The Magnifying Glass

seeking

I remember years ago, rushing home to watch the last few minutes of Oprah and hoping it was going to be one of the more interesting episodes, and because I had missed most of the show I stepped in as Oprah was monologuing one of her meaningful life quotes…

“Oprah Winfrey and Robert Kiyosaki agreed that.. Money magnifies who you are.

That means, if you are insecure, impatient, jealous, impolite, arrogant, low self esteem, no self-confidence, fearful, angry, unhappy, irritated and emotional or just plain negative when you have no money, guess what? Yes, you will become more of that when you have money.

On the other hand,

If you have a positive character like high self-esteem, confident, loving, well mannered, patient, fun, happy, humble, poised, aware,logically practical then you could expect to become more positive in your overall attitude in every trait that you have.

Money will never repair a poor character.”

I agreed entirely at the time and those words have often come back to me in the 15 years or more since I first heard them. Especially when I have faced some pretty tight financial times and my husband and I almost lost our home.

I have also thought about them with respect to my health challenges over the past 10 years. It comes up in my mind when I think of who I was before I got sick and what happened as a result of these difficult and challenging life events.

Before I became sick (and then eventually diagnosed with Autoimmune disease/s) I was an anxious, people pleasing, stressed, insecure, results driven, workaholic, control freak who didn’t really have a deeper love and appreciation of myself. Always trying to validate myself and striving for achievement; often very overly analytical.

Then I got very sick…

And those attributes were indeed magnified, and often the source of a lot of my pain and anguish when I realised I could no longer do physically all the things that made me feel worthy, capable, appreciated and self sufficient. My insecurities went into overdrive! Instead of money, my character flaws were indeed magnified by my illness and pain.

As I look at some of the posts by many of my fellow Autoimmune fighters and read some of the pain and suffering they go through, I often wonder if, like me, who they were prior to becoming ill has also been magnified in many ways and is causing them as much pain and suffering as it caused me? It started me questioning that whether ANY life changing event has the same effect and it makes sense that it would.

My mother would often tell me that “you see peoples true colours when the chips are down” and I think that possibly one of the things my diseases were showing me was who I really was and what I would need to work on if I was ever going to survive my life long illness.

For the past several years that is what I have been doing and working on. It has been just as challenging and painful as my diseases, but I am proud of some of the real changes I have been able to make.

My old ways were not working to help me or sustaining me in my fight. My old flaws were only holding me back as they were clearly being magnified to my own detriment.

Not ALL my characteristics were hindering me, some were also keeping me buoyant. My humour, my love, my compassion, my resilience, my imagination, my empathy were struggling to keep me afloat; sometimes barely.

After all these years I can say that I have successfully tamed some of these characteristics and developed much more helpful ones that have made me handle my challenges far better and I have learnt how to validate and respect myself now, more than ever.

It doesn’t make all the pain and frustration disappear but it can change the way that I look at my challenges and how I cope with them. It also made a meaningful difference in the relationships I have now.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

Dating – Chronic Style #Love #Dating #Chronicstyle #lifeskills #selfworth

love heart

Just because our bodies may not behave the same way or do as we would like them to do does not mean that we don’t still have a heart and feelings. Far from it. We use and value them a lot more. My change in my health meant that my hubby and I had to look very closely at our relationship and the way we show and express love for each other. Some things have most definitely changed for the better and somethings have been made quite difficult and challenging. Trust and Respect are the pillars on which our new life has been made possible and I cant imagine it would be any different for someone who finds themselves single and looking for a partner.

I read a lot of posts from people who are single and having difficulty looking for love, this makes me ache with empathy and has also made me ask some very real questions. Is it any harder to find a loving, caring partner if you have a chronic illness or autoimmune disease? If I were single tomorrow how would I handle this question?

First of all, I remember it wasn’t easy finding a good ‘match’ when I was healthy. It didn’t just fall in my lap and so if I was to face the prospect again I don’t think I would go in with expectation that it is ‘easy’ but I would also not think its impossible because I was ill. We underestimate ourselves when we sell ourselves short. I am still a LOT of good things AS WELL as having a chronic illness. You have to believe in the product don’t you? I don’t think I deserve anything less just because I come with a health condition. Many other people have ‘baggage’ so I am pretty sure that a if I had to look for a partner I would want to find someone mature enough to understand that life is not perfect and people are more than the exterior. It might take a emotionally mature person to recognize all this but I don’t believe I would want anything less. My illness has matured me A LOT so I would also want that in a partner.

