75 Hours Until What ! ?

Modeling my hiking backpack, my 70 liter dry-bag duffel, and my hula hoops which are my carry on item (they will be coiled down for the flight). My bags each weigh about 35 pounds- well under the 50 pound weight limit!My niece, Jody, has made an appearance on my blog before with her poem Yo Soy (I Am). And now she’s off to Panama to join the Peace Corps. I’m reblogging her post because I’m so proud of her!

The Journeys of Jodiva

Hello my dear blog followers!

I figured I would write one last blog post before I depart for Panama! Since my last post I have experienced a whole series of “lasts.” I had my last day of babysitting, my last day volunteering at ESL as well as Citizenship Literacy class, my last Zumba class, and my last time seeing a lot of family members and friends. Crazy to think that in less than a week I will be experiencing a whole new series of “firsts!” Pretty exciting.  With some of my free time lately I have been packing as well as having a couple going away parties. Thanks to everyone who came to my parties!!!

So on Monday, Feb 23 I am flying from STL to Miami. Peace Corps is putting us up in a hotel near the airport. On Tuesday, we have staging (orientation) almost all day. On Wednesday, we have to be ready…

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Wise Women Share Thoughts on Self-Compassion

selfcompassionsaturdayUnderneath virtually all of our suffering lies a lack of self-compassion. When Jill Salahub, author of the blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray, realized this, she began the series, Self-Compassion Saturdays. She interviews women bloggers (artists, writers, coaches, and a psychologist—me) all about self-compassion: what it means, what it looks like, and what they still want to learn. Jill is putting together an e-book based on these interviews. Be sure to subscribe to her blog so you don’t miss it when it’s complete!

I’ve shared highlights of each interview on my Psychology Today blog . Sorry to make you click over–search engines (and Psychology Today) don’t like it if you put the same content two places. Click here to read the full post. Thanks!

The First Race

My brother, Bill, with my parents after the race.

My brother, Bill, with my parents after the race.

My brother, Bill, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease several years ago. In late November 2012, he underwent brain surgery to implant deep brain stimulators in the hope that these would help control his symptoms. If you haven’t already, you can read/see more about Bill’s amazing story in this blog post, My Brother, My Hero, My Friend.  Two months after the surgery, the doctor gave Bill permission to resume exercising. Just seven weeks later, Bill competed in a 5K race in Jefferson City, MO. He covered the hilly terrain in 29:44.

Bill enjoys running and says it is actually easier to run than it is to walk. He sets concrete, achievable goals. He says he likes to focus on running because “Parkinson’s is too big.” His next running adventure is in 3 weeks: he’ll be on a marathon relay-team in St. Louis.

He is feeling much better since the deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. He is back at work full-time. He says he feels hopeful and he sees that he has his whole life ahead of him. I’ve been doing a lot of video interviews with him, and will post more as I can. For any friends and relatives reading this, Bill has said numerous times that he couldn’t have done this without all of your love and support!

Check out Bill’s running story in this short video:

A big shout out to my son for helping me (A LOT) with this video.

Here’s a picture of my husband, Greg, who also ran, the race, with Bill.

Greg and BillMarch 17, 2013

Greg and Bill
March 16, 2013

My Brother, My Friend, My Hero

I am so excited. I have been waiting to share these videos until I got the okay from my brother. Bill has early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. He’s managed pretty well with medication over the years, even running several half-marathons and completing triathlons. But the medications were wearing off sooner and sooner, so he and his doctor decided the time was right for brain surgery (Deep Brain Stimulation). He had the surgery at Barnes Hospital, a part of Washington University Medical Center, about 8 weeks ago. I don’t want to write out the whole story now (some time I will). Let me just say that my brother is an amazing person! We’ve always been close, and I’m honored that he’s having me document his journey on film. Our end plan is to submit a 5-minute piece to the American Academy of Neurology Film Festival to help raise awareness of brain disorders. These are kind of practice pieces, although I’m sure many of the clips will end up in the final version. And I’ll definitely have a longer version for our family. I did the filming and editing with a little help from my son (who also drove me to St. Louis for Bill’s DBS programming session). I couldn’t have done all the driving myself.  Bill is back to work full-time and training for a 5K on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and he plans to run a half-marathon close to his 50th Birthday in August.

What’s With the Cane?

A Big Step

Here are a few pictures.

DBS surgery is four to six hours long with the patient awake.

DBS surgery is four to six hours long with the patient awake.

Bill with Dr. Tabbal, one-week post surgery
Bill with Dr. Tabbal, one-week post surgery

Bill completing his first triathlon in 2007.
Bill completing his first triathlon in 2007.