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My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on hold

by Lisa Chiodo

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The Birthday Bash and PARIS on hold

On the eighteenth I turned fifty, it almost seems like it didn’t happen. With all the build up and excitement about going to Paris driving me the last few months celebrating at home and then sleeping through the afternoon was a bit of a bummer. Sam and the kids made a cake, Carina set the table with pink party plates and she had the Eiffel tower made from marshmallows on the top of the cake…..the perfect breakfast.

Some gorgeous home made presents and cards, and some wonderful surprises from friends and family arrived in the mail. Having kids means you can’t be flat for your birthday, Sam made my favorite Carbonara for lunch and then I went to bed. Enough said… I am re celebrating in July hopefully in Paris and will work out a new time for the portraits with Carla Coulson.

lisa 50 dbl

Running on Empty

I’ve been off the radar for a bit, well two weeks anyway. After a hospital visit with a high temperature, exhaustion and unable to walk I had a chest ex-ray and two different women trying to do blood gas tests in the artery in my wrists. They tried three times and it was excruciating each time, eventually they told me I didn’t have pneumonia and I could go home.  This was on the fourth of June.

On the nineteenth of June after continuing to feel exhausted, having problems with both my hands that resulted in a trip to the neurologist at the hospital (they tell me everything is fine with the nerves in my hands and the problem should just go away) the local Dr tells me that nothing is wrong with me, that I’ve been telling her I’m feeling tired for some time now, that my blood pressure is always low, and that I probably had a virus and the rest is just menopause as nothing shows in the blood tests. Hmmmmm Thanks!

So I’m none the wiser and she told me to give it three weeks and rest and see what happens.

Actually the entire conversation was between Sam and the Dr and I just tuned right out….in fact I almost walked out in despair. I feel I need to regroup, and take charge of my own health. They don’t keep records here when you visit the doctor, so I’m writing it all down from now on.

A lovely friend I spoke with on skype yesterday told me I looked like an empty vessel….to take time out and absorb some love and sunshine and just rest a bit. I don’t have any choice right now, even the shortest walk exhausts me, and I am certainly no energizer bunny right now. Oh and to top it all off Sam and I both had conjunctivitis which is going around, (which is why my eyes are puffed up in the pics) and I have a head cold.

The good thing is that I am ever optimistic and know this will pass, and I’m learning some unexpected lessons along the way.

balanced rocks

The White House

Yesterday we had to sign the paperwork for the white house, it’s such a funny lengthy process which took place in Pinerolo about 40 minutes drive away. We dropped the kids off at friends, and spent over an hour at the Notaio going through the entire contract with nine people in total in the room.

One was an elderly lady that looked like she was about to faint from the heat. It turned out I didn’t actually need to be there, but having heard so much about the other times we’ve bought property in Italy I was totally bemused to see the process in action. So we now have access to the ‘White House’ and took a look inside after we got home.

Although it looks like a nightmare right now, Sam cleared out much of the rubbish and we are starting to see the rooms under the mess left behind. He loaded much of it onto the blue tractor with a pitchfork and a full load was only the tip of the iceberg. The building has three rooms in total, no bathroom at all and two cellars underneath that are full of rubbish.

As you enter the building and go up a flight of stairs a room on the right is now cleared, it is actually very light and airy. To the left you enter a kitchen area and from that room go up a very crooked staircase to the main bedroom. This is the worst room and is black with mold, the balcony is dangerous and Sam blocked it off. Once emptied, cleaned and painted we will be able to get a feel for the potential. I’m staying clear of the process at the moment.

white house kitchen

Online Overwhelm

I’m hoping this post won’t seem disjointed, I’ve opened the computer many times in the last few days to write a post and just shut it again. The first week I was sick just opening my inbox had me in tears, it seemed like everyone was shouting, that all the conversations and groups and posts I love to read would suck me completely into a vortex. The more everyone reached out the further inwards I shrank. I felt like I was going mad, up down, crying, tired, over wrought, and emotionally wrung out.

All the excitement I felt within B-School fell in a heap, the momentum I had going dropped out from under me and I thought I’d never get back here to writing again. My constant refrain right now is Piano Piano….(slowly slowly) so if you sent me a message or email know that I read what I could but just couldn’t bring myself to answer, I just didn’t want to speak with anyone, it all seemed so exhausting. Know that I thank you all so much for all the well wishes and suggestions, the concern and love, it makes a difference even if I couldn’t tell you at the time.

The Simple Life

Funnily enough since feeling so tired I have really looked at our life here, the simplicity we wanted to create has slipped into each of us being on the computer more than out enjoying our simple lifestyle. Taking small walks each day to the top of the road and back reminds me of why we are here in the first place, it’s to engage with life, to breathe in the mountain air, to grow our food, to be with our kids, to be healthy and  happy together, and to share this with others wanting a similar dream.

