Check out my review of the Turbocharged lifestyle on 9News, NBC Denver
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Check out my review of the Turbocharged lifestyle on 9News, NBC Denver
Part one of my 2010 Holiday Gift Guide was on NBC 9News last Friday. Above is a video of the segment. Click the link below to go to the 9News Website for more details on each item, pricing and where to buy!
Part II of the holiday gift guide from the Denver Post is next, with eight more fabulous gifts for everyone on your list…
Yesterday I tweeted my joy at being stopped and being asked out by a “random cute guy” at least half my age. Though I didn’t take the request seriously (after all, he was just a baby –CougarTown be damned!) Still I was flattered, and floated on air to a Christmas party that evening, where the elation continued. Two more gentlemen — the first, though older than the one that afternoon, still was in his twenties; and another in his thirties — inflated my head by passing on their phone numbers. I thought to myself “I don’t know what I did today, but I better figure it out quickly–and bottle it for future use!” Then it struck me: Could my raw food diet have made a difference? I won’t ever know, but just in case…I’m gonna keep it goin’!
Notice we’ve discussed only three of the four gentlemen mentioned in the title…You’ll find out about the other at the end!
YOU’LL BE SURPRISED to hear about the non-raw foods I’ve been eating. But going wholeheartedly into something like this is nothing to be taken lightly. I probably ate around 70 percent raw going into this challenge, but to actually make a COMMITTMENT to do something like this is more of a psychological challenge. The instant you choose to NOT have certain foods, all of a sudden of course–now you want them. But I’ve found that giving myself that 5-10 percent leeway by going MOSTLY RAW has taken the pressure off. For this first week, I’ve been about 97 percent raw, with the other three percent being comprised of — wait for it — a McDonald’s hamburger and small fries, a SLEEVE of Oreos (over the course of the week, but a sleeve none-the-less), and today a small baked organic chicken thigh. I did bake a spaghetti squash that was DELISH. But being able to have the forbidden foods was the best strategy in the world. I realized that the day I didn’t drink enough water was also the day I ate McDonalds. A low grade headache, overall malaise and general grogginess were my prizes for that one.
DECADENT THINGS I CAN–and did–have include dark chocolate to my heart’s desire, unlimited fruits, raw goat cheese (there’s a local farm in Colorado that I want to see if I can visit and take my niece to–that would be awesome to share with you). Being a hot chocolate fanatic, I was happy to find there are a number of ways to include hot chocolate on my plan. Ironically though, I’ve found that as the days go on, I’ll think “Hot chocolate sounds wonderful right now,” and opt for tea with low glycemic agave nectar. Crave dessert, passing the kitchen with full intention to have something gooey (just because I can), and end up with a tangerine or mango with sea salt (yummmmm-o!). Yes, I know I sound like a dork, but it’s completely transformative. If it wasn’t happening to me, I don’t know that I’d believe it. I’ve eaten healthfully since I can remember, but I’ve always loved my pastries as well. Hmmm…it seems, that’s no longer.
QUICK AND EASY RECIPE
Last night, I made an amazing guacamole by squeezing the juice a fresh hothouse tomato into an avacado and added sea salt (my new favorite ingredient), garlic, black pepper and … and… That’s it. Smash it together and in just minutes–creamy, healthy, tummy filling joy.
I was shocked at how great it was. But even more shocking was that as I looked for something crunchy to pair with it…. no chips…. hmmm, Triscuits have gluten (which I rarely eat) but a few of my fave cracked paper and olive oil Triscuits. Outstanding. But can I tell you what was even better? I ended up downing mini sweet carrots with my avacado mash and practically licked the bowl with fantasy-like frevor. I still can’t believe how good it was–the crunch of the carrot was exactly what I needed–no deprivation here!
Today was the day I ate the baked chicken with my asparagus and squash. I ended up feeling a bit nauseous into the afternoon and all I could think about was a green salad. Yes, a boring green salad! That’s the photo at the top. Usually I make the BEST SALADS EVER, but some of the research I’ve been doing discusses food combining which makes the raw thing a bit tougher…definitely not for newbies or people like me that hate to think about food all that much. In the next post we’ll talk about why food combining is controvesial, and why experts think it’s why people who diet don’t loose weight.
