Sunday, July 25, 2010
I don't mean to sound spoiled. It was a good week. We tried an off-the-beach location for the first year in like twenty. I love the beach. I love watching the swell of the waves and all the other mysteries of the ocean while I sip my necessary morning java. If you know me, you know I live for coffee, Jesus, and my family. I consider the ocean and coffee two of God's most glorious creations. I also love sipping my evening glass of vino while watching the waves. We could NOT see the ocean from our home away from home. We could NOT feel/hear its calming presence that has worked its magic for eons.
It was an exhausting week for me. We packed up for our short walk to the beach after everyone got moving in the a.m. We stayed until we had heat stroke, or something akin. We spent the afternoon in the pool. It was a beautiful pool. It was so tiring because the kids believe every day should have a marathon agenda, and the temps averaged in the high 90s. My MS decided to work overtime and my fingers lost sensation for the most part. Heat is not the MS'ers friend.
So, I write from my home close to very very tired, and perhaps, on a bit of togetherness overload. I love my children, but is it back to school time yet?
I just had the most vivid daydream after struggling downstairs from a particularly rough tuck-in. E has been pecking her bro verbally all night. Little bro just freaked cause I accidentally scratched his cheek with my newly grown-out pool nail. G is freakin' cause she thinks she spied a worm in the hamster's cage. My hubby has work stress out the wazoo. Have you ever been treading water in the deep end of the pool when a less adept swimmer began hanging on you, looking to you to keep them afloat? Tonight, I feel like that is my life. Some times, being everyone's center of the universe doesn't feel flattering, it just feels like you're drowning.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I had begged B to put a new lock on my door for months. Didn't happen. I put it on the shopping list, and B said we had one...somewhere...and he'd do it. Finally, yesterday, I searched our basement and found a little hook and eye thingee and started on it myself. B came home whilst I was still installing and said, "If you want something done..." Then, "I'll do that for you later tonight, honey." Yeah. When I went to shower later it was still not done. I did it MYSELF!
So, after locking myself in the bathroom for the first time...YIPPEE!...I heard footsteps running toward me. I chuckled. I wanted a child to try to get in my newly established isolation escape...slightly cloroxy-smelling, slightly mildewy as it is. I felt such freedom! I felt like...like...a human being. Able to pull down my pants without an audience. I felt slightly giddy with the knowledge that I could shower with no danger of ninja cold water attack. I could even examine my back side in dual mirrors contemplating which fruit shape I resembled with no snickering from little peepers.
It is summer. It is the long stretch. The time of year that all decent, child-loving stay-at-home parents dread. I told my neighbor yesterday, the drearies have set in. The dreams of exotic get-aways. The hope of impromptu free get-togethers with unsuspecting friends.(..cause they don't realize how poorly behaved the "summer" kids have become.) The fantasy of yet unheard of camps that are just perfect for my high energy six year old boy. The sibling warfare is in full swing. The pleas for mom to play with one in the hundred degree outdoors. The continuing daymare for the introverted mom who must re-energize by time alone.
Thank the good Lord I have my bathroom.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I will attempt to share the main points of the doc's talk...but no promises on extreme accuracy. He asked us all to share with a friend or two so they might enjoy improved health.
- 80-90% of the time, losing weight will improve blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Diet soda is terrible for us. It is basically water full of chemicals and we would all be better off drinking tea with moderate REAL sugar, and have the bonus of anti-oxidants.
- Your ideal waist size = Height divided by 2.
- Smokers tend to have low self-esteem. So, don't try to brow beat a smoker into quitting, encourage them with talks of their improved health.
- A man with a neck size larger than 17 is most likely to have sleep apnea and sleep apnea means you stop breathing!
- The supplements the doc himself takes daily: vitamins A,B,C,D,and E, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, omega 3, and aspirin. He says everyone needs vitamin D and omega 3 daily.
A lady asked in parting what three things he thinks most important to our health. His response?
- 30 minutes of exercise that makes you sweat EVERY day!
- Whole foods...ie. foods without labels, looking like the food they represent....apples, salad, veggies, etc.
- Finding a purpose. (Love that!)