Maybe we are all too hard on ourselves, even here in the valley those bad habits followed us, as I get better and stronger I’ll be sharing more of our simple life as we find it for ourselves. After a year and a half here in Italy I am totally in love with my life, the valley and know this is the place we are meant to be, creating a simple life in Italy. When I think of us here over years to come I see this first year as a learning curve.

Each of us has our own stresses, health issues, family drama’s, dreams we are chasing, dysfunctional families, or what ever other things you’re dealing with daily…..I’m sharing with you so that you know you are not alone, and once shared love and compassion flow from a community so beautiful and connected, without everyone here life would be less full, less inspiring, and who would I talk with LOL……..

So rambling post over, now I am back on the bike so to speak I’m sure the next one will be easier and feel more natural.

I continue to take it slowly, hope if you are weary you can take the time to slow down and rest, regroup, and come back stronger than ever.

Signatureand the gang x

 dare to dream



 rock image

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trisha Thomas July 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hi Lisa — I am so sorry to hear of all your health difficulties. I have had terrible problems with the health system in Italy. My daughter was in and out of the hospital twice this spring with frightening problems and everyone kept telling me to go to the US, or go somewhere else, but we live here and I felt I could not just pick up and go. (UK is closer though and not as horribly expensive as the US) Now my daughter is doing better and we have changed doctors and hospitals (but always in Rome). One of my biggest problems was that doctors did not ever want to listen to me. They were making terrible mistakes with medications with my daughter but they did not want me to question them. I became very discouraged and depressed. I can also relate to your feelings on the blog and the interactions with others. My blog has opened up a world to me. I literally have made blog buddies all over the globe — people whom I have never met, but who have been so kind to me and so supportive. Yet, I also sometimes get overwhelmed by my blog. I can’t keep up the posts, I can’t keep up the comments on other people’s posts, I feel guilty, stressed and overwhelmed by it all. Well, there is no point to that. As you say, when you get that way, it is time to close the computer and go out for a walk and enjoy the simple things in life. I certainly hope you are feeling better and your energy is coming back. Sending hugs, Trisha
Trisha Thomas recently posted..Anna’s TearsMy Profile


2 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:54 pm

That is just so scary Trisha and frustrating that they won’t listen to you. When it’s your children involved it’s a hundred times worse than if happening to you. It seems here that you don’t ask questions and not much information is offered. It is easy to slip into a dark place, I know I was really down and depressed the whole month I was sick and couldn’t get the drs to understand.

I also feel so guilty not keeping up with all the posts and friends I love following online, but you know what having you say you feel the same makes it seem easier. I’m not the only one and online overwhelm looks like the new epidemic. We might be a bit hard on ourselves, pushing to the limit and not taking time out, that small walk or moment away from all the stress can be the answer and also finding someone to talk with that understands, I miss my girlfriends in Australia and being able to meet up and just talk and hug and let it all hang out……sending you love and hugs and peaceful moments xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..An Italian Weekend – our mountain homeMy Profile


3 Shivanii July 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Hi Lisa
Hope your bug has cleared up and that you’re enjoying being 50! Would love to have a chat with you on Skype sometime, but I can see that you’re already up to the armpits with comments to respond to from your blog! Well done, you!! Do take it easy when you need to, won’t you. The world will keep on going on if you don’t respond, and in the scheme of things, somehow things just keep chugging along! Sending you much love and many great big jovial hugs!!


4 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Oh Ciao Shivanii, wow I wish you lived here I’d love to have some chats over coffee again. I really miss you often. Bug has cleared up and the sun is out at last. I’m seeing this as a chance to recreate my ‘simple lifestyle’… more overwhelm online….sending big hugs and squishes dear friend xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile


5 Catherine June 29, 2014 at 10:46 am

Oh dear Lisa I hope you get some resolution with this. I’ve not had great experience with local GPs, but if you are lucky enough to find an expert who speaks to you and listens (!) you can be well looked after. I hope you find that person soon! I does sound like a combination of factors, hope it’s passing now xxcat
Catherine recently posted..The Constant GardenerMy Profile


6 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm

A big dose of sunshine in Liguria (no bikini in sight) and some R&R were lovely. I am sure now it was a virus and talking to our friend the Dr really helped. We are having a short summer here in the valley, lots of rain and yep we don’t have to get out watering the orto….although mowing in a bikini would be a head turner here xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile


7 La Contessa June 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Do you remember me telling YOU the doctors in ITALY are not like the Doctors in the USA!!!!
In Italy there are docs that speak ENGLISH……….at least in Florence!YOU have to pay.They are Private Docs.I have a sister in law outside Florence who speaks good English…….find her on Facebook.Maybe she can help.GABRIELLA KIRKPATRICK.Or tell you where you need to go!
My other thought was GLUTEN………….Celiac.I suffer from this and you have all the same symptoms.Take the pasta and bread and wheat away!!!!!!!!
Also,the mold that another commenter left…………….research that.
So, sorry……….was so excited seeing your post in my e-mail thinking its PICTURE TIME!!
Get Well………rest lots of water…………you know!
La Contessa recently posted..SUMMERMy Profile


8 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm

I always love seeing your comments it’s like you are right here in person… make me feel your excitement with life. I have a very dear and favorite Aunt and you always remind me of her with her passion for all things French and joy in life.

