Friday, March 08, 2013
I bought a Fitbit Zip back in January when I saw them on sale. So far it's been a great little tool to track how many steps I take (when I remember to wear it). Between health issues and problems at work, I haven't been intentional about getting in a certain number of steps each day. I just look at the number of steps and then, I MAKE A JUDGMENT ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE NUMBER. That's where part of the problem lies. I know most of my steps came from going to Walmart or the grocery store or walking around the house or at work. All of that is VERY leisurely walking. It's not intentional exercise. No metabolism raising, no breaking a sweat, no increased breathing. Yes, I know I shouldn't discount those steps, but they're not doing a lot for my waistline at the moment.
OK, I know some of you will tell me that exercise is exercise and not to worry about whether or not I meant to do it, but when it comes to Spark fitness points, I feel like those should be from intentional exercise. Since my Fitbit is linked to Spark People, I'm racking up a ton of Spark fitness points and regular Spark points, including a daily bonus if I have time to log on and spin the wheel. The few people who actually still read my feed (people tend to drop me as a friend when I am not on here for a month or two) congratulate me (thank you!) because Spark is telling them I'm doing this great thing by working on all these fitness minutes.
Honestly, I have no clue how Fitbit and Spark determine how many steps = how many fitness minutes. Before my Fitbit, I would go for an intentional walk and log my minutes. I'm supposedly doing all this great exercise, yet work has been rough and I'm stress eating and gaining weight. I'm yet again at the very top of my usual weight range (where I was when I started with Spark in August 2010). I have not felt like changing my ticker for no other reason than I don't want to receive congrats from wonderful Spark friends and Spark strangers alike for losing the same 10-15 lbs. yet again when I get around to it. The gall bladder surgery I'm having Monday will jump start that weight loss for me by default, but I've got to figure out who I can talk to locally to cope with my work stress.
Yet again I am trying very hard not to feel bad about not being on Spark daily. Trying hard not to beat myself up for being so tired all the time and feeling like my work schedule drags me through the week at times. A few weeks ago I was feeling pretty good at work, but 2 weeks ago I had a horribly busy week, then last week I was dealing with several situations where people either didn't have all the facts and were being judgmental or they just didn't understand where I was coming from. Very frustrating. I know I have lots of great things to offer both as a person and as a professional. Is it bad that I'm looking FORWARD to having surgery Monday so I can rest for the week? I know I'll have a couple of work things hanging over my head because as soon as I get back there will be a Bible Study I will have to lead and a couple other things I'll have to prep while I'm out to lead when I'm back. No, getting someone else to do those things really isn't an option for me. I've already got someone else leading the Bible study the day of my surgery. Besides, everyone seems to think this is a quick surgery where I'll be fine in a couple of days and I feel like I'm pushing it insisting that I'm taking a full week off. Everyone I talk to has had their gall bladder out and tells me it's no big deal. Plus I'm aware that I just had shoulder surgery in January and had to take 2 weeks off to recover. Four days after surgery I was doing computer work for my job. I just want a little peace when I don't have something hanging over my head from work so I can truly relax. I'm so happy the weather will be getting warmer soon and it will be light longer so I can do my outdoor walks again. Those really help with the stress relief and clearing my head.
This journey isn't always easy, but it's mine to take.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Just as I get myself directed back to Spark People after a very, very rough fall 2012, I have shoulder surgery Jan. 8. Even though I have been home from work for a week now, I did NOT feel like doing anything that required use of my shoulder unless it was necessary. So, no Sparkin' for me this week.
The good news is, I had my post-op visit to my surgeon today and he said I'm way ahead of where I should be right now regarding healing. Not that I can actually raise my right arm above my head like the little emoticon dude, but I will in due time. After a couple months of physical therapy that didn't make significant changes in my level of pain, I had an MRI to see what was going on. When the surgeon looked at it, he said, and I quote, "Sh*t! I'm gonna have to go in there and fix that." OK, so I've never had a medical professional swear in my presence, but you'd have to know this guy to understand. Handsome, 50-something, wears khakis and a polo shirt, probably golfs on the weekends and drives a red foreign-made convertible, was probably a fraternity guy when he was in school here at Miami University (I live in Oxford, Ohio, the home of Miami University). You get the idea. I wasn't offended by his language. I was, however, alarmed that I needed surgery. That possibility wasn't on my radar. He said I had several small things causing the pain.
Great. At least that can be fixed laparascopically, right? Yep. 3 little incisions that only required 1 or 2 stitches each. Amazing what they can do with technology these days! And I got my stitches out today!
Gross medical description ahead! Skip this next paragraph if you don't want to hear about it or don't care to know the gory details!
