March 29, 2010

MCS Improvements Part 10: 3 Days of Outings

I find that my improvements are becoming something I'm used to and I want to make sure I keep posting them to keep track of the kinds of things I can do now and be okay.
During these exposures I sometimes feel tired or spaced out but am still functional.
*note* I get hormonal migraines and so there's about one week in the month when I try not to do 3 days in a row like this or it's more likely I will get a migraine.

  • spent 4 hours waiting in a free tax clinic at the local community centre
  • walked to and from the centre (I'm slowly building up my exercise tolerance)
  • went for walk in some woods in town
  • went for non-organic dinner at Mexican restaurant
  • went shopping at large chain grocery store for about an hour and a half

  • took city bus... BUS! (actually 2 buses) to small book sale at a cafe. Coffee fumes used to knock me flat in minutes. This is a photo I actually took on the bus (on a different day). You can see I'm sitting near people.
  • browsed books, used bathroom twice (reed fragrance oil diffuser)
  • ordered delicious creamed vegetable and curry soup, sat for an hour drawing
  • went next door to a used book store, browsed for 30 minutes
  • got ride to Giant Tiger (kind of like a cross between a teensy Walmart and a dollar store - very stinky) shopped for about 45 minutes

All of this was with no mask except for a few minutes at the bus stop when I held it to my face while someone smoked a cigarette.

The really neat thing about this is that it was 3 days in a row - I used to have very long recovery times but now they are generally very fast and I can go out the next day again.

March 23, 2010

MCS Improvements Part 9: MCS and Magazines - not usually a good mix but...

The title says it all!
For most of my journey with MCS, I couldn't even be in the same room as a magazine, flyer or newspaper without negative reactions.
To my delight, I've noticed that those reactions are getting less and less lately.
I can read through most newsprint flyers or newspapers in small doses with no reactions although I dislike the smell.
I can also look through glossy magazines for longer periods of time - longer than newsprint and much longer than was possible even 6 months ago!

This is particularly exciting to me because I love making collages which magazines, seed catalogues etc are great for.

Here's a happy-that-it's-spring collage I did recently:

March 3, 2010

MCS Healing Tools: Shifting Focus

One of the most valuable tools on my healing journey from chronic illness has been a willingness to shift my attitude and focus.

The process that has worked best for me goes something like this:

  1. Find things that bring me joy to do or think about (gardening, art, cats, nature)
  2. Do them as often as I can
  3. When I can't do them, think of doing them - imagine and envision it as richly as I can
and also, very importantly:

  1. Note what does not bring me joy (thinking about MCS stuff, limitations)
  2. Refrain from doing or thinking about it whenever possible
  3. When I notice myself thinking about something that doesn't bring me joy, STOP
  4. ... and consciously choose to think about (or better yet do) one of the things that does bring me joy

This may seem extremely simplistic or sound like those irritating people who tell us to 'think positive' but it has done wonders for me on my healing journey.

There is a real mind/body connection - and not in a 'new-agey' sense.
When we do things that feed our joy, a whole bunch of positive things happen physiologically in our bodies - making them much more able to heal or deal with stressors, exposures etc.
When we feed our pain, a whole bunch of negative things happen in the body - encouraging illness.
I have read that when we simply think of doing something, similar things happen in the brain and body.  So if we cannot actually DO the things that bring us joy, merely thinking of doing them can have wonderful physical effects - not to mention the great effect on our mood!

A critical part of Shifting Focus is avoiding thoughts that have what I call 'negative hooks'.
I have written more about this, including some more detailed instructions, in this post: Technique to Tap the Healing Power of Love

I'd love to hear what brings you joy to do or think of!
Please feel free to share in the comments area.