Friday, October 24, 2014

3 weeks and 2 days post op- but who's counting?

Me- that is who!

I'm starting to hit that mid hump where I'm getting a little stir crazy.  This one legged walking gig is just not that fun anymore, not that it ever really was fun, but when you are on narcotics and your family/friends are around all the time you don't notice you only are walking with one leg. 

Now that I'm doing so much better I'm alone a lot more, which is good, but making coffee, making a "healthy" lunch is taxing due to my one legged stance.  It is so much easier to grab a tupperware bowl and fill it with carby snacks and hoble back to my "comand center" (aka couch). 

However, things are looking up.  I'm going to venture back to work on Monday.  I'm getting to have quality time with two of my favorite Peeps today: one for lunch and one tonight for vino and good conversation.  So despite the misty, damp, foggy weather outside I'm putting on a happy face, wearing clothes that don't qualify as sweats or pj's,  and getting out in the world.

I love finding images/quotes that clearly describe my mood or state of being.  The below are ones I totally can relate to right now.

Yep I'm definitely cranky and moody and a little frustrated.  Activity for me is definitely a way to burn off energy, steam, and connect with myself.  My clothes are feeling tight and I'm just feeling that "blah- nothing looks good on me" stage in recovery.  This too will pass once I get back out into the real world of walking with two legs, but for now I'm really missing my running.  Even worse I'm missing walking.

I had writer's group last night.  I like to call us the Written Mom, but not sure the other 3 ladies are on board with that name.  We meet once a month and go over books, writing projects, and exercises we are working on.  We also chat and catch up on our lives.  These women are amazing and all are doing such brave things through their writing and in life.  One just had a piece accepted for publishing.  One is going back to get her Master's of Divinity with a writing emphasis.  The other is this amazing writer, who has yet to share her writing, but we all consider her the "coach" in our group.  Her feedback and ideas for our writing is amazing and her journalism background doesn't hurt either.  My goal with this writing group is to work on writing a memoir on training for and completing the 70.3 mile triathlon.  However, it really spans all my running/fitness career.  It has been harder than I thought to work on this project.  I so enjoy reading about writing and doing exercises, but I lack all the tools to get the main piece moving forward.  So I did the only thing one can do when trying to write a book- I started it this week. I sent out an Introduction and a beginning of my Chapter 1.  Last night our group got together, minus one, and they had great feedback (ideas, critiques, direction on where I needed to go) and I feel more motivated to continue working on this project.  I'm not sure what will come of it, but I do know that like training for a race, writing the book is making me happy and happiness is something I can't argue with. 

Lastly, I don't know what I would do without reading in my life.  I kind of feel like books are extended family members who I highly enjoy spending time with.  I've been so grateful for the books friends have given me during my time of recovery.  Without these stories to take me away from my recovery state I'd be much more agitated, frustrated and likely depressed.  I have a new appreciation for the author Nina Sankovitch who wrote "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair" .  She read a book a day for a year.  I'm nowhere near that reading number in the last 3 weeks and the stack of "to reads" by my "command center" is growing each day.  However, I've read some great books and know that October will be my highest count of books read yet in a month. 
Happy Friday!  Happy Reading! Happy Living!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I've been sucked into...

watching True Tori on Lifetime today.  I'm almost 3 weeks post surgery and I've become a little bit of a TV junkie (well at least for me).  I've found a love for Viola Davis and "How To Get Away with Murder".  "Forever" is another one I've really enjoyed too.  However, today I went full on "junkie" and got hooked into True Tori (yep Tori Spelling).  I just can't tear myself away.  I like Tori, but I don't trust her husband at ALL. 

OK so what does my junkie TV watching have to do with anything.  Nothing really.  I feel bad I wasted my afternoon.  Not so bad that I didn't turn the TV off. Kind of like the candy I ate today.  I felt bad about it, but I didn't stop.   I'm relying on my family to come home and snap me out of it.  My husband forbid me from unloading dishwasher, which is truly harder to do on one leg, than two, and he would make dinner. I had a lot of free time on my hands today.