He had to shave the end of my clavicle because I had a bone spur that was causing bone on bone rubbing. He had to "clean out" some arthritis (didn't know that could be done). And he had to remove some other spurring and bone issues. The fun part was his finding a tear that didn't show up on the MRI. There was a small tear in the bicep and a tear in the supporting tissue around the ball part of the ball and socket of the shoulder. This tear in the supporting tissue caused it to flap over like bending over the side of a pancake and was rubbing my socket. Good news is this was the main source of my pain, so he cut that part off. Great news is I'm expected to make a full recovery to a pain-free way of living again. I was having pain and aches from going grocery shopping, doing laundry, and many other routine daily activities. I've been in significant pain for a year now, so I'm anxious to be pain-free again!
Luckily I was able to schedule the surgery just before hubby started his second semester of college this past Monday, so he was available to take care of everything I needed, which included taking care of our kids. Tomorrow I'm going to a different surgeon for a consult about the polyp found on my gall bladder last month. Hoping I won't need another surgery so soon, but hopeful that yanking that sucker out will stop my abdominal pain. One thing at a time.
Thank you to all my Spark friends who have been sending your prayers and positive thoughts and well wishes. I wasn't able to type on here, but I did read those messages through e-mail notifications, which I read on my "I'm an Android and cheaper than an iPad but not as compatible with the world" tablet. That would be an Asus TF700 for those of you following along at home.
I will take a moment to ask for those good thoughts and prayers to be extended to my hubby and kids on the death of our 15-year old dog, Spanky, who died in my arms Sunday night. Hubs is taking it especially hard. We dropped Spanky off Monday to be cremated and will get the ashes back in 10-14 days. We are lost without our little monkey, but we will eventually adopt another little rogue as a companion for our other rescue mutt, Pogo. I'll post a picture or two of the fur babies in my gallery. Swing by and take a look.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
One of my nicknames is Turtle Girl because I identify with and collect turtles. I am very turtle-like in the sense that I have a tough shell, but I also tend to retreat into that shell even though on the outside people see me as friendly and likeable. When I disappear from Spark People, I'm usually doing my Turtle Girl thing. That's when life is hard and I'm overwhelmed and I withdraw. I withdraw from Facebook, from calling my friends, and from everything that is not absolutely necessary that requires me to expend mental or emotional energy. During these times the things that normally nourish my soul don't do it for me. That's when I decide I just can't do anything more than go to work, come home, do necessary family/housework stuff, then it's time to veg on the couch and watch mindless tv shows until I have to go to bed. Not exactly the life I want or deserve, but it's how I cope until I can emerge from the funk.
This fall has been filled with challenges, both at work and in my marriage. I got hit by a few surprises in my annual staff review and I'm still unhappy that I had no warning about those things. Some of them were a bit unfounded in my opinion. Work is getting better, but it is not without its issues. I was miserable again this fall and questioning whether or not I should continue to work in a church, but I didn't have a clear direction about what I should do if I didn't work in a church. And then there was the pesky little issue of needing a paycheck that would pay as much as the one I get now. Yeah, I was feeling pretty trapped in what felt like a hopeless situation and it felt like nobody understood. During the Thanksgiving trip I'll mention later, I was lamenting to family and friends about how I didn't know what to do.
At the beginning of December I went on a silent spirituality retreat and it was absolutely wonderful! I finally had the chance to just breathe. No electronics, no idle chatter, no distractions. God really spoke to me on this retreat through symbols, colors, sounds, nature, music (they played quiet, contemplative music during the meals and large group gatherings). I was also assigned a spiritual director who understood me, supported me, and basically validated who I am, how I experience God and the world, and my struggles with my life. I came away feeling much more secure in who I am and not willing to let others voices and opinions change who I am and what I feel I should be doing in my job. My experiences on this retreat gave me back the confidence I have been missing all this fall. A few days after I left the retreat, I realized that my true calling is to be a spiritual director. I won't go into all the specifics, but I felt like a 25-year journey of searching for my true calling had finally come to fruition. It's not a quick fix, and I will need to stay in my current job for a few years, but I can work on getting my certificate in spiritual direction over the next 3-5 years and my current degrees and experience will be an asset. I feel very excited about this discovery, and I'm happy that I found a wonderful spiritual director whom I feel can guide me on this journey of exploration over the next few years. One of the wonderfully freeing things I've discovered about the art of spiritual direction is that it's not a judgmental process, it's an exploratory process. In the church, I've always felt like I had to hide a part of who I truly am as a professional for fear of judgment. Some people wouldn't approve of my tattoos. Some wouldn't understand when I say God speaks to me through music and tv shows and symbols and colors and an inner knowing. Some people wouldn't approve of the kind of messy relationship I have with God. But with my spiritual director, I can be me, all of me, and there is no fear of judgment. This is very freeing and gives me hope. I no longer feel trapped in Ohio.