My health has also opened my eyes to finding that friends and connections come in many different places and packages. Looks are deceiving! I would probably want to keep an open mind to where I would look for a partner. Online dating? Maybe. Fellow fighters? Maybe. Someone with a history of empathy and selflessness? Possibly. Put simply… I spent years reading and researching my Autoimmune illness and trying every possible ‘get cured’ diet and medicine under the sun, I left no stone unturned…so why wouldn’t I put that energy and commitment into finding someone to share my life with; especially when I value my time and energy so much more.

Years ago I based a lot of my own self worth on who I could find as a partner, now I think I would start with the opposite view. I know what I have to offer and I would want those things acknowledged. I know what I value in others. I would look for those things still. My current husband has wonderful qualities that I admire and that have nothing to do with my illness, but I probably appreciate more since my illness, and I think those things are important if I had to start again.

These days we tend to ‘label and stereotype’ men and relationships but I think we don’t help our cause. If we think that ALL men are shallow and only looking for one thing, then we wont really be giving them a chance. If we expect the worse then we tend to always find facts to back our beliefs. The men I have met since getting sick have been some of the most sincere and ‘real’ men and there are some wonderful men out there looking for respect, honesty and love just like anyone else. I don’t expect every man will be lining up for me, but I would like to assume that it wont be because I am sick. There are many reasons people don’t connect as a couple. There were many reasons my previous relationships didn’t last when I was healthier. I would try to remember this if it took longer to meet someone right for my current circumstances.

Because my challenges are very real I would be very clear about how much honesty and respect is to me. If it is important to someone else then I hope they would treasure that about me too. If it meant waiting for the right person, I would have to wait and trust that after all I have been through and all that I have fought for, someone would treasure my spirit and character as much as I do. It may seem like this is easy to say because I am married, but I did offer my husband the opportunity to leave when I got sick and I DID face all of this, and I am well aware that there are no guarantees in this life so I didn’t write this lightheartedly or unrealistically.

My ‘list’ of requirements I had has changed. I don’t need a long list of things anymore, just a handful of essentials. Looks don’t matter. Money doesn’t matter. Age doesn’t matter… Character matters the most now. I am also much more open minded about how I define a relationship and how it has to ‘look’. It isn’t important to me how it ‘looks’ anymore but how it feels to the parties involved. At a certain place in my life I realized I can write my own rules and still have a healthy relationship, as long as it suits me and my partner and meets our needs then it is OK. I think I would take this into a prospective relationship and focus on how it felt, not what it looked like to everyone else. Very few peoples opinion matters to me now; you find out what is important when you live with a health condition.

I think that while there are many hurdles to being ill and dating, the biggest battle would be to remember what I am truly worth. Remembering to respect myself and don’t sell myself short because I got ill. Remaining open minded. Believing in myself will always be the biggest challenge, sick or well, but as my mother once said…”You don’t have to believe in a god, you don’t have to believe in Santa, you don’t have to believe in miracles. You don’t even have to believe in what I tell you… But in this life, if you want to survive, you DO have to believe in yourself!”

I have learnt a lot about believing in myself since then, and I still believe in love. It is the reason I am here today.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

Sexy sick me! #sexy #bodyimage #selflove #respect #dignity

When I first became ill and my body started slowly breaking down, one of my top 5 concerns was how much my husband, or any man, will see me physically. Of course there were other things that rated higher like 1. What is happening to me? 2. Can I/Doctors  fix it ? 3. Will I lose my job? 4. Will we lose our home and 5. Will my husband still see me the same physically?

Although I have some of the answer to those I have to admit number 5. still comes up many more times than I would like to admit.

As women we are judged by our looks, our attractiveness, our desirability, our sexuality, our ability to make a home, our ability to ‘have it all’. You cant drive down the street without seeing how much sex sells and how important looks matter to many people out there.

Where does that leave those of us who struggle to walk? Struggle to move? Struggle to see? Struggle to breathe? Struggle to do our hair and make up?… Struggle just to live. Not easy questions to be confronted with by a world fixated on image, looks and perfection. I don’t think it means that I was shallow, I just think that it shows how powerful the media and ignorance is. This Century has become the millennium of the multimedia, celebrity obsessed, botox injecting, instant gratification, pretend-to-be-sexy-and-young-forever, superficial.

