Archive | January 2017

For the New Year

I have consistently written about my plans for a new year. This year it’s just a couple of days late.
I really didn’t like 2016, but not all of it was bad. I will have to focus on positive things. 

I went from 2012 not walking far to 2014 running half-marathons. Four in seven months actually. In 2015, I had plantar fasciitis and headed to the end of 2016 I was winded at a flight of stairs. I’ve made it back before and so I do believe I can do it again. To give you comparison in 2013- I would logged about 30 miles, in 2014 -I logged 440 miles, in 2015- I logged 275 miles and in 2016 – I logged 47 miles. It will take work, effort and time to get back where I was.

My health has been on a downhill slope. So my hope is I go up from here. I’d say I was at rock bottom, but I wasn’t. I was just in the depths of a great valley. 

My resolution of 2016 was to be kinder to myself in my inner dialogue. I put on 15 pounds with this illness and it’s okay. I will get back to where I need to be. It will take work, effort, and time.

My husband has been incredibly patient, hardworking, and kind. I’ve been so sick for so long. He’s been helpful and resourceful. He’s respected my privacy. 

Every year we get an ornament to symbolize our year. I got him a man on a kayak. All he wanted was to buy a kayak. He thought it would help us grow as a family and be adventurous. So we went all in and got the kayak. 

We went out on the kayak just the two of us one day. We went out onto the cove with a misty rain. It was supposed to be this amazing date where we got to just be alone out on the water. We nearly cancelled for the rain, but we grabbed our ponchos and went out anyways. We talked and relaxed our way around the inlets of the cove. That day- that date- might have been the highlight of my entire year.

My poor friends. I’ve been trying so hard as a wife, mother and teacher – my friend status has been hard to keep up with. I wanted to be with people when I couldn’t. I wanted to support – when I needed to be supported. As my dear friend says… I simply just couldn’t do “All the things”. 

It’s not that all 2016 was a wash in friendships. One of my best friends met me over the summer and I got to meet her husband. We went camping and to the beach with our good friends too. My twin from work and I sat by the pool watching our children play. Many porch sittings and shenanigans with another set of friends too. My bestie and I attempted dinner dates and play dates with our kids. I’m sure I missed several things, but sometimes a cup of tea and some long conversations can go a long way.

I love my job and as sick as I’ve been it’s been a challenge teaching. It takes a lot of energy. I’ve missed a few days and went a few days I should probably have rested. Some days I got up and went to work and upon returning from work I went straight to bed. It wasn’t all like that though. I ended last school year with great marks. This year I’ve given almost every planning period to go out of my way for someone else. There were a few days I shut the door and turned off the lights and just listened to music while I sat alone. Teaching is loud.. it’s noisy and overstimulating so it’s nice to just sit in the quiet for a while.

 My two favorite parts of my job are not required. I have been teaching two students how to sew and crochet in my free time. It’s been good to watch the boys learn how to relax. The second part I love about my job is that I get to mentor student teachers. I find it so fulfilling to help others find their groove with this profession. It’s become a running joke with the faculty about my obsession with student teachers. I love it though. I love the role as a mentor.

John and I set out to make 2016 great for us. We tried to get the kids out more. We took them sledding, hiking, kayaking, running, biking etc. We took them to Gatlinburg, camping, to a Lego event with my in-laws, my in-laws took them to Williamsburg too, and finally we took them for a full week at the beach. We signed them up for summer camps. Our son took archery and loved it – he doesn’t love much in athletics. He’s lazy or as his pulmonologist says his asthma keeps him from moving at a fast rate. So archery is perfect for him. Our daughter took soccer and gymnastics and loves them both. Our son joined Cub Scouts and also plays clarinet now. We got them both new bikes. We sent them to music camp. We kept our summer pool membership. We were really making an effort.