Now for the tale of the Thanksgiving trip. During Thanksgiving break my family packed up the car and did a 12-hour each way drive to Philadelphia to visit hubby's family. 2 kids, 2 dogs, hubby and I in the car for a whirlwind trip, the first time we've been back east since moving to Ohio. We packed in Thanksgiving, Christmas, daughter's birthday, and hubby's high school reunion in a 4-day span. I was so happy to see our friends and family and to be back where I feel comfy. I didn't grow up in Philly, but that area feels like home after living in NJ for 5 1/2 years. I was concerned (more like embarrassed since they are NOT judgmental people) about seeing a few friends and family in whom my hubby confided regarding his computer addiction and other issues in our relationship. I was still reeling over the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and it was good to be back where Sandy was still in the forefront of people's minds and fundraising efforts. Needless to say, that week was incredibly emotionally charged, but it was totally worth it to see everyone and to be back in the area. We had a nice time with everyone, and there was no reason for me to be embarrassed around the family and friends. I don't think they would believe how different I am now due to the spirituality retreat I attended and my self-discovery about becoming a spiritual director. I have done a 180. I feel hope and a direction and I'm working on a plan for how to get my spiritual formation certificate in my denomination and I'll see where that takes me.
In the meantime, it's time to get myself back on track. Not because it is a new year, but because I feel like a new me. The calendar just happens to be coincidental! I'm still figuring out how what specific changes I need and want to make and how I am going to go about them. One of the things I realized on the spirituality retreat is that I need support. I have 5 women in my church whom I am going to ask specifically to pray for me and for the direction of certain programs in the church that are problematic at the moment. I also realized I need to lean on the wonderful wealth of family and friends I have in my life, as well as my Spark Friends. When I fall away from Spark, I usually feel guilty that I am drained and feel I have nothing to give, and when folks cheer me on and support me, I feel bad that I don't even have that in me to return. So I stay away. This is flawed thinking, I know, but it's where my mind and heart go at times when my life is difficult. So I need to remind myself to come here and not feel hollow.
I started seeing a counselor locally to work on the negative feelings surrounding something my hubby did back in August that keep coming up for me. I've seen her twice but I know she's not the right counselor for me, so I need to drive out of town and find someone who is a better fit for me and the issues I need to work on...one of the downsides of being in a small town is you sometimes have to drive a decent distance to have access to the resources you need, but I'm worth it. So in 2013 I'm going to see the spiritual director once a month and hopefully a new therapist twice a month. I'll figure out the food and exercise part along the way, but the mental part is my biggest obstacle at the moment.
Then there's these nagging health issues. I've been having problems with my right shoulder all year. This fall I did a couple months of physical therapy on it but it didn't fix the problem. After an MRI the doc told me I have to have surgery, so I'm having that Jan. 8. I have 2 small kids and a hubby who is a freshman in college, so timing is everything here. I'm having it done during hubby's winter break from school, and hopefully the shoulder will heal enough that I will only miss one week of work. We'll see. I will have to lean much more on volunteers for a community youth and children's fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief that I've organized for Jan. 13.
I've also been having pain in my right abdominal area. Went to the ER when I was having chest and back pain. Thankfully my heart is fine. Went to my doc for follow up and 3 tests later there is still no definite answer. 1/2 inch gall bladder polyp MIGHT be the cause of my pain, so I'm having a surgical consult mid-Jan. The CT with contrast found 3 other things going on in my mid-section that I need to watch (it was like opening that junk drawer you have in your kitchen...you know there's questionable stuff in there but as long as the drawer is closed and you can't see those things they aren't really hurting anything). Bottom line is I'm spending my time off after Christmas in pain and queasy. I'm very thankful I can be at home and not have to work right now.
So...there's been LOTS of stuff going on this fall. I think I'm going to start writing a spirituality blog somewhere online. Just my observations and experiences, nothing profound necessarily, but a way for me to put out there the things that are probably experienced by at least a few others in this little old world of ours.
And for those of you keeping track...yes, my ticker has gone up again, no, I didn't gain all 32 lbs. back (just 13 of them), and no, I don't have any new ink yet! That's STILL my reward for getting under 300 lbs. I got down to 302, then bounced back up. But I'm still on the journey, just resetting, restructuring, and renewing my vision for myself and my life. Won't you join me?
