Handling low self esteem
This is a busy time of year for most of us, and there are days when we
could all use a few extra hours. This is also the time of year when
many of us are attending family functions and parties. Because of this,
a woman fighting sarcoid asked me the following question. "I love
the holidays, and all the events surrounding it, but I am fighting a bad
case of self esteem due to the side effects of sarcoid. Do you have
this, and how can one overcome these feelings?"
Great question, and the simple answer to this, is you bet I do. Weather
you have sarcoid or not I think all people, if they are honest, have days
when their self esteem is less than what they would like it to be.
sarcoid, like many illnesses, there can be problems that are visible to
others, be it arthritic joints, skin lesions, difficulty getting around,
or any number of problems. The thing I have found when I am having
a "bad Dee day," is to remember everyone has them regardless, and to remember
we are our own worst critic, and we always see things in ourselves no one
else sees. Something that helps me when I am having one of these
days is I work real hard on not dwelling on this imperfections that are
looming over me like a big black cloud, and I tell myself over and over
that I need to focus on the things that make me who I am, and not whatever
it is that might be bothering me that day. I might add here, when
you are having a really bad hair day, who doesn't, it is pretty hard to
not focus on that, but this is what helps me. As a child I was taught that
more often than not things are never quite as bad as I would like to believe
they are, and if I dwell on them it will only make the problem worse.
Something I have said before in my articles, but I think is worth repeating,
is that no matter what happens to us in our lives, we must all remember
we are the same people we were before we got sick. Okay so granted there
are changes, and our lives get turned upside down at times, but who we
are deep inside, this is what really counts. As long as we don't
lose sight of this, we can face and deal with almost whatever it that life
Poor self esteem hits us all from time to time, but it will pass.
If only we smile, we can outshine those around us. Until next time,
remember you are all in my prayers and heart. God bless you.
Love and Hugs,
How to handle fatique
Hi from Sun City, Arizona.
Dolores O'Leary sent me an e-mail yesterday asking me to "try my mind with
a bit of exercise," as she called it. She wanted me to write an article
on fatigue. She was correct in that I did have to try my mind, because
fatigue is just there, not something we try to break down and really think
The best way for me to define fatigue would be for you all to think about
all the work that is involved in preparing for a big dinner or event.
For example Thanksgiving or Christmas. For days you work on all the
preparations, and by the time the event arrives, you are so tired all you
can think about is a nice long nap with lots of pillows and your favorite
comforter. There is just one problem to doing this, with people arriving
and last minute details there is no way you make this picture become a
reality. All you can do is put on a happy face and forge ahead.
Fatigue for many of us is not just when we have overworked or prepared
for a special event, but it is something we live with day in and day out,
hence the words forge ahead really fits. For many of us this is how
we live our lives.
It is very emotional for us to feel like this because of the pressure we
put on ourselves to be the person we once were, and many people expect
us to continue to be. It is like being a candle that flickers when
a breeze hits it. It doesn't quite go out, almost but not quite.
This is fatigue. We flicker but we don't quite burn out, hence the
pressure of being different from we once were causes extreme stress and
anxiety, and it can be very difficult at times.
To explain how I cope, is like most of you cope. We push our bodies to
their limits and then we pay physically. For me, I know this will
happen, yet I am as guilty as many of you, again and again I push perhaps
trying to prove to myself that I don't have this problem, or whatever it
is you like to call it, and I try to overcome it. To give in to it
for me would be like giving into sarcoidosis, and I refuse to give in to
either one of them, or let them beat me.
Dolores asked how my family copes with this. Everyone gets tired
so we don't make a big thing of it. It is simply something that happens
and we go on with our lives. I have never allowed my life to revolve
around this disease. I am Dee, not a disease with a strange name as I have
said so many times, so sarcoid and all the side
effects is not something
we dwell on.
Because I also suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis, and costochondritis
along with the sarcoid, fatigue is my constant companion. One thing
I do that seems to help me is that I try to pace myself and realize everything
does not have to be done yesterday. Being an A+ type personality
this is something I have had to work on and continue to work on.
By taking what I refer to as a rest time helps me.
