Shiny New Year

2015.

What can I say? It was a challenging, but overall good year. Looking back, I mentally shake my head and am just filled with wonderment. Partially because I survived. Partially because I had absolutely no idea how my resolution to steadfastly sparkle would bring about some amazing opportunities in my career.

And as I type this, it’s really hitting home that I think that I did an okay job at steadfastly sparkling in 2015. I think this may be the first time I’ve ever really felt the good karma boomerang in my life. It’s a great feeling.

(Someday I’ll need to tell y’all the story of taking my mother-in-law’s ashes to her favorite mountain to … actually, I’ll tell it now because I know that you’ll want to know – skip this if you don’t like morbid humor and/or jovial Australians:

Bruce and I were sort of at a loss as to how to take his mother’s ashes – along with the ashes of three of her cats that we discovered while cleaning her place – to her favorite mountain in Arizona. We finally settled on taking them in the picnic basket in which she always used to keep her creative writing.

It was a bit of a hike on a hot day, and so what do you wear to what amounts to an outdoor funeral that requires a two mile hike to even get to the beginning of the trail? We figured it out, and made our way to this popular trail.

We were nearing the trail head when a man and woman approached who were heading back down. The man was large and looked friendly, and broke into a huge grin as they neared. Then, with a booming Australian accent he declared, “Ah – good! You brought breakfast!” The friendly tourists didn’t break their strides, and neither did we, so lord knows what they thought of our stunned non-reactions.

I think we were so shocked that it really didn’t register until we completed our journey. But once we had returned to our rental car, we burst into laughter/tears. The end.)

Okay. Back to what you came here to read!

The two biggest “boomerangs” have put me in a position to help others sparkle and shine:

The first was stepping into the role of Chair of the School, Children’s, and Young People’s section of the Nebraska Library Association. If you’d told me at the beginning of my library career (about six year ago) that I’d become Chair of SCYP I would’ve said “Chair of WHAT?! What does that even mean?” Actually, a month after stepping into that role I was panicking with the same “what does this even mean?” question.

Now, I need to take a step back and share something that I’ve debated sharing off-and-on, and finally decided on the on side of things: soon after learning that I had been voted the Chair-elect, I also learned that I actually hadn’t won the election. Someone else had won and turned down the position which in turn made me the “winner.” I wasn’t the least bit mad at the true winner (she’s a really awesome librarian) – it was mainly an ego blow. Plus, I was excited to take a crack at the SCYP blog and see if I could turn it into something good (and that’s basically all that I thought I’d do – heh).

But that knowledge caused quite the impostor flare in me. I had no idea what I should be doing. I skimmed the bylaws and was still like what?  And then I got an email saying that I needed to submit my report to the Board Members portion for the upcoming meeting. Rational thought left me and I was like “but what do I even dooooooo?

Let’s take one more step back to the second karma boomerang: I was asked to lead the Nebraska chapter of Storytime Underground. It was a great honor and I was incredibly excited/nervous about getting it going. And then when the day came I was greeted with (from my perspective) crickets. IMPOSTER SYNDROME TIMES 2 OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE I DON’T BELONG AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!!!

Ahem.

And then I did the wisest thing possible in this situation: I emailed a librarian mentor/friend (you need at least one of those – go find one now – I’ll wait). I emailed her and was like IMPOSTER SYNDROME TIMES 2 OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE I DON’T BELONG AAAAAAUGH AND NO ONE LIKES ME WHAT DO I DOOOOOOO?!?!?! (only the panicking doubt went on for several paragraphs)

And she did the most awesome thing. She wrote an email response that set my feet on a better path – not just in librarianship but in my life. She wrote it throughout the course of a day as thoughts occurred to her (not knowing that my mind enjoys and latches onto the random). I even misunderstood one small part, but through that misunderstanding I came up with my game plan not just for 2016, but my career. Did either of us expect this outcome?

And here’s the thing – the path that I realized that I will likely be taking for years to come (hopefully with some fun side-trips as well), all comes back to steadfastly sparkling. I feel a drive that I’ve never felt before: I want to bring as many YS librarians together in Nebraska as possible. And I especially want to make sure that they are aware that there are opportunities to create supportive personal learning networks where they’ll be safe to share and learn from one another. All of this regardless of education level, size of library, or any other reason they may feel imposterish.

See? I was dead serious about finding a mentor/friend. Again, I’ll wait here. Go out and gitcherself one!

