You are stronger than you realise! At 12.02am on Monday NZ and our world was shaken up again. I hadn’t written for a while because we had been to damn busy snorkeling around our own we world that hadn’t been up for air! This week brought with it a huge mixed bag of emotions and in the past writing has helped keep my heart rate down and many have asked for advice on how to cope. At first I was struggling to put it into words, but today we executed our own personal emergency plan, as Riwai caught a helicopter to work, and the fire service reassuring me he was safely in Kaikoura to do what he does best, I thought of the list that helped me survive, helped me get through! Who knows if anyone will read this, but I hope if you do and you have a loved one in distress that these few words my help you navigate the fear that is before you.
The night’s are the hardest,
I go through my EQ routine from years of practice, each aftershock I check my light and we have power, I turn on a tap, and it runs clean without clonky pipes! I can text my family and get a reply.
On Monday I did all of this and then ………..shit! If we are ok with that sort of force who the hell is not – put those thoughts aside – do what you can here. Wake up hubbie as he will probably not felt a thing… luckily for my stress levels my animals didn’t stir either!
I can feel my heart rate come down, Clever Facebook allows us to let loved ones around the world know we were ok.
I stumble to the light switch, nonchalantly fill the jug with water and boil the jug for a cup of tea, open the fridge and the light shines brightly back at me! With phone in one hand watching my social newsfeed and message service fill up with messages and reports, the aftershocks come and I realise how far we have come since Sept 2010! My anxiety was in check and was ready to snuggle back down to bed…………….
Then reports of the Tsunami warning come in and with family up and down the coast line my panic and nausea came in like the waves due in a few hours! Flooding back memories of sheer desperation and heartbreak! Shit are the water bottles rotated, have we got enough perishables, medication and animal food, will there be more? Have I got milk? Is the gas bottle filled up, how is the next door neighbour? How is the community? …… Far out what about the rest of NZ? A million unanswerable questions and I could feel the anxiety taking hold!
Thank goodness for the hugs of loved ones at the door at 3am. We called them refugees as that’s what they looked like. Ripped from their beds with nothing as evacuations begun up and down the coast. Everyone took it in their stride. We are alive, we have utilities and our loved ones are safe.
As things simmer down and the dawn sun arrived, Riwai was off to work. The enormity of the evenings events sets in as Wellington are on a knife edge and our loved Hurunui and Kaikoura cut off from the world. We turn our attention to our wider group of loved ones and supporters, checking on those in the Hurunui, Kaikoura, Marlborough and Wellington Districts. Life ahead for many of them will not be easy and since then I have been sharing the same advice. BE KIND to yourself and others and heres a few survival tips from a pro!
1) Use the Isabella ABC Count – When I was scared in 2011, a young girl called Isabella held my hand and said “Cate just count to 10 before you get scared” And it has worked ever since.
A) Count to 10
B) If you are still moving at 10 move to safety and count again to 20
C) If you are still moving at 20 check on loved ones and execute your safety plan….
This method has kept my anxiety levels down ever since and given me the strength to be there for others….
2) The short of it is that the first few months are shite but you are stronger than you think!
3) Sleep deprivation means your normal gets thrown into disarray
4) Create your own routine and sense of achievement for the day
5) Find a distraction to take your mind off all that is happening – movement, walking, stretching, music, meditation, books, card games
6) It’s ok to feel exactly how you are feeling, don’t let anyone tell you how your should be or feel
7) Find peeps to connect with
8) Don’t trawl social media – get informed using sites like GeoNet, Emergency Services Sites and Civil Defence
So it’s after midnight but this always happens after any treatment I get as I get a bit dose of IV steroids that lasts a day or so. The good news is I wanted to share a couple of very cool groups of super heroes, some I have never met but they have been rocks and supported me on more than one day this past six months. They are all heroes in my eyes read more on how they changed me life here..
Firstly the superheroes at the CDHB 🌟 and Surgical Day Unit 🌟 ! I counted 14 different people who came and advised me and made me feel comfortable at the odd anxious moment and completed the procedure quickly and smoothly. Three on the anaesthetic team, two consultants, one registrar, pre-op, surgical, recovery and post op nurses.. Not to mention the behind the scenes crew I never met! It was amazing and all of them are super heroes in my mind! Thank you.
