Category Archives: Concussion

What is My Why?

17498732_1699579173402640_5592608514390051298_nThis article first appeared on Sassy Direct on August 27, 2017.

Someone asked me recently, “Why Willing Beauty?”  My “Why” is a bit long and involves an ankle brace, a boot, air conditioning, money, and tenacity.

In 2014 I decided I wanted to do a half marathon.  I have never been an athlete, but it sounded like something cool to do when I turned 50.  I didn’t know if I would walk or run, but I knew I would do it.  I had a year and a half to prepare.  I had time to train and choose a race, and I was excited.  I started walking.  One morning I was walking downtown, hitting my stride, and I felt my ankle turn under.  I fell.  Hard.  I hit the ground and I felt incredible pain all over.

People stopped and tried to help me up, and I said no, I’m fine, I’m just a clutz.  I got myself up and limped to a nearby bench.  I looked down to see that my knees and shins were a bloody mess, as was my hand and water bottle (which I had been holding when that hand hit the ground.)  No wonder passers by and the people who tried to help looked so concerned.  I washed them off with my water bottle, sat for a few minutes, and decided to continue on. 

I walked about three miles that morning.  When I got back to my car, I took off my shoes and socks and saw stars.  My ankle had been sore during the walk, but when the sock and shoe came off? It was swelled double, horribly bruised, and it hurt like hell.  The doc said that when I removed the sock and shoe, I released the blood and tissue that was keeping it compressed.  He put me in a brace and sent me to physical therapy.  I had torn ligaments, and I was a mess.

It got better, slowly, and I walked a 5k in that brace in October 2014.  58 minutes, hitting my goal of less than an hour, two months after that fall.

2015 was the year to really train.  I walked another 5K in March, improving on my time by about 5 minutes.  Excellent.  Not long after that 5K, my wayward ankle turned under again.  It was worse than before, and I ended up in a boot.  It took longer to bounce back.

I persevered. I continued walking, increasing my speed. Three friends and I signed up for the Disney Princess 5K to be held in February 2016, a few weeks after I would turn 50.  We needed to be able to walk it with a 15 minute per mile pace or better.  We were gonna DO this thing.  (We really just wanted the T-Shirt and medal.)

In the summer of 2015, my air conditioner decided to begin a slow descent into oblivion.  I poured what I had into keeping it going, as I couldn’t afford a new one.  The financial burden of living on the edge for so many years was taking a toll on me, but I had my walking and Disney to keep me focused.  This was just another bump in the road.

After Thanksgiving, I signed up with a coach, someone who could help me walk my 15-minute mile and reach my goal.   She was affordable, and I really liked our sessions. Things were looking up again.

On December 23, 2015, my air conditioner took its last breath.  It was 90 degrees that day, and we were looking at those temps taking us to the new year.  I was devastated.  I simply could not afford $5-6K for a new system, no matter how I ran the numbers.  You see, I live in Florida.  This was, in my mind, catastrophic.

I dragged myself out, put on a happy face, and spent Christmas with friends.  I tried to push the home issues down and enjoy the day.  There was a visit my bestie, a trip to Tampa for lunch with more friends and then we went to see the new Star Wars movie. It turned out to be a wonderful day and I was thankful.  I actually had fun.  That evening as I was leaving, my weak ankle turned under again.  This time I was on my friend’s front steps and the fall was spectacular.  I’m pretty sure I scared her family.  The ankle was blown again, worse than the first two times.

The next few weeks remain a blur.  Pain. Fear. Anxiety. The boot. My ankle was so bad and I was so miserable.  I spent New Years Day trying to figure out how to change this ridiculous trajectory I was on.  Someone had reached out to me a few days earlier about joining a Direct Sales company.  I decided to see what that was about.  I joined on New Year’s Day, having no idea what I was going to be selling.

2016 was unpleasant. On January 11, 2016, my cat escaped to the garage and climbed up on the loft area over the kitchen.  I climbed a ladder to get her (without my boot.)  I lost my balance and the ladder toppled over.  My head fell 11 feet to the cement floor.  Metal shelving broke my fall.  I miraculously was able to stand up and get myself into the house.  You can see photos and the story here.  An undiagnosed concussion would wreak havoc from then on.