To be more concrete for y’all in case you’re like “get over this sparkle stuff,” here are my goals for 2016 (some of which I’ve already done):

Find every NE public library on Facebook that I can. Like them both as myself and on behalf of our library. Y’all should seriously consider doing this. It’s really opened up my eyes to so many libraries doing great things. Even where the entire staff consists of a Director and the Director’s Assistant.

Being the main person overseeing our library’s Facebook page, I can tell you that a single “like” can immeasurably brighten my day. So, to share that sort of delight with someone else out there? It’s awesome.

Also, it leads to my next goal:

Through the Nebraska librarians sharing their fun programs online, I then find the email of the YS librarian who ran the program (or failing that, I reach out to the library’s Director – after all, wouldn’t it be amazing to have your Director forward you an email from an NLA Board Member wanting to learn more and share their event on both the SCYP blog as well as in our local Storytime Underground chapter?).

Which can lead to those librarians joining SCYP and/or StorytimeU NE. But if neither of those things happen? Then I know that somewhere in NE someone is hopefully pleased to catch the eye of someone “important.”  Heh.

Finally:

I’ve been creating an epic spreadsheet of Nebraska libraries breaking them down into who belongs to the NLA/SCYP, the YS librarians (if any) or Director, and their contact info. I’ve already gotten through the hundreds of SCYP members, and am currently into the E‘s of Nebraska cities. Yes, by the time I’m done I’ll have around 500 contacts. Yowsa! But cool.

And what will I be doing with this epic list? I’m hoping to write a nice note to libraries/librarians not a part of the NLA letting them know who I am and why I care who they are.

Let me tell you what: I’ve already reached out to a handful of libraries who aren’t in the NLA, but that have shared great ideas on Facebook. I’d say that I’ve gotten a response from about half. But of those half? They’ve been FAB-U-LOUS and any doubts that I may have had about sending out “cold emails” have evaporated.

And that about rounds out my resolutions to rock for 2016.

It’s gonna be an interesting year – I hope!

Goodness

Warning: the following post is very wordy and pretty philosophical in nature. In other words it’s really not like most of my other posts ’round here. I won’t feel bad if you skip it. Promise.

For those who brave my musings – I’ve sprinkled the post with pictures that combine my Hafukiti and quotes about goodness. This is mainly for fun, but I also know how I feel when I read a lengthy blog post with no pictures. I likes me some pictures.

Writing this post has been at the back of my mind for awhile, and once I realized that I needed to write this post, another realization occurred: it was time to shake things up in Hafuboti-land. So, for several weeks now I’ve been really mulling over my thoughts and feelings, and how I wanted them reflected on this site, and with my work.

The cause of all of these thoughts was due to one of fibromyalgia’s most frustrating aspects: it wreaks havoc on my mental functions (mainly memory – it’s called “fibro fog”). However, there was one time this issue was actually kind of awesome: my incorrect memory of something Bryce from Bryce Don’t Play posted on Facebook has become a quasi-mantra in my life.

Here’s the post:

Here’s what my mind remembered:

A longtime friend of Bryce’s had asked her when she was younger why Bryce never complained or talked bad about people, and Bryce’s response? “What good would it do?” And she still has that perspective today.

And that really-close-but not-quite-right memory came to me after my Director talked about taking the high road during a staff meeting. And both her and Bryce’s words created one of the most profound paradigm shifts that I have ever experienced. I suddenly saw the question of “what good would it do?” in a completely different light. It was suddenly not a frustrated cry, but a genuine question of “what good would it do?”

What good will I accomplish (in this world that so desperately needs goodness) if I behave this way?

What good will come of me griping about a person or situation?

Since that profound change in perspective I now try and question myself before I say or write something (beyond the normal chatter – I don’t want it sound like I’m questioning every little thing, cuz I’m not). It may not be a deep questioning, but it’s more of trying to sense what would be or cause good in the situation.

For example, while writing a blog post, I’ve begun thinking of things like this:

Should I write about or leave out part of my experience? Would one of those options help someone out more than the other? Would not sharing this information mislead someone in any way?

I think y’all probably get the gist.

It seems ridiculously simple (because it pretty much is), but it’s been very powerful in my life and since this attitude adjustment I’ve been more aware of how the goodness grows.

With all that in mind, I looked at how Hafuboti was built on creating and selling ornaments. Over time, the whole selling side of things has become less and less important to me. And I feel that this blog has morphed into something good for the library world. So, my tongue-in-cheek tagline of “upcycled ornaments for the insanely beautiful” no longer fits. My new tagline (“little bits of good”) is inspired by something Desmond Tutu said:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Those words really get at the heart of what my “what good will it do” question means to me.