When you are backed up against an insurmountable wall like that you have no where to run – even if I could! What did I do? I grieved. I grieved the health and the body I once had and realized I may never see her again.  Just as an 50 + woman looks into a mirror and realizes she isn’t 18 anymore. I let myself grieve. The fight for my very survival meant that I had to look beyond the mirror. Much deeper to find the reflection of who I truly was and who I wanted to be.

The past 10 years has been a real journey of the soul. Rebuilding a spirit and identity from the shattered pieces of who I was and the things I really want to be. The past 10 years have changed the way I look. My weight has fluctuated with my meds and my mobility. My skin has changed with the meds and age. I am paler and can no longer tolerate very little sun. My hair has changed. My mobility changes all the time. My joints are damaged and sometimes I can creak and crack louder than a falling tree. Although the outside of me has changed over the years, what I was not expecting and what I never truly realized was that inside of me was being made anew.

I think back to the body conscious days of my 20s and 30s and my pursuit of attractiveness and desirability. Was I truly confident back then? No way!! Inside I was as fragile as my last relationship. A walking bundle of phobias and anxieties. I was concerned about my hair, my nails, my weight, my ability to catch attention and draw the eye. I was nowhere near the woman I truly wanted to be. But I am closer to her now.

Yes now. Even with all the shakes, the tremors, the mouth sores, the pain, the weakness, the balance problems, the damaged joints and nerves. Why? Because I have been to hell and back. I keep going there every day. I know what real substance and character is. The values that I now desire above all isnt found in a beauty magazine. Cant be put on twitter. Cant be injected into your face or thighs. Real beauty and character comes from showing your true self (imperfect and laid bare) and accepting it with dignity and wearing it with pride.

What makes us beautiful is something that cant be faked. That’s why sexy stars break up all the time. Models are continually going under the knife in the pursuit of …. well… nothing. Today’s model is tomorrows memory, but character, that is timeless.

Back to my husband and I. Did he look at other women before I got sick? Yep! Does he look at them now? Yep! Does it hurt? Nowhere near as much as it did because I realise that while he might be genetically programmed ‘to look’ until the day he dies, I am now reprogrammed to believe I am worth just as much as any woman on this earth. Any PERSON on this earth because I know what it means to be human and be merely mortal and how health and looks can and will change (sometimes suddenly) but if you can put together a person with courage, character, empathy, compassion, intelligence and resilience then you will have something much longer lasting than a tight butt or a firm breasts.

Do I still get my hair done? Do my nails? Enjoy fashion? Yes! Definitely! But I do it as an expression of what I enjoy, not out of fear or a need to compete with the rest of the world. Respect for myself means I will always try and do my best. It means I will always enjoy the simple pleasures. I will take care of what I can care for. I will tend to the things that are worth tending to because it shows I care. My fears of whether men find me attractive no longer fuel the way I experience the world and enjoy my body. Now it has become more of a question of how much I like me. I may not like these illnesses and symptoms I carry every day, but I love the woman who carries them. More now than I ever did!

Gentle hugs,

Trish

The Science of Coping – Part two #coping #science #help #support #meaning #lifelessons #surviving

I have found that my own personal coping strategy has many different stages, much like grief, sometimes grief is one of them, and I work through the stages as often and as well as I can.

Acknowledging – A big part of coping in situations where I feel out of my depth is acknowledging that I feel out of my depth. I always used to stall this stage because I thought I wasn’t good enough, or I was weak by admitting that I felt out of be depth or not coping (another big factor is my childhood, I wasn’t allowed NOT to cope or my feelings were not considered). As an adult I have come to realise that life is generally harder on us because we tend to MAKE it harder by not acknowledging that it is normal to feel out of our depth and outside our comfort zone.

Communication – It is such an essential tool that I really don’t know how I have missed this for so much of my life. Probably because I didn’t know any better. “When we know better we do better…  [Maya Angelou]” So I have given myself permission to say firstly to myself “I am not coping with [this situation] and its OK. I need help and that’s OK too. I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I am not required to know all the answers. I am not helping myself by being hard on myself in a time of need. Then I need to turn that into a conversation with anyone else involved in my life/care. Same thoughts, but this time with a request “Anything you can do to help me would be very much appreciated. Thank you.”