So what did I do- well I went to PT this morning and really liked it.  We all could use a PT in our life or trainer that makes us do all the exercises.  I'm doing the exercises, don't get me wrong, but when you are in a gym I just get more motivated then in the comforts of my own home.  I really liked today because I got to ride the stationary bike- well "ride" is a little strong- how about make full circles with my legs, mainly using my left, but at least the right was doing the full circle.  I asked about riding the trainer we have in our basement (stationary back wheel you put your road bike on).  He wants me to hold off on that for right now, but it felt so good to be doing something besides static stretches/movements. 

When riding to PT today, with my chauffer/hubby, I said "I just really wish I could run".  Seeing the beautiful fall colors, and feeling the cool temps, and the sun shining really makes me miss running.  I know I will get back there, I really do.  I've been trying to fill this "running need" with my reading and writing, but like anything you have to do the work and if you don't do the work you don't meet the goal. My reading and writing have slowed down and I don't feel that productive.   I also have all this extra time on my hands to analyze my parenting skills ( I know don't get me started on that one).  OK so what do I do besides "walk away from Tori". Actually 30 more minutes until family gets home so maybe one more episode of "True Tori", but I'll get off the couch and do my arm exercises and ab crunches.  That is halfway productive right?  Well I'll keep on trying to be the best chattynatty I can be. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

What are my plans?

You knew it wouldn't take me long to get back at it with goals, lists of "to do's" etc.  I just feel that I'm going to have pretty much two more weeks of lying around on couch or in chair and so instead of just going through the motions I would like to be productive. 

I sit here watching the rain come down and the wind pulling the leaves off the trees and realize that soon there will not be leaves left on the trees and we will be into winter and all that comes with it: snow, ice, cold, and my inevitable seasonal depression that comes after the Holidays.  I know, I know, we haven't even gotten to Halloween yet, but when you are sitting around with nothing to do besides read, read, write, write and actually indulge in some primetime TV watching you start to think about the future. 

If anything this year has taught me that there really is only one day and that is the day you are in, so I'd love to be better at taking advantage of that "day".  I'd also like to really become more grateful for all that I have.  I don't quite know the answers to figuring out how to accomplish that everyday gratefulness and keep with it.  Life gets busy and I get tired and like me trying to follow- through with healthy eating if I don't actively make it a priority I won't follow-through with my "grateful day" appreciation. It is easy to sit on the couch with no pressing places to be or things to be doing, because I can't physically be up to do them due to being told "only one leg" for next 5 weeks. 

At the same time I don't want some crazy, unrealistic list of "to do's" that I can do or accomplish and then when I don't get them done I'm stressed or disappointed in my follow-through when I return to two legged stance. (hopefully Nov 17-gosh that sounds forever away). So here is a list of potential "to do's" for my couch time along with rest, relaxation, and some quality time with my family and friends. 

1. Go through photos on computer and "clean house".
2. Make the 2013 family photo album- at least with the goal of getting it done before 2015 hits
3. Read- read a lot
4. Write- write a lot
- In regard to 3 and 4 I don't want to put a number or time/word count on my reading and writing, but I want to be productive and not just sit around making lists of all the books I could read or reading about what I could write or how to write, but actually put pen to paper and get some words down. 
5. Read to my kids- both of them.  I've really gotten away from reading to my oldest because he is so independent in his reading. 
6. Have real quality time with my husband.  We have had some stressful months with all the health issues, deaths in the family and just general life things and so really feel like we have little to no real  "him and me" time.
7.Spend time with people who make me a better person- basically spend time with my Peeps.  Being with my Peeps gives me a "fuel like energy" and makes my heart happy- this will help me get through 5 weeks on the couch.
8. Catch up on reading for work- this is different than #3- this is learning/taking notes/making me a better professional reading. 
9. If I'm going to be banned from weight baring on one leg I at least should come out of this with some ripped arms and a flat tummy from the free weights and crunches/ab work I can do- just envision chair aerobics.
10. Just be present.  Enjoy something or many things from each every day. 

We will see how I do with the above.  Better get on it. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

week one recovery

It has flown by. This past week has just disappeared.  Other than finishing three books, and doing some writing exercises, I can't speak to accomplishing much more.  I'm still taking pain medications, slowly weaning off and getting on around the clock Tylenol.  I did not enjoy the grogginess/fuzzyness of my brain nor the awkward balance I have while on the medication. 

