Thursday, September 12, 2013
I was here in June and tracked for the first time in months. And the demons over tracking my 2300 calorie day were too hard to suppress after. So I decided that, for then, I wasn't going to consider tracking. I had enough on my plate and was having too hard a time not feeling bad about myself to add that. Denial? Maybe. But it was too hard and too soon.
So I try again now. It is made easier by the fact that my calories yesterday were in range. I want to see if I can, gently, add a few changes to my health. Grief's sharp edges are very slightly blunted. There is a little more space.
Here is the good:
exercise has come back to me. It has been made more difficult by 2 injuries: tennis elbow and a pulled calf muscle from running. But those are active injuries! The calf is good--I got back, minimally on the treadmill and elliptical today. But the elbow...PT starts next week. But the desire to try to exercise is there, where it had been gone for so long.
eating everything in site has changed. For a while--a long while--it was bad. The 24 pounds I wrote I had gained in June has become closer to 30. But my eating is better now. I am considering it (myself) more.
I am spending more time on me. Writing in my journal, praying, walking the shelter dogs as a volunteer, reading. As I have increased my life responsibilities, I have tried to balance it with being gentler on myself when I do not have responsibilities. My garden watering has become a meditative time for me. I am moving slower and more gently--in a good way.
I am trying on this new reality day by day. As my spouse put it, the world is colder and less inviting without my dad. And learning how to function without him or his illness as the center of my gravity is difficult. I am trying to see it eventually becoming a renaissance for my life. I hope to get to do things and experience hope that I have missed the past 6 years. But it requires me to continue to trudge through the grief. But mostly the trudging is less. The depression has eased. I am very grateful for these things.
I continue to struggle with wanting to separate my self esteem from my behaviors. I KNOW that I am not my weight, what I eat, how I work out, my mood. But its a difficult place to get to. It is all so tied up. I wonder how other people separate them?
I hope it's not another 3 months before I write again.
day by day, right?
Thursday, June 20, 2013
It's been 4 months since I've been on SP; by far the longest break in my 5 years here.
There is a lot I would love to tell you (that isn't true), but I'm not going to write it all, because I think writing about what I haven't been able to do would be self defeating. Self defeating has become my specialty! But not tonight.
So I am going to try to tell you briefly about my months with compassion toward myself and leave judgment at bay. Not easy.
These months have easily been the hardest of my life. And the past 6 years were (in many ways) incredibly difficult, so that's saying something!
I was able to accompany my Dad through the last days, months, and years of his life. I got to be close to him regularly (they lived with us a bunch of that time). I got to care for him and my Mom in ways that meant so much to me and them. I got to share this poignant burden of grace with my spouse, who amazed me with her generosity and presence. I chose, time and time again, to care for them in ways that stretched me immensely. It hurt so badly so often. It brought on anger and fear and shame; it unearthed childhood issues I'd thought were long gone. It made me know, appreciate, (and honestly at times hate) my parents in new ways.
It was a blessed time.
He died May 6th. In most ways it was a good death. He decided to stop treatment. He went home on Friday and got to spend the next day and a half of alertness with his family, grandkids, and dogs all around him, watching his birds outside. He died early Monday morning. It was not a Hollywood death. There was fear and anxiety and pain. It undoes me to think about it.
I am getting along OK--what has felt like a huge gaping wound may feel a little smaller now. I am trying to honor my grief and not compare it to what I perceived others' experiences with grief to be. I know that it is harder than I thought it would be.
I did a lot right, and I wouldn't trade any of it. There are costs, though. I have struggled a bit with depression. My motivation has been very low, but improving. I have had to stop doing a lot in my life because my family, and now my grief, occupy a lot of my energy.
WIth all of that I have gained 28 pounds back. Exercise feels like a burden, and it feels so hard. Tracking is non existent to me. I have just started to care and pay attention (minimally) to what I am eating and drinking again.
The good news is, I have hope. I expect at this point that things will just get better, not worse. They've been getting worse for so long. But I feel a promise now.