So far (apart from the temporary insomnia ) I am feeling good . My Rheumatoid Arthritis flare means I qualify for another round of my magic treatment, it is pretty awesome that the NZ health system and treatments have come so far and are working for me to keep everything at bay physically so I feel we are leaping off to a great start of my 20 years of arthritis celebrations with another superhero Rheumatology and Immunology team at CDHB 🌟 .
The flip side of course is the emotional roller coaster still has its challenging days. So here is another group of super heroes I have never met but been rocks and supported me on more than one day this six months.
I feel blessed that following Jamie Oliver and his food revolution campaign in May 2015 that I discovered and became a part of an incredible community through the @YOU_APP. The amazing @YOU_team along with the ever inspirational @jamieoliver and all of the people involved make it such a positive, empowering and life changing experience. Those who already follow me know that 2016, has started out pretty challenging on the health front and I know that is largely because I give and give and forget to look after myself. After six years of hard work and dream chasing my hubbie (@tutumannz) and I opened our specialised wellness studio LeapHQ, empowering others with health conditions to leap2it! and discover their own life balance, and share their good news.
It’s been an amazing year and personally it had so much to do with this APP. During our NZ winter when usually I get sick I turned YOU actions to help keep my balanced. I became the wellest (doubt that’s even a word) energised and healthiest I had been in a decade thanks all the micro actions I did. One day my dream is to meet them and give them all a big thank you hug. They hopefully know how much they positively impacted on my life and how everything fits perfectly into my LEAP philosophies for loving life, enjoying exercise, appreciating all around YOU and participating positively. This year I am going to use the APP to record a one minute diary and most importantly I am no longer going to be selfish and keep this APP to myself! The world needs more of YOU to know about it and grow this community so we all live in a healthier, fitter. stronger, and happy place.
Where were you on September 4 2010? This one question will be with all of us for ever. There is a long list of negative words to describe the ordeal and five years on the impact is still wide felt, just this weekend I took down a light shade that tinkled each time we walked past it, unlocking a memory of the aftershocks, and having me still reach for my phone to see how everyone is.
On the flip side this month marks my five year anniversary of leaving my safe, rewarding government job and stepping out into the unknown I was working at one of the welfare centres set up in a high school hall to support East Christchurch in the after math of the 7.1. It was the first big aftershock I had felt at work – it was the Wednesday following. We all scrambled under an old trestle table, I was with a youth who grabbed my hand under the desk. He had been with me at a seminar a few weeks earlier where I dressed up in my PJ’s to show Youth that wearing what you liked was not the best for job interviews, we then did an exercise on following your dreams. As we lay on the wooden floor with the lights waving around, he grabbed my hand as I was shaking “Miss, is this job following your dreams” He was quoting me back what I had taught them about Walt Disney.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” Walt Disney.
I remember hitting my head on the table as I came up and that I inappropriately starting laughing – not because of the earthquakes, but because I knew he was right, I was also chuffed he had listened. Still till this day I can’t remember his name, but he certainly was a piece of the puzzle that led me to do what I love every day. It was a moment that had a big impact.
We forget that technology was not such a big part of our lives. I began using Facebook and Twitter a whole lot more, who knows I might have anyway but I believe that my increase and presence of Social Media helped me not to smoke or drink in the tough times! It was a great distraction and way of keeping connected and communicate with all walks of life. Being awake so much also meant that I googled a lot! If only I had blogged – what wonderful memories I would have to look back on.
I did however find this quote that I discovered the first week of September 2010.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
It is the mantra that I draw strength from on the hard days, in the beginning I would read it during the long nights when I became afraid of being alone, which eventually became a fear of the dark. In the morning when getting ready to face the day was challenging. It was there for me during the horrific days, the guilt ridden days, the overwhelming days. Now I read it as the balance of our lives is returning, There are days of celebration, days of connectedness and recently Riwai and I both looked at each other and were able to say there are days of elation and happiness.
Over the past year those days have turned into weeks and those weeks are turning into months. We know that soon we will just be people full of happiness that have normal ups and downs. We will be able to say “Yes we were in Christchurch in 2010 & 2011. We survived, We lived through the horror and we gained strength, courage and confidence because of it.