So, what does this all mean for this here blog? There actually won’t be a heckuva lotta noticeable changes. People who opted not to read this post might notice a few cosmetic changes, but that’s probably it.

While I still plan on making ornaments, I believe it’s time to leave Etsy. I haven’t been a fan of the changes they’ve been making recently, and for me the ornaments have never been about making money. I’m looking into options for selling from my blog (after all, I still love the creativity and making something that someone will enjoy), and will get that up and going sometime in the near future. If you were waiting for me to list more ornaments, then don’t hesitate to reach out to me and request one. I can probably swing it.

That’s about it. I thought I’d share the what and why of my new mission of this blog. It’s always been an underlying current, but I feel like it needs to become the foundation.

And to wrap things up: two images that I enjoy, but didn’t seem to quite fit into the body of this post:

 

#LibraryZOMG

The following post is full of gifs in attempt to lighten up the bummer aspects – after all, I’d rather laugh than cry. You have been warned. Proceed at your own risk.Murphy’s Law was in full force after I’d published my #LibraryYES post. I believe that it was the very next day that Julia gave us her two weeks’ notice. Then the following week Brittany did the same.  One of the notices was expected, the other was completely out of the blue.

I cried. Openly. At my desk.
marc anthon
What can I say? I love my team. I guess that I should be happy that I didn’t mistakenly believe that they’d been killed in a horrible baking accident.

But the other thing causing me tears (hey – I’m not completely selfless) was realizing how brutal our summer would be. We were already working with a skeleton crew, and this meant hiring and training people during summer programming. I was already working alone part of many days, and with my fibromyalgia I was scared of having a flare when I was on my own.

Seriously, I had such a bad flare on the day that I was to start training our new Young Adult Librarian that when he arrived, he found me on the ground behind the Director’s desk – fetal, crying, and waiting for Bruce to come pick me up. We laugh about it now, but I was so embarrassed and frustrated that my body gave out when I was SO excited to welcome him to our team. HUGE shout-out to the rest of our team who made him feel welcomed and showed him the ropes in my place!

There were other super icky work issues that came up during this time. One that took until today to resolve. Needless to say, these things caused me both physical and emotional pain.

Did I mention that Bruce and I moved during this time? Into a rental house – neither of us ever having lived in a house since we’d become adults? A house that we’ve been partially renovating and fully painting? And where we’ve been rediscovering the joys of yard work?

Yeah.

So, I stepped back from my online presence. I wasn’t enjoying work as much (it was a daily struggle), and I didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm for anything library-related. Even my own #LibraryYES idea. How could I loudly proclaim YES when everything work-related seemed like a NO?

The answer: I couldn’t. At least my mortal enemy hadn’t cut off my hand and then revealed himself to be my father while I dangled precariously on some sort of ledge-thing. Uh, spoiler alert?

I’ve had rough times before, but nothing super-major since starting up this-here blog. Heck, I originally started this blog after my horrible mono experience when I wasn’t finding a creative outlet at work (things changed, obviously – and thankfully). And I’m guilty of making what I do look as fabulous as possible online. After all, it’s not that fun to read about someone else’s struggles (unless you’re like “schadenfreude – awww yisssss!”).
It’s even lesser-fun to admit struggles and fails. But after being part of an email discussion between a group of amazing library ladies ::waves hi to Amy, Sophie, Laura, and Erin::, we came to the conclusion that we all have the tendency to want to glaze over, ignore, or trivialize all of the hard work and even failures that occur more often than not in our work. (Now that the summer craziness is behind, I truly hope that we can return to our brainstorming and eventually share our ideas with the world – I have high hopes for where we’re heading).

Yeah, I made a pair of giant fuzzy dice. Did I share that I managed to burn my fingers a bajillion times, or glue one part of a die onto the carpet? Nope. I just left it out.

Did I mention that I took a full eight hours to create some artwork used on an event flyer? Nope, I post the work and don’t even comment on how hard I worked on it. FYI: if it’s artsy-fartsy, then it probably took me more time than you’d imagine, or that I’d want to admit.

My Halloween spiders that I mentioned having a “small crafting meltdown” over? I was ugly-crying at my desk because it wasn’t working like I’d wanted it to (it was after close and no other staff members were around – thank goodness).
I definitely glossed over this and many other things.

