Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Every time I write in a diary (or online journal for the world to see) I think of Cecily Cardew from The Importance of being Ernest. As far as my knowledge goes she had the most wonderful diary ever. (I have a bit of a penchant for books written in diary or letter fashion). Cecily's diary was only a small piece in the play and really only mentioned in reference but it still sticks with me. She wrote in it all the things she wanted to happen as if they had happened already. She was engaged, broke it off, got back together and experienced a mad array of adventures in between, all before ever even meeting Algernon, her betrothed. 

And, while Cecily is tinkering with a bit of crazy, I do believe she (or rather Mr. Wilde) has touched on something brilliant. Why shouldn't we write down the things we want to happen? Isn't that what The Secret was trying to teach us? I think The Secret was just ripping dear old Oscar off. Believe what you want as if it has already happened and it will. And if it doesn't you'll still have a grand ole time in the process. 

Well, my dear Diary,

I had the dreaded doctors appointment today. I hate it when they poke and prod at my wrist. It swells up and hurts so much. Well that's what I would normally say, isn't it? But today was different. They x-rayed and poked and prodded and twisted and not a painful moment was to be had. Amazing, I know! The kind doctor (she's kind now that she isn't hurting me) told me that she's never seen anything like it and what had I been doing because the recovery is miraculous. Apparently, get this diary, I am in full remission. There is no more blasted RA anywhere to be seen. Well I explained to her v plainly that I had been following some orders; eating healthy and exercising every day, but that I had actually stopped taking any of my medication. I do hate sticking myself with needles. I dont' know how diabetics do it every day. Obviously they are made of sterner stuff. I explained to her that I had met a witch doctor. I know he's called a homeopath, there's no need to scold, but I think he seems more like a witch doctor and really, isn't that more fun? Anyhow, I told her how I am taking the special magic pills every night. As they dissolve on my tongue I chant the special mantra I learned, "I am healthy, I am pain free and I am western medicine free." About that, you know that I just love western medicine. I don't know what I would do without aleve, especially after a harrowing night on the sauce, but I don't want the mantra to assume the medication is helping so I make sure to include that last bit. Well, the good doctor was overwhelmed and so happy for me. She gave a me a watermelon jolly rancher (the best flavor) and sent me on my way. It's too exciting for words, so instead of writing anymore, I am going for a run in the park and then I shall do push ups until I faint. 

much love, 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Husband and Wife

Dear Diary,

Wow, the wedding is over. I can't believe it. What an adventure that was. What a stressful and exciting and crazy adventure. I'm not sure if I feel any different. The engagement and the move, now those were life changers, but marriage. I mean, my insurance will be better and K will get a tax break and I have a million pretty pictures and I mean of course, yes I get to spend the rest of my life with someone I love, but I was planning on doing that anyway so what's changed? I suppose I am using the word husband quite frequently. I say it at the supermarket to the butcher, "I'm not sure my husband will like the chicken, do you have any steak?" I say it when friends ask for plans, "Let me ask my husband to see what he's up to." And people seem to say it to me all the time, "Get home to your husband" or "how's your husband?"

I feel awful saying this, even to you diary, but the day after the wedding, I cried. Hard and long, like huge sobs of relief and mourning and exhaustion. I was not depressed, I was tired and I think I was slightly in mourning. Not because getting married is like a kind of death, in fact marriage is more like a birth; a new relationship, a new adventure. But it is also an end to a different adventure. And I think that I was crying for that adventure. It was fabulous, my 35 years of marking the box single. I learned so many things and I had so much fun. Perhaps that's what marriage is. It's taking all those things I learned and all those things I should have known better and mixing them with all K's education and mistakes (did he make any of those?), adding all our old jokes and a brand spanking new joke book, stirring in extra vulnerability and a heaping of I've got your 6, adding a whole new set of people I can call family and who will be there for me in an instant. Yes, that's what it is. It's family. I'm making a new family and that kind of makes me cry with happiness because that's pretty special.

Last night I was in San Francisco with A, and I stayed out quite late. The drive home was just a bit more harrowing that I anticipated and I was a lot more tired. K stayed on the phone with me the entire drive. He just laid in bed, put me on speaker and chatted. He told me stories, he gossiped and he drove me all the way home.

I suppose things are different now. I mean I am still a bad ass and I will still be me, but I'm now me plus one.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A place of your own

A few years ago I was sitting with a woman (in therapy) who was crying. There were a multitude of reasons why she could have been crying; she was homeless, her husband was in jail, her children had been taken away, she had no job, no money and an abusive past that would have killed weaker women. but it turns out the thing that was upsetting her most right at that moment was that she had been passed up for a locker at her shelter. They gave it to a guy who hasn't even been there as long as me", she cried. "I just want a place to keep my stuff."

I totally empathize with this.

