Taking a break or breaking???
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I've been away from SP for a few months now. I've been dealing with family illnesses and juggling care-giving, my business and my own families needs. Not a small task. Mostly my time's been taken up with my ill sister and my recovering MIL, who's health issues are also impacting our lives daily. My sister was having trouble with memory and cognition in the early part of the summer. After dozens of doctor and hospital visits, I finally took her up to Everett's Providence hospital and they diagnosed her with a form of brain cancer that's untreatable. She's expected to live a few more months now, and the past few have been horrible and sad. Lot's of medical jargon. Lot's of false hope offered and then stolen away from us. She was in the hospital for over two months while they did the testing required for the final diagnosis and attempted a treatment to prolong her life for a few years. Her doctors have decided that treatment didn't work and she's been released a week ago to a care center.
In both the hospital and the care center, the food is far from healing, but is actually very acidic and overprocessed. It goes against everything I've learned about healing and strengthening the body. So even if there were some chance for her to recover, how can she in that environment? We had her at our house for a month, before she went into the hospital, but now she can't stand or move easily and needs two trained caregivers to handle her daily needs, not something we can afford to hire privately. So the care center was our only option. And I'm really hating it. I feel so bad for her, spending her last months in a place that is not nurturing, or comforting or even remotely happy. It's not that they don't provide quality care, because from what I've seen, they tend to her with patience and kindness. It's that they don't love her. And there's no one in our family who can be with her 100% of the time to make sure she feels that right now. My heart is really breaking.
And so is my body. This trauma with MIL and my sister has been going on since early June and in that time, I've gained at least 10 pounds. I'll admit to eating a bit more chocolate than previously, and going out a bit more, as we'd often find ourselves at the hospital all afternoon and didn't take the time to plan out meals properly. But even so, I've always ordered healthy options and it's always dark chocolate, so I don't think that's what's done it. And it's not just showing itself as weight gain, but also as muscle recovery after exercising. I'm still running about 20 miles per week and have been walking a ton (Dallas 3-day coming up in a week). Also continuing with kickboxing and yoga a few times each week, so my fitness level has been pretty consistent. But my stamina is falling, I can tell.
ND says these are all symptoms of my cortisol level being out of control, causing my body to hoard every calorie, the body's natural response to prolonged stress. Also preventing regeneration of damaged muscle tissue, making workout recovery slower and more of a pain! She also said that for every month that the cortisol-promoting stress has gone on, it will take two months for my body to regain it's old metabolism and for the cortisol levels to drop back down to normal.
I know this is part of life, both illness and to lose those we love. And I know that sometimes things are out of our control. I HAD thougth that my body was within my control, but I'm learning lately that even with daily exercise and a pretty decent diet, I don't necessarily hold all the cards. And that sometimes the deck is stacked against me.
So I've added a new goal - to take each day as it comes. I'll continue to love and respect myself, no matter what size I wear or how far I can run. And I'll make sure that my DAILY workout and healthy eating are non-negotiable. I'll continue to support my family as we go through this trying year that we're in the midst of. And I'll put on the back burner the expectation that I have complete control of my body and health. I accept that it's going to be a bit broken for a while. And when it feels right, I know I can turn back to SP for support and tools to reverse the damage being done right now. In the meantime, it's a breath at a time.