By the way, my green salad pictured above had cucumbers, green onion, celery, romaine lettuce, and of course my avacado/tomato mash (guacamole) recipe as mentioned above. I ate it with a side of sweet baby carrots. Delish!
I HAVE MORE PROOF–IT IS THE RAW FOODS
While writing this post, I received an email from a new business colleague I met at the party yesterday. And I quote “Great meeting you last night Doni! You have a vivaciousness about you that was truly inspiring! What is your secret?” Wow. What a compliment! Maybe this thing is working after all…
So I’d been feeling great for the last few days, and actually woke up feeling better than I have in a long time this morning. (Not that I’ve felt poorly, but on this journey to health, it seems I’v lost my usual “zip”! With kids, work, and competing responsibilities tugging at your every minute, I’m sure many of you can relate….) By afternoon however, I was a bit sluggish and headachy. Ruh Ro… Was my experiment going awry?
I quickly realized that I haven’t been drinking as much water as I usually do (about a gallon a day) and DEFINITELY not as much as necessary when starting a raw eating plan. The reason for that is that raw foods–those heated to less than about 118 degrees temperature–retain the enzymes and nutrients as nature intended. Packing a powerful punch, eating like this “detoxes” or “cleanses” the systems, releasing from our bodies all the — excuse my language — CRAP we expose ourselves to every day.
From chemicals in our body products to pollution in the air and preservatives in our food, our bodies constantly are bombarded by everyday “toxins” that derail our health, beauty, energy and — dare I say it? Weight. Though we’re divinely created to take on all of these invaders, modern life has provided an overabundance of these not-so-friendly visitors, which eventually taxes our systems. I’m just giving a brief overview today, but in a future post, I’ll go more in depth with how this works.
A raw, mostly raw or whole food lifestyle allows the body’s organs to release many of the toxins that may be hanging out inside of us, and those “invaders” shall we call them, must go somewhere. That somewhere is our bloodstream and they must be eliminated. Water helps with this process, and diminishes or eliminates symptoms of “detoxing,” which includes headaches, sluggishness, irritation and a general overall feeling of malaise. By flushing the system, and helping clear the blood, water is a detoxer’s best friend! I quickly downed a glass of water every 20 minutes, and soon my dreary feelings were gone.
After getting over my feeling a little listless afternoon blahs, I was up and at-’em, ready for lunch! Which I must say was quite tasty…I scarfed it pretty quickly. Remember I’m doing about 90% raw, so in a day with 3 meals and 2 snacks, I’m going for two or fewer cooked items. Today, that meant I baked the spaghetti Squash–very easy–just pop it in the oven at about 300 degrees for an hour, then cut it open, scoop out the seeds and the flesh when scooped out looks just like pasta. I baked it last night and put it in the fridge for easy lovin’ whenever I felt the urge. I’ve enjoyed this with olive oil, seasonings and cheese instead of pasta because I try not to eat gluten. Today however, I kept it simple. It was a perfect fall sweet – savory combination with the asparagus. In the raw food program I’ve been following, raw goat cheese is allowed, and this one is so flavorful and pungent…I couldn’t miss the opportunity to use it for an amazing array of mouth tantalizing flavors.
Though I’m enjoying the simple combinations I’ve been making for the last few days, I’m also devouring books and recipes about new raw food techniques, tools and tastes, which I will introduce to you soon. Since I’m a newbie, however, I’m being as creative as I can–as to not get bored and to make sure I don’t feel deprived. This exploration is so exciting, and though I’m a good cook, I never really cooked that much–only when the feeling struck me… I all of a sudden have a newfound interest and vigor for all things culinary (and raw of course)! I can’t wait to share them with you.
Becoming Simply Alive!,
Soooooo… it’s day four, and I’m feelin’ pretty darn good.
The beautiful pommegranate above was my breakfast on Day two. Can you say YUMMY????????????? I was in heaven. The fruit was sweet and tangy at the same time and adding the granulated sea salt gave tart and grounding zip that was out of this world!
