Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pre-Existing Condition

Greetings Land of Osbourne readers,

Normally I don't blog about things like this but I'm pissed at the current politicians and want to get some things off my chest. If this sort of thing bothers you, I'm sorry. I won't do this often.

I have a disease for which there is no cure. It is a painful and embarrassing. It is expensive. VERY expensive.

Every 6 weeks I am required to have an infusion of a drug called Remicade. If I didn't have medical insurance, I would pay about $10,000 per appointment. Every 6 weeks.

If I didn't have insurance through my work, I would be unable to get insurance on my own without Obamacare set up. He has protected me in making it illegal for insurance companies to deny me due to my pre-existing condition.

Now, there is an expirament going on at the Mayo Clinic, and other places that are using stem cells from the person the stem cells are being used on. The stem cells are showing to eliminate Crohns disease.

People who are against stem cell use are under the mistaken impression that they are coming from aborted babies and other equally sad places.  Its people like these that are preventing my dream from becoming a reality. If people had a loved one in their life with a disease like mine, for which there is no cure, knowing there was a good chance that stem cells will cure them, then I think stem cells would become more used and less taboo.

The disease I have is bad. One way of keeping things under control is surgery. With Crohn's disease, if you try to just "resection", the disease will just reappear where the resectioning took place. As a result, the answer is to remove the large intestine all together. Which means a colostomy bag.

I have told my friends, family members, loved ones and the doctors that for me,this is not an option. If it means dying a slow,miserable death, I refuse. No. I realize its a scary thought for the people who love me, but my mind is made up. And I will not change it.

Thanks for listening to me rant.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vincent my Betta

One of the strongest, longest lived Betta fishes I've ever had died yesterday morning. Vincent, named after the Bones episode where the character Vincent Nigel Murray died. So I've had him for almost 2 years.

Vincent was a tough little fish. On 3 seperate occasions, while I was cleaning his home, he slid down the drain into the garbage disposal. He lived, no problems. On another occasion he must have decided to check out the outside world, I found him (after who knows how long), and he lived. Like I said, tough little Betta.

RIP Vincent.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday is Remicade Infusion Day

Hi Land of Osbourne fans,

Today is Remicade infusion day for me. As you may recall, the cool new awesome Doctors have upped my infusions to every 6 weeks instead of every 8 weeks. They couldn't just up the dosage as I am at the maximum amount I can have.

So I have an infusion today between 12-2p. Then another in 6 weeks. After that one I go back and they are going to do a different sort of test to check out those pre-cancerous cells they found. (pre-cancerous meaning when these cells grow up they turn into cancer). Of course the cells were found in a part of my large intestine that is NORMAL, not diseased.

They also tested me for some virus. Evidently, if I've ever had this virus, I can never be treated with this super strong drug called Tysabri. I guess this drug is at the top of the Crohn's drug food chain. If the Remicade stops working then that one is a possibility - if Humara doesn't work that is. (that is next in line I think). However, this Tysabri is pretty risky also I guess. The 1st time I get it there is some danger of a brain infection. 2nd time, greater risk, 3rd, even higher. Strange.

The doc also told me that while probiotics are good, there is also a risk with them - "bacteria is bacteria", which can lead to sepsis. She said it would be better to just eat Greek Yogurt. Interesting.  I love that greek yogurt that John Stamos endorses. Oikos. Yummy. (although he's yet to appear to me as I am eating it, as the commercial suggests could happen).

In other news, I went to Brainerd this past weekend and hung out with Mom and Dad. I had such a nice time. Mom made Beef Stew with Dumplings. Awesome! We also went to this cool self serve yogurt bar - Cherry Berry's, which is my new favorite place in Brainerd. Sorry Coco Moon.

I am hoping to go back up to see them before Thanksgiving. They have my Bones season 1-6, which I need to reclaim. Might borrow them Warehouse 13 season 1-2. I need to pick up the following TV on DVD:  Bones season 7, Fringe season 4, Warehouse 13 season 3, and I'd LIKE to get Son's of Anarchy season 1-4, although I have burned copies from my cousin Kathie.