Give in to the process – When I am faced with a time that I am not coping with, or a situation I am not coping with, I have to be prepared to ‘give in to the process’, let go of the reigns, believe that although I am not sure how each step is going to look like, that it is OK to take it slow and just breathe. None of these things are easy if you have a ‘controlling personality’ like yours truly here. But I have had to realise that control is an illusion and life will always remind us of that. We are not in control of what happens, simply how we react. I am getting better at this stage but I must say that I do prefer it when people consult with me from time to time about what my options are and be respectful that its not an easy experience or time for me. I think that if we find ourselves in places or with people who are NOT respectful of these things we have the right to find another process / assistance / support etc.

Pep talks – Self talk is important in times when our coping is tested. Is it your nature to be down on yourself? This is when it comes out! My default setting for self talk is echoing the words that were said in my youth and not believing in myself or being down on myself. Its been a life long battle to change this and I suspect that it might also be the same for many other people. Remembering to tell myself that I am so proud of myself for even trying something new, or encouraging myself to continue to learn from the situation. I can remember sitting in my GP’s office and bursting into tears after battling for almost 7 years. I said to her “I don’t think I can cope with all this! All the symptoms. All the pain. All the guilt. All the confusion. All the frustration. Juggling all this every minute of the day! Its too much!! I broke down and cried. I cried hard. She looked at me and said “If you were not coping Trish, you wouldn’t be here today. You wouldn’t be dressed and sitting in my office with your husband. You would be institutionalized somewhere, probably without your husband. You need to give yourself some credit sometimes. She was right. Coping doesn’t have to look any particular way… it is simply doing your best. And I do. Everyday of my life. I am sure you do too.

Don’t compare! – Someone else will cope differently and react differently to situations, that’s OK, that’s their life, not yours. This is another really hard thing to remember especially if we have convinced ourselves that we ‘should’ be able to cope or do better, or as well as someone else. All the comparing under the sun changes nothing. All the wishing changes nothing. Only the ‘trying’ changes something. You are trying and that’s all that counts.

Rewarding yourself – If the ‘situation’ is a short or long, you really need to remember to reward yourself along the way. For example, I like flowers, classical music, books and girly things. I know what helps cheer me up. So does my support team (Hubby, friends) so if I need to cope with something or do something I am not finding easy, I remember to treat myself along the way. Listening to music, scented candles … you get the picture… just because you are dealing with a difficult or challenging situation doesn’t mean you cant break it up into smaller pieces with a little bit of something calming or nice thrown in along the way.

Emotional release – If you feel it, show it. Just don’t let it consume you. A partner, friend, relative someone who knows you might be helpful to just be there while you release, or you can do it alone, which ever makes you feel more comfortable and can be aware of if you might be becoming consumed in by it. When my mother died I thought I was going to cry myself to death. Out of compassion my husband said “I don’t want you to stop grieving or crying, I just want you to take rest breaks too.” I did. He was right. It helped.

… to be continued

Why #medication #treatment #answers #diet #cures #staystrong

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Why don’t I ever talk about which medications I take? What I do to help my symptoms? What have I tried? What diet do I follow?

The answer is very simple to me and I hope, understandable to my readers.

The reasons are that I have tried, and will continue to try everything I can to try and better manage symptoms and diseases activities, including steroids, immune-suppressants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, diet, fads, alternative therapies, self help, detoxing, meditation… everything I can. And I will no doubt spend my entire life devoted to trying to manage these diseases I have and I try to keep an open mind and open heart. In short … I will continue to TRY.

However we are all so different that we all respond to different things and in different ways that it is impossible and almost pointless to try and have a discussion with Autoimmune fighters about what they are doing and what they recommend. These things are all anecdotal evidence of what works, or doesn’t work for them, sadly these diseases do not play by any particular rules and will not play by the same rules as the person sitting next you. It is the ultimate reminder of how individual we truly are. There is a reason there are over 80 Autoimmune diseases and many combinations of illnesses and co-morbidity.