I turned 50 with zero fanfare.  In fact, I was incredibly sick and miserable.  There was no celebration.  I had nothing to celebrate.  I was living with no air conditioning in Florida.  My ankle hurt all the time.  The concussion was bad, and I was having a hard time with simple things like remembering my words and driving.  I struggled with using the products that I was selling.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I stumbled upon a Facebook group whose goal was to provide training to direct sellers.  Proper training.  The group was all about attraction marketing and not spamming.  It was the opposite of what I’d been exposed to, and I decided to learn as much as I could.

Our mother died in April.  She and I had grown estranged for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into.  My brother took the brunt of all the crap that was her life and her final few months.  Suffice it to say, recovering from that took a toll on both of us for a very long time. (I still yell at her from time to time.)  A brief summary of that time can be found in my posts Derailed and Life is a Choice…Just Choose.

Somehow I survived summer.  I got into a routine of when to open the windows when to close them when to leave the house and when to go home.  My business was not going anywhere, mostly because I could not use the product.  How could I sell something I could not use?  I am stubborn and continued to try to make it work.

In September my niece had a baby.  A miracle of life and something positive during a time when my brother was struggling with too many burdens related to our parents. Burdens I could not help with, and for which I will always feel guilt.  I saw that baby as his reward for being a good son.  I was happy for him and his new family.  I was still quietly struggling.

In November our father died.  The parental saga was over.  It had been a horrible, sad, devastating year.  I honestly don’t recall much of the end of the year.  A lot of grief, a lot of anger, and still, a product that I could not use.

2017 arrived and I declared things had to look up.  I would figure out the money and the business.  Living with a brain injury quite literally changed my life, my focus, and my priorities. (And yes, I’m still recovering.)

In February a friend who I’d gotten know in that Facebook group reached out and told me about a new company that was starting and a ground floor opportunity.  I ran the numbers quickly in my head and told her no and thank you for thinking of me.

The problem was, I could not let it go.  I kept running the numbers.  Looking at the opportunity.  Researching the company.  I started saving.  I wanted in on Willing Beauty.  My friend was building an amazing team and had an amazing mentor.  The product was exactly what I wanted to use at a price point I could afford.  I started saving.

In April I surprised my friend and joined.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or how, but I knew I had to be part of this from the beginning.  I had learned so much in the last year and a half, I knew I could make this happen. I began using the product.

My skin loved it.  I had no issues.  NO ISSUES.  I shared HY+5 regimens and an Essentials regimen with close friends and family.  Dry skin, oily skin, combination skin – we all could USE IT!  I resigned from the other DS company to focus on Willing Beauty.

It’s now the end of August.  There have been hiccups and there have been changes.  That is always the case with something new, right?  Willing Beauty officially launched on August 1.  I have customers.  I have a wonderful mentor and an amazing upline.  I’m building a team.  It’s beginning.

I continue to be told that my skin looks really good.  My fine lines have lessened, the tone and texture are better and my skin feels hydrated all day.  This product really IS as good as they said it would be.  What I like almost as much is that I can FINALLY be a walking billboard for what I sell.

Some of my friends, people my age, are beginning to retire.  I obviously didn’t plan as well as they did.  I’m incredibly happy for them, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s in the back of my mind, taunting me.  I see other friends working well into their 70’s, and it’s hard for them, physically and mentally.  Thier lives didn’t turn out exactly as they had imagined either.  It hurts my heart.

At some point in the last few months, I woke up scared. I don’t want a third Florida summer with no air conditioning.  I don’t want to work into my 70’s.  Hell, I don’t want to work into my 60’s.  I’m 51 years old. I need a solid retirement plan.  I need a home that I can live in and not visit each evening to sleep and shower.  I want to swallow my anxiety and put my walking shoes back on.  Walk before Run.  I think it applies to both my half marathon and my business.  Time, training, hard work, enjoy the rewards.

I’m not afraid of hard work.  I’ve worked since I was 14. I know how to work.  I’m devising a plan and creating goals.  I’ve never done that before, so I’m seeking advice.  I WILL transition from working full time and doing Willing Beauty in the off hours to working party time and doing Willing Beauty full time.  Then I will not need a “real job” at all.

The culmination of the last three years is my “Why”.  Willing Beauty is still ground floor.  The compensation plan is great, and the path to get there is doable.  It is DOABLE!  I just have to be willing to put in the work.  Work and sacrifice now to ensure I have a future. Walk before Run.   I’m good with that.

Where can you buy Willing Beauty? You may visit my website at  fiftysetgo.willingbeauty.com and shop our products.  Don’t forget about our 100% Happiness Guarantee! It promises that if our products are not right for you, they can be returned for a full refund, including shipping, no matter if the bottles are full or empty. We believe in our products THAT much!