Anyway - thats all that is new and shaking in my world. I know you guys were all dying to know how I was doing. The requests have been pouring in. (well, not really, heh)

Take care all,
April

Monday, October 22, 2012

Words of Wisdom for hard times


Sometimes you have to die a little on the inside first in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, smarter version of yourself.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned along the way:
  1. You are not what happened to you in the past. – No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate. You are not your past habits. You are not your past failures. You are not how others have at one time treated you. You are only who you think you are right now in this moment. You are only what you do right now in this moment.
  2. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t. – You are who you are and you have what you have, right now.  And it can’t be that bad, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to read this.  The important thing is simply to find one POSITIVE thought that inspires and helps you move forward.  Hold on to it strongly, and focus on it.  You may feel like you don’t have much, or anything at all, but you have your mind to inspire you.  And that’s really all you need to start moving forward again.  
  3. Struggling with problems is a natural part of growing. – Part of living and growing up is experiencing unexpected troubles in life.  People lose jobs, get sick, and sometimes die in car accidents.  When you are younger, and things are going pretty well, this harsh reality can be hard to visualize.  The smartest, and oftentimes hardest, thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be tempered in our reactions.  To want to scream obscenities, but to wiser and more disciplined than that.  To remember that emotional rage only makes matters worse.  And to remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to grow stronger.
  4. It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. – You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.  And a smile doesn’t always mean a person is happy.  Sometimes it simply means they are strong enough to face their problems.
  5. Life is fragile, sudden, and shorter than it often seems. – There may not be a tomorrow – not for everyone.  Right now, someone on Earth is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today.  This is sad but true.  So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it.  Every moment you get is a gift.  Don’t waste time by dwelling on unhappy things.  Spend it on things that move you in the direction you want to go.
  6. You will fail sometimes. – The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being brilliant. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  So get out there and try!  Either you succeed or you learn a vital lesson.  Win – Win.
  7. You have the capacity to create your own happiness. – Feelings change, people change, and time keeps rolling.  You can hold onto past mistakes or you can create your own happiness. A smile is a choice, not a miracle.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make you happy.  True happiness comes from within.
  8. Emotionally separate yourself from your problems. – You are far greater than your problems.  You are a living, breathing human being who is infinitely more complex than all of your individual problems added up together.  And that means you’re more powerful than them – you have the ability to change them, and to change the way you feel about them.
  9. Don’t make a problem bigger than it is. – You should never let one dark cloud cover the entire sky.  The sun is always shining on some part of your life.  Sometimes you just have to forget how you feel, remember what you deserve, and keep pushing forward.
  10. Everything that happens is a life lesson. – Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc.  They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’  Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way.  If you don’t get a job that you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting.  And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Top 10 ways to cause a flare with Crohns


Keeping your Crohn's disease under control can feel like a full-time job. That's because it is. Avoiding potential triggers can help prevent a flare-up. You may be doing things that are detrimental to your health. Do you know what they are?

1. Smoke

CigarettesPhoto © hinnamsaisuy
Smoking cigarettes has a significant effect on Crohn's disease. The entire body is affected by smoking, including the digestive tract. Inhaled smoke enters the stomach and intestines as well as the lungs. Tobacco is a known digestive tract irritant that cause bloating, cramping, gas, and stomach rumbling.

2. Don't Drink Water

Water RipplesPhoto © Carmen Dirica
If all you give your body all day is coffee and diet cola, you can't expect your digestive tract to treat you well. Water is essential to the good health of your entire body, as well helpful in preventing constipation and replacing fluids lost from diarrhea.

3. Don't Exercise

ExercisePhoto © Ambro
If you could spend 30 minutes a day doing something that would not only benefit your Crohn's disease by decreasing the severity of your symptoms but also improve your overall health -- …wouldn't you do it? That's what exercise can do. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes most days of the week. It doesn't have to be a contiguous 30 minutes; you can also do 3 episodes of 10 minutes, or 2 episodes of 15.

