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Earlier this year January 7th to be specific, I woke up one morning and I could not lift my head off the pillow. I had no idea what was wrong. I work out every day, and I thought hmmmm I must have over done it yesterday.

They next day the pain was worse, I could not get out of bed without crying, my partner had to lift me off the toilet. I am going to get personal here, but I was not unable to wipe myself. Combing my hair was impossible. Driving made me cry with pain, because I simply could not get out of the car, What the heck was going on? This had to be more than sore muscles. So, I made my way to the doctor to see what was going on – this had to be more than sore muscles.

I was quickly diagnosed with PMR by my GP. Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition of the muscles and joints that is characterized by stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders, hips, and buttocks.

A million things started running through my mind – how can this be, I was a healthy individual. The only pills I have ever taken my entire life were vitamins. And suddenly, I was going to be placed on this drug called Prednisone – the Devils Tic Tac’s. Prednisone affects your weight, it affects your emotions, you become an emotional wreck, you are constantly hungry, and no amount of eating satisfies you. You cannot sleep on Prednisone. It truly is hell – but it is the only drug that will address the inflammatory markers that are spiked when you have PMR.

Where did this come from, how did I get this? I had so many questions, and no one could really answer them. Even Google did not answer all the questions that were swirling around in my brain.  I knew a little bit about Prednisone as Stella had to be on it for a while. My mind raced back to that time, and I recall how the meds affected her. She hated the pills; I would have to force her to take them. I thought to myself Omg I am on the same thing Stella was on.

I went home with my prescription and became very depressed. Anything I googled said that the cause of PMR was unknown, but it is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissues. This did not make sense to me, I needed to learn more.

I was prompted to go see a Rheumatologist, as luck would have it the specialist in my area was busy and booked solid. Mayo Clinic had a hospital in Rochester Minnesota, about a 3-hour drive for me. This is where I wanted to go. I had the blessing of my GP – so I booked an appointment to get into this amazing facility.

As a Canadian the Mayo clinic is like the Holy Grail – it is the place you want to go to be seen when you are not well. It is the place that our politicians and athletes would be able to visit – but the common Joe could never go there. I was so excited to be able to access the best of the best.

Mayo Clinic was amazing – it was so much more than I can ever say to you. A well-oiled machine – so huge, so many people, but so well run. I saw a Rheumatologist – and went through 2 days’ worth of tests, to rule out things and bring other things to light. The one very interesting tidbit that I learnt about PMR was that stress could be a cause of this condition.

That really sat with me. I mean come on we all have stress; I have had stress my entire life. I mean who does not? But on my ride home I started to do an inventory of 2019. I have to be honest, I had a really crappy 2019 – my favorite Uncle in the whole world passed, my only sister did not tell me that he was dying, I found out through from my cousin. He was on his last legs – I started to panic, I was so far away from him, 976 miles to be specific. I went into overdrive, I canceled appointments that had been set to see clients. I booked flights and a rental car. I had to see this man. He was 105 years old and was not able to communicate with anyone for months because he had suffered a stroke and was wheelchair bound. It was his time; he no longer had the strength to go on. And I was damned, I was going to be there for him, I loved this man so dearly – he was like a father to me. I had to catch 3 flights and rent a car to drive an hour to his senior residence. I was angry, I was scared, I was praying that I would make it in time. I called his nurses and told them to tell him that I was on my way and to please please please hold on until I got there.

I finally arrived at 9:00 pm – the doors were locked. I rang the bell; they were expecting me. I took the elevator up to the 3rd floor and made my way to his bedside. He was alone, which I was very thankful for, the last person I wanted to run into at that time was my sister. I was shocked, I recall my breath being taken away from me, as I looked at his weak body. I could feel my eyes well up with tears. He was alive, and I had made it. I thanked God. I sat next to him, I grabbed his hand and I spoke gently into his ear telling him I was there, I loved him and he could now rest, and let himself go onto his next adventure. He was failing quickly, but he hung on for an hour. We held hands and I talked to him. I memorized every part of his hands.  At one point our eyes locked, and I knew he knew I was there with him. I saw tears well up in his eyes, and he squeezed my hand very weakly. I sat with this dear man and witnessed him taking his last breathe, what an incredible honor for me.

There is a lot more that happened with my Uncle passing – I had a fight on my hands. It was hell – and although I felt strong, I knew I had to fight for what was right.

Fast forward to February of this year and this new diagnosis and I was left wondering, did all the stress from what I was dealing with in 2019, was it affecting my life now? Sadly, I suspect so.

I shared my story with you not to get your sympathy, but to make you aware of being so careful with your own stress. I think our bodies can only handle so much, it is like a gas tank in a car that we keep filling up with gas, and then one day the car cant take any more and the fuel starts to spill out all over the place. I believe this is what happened to me. The scary thing is that I know all about stress, that is one of the areas that I help people deal with in my clinical office. But you know what they say, “The shoemakers children go barefoot.” Meaning we neglect ourselves because we are so focused on serving others.

It is so important to have your grief validated. Tell your story, find your tribe. Don’t sit with your grief alone, join a group where you can be loved and supported. If you are not part of my private FaceBook group I encourage you to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healingsolutionsforpetloss

I am writing a book – it will be available I am hoping Dec 15th. It is now available to pre order.

I also just initiated an idea that I have had for an exceptionally long time. I am creating a secret FaceBook group where people can join for a small monthly fee – $9.99. In this group we will take a deeper dive into grief. I will be doing weekly hypnosis sessions; I will be teaching you ways to deal with your stress and anxiety and guilt. This will be a group for people who are really struggling with their grief. You can pay month to month and leave any time you want. It will all be up to you. I genuinely want to help you heal and understand what you are going through. We can heal together. I have been where you are now.

Sending you so much love ~ Kenda xxxxx

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