Monday, September 03, 2012
The realizations are setting in that I am a food addict. I had an alcoholic father. I have a mom who is addicted to cigarettes and who set me up for a lifelong love of sweets. But it is not their fault. I am not going to assign blame; I am going to figure out once and for all what I'm going to do about my own situation.
The past 2 weeks have been very trying. Truth be told, August has been trying. It started off with a rough post-VBS meeting. It was rough because there were people who apparently didn't get their expectations met and decided to wait until this post-VBS meeting to finally speak up about things they had the opportunity to help plan for MONTHS but didn't, and even had an opportunity to mention their thoughts and concerns at the last meeting before VBS but didn't. I felt very ganged up on and was hurt because one of the people engaging in this behavior was a pastor from another church (several churches do VBS together here). Now I can see it for what it was, people's dysfunctional ways coming into play. At the time I felt attacked, frustrated, hurt, angry, and exhausted both physically and emotionally from months of planning and attempts to get these people and others to help. I no longer feel hurt about that situation, but I don't look forward to having to start the VBS process with them again in November. Trying to do VBS a different way or soliciting ideas about that situation and how to change it is NOT why I am writing this blog. But the situation did contribute to my negative feelings during the month of August.
A couple of weeks after that, it was back to school time. Hubby started college. DD started preschool. DS started a new school year. These things all impacted my work and family schedule tremendously. Then, the crap hit the fan in my marriage.
I will not go into details here. What I will say is that I truly thought my marriage was over. This was a shocking and heartbreaking thought for me. The past couple of weeks have been difficult. They've been emotionally and mentally taxing. But there has been some good that has come from it. Hubby and I have been spending lots of time talking about our priorities and what we want from our marriage and the unintentional decline of things over the past few years. No couple gets married with the intention of experiencing that decline; it happens when life gets in the way and couples aren't intentional about keeping their marriage a top priority. Sometimes it takes a crisis to shake things loose and have what's important emerge from the day-to-day clutter. That's what's happened to us. I am not over what happened. I haven't forgotten it. I have managed through the grace of God (because it sure wasn't through my OWN ability!) to forgive him. Yep, forgive him. We have LOTS of work to do as a couple and as individuals, and I believe we are both ready for the work at hand.
That's where my own realizations have come into play. I have NOT handled my situation even remotely well regarding food choices and coping skills. I have been out of control. My behaviors have been unmanageable. My choices have been very self-destructive. I do not like feeling this way. It is time to face the reality that I am an addict and I have to view this situation and my life through the lens of an addict. I have let things get so out of control that even though I am a well-educated, middle-aged adult, I am acting like a child who doesn't know any better. I am NOT beating myself up over this, but there is a sense of shame and sadness that accompanies my situation. This is NOT something I want to pass along to my children. I feel this addiction is sapping my life of happiness, and I know it is sapping my body of health. It is time to do something.
So in this case, something good has come from a difficult and traumatic situation. This is not the first time that has happened in my life, but it is one of the more important times. For this time there is much more at stake than just my well-being. This time my family is involved, so the stakes are much higher. Don't get me wrong. I cannot do this for anyone but myself. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. I am not going to consider this another attempt at starting over. Instead, I will consider it a course correction on my journey. That way I don't feel like I'm losing all the ground I've gained during past attempts. Maybe some will say that is semantics, but for me, it is an important distinction, for my brain is my biggest obstacle and best ally in this process. I don't know where the journey will take me, but I do know I'm ready to go.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
In my last blog I said I was going to get up early this morning to walk. Well, that didn't happen. I got to bed later than expected and decided to sleep until my normal time.
So tonight, after I took my DS to see some of a soccer practice for kids just a bit older than him, I took him to the track at our old high school. The new high school opens in a couple weeks and is just outside town, but the old one is less than a mile from our house. I don't know if the gate is normally open since the high school is no longer being used as a school, but the band was there tonight practicing, so DS and I went on the track. He ran some and walked some, and I walked the whole time. Got 34 minutes in, and the morning goal was 30, so I'm happy! And surprisingly DS didn't whine about being tired after 5 or 10 minutes like he's been prone to do when he's tried other activities, so we may be onto something. His ankle started bothering him after 20 minutes, so he sat down while I walked another lap, then he was fine. In fact, he asked me to walk an extra lap so he could walk with me. He's been shut up in the house all summer due to the heat and hubby's lack of motivation to take the kids out to play or do anything that will burn off energy, so I was happy to take the kiddo out to burn off some energy and do something constructive. I think he is going to be a runner, which would be wonderful for him. Hubby ran cross country in high school, so maybe DS will as well. Who knows? I just hope that gate to the track is still open after band camp is over!
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