4. Ignore Stress

Stressed WomanPhoto © africa
Stress does not cause IBD, but it will worsen it. Everyone has stress of one form or another -- the important thing is your reaction to it. Turn stress into something positive: Use it to fuel your creativity and spur yourself into taking action on your problems. Don't let stress fester until it affects your health.

5. Eat Large Meals

Turkey DinnerPhoto ©David Lat
We all love to eat, but eating 3 large meals a day is not the best strategy for optimal digestive health. Instead, try 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day. You won't have that heavy feeling after eating, and your body will receive a steady stream of fuel all day, instead of repeated spikes and dips.

6. Skip Sleep

SleepPhoto © winnond
Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Are you scheduling this amount into your day, every day? Maybe you have trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep. Try practicing better sleep hygiene to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.

7. Eat Trigger Foods

Chili PepperPhoto © Petr Kratochvil
Trigger foods vary from person to person with Crohn's disease, but some basic themes are: fatty foods, fried foods, fibrous foods, and milk.Learn what your trigger foods are and how to avoid them.

8. Drink Alcoholic Beverages

CocktailPhoto © Boaz Yiftach
This is a hard one, especially for younger people. But beer (which tends to be gassy), wine, and mixed drinks (which often contain other triggers such as fruit juice or caffeinated beverages) can be hard on the gastrointestinal tract.

9. Eat Processed Foods

Potato ChipsPhoto © Master isolated images
Processed foods often contain additives such as sugar or fat substitutes. Many of these artificial flavorings are known to be gastrointestinal irritants. Even people who do not have a diagnosed digestive condition may experience gas, diarrhea, bloating, and pain after eating food additives.

10. Don't Seek Help

Support Advice And Help DicePhoto © Stuart Miles
Help can come from friends, family, coworkers, and your health-care team. Seek help from those closest to you for ideas on how to stick to your treatment plan and reduce stress. Don't be afraid to accept support and good advice when it is offered from a trusted source.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Everything does happen for a reason


Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there; they serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help figure out who you are or who you want to become.  You never know who these people may be; your roommate, neighbor, professor, long-lost friend, lover or even a complete stranger who, when you lock eyes with them, you know that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way.

Sometimes things happen to you and at the time they may seem horrible, painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower or heart.  Everything happens for a reason.  Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck.  Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul.  Without these small tests - whether they are events, illnesses or relationships - life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere.  Safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.  The people you meet who affect your life, and the successes and downfalls you experience, create who you are; even the bad experiences can be learned from.  In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart to.  If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally; not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love, and they are opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.
Make every day count.  Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again.  Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen.  Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to.  Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself; for if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you, either.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Twitter


The 46 Stages of Twitter

1. Hear the word Twitter. Scoff.

2. Hear it again from someone else. Scoff again.

3. Hear about famous celebrity who is apparently "On Twitter." Scoff, but make mental note to check it out.

4. Log into Facebook to comfort self.

5. Sign up for Twitter.

6. Give up because it seems dumb.

7. Loudly criticize others on Twitter.

8. Follow @johncmayer, @aplusk, @rainnwilson, @wilw, @oprah, and one other person you actually know.

9. Post tweet that is a variant of: "Trying out this Twitter thing."

10. Attempt to dig a little deeper into Twitter.

11. Notice rampant usage of words: "Tweet," "Twitter," "Twitterverse," "Tweetie," "Tweetdeck," and something called "RT."