I was going to video tape me making breakfast and giving tips for easy planning and clean up to make sure you stay on track, and then dishing while I enjoyed this fabulous breakfast–HOWEVER, the forocity with which I consumed this fruity, salty, tangy savory concoction was just embarassing!
Pommegranate seeds falling out of my mouth, as I made all kinds of “mmmm” sounds as if I’d never seen food before. This was one amazing way to begin the day. I probably should have shared the video, it was pretty funny… There’ll be another, I’m sure. When that day comes, I’ll make sure you can share the joy!
I expected day 3 to be a challenge as my five year old niece spent the weekend with me. I’ve been prepping for this Raw food thing for quite a while–not on purpose, mind you, because I never thought I’d be one to go Raw–but it just kind of evolved. So she’s used to spending time with me and eating vegetarian meals at my place. I remember one of the first times–I gave her quite a beautiful looking meal, if I must say so myself (can’t remember what it was though, because her response is all that permeated my brain):
“NO MEAT?!!” she inquired incredulously in all of her aged five splendor.
“You don’t need to eat meat at every meal,” I responded — too much meat isn’t good for you. She looked at me, and looked at the meal, as I brought the remainder of the course from the kitchen, which was a salad.
“Salad?” she questioned, with a look of ashtonishment “gross!”
“You don’t have to eat it,” I said. ”But you love vegetables,” I retorted, as she twisted her face in to indescribeable contortions.
I didn’t make her eat it. I did find, however, a curious little imp attached to my side as I ate the meal — with fingers attempting to abscond with flavorful veggie morsels from my plate, and looking at me forlorgnly through puppy dog eyes.
I finally asked, “Do you want some of my salad?,” which was answered with an eager and unyielding head bob, along with a wanting smile. We enjoyed the rest of the meal, including my salad, sharing all the veggies together.
I was a little concerned about having most of her meals be not only meat free, but uncooked, but my fears were unfounded. Just from watching my habits, I found her asking for nuts, strawberries, apples, a banana and boysenberries–I didn’t even plan to give them to her. After seeing me eat asparagus, she wanted to try it too, though I think asparagus is probably a little much for a five year old. She ate two stalks before declaring that she would not continue. LOL! She gave it a good go!!
She did however love all the other fruits and veggies we had today. And I did give her some chicken during dinner–but she was 90% raw for the rest of the day. And mostly by her own desire.
Don’t underestimate kids and how they’ll respond to eating healthfully. They often take cues from us–and television, and outside forces–but usually the adults they look up to will win out. If we eat healthfully, they’re sure to respond.
Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at more scrumptous raw foods and the effects of cleansing the body with the power of raw foods.
Why just live, when you can be Simply Alive!,
So today is the day! D-day… or should I call it, R-day?
I started a mostly raw food experiment today–so I’ll be eating 90-95% raw foods only for the next 40 days. Woo hoo! So exctited.
I received comments about it on Facebook today, one person thought I’d be really hungry and really skinny, another wondered about the holidays and if I’d eat raw on Christmas. Great observations and questions! I didn’t really think too much about it and I’m not too worried, for I’ve been thinking about this for years and spent the whole last week planning. I even found about 8 books in my personal library devoted to raw foods (very pristine looking books, so obviously I didn’t use them all that much in the past!) but they certainly will be used now!
How I got here
Well, most of you know the last few years have been rough for me. Last year Thanksgiving I almost died and ended up in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism, the Christmas before that, I had major surgery and took almost a year to heal (I got better right before the embolism, dangit!). This year, just again as I felt better, I was back in the emergency room on Thanksgiving. What the???…. And I lost my mind! Tears flowing, incredulously and like a crazy person asking myself out loud “Am I never going to get better? — I can’t POSSIBLY be sick!!!” And that’s all it took. I guess waht I didn’t realize is the fear and apprehension of not knowing when I’d be better, when I’d be able to work regularly, when I’d have energy again, IF I’d ever be “myself” again was taking a bigger toll than I realized. A couple of times I’d broken down for a hot second (once to my doctor from my hospital bed during the embolism scare and the other just a month prior with my yoga cleanse/revolution group), but both times I quickly “got ahold” of myself (had to control and suppress those feelings y’know!). And both times, instead of just feeling what I felt, I stuffed the feelings while the well meaning people around me tried to relax my fears.
