Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Convicted


Over the past couple of years I've become more and more isolated. I spend far more time by myself. Real tears have not fallen from my eyes since I dealt with postpartum depression following Madeline's birth. I've been "stuffing" all the really hard stuff in order to "stay strong." All of my relationships have suffered because of it. I'm feeling more disconnected with church. I'm feeling the physical distance even more. And the thought of having 3-4 close friends in the congregation sort of terrifies me.

I am friendly with a fairly large and diverse part of the congregation but I have no close friends in church. I have only 2 very close confidants in my life other than Brandon. Part of it is because I'm an introvert and that's just how we are. But I've also been hurt so deeply by others that I have trouble trusting. When I get hurt, I withdraw, it's not my finest trait. So, the older I've gotten the harder I find it to connect with others.

I'm not sure what the answers are. Part of it I need to just really accept who I am as a person and be comfortable with it. Be comfortable with the fact that it doesn't look "normal" to others. The other part I'm sure, is I need to step outside of my comfort zone and try to make more of an effort to connect. I realize I have to put myself out there. And there is always the potential to be hurt. It's just hard to know where to start.


Friday, November 23, 2012

I Did It!!!

I ran in my first race, a 5K and finished!!

In an effort to first, motivate myself to get out and regularly exercise. And second, to lose those last 6 or 7 pesky pounds to meet my goal weight. I began the Couch to 5K training program back in August. Well, I should back up to say that I have started it many times in the past couple of years and then gotten ill and derailed only to have to start again.

But this time I was even more determined. I got up at 6 a.m. every other day to go out to jog. I forced myself up, giving myself pep talks and stayed motivated throughout. In all the other times I've tried, I never got past week 4 of training. Sure enough, I finished week 4 and promptly got sick.

I researched when I could get back out, as long as the cold wasn't in my chest I was fine. Well, it did get into my chest so I was forced to rest for 2 weeks. But I got back out after that and picked up where I left off. Sure, my pace slowed considerably but I had a deadline for the race, the 2 weeks of rest ate into my 2 weeks cushion I had arranged. But, I was determined to run in it and finish the race.

It wasn't always easy. When I moved out of the intervals into the long periods of running, I didn't always make it. But that day that I ran 2.25 miles, I couldn't stop grinning when I finished. That was the farthest I had run in years!! When I hit 2.5 miles, it was the longest I had ever run!! The first day I tried 3 miles I didn't finish. The first day I completed 3 miles was 2 days before the race. My times wasn't pretty, 29.41 minutes, but I did it!

I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I found it most challenging trying to run around all the obstacles (walkers spread all the way across the path at times) but I found myself not running out of breath. I crossed the finish line at 32.44 minutes which was pretty good for me considering the obstacles and the extra bit of distance.

I was so proud! Setting a goal for a non-runner like myself and making it! It felt so good!

My next step is to increase my pace. Brandon helped me out with some ideas from his distance running days. And then I want to find other events to run in.

As for the Turkey Trot, I plan to run in the 10K race next year, this time competitively. Of course, my biggest competition is me. And hopefully I can get Brandon to join me. I can't wait! It was so much fun!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taking Care

I've been looking out for my Mother for the past few days. It hasn't been easy. She had surgery and at first I wanted to spend time with her so she wouldn't be bored stuck in the house for 2 weeks.

But she had complications. She experience a scary bleeding episode afterward. I was at a meeting, had to be tracked down and called away. Fortunately, I had dropped my Grandmother off to visit with her at the time, so she wasn't alone.  My original plan to alleviate boredom turned into needing to be there in case of an emergency.

The next day the bleeding started up again and just would not stop. We tried everything. And then she had me call 911. Recently, I took a first aid course so I was able to stay calm with the dispatcher. They asked if we tried this or that, we had. She elected to be taken by ambulance to the ER. She said I could have driven her but in the event that it got worse or she passed out, she didn't want me dealing with it while driving.

I called my dad to meet us there. I called Brandon to come exchange cars with me so he could take Madeline home. I actually beat the ambulance to the hospital and even waiting for 10 minutes for Brandon to meet me, made it in while she was being triaged.

I stayed with her when she was put in a room. For a long while she wasn't even hooked up to any kind of monitoring so I wouldn't leave even to go to the bathroom. I tried to stay as calm as possible, not letting the emotions, the worry show on my face. I don't do well with a lot of blood, but I handled it fairly well. At one point, while he was dealing with my Mother, the ER doc told me to sit down because I was standing, kind of pacing, trying to keep it together and he told me he didn't want me passing out. I had to leave the room for some of it. Fortunately, though it was extremely painful for Mom, the bleeding was controlled. And she was eventually released to go see her doctor across the street before being sent home.