You may also join my community at www.pennyslounge.com.  There we discuss important topics of the day (like the weather or what kind of milkshakes we like) and share about the journey we call life.  If you’d like to know more, give me a shout at penny.fiftysetgo@gmail.com.  I’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you more.

 

 

 

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What’s Herman Been Up To?


Does a skull fracture heal or just float around? I should probably find this out. I swear that there are days when Herman is bothering me, but not in the usual place.

A CT scan is $300…or $400, in either case, it’s kind of a lot and I’ve not gotten around to it. Yet. I’m thinking I need to, as good ole Herman continues to raise his head now and then. 

Herman doesn’t like extreme heat. When I get overheated, he acts up. It’s summer in Florida. Herman is restless. 

He still does not like lifting or any type of exertion. Damn it Herman, I need to be able to DO things! I need to exercise, and I need to lift things at work without you wreaking havoc the rest of the day. 

Today was one of those days. I lifted a 35 pound or so item up from the floor and into a wagon. I ended up with a headache. My coworker jumped in my case, worried that I’d hurt my back. I didn’t even tell her that I had woken up Herman. He and I simply spent the rest of the day co-existing. 

I think my memory is as improved as it’s going to get. Long term is pretty good. Short term can be spotty. Somethings I remember really well. Some things I don’t. I have noticed that on “Herman Days”, the memory isn’t as good as it should be. I’ve decided I need note cards in my pocket and purse to help me with things I need to know at the drop of a hat. Key points. Elevator speeches. 

One really annoying thing with all this is me trying to learn everything I can about Willing Beauty – the company, the product lines, all of it. Some things have stuck well. Some just don’t stick at all. I find that if I read something over and over, and study a lot, it helps. I didn’t have to study this hard in high school or college!

There is a bright spot in the Herman saga! Yes, I said a bright spot! It’s really exciting. Are you ready??? 

I am able to put more of my head on a pillow. That’s huge. I still sleep at an incline with a pillow under my neck. It’s kinda comfortable, I don’t snore, and I don’t wake up sore. I kind of like it. But I can get more of my head on a pillow for a longer period of time now than I could even six months ago, so that’s good. Plus, it gives the kitties a place to snuggle next to me (they do love a good pillow.)
I’ve begun to wonder, is it all in my head? Maybe I’m all better and my head just THINKS I’m not. Sometimes I think it’s all a dream and I will wake up. Oh how wonderful that would be?!?! I don’t think that is going to happen though, so I need to keep making it work. Herman is, by far, the toughest relationship I’ve ever had! 

Herman’s Return from Vacation

(If you’re new here, I first introduced Herman in Derailed on May 31. I talked about him again a few times, including in Yearly Doctor Visit on January 27, 2017.  Herman is the area of my head that began as a concussion, but I now know is a skull fracture. It’s fascinating to me how the brain and body works. Making him a person in my life has helped me cope with much better than when he was simply “the lump”.  Don’t fall of a ladder and you won’t have to worry about having a Herman in your life!)

Herman has been quiet for a while.  He behaved, he let me sleep at night (with my head on a pillow sometimes!) he didn’t bother me during the day, in fact, I kind of forgot about him…I figure he was on vacation.  Maybe a cruise, or a trip abroad.  Wherever he was, I was happy for the solitude…

…He’s back.  He’s back and he obviously doesn’t like what I’ve been up to!  Herman needs a new hobby. It began on Friday when things got really crazy and hectic at work.  I was working the register, ringing up people who had just finished their fabulous experience at our shop. The rest of the staff was working on helping them get packed up and re-configuring our space to accommodate a class of 18 people the next day.  It was a huge undertaking.

As luck would have it, I got too many questions from too many people, plus the phone began ringing and customers needed attention.  Suddenly, it was as if I was moving in slow motion.  Everything around me was moving at super speed and I was unable to do anything but observe.  I quickly realized that this was not good, and removed myself from the chaos.  I went back to the register, ignored the phone and focused on one customer at a time.

Within about twenty minutes, the store was cleared out, the area re-set, and Herman was bothering me.  The tingly sensation was back, and the dull throb began.  He’s been with me for four days now.  He doesn’t want me putting my head on a pillow, he’s a bit sore, and he’s reminding me to slow the heck down!