Does this make me a terrible person? Nope.

Does this make my blog full of LIES?! Nope.

But I’m determined that going forward I’ll be even more honest about the struggling aspect of things. I do not want to be the cause of new librarians questioning their abilities because I make it look easy. Generally, things aren’t easy. But many of us persevere, improvise, and bullheadedly continue on and get it done and/or sweep it under the hot glue marred carpet. Then some of us frame the writing and pictures just riiiight to make it look like a gorgeous breeze.

::snort::

So there you have it: why the lack of posts here, there, and everywhere online, and sort of my vision statement going forward on this here blog.

 

More Roll Than Rock

I have seen so many inspirational and fabulous blog posts since 2015 began from some amazing youth service librarians across the country because of Storytime Underground‘s awesome Resolve to Rock challenge. Like Bryce at Bryce Don’t Play, I generally don’t make resolutions (especially since in the past all of my New Year’s resolutions failed). But, like her, this whole concept got me all thoughtful-like.

When I think of “rocking,” I think of awesome concerts where a large and wide variety of people get together for an amazing and unique cultural and creative experience. It takes a great group of musicians working together to be the nexus of why everyone’s there and who are working towards a collective experience that all enjoy. Yup. I totally get the connection with libraries and their communities.

That all said, this is what comes to my mind when I think of being part of a rock group:

I mean, two out of four members of Coldplay look like a sweaty mess who are ready to collapse. Those other two? Meh. Probably extroverts.

As I went into late last year on my blog, I’ve been diagnosed with the fibromyalgia. And that’s become my focus ever since: how the heck to manage it. I mean, I hate the pain (which has been less and less – huzzah!), but the random sudden exhaustion is the worst. I go from my perky/happy self to this:

All this said – I think that I’ve come up with my own version of Resolve to Rock for those of us who have limited physical abilities (or who tend to overexert themselves). Behold! I resolve to Steadfastly Sparkle:

Bright, cheerful, and slightly insane? Yeppers. But let’s break down this epic image, shall we?

Anyone recognize that crystal?

Yup, it’s totally The Dark Crystal. I used it since crystals are sparkly and I love Jim Henson’s work and style. When I think of The Dark Crystal, I think of an epic new direction that Henson took his company – and how it blew my little mind. I could go on and on about this aspect, but it’s really the sparkle I want to focus on here:

Crystals and other sparkly things reflect light and can create beautiful glittering prisms. I can no longer “rock” like I like to do, but I think this upcoming year will be one of reflection – both internal and external. Externally, what I want it to be is reflecting others and their awesome light. Crystals on their own look like boring stones. It’s not until an outside source of light hits them that their true beauty is revealed. Therefore, I hope to really be more of a positive mentor and (seated) cheerleader for the library community.

Wonder Woman’s tiara? I’m all about the Power Pose. Since childhood I have loved Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman, and to this day I still try and be a wonder-filled woman.

I think most of what being a Wonder Woman is  about is pretty self-explanatory. But, I try and remind myself that what I do on a daily basis affects the next generation of girls growing into their own Wonder Women, and I hope that I can inspire them as much as Linda Carter inspired me.

You may be most curious as to the crazy eyes/nose. Anyone? Bueller? They belong to Animal from the Muppets. Again this ties in my love for Henson’s work. But furthermore, I’ve been seeing myself more and more like Animal as I go down both my career and life path.

I hold myself and others to very high expectations. So if expectations aren’t being met, I get stressed (and sometimes angry).  This needs to change, and trust me, I’m working on it.

I also get very excited and passionate about certain projects. Internally (and okay, sometimes externally) I look like animal freaking out over his drums. I’ve been trying to cultivate my “Inner Floyd Pepper” – Animal’s friend and bandmate who focuses Animal with “Sit. Stay” command.

I mean, I loved those snowflakes I did for Decemberley, but they about killed me. Seriously, I was so hardcore about getting those up in a few hours that I caused an exhaustion flare that I’m still trying to fully recover from. It was a very painful lesson that I hope that I’ve learned.

So, when you put all of these things together, and caption it with Steadfastly Sparkle, what I think it ultimately means is this:

I can no longer be as hardcore as I’ve been. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do awesome things – I just need to be more willing to support and be supported. If I take my time, and pace my rhythm, then I should be able to steadfastly perform for years to come.

And basically that shiny things are awesome.

(Yeah, I think I totally need that sign for my office)

The Chronic Librarian

This is one of those rare “Life ‘n Stuff” posts – so feel free to skip it if you’re here for the decor and general library stuff. Seriously – you won’t hurt my feelings.

