Today is my two year anniversary being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. November has been hard this year, but it seems like I have had difficult Novembers every year or most years. When I was a teenager, November is when I got mono and sprained my ankle during a food drive. My dad passed away in November five years ago. And this year, maybe it's COVID fatigue, I've been having troubles sleeping, being fatigued, and having difficulties being motivated most days. Most mornings is hard to get up and get going, my legs and feet feel like they're full of pins and needles. I lay on my back and wiggle my toes, then my feet, and finally my legs to get the pain to lessen so I can get myself together for my online classes. I've had very few "good days" this month, but when I do have a good day I really appreciate the time and energy.
On Wednesday, I had a class presentation about self-care. I was nervous to share but I realized that we had to share and my class is super supportive of each other. I was able to share my story about myself, my influences, my past issue(s), my life with Fibromyalgia, and how I am planning to self care in my daily routine. My classmates were amazing, sharing praise and really made me realize my dream is possible and I will not allow my illness define me. I'm surrounded by wonderful and brave classmates, I am so grateful this is our class, and we are growing together and pushing each other for greatness: where our paths after IWAP I am sure these people will be the greatest in their respected fields. I am proud of them and the passion they bring to helping out others. F.Y.I. we take our course online through zoom, good times!
Today, I promised myself a day of rest since I was home alone. I fell asleep around 3:30 a.m. My neck and back felt twisted and I just relaxed most of the day. At lunchtime, my husband came home and made me feel happy and we spent time cuddling until he had to go back to work. I treated myself to a Cineplex rental tonight; I rented Frida, I have never seen the movie. It was so beautiful and amazingly casted, I do recommend this film.
About a decade ago, I was very involved with Girl Guides of Canada. I wasn't a member as a youth but found myself volunteering casually then I was asked to take on a unit or it would have to close (I think most leaders hear that line as they are joining, the urgency to keep the unit open for the girls).
I fully immersed myself as the unit guider for a Sparks unit. To the girls and their parents from our unit knew me as "Guider Chantal". I planned amazing weekly meeting with fun and educational crafts, I took the girls on trips, and special events. I found the greatest ideas for meeting and activities to do with my unit because of pinterest and that growing social media was most of the inspiration to the awesome things the unit was able to accomplish together. I blogged about the things we did and I dedicated most of my Instagram feed to my Guiding life. For the first year or so, I was the only guider on the roster and the community guider and administrative leader would rotate weeks to assist me/to cover ratio. I loved it but eventually I wore myself out. I was exhausted after my time as Guider Chantal with the 43rd North Bay Sparks unit. I left that unit in June 2015, and that was the spring that I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I had to step away, I became controlling and wasn't a good co-leader to my fellow guiders.
Because of Girl Guides, I was able to find myself. I made great friends and wonderful memories. I learned to love camping and challenging myself to a new activity each summer I was a volunteer at summer camps. Girl Guide camps became my favorite thing; I would volunteer in the summer, attend Guider training and skill weekends, and my family enjoyed a family camp or two, or three.
I am so grateful for the sisterhood in Girl Guides and all the wonderful opportunities my daughters and I experienced over the past decade. Girl Guides was my safe space when I was lost in my illness; the support from co-guiders, women I worked with through GGC-ON council, and the summer camp teams gave me strength when I needed it the most.
I hung up my Girl Guide hat in September 2019 after my last camp. For now, I am focusing on college and I maintain my membership through an internet Trefoil Guild. I hope to return to unit guiding in a few years.
(Breathe in. Breathe out.) September was a crazy, busy month. I made it through my first month into my second program at Canadore College. I was surprised at the end of August when I enrolled for my courses to find out all course will be provided online (I was previously told it would be 50/50 in class and online) but I rolled with it.
I'm taking Indigenous Wellness and Addiction Prevention. My class are
During September 22 through 24, I participated in a Culture camp with my class. It was an amazing experience and wonderful to meet my classmates in person. I felt welcome and accepted by my peers and I learned so much about my family's culture. I was thrilled to make my own hand drum, it was hard work but I had so much fun working along side my new friends.
Today was Orange Shirt day. I wore my GGC orange hoodie. After my morning class, I took Miley for a walk, the sun was shinning, and it has been a while since I routinely take my walk (October challenge). As we were finishing our stroll in the trails, the rain started to come down, I walked with my right hand out, catching the raindrops as we continued on, enjoying the crisp air and the fact that I am alive on this day. I could never imagine having my children taken away from me because someone thought they were savages. No one should have ever experience that trauma (parent, child, or anyone affected). When I homeschooled my (smallish) children, we had natives studies classes and they had nature days with their dad. I want my children to learn and love their culture. That's why I am where I am today. My educational path has crossed my passion for my family to learn about their heritage and I love how things are coming along for myself, my children, and for Kirk.