I guess acting like a crazy person for a few minutes is REALLY what I needed, because it was like a shot in the arm. After a battery of tests including a CT scan and EKG, the doctors (who were nervous themselves), released me with a couple of prescriptions and a diagnosis of inflamed lungs. More drugs? Ah, man!! I just got those out of my system! And I had to realize I just might have asthma going forward. Cripes. Though I was extremely grateful and things could’ve been MUCH worse, I was on a mission to get ME back. Hence, committing to a lifestyle that would help my body keep itself in optimal health. I already was releasing old pent up emotions with yoga (we’ll talk about that another day), and now, I was ready to optimize with food as it was meant to be eaten.
What does this mean for you?
I’ll keep you abreast of the journey with daily blogposts, videos, expert interviews and more. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to go on your own raw journey! For now, I’ll leave you with photos of my scrump-dilly-icious food I’ll be eating all day today. I really can’t believe how I’m getting into all of this! With a Caribbean cooking gourmet mom and a down home cookin’ too much is never enough meat and potatoes food monger ex-husband, who knew, this is what it would take to get me to think about food? Again, more on that another day.
For now, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see, know, hear, let me know–I’ll be happy to oblige!
Don’t just live; become Simply Alive,
As American politics becomes more and more loaded with muck and mire, its reach seems to now extend to our entertainment. Say it isn’t so!
By now you’ve heard of the national travesty that occurred this week on ABC’s hit television show Dancing With the Stars. R & B singer Brandy Norwood, best known as “Brandy,” who has been at the top or tied at the top with her judges’ scores for most of the season was ousted in a tragic upset while teen activist Bristol Palin, daughter of former Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin, heads to the show finals despite having the lowest judges scores week after week.
What makes the difference is audience voting. Final scores are tabulated using a combination of audience votes and judges’ votes. For many weeks now, Palin has defied the odds, staying in the competition while those with higher scores, and arguably better dancing, are sent packing. It’s an American story through and through – the underdog becoming triumphant, a system of voting intended to let the people decide outcomes, and the right to speak our minds on behalf of what some see as a flawed system.
Controversy has swirled Palin ever since the ouster of beloved American TV mom Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch fame. Viewers have shouted “unfair” as show contestants with better performances than Palin go home week after week. But this week’s semi-finals show brought a new fervor to the picture. Many were shocked when top-scoring Brandy missed the finals by the hair of a chinny, chin, chin; while Palin survived to dance another day.
“It’s the Tea Party fixing votes,” scream some, “It’s her mom’s supporters campaigning for her” hrumph others, and still more accuse an unreliable voting system. All reasons that have merit, but by no means is this the total picture. Just as nay-sayers scream foul at the younger Palin, as if she rigged the system herself, others say “America loves an underdog,” “She’s improved so much,” and “She’s just like I would be if I went out there.” Many on either side of the highly-polarized feelings are unwilling to accept that both sides could be accurate and the combination of the two are creating a perfect storm that’s keeping Palin in the competition.
What’s disturbing to me is the amount of hatred spewing out of some people’s mouths: Expletives flying, accusations being hurled, unkind words for Brandy and for Palin (depending on which side of the coin you land) are not in short supply. But some show die-hards are claiming to be “done,” that they’re sick of the system and no longer willing to watch. Quite a few “boycott Dancing With the Stars” pages have shown up on Facebook and one Wisconsin man was arrested when his wife called 911 after he shot their television during the show. He obviously won’t be watching for a while.
Sadly, it’s like the show is a mirror for the current state of American Politics – you don’t like what’s going on, then pick up your ball and go home. What happened to voting for what, or in this case, whom you believe in? Many have complained that some “on the right” are registering and voting hundreds of times. And I’ve seen websites with comments directing people how to get massive numbers of votes in for their DWTS “candidate” (specifically, Palin). When you’re up against that, it does seem unfair, but at the end of the day, those zealots are willing to do what most are not. After all, it takes a special something to spend hours on end registering and getting in hundreds of votes for your favored contestant. Though it’s wrapped in the pretty package of support for Bristol Palin, the true actions of such voting tactics is done to send a message: “We have the power to do this, and we will.”