Therefore I don’t talk about any particular approach. I don’t recommend trying any drug or protocol. I strongly encourage that your choice be a combination of the research, information, medical advise, trial-and-error that you wish to try for yourself. Follow your heart and intuition. Do what YOU need to for your peace of mind. The only things that I can add are those universally accepted suggestions that are known to be ‘good advice’ ie. Be kind to yourself, eat well as you can, exercise if/when you can, reduce stress, enjoy as much of life as you can, believe in yourself, accept yourself and your diseases as being a part of who you are not proof of your unworthiness. I have had to come to these conclusions for myself and they are not easy to do. There is NO such thing as easy choices or answers once you become chronically ill or disabled; they are a thing of the past for us.

The believe that the limits of effective treatments of Autoimmune Diseases are a failing and weakness in science and society NOT a weakness in our character or worth. I hope that one day there will be real break troughs and improvements in the treatment of these diseases (and indeed all diseases) but until then I try and make the most of what I have to work with.

Telling the world what I have done and what I would do to manage my systemic health challenge would not change anything for me or for my reader, but I share in your frustrations, your pain, your disappointments, your fears and your concerns about how difficult and life changing these diseases are and how incredibly difficult it is to cope with them. We are all the heroes of our own stories, no matter what we have done or continue to do. All I hope to achieve by blogging and sharing my thoughts about anything and everything (other than drug information) is for the purposes of reminding me, and you, that we are not alone in our struggles and as a community we can unite in respect and empathy.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

My heart #live #love #respect #care

love heart

If my heart had a window
you could look inside and see
all the things you put inside
and all you mean to me

If my heart had a window
you could see how much I try
to meet each and every challenge
with every day that goes by

If my heart had a window
you could see how much it breaks
when I fall and when I stumble
and when my body aches

If my heart had a window
you would see through all the years
all the laughter and all the loving
all the courage and all the tears

If my heart had a window
and you looked inside today
you would see after all these years
this is where you stay.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

The riddle of the bed #riddle #life #formymother #truth #survivor

– In loving memory of my mother –

Many years ago my mother asked me this riddle, probably in the hopes of occupying the mind and time of an overly analytical (and maybe a bit precocious) child. She asked me “Do I think that the first bed was invented by a very tired person or a very lazy person?”

For years I would wrestle with this question whenever I needed to fill a dull moment and especially when my mother passed away. It was the memory of how we used to talk and debate that are amongst my fondest memories of her. She may not have been the most nurturing or affectionate of mothers but I rank her as one of the best people that I ever had the good fortune to talk to. As a conversationalist and confidante she will always be missed.

My mother died before I got sick and while I am glad that she is not alive to see me go through these difficult, heartbreaking and endless battles, I do miss the ability to talk to her and laugh with her during the hard times. Thankfully I have several people who are very close to me that are able to assist with this, and I love them dearly for it.

One of  the regrets that I have that my mother passed away to cancer, was that I miss our conversations, she died much too early and painfully and finally I believe that I now have an answer for her riddle.

When we imagine beds we imagine them as being a place soft comfort for a tired and weary worker, we may also see them as a hideaway from the rest of the world for the idle and the lazy, but sadly the other function they perform is that of a necessary confinement for those too sick to leave them. These days I fight for every moment that I can leave my bedroom. I pay for every moment that I am not resting in my bed and even when I lay in my frilly, girly, soft sheets, they provide very little by way of comfort or escape from the pain and symptoms that I share my body with. My bed is not a luxury or a place of idle distraction, it is a my ‘life support’, my hospital, my confinement, my prison, my closest friend, my reminder of my health and my world. I have a love/hate relationship with my bed but there is no where else that accepts me, holds me, feels my pain, hears my tears and I there for me no matter what I am going through.

The answer to the riddle for me is that the bed was intended serve as protector for the sick and unwell as they suffer, as they heal, as they rest and in the final hours before they die, which is why hospitals are full of them and it is where you will find the chronically ill and sometimes its the last place you will see a loved one before they die.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

The Autoimmune job description. #thewholestory #truth #life #struggle #love #connect

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Years ago, in my ‘other life’, I was a project manager in the I.T. world and worked long hours and on many different projects, sometimes simultaneously and it was a very high stress, long hours, challenging and dynamic role.

With each new project I had to establish relationships, set schedules, meet milestones and deliverables, manage teams and customers, balance budgets, fix problems, do risk analysis, multitask and sometimes the hours were almost staggering. During one very difficult time I clocked over 120 hours in a week. Yes. Three normal working weeks in one week! How? Up until 1 – 3 am with overseas teams, customers, planning meetings, problem shooting and then starting working again at 6 – 7 am local time. And repeat. 7 days a week. It nearly broke me. But for this I was paid well and met a lot of very talented and interesting people all over the world.