And I'm trying to see this not as a redo or even as a new beginning or a recycled new attempt. I am trying to see it as just new. I am a different person, certainly, than I was 5 years ago when I started this. I am a different person than I was 5 months ago. I am a person who desires to know the confident, fit me again.
And I believe I will.
I make no promises about presence here on SP or tracking. This is one day at a time, for real. I think what has kept me so long is the knowledge that I couldn't be a consistent presence here. I don't know if I can now, but I wanted to at least write this blog, tell you where I've been, and tell you where I am.
Before I wrote this, I read so many blogs, and am reminded of how wonderful this site is. So much support and understanding!
I've missed it, and am glad that it is still here!
ps: here's me and my dad early this year, before the last time he went into the hospital :)
Saturday, February 16, 2013
The news last week was kind of worst case scenario. My Dad 's bone marrow cancer worsened and he now also has Leukemia. The prognosis is not good, but there is some hope. I am trying not to focus on statistics too much and just stay positive.
As of Tuesday he comes to Siteman Cancer Center to begin a 5 week intensive chemo treatment. It's going to be really rough on him. Mom is moving in with us to be with him (we live 10 minutes from Siteman). There is more of a mortality risk than I want to deal with, and the success statistics are not great, either. And this is all to try to get him into remission temporarily so he can have a stem cell transplant, where all of the statistics get even worse.
That's just the news, not me being pessimistic. His mortality keeps surprising me. I was relieved when a friend who has lost both parents told me recently, "this is harder than the actual death in most ways". It has been such a hard few years. You would think that I would be used to the other shoe dropping by now. But it always hits me right in the gut and sucks the life right out of me.
In addition, having my Mom around this much is going to be trying. We have a really, really good relationship; I am luckier than a lot of folks in this regard. I like my Mom. But the past years with my Dad's illness has shown that her living with us makes me go a little crazy. It's not even her fault, I just start to put all this pressure on myself about meeting her every need (prior to her even realizing it herself). I feel terribly guilty when I am not sitting at the hospital with her. And she starts to drive me crazy after a few days. And that's not even getting into what it does to my marriage. Jenny and I don't have a perfect relationship, but it's pretty awesome, because we spend a lot of time and energy taking care of each other. When my Mom is here, all my care goes to her, Jenny gets very neglected, and then (understandably) starts to distance herself a little bit emotionally. It's a rough cycle. We are talking about it a LOT to try to get some perspective before it happens. But it's like I go a little crazy.
But already this time there are signs that this time might be different:
I am blogging right now
I am tracking still
I am working out most days
I am really watching my food
I am still choosing not to drink
we are getting together with friends today so they can help brainstorm ways we can stay healthy, and then they will keep us accountable.
I feel really positive so far about the choices we are making, despite this monster of grief that is no riding shotgun with me all the time. It takes a lot of my energy (and makes me yell at my sweet if not maladjusted dogs).
I'm going to try to keep checking in here as much as possible.
Thanks for all the support, for real!
Saturday, February 09, 2013
I am currently managing to do something that eluded me most of the year 2012--keep taking care of myself and making good choices through stress! My Dad (who has been sick with bone cancer for the past 4 years and spent a good chunk of last year in the hospital and very ill) had his blood counts on Thursday. They showed that his cancer is either suddenly very aggressive or has moved on to Leukemia (what this type of cancer does). He had a bone marrow biopsy that day, and we will get all the results on Tuesday after noon.
It sucks. It has been 4 years of ups and downs, but also a lot of closeness and gratitude.
But what I want to focus on in this blog is that I am not falling apart. I have not gone out to eat since we found out, and have continued on my alcohol fast. Jenny and I decided after Dad's last hospitalization that we needed to have a better game plan for when things went into crisis again. So we made a list. A kind of 'break glass if necessary' list. So on Thursday we sat down and started the list. We decided to continue our alcohol fast. We decided to avoid going out to eat. We decided that I would keep tracking every day. We decided to make exercise a priority, despite the difficulty. We also went out and got a bunch of processed (but organic) food that is relatively healthy and easy to cook but also yummy to ease the burden and make staying home for dinner more attractive.
