Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thoughts from weekend.

Since I'm not spending hours of free time doing swims,bikes and runs I'm trying to fill that time with other things: family,reading, writing, relaxation and reconnecting with who I am and what I want to be.

I thought all of these pictures were perfect compilation of the things that are filling my time. I got away this weekend to spend time with my sister and her family before having my knee surgery this week. It was good to get away. Unfortunately, I acquired a head cold Friday. I started taking DayQuil, pushing fluids, and eating soup on Friday. Saturday I felt a little better but as the day went on what I discovered I needed was a nap. Now I'm not a napper but for some reason I've taken a couple of great naps on sis's couch. So I was refueled with great food my sister made, family time, and some just relaxation/lying in the couch and being able to relax.

Despite our beloved football team's horrific loss and the head cold-I truly feel I had a perfect weekend. These are the days I need to enjoy!

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Thoughts from weekend.

Since I'm not spending hours of free time doing swims,bikes and runs I'm trying to fill that time with other things: family,reading, writing, relaxation and reconnecting with who I am and what I want to be.

I thought all of these pictures were perfect compilation of the things that are filling my time. I got away this weekend to spend time with my sister and her family before having my knee surgery this week. It was good to get away. Unfortunately, I acquired a head cold Friday. I started taking DayQuil, pushing fluids, and eating soup on Friday. Saturday I felt a little better but as the day went on what I discovered I needed was a nap. Now I'm not a napper but for some reason I've taken a couple of great naps on sis's couch. So I was refueled with great food my sister made, family time, and some just relaxation/lying in the couch and being able to relax.

Despite our beloved football team's horrific loss and the head cold-I truly feel I had a perfect weekend. These are the days I need to enjoy!

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http://www.fluentfactory.com/mboxmail

Friday, September 26, 2014

Time and Health

This quote/pic from Pinterest really stuck with me.

I'm constantly trying to figure out how to gain more time,how to fit more in, and how to better utilize my time (get rid of those time sucks) in life.

Than the topic of "Health" has been predominating my mind of late.
What kind of health will I have if I can't do marathons/ 1/2 marathons anymore?
How will my health be affected by the upcoming knee surgery?
I know what I should do- eat veggies and fruits daily. Don't eat candy, fried food, etc I know this so why can't I make that "health leap" and just do what I know is best for me?

Health and Time things that are easy to analyze and understand, but hard to change.

Part of me hopes that my upcoming time "down" will help me truly appreciate and reevaluate my use of time. Along with time to think about time I will also have plenty of "time" to figure out my health and hopefully answer some of the above.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life is strange

I've been somewhat missing in action lately.  I've been trying to mentally process some things occurring in life.  I planned to write today on what's been happening and what I plan to do post-recovery- like a "to do list".  I wanted to write this and share it with you because sharing things then makes me more accountable.  However, life is strange and my post plan has totally changed.

Recap- real quick- to get you all caught up.  I had confirmation that I did indeed re-tear my ACL.  I also found out, via MRI, that I have stage II arthritis (commonly seen in people who have torn their ACL), my meniscus was likely surgically cleaned up a little too much (surgery and science changes and they now know save the meniscus or repair it as much as possible- 22 years ago I had the first repair so things do change).  I also have a varus right knee (my knee turns inward instead of straight ahead) so I will undergo a high tibia osteotomy (realignment so my knee will be more straight and less impact on my knee and new ACL).  So off I go for surgery in a couple of weeks- bummer is no weight bearing for 6 weeks and some readjustment to my physical life- likely no 1/2 or marathons or half ironmans in my future.  Besides this fun stuff my son fractured his left supracondylar (elbow/humerus) and is in a long arm cast.  Fun times.  So I'm trying to be positive and take my time off work and my "non-weight bearing" days as a way to motivate me to write, read, and read with my kids.... then last night occurs.

We were walking out the door to head to my daughter's soccer practice, grandparents and hubby's brother are here for the weekend and heading along to.  When I heard the phone ring and looked at caller ID and saw it was my dad.  I thought, I'll just call him back when I get to soccer fields.  Well I went to get in the car and my cell phone rang and it was my dad.  I answered and he said "Natalie I have some really bad news.  Uncle Wayne passed away".  I still can't really process these words or what the words stand for.  He is the second oldest in my dad's family.  My Uncle, despite living on the East Coast and my sister and I growing up in the Midwest, was very much part of our lives.  He was one of those special people who just knew when and what we nieces needed.  He came out for my birthday, I believe I was in 3rd or 4th grade, as a surprise.  He knew I loved horses and so purchased the black beauty horse set and brought it on the trip for my birthday.  I still have that set and am looking at Mary Legs and Black Beauty right now as I sit and write this post in my "reading room". 