Then I started getting sick.

Today I am medically retired from my career but have I stopped working? No. When people imagine me they probably think of someone who sits around doing the odd bit of physio, contemplating life, taking a lot of drugs and resting. Sadly that is the glamorized version. The Hallmark card version of the true experience.

I work harder now and go through more pain, stress, anxiety, risk assessment, meetings, problem solving and multitasking now then I ever did in my ‘career’. That life I had before of endless work, no social life, workaholic, corporate environment is a dream holiday from the life I have now. Here is why.

I am still up to 1 – 3 am trying to get my body to let me rest (meds help, but I cant rely on too many so mostly I bare down until my body gives up with exhausted and lets me sleep. A full body flare means NO sleep at all. I generally sleep only for a few hours before waking, in pain, and doing what ever I need to do in order to get more rest, if possible. When my husband and I finally abandon hope of sleeping and decide to ‘clock on’ its a grueling stretching routine, painful range of motion exercises, massage and meds before I can place a foot on the floor. Next 2 hours is showering and dressing and covering my entire body with a film of coconut oil for vital protection from dryness and infections. Mouth sores treatment and then its time for some walking (zimmer frame) to keep muscles moving and try and cope with balance issues. Affirmation / meditation is a vital part of my mental wellness or I would have probably needed to be institutionalized by now due to feelings of futility and frustration. Lunch? Possibly. Chemotherapy shot and wait for headache, nausea, fatigue.

Now its late afternoon and its time to do some more stretching, reapplying of heat packs, massage, meds, oops! I forgot constant eye lubricating, sipping water, bathroom visits, time for screening up so I can do a little ‘outside’ time. I am now sensitive to light and UV so that means I CAN go outside but not for long and never unprotected. Sometimes Zimmer frame (if I am feeling masochistic) and sometimes wheelchair. I push myself to keep moving. The last 9 months have seen me declining and several relapses, so I must keep trying. Keep pushing.

My ‘team’ include Me, hubby, Fur kids, Primary health Care provider (GP), team of specialists (Rheumatologist, Ophthalmologist, Neurologist), OT, Physio, Biologic nurse, the man who injects my joints with steroids (He is nice but he hurts) Hospital nurse, Vampire nurse (monthly blood screenings), Hospital MRI and Neurology department and finally Chris the Chemist (Yes, we know his name and he knows us intimately). I ‘manage’ none of them. Mostly they all work independent of each other and sometimes have no idea what each other are doing and sometimes even give conflicting advice. What I do is more like navigating them.

Evening can be worse, depending on the ebb and flow of the day and how much disease activity is going on. I don’t manage these diseases, they have a mind of them own. I share my body with them. I do anything I can to minimize its ability to take me over entirely. I follow a strict diet. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I try to avoid stress and infections. I take vitamins, steroids, chemo, biologics, immune-suppressants, pain relief and anything else that might bring me closer to living stronger and slowing down the slow eating away and damage that has been going on in my body for over a decade. It is now systemic and has attacked every organ and part of my body from my brain to my toes. In between I must fit in bits of life and show no trace of this to the rest of the world; they don’t understand. They can’t. Its all too hard to comprehend. Try and get hair done, meet up with a friend. All of this can must be added to the struggle. There is no such thing as a pain free moment.

I have met some wonderful people from all over the world that fight their own versions of my diseases and wrestle with the fact that we have this fight for the rest of our lives. I interact with them and connect with them and we try and keep each other afloat. Sometimes the hardest battles are with the ‘other world’. The world of the healthy. The world of the ‘I don’t understand what is wrong with you and why you are never going to get better’ world.

We feel tired, forgotten, misunderstood, lost, unwanted, guilty, sad, angry, grateful, frightened, confused, in terrible pain, anxious, frustrated, envious, out of control, betrayed, dehumanized and hopeful. Sometimes all of them at the same time.

So since ‘retiring’ the hours are longer, the conditions are so much worse, the days are harder, the problems unsolvable, the project is unending, there are no holidays or days off, no leave and no minimum wage.

Not everyone who stops working or retires is enjoying the good life, but we are trying to make a life out of what we have and who we have in our life.

Gentle hugs,

Trish