The mirror concept

It was a little over three years ago when I first met my BFF Nellie.  She was the facilitator of a women’s circle in our town.  I had never been to a circle, so wasn’t sure what it was all about; we decided to meet for lunch, to talk and get to know each other.

I am not a shy person, but it can be uncomfortable to meet someone blindly; “I’ll be wearing a red sweater.”

Nellie was very good about explaining what a circle was (and wasn’t); it wasn’t witchcraft (which I was imagining for some reason).  It had no religious or even spiritual basis, it was simply (and complicatedly) time set aside in which a group of women, who sat in a circle were able to share themselves and be heard (without interruption).  You were given a ‘talking piece’ and when it was your turn, the floor was yours.  It was really uncomfortable at first, all eyes looking at you, ears wide open, no advice, no chatter.  Just a few nods of the head.  When you were done, you handed the talking piece (maybe a ceramic angel, or a smooth stone) to the next person.  When they began sharing, you listened ‘with the ear of your heart.’

But I digress, in order to learn the ‘mirror concept’ I needed to share what the circle was all about, and how I learned (and continue to learn) how to care for others while caring for myself.

The circle, and this group of women changed my life on so many levels.  After we settled in, there were on average six women who consistently joined the group twice a month.  I have remained friends with all of them, although some I rarely see and some I see regularly.  All touched my heart and all shared their ‘grit.’  One thing I really valued about this group was that it wasn’t sunshine and moonbeams.  We were able to safely and productively unload the emotional baggage that we’d been carrying – for some, our entire lives.  It was incredibly cathartic to ease it out, let it go, pray it away.

If not for Nellie and this group, I wouldn’t have found myself sitting on my basement steps bawling my eyes out at 12:30 in the morning, the evening before the second WIRED conference was to begin.  I sniffed and babbled:  “I can’t do this, what if.. or that, I am not sure…”  I went onto say:  “I wish I was more like you; wise and smart and you know what to do.”  Nellie replied with:  “What you see in me, is what I see in you, I am a mirror, a reflection of you.”

WHAT?  It made perfect sense, it was clear and articulate and it made me realize that it was exactly what I wanted to portray to the wired ladies that were coming here to Minnesota – from across the globe to feel and know.  I desired for them, to get back – what I was putting out.  Wisdom, peace, education, love.

My intentions, although oftentimes flawed, have generally been made with good and positive thoughts.

I desire to be a reflection of goodness, honesty, peace and imperfection.

 

 

Goodbye August, Hello September

The seasons are changing “just like that.”  Kids are back to school, there is a hustle and bustle in the air; perhaps in anticipation of upcoming holidays.  When the leaves start to change color and drop, I feel a renewal taking place.  Cozy fires, hot chocolate, warm sweaters, hearty stews.

I’ve always loved September, not just because of my birthday, but also because I enjoy cooler temps, less bugs, almost no humidity, and to be honest, more play time at the park, no kids that Max feels necessary to chase (teenagers in particular)!

Max would agree, as would his friends! 

What do you look forward to when the seasons change?  Please share your thoughts.  I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Everything old is new again

I used to think that only a few select people “knew” me but I’ve been told that I’m an open book.  Speaking of which, as I continue to edit the WIRED book (Amazon made 70 ‘suggested edits’!!!) I am in the process of working with Arthur Cantu (WIRED fan page moderator and techno-whiz) on morphing the WIRED WORDS blog into our WIRED4LIFE.net website. 

Arthur has a busy life, as do I, but we are both hopeful to bring everything together in one place in a relatively short period of time! 

My difficulty in understanding social media is that there are so many differences between all of them and many people use one or the other, but not all.  So in order to please everyone I’ve joined all of them:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Pintrest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

But I simply do not have the time or inclination (or memory) to post on all.  Arthur will make suggestions and I will decide with his help what best serves the WIRED4LIFE community.

I appreciate your continued support; be it financial, positive posts and emails, ideas, suggestions, whatever and however you contribute to my online life.  

~Dawn

Re-wired

On October 1st 2014, after a nine month hiatus, our WIRED4LIFE newsletter will resume.  We will publish four times a year; each season (Autumn, Winter, Spring & Summer).  We will have quite a few new columns and of course, ‘wired sister’ stories, which is, in my opinion the bread & butter of the newsletter. 