Pain also causes a lot of fatigue so something as simple as sitting here
at the computer is something I have to monitor each and every day.
When I become overwhelmed with the pain and fatigue, I stop and drink a
cup of mint tea, listen to some music, read a book, or play with my cats.
All of the above are great stress relievers for me and help the fatigue
as well. Keep in mind all of the above are very relaxing and they
can put you to sleep, but if they do this is okay. Sleep is healing,
and there are times when this is the only thing one can do when dealing
with this malady called, "fatigue."
I hope this has helped in some small way define how I define fatigue. Until
next time, may God bless you all.
Love, your friend,
How I handle the fears and
the unknowns of this disease
Once again it is time to chat with you. I have been asked by a lot of you
the following questions, and how I deal with them. I will answer
them to the best of my ability.
I've been asked, how do
you handle the fear of sarcoidosis, and the fact you live with so many
unknowns in regards to the disease?
Each day that passes we all face fear in some dimension, be it fear something
will happen to family or friends, the fear of not doing what is expected
of us at work or home, the fear of saying the wrong thing to someone
and hurting their feelings, and last but not least, the fear
illness will strike, and our lives will be turned upside down.
These are but a few of the fears we face, and it is something no one can
escape. For many of us, one of these fears became a reality,
and this reality hit us like a roaring lion.
The name of this fear is a disease,
many have not heard of, a disease called, sarcoidosis. Because doctors
do not know what causes this disease, we are constantly being plagued
with unanswerable questions.
The medication we are given to
help ease the problems we face, often are not tolerated, and even if it
is, we pay in regards to the side effects. This it itself constitutes
fear, not to mention more questions as to why we aren't getting better.
It can be difficult facing the unknowns of sarcoid, and dealing with it
on a daily basis, but with each day that passes, I know thanks to research,
there is more knowledge on this insidious disease, and this gives us all
This disease with the strange
name has been my companion for over twenty-two years. It is not a
companion I chose, and it has been one I fight each and every day.
My goal is to one day rid myself of this unwelcome factor in my life, and
you bet I am going to fight until this becomes a reality.
Having said this, I believe answers are close at hand. Living with
this unwelcomef guest is difficult at best, and for many of us with chronic
sarcoid, our dreams, and what we were once able to do has become something
of the past. One thing before I continue, is that this does not mean
our life must end, and we can't focus on dreams that are with-in your reach,
because we can, and this is what I have done for the past twenty-two years.
Had I not this disease would have controlled every aspect of my life.
I live with sarcoid and the fear it imparts one day at a time. I
try not to dwell on the negatives, and thanks to the internet, and of course
the old fashioned way, I write letters, and I try to give hope to friends,
and others who are also fighting this disease. By doing this it is
also gives me hope.
As we all know, we gain strength
in numbers. I believe each day is a gift from God, and living with sarcoid,
I have come to realize what a special gift it is. I'm thankful for
the good days, and when it is "bumpy" I try and not dwell on it. This only
makes the journey worse. Do I always succeed? Of course not. There
are times I become really discouraged, and frightened, but like a bad storm,
if I tough it out, and not succumb to the fear I am feeling, I can fight
my way through this difficult period and be stronger. Just like winning
in a game or in sports, there is a good feeling knowing you have tried
your best. Even if you don't win, the fact you have worked hard and
been part of the team gives you immense self satisfaction.
Something else to remember,
the sun always shines bright after a storm. If you think about it, the
two things we all have that no one can take from us is a fighting spirit,
and hope. Regardless of what we face in life and the circumstances
we are facing, this hope and the belief it is going to get better will
get us through the rough times. This is how I have learned to live
I chose from the onset of this
disease, in as much as I could, to control it and not let it control me.
Having family, friends, and the support of others battling this disease
has also helped me. You bet sarcoid is difficult to deal with, as
are all illnesses and problems we face in life are, but together as a team,
we can and we will defeat this monster called sarcoidosis.
I hope this has helped you. I look forward to hearing from you soon
with your questions. Until next time, you all have my prayers, my
friendship, and my love. God bless you.
