The road to resilience

I recently lost a very dear friend to brain cancer. I watched her health deteriorate, she maintained the strength to fight. Because of my own experience with my body letting me down, I initially was able to identify with her discouraging moments. After a while though, death approached and although I was not able to know what she was feeling, I was there to be with her. I promised to meet her where she was and be honest. I’ve been able to be resilient with my own physical challenges, but losing a loved one is taking me to new lows and reminding me I have to move forward. I found a helpful article that many of you might identify with as you face your low days and disappointments. When we feel depressed, it’s important to feel those feelings and be true to the down times. We also must try to be resilient.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

Here is an interesting read on resilience from the American Psychological Association:

From The Road to Resilience: Factors in Resilience

A combination of factors contributes to resilience. Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models, and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster a person’s resilience.

Several additional factors are associated with resilience, including:

  • The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
  • A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
  • Skills in communication and problem solving
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses

All of these are factors that people can develop in themselves.

Strategies For Building Resilience

Developing resilience is a personal journey. People do not all react the same to traumatic and stressful life events. An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not work for another. People use varying strategies.

Some variation may reflect cultural differences. A person’s culture might have an impact on how he or she communicates feelings and deals with adversity — for example, whether and how a person connects with significant others, including extended family members and community resources. With growing cultural diversity, the public has greater access to a number of different approaches to building resilience.

Some or many of the ways to build resilience in the following pages may be appropriate to consider in developing your personal strategy. Read full article here

How often do I think about my bowel bag?

How often do I think about my bowel bag?

Enough to write about it in journals for 12 years. And another 15 before that, documenting my illness, disregard of my illness, depression and exhilaration. Adventures and stories. Research and library visits (before the internet) had me reading up on all the things I’d be able to do when I got my bowel bag but I found all of that hard to believe. I didn’t find any of it funny either. Couldn’t joke about feces exiting out my belly. I’m mean how ridiculous and upsetting. And how could I ever feel safe and secure in any aspect of my life. Well, the journey is in the journal. And now, I think, I’ll give it a real go and blog some of my moments. Dig a little deeper into some more private places. I’m going to take more risks. This pile of journals is only a sampling of my books of pain and prose, joy and remembrance. Attempts to document my life in a way that would be honest. Sometimes so scary I’d start writing in one journal only to switch halfway through a thought or story to another book and not date anything. Those were years where my trust was broken. It’s all here though, in these piles. Bits and drips of my thoughts, then sudden outpourings of emotion. Not always about my body changes and medical moments, but about the feelings and fear.  The change, the resurfacing to a new normal. Me. Mine. mykarekit. The whole kit and kaboodle if you will.

So read on if you feel like it and I hope it brings you some connection you might need. Otherwise, maybe my photographs will bring a sense of whimsy or reflection. We’ll see because 2011 is going to be the year of the blog for me. I’m ready. No time like today.

What should I call my ramblings that have me typing well past midnight. Did you hear about the midnight rambler? Everybody’s got to go. I just go all the time..anytime…unannounced.

Random Pages from the Ostomy Journal

Notes from the Hospital Bed

I’m your sister’s neighbor’s aunt

“What kind of bag would you like?” Got no choice.

Should I take questions? That always works well in public talks I’ve given. Far more interesting to tell you what you want to know and answer your concerns from my perspective. It’s refreshing. Drop me a line on my About Me Page

Ask for help

img_5283

Fall is here in the Northwest and as my winter pots got re-potted by some loving friends recently, I was reminded of all of the gifts in my life. It would have been easy for me to wallow in depression, I had plenty to feel low about after spending 6 days in the hospital for having a serious obstruction. After having an ostomy for so long, I feel pretty sure I know what to eat, but now and then, I’ll get thrown for a loop when my remaining intestine get kinked and refuse to allow passage. Rest, pain meds and lots of visits from my friends and family and I am home on the mend.

Ask For Help if you need it. The people in your life will feel helpless but want to reach out to nurture you. Stay close to home and allow them to tend to some chores to beautify your surroundings. After mentioning my dying summer porch plants, my dear friends arrived with warm drinks to sip as I bundled up on my deck and they winterized my plants for fall. Now when I open my front door I have a fresh outlook, more than just the flowers in my pots.

Journal with nostalgia and move towards better days

During my time in the hospital, or when I was ill, I often found myself writing about my pain or fears in my journal. Sometimes just getting the words down on paper feels better – for me, it always does. I have always been a journal keeper, and love the feel of a fresh journal in my hands. 

Recently I spent the day at the Seattle Folklife Festival, wandering around enjoying great music, food and checking out all the crafty crafts of the local artisans. I met a delightful journal maker named Jacob in his booth teeming with funky journals made from old books.  It was a bonanza of nostalgia and I dove in searching for books from my childhood and laughing at covers from the 60s and 70s.

About the journals
EACH JOURNAL IS UNIQUE, as in one of a kind. they are all made from recycled book covers and because of it each one is a different size.  Inside the front cover and throughout every book Jacob has retained any beautiful cover pages, illustrations, library cards, maps, inscriptions, or what-have-you found in the book (they find all kinds of beautiful stuff in these old books). and it’s all held together with a black plastic spiral.

There is something so pleasing, I cannot explain it. They are delightful and I couldn’t get enough. Take a look at the amazing selection and find a surprise inside. I chose “The I Hate to Housekeep Book” and to my delight chapter 11 was left in. Chapter 11: How to Look As Good As the Lord Intended. It’s classic! Take a look at the other gems Jacob has at bookjournals.com and get journalling. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling better too.