Why the break?  Well, funny you should ask.  I wanted to focus on writing the WIRED book, which is now in final proofing, cover artwork and will be sent to Amazon later this week!  Managing this blog, the Facebook page and the overall work that is involved in keeping WIRED4LIFE afloat meant that I couldn’t add the newsletter to the equation, it was simply, too much work for one person.

I have learned in 49.8 years of life that committing to something or feeling like you should be committed are two different things, although sometimes it feels like the same thing.  I’ve been chasing my tail for a couple of years now, trying to accomplish all that I can.  And still, the ‘to do’ list remains long.  

4 issue subscription:  $10/check, money order or PayPal (you pay fee).  Or women only:  $20 a year includes membership to our core group.  Details/info:  dawnhuberty@wired4life.net

 

 

100happydays

#100happydays is the new thing.  Have you heard of it?  Not being privy to the hash-tag phenomenon, I’ve kind of brushed it away.  However, this morning in our Saturday morning chat, a wired sister shared the link and right away I signed up for it.  I posted a pic of my grandkids and started out the 100 days with my love for them.  It’s an interesting concept — can you commit to 100 days in a row of sharing happiness?  If so, check it out:

Happiness is short lived for a lot of people.  Their grief, suffering, pain, absence of love or money, frustrations, stress and overall heartache restrict the human need for happiness.  I personally feel happiness is like bread or water, we can’t live without it for too long, before we shrivel up and die.

What makes you happy?  Let me share my short list:

  1. My faith in God.
  2. Relationships with genuine people.
  3. Lemon drops.
  4. Road trips.
  5. Fur babies.
  6. Grandchildren.
  7. Belting out songs on the radio.
  8. Meeting a wired sister for the first time.
  9. Date night with hubby.
  10. Beautiful quotes.
  11. Pinterest.
  12. Finding lost items.

Share your happiness! 

WIRED Loss

Yesterday I received an email letting our WIRED community know that a sister had passed away.  Eadie was from Scotland, she joined in 2005 and shared her story in the May 2006 newsletter, I have included here along with a few pics to honor her beautiful life!  Rest peacefully, Eadie! xoxoxo

Tell a bit about yourself, personally. Marital status, children, pets, where you live, what you do for a living, hobbies, interests, etc. Over here in the United Kingdom, it is still quite cold yet sunny and all the bulbs are through now and the first grass is being cut; we also have had springtime clock adjustments so officially it is springtime. The reality is that two weeks ago we had some more heavy falls of snow here in Scotland and now the winds are bitterly cold.   Perhaps you have heard of Edinburgh? Well I live near to the International Festival City. We are really very lucky as we live in a little village near the sea and the hills and right on the door step are some of the best golf courses in the world.

eadieI am Eadie and I have been married for as long as I can remember to my soul mate and best friend; and we are both retired. Our two sons are grown up now and independent though both live near to us and because of that we are close as a family. My eldest son is married to a wonderful girl from the USA; so she is like the daughter I never had and she is very supportive and encouraging, and as we both come from a nursing background we can discuss health matters and she is always ready to update me on any topic. My younger son lives near to us too; and both sons despite being very busy people are always ready to support their parents in any way that they can.

heatherOur “baby” Heather and my companion now is my little Yorkshire Terrier or “Terrifier” as they are sometimes known!  My main hobby is card making for family and friends. I also read magazines, watch TV. and like to chat with my friend. I get very tired easily and find that my concentration is poor due no doubt to the medication I take daily for cardio and chronic pain problems.

Describe life prior to your PM diagnosis, what symptoms did you have, how did you feel. Life prior to my implant was not too much different from now, except that I did not have or require so much help and support and at that point I did not have diabetes which I now control with diet and medication. I now have a career and home help who aids me with basic tasks which cause me extreme tiredness and pain, so relieving a lot of the pressure and frustration from my life. Before my implant I had several other chronic conditions which I was coping with, but could not understand why I continually felt dizzy, lightheaded and very, very tired. We also had to move to a smaller ground floor house as I could not manage to get up and down stairs, so that was a big upheaval but thankfully we managed to stay near family and friends.

Describe the events that lead to your PM, your diagnosis, the surgery, afterwards, how you feel now. I have had my Pacemaker now for four years, my “anniversary” is just past in March and I will not forget the circumstances which led up to my implant. As you may or may not know our medical diagnostic system is very different than in USA. For instance, we have a National Health System, but the “system “is always under pressure from change, lack of staff, or lack of cash so we as patients have to be very patient.