Happy Mail Day!
I love getting real good mail. This parcel I just couldn't wait for it... I needed it last week for my Culture camp, I'll be wearing my new ribbon skirts at the next camp or special ceremony with my class. My skirts were created by Alexa Eliza. I adore her shop, the skirts are so beautiful, and she has gorgeous items in her etsy store.
As I was finishing up my volunteer week at Camp Woolsey, I signed up for a month long contract to be a camp counsellor for Adelaide. I had about 33 "off" with travel to and from camp (twice) and time to clean my gear, repack, and head out to Adelaide for the rest of August. AND celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! (we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary of being a couple in September)
Before I left for Girl Guide camp, I quit drinking pop. Cold turkey. I had my last Coke Zero on August 4 and knew I would be away for three weeks, which would be the perfect time to stop drinking pop to see if my sides stop hurting so much. I believe the pop is affecting my kidneys, and I can feel the intense pain in my lowers back & sides. I still haven't drank any pop but I do not feel better, my pains in my kidney area is still there, almost daily.
I returned home from working at Girl Guide camp and I needed several days to recover; I was not sleeping properly and was in constant pain. It hurt to wear shoes when I was working, it was too painful to wear my high-tops, I would wear my sandals or rainboots. When I got home, I cried and slept so much. I couldn't even walk downstairs to my office two floors lower from my bedroom (I barely even went one floor down to the kitchen/living room). I had a medical appointment with my family physician, and she sent me for x-rays; I felt like my feet were broken or fractured. That session at the x-ray department was so hard, I cried in every position the technician placed me into, poor thing was so apologetic during the whole process.
When I was alone at home, in bed trying to recover from camplife; I went into thinking spirals and I fell into a depression again. I felt that I wasn't able to be strong enough for my final year of my Administrative Community Leader term for Community 34. That I was letting people down. I wasn't able to make time to volunteer my ACL role while I was working from 6:45 a.m. to 11 p.m., my downtime I made sure that I did selfcare and rested for that hour and a bit I had off each day. I felt that I was unappreciated by my camp director at Adelaide. She purposely avoided me the last two days when my condition was worsening. I was falling into a very sad state of mind, I had given up precious weeks that I could have been spending with my eldest daughter who was leaving for Italy for a 10 month student exchange. I was at my saddest when I missed her Italian consulate visit in Toronto and her 16th birthday. I was grateful for the support of the Red Shirts (Staff) who had hugs and kind words to help me through and help me find strength.
My mind wasn't clear or sharp during my last few days of work: One morning when I had first session off and my sleep-in morning, I got up and I was making myself breakfast and tea, and I ended up pouring freshly boiled water over my right hand while I was holding the mug for my tea. I didn't react quickly and poured a fair amount that cause a burn more serious than I have ever done before. I went straight to first aid/wellness center for help, but I was brushed aside and told to run cold water on it. I did but it wasn't enough. By lunch time, I was becoming zombie-like because of the intense pain and lack of treatment (besides running cold water on it twice). The camp had some special guests visiting and grading the camp for their Ontario camp status, and the camp director suddenly was sincere and concerned about me, it felt like she didn't want me around the guests because I was unwell and injured; I was rushed into another section of the building, away from the dining hall with the campers and guests, and into a quiet area and was given treatment for my burn, which she said she was concerned about the severity but didn't bring me to the hospital or even wrote a incident report. I had a hard time understanding why I would work so hard, as a volunteer and then as a contract employee for them to mistreat me and not appreciate my dedication to the organization and the camp.
Wednesday afternoon, I gave my notice to the second in command in the director's office, camp director was M.I.A. whenever I needed her that day. I had 24 hours to reflect at Camp Adelaide about my wellness, my life, my roles as volunteer, etc. until the time I was scheduled to be picked up for my weekend off. I was just going home for good. I took the time to encourage the women who were tired and starting to feel the drain. I went to different places I wasn't able to explore before. I said goodbye to my camp, my home. I made peace with the idea that this was my last sunset at Adelaide.
Today, I was falling apart and it broke my heart while I wrote my letter and I gave my notice to the GGC - Ontario Council Deputy Provincial Commissioner, my ACL Advisor, and my Community Planner. I could not continue my role as ACL for C34.
In two days, I go for my CT Scan and I have my follow up with the doctor and specialist. Next month, I start a mindfulness program with a psychiatrist: The Mindfulness Solution to Pain.
Chantal \shahn~ TAHL\
A devastating beauty with a fiery personality. Part lover, part fighter.
Chantals know how to make it rain. Your life is incomplete if you lack a Chantal. A completely magical girl.
- Urban Dictionary