I’m feeling much better now and catching up slowly. I am still to find a time to do our portrait with Carla but know we’ll work it out. Can’t wait and I’m so glad I didn’t try to go when I was sick xxx
sending love x
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Time to Shine – Carla Coulson, Paris and turning 50My Profile


9 Krista June 26, 2014 at 2:39 am

Dearest Lisa, I’m so deeply sorry you are unwell and that all your beautiful plans had to be put on hold. XOXO I wish I was close enough to help care for you and do whatever I could to make your load lighter so you could rest and heal. XO Wishing you healing, dear friend, and so much joy and wonder when you DO get to Paris to celebrate your amazing self. :-)
Krista recently posted..Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids, MateMy Profile


10 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Krista you have such a kind caring soul, I know you deal with your own worries and mine are minor in comparison. Just seeing your smiling face and whacky gumboots always makes me smile and know the world is so much better for having you in it xxxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile


11 Lou June 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm

First, I LOVE reading your blog. You are living my dream… So, you must get well quickly!

I agree with everyone else – go to the UK (or Paris!) for a check-up. I had a virus that left me chronically fatigued and it was mononucleosis. I don’t even remember having swollen glands! There is a blood test they can do to check. Did they run a complete blood panel including thyroid? Make sure you obtain copies of all the test results for your files!


12 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Thanks so much for that Lou, I had glandular fever in my teens and this feels very similar. No idea what it is but I’ve not made much improvement in three weeks and Dr hasn’t been much help. They did do blood tests and say it’s not thyroid, I’m at a loss…..xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile


13 Caterina B June 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I just want to ask if you have thought about that black mold. It can make one very, very ill.
Also, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Those are both very difficult to diagnose.
I know that from my own experience.
I feel for you, Lisa. Things always ebb and flow, including our physical selves. Hope you’re in the flow once again!


14 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Oh a friend of mine here in Italy has fibromyalgia, I don’t have any pain points just overall exhaustion and feel like all my limbs are heavy. I’m looking online to improve my health with diet etc but it would help if I knew what it was lol . It seems many people suffer from these fatigue symptoms, it would be easier if I could speak to the dr in english. My physical self is a bit over it right now xxxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on holdMy Profile


15 jann June 22, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Here’s hoping you make a very quick recovery, Lisa. Sounds like serious work overload. Prioritize. Remember the simple life you came to Italy for. Un abbraccio della sicilia
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16 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

thanks Jann, really not sure what this is, it’s been three weeks now and I can still hardly walk about the house without exhaustion. Maybe a number of things all hitting at once….. sending love xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile


17 Margaret | Destination Here&Now June 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I think there’s something in the air Lisa. I think BSchool was great on many levels but I think the intensity of its 8 weeks really requires some down time afterwards. It has for me anyway.Take care lovely xx
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18 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I keep thinking of all these contributing factors Margaret, I can’t even look at the b-school fb group right now, it’s been three weeks and I’m still not much better. Hoping to talk with a friend here in Italy whose husband is a Doctor and speaks english, maybe he can point me in the right direction xx
Hope you enjoyed your down time, sorry not in touch just doing the minimum right now and computer tires me out. xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile


19 head in the sun June 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

Our bodies are sneaky little devils.
They have a great way of sitting us back down on our arses when our heads aren’t paying enough attention to our lives swirling around us.
And float along for a while.
head in the sun recently posted..Beach TimeMy Profile


20 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Oh love that ……yep sat down on my arse that’s for sure lol x
floating sounds nice xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..A Simple Life in Italy – stopping the overwhelmMy Profile


21 Wynne June 22, 2014 at 7:54 am

I agree with others here re: getting to a doctor in the UK. The fact that written records aren’t kept in Italy is just scary.

But rest assured that this, too, shall pass and someday be just a memory. Lots of rest and healthy meals, my friend. And happy birthday again!