Is there hope on the horizon
I don't know about all of you, but it is hard for me to believe fall is
upon us. Living in Arizona, we continue to be the one-hundred's,
so for us it is still very hot. The one thing I continue to miss
about Wyoming is the beautiful fall colors and the crisp air that fall
brings. Each season has its own beauty, but for me, the fall has
As I write you, my heart is filled with optimism.. Along with all of you,
having read about the latest research on rebooting the immune system has
given me hope.. I am thankful for the researchers, their dedication, and
the hard work they have put in to finally allowing those of us fighting
an autoimmune disease to have the hope we have so long awaited..
When I read the article sent on the Internet, I was so excited you could
hear me for a city block. Just think about it, now we really have
something to hold too, and one day all of these diseases that have been
so devastating will be something of the past.. Truly we all have much to
be thankful for.
Like all of you, it is a busy time. Now that my Anthology is out,
it seems the busier I go, the behinder I get, and there are never enough
hours in the day.. It seems the older I become the busier I am.. I thought
it was supposed to be the other way around.. Oh well, who am I to question.
Although my mother is on a special diet, there are times we need to treat
ourselves to something we really like.. With the positive news we have
just received on research, I think this gives us all reason to celebrate,
and so I wanted to close my column with a recipe of mother's that is sure
to be a winner in your home..
Mix all of the ingredients well, and put into a greased pie pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and cover with whipped
cream sweetened with powdered sugar.. Enjoy....
3 egg whites.... beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
12 graham crackers....
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
I hope you will try my recipe and enjoy it.. Until next time, you are in
my prayers and heart..
Handling the possibility
disease may take my life
Love, Your friend
Sure is nice to be back with you to chat. It's always nice to be
with friends and talk about our fears, concerns and sometimes just get
a hug. I always look forward to writing to all of you.
Boy did I get hit with a tough question to answer this week, the question
is : "How do you deal with the possibility that the disease you have may
take your life?" Although it is tough to answer it is important to
talk about, so I will do my best to explain how I feel about it.
all going to die. As the old saying goes, no one is going to get
out of this alive. With that said, I will proceed.
When I was first diagnosed with sarcoidosis, it looked rather grim especially
since I weighed just a bit over seventy pounds. It was a difficult
period in my life, but I decided I would look at this as a battle, and
battles can be won. Oh sure, you may get beat up a bit, and even knocked
out once or twice, but regardless of what it is you are facing in life,
you can fight, and I think this is the key.
There have been times when it has been really difficult, and sure that
little voice somewhere deep down in my inner most depths would say, "Mcdougal,
maybe you won't beat this disease," and I would say, "bet me I won't,"
and one more time I would be back in the war, and I would fight for all
In battles the leaders have to make choices, and they best be the right
choice, or it could cost them the lives of the men they have under them.
We also have choices. If we listen to the doctors, learn our limitations,
and also accept them, then we have control over this disease. If
we decide we can do it alone, and without supervision then we have to be
willing to accept the circumstances.
In my case,have I always made the right choice? Of course not.
There are times I become very impatient with this disease, and I want my
life to be as it once was, but for now that cannot be, so I am listening
to the doctor, I am learning I do have limitations, and I am accepting
them, and I believe that to some degree by doing this it gives me control
over my destiny.
To dwell on death is not part of my make-up. I do not fear death,
because I believe that this body and my life is just temporary, and one
day as the Bible says, there will be no more suffering or death.
This gives me hope, and has always erased any fear that I might have of
death. This does not mean any of us should rush our deaths, and I
think we all should make the most of the time we are given here on earth.
To dwell on dying all the time, takes away from the wonderful life we have
all been given.
In a perfect world, which this is not, we would have no sickness or suffering,
but since we do, I think we all have the choice as to how to deal with
it. It isn't always the easiest thing to do, but with faith in God
we can do it. Death is as much a part of life as breathing, but it is not
something we need think about each and every waking hour.
I don't think God wants us to do this. Be ready, yes, but to fear it so
much we miss out on each beautiful sunrise and sunset, and all the beauty
God has given us would be so sad. I have chosen to accept this disease
as being something I have to live with, but not something that totally
I hope my answer has helped you. Never give up hope, because tomorrow
is a new day, and it well may be the day answers are found. Until
next time, you all have my prayers and my love. God bless you.