I went to high school for only four years, my tertiary education was scattered over the years and universities. This last five years is the one university I stuck out, until the end! I took all the bad and found good where I least expected. I studied myself through all this turmoil and I learnt an incredible amount of insight into who I am and who I want to be.
Graduation day is not far away, when the good days are more than the tough days and when it happens I am sure Riwai and I will get dressed up and celebrate our graduation from the University of ChchEQC.
We will graduate with a new mantra – The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient and sensitive. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it
And then a new chapter of my life will begin – because somehow doing all this study on myself I went from celebrating my 37th birthday to somehow being in my 40’s! My wonderful nan did use to say the 40’s are great years! I wonder if she meant the 1940’s or being in my 40’s!
Either way I am ready to take on what ever life brings next!
Ok before anyone freaks out or races off to check Riwai’s face book page, instagram, twitter or jumps onto a facebook group to double check with others whats happened because they feel too uncomfortable and concerned to actually ask either of us if this is true.
Take a deep breath and let me explain…..
I am not divorcing my beautiful husband.
I have been seriously contemplating divorcing my fitbit! and its only been six weeks!
I found out it has been lying to me for over a month so as honesty is one of my values I thought the best thing to do was leave the lying, cheating, piece of crap…. How dare Mr Fitbit say I had been getting poor sleep for the past six weeks, every morning it acted like my friend and gave me positive affirmations like nailed it! awesome work! And then blast out red lines and light blue blocks and not ever give me a gold star for achieving! I should have known better. I trusted my Mr FB before I really got to know him. I jumped into bed with him before checking out his credentials, relying on Mr FB to tell me how I was doing.
Each morning I would wake up, feeling rested and excited to take on the day. I would have my shower and feel on top of the world like I had for most of the year and then over breakfast and my cuppa tea would sync my phone to validate how I was doing…
Fitbits are an amazing piece of technology. They record and keep me accountable (great for a numbers gal like me) I trusted that the technology had be accurate. I had no flip side to say it wouldn’t be… For the past few weeks I have been telling everyone that I got a fitbit to check on Riwais sleep as I was concerned about how his shift work has been affecting his sleep patterns, within a week I was discovering that my sleep patterns were not so good.
Yet despite doing everything my GP tells me to do for sleep hygiene, many of them ideas that I share with my LeapStars! My fitbit said my sleep was bad………….So I decided my sleep was bad!
I went back to no caffeine after 5pm.
I have no technology moments every day
I changed my working week so that I have more down time
I took up gardening so I had fresh air
I get outside and sunshine at least daily
I am eating regular meals and smaller portions
I pulled back my bed time to 10:30
We adjusted the temperature to be constant in our room
We have no technology (except the fitbit) in the bedroom
We meditate every night
I even get to wake up without an alarm……………
All this great work on my sleep and still the result was below average! No stars for me and my graph never change colour
Day after day deflated…
And all of this before I even had a chance to see how my body felt or if I even felt unrested. If the fitbit said then it must be true!
I was reaching for validation that I was achieving! I got sick and even heard myself saying to my GP, I am quite run down and my fitbit says I haven’t had much sleep so I am not surprised that I got sick! Ha! I should have known better,…..
I shared how poor my sleep was with clients, friends and families! I had trusted this new relationship with all my heart!
Seem that no matter how awesome our technology seems to be in the end that the same old garbage in garbage out saying is true!
Because after six weeks of thinking I was a fraud (that was because here I have been for five years talking about the importance of quality sleep and quality rest and all along I wasn’t a good sleeper) it was simply that when I set it up I had it on the wrong setting…………………….
So I searched my fitbit and read all I could about the sleep mode and then changed my setting……….
And then turned off automatic syncing…
Instead I wore it but I got up and listened to my body. I felt great and decided that I didn’t need my Fitbit to tell me about my sleep because I SLEPT WELL!!!!! …..
I had a great weekend and felt rested, had plenty of energy and completed loads of tasks on my list…. and guess what. I synced it tonight but this time it told me I had 8 hours of good quality sleep. Ha rubbish in rubbish out.. Technology is only as good as the input-ed data.
Recently I filtered from all my online media bytes that the average person has somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts. …….so it also comes as now suprise that with this amount of inner traffic whizzing through our heads a day that we can lose touch with ourselves.