I've progressed from showering with half my body in the tub and the other resting on the ledge of the tub, as not to get my dressings wet, to last night taking my first shower bath in over a week- heaven!  Now if I could only get this horrid iodine to come off.  I've tried rubbing alcohol, which Google said would work, but alas still have streaks present.  I also have some very "becoming" bruises produced by the surgeon's handiwork (aka I'm suppose to look battered). 

All in all I couldn't be happier with how the surgery went and the recovery.  I've received a lot of get well gifts, flowers, cards, and phone calls.  I've had my sister, my in laws and now my parents here helping with me and the kids.  Next week is the interesting test- I'll be alone.  I worry about stupid things like: how will I get my coffee from the machine to the couch?  I struggle to be on my feet for long periods of time because of the weight of pull in my right leg makes my leg not feel great and because my left leg will start to quiver as if I've just completed the hardest set of squats or leg presses I've done in a long time following standing for periods longer than minutes. 

My family is adjusting: daughter is such a little care taker and loves doing whatever I ask of her, my oldest is having a hard time with listening to me from the couch just as much as he had before surgery- so he's not making it easy on me.  To add to our fun he recently had his cast taken off and he is struggling with getting his arm/hand back into moving and participating in life.  Granted I try to remind him that it is only day 2, but he has a just a little of his mom in him and is inpatient about seeing improvement and also fretful of falling and injuring it again.  Totally realistic and logical concerns. Wish I could take away the worry and just make his arm magically feel better.  Harry Potter have any spells for me?

Hubby is running his 10th Chicago Marathon this weekend and I won't be there.  I've never missed a race of his.  He is a very solo runner and is totally understanding of me not being there and so is probably better with me missing it then I am.  I think him running the race and me stuck at home is another reality I don't want to think about that this likely will be my future unless my surgeon miraculously thinks my surgery will allow me to return to long distance running.  Only time will tell. 

I'm of course thinking ahead and wondering what it will be like to return to work on crutches, but I stop myself and go back to my old race training tool of only looking at one day at a time, because if I don't I'll add to my anxiety and stress with thinking of all the "what ifs". So for now onto week 2 recovery and more reading, writing, and resting. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Post Op Day 6

Yesterday I felt out of it.  Not very lucid in my thoughts and struggling to figure out how much and when I should take two different medications to help me feel better (one pain medicine, the other muscle relaxant).  I was sore yesterday and I felt surprised by the swelling still present in my right foot/ankle area despite being 5 days out from surgery. 

Today I feel a little better and feel like being productive. I'm reading a great book "Little Wolves" by Thomas Maltman (book club read for October), I'm trying to read my way through Mark (yep Bible Mark) and taking notes for the parts I don't get what parable/wisdom we are suppose to be gleaming, and I'm now writing a post. 

In my recovery period I've had fun wasting time looking at pinterest sites.  I lean towards pictures, sayings that have anything to do with running, books, and self improvement (I know big surprise).  Here are a few of the ones I've found and my take on them or what/why they stirred something up in me. 

I like this simple saying and the visual of the never ending road.  We all have the potential to get stronger every day.  Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, etc.  Although I'm "layed up" I still am doing my leg lifts, quad clenches, range of motion, along with my arm workout just abbreviated so I don't have to stand, along with ab crunches.  My goal of course is to come back stronger physically following this surgery.  Along with physical strength why not take advantage of this "time on the couch" and become stronger in my spirituality by trying to understand the Bible, what "grace" and "faith" are and mean to me along with trying to work on being "present". 

I really think books can help you heal.  I plan to use this belief and test the powers of bibliotherapy in the next couple of weeks.  Finished the 2nd Harry Potter per request of my oldest and enjoyed it more than the first one.  So after I finish "Little Wolves" I plan to move on to the 3rd Harry Potter.  Besides having something to talk to my son about I'm also able to look forward to watching both 2nd and 3rd Harry Potter movies with my oldest in the near future.  Can't wait to report on all the "therapy" I accomplished this month of recuperating.

