Taking Care of Myself

>> Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Meals are more important the we give them credit for.

You see, it's around this time in a crisis, however big or small, when I take a step back and look at how I'm treating myself . . . and usually feel quite horrified. Since Ada's MRI a few weeks ago and her subsequent diagnosis + surgery schedule, I've gone through periods of feeling fine alternating with near-panic attacks. Eating absolutely nothing (I lost 7 pounds) and eating absolutely everything (and gained it all back like THAT). I've taken entire weeks off from exercise due to emotional paralysis. Then I've gotten back on track.

The transition between these two extremes has been sort of like when that other kid you're riding along with on the seesaw just jumps off. BAM!

It's the all too common all-or-nothing approach. My body and mind don't know what they want or need. It's just one of those situations where I'm stumped. And with every twist and turn, there are fewer and fewer answers or certainties. Life doesn't often make sense, it's sometimes cruel and utterly confusing -- but, and what's been hard for me to believe, it's in our best interest to wade through the insanity and gather our best forces to power through.

I write a lot about movement. Not just running or swimming or other exercise -- you know, the physical manifestation of the word. Lately, when I make a motion forward or backward, I mean it with my heart and soul. So, I am trying my best to make progress -- motion -- and meet Ada's needs.

Thing is: I need to pay attention to my own in the process.

I need to take better care of myself if I'm going to care for Ada when she's at her most fragile these next few months. I started today with a healthy breakfast of roasted sweet potatoes + avocado chunks topped with a fried egg. Much better for me than downing three glazed doughnuts or skipping all together, I'll tell you. My parents have generously dropped by for a little over an hour each day to make sure Stephen and I can get in our therapy sessions (running) while still having time to cross off all those last minute to-dos.

Thanks to them, I ran 26.2 miles last week, 10 of which were on Sunday -- and I think that's a good start toward keeping some normalcy. We had planned to run (or skip) the Wineglass Half Marathon this coming weekend, and now we've officially accepted we'll finish DNS. It's too much to load the weekend before surgery. Still, I'm committed to seeing the fruits of my training and will be completing a 13.1 mile "sanity run" by myself on Sunday.

*   *   *   *   *   *   

It's the little things that can turn a situation from bad to worse or, alternatively, to better. If it means going to bed a half hour early or jogging a couple slow miles or accepting all that help that our amazing friends, family, and neighbors have offered us -- all the better. It's surprisingly difficult to resist isolation and stagnation when things get rough. It feels much better in the immediate to just retreat, fade away.

The challenge is giving in to the situation and somehow finding peace and a path to move forward. But I'm learning that most everything in life is a challenge and it's how we design our plan of attack that matters most.

Something positive: This very afternoon next week, surgery will be over + Ada will be on her way to recovery.

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