How I handle pain
Hello my friends
name is Mcdougal I am a bear, but you are more than welcome to ask me any
questions you would like.. I will do my beary best answer them. I was asked
how Mcdougal handles pain.
This is a tough one. Pain
wears you ouy physically as well as emotionally. I don't want any
of you to think I am a super bear, because I'm not. I'm just a regular
bear, but my faith the Lord won't give me anymore than I can handle.
Sometimes I wonder, But
I really believe this. I try to not dwell on pain, because I find
that when I do it will consume me all the more.
I just happen to be a
writer, so when the pain is really bad, when I can, I sit at my computer
and work on my books. Getting lost in my plot lines helps me a lot.
When the pain is really bad, I head for water. I have been told I am part
Duck, and I use the heating pad. I also listen to music and try to be quiet.
I have a little game I would like to share with all of you. A long
time ago I was given a real cute box with a top on it.. I was told that
when the pain gets bad, to write it down on a piece of paper, put
it in the box, put the lid back on the box. And when I do, I say
"Lord I am giving this to you." With that I let go of it, and get
on with the day. It is funny but by writing it down and putting it
in the little box, I feel better. I have shared this with other people
with sarcoid and also with diseases through the years, agrees this does
help.. At the end of the week throw away the little pieces of paper.. Sometimes
there are lots of pieces of paper.. Sometimes there very few, but I promise
if you will try it that it will help you. Just be certain your little
box has a top on it, so you can close your troubles and pain away after
you put your paper inside. I do hope this helps you.
Well my friends, for today I will close, but please e-mail me with any
question you might have...Have a great day, and may God bless you..
Love, your friend,
The ups and downs
Can you believe summer
is here? Trust me, living in Arizona, I believe it. Quickly
the temperatures are inching their way up into the three digits... I don't
mind the heat, but am having a bit of a problem with the grass hoppers
which are being blamed on El Nino. Of course, lately, everything is blamed
on El Nino.
Recently I was asked how I deal with the ups and downs of sarcoid, and
did it ever get me down.
I have always been positive,
and I credit my parents for this. I was raisd believing it is just
as easy to look at a glass of water as being half full as half empty. These
values have helped me deal with the many changes of sarcoid. I have learned
to deal with the changes sarcoid brings one day at a time and not let this
disease be my whole life..
If by chance I find I am thinking
about it too much, it is a given I will feel worse and my syptoms will
intensify. Some days are hard, really hard.. No one likes being in
pain. The limitations this disease have put on my life is not
Putting this aside, I feel I
have so very much to be thankful for, and I refuse the let the can nots
control my life. It makes life so much easier when I focus
on the can do's.
If I find I am getting down emotionally or physically, then I know it is
time to talk to my doctor, and have him settle my fears. It doesn't
do either one of us any good if I let these fears fester.
My cat, The Muffin, has been
diagnosed with diabetes, and I was told he would be on insulin shots for
the rest of his life.Holding my nine year old pet in my lap made me thankful
for the insulin, and the fact that by giving him the shots I will have
my dear pet for many years to come. Again it is seeing the glass
as half full. The Muffin's vet is great, and will be helping me deal
with this facet of The Muffin's life. To dwell on how bad it will be is
not going to help The Muffin, and it will only stress me... I know
he will be fine, but keep in mind I am not very big, and giving a twenty
pound cat a shot each day may prove a bit interesting. If you think
about it this makes for an excellent visual.
difficult, but when you think about it, even during the "bumpy" times,
we all have so verymuch to be thankful for. Until next time. God bless
Are All Winner
It's great to be chatting with you today.. Always, before I get up in the
morning I say a prayer for all the readers of this newsletter.
Yesterday was a day for growth in my life. I think we all have days
that stand out more than others, and yesterday was my day.. Sometimes we
have them when we talk to another person, or we see something that touches
us in a certain way, or possibly we read something.. For me it was spending
two awesome hours watching the Iron Man from Hawaii on TV with my mother.