12. Scoff again, this time in confusion.

13. Tell friends you "tried that Twitter thing, but didn't get it and it's stupid anyway."

14. Log into Facebook because that site at least makes sense.

15. Read story about Twitter somewhere.

16. Log back into Twitter.

17. Try to avoid saying Tweet, Twitter, Twitterverse, Tweetie, Tweetdeck, and ReTweet.

18. Respond to @rainnwilson.

19. Curse self for fanning out.

20. Log off for 4 months.

21. Come back, just to see.

22. Post something relatively funny.

23. Get RT'd.

24. Discover that RT means ReTweet.

25. Make it your life mission to get RT'd.

26. Install Twitter app on your phone.

27. No longer ashamed to say "I've gotta Twitter that."

28. Attend events with the sole intention of "Tweeting" them.

29. Pray to get RT'd.

30. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

31. Close computer.

32. Open computer. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

33. Think in 140 character sentences.

34. Compulsively check phone all day every day.

35. Tweet that you compulsively check phone all day every day.

36. Alienate actual people in your life in an attempt to impress ones you don't know.

37. Lose weight because you forget to eat.

38. Place phone by bed so you can check first thing in the morning.

39. Defend Twitter to the death from detractors.

40. Hear self, and vaguely recognize that you have become "That Guy."

41. Feel like, and start to behave like River Tam.

42. Vow to quit Twitter to preserve sanity.

43. Read this and change mind.

44. Think to self, "I should twitter that."

45. Recognize irony.

46. Twitter it.

Keep in Mind


Here are 11 things we all need you to keep in mind…
  1. You never really know how much the people around you are hurting.  You could be standing next to someone who is completely broken inside and you wouldn’t even know it.  So never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.  And remember that there are two ways to spread light in this world: You can either be a flame of hope, or a mirror that reflects it.  Be one of the two every chance you get.  
  2. The most important trip you will likely take in life is meeting others half way.  You will achieve far more by working with people, rather than against them.  Giving someone else a voice, and showing them that their ideas matter, will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the both of you.
  3. Relationships don’t create happiness, they reflect it. Happiness is an inside job .  Relationships are simply the mirrors of your happiness; they reflect it and help you celebrate it.  They are mirrors because they are a perfect reflection of your thoughts and beliefs.  To reflect means to encourage you when you feel weak and challenge you when you feel strong, thereby returning you to your center.  And to celebrate is to share the natural ease and joy of living from your center – of living in the now with clarity.
  4. Compassion comes back around.  The son who tends to his chronically ill mother, ignoring his own exhaustion; the neighbor who gives a helping hand, even as his own needs go unanswered; the one who donates a couple dollars to someone in need, even if she has to break her last five dollar bill to do it.  Maybe you don’t hear the names of these unsung heroes in the news, but surely the universe hears their names and treats them accordingly.
  5. Timing is everything.  There is a time for silence, a time to let go and allow your friends to launch themselves into their own destiny, and a time to cheer for their victories, or help them pick up the pieces, when it’s all over. 
  6. Actions are the loudest form of communication.  What you do speaks so loud that others will have a hard time hearing what you say.  So practice what you preach or don’t preach at all – walk the talk.  And remember that there is often a major gap between what someone says and what they do.  Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.
  7. A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows open.  Plenty of air is circulating and no one feels trapped.  Relationships thrive in this environment.  Keep your doors and windows open.  If a person is meant to be in your life, all the open doors and windows in the world won’t make them leave.
  8. People are more what they keep silent than what they say.  Pay attention to their quiet gestures.  If you cannot understand someone’s silence, you will have a hard time understanding their words.  
  9. What others say and do is often based entirely on their own self-reflection.  When you have people speaking to you who are angry and upset, and you nevertheless remain very present and continue to treat them with kindness and respect, you place yourself in a position of great power.  You become a means for the situation to be graciously diffused and healed.  A Zen teacher once said, “When somebody backs themselves into a corner, look the other way until they get themselves out; and then act as though it never happened.”  Allowing people to save face in this way, and not reminding them of what they already know is not their most intelligent behavior, is an act of great kindness.  This is possible when we realize that people behave in such ways because they are in a place of great suffering.  People react to their own thoughts and feelings and their behavior often has nothing directly to do with you.
  10. Sincerity is giving without expectation.  Good character and true friendship is all about how a person nurtures another person who is vulnerable and can give nothing in return.  So when you have been through tough times and come out the other side, look around you.  The people still standing beside you are your true friends.
  11. Not every relationship is meant to last forever.  Some people aren’t meant to stay in your life.  Some people are just passing through to bring you something – perhaps a lesson you need to learn, or memory that makes you smile years later.  When the time comes, it’s okay to let go andmove on with your life. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