Basically I had complained of light-headedness; passing out; tiredness constantly for a long time and everything was attributed to the fact that I suffer from chronic pain. This only made me more and more anxious until I give up asking and did less and less, guess I was pretty low and feeling as though I had no more strength to cope.

We decided to have a change of scenery as I had had two severe viral infections and it was our wedding anniversary that weekend. I had a vomiting bug for six weeks on and off and this had left gastric reflux problems and chest pain. I checked my BP and pulse only to find to my horror that my pulse was 28 BPM! I had Bradycardia. My GP sent me to a Cardio Specialist for ECG and Echocardiogram plus X-Ray only to be informed that I had better cancel our anniversary trip as my results had just shown I was going straight into surgery to have a pacemaker implant. My problem was a conduction and electrical fault and I was in complete heart block.

Perhaps this was one of the best anniversary presents I had ever received! Everything healed up nicely and the operation was done under local anesthetic. All subsequent checks are done at my local hospital and I have since paid other visits to hospital with chest pain and required adjustments and angiograms. I now know that the pacemaker is doing its work and I have to work at keeping my other chronic problems in check which is very difficult. When you get your pacemaker your life will change for the better hopefully.

Pearls of Wisdom? I have had many discussions with doctors about health, but nobody knows your body like you do, go with your gut feeling and make it clear how YOU feel. Take all the support (W4L) and help that is offered to you…physically; spiritually and emotionally; as you are going to need it and you will always feel better when YOU can return that help no matter how small a gesture.

Do plan, BUT not too far ahead as you will only get ahead of yourself, one day at a time is just fine!

I hope that in my lifetime that the life of the pacemaker battery can be extended and this will mean fewer replacements for all of us. I do not think about my pacemaker at all now; guess you have more “awareness of the implant” at the beginning.

 

People ask the dumbest questions

This was our post on Facebook yesterday, I wanted to share a few with you; the majority will be added to the new WIRED book I’m writing!  We had asked our “fans” to post the most ridiculous or funny comments that they had ever heard on their pacemaker or ICD journey!  Feel free to post own funny!

Liz:  A complete and total stranger once pointed at my pacer scar and asked me if I got stabbed. I looked at her with a straight face and said “Yes, in prison.”

Arthur:  I had someone tell me that I should wrap my chest in tin foil, because the NSA can track and record all of my conversations and movements using my pacemaker.

Sherri:  Went in for a chest X-ray. While I was dressing back up the girl pulls back the curtain and in a panicked voice said, “Do you know you have a pacemaker?” I said just as panicked back, “No, how the hell did that get there!”

Mary:  I went to the er with kidney stones once and my pm is located in my abdomen so it confuses a lot of people… A nurse came in after my imaging, pulled the curtain all secretly like, and whispered, “Do you have something implanted in you?” I was in too much pain to make a joke and just told her that it was my pm, but my dad said next time I need to say in shock, “That alien abduction was real?!!!” Hahaha.

Jennifer:   I had just turned 25 when in got mine. My daughter was in kindergarten and told her teacher that her mom had gotten a pacemaker. So her teacher thought I was in my 60’s. When she met me she said your a lot younger than I thought lol

 

 

 

My (updated) 30 things

When I remember to peruse LinkedIn, I often find thought-provoking insights, which is like a breath of fresh air next to the drama and boringness (I just made that up!) of Facebook.

This is one person’s ‘list of 30 things learned in life (quite detailed): https://medium.com/health-the-future/thirty-things-ive-learned-482765ee3503

Along the same lines, I’m sharing with you my life lessons (as of age 49.9)!  (And I’ve updated it – so it’s less like a list and more like a look inside my head)! 