I think people are recognizing more and more that our physical health is tied to our mental and emotional health. It is important that we have wellness in all three areas. I would add spiritual health to that too. What a lot of pressure when you don't believe in a higher power! I would crumble to think I had to do it..."it" meaning life....all myself.
Since my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis 3 years ago, we have slowly tried to transform much of our life. This would include, healthier eating, healthier purchases at the grocery, reducing stress in our lives, focusing on the important things (family, friends, faith), and living life on purpose. If we hate the thought of spending time doing something, we don't do it (with the exception of necessary things like cleaning the cat litter!) We are failing epically right now on in the category of physical fitness, but it is July. The only exercise any of us get is floating in a pool.
In the pursuit of healthier eating, we planted our first full on garden this year! I am very proud. We have harvested more squash than any of us really wanted to eat, many cute little pickling cucumbers, mom's dill, and finally, tomatoes, and our first cantaloupe! All of this grown pesticide-free. Yet to come, hopefully peppers bigger than my thumb. Unsuccessful? The collards and eggplant. We have a lot to learn, but its exciting putting our health first and trying to produce our own food. (I had to add a photo of the fruits of Kelly labor above.)
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Then, I started setting goals. First, the 5K. Done! Why not do a marathon? First, the half. I sat down at the computer with my friend, the trainer, and we looked around the Southeast settling for a half marathon in the fall (13.1 miles)...soon to be followed by the Valentines coup d'etat marathon (26.2 miles). In the best physical fitness of my life, something funky started happening. Running three miles was a walk in the park, but pushing past 5 0r 6 miles set me tingling and spread a bizarre numbness up my right arm. I would pinch myself, and jab the unfeeling area, as if to wake it from slumber. Nothing helped, nothing except cooling off and hydrating....it was May.
Mid-May, my family spent several days at Wrightsville Beach. One day, we walked the mile to the pier and bought ice cream cones, taking them out on the pier to see what was getting caught. I needed to sit down on a bench and waved everyone else on to the end of the pier because of the swaying...my swaying, not the pier. Boy, I was so dizzy, especially looking down at the water below. I had always had a problem with heights, so I chalked it up to fear. On the hot walk back to the condo, Lucas was tired and I carried him the whole way. He weighed considerably less than he does now...at 3 years he was about 50 pounds. My arms were tired when we got back, my right arm was numb, but I am right-handed and most of his weight was on that arm. My mom fussed, saying I shouldn't have carried him so far and that was that. When I cooled off, my arm mostly recovered feeling, but some residual numbness remained, and even after returning home from the beach, it spread up to my shoulder and across the right side of my back. Perhaps, it was time to visit the doctor?
I visited my doctor on Monday and he discussed some possibilities. Lyme, lupus, ms...but said, "You look too healthy!" Amen to that. MRI was scheduled for Thursday. ("BTW, are you claustrophobic?" "Naw." Blog just about that later!) My doc called me Friday to deliver the news...MS. It's the end of the world as we know it.
I cannot explain the feeling of devastation when you hear the news you least expect. I have a fabulous imagination, so the scenarios started running through my head...the worst-case scenarios. The fear grows and grows until you almost cannot function or speak. I have told several people that I believe this kind of diagnosis requires processing like a death...denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. I would add my own to the end, kicking butt.
I continued to have a full-blown episode through the rest of that summer of 2007. The numbness spread over exactly the entire right side of my body, I began having severe nerve pain in both my feet and vertigo. I would heat up like a menopausal woman...a result of the difficulty regulating core body temperature with ms. I began a disease-modifying injection I gave myself every other day. (Good news! I am now no longer afraid of needles;) I began a couple of rounds of oral steroids to reduce the inflammation in my brain that ultimately I needed to avoid to prevent damage to more areas. My husband and kids tried to adjust to our new normal.
I was diagnosed three years ago now, and during that first year, I told my running coach friend that it was time for a new goal. I had spent a great deal of time on the web site for the NMSS, an excellent source for the latest info http://www.nmss.org/, and saw this event called a Challenge Walk. I asked my friend to help me train. And we did. We completed our first 50 mile Challenge Walk in April 2008 with a team of 4. This is the part I was talking about called "kicking butt." After I got thru the stage called Depression, or "I can't do all the things I'd dreamed of doing," I finished up in this Kicking Butt stage. I've only been home a few weeks now from my third Challenge Walk, this year with six other teammates, one of them also with ms. We have raised $28,800 towards a cure that WILL come one day.