While I’ve been sick, I was afraid. When you’re that sick you begin to be very afraid of the unknown. You try very hard to be rational, but it’s not always easy. I prayed hard before my last procedure. I didn’t want to go under general anesthesia. I was very afraid. I was afraid they would find nothing wrong. I have no other response to that fear but to pray. I am thankful for this journey of my health. It makes you question all of your faults and weaknesses. It makes you try to explain your own shortcomings. Although, I banished shame talking in 2016- it doesn’t mean it’s an inability to be honest with yourself and others either.
I cannot say enough about Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace! I spent $3000 in the last three months of the year just on medical bills alone. We still have some work to do on the cars – which both decided to have trouble while I was sick. We had been looking for months for someone to rebuild our porch. We finally got to it and underneath the decking was a disaster so it took longer and cost us more than we had anticipated. We are not in a panic situation – we’ll be okay. We’re behind on a little savings, but it’s not digging us a grave of debt.

 That’s what financial peace feels like. 

Go get the book- take the class – and try it.

My mind is clouded. I’ve not been writing or running. It’s an onion. I will pull back one layer at a time. I’ve been slapping on a layer on top of a layer for a while. I lost myself in work, in trying  to help my kids see the world, in being selfish too, or in being sick mostly. Now it’s coming off. I’m shedding the layers- probably tearfully- The kind of honesty that happens here isn’t easy. Instead of processing things when they happen – processing them later makes them a “thing” maybe a thing bigger than they should be.

In 2017 – I’m going to have to write and run. I’ve got to go see the world myself and just breath for a while. I’ve got to peel the layers back to raw emotion. I’ve got to get to mile 7 again where my clarity begins.

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Up Before the Sun

It’s a snow day. A glorious snow day for teachers. This day is envied by others who think they would spend it better… asleep. Some might say it’s a day wasted not sleeping in. My stomach was far too unhappy to sleep… I simply had no choice.

While I was sitting enjoying my coffee- surrounded by two cats and a dog, I rummaged through my draft box of blogs I never quite finished. Some of them were perfect. Some of them completely unfinished. Some of them too emotional. Some of them too honest. None of them were posted. I have been writing, but just not finishing.

For six months- I’ve felt different. For three months- I’ve been sick. It takes a toll on you and wears you down in so many ways. It hits your house. It hits your relationships. It hits your emotions. It’s all you have to talk about and it’s all anyone can talk to you about. In a sense, you lose all the other parts of who you are. You just become the illness.

For me, it’s taken a toll on the things that make me right in the head too. I’ve been too tired to write or have felt guilty if I did begin to write. If I had that much energy why wasn’t I doing something to help my husband? There was a lot of guilt there to begin to write again. There were days where just going up a flight of stairs would put me into a fit of belching and pain- “days” like 90 in a row. So I have not been running. I’ve hardly been walking. To get my mental clarity I need to write or run… one of the two if not both and I have been doing neither.

To get up before the sun is a quiet I don’t hear at any other time in the day. The children aren’t running around flipping, squealing, fighting, or tickling. My husband isn’t turning the football game up on the highest volume possible. I hear the snorts of my dog and the heat cranking out to beat this cold weather. This might be the darkest and yet clearest time of my entire day.

Goodbye 2016 – Onward to Good Health!

To update you medically –

My kidneys checked out fine. My right one just drains slower, but there is no damage done to the kidney itself. I have been told I am released from the urologist unless I have further problems. I had a big scan of my kidneys called a renal lasix scan. They inject you with a nuclear medicine and you lay perfectly still for over an hour. My kidneys worked find and then my doctor went back to worrying about the gallbladder. It was a nice long tangent.

I then went through a horrid test called the hida scan. Again you are injected with a nuclear medicine and you stay perfectly still for two hours this time. It made me terribly sick and still came back normal. Normal with an 82% ejection fraction (it spits out more than what is considered normal to some doctors). My doctor of course doesn’t believe this is the source so I went through an upper endoscopy. That’s where you are put under general anesthesia and they put a camera down your throat. They found some healing ulcers and a small hernia, but not the source of my pain. So more results come back in a few weeks. We shall see the outcome, but I’m in at least manageable pain. I just have to eat simple and I can’t exercise without burping for hours on end.

Next is just waiting for results to come in and see if the new medicines help me improve or get rid of my pain.