  1. Life is short.  Wear high heels that hurt your feet, even for a couple of hours. (Keep a pair of flats in your bag)!  Comfortable shoes are my mainstay, in fact, I’d go barefoot if I could.  Once in awhile, break out of your comfort zone, whether it be shoes or skydiving!
  2. Collect whatever makes you happy.  I love mini bud vases, mini pitcher & basin sets, angels and purses.  Having a collection doesn’t have to mean ‘stuff you dust’ it could be documenting your adventures in a travel journal, or collecting rocks to paint!
  3. Coffee gets me going.  I can’t really elaborate any further!
  4. Sometimes you have to take a cut in pay to be happy at your job.  I worked at a hotel and made pennies compared to my past jobs, but you know what?  I was genuinely happier.  I loved going out of  my way to make a guest happy. 
  5. My best friendships seem to have zero compatibility; variety IS the spice of life.  There is nothing greater than learning what makes another human being tick and then  — yes, finding common ground.  But sometimes that doesn’t happen and yet we end up ‘friends for life.’
  6. Forgiveness is really, really hard.  And you don’t have to ‘make peace’ with it.  I struggled for years with this concept.  I could not and would not forgive a particular person for a particular event.  It was easier to keep the monkey on my back, to give it life, to keep it going.  Finally, after years of living this way, mentally exhausted of the constant upkeep; I forgave the person and the event.  I did not make peace with it; instead I gave it to God.  I learned to replace the negative energy surrounding the entire situation with grace.  It’s not forgotten, but is far less important than it used to be.  Let go and let God, if you are able.
  7. Try to reconnect with childhood friends, even on Facebook, it’s so fun sharing memories of brighter days!  I am friends with three siblings that I grew up with, I love talking about the old days of our childhood.  I love hearing ‘their’ stories; particularly when it relates to my own family.  It was their dad that taught me how to shuffle cards, swim in the deep end of the pool and how to slow dance!
  8. Remember you are human, you WILL say and do stupid things, but try and move on from it.  Being human isn’t a condition; it is who we are, it is in every cell of our being.  We snap at each other, we judge, we argue, but may we also remember that our words can love and heal and change.
  9. Turn the tables on a difficult situation; how would you want that person to ‘deal’ with you?  What would be the best outcome?  Sometimes we DO have to be the bigger person, or bite our tongue, or choose not to be right.  Apologize when you can, offer a prayer, be there when you aren’t expected to be.
  10. Stand up for your beliefs, whatever they are.  For many years I kept my religious beliefs inside.  It was easier for me to say I was “spiritual” than that I actually believed Jesus died for me.  I used the word “God” loosely.  I used to say “I’ll keep you in my thoughts” instead of my “prayers.”  But as I’ve gotten older I’ve decided it’s important for me to be who I am; in every area of my life.
  11. If you are going to be late, let the person know.  Life happens, but with technology it’s pretty easy to call and say “I’m running late.”   Just don’t text while driving!
  12. You can’t control anything; so stop trying.  My favorite quote comes from my time working at a vending company:  “The only change you can control comes from a vending machine.”  :)
  13. Listen to your body; you know how it ticks and if something feels wrong or bad, call your doc or go to ER.  Only YOU know YOU.  So when YOU is out of whack, you need to listen to and take care of, yourself.  It’s not rocket science.
  14. If you feel that the world is a violent and scary place, stop watching those type of shows, quit reading murder mysteries, and donate some of your time to help in a social cause; there are many that need your expertise (not just your money)!!  I often think of the song Alan Jackson wrote after 9/11, “Where were you when the world stopped turning…” in it, he says — turn off that violent old movie and turn on I Love Lucy reruns, turn to your neighbor and lend a hand.  If you want to change the world, start with yourself.  Be a proponent of peace.  Learn CPR, volunteer at the local soup kitchen.
  15. Give from your heart, not because there is a tax break.  Give from your heart.  Bottom line.
  16. Be compassionate to those less fortunate than you.  You don’t have to “save” people, just try and understand.  Show empathy.  Care.  Have a heart.
  17. Just because you can’t see disability, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  I live with debilitating pain and inflammation on a regular basis.  I have a handicapped tag, I use a cane when I can’t walk.  I’m not trying to park closer to the store because I am lazy, it’s because I would have to lean on all of the parked cars for resting in-between.  See #16
  18. Say what you mean, mean what you say.  My dad used to say:  “Your word is your bond.”  I believe that, to this day.  If you can’t do it, don’t say yes.  If you can, don’t say no.  If you have made the commitment, then try your hardest to see it through. 