To watch all these athletes in itself was magic, but when you look beneath
each person taking part, and look into the whys he or she was doing this
then this is when you were really in awe. All said they grew being
part of this, and as a spectator I grew as well, because in them I could
Each person had his own goal, and the goal wasn't necessarily to be the
first one over the finish line, but rather to overcome an obstacle he might
be facing in his life. This is what touched my heart. One man
was paralyzed and could not walk, yet he completed in all the competitions
and he made it over the finish line smiling all the way. Another
was a man that had lost his leg, but all one could see was the victory
he was feeling, and this is what you saw in him. Another was a woman
who tried to compete last year but failed due to her weight.. She made
up her mind to overcome her weight and enter again this year, and she did.
She too made it over the finish line smiling all the way.. Last but not
least was the father and son team who won the hearts of the world not only
for entering the Iron Man which was a feat in itself, but because the son
who is in his thirties, has muscular sclerosis, and his dad is 59.
He had depended solely on his dad to be in this contest of strength.. We
watched at the father swam pulling his son in a boat, as he peddled the
bike with his son in front, and last running pushing his son all the way.
Even when the bike broke down they completed what they started out to do,
they finished the race. These people in my book are all winners because
they finished what they started out to do, and the smiles each had as they
crossed the finish line would certainly light up an entire city without
any problem.. They all had a special glow and their glow lite up my heart
as well.. To all of these fine athletes I commend you.
Fighting a chronic illness is tough. There are days when you think
you just can't, but just as the father and son team said, "yes, you can."
Can't is not part of their vocabulary and it showed in the love they both
had for each other. To attain one goals it takes faith, work, determination,
and belief in one's self. It makes you realize watching these people
you don't have to come in first to win, but you have to try.. This is the
key, trying. So long as you are doing the very best you can with
each day you are given you are a winner. We are all winners.
Our goal a cure for sarcoidosis, and with each day that passes we are getting
closer to that reality, but we all have to stay in there, do our part,
and yes, fight. Yesterday was a good day for me because once in a
while I need to be reminded there are a lot of wonderful things I CAN still
do, and I'm not giving up just because it happens to be a bit "bumpy."
I will forge ahead to the finish line, not because I want to be first,
but because I want to live to see a cure, and I will.. I owe a lot to these
courageous men and women of Iron Man because along with them I also grew
as a person.
Until next time,
Love and McDougal hugs
and how to
I was asked the following question by several of you. This proves
many of us deal with many of the same problems. The
question was: McDougal, what is the most difficult task you
face, and how do you handle it?
This is an excellent question, because for the most part I think I am on
auto-drive. I've had to make so many changes through the years, most
of what I do, I do automatically. Certainly, I might add, some things
are more of a challenge than others.
Having a perfectionist type personality has definitely gone against me.
The things I could once do in minutes now takes longer. There are
also things I can no longer do at all, which was a big adjustment, but
I have still found ways to accomplish what needs to be done. I believe
this is important for us all.
I have a lot of joint and muscle involvement. Sweats and fatigue
are also a constant reminder of my limitations. To work around this,
each day I set goals, and write them down on a "to do" list. One
thing I learned was not to make my expectations to high, because it was
a given if I did, it would be a certain "stress giver."
I have no choice but to move more slowly, and in the early morning when
my two cats are yelling to be fed, it can be annoying to them that I no
longer move as fast, but they do get fed and things do get done.
Okay, so my days of moving like Super Man are over. That's okay.
It's not what you can't do that is important, it is what you can do, as
I have so often said. If it takes you longer, so what.... If you
find you aren't able to do all that is on the list, due to a "bumpy"
day, that is okay too. As we all know, the things we have to do aren't
going anywhere. They will still be there tomorrow. I've learned
to put what is most important in my life first. The thing that has
helped me most, is that I make every effort not to clutter up my life with
things I know I am unable to do. Speaking of stress, this is it.
Living with a chronic illness is a challenge, but we must never lose sight
we are the same people we were before we got sick. All that is changed
is how we approach life. You know, maybe that's not so bad.
Going more slowly, and even stopping to smell the roses, and yes, even
having that second cup of coffee or tea is nice, and with a chronic illness
we can take this precious time. Anyway it is food for thought.
Until next time, I hope you all have a healthy and wonderful summer.
Love, your friend,