That led me to wonder if that might be leading to making it difficult to connect with ourselves and therefore be making real connections with those around us.
My experience with my Fitbit was another fascinating journey for me on the impact technology can have. I had lost touch with myself and began critically analysing my behaviours around sleep all based on something I had introduced to my life. I became almost obsessed with what it was telling me instead of listening to what my body was telling me.
With all of the noise and confusion most people lives with thanks to technology it has seemingly put us on a fast bullet train whizzing past all that is dear to us.
It has it’s place and as I said last week I wouldn’t give it up. My wish is that we remember even when technology seems to enhance our world that we don’t forget that what really matters…
After all isn’t that what makes us uniquely human, our ability to share our thoughts, to connect on a deeper level, to communicate. With all the thinking go on, and seeking approval and validation from technology, what chance does our heart have to breathe, feel, and experience life, no less make contact with ourselves and significant others? The crowded mind makes for an overcrowded heart with little room for ourselves and less room for anyone else. When we live such a busy life, how open, available, and loving can we be?
I am regularly enriching my life and discovering what matters more than technology in my life.
Here are my five top reflections since discovering how the Fitbit impacted on my life and thoughts…
1. Love and kindness giving unconditional love to others cost nothing and can make the world of difference to someone else’s world. Receiving it is also far more wonderful than anything technology can give.
2. My health. Although technology can enhance my treatments it cannot encourage me to listen to my body and take time to do what is best for me and my body. Technology can not make my decisions for me. I can stand on my own two feet despite medical and alternative health professionals assuming this would not be the case at my age.
3. True nature and all the world brings can not be fully replaced by technology . Technology could not prevent our earthquakes, or change the tides, move the moon or the sun. I can use technology for the actual sun to come up earlier or set later! Or push a button and get the sun to come out naturally or have it rain when it’s a drought. Our natural world is full of wonders that are more technology can not alter.
4. Connections and face – face conversations, hugs and smiles are not the same from technology!
5. And the last thing is time. How we use it and how we spend our time is the key for real and everlasting happiness. Make sure that technology aids your use of time not hinders it 😀
Happy days beautiful people as I am off to have a conversation and hug my husband and feed the good wolf.
We have worked out an amicable way to keep my Mr FB and his Ms FB in our lives. The benefits to our health are worth it – just as long as we remember our thoughts are our own and no graphs, gold stars or red and blue lines can take that away from either of us!
I have been reflecting on what my role is as a Personal trainer, Wellness Coach and Leap Coach. For the last five years as my role has evolved and with it the title.. It was a great thought to ponder.
What I realised hasn’t changed from day one in my role is that I facilitate change.
I inspire, encourage and empower people everyday and provide them with tools and skills they can use to make internal and external shifts. I challenge them – physically and emotionally. My role is often to introduce uncomfortable conversations to allow those I work with to discover and share their own good news. It is so rewarding to watch unfolding one step after another, little by little, until eventually they experience massive growth and big changes have been made to their overall health, wellbeing. Then like magic the impact and flow starts for those around them, their families, friends, workplaces and wider communities. It really is so rewarding and amazing to watch.
They stretch, and push their own boundaries – and constantly re-define their comfort levels and as a result they improve on many levels.
However… it still amazes me that even when people work hard and look and feel amazing that giving compliments to themselves or receiving compliments about them is a major challenge.
As you know I don’t push products unless I really believe in them so what I am about to share with you is not about the product its about the content of their latest promotion! They women in the campaign represent the women I work with (men might feel the same but I don’t have a video to share for them!)
Congratulations DOVE! This is wonderful 🙂
So here it is and maybe after watching this today you might start to start some new conversations with yourself and those close to you about whether you are Average or Beautiful.
ps heres the behind the scenes footage! Its Awesome too! 🙂
In life you realise that there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some love you and some will teach you. But you must hold onto and remember the ones who are truly important are the ones who let you be you and bring out the best in you. They are precious and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it!
Today I worked hard to follow my own advice of being kind to everyone I meet. I wanted to empathise with the overworked people following a process that’s not working. I wanted to give the poor communicators some of my smiles as it felt like they might need them, especially today. It seemed they might need it the most.