I actually debated for a few weeks on whether or not to address what was going on with my health on my blog. But then I read the amazing Jen’s post about her agoraphobia on Epbot, and I thought that through sharing my struggles, I could maybe help someone else out there going through a similar struggle to my own. I also think that this is a form of therapy for me: getting it out there so it feels less like an issue.

About three years ago, I had several health setbacks: I had four consecutive bouts of strep throat and then within a month or two I came down with a terrible case of mono.

When I say it was terrible – it was terrifying: both my spleen and liver almost ruptured. After surviving that, I never felt good. I put on 70 pounds and felt like I still had a light case of mono. I tried working out again (prior to my illness I was a lean-mean workout/running machine), and the workouts seemed to sap my strength vs. invigorate me. I would also radiate heat like a furnace.

I could break down the next two years where I struggled to live an okay life, but then this post would be five times as long. So, to escalate it even quicklier: I changed doctors and she discovered I had hypothyroidism. She ignored some new symptoms (all over body pain and exhaustion), and old symptoms (my overheating, which made no sense with hypothyroidism), and put me on a crazy diet. I felt worse.

I found a new doctor and he adjusted my medications, put me on some pain pills, but then the pain came back worse than ever. He then sent me to a rheumatologist. And after chatting a few minutes, then poking/prodding me a bit, he had a diagnosis for me: fibromyalgia. He called me the poster child for fibromyalgia – between possible triggers and my symptoms, he could check off “yes” to almost every single one.

It was a shock to get my diagnosis, but it was also a HUGE relief to know what was wrong and that it wasn’t going to kill me. However, it was likely a life sentence of pain and fatigue being given to me. Only around 25% of people with fibro go into remission – not great odds, but by golly, I’m going to hope that I’m in that quarter-percentile group.

I also have to say that I’m extremely lucky that it took less than a year from when my fibro truly flared to when I was diagnosed. Many patients go for years and years and from doctor to doctor doing tons of tests to eventually get to a proper diagnosis.

The other thing I’m very grateful for is that I have this during a time when fibromyalgia is acknowledged as real, and not just “in your mind” in the medical community. I think that if a doctor had told me that the pain was in my mind, I would have tried to get their license pulled. All-encompassing/debilitating pain during one of the happiest times in my life being all in my mind? Not so much.

So, I’m still figuring out how to manage my new reality. My mother, who has a different chronic condition, has been such a huge support and teacher in terms of handling something like this. Thankfully, I also have an amazing job filled with amazingly supportive people. I wrote a frank email to everyone explaining what was up with my health. And since then, if I’m doubled-over in horrible pain (all it takes is one joint in one finger to flare – which my pain flares feel like the repeated full impact of the body part getting slammed in a car door for a minute or so), then whoever’s nearby makes sure that I’m okay, and that the library keeps functioning normally.

What things would I say to someone going through uncertain health issues?

Trust yourself. Don’t go crazy on “web doctor” sites and freak yourself out. I always suspected something else was wrong beyond my hypothyroidism. I actually said to my newest doctor “this is what I would imagine fibromyalgia would feel like” over a month before my diagnosis.

Also, find someone or a group of someones to support you. My family was a great help during this time, but Bruce was my constant helper/cheerleader. I tend to err on the side of being stoic, and he’s really good at seeing through that wall I put up (and then gently/considerately nudging at its foundation).

And, of course:

General notes about what’s helping me with this syndrome (that might help you if you’re in the same chronic boat):

  • Tai chi, tai chi, tai chi! I felt immediately better after doing Gaiam’s AM Tai Chi (and no, they are not paying me for this endorsement). I actually was questioning if I’d taken my Tylenol the first morning that I did it – and that was amazing. Tai chi is like a moving meditation – it’s wonderful. I’ll be getting a few more DVDs and I’ll be sure to update this post on whether or not I like them too.
  • Yoga’s good too, but it doesn’t have the same effect on me. But with everything I do in terms of working out, I look at it as a necessary medication. I do it, and I usually will feel better. I don’t do it? I’m not going to feel better.
  • Meditation. Stress can be a trigger for flares, and so I’ve begun practicing more consistent meditation. I bought several cds (neither one is worth mentioning here) that mainly focus on stress relief and breathing. They do help some, and breathing is one way that can help me through a sudden spike in pain.
  • Visualization and other bizarre techniques. One medical paper I read suggested that patients with fibromyalgia should view their energy as pennies and that we have a daily piggy bank to invest those limited pennies in. This has really helped me determine what’s worth my energy every day. Is it worth running around like crazy to get the reshelve cart reshelved? Usually the answer to that is no – I can take my time, and if it doesn’t get taken care of today, then there’s always tomorrow.