And that puts the ball in our court. Just as in mid-term elections, we had a choice – participate. If you don’t like the system, work to change it. Get out there and make your opinions heard – vote.
Dancing with the Stars happens to be my guilty pleasure, and I’ve found this season just as upsetting as many others, but I don’t think a boycott right now is the answer. Maybe the travesty that has occurred will mobilize show fans to exercise their votes for whom they’d like to see win. I’d been voting for Jennifer Grey, star of the iconic film, Dirty Dancing; and Brandy because I was amazed at the entertainment quality of their performances every week. I’d discounted Disney child star Kyle Massey for most of the season, though he was a joy to watch. But in the Semi-finals, he BROUGHT it! His performance brought down the house, and was elevated to the level of Brandy and Grey.
Massey won me over with his amazing performance and the tremendous improvements he’s made since day one. The night of semi-finals, Massey for me surpassed the enjoyment of watching Brandy or Grey, and won me over wholeheartedly. As long as he brings the same energy and execution to the finals (and if history is any indication, I think he will), he’ll get all of my votes.
Why? Because if it’s true that many are “stuffing the bag” for any of the contestants, this is not the time to dilute my votes – I’m going to pick whom I want to win, and go for it. If everyone complaining does the same, then maybe, just maybe it will outlast the few who are taking their time to rig the system. If everyone does this (focuses votes on whom they’d like to see win) then it’s a real possibility the people’s favorite — whomever that is — will come out on top.
If we pick up our balls and go home, at this point anyway, how will it change the system? There’s still an opportunity to affect change and possibly save the integrity of the show — effectively reversing the powerlessness felt when some of our favorites went home despite good performances. Bottom line is the show is for entertainment, and there are plenty who will tune in to see what the outcome will be this season. So let’s do our best to make a difference. If there’s no change, if many people object the outcome, if it still seems unfair, then boycott next season. If DWTS has jumped the proverbial shark, and lost viewer confidence, then it will show in ratings, and maybe, just maybe then they’ll heed the message.
Guilt is an invasive thing. It’s like an emotional cancer that eats through judgment, sensibility and self-esteem all at once. And it’s one of the reasons people who care for others tend to let their own care fall by the wayside.
When I say “care for others,” I don’t necessarily mean in a professional manner – but rather in the way almost every one of us has to do every now and again. Your son breaks his ankle playing softball, your husband has the common cold, or, in more severe circumstances, someone close to you acquires a chronic ailment that needs constant attention. Such ailments can often be severe, even life threatening. And, as it should be, as caregivers we drop everything, focusing laser-like attention on creating comfort and a healing environment for our loved ones.
Depending on the severity of illness, flowers, cards, visitors and calls may flood in for the ailing party – well wishers send thoughts of healing, love and light to help on the road to recovery. Maybe it was back surgery or the physical and emotional devastation from radiation treatment, maybe a diagnosed mental disorder or perhaps the stress of not knowing what is wrong, and the turmoil of constant hospital visits and testing .
In these circumstances, one thing is for sure: it’s important to realize that when someone is hurting or sick, the illness not only affects the person who’s ill, but also those around him or her- especially those who are close.
It is certainly devastating to go through a debilitating illness, but think of those who take care of the ill during those times – a sister, a husband or wife, a friend, child or colleague. Not only do they experience the pain of watching someone they love experience the hurt, but they must also grapple with their own emotions. Not only are caregivers dealing with the situation itself but they’re also taking on the added responsibility that comes with the role: perhaps getting medicine, dealing with mood swings, changing bandages or even dealing with the loneliness caused by the loss of warmth and comfort provided by someone with whom they share a bed. While those good wishes keep coming, they usually don’t focus on the caregivers.
That’s where the feelings of guilt come. We’re human, and the wear of a caregiving on top of normal work, family and home maintenence responsibilities can quickly overwhelm. Consequently, thoughts like “I’d love some time to myself,” “I wish someone would come to visit me,” or “I don’t think I can handle this for another minute!” are likely to arise. Instead of acknowledging the thoughts and letting them dissipate, however, often caregivers feel badly, throttling themselves because they’re “the healthy ones,” and thus, shouldn’t complain. I believe that gratitude for health, well-being, and a good life is positive. Conversely however, feeling guilty because you realize that, from time to time, you need care too is not.