Sadly it is just so hostile, so rude and unnecessary. I attempted to dig and deep, to continue to be considerate as I could hear my nan and grandma remind me to find the good in everyone. I am polite, ask reasonable questions, in an attempt to gather the information so I have what I need to make big life changing decisions, in the end it is ridiculous and impossible so I add to my ever growing list of OIA requests so I can see our own paperwork trail.
I hang up, sit on the couch in the sun and realise I am emotionally exhausted, that the last four years has been more taxing on me, my health and my relationships than I wanted to admit . We had believed in a process and that common sense and decency of human nature would prevail. It hasn’t. We feel let down and are fighting over small silly things that should not have been missed. I feel like a broken record. We never wanted more than what we were entitled too. If the people in charge of our file had taken to time to walk with us and the decency to follow their own process then it wouldn’t have been so taxing on any of us.
So today it is time to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to let go (as she sings Frozen!). It’s time to put my energy into things that matter – getting well and working with the people who bring out the best in me.
We have asked those more qualified than us for help. We are no longer doing this behind closed doors.
It really was a year ago that I had the treatment but as I walk in today it feels more like yesterday. Maybe because last week was Rheumatology and on Tuesday I was here for more Respiratory Tests. I was discharged from ENT and referred to Speech Language just to check my swallow. I sure feel like I deserve a VIP pass or maybe valet parking this week! The nurses look at me like why are you here. Maybe its my smile – one actually says you don’t look sick enough to be here. I take it as a compliment but by the end of the day I am tending to agree with her. My pain becomes far more tolerable when I remember I am surrounded by cancer patients. It doens’t stop my veins collapsing though…. It is the first time I can remember that my veins are not playing the game and after three goes we have some action. I just can’t get comfortable and end up moving chairs as many times as we try for a blood site. All first world problems compared to the lady across from me who can’t get her meds because of some sort of blockage. The staff are amazing and without much fuss have found her a solution. My taste disappears within the first few hours and have been told that it maybe more to do with the high dose of prednisone not the treatment. I guess that is good news. I will stay on the prednisone for the month.
I keep feeling blessed and remember that my side effects are no taste, lack of sleep and creativity. If I can get this inflammation down and the pain to stop then the minor side effects are worth it. So the flushing is done and 8 hours later we are heading home. All to come back in two weeks and do it again. Until then it is all a waiting game of long wide awake nights.
So a fabulous flight on the new AirNz airbus, super service and the anticipation of a relaxing and recharging weekend, a quick stop to grab my new fav salad – OMG in love with Wishbones smoked salmon and soba noodle salad! – I pause for a moment – mainly because I realise with two crutches I can not carry the miso soup I just brought and my bag and my crutches – so a bonus 15 minutes at Auckland airport to let my mind wander to the plethora of conversations I have had with the broad spectrum of people I have travelled with in the last five years – I smile as I realise I usually sit very close to the same spot outside the bookshop. Good golly what an eclectic list of people and I smile again imagining if they all came to dinner what interesting conversations would be had. Fatigue is setting in and without my gorgeous pack horse and partner in crime I better make my way to the hotel. Another few thoughts wander as the HGC Chch was one of the focal points for media post EQC. I also remember the most amazing function on the roof top with nan I attended when I was first diagnosed and the awesome ball Riwai and I went to there too. We pulled up in to the car park and I just knew it was not going to match my memories……
Perhaps it was the general Manager running like the building was on fire to demand the shuttle driver not come to reception, shunting him and me to the Back and beyond because the tourist buses are due….
Or that he then walked back in with the porters and didn’t give a second look at my bag or me struggling with my bags…..
Or that my room would need a higher than normal bond… Obviously because more people rip them off than are nice rule abiding customers……
Or that they were rude… the room smelt like it was from the eastern bloc in the 90’s or the broken window, con webs and cigarette stained stipples roof just weren’t to my liking…..
Or that when I ordered room
Service after jumping into my pjs I was told they were to busy and recommended I went to the restaurant ….
Let’s just say… AVOID Hotel Grand Chancellor… There is nothing grand about it at all!!!
The best thing is it was one night and as I walked into the Sudima Airport this morning I felt like Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman and the simple difference as you could see the staff were happy to be at work.