world. So without any doubt in my mind and body I can firmly say the weather has a lot to do with how my body feels. I am not sure if other lupus warriors have this problem. I looked online and I believe it is different for everyone. But what bad luck that I live in a state that makes my illness worse *tear*.

Well enough of my sob story. I opened this blog as a therapy to me, to try and find relief for my unhealthy feelings, I must share that I have. This blog and time, I suppose, has helped me overcome many of the negative feelings I had within me. I see things differently today as opposed to the first time I posted. I’m grateful for the passing of time, I’m grateful for life itself, and I’m grateful for the caring people that are around me. I am grateful because I have God in my life and He never fails me.

Have a Blessed Day!