Herman really amazes me.  This fellow who lives in my head and reminds me to step back, slow down, and behave.  I had a hectic week last week, and he stepped in.  It’s a love/hate relationship I have with Herman.  Most of the time his timing stinks.  I have a lot on my plate right now and need to keep a pace. He loves me enough to make me slow down and not keep a pace.

Oh Herman.  Whatever will I do with you?

Yearly Doctor Visit

1) Vitamin D practically non-existent. He wants me on 5,000 IU a day. I stopped to buy some and was horrified at the ingredients list! Many had oil!! Olive and safflower were the oils of choice. Why?? I finally found one that was oil free, didn’t have a lot of crap in it, and was vegan. Not an easy feat! He told me that being low is contributing to my overall exhaustion and brain fog issues. And I was blaming the brain injury ha ha!

B) Cholesterol a tad higher than he’d like. It’s actually been higher. The fascinating part? It is right in line with where it’s been for five years…four of which I was plant-based! About 80% oil free to boot. He said that some people simply create cholesterol, and he believes I am one of them. He wants me to start exercising to avoid meds. (I love that he tried to avoid meds!)

3) Thyroid appears to have reversed itself. How do we know? I’ve been off meds for two months and the test was so normal it’s crazy. He was perplexed. Why?? Well, all we can figure at this point is that I’m 50 and my body is changing. I also added meat and fats back into my diet last year. We have no idea if that had any impact, but the Autoummune Protocol calls for both, which suggests their may be a correlation. Fascinating. We will retest in a few months. 

D) Herman is here to stay. That bumps on my head are remnants of a skull fracture. Herman will continue to act up, and the doctor considers me still in recovery. The swelling didn’t subside completely until November. He said that’s normal, and I probably still have a little swelling going on that I just can’t feel. We talked about the issues – brain fog, struggling for words, inability to multi-task – and he had the bear be to suggest some of that is age! I told him to shut up. We laughed. He said I feel Herman when the blood flow increases in my brain. The fracture area is no longer flat, so there is less room for the blood to flow. Facinating. 

5) He wants me to start walking again, slowly, not to overdo it. A few days a week, 15-20 minutes to start. He said not to over-exert myself, and to listen to Herman. 

6) Potassium is at the bottom of the normal scale. Considering I’ve had three scary potassium crashes over the years, I need to eat more mushrooms, broccoli and bananas to bring my potassium up. And drink coconut water. Someone also suggested dates and Brazil nuts. 

7) We discussed autoimmune. The mother’s MS, Rheumatoid, and diabetes. My brother’s diabetes. He said my sugar is good, thank goodness. He said if I had to choose an autoimmune issue, he’s glad I have a wacky thyroid. I agree. 

Apparently I will live another year. Pretty good news really! 

It’s a Bright, Shiny New Year!

2016 goes down in the history books as being the most emotionally draining year ever!  I am happy to wear a “Survivor” badge and be done with it!

Falling off the ladder was the easy part. Who woulda thunk it?

Brain injuries take time, and I have little patience.  There are many things I now have to do differently.  That’s ok.  I can still do things!

The mother died in April. The emotional aftermath of that was (still is a bit) trying.  Both my brother and I have suffered much anger.  For a long time, I allowed myself to yell at her once a day. I do that a lot less often now.

My sweet niece went and had herself a baby a few weeks early in September.  A little boy named Leo, who has the cutest little smile and giggle.  My brother and sister-in-law are amazing grandparents, the kind we really didn’t have.  Although our grandparents weren’t old when we born, they were.  We as society are much younger at our age than they were at our age.  Leo is the bright, shining light in a year of…2016.  For everyone.

The father died after Thanksgiving.  Another shock.  I was sitting at home on  Saturday evening when my brother called about 9:30.  I had talked to him earlier that evening, so the horrible sense of dread washed over me.  Apparently he died at dinner.  Truth be told, he did love to eat.  So that’s a good thing.  He managed to hang around long enough to meet Leo.  That’s a good thing too.  His years of bad health are now behind him, and he and the mother can live in peace.

I didn’t get back to walking, and I took one yoga class.  Now I feel like I didn’t get back to walking and took only one yoga class!

My direct sales business is still part-time.  I go back and forth between low and high income producing months.  I really am not consistent.  Gotta work on that!

I saw 2017 in with a bang…actually, sound asleep.  I feel asleep at 5:30pm New Years Eve, woke around 8pm, was asleep again by 10pm. It left as quietly as it came, and I let the door bang it on the ass on the way out.