April vs Crohn's

April vs Crohn's update - for my friends, family & loved ones: 

I am no longer in remission. The disease is active again. The last test I had showed precancerous cells. The "plan" is to increase the remicade infusions from every 8 weeks to every 6 weeks. Then in 8-10 weeks have another more techy test to check out these cells.

this explains why I've been so tired. Not tired like I need sleep or stayed up too late, but tired like physically tired, like I just ran a marathon.  


Friday, October 5, 2012

Crohn's news



So I had that University of Minnesota colonscopy appointment. Awesome experience overall, very glad I went there instead of Minnesota Gastroenterology. 1 doctor was there STRICKLY to watch the monitor that showed the pictures from inside, 1 doctor was there to guide the scope, and 1 doctor was there just to watch my vitals. 

All in all, it went okay. Not fun by any means of the imagination, but you know. Okay. 

Anyway, I got the test results back on Monday night that I have Crohn's Disease (wooo, big surprise there), and that everything else was as expected. Great. 

SO I know I have to make an appointment with the new doc to follow up after the appointment, but have been working lots of overtime, been busy, bla bla bla. I get a call from the main Doctor that did the monitor watching. I guess there was a type/error on the test results I got. There is an "Indefinate Dispasia" which is medical jargon for "strange cells we don't know what they are, we're worried". So he goes on to ask me if I've set up the follow up appointment yet, and I told him no, I've been busy, and he is all hurry hurry rush rush gotta get you in quick quick quick, he will talk personally to this guy about this, bla bla bla. 

Huh.

Then he tells me I may have to do the test again. Well SHIT. I don't want to do it AGAIN!! Augh.

* heavy sigh * 

Stupid Crohns.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

April Update

Greetings Land of Osbourne readers,

I know you've all been dying to know how I am doing and how John is doing. I know you love the cool stuff I post here, uplifting, thought provoking stuff, but I know you also love the Osbourne updates. So here we go.

I went to the University of Minnesota and had a colonoscopy for my yearly Crohn's check. First of all, may I say - what an awesome place. I use to go to Minnesota Gastroenterology - where I felt more like a number, where it seemed like they were more interested in quantity of patients, not quality of each person.  The U of M though - awesome. I had 3 doctors in the room with me during the procedure - one to JUST watch the monitor, one to watch my vitals, and one to guide the scope. They took 9 biopsies too check for cancer. (yay). I have to wait 2 weeks for THOSE results. I am pleased to announce that there IS a portion that is NORMAL. Yep. NORMAL. However the rest is riddled with disease, scar tissue and other fun stuff. The doctor said that my situation is Chronic but not Alarming. So....that something right? I need to set up a follow up appointment. Been so busy haven't had time.

Speaking of busy - I am insanely busy at work. I'm now taking advantage of the opportunity of overtime. Not only for the obvious fact that the money is nice, but also because I am super busy. They've increased my responsibilities. Hope to get some additional financial compensation as well at some point.

John had bronchitis - he actually went to the doctor which is nearly a miracle in itself. He was  on antibiotics. It worked out that his job had him stay home a week due to lack of jobs to do, but financially that really hurt us. We filed for unemployment, so that will help. They are still quite slow at his job, so we're praying that things pick up so we can get a little more caught up financially.

My Dad made me an awesome little table to put behind our couch. Because we have a bay window, the couch wont go flush to the wall, and of course Katie & Ozzy want to look out the front window and bark or just look, and they both fell behind the couch several times.  So sad! I felt bad for them. Anyway - the little table Dad built was custom made and designed so they won't fall anymore. I'm happy and so are they. :)  

Mom and Dad got new living room recliners for themselves and let us have their old ones. (which are in pretty decent shape I might add). its awesome to watch TV or Movies in those chairs! )

I think that is all that is new and shaking in my world right now. Hope you guys are all happy, healthy and enjoying our awesome fall weather.

