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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When I was in graduate school many years ago, one of my fellow grad students used to refer to life as 'this sadness.' I never really thought of life as a 'sadness' then, nor later. I have always found life to be generally full of blessings and I try to cultivate gratitude.

But right now, life is truly seeming to me like a sadness. It should be a happy time. I am away from home in the DC area, with two of my kids, to attend my sister's wedding. But the trip has been nothing but sad. I have been told that I am not welcome in my mother's house. Not by her, but by her caretaker. She thinks that I cause my mother to be anxious, to not sleep well, to be unhappy, etc. Now, my mother has Alzheimer's disease and is elderly. But she certainly acts very happy to see me. We spent the last night we are ever going to spend in her house last night, when said caregiver was away. I asked her how she had slept and she said very well. She looked and acted as well as ever.

But the caregiver rules. I understand that. She is able to take care of my mother, and my mother, though her disease isn't terribly far advanced, has to have a caregiver. I am not able to care for her. I live very far away. So, the caregiver gets what she wants. I do understand. It just breaks my heart, because it means that this wedding will be the last time I see my mother in this life. I can't afford, financially or emotionally, to fly across the country to stay in a motel and see my mother for an hour at a time.

What is even worse is that my sister and I had major words over the whole situation, and that made her even more stressed than the wedding itself made her. I have apologized, but the damage is done. She probably thinks I have ruined her wedding - and it has definitely been spoiled for me. That doesn't really matter - my feeling about her wedding is unimportant. But it does matter if she is miserable at her wedding. The whole ugly situation is very sad.

Then today, I visited a dear friend, the mother of one of my high school friends. She and her husband were like an aunt and uncle. They were always, always so good to me - and still are. But he has dementia, far worse than my mother's. And he has physical issues also. He can barely walk with a walker and he falls easily. His wife has taken care of him by herself for years, and she has realized that she simply cannot do it anymore. While we were visiting, he did fall, and she couldn't have gotten him back up without my son's help. She is doing the right thing - but it is SO hard and SO sad. My heart breaks for her, and for him.

Meanwhile, my daughter stayed behind with her father so she can attend her baccalaureate mass. I don't blame her for making that choice, but I miss her, and she is having a tough time. So I am sad for her and for myself.

Sadness is and should be a part of life. But I have been hit with an especially big dose of it right now, and I am struggling.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EVIE4NOW 5/23/2012 11:19PM

  My heart goes out to you. Hoping your situation passes quickly. Good luck to you.

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KNITTINGNAN 5/23/2012 11:19PM

  It seems the older I get, the more I realize how unfair life is. I worked in a nursing home on an Alzheimers' unit for 20 years, and strongly question the authority of your Mother's caregiver to make decisions for your Mom. Who is your Mother's power of attorney for health and finances? The caregiver is merely there to fulfill your Mother's physical needs, keeping her safe and healthy, for which she receives a paycheck no doubt. Even if your Mom gets nervous and doesn't sleep well when you visit is no reason to prevent you from doing so. You are her daughter and have every right to visit your own Mother. People who have Alzheimers disease are easily flustered by any change in environment or routine, often agitated if they think they should know people, but can't remember why. It sounds like you had a very stressful experience, which you didn't deserve. I'm sorry for you.

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LINDYLOO49 5/23/2012 11:02PM

  No! Life is a gift and every day brings a smile if you look for it. Much to be grateful for.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

My son returned from a semester abroad (in Rome, to be exact), and he returned with gifts. The honest truth is that most of his gifts were in the form of chocolate candy. Now I have the world's worst sweet tooth. And he gave me five of my very favourite chocolate bars in the whole world - Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramello. NOTHING like the Cadbury bars in this country, which have been contracted out to Hershey. Hershey's chocolate is all right, but British Cadbury is just so much better - and of course Caramello is the best of the best.

So, the net result is that I have been eating tons and tons more candy than usual. I was just dreading seeing the scale. The one I have at home is incredibly inaccurate anyway, so it's hard to tell whether you have lost, gained, or stayed the same. But today my daughter had one of her regular Botox appointments and of course they weigh her and take her blood pressure. So I asked if it would be OK if I just weighed myself also and the tech said fine. Not only had I been eating way more sugar than usual, but I had also eaten breakfast. Normally I am so obsessive I make sure to weigh myself on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning.

So I was just blown away to find that I weighed a whole pound less than the last time I got an accurate weight! I know it's not much, but when one is expecting to have gained five pounds, finding that one has actually lost one is a BIG, BIG deal. I am very happy!

Oh, and my lovely daughter had lost seven pounds. So she was even happier than I was. Plus we decided to hold off on the Botox for three more months, which made her happier still. Not so much me, since I think it helps her. Still, overall a very, very good day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HICALGAL 5/20/2012 8:52PM

    i can soooo relate. expecting a gain and seeing that i've remained the same is a great big woooo hoooo (whewwwwww) good for you!

ps...thx for ur encouragement and support on my blog. have a wonderful week and go slow on the choc. emoticon emoticon

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41SUSAN14 5/17/2012 12:26PM


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Slower than the Slowest

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Well, I have lost ten pounds, give or take. Since I am not exactly sure of what my highest weight was, I suspect the actual total might be closer to twelve or thirteen pounds, but I would rather use the smaller number.