And that’s the message here. Caregivers, remember to give yourself permission to be selfish so you have the strength, the fortitude, and the energy to give back to those you love so much. It’s okay to reach out for support. It’s okay to take some time for yourself, and it’s okay that a little bit of self-pity slips in every once in a while. Just acknowledge the feelings, know that they are there and take steps to alleviate them – whether by creating some daily “me time,” reading a book, getting a massage, going to church or taking a quick drive in the mountains. Those negative thoughts are often just your psyche, and sometimes your body, crying out for some attention and letting you know you need care too.
So ditch the guilt, embrace the love and realize that you can support your loved one’s healing process more efficiently if you’re healthy as well.
Procrastination. As a partially reformed type-A personality, procrastination is the kind of thing that puts a frown on my face and a wrinkle – no, a FURROW – in my brow. What a waste of time, energy and our God-given human spirit!
Yet, as I begin each workday excited and ready to tackle tasks ahead, somehow the procrastination monster takes hold of me. It’s almost as if my subconscious is saying “Let’s see how much time we can waste today and how little we can get done .shall we?” (insert sinister laugh here). I sigh, perplexed, and without a clue of how to tackle this monster (after all, that would involve doing something), I give up trying to control the situation.
And, just as it should be, once I relinquish control, the answer becomes clear: Physical activity. I know, I know, you’re wondering what physical activity has to do with tackling the procrastination monster. Well, the answer is that my being is out of balance. Here I’ve been thinking that procrastinating is all about avoidance, when in actuality, it just might be a signal that we (in this case, I) need to be a bit more selfish. Selfish enough to take care of myself as I see fit, with life-balance as byproduct.
I took an amazing seminar this summer that describes true balance as a square with four quadrants. Each quadrant involves an area of our being – physical, mental, spiritual and professional. Lately, I’ve been working diligently in three of the four quadrants – all but the physical – so I think it’s time to refocus on the physical, since it’s currently my weakest area.
To get back into the game, I’m choosing a fairly strenuous yet surprisingly de-stressing healing activity – one that incorporates mind, body and spirit. Today, I challenge myself to 30 consecutive days of Bikram “hot” yoga.
As a certified Power Yoga instructor, I know the strength and healing that can be gained through yoga. The Bikram style has true transformative power for me, though there are many misconceptions about yoga’s power, purpose and practice. One of more than 200 styles of yoga, Bikram typically is called “hot yoga” when conducted by a non-Bikram-certified instructor. It’s important to note that yoga done in a heated room does not constitute “hot yoga” as any yoga can be conducted in warmth, with the heat intended to help muscles warm up quickly and make the body more flexible. Knowing this subtle difference is critical, as other types of yoga have many benefits, but not what I consider to be the curative powers of Hot Yoga.
Specifically performed in an extremely humid one hundred-plus degree room, this type of yoga practice includes twenty-six posture exercises intended to systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to every area of the body with an intention of creating a full restoration or rejuvenation. One practically sweats out physical, mental and emotional toxins as participants finish class drenched, trailing puddles of perspiration behind them as they leave. In other words, I believe the vigorous activity, systematic preening and focused attention in hot yoga can help nudge the mind, the body, the emotions, and even the spirit back where they belong – in balance with each other. Bringing our internal and external bodies into sync gives us the power to bring our professional work into alignment with the other parts of our being.
Making a goal of physical commitment for thirty consecutive days sounds daunting, but I remind myself to keep an eye on the prize. Focusing on each day, one-by-one, allows me to take steps toward the goal, keeps me from being overwhelmed, and stops me from wondering how I will achieve something so audacious.
And so it is with procrastination. Whether one thinks there’s too much to do, worries things won’t work out as they should, or wonders how a specific goal will be achieved in these types of situations, feelings of being overwhelmed can take hold, stop us dead in our tracks, and create a pseudo-paralytic state. And when are we most overwhelmed? I think you’ll agree, it’s when one or more of our four quadrants are out of balance with the others. To release the monster’s grasp, focus on your weakest quadrant and create a goal that allows for little steps that add up to a big payoff.