-April Osbourne-


Trust in the Divine plan


1.  Look at life as a journey and enjoy the ride.  Get the most out of the detours and realize they're sometimes necessary.
2.  Do your best, but if what you're doing has caused you discouragement, try a different approach.  Be passionate about the process, but don't be so attached to the outcome.
3.  Wish the best for everyone, with no personal strings attached.  Applaud someone else's win as much as you would your own.
4.  Trust that there's a divine plan, that we don't always know what's best for us.  A disappointment now could mean a victory later, so don't be disappointed.  There is usually a reason.
5.  Ask no more of yourself than the best that you can do, and be satisfied with that.  Be compassionate towards yourself as well as others.  Know your calling, your gift, and do it well.
6.  Don't worry about something after it's done; it's out of your hands then, too late, over!  Learn the lesson and move on.
7.  Have the attitude that no one, except you, owes you anything.  Give without expecting a thank-you in return.  But when someone does something for you, be appreciative of even the smallest gesture.
8.  Choose your thoughts or your thoughts will choose you; they will free you or keep you bound.  Educate your spirit and give it authority over your feelings.
9.  Judge no one, and disappointment and forgiveness won't be an issue.  No one can let you down if you're not leaning on them.  People can't hurt you unless you allow them to.
10.  Love anyway. . . for no reason. . . and give. . . just because.  

Living more of life


Here are some simple suggestions for those who want to break free from the mold and truly live more of their life – to experience it and enjoy it to the fullest, instead of settling for a mere existence.
  1. Appreciate the great people and things in your life. – Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.  Don’t be like that.  Be grateful for what you have, who loves you, and who cares for you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they’re no longer beside you.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it to live.  
  2. Ignore other people’s negativity. – If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.  Ignore unconstructive, hurtful commentary.  No one has the right to judge you.  They may have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through.  You do not have control over what others say; but you do have control over whether or not you allow them to say these things to you.  You alone can deny their poisonous words  from invading your heart and mind.
  3. Forgive those who have hurt you. – I forgive people, but that doesn’t mean I trust them.  I just don’t have time to hate people who hurt me, because I’m too busy loving people who love me.  The first to apologize is the bravest.  The first to forgive is the strongest.  The first to move forward is the happiest.  Be brave.  Be strong.  Be happy.  Be free.
  4. Be who you really are. – If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t change.  Uniqueness is priceless.  In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.  It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it.  Being YOU is worth it!
  5. Choose to listen to your inner voice. – Life is a courageous journey or nothing at all.  We cannot become who we want to be by continuing to do exactly what we’ve been doing.  Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else.  Do what you know in your heart is right for YOU.  It’s your road, and yours alone.  Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.  And be sure to appreciate every day of your life.  Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience, and the worst days give you the best lessons.  
  6. Embrace change and enjoy your life as it unfolds. – The hardest part about growing is letting go of what you were used to, and moving on with something you’re not.  Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting, and have faith that things will work out.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.  You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but eventually you will arrive precisely where you need to be.
  7. Choose your relationships wisely. – The best relationships are not just about the good times you share, they’re also about the obstacles you go through together, and the fact that you still say “I love you” in the end.  And loving someone isn’t just about saying it every day, it’s showing it every day in every way.  Relationships must be chosen wisely.  Don’t rush love.  Wait until you truly find it.  Don’t let loneliness drive you back into the arms of someone you know you don’t belong with.  Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.  A great relationship is worth waiting for.
  8. Recognize those who love you. – The most memorable people in your life will be the ones who loved you when you weren’t very loveable.  Pay attention to who these people are in your life, and love them back, even when they aren’t acting loveable.
  9. Love yourself too. – If you can love children, in spite of the messes they make; your mother, in spite of her tendency to nag; your father, even though he’s too opinionated; your sibling, even though she’s always late; your friend, even though he often forgets to return what he borrows, then you know how to love imperfect people, and can surely love yourself.