What a weird name for a blog entry, eh? The truth is, there’s more to that title than meets the eye. Today is my very first true “sick” day here in our tiny piece of 5th wheel heaven. I am relieved and happy to report that I have an excellent, private, comfy area to recuperate in while Greg can still work in his office and Elijah can read and/or play video games in his room (or in the queen loft, or outside, or wherever). So I feel like I can get the rest I need without putting anyone out or negatively affecting their daily activities.
So what. Who cares?!?! Well, the fact is, I do. I have some fairly significant health issues, so when I get sick, I tend to go downhill fairly quickly and I also tend to take a wee bit longer to recover than most.
Here’s me today with my trusty Popeye keeping me company. Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a little cold…
Just a little cold… But you see, I have multiple sclerosis. This means when I get any kind of a sickness, even a minor cold, my body always takes full pleasure in sending me spiraling into a full-on m.s. flare up. Fun, fun. Granted, it’s what is generally called a “pseudo flare-up” which means no long term/permanent negative health implications result from it for the most part, but it’s a miserable flare-up nonetheless.
So, a little cold turns into a little cold accompanied with numbness, tingling, body pain, facial pain, back pain, vision issues, and a whole host of other symptoms that I won’t bore you with. In summary, it makes me feel as though I really need to be admitted to a hospital and drugged out of my misery… I.V. NOW, PLEASE! I digress… The fact is, I am an anti-medicine, anti-hospital kinda gal so I choose to suck it up and rest big time and let my body heal itself. I’ve learned over the years that it’s very good at that – but only if I don’t pump it full of chemicals.
On the left is me when I listened to and obeyed all my doctors. I did everything they said and went on all their medications and my m.s. continued to worsen until I became paralyzed from the waist down in August of 2007. At this point “they” proceeded to tell me that I would most likely never walk again. The picture on the right is me on our sailboat “Genesis” a few years after I decided to go off all of their medications and stopped listening to them… AT ALL. Now I only listen to God and my own body. I take zero medications, eat only real, gluten free foods (I and my two youngest kiddos have Celiac as well), and try to walk as much as possible. As a result, I am a walking miracle. I haven’t used even as much as a cane in several years. To God be the glory!
Not to get into my whole health saga (cause that would take several entries and would bore us all to death!) but I also have two spinal cord injuries, one of which is pretty precarious and resulted in me being declared “permanently disabled” back in 2004. That only means that I have to be very careful with what I do and when my back goes out (which it does way too often, IMHO) I have to spend even more time than usual in “recovery” mode. (Aka horizontal). And, of course, when my back goes out, guess what my body’s reaction is… You guessed it… it always gifts me with a lovely pseudo m.s. flare-up. I think you are starting to get the picture.
I’m not complaining, but all this is to give you some background and to better explain why my little cold today, and my “view” on my sick days are more important to the success of our full-time lifestyle than one would think at first glance. Frankly, my health played a huge role in our making this decision to be full-timers now, and adamant about not waiting until we retire. More on that in a second.
Anyway, here is my view today, my first sick day:
My view down the hall. Greg’s office by day/our MBR by night is way down at the end. He can close that door for more privacy. With the mirrored closet doors in our bedroom (see it down at the very end?) this view makes our home look ginormous! The first hallway door on the left is the door to Elijah’s room.
I have the fireplace on and am in full view of my favorite room in the “house”… My kitchen.
I saved the best for last. I can lie here and not feel like I’m missing out on anything. With all these huge windows I ALWAYS have a great view of God’s creation, even when I’m stuck inside.
As I mentioned above, a HUGE part of the reason that we chose to do this was for my health. I thrive on sunshine (Vitamin D!!!) and every winter my health takes a nose dive and each spring it seems to take just a few more warm days than the previous year to get me back to my optimum. The best way for me to get exercise is to walk and in the winter between the cold (which kills me) and my inability to get out and walk (due to the cold, which kills me!) I can’t get my walking in so for the most part I spend my entire winter getting absolutely no exercise. The more I walk, the better I feel; the less I walk, the more I feel like an old woman with multiple sclerosis. It’s a good cycle or a bad cycle, as the case may be.
First and foremost, Greg and I have made it our goal to use our travels to always try to go/be where the weather is optimum for my health. Already I am walking 2.5-4 miles every day on average. (Not today, of course, I said “on average”, people!) I want to get my average up to 5 miles every day. Wouldn’t that be awesome!?!?! Although we have been full-timing for just over a month now, this is my very first sick day. That’s a testament to the benefits this lifestyle is already having on my health.
Secondly, our cute little “tiny” home is only 410 square feet. That requires a LOT less cleaning and maintaining than our previous 2,600 square feet. Less cleaning and maintaining means more rest and relaxation and more time to walk! In our old house I was always on the go, I could never truly relax because I always felt like there was stuff I really needed to do… and there was! That simply is no longer the case… And I like it!
Finally, we decided to do this sooner rather than later because with multiple sclerosis regardless of how I am doing today, we simply never know what health crisis tomorrow may bring. Honestly, none of us are guaranteed good health or even another day of life for that matter. We have made a conscious decision to live each day FULLY, while it’s still today. Neither Greg nor I ever want to look back years from now, when it’s too late, with regrets. “Why did we wait?” The only thing that surprises me is that so many people do wait until they “retire” to embark on the life that they truly want to live. They spend their entire adult life working and raising kids while dreaming of the day they retire when they can travel, or sail, or go on adventures, or whatever. Why wait? Too often they retire and are too old and feeble to truly enjoy it. Or, like my Dad, who talked of traveling in an r.v. after he retires only to get cancer and die at age 62. He worked like a dog his entire adult life and dreamed about retirement and travels that he was never able to experience.
All this to say, we have decided to live life as fully as possible today and thank God for every single moment in the process. We make our plans, and to our amazement and gratitude, He continues to truly and lovingly direct our steps. I will end this with the words I always say to Greg when we are once again blown away at God’s blessings and provisions for us (because it happens so often!) and those words are: “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
Happy Trails and Sunny Sails!