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Saturday, June 9, 2012

I think (and I'm saying this cautiously) things are on an upswing.

Thursday marked the first day in nearly a year when I felt like myself. I woke at 5 a.m. (normal waking time for me), went to the gym where I did my therapy exercises and ran about 4 miles on the elliptical (still having difficulty with impact running but I'm adding more and more resistance on the elliptical), then I came home and spent the morning finishing a formal gown and altering dress pants for Tabitha, who was selected as a Girls State delegate which requires a new wardrobe (they're only allowed to wear formal and business attire during the time they're attending the 8-day seminar).

At noon I went to work for a couple of hours, then to a doctor appointment, then back to work until 4:00 p.m., when I went grocery shopping, went home, and made dinner (which was spectacular: lemon/herb baked salmon, butternut squash risotto with pine nuts and fresh sage, and spinach/mango/rasperry salad). After dinner I took a three-mile walk, then went home and worked until 11:00, at which point I decided bed was in order. And I didn't get tired.

That's the Sam I'm used to.

Yesterday was equally filled with energy and activity. I skipped the gym and instead spent two hours walking up and down steep, rocky, rutted dirt hills. It's time for my hip to learn how to do that again. Today I awoke to incredible soreness (to be expected), but was still able to do my physical therapy and I ran five and a half miles. I think next week I'll increase my impact running time and see what happens.

And I'm better, finally. No more pneumonia. I would like to never have that again.

I realized this morning that I've been battling poor health for nearly a year now. It has definitely taken its toll on my ability to manage emotions and PTSD symptoms effectively, and I've been exhausted for months. I've not been doing my best work in any of my jobs and I'm fairly certain my parenting skills haven't been stellar either. In an effort to stay on top of things, I allowed some drugs to be prescribed for me that were to help with nightmares and depression. What I ended up with was more depression, severely low blood pressure, insomnia, fatigue, vertigo, and digestive problems (read: vomiting blood). We (doctor and I) nixed the drug therapy after about 10 days of fighting side-effects. While I understand that there are myriad of other drug possibilities and I may have simply stumbled onto the few that would cause me difficulty, I'm not excited about continuing the crap shoot.

So I'm back to my original daily routine: meditate, get morning sunshine, intense physical activity paired with moderate exercise later in the day, good nutrition (still working on remembering to eat--it's a problem), and 4-6 hours of sleep. I'm working again on trying to manage my dreams. It takes a great deal of concentration and energy and sometimes I'm too tired. When I began doing this I chose a partner to work with me which was incredibly helpful, but for reasons of my own, I'm not doing that this time around which makes the process much more difficult.

Welcome to my life.

In the midst of all the poor health issues, many of the therapy issues I was working on lost ground--lots of it. I had lunch with a friend yesterday; one I have not seen for more than a year. She told me she had heard rumors that I'd been ill, so I told her, as briefly as possible, about my year. She said, "I had no idea you've been so sick--that you've had injuries and surgeries and everything in-between. I'm so sorry I didn't know." I said, "Why would you? You have to care for your family and you're very busy. It's okay that you didn't know. Few people do unless they see or talk with me frequently, or they're my students or business associates. I've been in hibernation for awhile, trying to get better."

I realized when I said those words that I hadn't even known I was doing it. I don't remember the last time I did something I enjoy--or if I did, the enjoyment factor for me was very low. I've gone to lunch with people, but I've had to schedule it and I haven't really wanted to go at all. I've been playing the game of life and wondering why for quite awhile.

I also realized that the people who really care about me know what's happening in my life. There are a few friends and family members who have checked in with me regularly, making sure I'm okay, asking if they could help. Always, I've said no. Don't help me. I'm fine. You have more important things to do.

But I wasn't fine--not at all. I'm not sure there's been a time when I cried so much or so often. There were days when getting out of bed felt beyond my ability, days when I yearned for the sun to set simply because it meant that I'd made it through another 24 hours, nights when I woke drenched in sweat because of nightmares or pain, and always the dread that this was it--this was my life--and it was never going to get better.

I tried, though. I made certain to watch the sun rise and remember that there was a time when I thought that was a beautiful, amazing event. I forced myself to notice the leaves turning in the fall, the snow when the sun made it sparkle, and my crazy pansies which try to bloom even when the temperature is below zero. And when I got so tired that trying felt it was an enormous effort, I cried a little bit and tried some more.

There were nights when my prayers to the Big Guy went like this: "I know I'm supposed to start by telling you how grateful I am--and I am--but I'm also tired beyond coping. I'm trying to do the things I know are right. I'm trying to choose joy every day. I'm trying to get better. Will you help me? And I know I'm supposed to pray for all the people who are going through things much worse than what I am, but I'm really tired--so pretend I just did that, okay? You know them better than I do anyway. Thanks."

Yeah, I know, I'm lame and probably the Big Guy stopped listening after a couple of weeks of such prayers, but it was the best I could do at the time. I'll have a talk with him about it in a little while, when I'm feeling more settled.

In the meantime, my house has become an absolute disaster. I see laundry-folding, vacuuming, dusting, and mopping on my agenda for this day, along with some online work. But first--stretching and a shower. I need to wash off those five miles I ran a few minutes ago.

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