22 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Sam said she does keep records but I never feel that she actually listens to what I am telling her. A total waste of time and i have no faith anymore. Trying something else and getting another opinion. Always healthy meals around here, thank goodness Sam does all the cooking xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on holdMy Profile


23 DesireEmpire June 22, 2014 at 3:08 am

Go well and try to get a second opinion. Hoping you feel stronger soon.
DesireEmpire recently posted..Christmas in JulyMy Profile


24 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm

thanks Carolyn, onto it and getting another opinion on Sunday hopefully xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Our Italian Life – Pneumonia, B-School and Burning down the houseMy Profile


25 Rose June 22, 2014 at 12:58 am

My gorgeous Lisa, you’d look beautiful even if you stepped put of a wind tunnel. Please, if you can, take your aunt’s advice, and fly out to the UK for a once over. Rest is paramount and lots of fluid is a must. I have had great relief with Zinc and turmeric capsules. Also, loads os sunshine to get that vitamin D level up, so important for women. Enough of that.
How wonderful the cake and presses. Please take good care. Love you and can’t wait to see the Paris photos. Always in my and our hearts. Rose.xxxxx


26 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Gorgeous girl my Carina and I loved the birthday celebration even though it wasn’t what I had planned. Right now I don’t know when we will get to Paris, I feel no better and it’s been three weeks. Apparently nothing is wrong with me…..ruddy hell it’s so frustrating. It’s hard to get around the system and not being able to explain in English is making it harder. I’m looking on google but have no idea what is going on.

sending love xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on holdMy Profile


27 Val June 22, 2014 at 12:47 am

Made your poor old Aunt sad to know that you are feeling so unwell. I know in my heart that you will find the answer to the problem. My worry is that the longer it go’s on the weaker you will keep getting. Maybe if after your next trip there is no resolve, could you not think of a cheap flight to the UK and straight to see a hospital or doctor there. It is only a suggestion. Know that we are all thinking of you and wishing you well. On another thought. Do you wear masks when dealing with all the dust, mould etc. mould can cause all sorts of problems with our body’s

Anyway 50 is the new 40 and you can celebrate in Paris later. Lots of love to you all and a big hug especially for you from me.


28 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:29 pm

50 is the new 40… that!!
If things don’t get resolved I will start looking at other options. WE have a GP friend coming over so he might have an idea for me to follow. up. I haven’t been going into the other house and avoiding the mould like the plague. Just frustrating not getting any answers arghhh xxxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on holdMy Profile


29 Jackie Stenhouse June 22, 2014 at 12:21 am

Your family is wonderful making your day special. Have you looked up the symptoms of Chronic fatigue syndrome? I am pretty sure nothing would show up on the blood test if you were suffering from this. Must be a little frightening not being able to get a proper diagnosis when you know you are so ill. Hope things get better for you quickly and good luck with your new venture.


30 Lisa Chiodo June 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

That is exactly it Jackie, I know I am not well, and still no diagnosis just fobbed off like I’m making it up. I had a wonderful Dr in Australia and I have been thinking of seeing if she would look at my results via email. sending love xx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..An Italian Weekend – our mountain homeMy Profile


31 lynda sharples June 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Hi Lisa,
firstly I love that I can almost hear your voice and mind defying that body that is failing you at this moment in time. You are a courageous bold woman …being sick is the pits and could overtake your beautiful spirit, but you wont let it :)Paris will wait…. One day at a time and I’m sure you will look back and wonder how you did it !The white house looks exciting! I agree with Alison…I turned 50 wandering the muddy streets of a Fijian village and nobody knew (except family back in Australia) …it was liberating …my little secret. Being fifty to me meant I could be myself and not conform to all the rules ever ever again! Still brings a smile to say “I am over fifty and can think , wear and do what I want. As long as the consequences don’t involve bail or jail hahaha . Take care x Love to Sam Carina and Luca x Lynda ( Nanna Mac on Macleay Island)


32 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Lynda sorry for the delay replying, and it’s nice to see myself through your eyes. Bold Defiant and courageous love this x
I love being 50, although at the moment we have the 21 year old daughter of some friends staying with us and it makes me yearn for my 20′s again.
love to you xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..An Italian Weekend – our mountain homeMy Profile


33 Alison June 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm

good to hear you’re recovering. Maybe its time to shut the computer, take a pen or pencil and a lovely journal and sit under a tree – write if you want to…or don’t. I thought turning 50 was extremely overrated, so going to Paris to celebrate being well might just be what you need.
Continue to get well and looking forward to hearing more of your lovely stories.


34 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

ahhh sounds like heaven and I had visual diaries at college. Great idea. xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Renovating Italy hits the road – LiguriaMy Profile


35 Anne June 21, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Ah How cute of Carina to make the Eiffel tower out of Marshmallows. I am shocked to read that you are still not well at all ,, and how do the doctors know what happened to you in the past ,,,?? How strange. I am so happy though that despite not feeling well and missing your trip to Paris that you had a lovely day. Big hugs xx
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36 Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

She is gorgeous and can’t wait to get to Paris Anne. I am much better now and the virus lasted a month, still a little slow but much improved. xxx
Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile


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