So far, so good. It feels a little strange to celebrate this victory in the midst of this bad news, but it is a victory, dammit. I spent most of 2012 being a victim of my Dad's illness. I won't do it again. I can care for him and my Mom without letting go of myself and what I KNOW I need to do to be healthy and happy. If we go out to eat or have a drink, it will be because we DECIDED to, not because nachos heal all wounds (even though it does seem like it in the moment).
Today we are taking the day to do calm things around the house. I took the newest dog (the puppy pit bull we ended up keeping after 'fostering' her) for a long walk to get out some of that puppy energy. She did SO well and was so cute. We walked all over downtown St. Louis among all the people going o Mardi Gras. It was way fun.
Tomorrow we head out to my folks to spend the day with them.
Things are good, even though they aren't. You know?
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Here I am again! managing to do a little more than just track.
I had a great workout and a 2 great realizations today (not bad, right?):
workout = all my PT strength exercises (all core stuff for my back and hip, my core is getting stronger than ever!)
Realization #1: I was reading about 2 local Spark friends who went rock climbing last weekend. This is something I've really been wanting to do, and I was both jealous and newly interested in pursuing it. Only later did I realize that my negative voice, unbeknownst to me, had this to say (it is just so under the radar that I thought all of this without realizing I was thinking it!):
"well you can go rock climbing, but NOT with Jamie (a Sparkfriend I've gotten together with a few times), because she has done so much better than you, she's now way skinnier than you, and a lot stronger than you, so you would, at least you SHOULD, be ashamed to try to do something like that in front of her. She will look good and strong and you will look fat, pathetic, and ridiculous. So go rock climbing, but NOT with her!" I should point out that Jamie is really the sweetest, kindest, least judgmental person you would EVERY meet. For real, these thoughts have NO basis in reality!
Then today I realized that I have gone rock climbing before in my life, when I weighed almost 300 pounds, didn't know what I was doing, with a bunch of people who had never been overweight and were skinny and active since birth. At that point in my life I did all kinds of physically challenging and new things (with trepidation, but still). So why, 80 pounds lighter would I be all, "I'm not good enough". I'm stronger than ever. And lighter than almost ever.
It was good to realize again that my negative voice is tricky and sneaky and ever-pervasive. It lurks and waits to grab, and it's had a lot to grab in the past year. Gaining back 15 to 20 pounds has been hard on my esteem! But realizing this makes me want to kick the *ss of my negative voice. So it's time for daily pep talks, beginning today!
Realization #2: A long time ago I did a fast for Ramadan (as a means of being an ally to the Muslim community). For that fast, Muslims do not eat while the sun is up. During that time, I felt SO liberated. It was amazing to just NOT think about food at all, it was (literally) taken off the plate. It also, sadly, made me realize how much energy I put into thinking about eating, not eating, what to eat, etc. This was at my highest weight. A week into this alcohol fast, I realize that I have been spending a lot of brain power and emotional energy around alcohol. My partner said it's like I was deprived of something very basic as a child, and have felt the need to ensure I will not ever be deprived again. Both with food and alcohol there is a constant line of worry, "will I get enough" "will I be satiated" "what if I don't get enough". I realized today that there is a lot more room in my brain without alcohol, or rather the wondering of how much and when and how. This is also a very low-level, subconscious thing, but it takes up space, you know? The good thing is, I know it hasn't always, at least where alcohol is concerned. So I am hopeful that I can at some point begin drinking socially again in a more relaxed, controlled manor. But we'll see. I'm taking this experiment one week at a time for now.
That's a lot!
And while all this has been going on, I have quietly had 3 days in the lower/middle of my range! Act as if has worked so well for me so many times before. In a week or so, I will forget again that this was so rough.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SONGBUDDHA Posts