    (^^^super-ultra-nerdy Doctor Who reference – sorry non-Whovians)
  • In terms of my personal bizarre technique: many times when I’m aching or there’s a body part that I can tell might start acting up, I begin talking to it in my head. Usually with cartoon voices, or other famous actors. One of my favorites is a variation on Madeline Kahn’s “burning” monologue from the movie Clue. I think this sort of distracts me from the pain, and sort of derails a possible downward spiral.
    There are a lot of other “body sense” and mental tricks that you can learn/do pretty quickly in terms of pain management. There are some great blog articles on Psychology Today‘s website that I have found helpful.
  • Low-impact cardio! Bruce and I went out within a week of my diagnosis and bought the cheapest treadmill we could find. The rheumatologist told us that cardio can reduce the pain by 40%, but not doing cardio could increase the pain by 20%. Let me tell you: pain relief is one of the best motivations for working out I’ve ever had.
  • Space heaters! I was having a rough day at work: the aching was getting progressively worse in my forearms and calves. I was about to take Tylenol when I decided to put on a space heater since there was a chill in the air. In less than two minutes, the pain was completely gone.This trick hasn’t worked every time, but it generally helps a great deal.
  • Sleep and having a regular sleep schedule is super-important. I’ve never stuck to such a regimented schedule since becoming an adult. I think that it definitely does help, and it also helps me know when my body is actually fibro-ing vs. me being a night owl. 2 mg of melatonin has also helped me get to sleep faster (my mental wheels tend to do a lot of spinning as I try to go to sleep and the melatonin stops them in their tracks).
  • Cymbalta – it’s more than an antidepressant, it can help with fibro pain. This is what my most recent doctor put me on a few weeks before I got in to see my rheumatologist, who then told me to up my dose. It definitely has helped a ton.

    I want to bring up this specific medication because I had a scary side effect that I couldn’t find a whole lot about on the web: muscle spasms/tremors. They were disruptive and kind of freaky – I tried to make light of them at work (singing “shake it like a Polaroid” if I got an especially noticeable spasm) but I was worried that they’d never go away.

    I mean, from what I could find, about 900 out of 42,000 people have this side effect – and nothing indicated that the shaking would go away.I want to put it out there that this side effect went away for me (both after my initial dose, and then the upped dose) after about 3 weeks.

    Right now I only get a little shaky if I’m under a lot of stress, and even then it’s nothing like it had been during the second week of Cymbalta. So, if you happen to stumble across this post looking for someone’s personal experience with this side effect, then please know that there is hope.
  • Last, but not least, like I mentioned above, having some sort of support is so very important. Having Bruce there to listen and support me was priceless. When it was nearly impossible for me to drive, he drove me to my doctor appointments. When I was overheating yet again, he gently would point out that I should really find out why my body was doing that.

    (^^^some of my favorite pics of Bruce: his suave senior photos – they make me smile every time)
    Like I mentioned before, having watched my mother go through a much more distressing chronic disease diagnosis, and her speaking with me about it, has also been invaluable. She went through, and is still going through some rough times – but she has shown me how not to give up, and how to keep living better than ever when faced with a life sentence. She’s also taught me about how much humor can help. She’s my hero.

    Also, something quite coincidental happened during the time right before I was diagnosed with my condition: I was taking a fabulous Youth Services Managment continuing education course led by Marge Loch-Wouters, and one of the final discussions was about keeping it zen at work. Without knowing it, everyone who shared a technique in that discussion was supporting me. I appreciated those suggestions when I first read them, but less than a week later I had my diagnosis, and those suggestions became precious.

    So, try seeking out advice from people who seem to let stress roll off their backs. Or do some internet searching. I was really touched when this post on Mindfullness in the Library recently came up on the ALSC blog.

This is a lifelong journey that I’ll be sure to update from time-to-time – I really don’t want to make this condition a focus in either my life or blog. I mean, the pain is already vying for most of my attention, and most days I stubbornly keep going. I’ve also gotten better at knowing when I need to throw in the towel and be prone at home. That said: the rare days where I feel good – like pre-illness/conditions good – I deeply appreciate those times more than I ever did before.