And running. Oh, how I love running! As I jumped into my Kicking Butt stage, I saw a great movie, "The Bucket List." I made my own mental list. Not because, as in the movie, I'm kicking the bucket. I made my list because I'm not. Diagnosis of possibly debilitating, chronic disease had a great effect on me. I gained some fearlessness. I will not sit on the sidelines, afraid and regretting. What's left to fear?
Long-range goal? Marathon.
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!" Philippians 4:13
"I probably should consider this my last marathon, but you never know what'll happen. My friends reminded me that I said that last year and the year before and the year before." Robert Borglund, Winner of Boston Marathon's 80-and-older age group two years in a row
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Today, I'm letting my oldest see "Eclipse", but not her younger sis. This is raising a bit of controversy in my house, aka screaming and crying. "But, all my friends have seen it!" "But Emma's only 2 years older!" "You ALWAYS say NO!" "But I already understand all that 'stuff'" (She means the sex talk that we have had.) My problem with Grace seeing it is not that she might learn something. My problem with Grace seeing it is that she would see a fantasy rendition of romance...and to the max. These characters are willing to die for their forbidden love, and Gracie loves forbidden. Not only does Edward wax poetic about his love for his girl, but Jacob does too. I have never heard of this happening once a guy reaches 16. She would also see a false portrayal of the man/woman relationship. I don't mean to be a spoiler, but in the movie (cover your eyes and say lalalala if you don't want to know this,) Bella is pushing Edward to have sex, and Edward refuses. I don't think this is the norm. All said, very adult themes. Gracie doesn't understand why she shouldn't be treated like an adult since she is 11 going on 21. She'll probably forgive me in a few months...
So, this got me thinking...why do women love a good love story, but men could not care less? Is it only my husband who stopped writing poetry once we walked down the aisle? Oh, to be honest, he never wrote poetry, but he did write a mean love note. Most every single day. And, he still will write me a lovely note...on my birthday, Mothers' Day, and Valentines', because he knows I prefer this to store-bought. I'm not complaining, just pondering our differences. And I believe the differences are gender-related. Reminds me of Mel Gibson in "What Women Want". In case you missed it, Mel is a womanizer who suddenly can hear women's thoughts, hears what they really think about him, what they really want from him, and changes his ways to appeal to their softer nature. My husband knows what I want, sometimes ad nauseum, but behaves like, well, a man. We share our feelings on every subject, more directly than a lot of folks I think. For instance, he knows I will watch ANY movie with Marky Mark. (For those of you under 35, that is THE Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch fame, brother of Donnie of the New Kids on the Block, given name-Mark Wahlberg)...cue song:
Okay, I'm back now. I had to watch that 3 times. Oh, weren't the 90s fun?! Mark Wahlberg is not the best actor in the universe, but I much prefer watching him to his contemporaries, Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. And I know my sweet, dedicated honey will watch anything with Lucy Liu. He knows that I enjoy him talking like a lovesick puppy, and I know he wants me just to be quiet and smile pretty some times, instead of jabbering on and on during Monday night football. So, its not for lack of sharing feelings that we behave differently.
And, I think the male/female differences override the love language. Great book by Gary Chapman called "The Five Love Languages" explains how we love people the way we want to be loved. This is one reason why our relationships often have conflict. We need to love people the way they want to be loved. But, I know I behave towards B the way I like to be loved. And, I can see him and my kids loving me the way they feel love. All in all, not a bad result, because I still end up knowing I am loved. Which brings me back to Eclipse and Gracie. When my girls begin dating relationships, I want them to be treated like the treasures they are, and understand that fantasies fade, but loving relationships built on trust and truth are what its all about.
And just for the record, my guy would still jump in front of a werewolf for me....decades after the poetry faded.
"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious
rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his
life. She will not hinder him but help him all her life." Proverbs
31:10-12 NIV...from my favorite poet