Making Change a Sweet Transformation

 new things kettering quote_opt

Two years ago I signed up for weekly emails to train for a 5k.  At the time I was walking 5 miles a day and had just started adding jogging.  I thought it would be motivating, maybe even fun to collect 5k race t-shirts.

Of course, life had other plans and before I could even get a second 5k training email, I was at the doctor for neck pain.  I thought it was just a pinched nerve, but it wasn’t.  My doctor sent me for x-rays and physical therapy, but more symptoms arrived that landed me in a neurologist’s office.

Then came MRIs, a spinal tap and several other poking and prodding sorts of tests.  Life became a series of NEW things, including conversations about possible diseases you never think could be in your future, but were now a MAYBE.

All I wanted was a stupid 5k race t-shirt.

Forget the shirt, I just wanted my OLD things back.

The thing is, I really can’t go back.  I’ve gotten some answers.  One of which is something called small fiber neuropathy, aka the foot and hand terrorist that turns my nerves into zombies (they’re dead, but they can still wreak havoc).  Oh and it’s “idiopathic” which means of course, no one knows why I have it.  Not even Google knows (and we are very close, I’m expecting my internet medical degree in the mail any day now).

All this time I’ve been waiting for answers, but it was just this last week that I realized I’d been under the assumption that once I had the answer I would also have the solution.  But I don’t, not the kind that would make the nerve damage and whatever is causing it, to go away.

It was another reminder that we don’t always get the answers we want, or even answers at all in life.   So yea, it’s my new thing.  Maybe the old things were better.  Maybe.  But this is what I’m moving into my future with, so I have to deal.

And guess what?  I don’t think that 5k t-shirt is so stupid.  I still want it.  Yes, there is an inclination to just forget about it, even forget about the exercise I am still attempting to do (no matter how lame the old me might think it to be).

Except I’m still here and to me that means no giving up allowed.

So how does one go about moving forward after suck-tastic change?

Well, I’m all about baby steps.  You can still cover the distance that way.

And gratitude helps, but don’t beat yourself up by playing the Olympic pain games.  You know, the ones that make you feel like you can’t be mad or sad because someone else’s life sucks more than yours.

Above all, try to be kind to yourself!

Which brings me to the greeting family and friends have been giving each other the last couple of days:  “Have a SWEET new year.”  This week began the Jewish new year.  Like the new year in January, it is a time to take stock of the previous year.  It’s an opportunity for change, renewal and spiritual transformation.

 challah round _opt

The new year challah is round to symbolize the cycle of the year, the circle of life and the opportunity for spiritual transformation.


You see that honey in the background of the photo?  Apples and challah bits got a good dunking in the sweet stuff.  My daughter even doused her corn kugel (pudding) with honey.

A little sweet can go a long way.  Even just the idea of it offers up HOPE.

Like imagining a future post with me in a 5k t-shirt. 🙂

So be sweet to yourself.

Or focus on the new things that are awesome.  For me that’s thinking about publishing my first book or seeing the Grand Canyon with my husband and kids in a couple of months.

With dangling carrots like those it’s easier to maintain some forward motion.

So, whatever changes you are in the middle of, I wish you a sweet transformation!

How do you deal with change?  What are the dangling carrots that keep you going?

I love it when you comment!

61 thoughts on “Making Change a Sweet Transformation

  1. This one had me tearing up a little, Col. I wish you the best this year, and I am looking forward to seeing you accomplish all of your dreams! With love, Emily


  2. Oh, I’ve been dealing with a lot of change lately, too. I’m still in the middle of it, actually. I focusing on all of the good things in my life and being open to possibilites. Also, I’m working on having trust that whatever unfolds is the best thing that could happen for my life. I think attitude has an awful lot to do with making change a good thing. Thanks for the uplifting post.


  3. It sounds like you’re approaching the unplanned changes with the perfect attitude! Baby steps and gratitude are never out of place. It’s ok to be disappointed, too – even though others may have it worse, it’s still a bummer and it’s ok to feel that way. But I have a feeling, with your positive step back, regroup, and forge a new path mindset, you’ll get that 5k shirt before you know it!


  4. I have found that as the years roll by more and more things come up that were unanticipated and unexpected. My sense of smell has changed and things now have an unusual aroma. doesn’t sound like anything too important and it’s not. but combined with some other things that are going on with my brain and all of a sudden, i’m at the doc’s office. and waiting for an appointment for an MRI.

    so I hear you about expectations and gratitude and change. keep us posted.


  5. I really liked that you made the point that it’s okay to be sad or mad. When something bad happens, I think people really imagine they’re helping by telling us how much worse it could be and how much better our life still is than someone else’s. That doesn’t help. When a major change happens, even a good change, sometimes we need time to grieve for what we’re leaving behind. Physiologically speaking, even good changes are stressful, and until we’ve been allowed to grieve, we can’t move forward the way we should.