She didn't have anymore bleeding after that and I arranged with Dad and Katherine so she wasn't ever alone for the next several days. She is thankfully doing very well now even though complete recovery is 12 weeks. I'm hoping by then she will be better than ever, the surgery alleviating the problems she has experienced for years.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Angry

I have physically dealt with this illness for almost 4 years now but sometimes I think emotionally I haven't.

I just don't understand it sometimes. The majority of the time I look fine. Physically I'm in good shape. Most of the time I feel fine. There is almost no indication that I am sick.

But it's what lurks underneath. My numbers are rarely in the normal range, they are usually just outside of normal. Normal for me, I guess. Like I said, most days I feel perfectly fine. But there are days I can barely move to get out of bed to take care of myself, much less our daughter. Days I am in pain. I am blessed that these days are few and far between. I work hard to take care of myself. Exercise to keep my joints from hurting all the time. But I still have hard days.

This disease has affected so many aspects of my life. I have been rejected for life insurance. Rejected for health insurance and in 6 months current insurance will run out with no foreseeable options. Rejected because even though it is well managed I'm still too much of a risk. Rejected! Not Normal!

Because of the medication I take, my immune system isn't as strong as normal. I try everything I'm able to do to boost it, exercise, supplements, but I can't help that a side effect of the medication is it destroys white blood cells. Because of this I have to take extra care beyond what is normal around sick people. I hate that some don't understand, I try to explain but they just don't get it. Fortunately, in 4 years I have not been seriously ill. But getting something like the flu or even just a fever is potentially very dangerous for me. As in, going to the hospital.

It also affects our family. We have not been able to try to have another baby because of all of it. I'm not even sure where we stand, still. There are all kinds of extra risks and considerations. Sometimes I wish we could just be carefree about it. Not something that we have to plan around.

Still, I am blessed. I live in a time where this disease can be managed and observed, there is less of a chance it can get out of control. Very little chance that it will claim my life. I am physically able to exercise and have the resources to make healthful eating choices. Blessed to have a husband that supports me in sickness and health. Blessed to have a God that provides. I know He can do something amazing with and through this. But it doesn't always make it easy to handle.

It's such a confusing jumble of conflicting emotions.
I don't have all the answers.
I struggle.
I cope, sometimes, not very well.
By the grace of God, I survive.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getaway

This past Christmas Brandon and I received a gift certificate good for a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg. We decided to use it for a little getaway to celebrate our 9th anniversary.

I found myself really looking forward to some uninterrupted time away with Brandon. We see each other daily but rarely have real, quality time together. By the time he gets home from work I am physically exhausted which means I usually mentally shut down as well. Once dinner is finished, dishes (sometimes) done and Little Miss in bed I am spent.

So we had a long drive out there, complete with construction traffic pretty much every town we went through. But we had time to just talk without cute commentary coming out of the backseat and eventually country scenery surrounding us. 

We got there and checked in. The house we chose was an adorable Victorian and fortunately quiet. We quietly (as we were conscience there may have been others staying there as well) explored the common areas of the house and the grounds and then rested a little while before going out to dinner.

The next day we walked up and down main street, checking out shops along the way, and even picked out some Christmas presents. We headed back to the house to rest for the afternoon. Then we headed up to Enchanted Rock to climb and watch the sunset. We were even serenaded by a musician at the top recording a music video.

It was a very restful couple of days and it taught me some very important things. I have been struggling lately with what I thought was indifference toward Brandon. The last couple of years have not been easy and there have been a lot of things that have gotten in the way of our marriage. Most of the time I thought I felt emotionally numb towards him. What I realized is that I have been exhausted and most of the time I'm exhausted coincides with when I see him. I haven't felt indifferent or numb, I've just been tired. One on one time proved, much to my relief, that I still love him more than ever, our lives have just changed. And I have to be a lot more intentional about time spent with him. It's hard for us to find time or resources (or babysitters) in order to go out together. But we have to make more of an effort to spend quality time together.

All in all, it was a good trip together that proved educational as well. It's sometimes hard to believe we have been married for 9 years. Sometimes it feels like we've been together forever, probably because we've know each other for half our lives. Either way, I don't say it enough; I love Brandon and am blessed beyond words to be a part of his life.