Thursday, July 05, 2012
There is a bag of chocolate covered donuts in the house that my SO bought because he was craving it. He's diabetic and takes Metformin to control his blood sugar. Still, bag o'donuts is a bad thing. So far, I've ignored them because, well, if I'm going to do myself in on calories, sugar and fat, I'm going to "do it right." Not crappy Hostess donuts that taste artificial and the chocolate has a waxy mouth-feel, but the chocolate-covered cream filled ones from the Mom and Pop shop down the street. You know, the type of shop where you have to get the good donuts by 6:30AM else you're stuck with the castoffs, the flavors that the only reason they get eaten is because they're all that's left.
Anyway, the bag has been there for six days now. I've ignored it in favor of the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries I found on sale. Good choice for me!
Yet, my self-control tends to go right out the window when faced with an emotional crisis. Case in point: my parents' health issues. We've been on the roller-coaster ride with their health for the past five years. My dad is 70 and my mom is 69. I live 2.5 hours away but I travel for work, so my sister (there are only two of us) has shouldered the responsibility of helping them out.
Also, my SO has been in and out of work for the past four years, his latest streak being 13 months. I have to do everything to keep my job, because we have no cash reserves left at all. While my company has been pretty lenient about me taking time off, I don't want to push it because I have one of those jobs that can, honestly, be easily outsourced. The stress of financial issues factors in to my depression and the weekends are when I tend to close in on myself and try to recharge, so I can face the next week and get through it. Selfish? Yes. But mentally I think I'm in survival mode.
Back in late 2010, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IIIb breast cancer, 1 indication from Stage IV. She was 67 and opted for the surgery/chemo/radiation route. My heaviest travel is always in the first half of the year (for example, in January 2012, I was on the road for 20 of the 31 days). My mother is hyper-aware of my travel schedule and also worried about me losing my job. At the time, I was 40 and obese, working in an industry that faced heavy layoffs. I may look good on paper, but I'm well aware that a company would probably hire younger and skinnier. So basically, I got a pass during her first bout of cancer, because if I showed up, she was convinced I was going to lose my job.
She finished all her treatments this January and by March, was declared in remission.
Then, last month, the cancer came back in the form of a brain tumor. Since it was my downtime and my dad said, "Get here now," I spent time with her and my dad, giving my sister a break and making sure my dad took care of himself. Of course, my mom's immediate reaction to my presence was, "I must be dying because you're here ..." (Thanks, Mom.)
The surgery went great. The physical therapy is going very well. Her last radiation treatment, which she had little side-effects to, was supposed to be this Friday. Her last doctors' appointments on Monday afternoon had everything on the upswing. My sister and her family are heading out of the country next week, so I was going to be at my parents all next week. I arranged with my boss so that I could work remotely during the day.
And then, I get a text from my sister late last night that my mom was admitted to the ER. The side-effects from the radiation kicked in full-force late Tuesday PM, resulting in "radiation treatment" pneumonia. My mom's back in the hospital and is expected to stay until Saturday.
Part of my job is anticipating "worse case scenarios" and coming up with solutions/game plans before they hit. So, when I got the news, I went right into work mode.
Except I was at home.
And there was that bag of donuts.
And, hey, a case a beer.
Last night, I wanted to drown my sorrows. I didn't.
This morning, I wanted to eat that entire bag of donuts. I didn't.
It doesn't mean I still don't want to. Because when stress hits me this hard, my instinct and habit is to gorge on comfort and fast foods. I had the opportunity as I stopped in my office to pick up things I needed to work remotely. When I stress, I skip meals (which doesn't help in the gorge department at all) but this time? This time I stopped myself from leaving until I had a bowl of cereal, 1 cup of mixed berries and 1 cup of milk, all measured.
On the way there, I passed by Dunkin' Donuts and McD's without pulling in. On the way back, I could have stopped at Penn Station for a gut-busting lunch. I didn't.
So now it's going on 1:30 PM. I'm home. I need to have lunch. It will be either my modified two egg salad made with Greek yogurt (instead of my adored mayonnaise) served on high-fiber wrap and a sliced tomato OR my high-fiber wrap with 2 oz ham (or chicken), 1/2 oz cheese, lettuce, 1 TBS dried cranberries, 1 tsp mayo, and 1 tsp Dijon, served with sliced tomato. Maybe some pickles for crunch. I will not go overboard.
Tomorrow afternoon, I'll head to my parents' house for a week. I've already been recruited to cook, so I can control portions and content for myself.
I'll make it through this. Moving forward, I know that it will only get more intense as my parents age and battle their health issues.
So I need to get in control of mine. I'm 42. I need to get healthy again so if (when) I'm faced with an illness, I will be in the best shape to fight it.