The year he came out for my birthday.
 
He never had children, but had 5 nieces who he spoiled and loved on.  He would have us spend the night, make us yummy pancakes for breakfast, or better yet take us out to breakfast. "Shoney's" was a favorite breakfast spot.  My cousins, sister and I had fun trying to set my bachelor Uncle up with the waitresses.  He would find his soul mate in his late 40's and marry her.  For both their first marriage.  They really were a perfect match.  He loved my Aunt very much and this love was even more evident when she became ill with cancer. She passed away this past March after battling cancer for 3 years.    During this time of caring for his wife he was also caring for his father, my grandfather, whom I wrote about in posts this past spring.  My grandpa passed away about 2 months after my Uncle lost his wife. 
The cousins and Uncle Wayne following my grandfather's funeral.

My Uncle, to me, has always been the caretaker.  He took care of my grandma, my grandpa, my Aunt, the farm (as best as he could) while trying to live his own life.  He cared for people at church and has a very strong church family and love of God.  He really does embody what you think of when you hear the word "caregiver". 

There are so may memories I have of my time on the farm and my Uncle is a huge part of these memories.  The time I was sulking about something in my early high school years during a summer vacation to the farm and so he took me down the gravel lane and turned the car around and said "you want to drive".  I had never tried driving before and at age 14 wasn't quite sure what to do, but he trusted me and better yet he knew giving me this opportunity would then help break me of my foul mood. 

My sister and I with my Uncle at his house.      Hanging out with Uncle Wayne at the farm.       
                                                                    
I feel that this is the true ending of my time and life on the farm.  I'm horribly sad, but part of this sadness is for the tears I heard through the phone last night when hearing the news from my father.  The loss of a sibling and one who is a good friend/best friend seems unbearable to me.

So I am again reminded to put in perspective what is really a "big deal" in life.  Yes I'm having major knee surgery, and of course no one ever wants to see their child hurt and be in a long arm cast, but all of these "health issues" are really a blimp in the grand scheme of our lives.  We will prevail and hearing of my Uncle's passing is a reminder that I need to "get over myself/suck it up" and be happy for all that I have and those I have and had in my life.  Life is too short!

 Love you Uncle Wayne!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

This is so crazy!

Like a bad dream crazy!  I've just come off the biggest physical challenge of my life and mental one (actually being a mom is the biggest mental challenge of my life).  I am an athlete, I am a runner, I am happy when active...

Now what though- to make a long story short- I received my MRI results Friday and found out my ACL has been torn, again, and actually likely long ago (not sure how they know that- I deal with kid's hearts not ACLs :0), stage II arthritis in my knee, medial meniscus is screaming "game over" and I sit with a brace on my leg while I write this. I'm unsure what surgical options there are: medial meniscus is not repairable due to the grade of arthritis present (which I've never had an arthritic pain in my life, but my x-ray is showing different), my ACL may be repaired, but awaiting some tests on whether I have proper leg alignment to see if that is doable, and so I start PT tomorrow.  Some of you may be like- why are you sharing this with me?  Well I'm really sharing this for me.  My bookies read a book about a lady who had breast cancer while her dad also had cancer.  She emailed all her peeps/even some minor peeps with the info that she had breast cancer and some of the bookies thought this line of communication was ludicrous- weird, strange, etc.  I didn't think it was weird and no I realize I don't have cancer and this is likely a bad analogy, but sometimes people just need to write it down/get it out/make it real so they can move forward and let whomever wants to go along for the ride.

I was told, Friday, that my surgeon's goal is to help me be fully functional in activities of daily living  (walk up and down stairs, play with my kids, not need a whole knee replacement at age 50) However, he left out, and it was intentional, the goal to make it feasible for me to maintain the long distance running/training/racing I've become accustomed to.  This was a hard blow to be told I can't continue to do what I really love and enjoy doing.  I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it.  Who will I be if I can't run?  I know, I know you are likely saying in your mind  "stop being dramatic", which I likely am, but running means so much to me physically and mentally.  I just recently said aloud "I am a runner" and then three weeks later to be dealt this I'm a little bitter and scared about what it means.  My ACL tear from high school has put me in this state and it is just who I am and the "hand I've been dealt".