When I was little (and still now actually) I had tons of little boxes and special hiding places to keep my special things. I had jewelry boxes that held notes from friends and trinkets from the fair and old jewelry of my grandmothers that I got to play with. As I got older and I started to have my own spaces I had a closet to put my shoe boxes full of things and shelves with albums for my pictures. When you have flat mates you end up using your bedroom as a place for all your things and then if you're lucky enough to live alone (which I have done once) you have a whole apt to put all of your special things in their special places that are just for you. There is something really special and important about having a place to put your things. A place that no one else will sully or trespass into.

After the session I mentioned above I went to the store and bought a bunch of art supplies. I came to our next session with a shoe box and tons of pens and paper and glue. We spent the next hour decorating that box until she felt that it was just right. I let her keep it in my office and told her she could put whatever she wanted in it (except dangerous or illegal things, I'm not insane) and I wouldn't look in it. Every time she came to see me I would give her a few minutes to add or take away or just peruse the items she kept there. Now I know that having a shoe box in my office didn't make being homeless any easier but it did make her feel like she had one little place of her own. Eventually she got a locker and then a small apt and she was able to put her shoe box there.

I think that we forget sometimes how important it is to have something that's ours alone. As adults with homes and families and room-mates we share so much of our space and forget about our little boxes of childhood. Maybe you should dig up that special box from when you were a kid or maybe it's time to have a craft day and make a new one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jump Start

Lately I have been uninspired about writing. I have been so busy and overwhelmed (mostly all v good things) in my life that I haven't been paying much attention to the smell of the roses. Fortunately tonight pulled me out of my relay race. I was given the glorious opportunity to speak to a group of pre and post op bariatric surgery patients. I am not going to go into exactly what that means but the short answer is weight loss surgery. This is not liposuction because you want a six pack for your wedding or surgery for cosmetic reasons, this surgery is only given to people who are obese, often morbidly so and at a serious health risk. Unfortunately there are some people who will be given this surgery and then go right back to their old habits, eventually regaining the weight. I was asked to come and talk to the patients about pre and post op exercise and health options.

I don't think I can fully do justice how moved I was. The people in this group are so dedicated to taking an active role in changing their lives with the help of this "jump start". One man talked about how he always keeps his phone in a different room so when it rings, he has to get up and walk to get it. One woman was giddy when she described sitting on an airplane with the tray table down for the first time. They didn't really need me there because every one of them are walking and swimming and stretching and moving all day long. They have been to the unhealthy side and they do not want to go back so they are doing everything in their power to take advantage of health.

Obviously this made me teary and excited and introspective. There are many people who are against Bariatric surgery. They say things like, "Those people got fat because their lazy and have no willpower, it's their own damn fault." Now I disagree. There are a million and one reasons why a person becomes morbidly obese and it usually has v little to do with lazy. It's usually depression, genetics, co-occurring illnesses, injuries and or joint problems. Add that to a family system that doesn't value health in a society that says they value health while they shove diet pills and cheesecake down our throats and you've got a problem. Bariatric surgery is a jump start to a situation that seems un-fixable. But this post is not about the benefits of surgery so I digress.

Let me use a more personal example and then I will get to the point. I have RA. While I know it isn't my fault, I do believe that I have a say in my recovery. Unfortunately until I started taking bad-ass RA drugs, I was unable to do more than whine about my pain. Now that I am on meds, I feel well enough to make a conscious effort to get myself well. I eat right, exercise as much as I can and do spiritual practices to get my immune system fighting the right foes.

Last week the BT had a horrible cold (which he gave to me, thank you v much). He took over the counter medicine in order to feel better. If he had taken that medicine and then stayed up all night partying with friends, got stressed about work and ate a bunch of sugary crap, it would not matter if he had all the Sudafed in the world, he would still be sick.

If a person is suffering from depression and they are prescribed anti-depressants, they need to know that it is just the jump start. Medicine and surgery and pills and salves are only a push in the right direction, they are not the holy grail. Anti-depressants work best if used in conjunction with a healthy life.

What I am trying to say in this v long winded diatribe is that you have to take responsibility for your health. Go to the doctor, do what they say (if it's sane and helpful), get knee surgery (if it's right for you) but don't expect your knee to heal by itself. You gotta put in the hours, strengthening and stretching and icing and massage.

Got the flu? Go ahead, take some NyQuil if it helps you sleep and feel better (and your doctor says it's OK) but make sure you get the sleep you need, drink a ton of fluids and stay home.

How many of you reading this have something you are taking medicine for? How many of you are also taking responsibility and being good to your body and soul?

Let our saviors (the doctors and nurses and healers) give us a jump when we need it but make sure we get that car into the mechanic for regular tune-ups, feed it healthy fuel and don't let it sit in the garage unused. It's a priceless piece of machinery and it's all ours.

Be Good to your Body, it's where you Live.