Here is the rub: I lost that weight in something like a year. I honestly can't remember when I started losing, but I know that when I was getting cancer treatment, and was weighed every single time I went in, my weight was very close to 200, though usually a hair under. My last treatment was September 16,, that is over 3 1/2 years now.

A little while after that, when I was participating in a research study, the number was actually over 200. :-( I had always vowed that, no matter what, I would never weigh over 200. I don't have a date for that, however.

Sometime after that, I began to lose weight, just a tiny amount. And then, over months, a tiny amount more. I am now at the point where I have weighed about 190, give or take, for at least six months. And I think it took me over a year to lose that ten pounds. It might have even taken two years.

But I do think I beat the Slowest Loser big time.

I would very much like to lose more, but I just won't deprive myself. So I am happy with ten pounds, and who knows, I may just lose another ten pounds in the next year or two.


More on Mowing

Monday, April 09, 2012

I hate mowing the lawn. I really do. I didn't use to, back in the day. When I was in high school, I would mow the lawn for my mother. I saw it as exercise, and although I had some trouble motivating myself to get out the door and get started, once I did get started, I didn't mind it too much. Besides, my mother's
lawn just isn't all that big.

Fast forward to today. I have a house that is probably too big for me (but not too big for all the messes created by my kids!), and a lawn that is bigger still. I think the lot is about 1/4 acre, which is imo too doggone big for one arthritic person to mow! I no longer have a husband to do the mowing. My 21-year old son had to go and spend a semester in Rome, obnoxious kid that he is...and I am left with myself, my disabled daughter, and my 11-year-old son, who is willing, but small for his age, and very hard to keep on any one task. Essentially, I am IT!

And, after a winter full of rain, and very warm overall, I had a yard full of beautiful lush green...weeds. There being no one else, I tackled the job. I went at those weeds with no weapon other than my trusty mower...well, trusty in a manner of speaking. It still works, which is my idea of trusty.

I attacked those weeds with as much energy as I could muster. Over and over and over. It must have taken me five or six two-hour sessions before I could finally say that the back yard was somewhat under control. That included two mowings of the front yard, which, being visible to all and sundry passing by, has to look presentable at all times.

I should add that I bagged every single clipping, which made the job much bigger and more time-consuming. But with that many weeds, I wanted to at least try to slow down the re-seeding. And with a relatively small trash container, I had to leave some of the bags of clippings sitting in my yard until space opened up in the container.

And, with more and more rain, as soon as it was fairly done, well, it needed to be done again. Aaaaaaargh! But I tackled the job again. There wasn't anyone else. And I have to say that it was considerably easier the second time, because the grass and weeds weren't nearly as big or tall as they were the first time.

Again it took me several sessions - but fewer - only three this time, I think. And I feel such huge satisfaction looking over the trimmed back yard. Wow! I did it.

And, you know what? Mowing isn't so bad after all. I might just get to like it...well, maybe! Happy Easter!



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Exercise of any kind is very painful for me, in particular anything involving running or even walking, because of arthritis in my right hip. (Ow!) Add to that the fact that I hate, hate, hate exercising and always have. Even back in the day when I used to do it, I hated it.

When I was younger, I periodically ran regularly, even to the point of entering several 10K races, all of which I finished. When I was pregnant with my first child, I swam all through the pregnancy. This in spite of the agony of wearing a maternity swimsuit. I still shudder at the thought. Mind you, I am a very bad swimmer, but I can just about manage to get across a pool.

I also used to do sit-ups before bed at night, and I even got quite good at V-sits, which, to my mind, are much more difficult.

All of this was when I was much, much younger. More recently, before arthritis, I used to walk (fast) on a treadmill.

And I always hated all of it. Sigh.

Now, I don't have access to a pool, nor can I afford it. Ditto a gym. I do walk some, since it is a necessity of life. I walk as I push the lawn mower. Lawn mowing is a chore that never ends...

But other than that, I don't exercise. However, I had noticed recently that my arms had some actual muscle. I can only assume I got a bit of muscle strength, again, from necessary activities of life. At all events, today I was trying to demonstrate to my athletically- and coordinationally-challenged 11-year old how to do a push-up. And I discovered that I can still do push-ups!!!!!! The last time I did one was probably in high school. But I can still do them.

This made my day. :-) I did five or six of them just to prove I could.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POPCORNCARLA 3/21/2012 11:09AM

  AWESOME! I wish i could. Never could before and that is my nemeses now. I have tried to embrace exercise along with a healthy diet but no matter how I try I just can't do a push-up or at least now where I feel like it's really working. Can't even do a girl push up. I just get all tense. So GOOD FOR YOU.

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