So now what?  I'm trying to stay positive and not call my sister and other Peeps and whine too much. Thanks to those who've listened! I'm trying to look at the bright side- I'm not dying, I have all my limbs, I don't have a terminal illness, I have a great family, great friends...  I'm at church this morning with my beautiful bionic brace on my leg and go to stand up and feel this "buckling" that has started ever since last Sunday's bike ride.  I'm immediately reminded not everything is alright. 

However, I soon felt awful.  Our pastor last Sunday had a scary event- mid 2nd service sermon- he lost his ability to speak.  He knew the words, but couldn't say them.  He was taken out of the sanctuary and taken to local ER and then onto University hospital.  He's undergone a barrage of tests and been diagnosed with TIA, and told it will likely not occur again, but amongst all the tests also found out he has a lesion in his right side of his brain which they think is benign, but will monitor.  He shared all this with us during his sermon today.So What The Hell is my problem- yeah I worry about never being able to race again, and I might actually have to eat healthy and follow or find other exercise activities to find my "happy place" but I don't have a "lesion in my right brain". 

I will actively try to stop the "negative" talk and move forward.  I'll make my sister proud as an A+ PT patient and I will try to refrain from pestering my ortho surgeon too much. 

I've of course also been reminded how lucky and blessed I was to have been able to train, compete and finish Pigman Long 70.3. It boggles my mind that if indeed I tore my ACL long ago I've been able to accomplish all that I have.  Someone up above knew I needed this.  Too bad I just realized I'm really a runner, but glad I realized it before it was "game over". 

So friends I'm not dying or suffering (really I'm not- just this annoying knee buckling issue and of course the humility of wearing a bionic knee brace), but I'm grieving.  I'm grieving this loss of running. I will have to redefine who I am or better yet find who I am with this little bit of me gone. 

Any time I experience loss it is just another reminder to live life to the fullest!  I better get at it then. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Silence

I'm not good at this one.

I'm not good at being quiet or silent.

Even when I'm being quiet or silent my brain is still "chatty".

I'm a goal oriented person, or at least I like to think I am.

I recently finished an "EPIC" challenge, but within the last almost three weeks, since finishing this "EPIC" feat I find myself down, tired, injured, fatter and not as smiley as I was when crossing the finish line of a 7 hour 11 minute race.  Granted anyone who is smiling when finishing a 7 hour 11 minute race is pretty crazy.

So do I have Post-Race blues?  Maybe.

Did I indulge too much, am still indulging in too much, post race celebration: drinks, treats, no food moderation, staying up to late, not getting up to do workouts?  I think you probably know the answer to this.

Likely, it is the reality that has hit me:  two weeks post race when riding my bike with hubby along Lake Shore Drive I felt a little pull at the lateral side of my right knee- the one I tore my ACL 22years ago.   I continued to be bothered with the biking, forcing only a 16 mile bike ride instead of a 25 miler.  The knee has continued to be an issue and led me to x-rays showing "foreign body" and early signs of osteoarthritis (didn't realize, but common in those who tear their ACL).  These finding then prompted a MRI to get a better picture at "these foreign bodies" (foreign bodies doesn't mean I have a "matchbox car in my knee" but means "something" isn't where it is suppose to be- cartilage, bone, etc.).  Still awaiting the results of the MRI and until getting results am holding off on running, biking, swimming, because knee keeps buckling or acting like it is going to give out with standing from chairs, etc.  So I'm a "slug".

So "EPIC" feat almost three weeks ago and now "DOWN in DUMPS" and looking and feeling like "DUMPY" gal because of my food/drink/and inactivity. 

What's a girl to do?  Well I put my "big girl pants" on and went to an organizational/professional  meeting tonight. I think a higher being knew I needed to go to this meeting. The topic for the meeting was "self care: importance of taking care of yourself so you can take care of others".  I learned about Vital Signs for healthcare providers i.e. Nurses... BPTPR (Sharon Tucker's acronym- UIHC)
BP stands for BE PRESENT- "life is happening now" so "BE PRESENT" and enjoy it.
T- tracking your health and well being as a way to hold you accountable: weight, cholesterol, activity, intake, etc.  I don't always think weight on the scale is mentally a good thing for me to monitor regularly, but tracking my activity, intake, etc is. 
P- Practice: practice the healthy skills you need; eating well, being active, etc
R- Refueling: What helps you refuel?  Now some of the things that help me "refuel" I'm not able to do until I get cleared to go back to full activity so this "refueling" is somewhat hard right now because I do "refuel" by being active, but I have other "refueling" activities so will just have to tap into them right now. 

So back to the drawing board I will go to try and BE Present, Track my progress in self care, Practice healthy living activities, while Refueling and rebooting my system. 