I'm constantly looking at who I am and who I could be or should be.  This is likely due to my never ending busy mind.  What could I do differently as a wife, mom, professional, sister, friend, etc?  I think spending some time and energy on just being me ad bettering the good parts of me and simmering the negative parts of me would be a huge accomplishment over the next month.  I want to be a more pleasant being.  I want to be more patient.  I want to be more present. Life is too short!

Well that is all for today.  I have lots more of pictures/quotes/sayings like the above to share and will do the days to come.  Off to get some bibliotherapy and take a little cat nap with my cat. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

September Reads

A cool, windy afternoon perfect to be lounging with the fire on.  I'm somewhat with it and don't have my mental faculties screwed up by the pain medications I'm on post surgery.  So taking advantage of this recovery time to get in some writing. 

September Reads... no particular order.

"This is the Story of a Happy Marriage" by Ann Patchett
Really enjoyed this book and again think I should maybe give "Bel Canto" another try as I really enjoyed her book "State of Wonder" and now this one.  Maybe I tried reading "Bel Canto" at the wrong time. 
"The tricky thing about being a writer or about being any kind of artist is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living".
This book is filled with many interesting quotes and each chapter is a different essay she has written over the years.  As goodreads states "an irresistible blend of literature and memoir".  Couldn't have described it better.

"The Leopard" by Jo Nesbo (audiobook, except the last 3 chapters).  So I started this one awhile ago and once I was done with the big Pigman Training it took me awhile to finish it.  When I went to finish the last disc that I had downloaded to my Ipod it unfortunately was scratched and kept skipping so I had to go to the library, borrow book, and finish by reading the last three chapters.  This is the #8 in Harry Hole series and I still think "The Snowman" is my favorite thus far of the series.  I somewhat didn't enjoy reading the end of the book, because I didn't have the narrator/audiobook guide to read the Norwegian names correctly so I was stumbling over saying them in my head myself.  It was a good book and I will continue to pick up Harry Hole mysteries in the future.

"Mountain Dog" by Margarita Engle
This was a book I read with my daughter. I picked it up because she is really into dogs these days.  This book is a bout a rescue dog named Gabe.  The other main character is Tony.  Every other chapter is from either Tony or Gabe's point of view.  My daughter enjoyed the back and forth nature of the narrator.  Tony comes to live with his uncle after his mother is put in prison for illegal gambling and use of pit bulls inappropriately (AKA Michael Vick saga).  My daughter didn't get hung up on the story line about the mom in prison and not caring for her son, but she did really enjoy the part of the story focusing on what rescue dogs do out in the wilderness.  I thought it was a good story, easy to read with a some good life lessons.

"Team Seven" by Marcus Burke
We read this book for our Sept book club month.  This author is going to be at the Iowa City Book Festival this weekend and prior to all my knee stuff I had planned on going and listening to him talk with other bookies.  We even invited him to join us for book club at the Wig N Pen for pizza, beer and book discussion.  He was out of town however, and couldn't attend, but sent a nice Facebook message reply.  One of the bookies did go and listen to him talk at the book festival and also got to meet his sister.  He came across as a genuinely nice guy.  His book gives you a true picture of growing up in a middle to lower class neighborhood in Boston.  The different parts of life that come with living in Boston and being raised primarly by his mother with his father missing in action quite regularly throughout the book.  It starts with him at age 8 and ends when he is 18.  It was a quick read and ideal way to read about his life over time.  I'm glad we picked this book for book club.

"Pen on Fire: A busy woman's guide to igniting the writer within" by Barbara De Marco Barrett
"biggest stumbling block for aspiring writers (especially woman) is not fear of the blank page, but frustration with the lack of time". I think lack of time is one of the biggest road blocks in life just not writing.  I thought this book was good and liked how every chapter ended with a "writing prompt" or exercise.  It was an easy read with some good pointers and good way to jump start one's writing.

"The Books that Mattered: A reader's memoir" by Frye Gaillard
Good reads wrote " will make you study your own shelves to find clues into your own literary heart".  Agree totally.  It didn't give me tons of books I want to add to my "to read" list, but it did remind me of different memories I've had throughout my reading life of different books being special at different times.  Gaillard grew up in the south and so many of the books he referenced to in this book were Southern authors and Southern based themes in the books. 

Great month of reading- really looking forward to what October has in store for me as I will be layed up on the couch for most of it.