    1. I shouldn’t laugh, but Marcy is reminding me of my MIL she’s always finding someone who has something worse every time we have to tell her something bad. It drives me crazy. People like that should be careful because people will stop telling them things at all.


    2. Marcy that is the hardest part for me–and I am the worst offender to myself. It’s not easy to even talk about it without feeling like I’m complaining, whining or not being grateful for all that I have.
      And you’re right, even happy changes are hard. Much of parenting is like that! 🙂


  6. Coleen, I think you should talk to the doctor about the stress that your neck will be under with running and see if he has any suggestions. i feel for you that you have this and you don’t know why, but just concentrate on your 5k, you can do this!


  7. Wow Coleen. That is such bad news. I hope it goes away as strangely as it came.
    You have such a great way of looking at things and I love how you put a funny spin on this. In the long run, it’s your attitude that wins the race!
    You go girl!
    Thanks again for commenting on my photo!


  8. suck-tastic change 😛 love that. Oh yeah – I know all about that kind of change. You keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep telling yourself when it’s bad that tomorrow’s a new day. Keep on keeping on.


  9. I love how you tell people to avoid “The Olympic Pain Games.” Gratitude is not the same thing as happiness or the absence of negative emotions. I think that’s often misunderstood.

    I’m sorry to hear about your nerve damage, but I admire your courage in coping with it and not letting it take over your life. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us all!


    1. Thank you Julie!!
      There was a TV show I saw recently that made a joke about how people don’t realize they minimize each others pain thru the one up factor–they used the concept of basketball’s march madness play offs, but called it march sadness. It was funny, but oh so true.


  10. Ugh, this sounds horrendous. I’m really sorry you have to deal with it. I suffer from neck pain, too — and they diagnosed me with arthritis, of all things. And to make it worse, it is now affecting my back and hips. But I have the same attitude as you–baby steps can cover the whole distance.

    Keep shooting for your goals. It may take you longer because of your pain, but I think your positive outlook is probably the best medicine anyway. I totally believe in the Law of Attraction. What you put out into the universe, you get back. So just hang tough and keep smiling!


  11. Human nature must be wired for change which is a really good thing. It helps us roll with the rotten crap life deals us and makes us thankful for all the wonderful things that happen too. I used to suffer from daily headaches and shoulder pain. At one point, my arms and hands started to go numb. The amount of time we spend on our computers and cell phones and iPads is horrendously difficult on our bodies. Then I discovered chiropractors and massage therapists. I love them, Coleen. They help keep the daily abuse on my body at bay. Perhaps a good chiropractor or massage therapist could help alleviate your issues too. Now, if I could only find a cure for sugar cravings. 🙂 Take good care of yourself. You have such a happy and uplifting demeanor, you’re a great example for us all!


  12. You certainly don’t sound like you’re whinning. You give me courage & remind me of your mom. Sometimes a new door opens that you wouldn’t have looked behind had you just “run” past it. Kudos to you, you’re one smart & courageous cookie!! Of course prayers always help & you will be in mine but I know you will be better than fine.


  13. Thank you sharing with us. I understand the rollercoaster you’re on when dealing with a health issue. I’ve certainly had my own share of neurological issues. I know that I can only live in the present and one day at a time. My issues led me to reinvent myself as a writer, a major transformation for me. I like your positive attitude and focus on what you can do. You are an inspiration and I wish you many happy and healthy days ahead. Also found your Kettering quote interesting — I live a few minutes from the suburb of Kettering, where he was such a great innovator.


    1. I love how your changes–which I’m sure were not easy–led you on the path to reinvention. That’s really a success and proves to me the importance of moving forward. Thanks so much for sharing Patricia 🙂


  14. Have you thought about walking a 5k? God knows when I ran, I did my share of walking them. 🙂 I know it’s not the same. It is funny how we hope a “name” to a problem will help. Some names are just as ambiguous as not knowing. (This post also make me think of an odd medical story I heard once in an ICU. A wife was sharing how her husband was in a car wreck. She encouraged him to begin running later to feel better. “I had him out there running and he had a broken back.” I never thought that was even possible, but she sat there telling it to the rest of us. Of course, he ended up back in the ICU after some period of time.) Have a sweet new year.


  15. I wish I could wave a magic wand and take your nerve problems away, Coleen. I’m sure you and all of your readers do, too! It must be somewhat of a relief to finally know what’s been happening, yet frustrating, not having all off the answers. Thank goodness you went to the doctor; so many people just go on hurting or confused and never check things out.

    Whether you run that 5K or not, you totally deserve a t-shirt! Team Coleen, I’m seeing, with glittery awesomeness to match your tennies. 😉 I’m cheering for your sweet transformation big time!


    1. Aw thanks August. Yes there is relief in knowing some stuff. That has helped me surrender more to the idea of me being in control. I really am a control freak, but I’m working on it. LOL
      Thanks so much for your encouragement, it means SO much. 🙂


  16. Coleen, I hate that you’re in pain. People can cope with a lot, but pain undermines us and our efforts. Damn.

    The challah looks delicious, and I marvel at the sweet way you’ve greeted the new year. I’m glad you’ve gotten some answers but, like you, I wish for solutions.