It took about a week for my Bikram yoga experiment to help me realign my work life, but I’m happy to report that so far, the outcome is positive – the procrastination monster has been tamed.
How about you? Is there an area of your life that’s nagging you ever-so-quietly (or ever-so-loudly for that matter)? A little introspection and a decision to re-balance priorities, just might be the remedy to set things in the right direction.
Eighteen months have passed since major abdominal surgery and six months since my hospitalization for a blood clot in my lungs, yet I still haven’t figured out the new me.
Physically, emotionally and mentally, it’s still all a jumble of trying to discern what I can and can’t do, what will affect my energy levels, and to what I can commit. It drives me crazy.
I have a few friends in similar predicaments, and we all have less-than-empathetic folks in our midst who just don’t understand us — their newly flaky, non-committal, unreliable buddies. (Are you one of us?)
Thirty-something Joslin*, for instance, had thyroid surgery a couple years back — thyroid removal to be exact. Like me, she struggles to know when her energy will run out, if she will be able to attend parties or events other than the ‘necessary’ travails of each workday. Even normal work activities often milk more from her precious and limited energy reserves than any of us probably can imagine.
Fifty-four-year-old Tarin* has fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. She’s a small business owner, like me, and we joke about the clients who don’t understand when we say an envelope will be mailed tomorrow rather than today.
“But all it takes is printing the sheet, placing it in an envelope, affixing postage and dropping it in the mail,” the customer comments politely, yet incredulously. Yes, I know, perhaps a two-minute task at the most. But what the customer doesn’t realize is how something so minute, so seemingly inconsequential to most any other individual can have such a devastating affect on those of us whose health has been compromised on some level. To manage such unexpected stressors it’s necessary to manage energy. Consequently, a promise to complete a task at a more opportune time is sometimes the best option.
Those with visible ailments — serious accident survivors or those going through debilitating cancer treatments for example — seem to be better understood, and are provided more leeway by everyday citizens.
Conversely, maladies like Tarin’s, Joslin’s and mine are “undefined” in the layperson’s mind,and often quickly forgotten since they leave no discernable imprint to the naked eye. There’s no highly visible scar or expected outcome to serve as a reminder. “Expected” is the key word here, as each day may bring a newfound side-effect, energy drain or emotional moment. There’s no road map to follow, not even warnings of challenges to overcome, yet they do come-often with a vengeance.
I can’t speak for Tarin or Joslin, but for me, I’m only now realizing that there’s no timeline to expect these symptoms to subside. The feelings of fatigue and seemingly diminished mental capacity are feelings that do dissipate with time, but to harbor expectation about when these symptoms will be gone, well, that’s just a recipe for disappointment.
Yesterday, at last, I had a breakthrough. After months of trying to pinpoint “okay, you need this much sleep to function normally,” “all right, running is too draining, but at least you finally can do yoga,” and “allow yourself two days to recuperate after any major change in location (e.g. travel),” I finally figured out that anything that affected me before, now affects me ten times more.
I see it as a blessing, for no longer can I abuse the gifts provided to me at birth. Foods that don’t nourish my body now have an immediate affect on my mood, energy level and overall state of being. People who “suck” energy from me can literally take days from which to recover, and even minor situations that cause stress have a heightened affect on my physical and mental demeanor.
Yes, even a stubborn old dog like me finally is learning a new trick — namely to stay clear from the things I know are harmful to my being in order to experience lighter, brighter days. I’ve now set (and hope to stick with) boundaries that are meaningful to me, no matter what others may think, and I’m learning to ask for what I need, rather than wondering, or heaven-forbid, expecting others to know what’s going on in my head or with my body. In other words, I live my mantra “permission to be selfish,” even saying it aloud when necessary to help me propel forward with action. And, as always, when said with grace, gratitude and positive intention, it benefits those around me as much as it benefits me.
And, with luck, a bit of patience and some empathy for myself, I plan to one day treat the new me with the respect she deserves.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent!
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