Here’s to 2017!  A bright, shiny new year full of promise, hope, love, and peace.  I have great plans.  I will become physically active again.  I signed up for a 5K in March, so I’d better!  I will grow my direct sales business.  I will make new friends to invite to my cool Facebook group.  I am doing the 6-Week Intentional Action Course, and while I’m behind a week, I’m still in.  I will go to bed earlier and get up earlier so I can get more done in a day.  I will lose some weight before my niece’s wedding.  Yes, we get a wedding this year!  I will blog consistently and figure out all the other social media stuff that baffles me.  I will re-brand myself, relaunch my biz, and relaunch ME!

2017 will be amazing!

i-am-relaunching-me

Hello October!

I’ve been gone a while. I had to get things back on track. It’s been a strange year. The update:

Don’t fall off a ladder. Just don’t. Doing so can change your life in ways you never imagined. October 11 will be exactly nine months since the incident. The cat is still alive, well, and continues to challenge me when she’s not being loving and adorable. I still can not get on a ladder. I have tried. I simply can’t. That’s ok. The broken ladder and shelves remain in my garage. They remind me of how fleeting life can be. Of how incredibly fortunate I am that I was able to get up from the floor that horrible day. 

Head trauma is no joking matter. Post Concussion Syndrom kinda sucks. The good news is, I am alive and it could be soooo much worse. 

I have more days now where the wires are handling life in a proper fashion than not. Some days, the wires are crossed and I am oddly emotional, forgetful, I can’t spit out words that I want to say, I become fatigued, and the lump on my head becomes…active.  

Active? It reminds me when I’m too tired, rundown, I lift something too heavy, and overdo it. I don’t even know how to describe it, except it tingles a bit and I get a headache. A different headache from the migraines or sinus headaches I get. I’ve named the lump Herman. When I have a bad day, I explain that Herman is letting me know he’s still there and I need to slow down. Sometimes I tell him to back off. Thank you Herman. 

Not Your Father’s Rootbeer. I discovered this around April/May. I now keep bottles at my bestie’s house for when I go over and hang out. Word of warning – two is plenty! Three may prevent you from getting out of the pool…or driving…or walking…or staying awake. The ginger ale is ok. The cream soda is just as good as the rootbeer. Yes, they contain alcohol. 

My mother has been gone since April. I’m still rather angry with her. Such a complicated relationship. The grieving process is not to be taken lightly. I don’t cry and yell at her everyday like I did the first few months. It’s less often. Grief sneaks up on me, when I least expect it. Then I get mad. Then I tell her to get out of my head. 

I still can not find a happy childhood memory that includes her. Everuthing is clouded in manipulations and questions. I hope that clears one day. I have many happy memories that involve my grandmother and others. In the last year I learned so much about her motives, her lies, how she manipulated us in so many ways…it’s been difficult. I’m not sure there is forgiveness for all that she did. Someday I may write about all that. For now, I try to tuck it away. It’s not healthy to dwell. 

I know a gal who lost her father yesterday. I told her that it doesn’t really get easier, it just gets a little less heavy as time goes by. That’s my best advice. That’s all I’ve got. 

I’ve become Penny the Great. My niece had a baby. I reject the great aunt thing. This is a good compromise, suggested by a dear friend. As one life came to an end, a new generation was developing. His name is Leo. He has a whole, brilliant, wonderful world of opportunities and experiences awaiting him. He has an amazing family to surround him with love and kindness. He will be brilliant. He already is. 

I now try to focus on the positive. I started this in earnest after the mother died. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the stuff spinning around in our heads. I have begun brain training. Huh? Check out Dana Wilder.  A friend introduced me to her site in March. It’s helped me in so many ways. 

Positive affirmations, being conscious of what I project and what I allow in these days. That’s not to say there are not pity parties and rants. I just try to do those quietly and in solitude. I allow only so much time for them, then I move on. I feel calmer these days. 

I’m still 50. I don’t look it! I don’t act like the parents or grandparents did at 50. None of my friends do either. We like it that way!

I signed up for a 5K. It’s in March. I’ve been out of commission so long, I need to start over. I plan to walk it. If I can do so in less than an hour, I will be thrilled. Training begins soon. That’s kind of scary because my ankle is so unpredictable. Cross your fingers!

So, hello October. I’m not sure how we got here so fast, but I think I’m ready for you.