    A book and a trip to the Grand Canyon are excellent carrots. A Grand Canyon tee shirt wouldn’t be shabby, either.


  17. Oh I am a firm believer in giving myself rewards. Mostly small stuff like, 2 uninterrupted hours to read, or an entire day with no chores (that one’s rare) or a muffin with my morning cup of tea.

    And there’s nothing wrong with baby steps. We all started there and some day we’ll all end up there again, but it’ll be more like shuffling steps.

    Whatever’s ailing you, I hope it gets righted at some point. And the 5K t-shirt? You don’t need it. I want a corvette, but I’m never getting one of those either. I’ll keep admiring from afar, but one will never be parked in my garage.

    Hang in there kiddo! Happy new year!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  18. I’m so sorry, Coleen, that you’re dealing with all this. I never would have guessed you’ve been dealing with so much pain and grief. You hide it well, girl. I’m glad you wrote this post. It’s very uplifting, very hopeful, despite the pain. You have the best attitude. I agree with Marcy about you having to go through the grieving process. You’re suffering a loss, a way of life you were used to. Grieving is healthy and necessary.

    I’m looking forward to a future post of you wearing your 5k t-shirt. Yep, I can see a beaming, smile and the spirit of triumph in your face. I really do believe you can do this, Coleen, and anything else you want. Yes, you’ll have to work harder, but that makes the accomplishment that much sweeter. And speaking of ‘sweeter,’ I hope you and your family have a very SWEET new year!


    1. Thank you Lynn! So funny, but a couple hours after I posted, I got a postcard via snail mail advertising a 5k. Never got one before that. I will take it as a sign that a 5k t-shirt is in my future! 🙂


  19. You are such an inspiration to all that know and love you. Learning to cope with pain and not letting it keep you from achieving your goals is a quality we all can learn from. Some days are better than others and you, always see the positive, which will continue to make the difference some people never achieve. Loved the picture of the challah and know, first hand, how delicious they are. May the sweetness of the honey continue to be reflected in your positive attitude. Lots of hugs from us to you. 🙂


  20. It so frustrating when something is wrong and you can’t explain it all. I personally find that understanding what’s happening somehow helps me deal with it. Hang in there, Coleen. I hate that you’re experiencing these problems, but I have a feeling you’ll get that 5k shirt one way or another.

    The challah looks fabulous. Happy Jewish New Year!


  21. Well, dang it. No fair to have something trip you up. But you the scramble up, get your feet under you and keep on moving kind of person. Baby steps for sure! Hang in there. Very inspiring post, Coleen.


  22. I really want to reach into the screen and give you a big hug right now.

    It sucks that you have to deal with this. It. SUCKS.BALLS.

    But like you said, baby steps. One day at a time. Things will get better, and everything everywhere will be fine forever and ever.

    Here comes the mother of all hugs…..



  23. Hey there Coleen, so sorry to hear of the curve balls being sent your way. I would never have been able to tell what you’ve been going through, but your positive approach to it all (and unwavering inspiration on this blog!) says a lot about you as a person.

    I wish you an amazing Jewish New Year, with lots more answers, a 5k race T-shirt and – well, lots of actual carrots (as opposed to those dangled ones) 🙂

    Thanks for being such a stellar human being to all of us…xx


  24. Your commitment to continuing to move forward and stay positive, empowered and grateful under such stress and intensity is moving and inspiring. You…are a role model my friend. And I wish you all the best in this new year…success, love, and forward motion.


  25. At the risk of being repetitious, that really sucks. But you have such an upbeat attitude. I like it that you got it, before you had the answers, that the answers wouldn’t necessarily change things back to how they were. That would have been a harder realization to take if it had hit you later. I’m wondering if speed walking those 5k’s might not be a baby step for you? My daughter-in-law has walked two marathons. Takes longer but still good exercise and not so hard on the body because you aren’t pounding it against the pavement with each step.


  26. How do I deal with change? Resist, resist, resist!! 😉 With suck-tastic change that is out of our control? You’re right, we all have to just deal with it. I mean, what choice do we have? You are doing great though, because you are dealing with it positively. You keep on keeping on. You will accomplish all of your goals…first book and a 5k (even if you have to baby step over the finish line). xoxo


  27. Wow. You created such a beautiful post despite the hand you’ve been dealt. Your attitude is a huge portion of the battle and you surely have put forth a strong positive one at that. I know that can’t be as easy as you make it look. I pray that whatever you are meant to see from this you will see quickly and it will miraculously clear up. In the meantime, baby steps towards the 5k goal. I have faith that you will accomplish it.


  28. I love change. Not so much the health kind, though. I hope you find the solution, and if you don’t, I hope it goes away soon.

    BTW, how did you do that cool quote at the beginning. Did you make that and then scan it in?


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