I'm so glad my knee issue occurred weeks after the "EPIC Race"- feel extremely lucky to be dealing with this now after my racing season has ended.  I think someone is trying to tell me I can't rely on "activity" as a way to justify my crazy eating, drinking and excuse for poor care in other areas of my well-being: sleep, etc. 

So I will be quiet and try patience, reverence for the day I'm living, and happiness for all that I have and am able to do. 

August Reads...

So this just may be my favorite month of reading thus far in 2014.  The following I finished, some I had some started at end of July, some started mid August, but all were finished in the month of August and oh what a month of reading it was.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Excellent!  I'm not a Picoult reader- that is I can say I think this is the first book I've read by her.  Nothing against her, just have somewhat avoided her because of all the "hype".  I'm normally disappointed or expect "too much" with hyped up people/authors/travel, etc.  So when a friend at work highly recommended this I was a little hesitant.  However, it deals with a subject that I enjoy (better word really- am fascinated with)- the holocaust.  This book is so wonderful for so many reasons, but one of the biggest "chattynatty" favorites is there are multiple story lines going on in the book and flashbacks which I also highly enjoy, especially when well written as Ms. Picoult has done throughout the book.  Read this book!

Bibliocraft by Jessica Pigza
This is a book that any book lover will totally get.  Also if you have any artistic or creative part of your brain that announces its presence in your life now or then you will also "get" this book and enjoy it.  It to me is basically about using books to stimulate creativity/art projects. For instance, using drawings from a book of animals sketched in black n white and then turning those sketches into tea light holders- something totally whimsical, beautiful, and that much more appreciated by people who look at books all the time.  I loved the thought of taking a pattern noted in a book's inside cover and taking that pattern and turning it into a rug pattern, or wallpaper pattern, etc.  Great book for book lovers and crafters.

The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight
On my quest to understand what the Bible is about and how to apply it to my daily life I picked this book up.  I thought it was going to have all those answers to my plethora of religious questions, but alas it was just o.k.  I liked the beginning of the book and the idea of reading the Bible in three different ways, but used all together for best understanding: reading the Bible as a story, reading with tradition and reading through tradition.  I liked this approach, but still didn't get all my questions answered. 

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ( 2013 Newberry Award Winner)
I tried to start this with the kids this past summer/late spring sometime.  My oldest just was turned off to it, so I decided to just read it on my own.  I really liked it. My youngest wants me to read it to her and I look forward to rereading it to her.  Great book, totally worthy of this award.  I feel so strongly about this book being great I kind of feeling like pushing my oldest back into reading it again, but I will refrain from bullying him into reading it and maybe when he is 37 years of age he too will sit down and start reading all those "Newberry Award Winners" like I am. 

Stitches: a handbook on meaning, hope and repair by Anne Lamott
She writes so well and so cleverly that even when a book is just "so-so", as this one was for me, I still did not regret opening it up or finishing it.  I look forward to working my eyes through all her books- fiction and non in the near future.  She totally answers some of my hard life and religion questions.  It's like she gets the real world and what people are in need of hearing- or at least what chattynatty needs. 

Learning to Swim by Ann Turner
Beautiful, haunting, real, picturesque, horrific, all of these came to mind when I read this book.  The book to me is really an elaborate poem.  The reviews say it is a novel written in verse- so my take is somewhat accurate.  It is a "true poetry memoir"!  Beautiful- read it, you might cry, you might be appalled, but the clean writing skills and ability to write this story in verse is amazing.  Sorry don't want to give the plot away hence the little to know depth in description of the story line :).

The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
Cutting for Stone by Verghese was my introduction to this "wicked smart" (don't you love people who come into your life and give you descriptors like that)  doctor/author.  His ability to write stories is to me like watching an elaborate feet of medicine taking place.  This story is a tough one, because it is true, but it is still an enjoyable read and I'm amazed for the second time in reading his works to  see how gifted a being Abraham Verghese is.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
This was our book club book and I can always tell when we have a good one because we actually discuss the book and don't just drink vino.  I had not read anything by Jojo Moyes, but I will be after reading this one.  She writes realistic fiction so well you might have though you were reading a memoir.  This is another "tough" story, but again I don't regret picking this book up, reading and crying (haven't done that in awhile with a book), smiling, and wanting to tell anyone I know that is a book lover to read this book.

I feel super lucky to look back and see the diverse books I read this past month.  It was truly a great month of reading.  I know I was pretty vague in my descriptions/book reports of the books, but I don't want to ruin it for you.