  19. Make time for the people in your life; no matter how busy you are.  Never use ‘being busy’ as an excuse to not spend time with your loved ones, family, friends, people who matter to you.  Your house doesn’t have to be clean for me to visit.  We don’t have to do dinner, just a cup of coffee and a short visit.  I’d love to babysit to give you some ‘me’ time. 
  20. Try and not have regrets.  If you do; try and forgive yourself.  Many people are dumbfounded that I have no regrets.  I honestly don’t.  I believe every decision I’ve ever made has gotten me to; here.  To today.  To now.  If I had a regret it would rob me of what is good in my life.
  21. Get moving every day.  It doesn’t have to be some big sweaty ordeal, just climb some stairs, stretch, walk your dog, park farther away, march in place during commercials!  My friend and I were just discussing this tonight, we need to move.  Our joints get bound up and tight when we sit all day.  Shake your bootie, stretch your hands to the sky, stand on your head if you can!!  :)
  22. Bring inspiration into your life daily.  Smell a flower, play with your dog, read a pretty quote, share a memory, take a picture of your cat and send to your sister, do for others, do for yourself.  Be inspired.  Daily!
  23. It’s okay to be insecure or unsure about yourself, a new job, a speech you have to give, if you are ‘doing this’ right, etc.  If you have never had sweaty palms or felt your knees knock, you might not be human.  Once I was to give a talk to a few people (50 at the most, I was told), when I walked into the meeting, there were over 200 people sitting at tables.  I was scared, nervous and you know what?  I told them I was!!  It was okay after that!
  24. Don’t ever assume that people know you love them.  TELL them.  People need to hear it, people need to say it.  Write a letter if it’s easier, but let them know they matter to you.  I grew up in a home where it was rarely said.  So I lived by this same school of thought:  “the people know I love them.”  But then I married into a family who said it all the time.  WHAT?  Don’t you know I love you?  But no, they needed to hear it, they said it was important to hear and to say.  It was a beautiful lesson at age 19!
  25. Be kind.  It matters.  It’s simple.  If you have the choice, be kind.
  26. Treat people how you wish to be treated.  It’s not about karma, it’s about right now.  The Golden Rule.  If you are too young to know what this means; Google it!
  27. Listen to your inner voice, let it be a guide or a jump start to something new and fabulous.  It’s not only your ‘voice of reason’ it’s oftentimes a push to start again.  Every morning it’s another opportunity to get it right.  Let yesterday go, you can’t change any part of it.  Tomorrow is unknown and not a given. Just like listening to your body, your inner voice knows you. 
  28. Decide how important it is to ‘be right.’  Boy was this a big eye opener for me; it was a number of years ago when Jim (hubby) said this me:  “Do you realize you always have to be right?”  Hard to hear that kind of truth.  But it had become true.  I needed to be right.  Every.  Time.  Now?  Not so much.  It’s not important, choose your battles.
  29. Do not belittle or talk down to your spouse/partner.  YOU chose this person, treat them with respect and love.  It’s not always an equal partnership; sometimes one person needs the other more, vice versa.  Love the one you are with.
  30. As I like to remind my 15 year old grandson; QUESTION ALL OF IT.  Draw your own conclusions and challenge the norm.  Do not take anyone’s word for it, learn from your own experiences.  I have made some choices based on what I thought was right (but not right for me), learn to trust your instincts.  The more open minded you can be now, will pave the way to deeper understanding on down the road.

Calling all writers

If you are interested in writing a post as a guest blogger, let me know.  I would like to keep the theme ‘healthy, heart smart, happy, etc.”  You can be a man, woman or child.  Artwork and/or clipart encouraged!  Email:  dawnhuberty@wired4life.net

Writing a book

As many of you know, or don’t – I am writing a book about my journey to becoming wired and the community that came out of my need for education and support; WIRED4LIFE.

writing a bookI am 98% done with the book, the proofreaders are checking grammar and if the many sentences make sense, and whether there is flow, etc.

What I need from you; PEOPLE WITH IMPLANTED CARDIAC DEVICES is to share with me what you need/want to know from the top three device companies:  Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific.  I’ve been given carte blanche to use information as provided on their various websites, along with pics, diagrams, etc.

What is useful for you to learn?  What would you like to see more of, or less?  Are you interested in the current types of devices, or more education; how the devices work, including heart valves.

5483593660_50363a9d31ICD

Please help me this last leg of the project.  The WIRED book isn’t soley to describe my personal heart journey, but the stories of many wired sisters will be included, including how WIRED4LIFE came to be.

 

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