Work Through It

April 6th, 2020

Today as I walked into the office, yes I actually went into work, I sighed. Weeks ago I thought I would be one of the first struck with COVID-19. I have a weak immune system and am vulnerable to illness of any kind. Every time I leave the house I know it’s a risk.

Every day I stay home I know I’m also risking my mental health. It’s a balancing act, a fine line I walk. I’ll be working from home for the next few days. I’ll return to the office on Friday. Working gives me a purpose during this crazy time. It keeps me focused on something other than fear and sickness.

I know so many who are out of work. The last few days multiple offices in our building have laid off key staff members. I have friends that are now out of work because of COVID-19.

I know I’m in a unique position right now. Managing multiple roles at once, trying to get it all done. I’m essential and needed. We’re getting busier due to the demand being placed on hospitals and the fact patients are afraid to go to hospitals now and are looking for other alternatives. I go to work and feel guilty that I’m out of the house while others are feeling bored and would love to be at work. I feel guilty that others are struggling to get by. I hate that my family doesn’t feel safe after I’ve left the house and then come home, possibly exposing them to germs.

It’s such a strange time and hard place to be in. But I’m also grateful for so much right now. I was relieved this morning that it’s been a few weeks and I’m still healthy. I’m grateful that I not only have a job, but a thriving one. I’m grateful my family is all safe at home while I’m at work. I currently don’t have to worry about what time I need to be home to pick up the boys from school or take them to or from sports or other activities. It’s been freeing.

Whatever side of this you find yourself in right now, try to find the positives. If you are not working, what can you gain from this time off? Can you invest in learning something new? Maybe take some free online classes to help advance into a new field or change careers when this is over. Check out what resources the library has online as well.

If you are working, make sure to document all you are doing so when things settle down you can ask your boss for a raise, stating what you did to help with disaster relief, recovery or preparedness to help the company during this time that was vital to their success.

If you are stuck at home with family, make time to enjoy them! We don’t know how long this season will last. But, kids are only kids for so long. Invest in them. Build forts. Make shadow puppets. Color. Paint pictures or do a puzzle together. Have fun.

If you are finding yourself not feeling so great, mentally or physically, reach out to your provider and get help! Don’t ignore symptoms. If someone you love seems to be struggling, try to get them to get help. Let them know you love them and are there for them.

This too shall pass. No matter what, be grateful for what you do have. There’s always something worth smiling for, even rainy days have rainbows.

Pandemic Shopping

March 20th, 2020

As I do a normal Kroger run for a last minute dinner need, rolls to accompany our pulled chicken BBQ that’s been slow cooking all day, I realized I am still shopping normally. The store shelves are empty and here we are just acting like regular every day Kroger shoppers. We are prepared for a crisis, just not always prepared for the little details.

A few weeks ago I had restocked the pantry and our deep freezer is generally well prepared for a rainy day. There are frozen rolls in the freezer, but I don’t have time to thaw them for dinner. Poor planning on my part. Nothing a trip to the store cant fix. We make regular trips to Kroger for things like last minute additions to dinner, like rolls or an ingredient we forgot. But it’s not so easy now, the shelves are bare and the lines too long. The guy in front of me is trying to get away with buying 4 loaves of bread, but the cashier told him he couldn’t.

Today I am grateful for my well stocked pantry, deep freezer and the ability not to have to worry about what’s for dinner. I pray I can get better at pre-planning so I can avoid these last minute trips to a chaotic, fear ridden store. I know there are others who have less than us. I pray they find access to the resources they need to feed themselves and their families. I realize you might not care about these long posts, but I know this season is a once in a lifetime adventure. I want to document it the best I can because I know one day my memory will fade and I don’t want to forget. For my sake, my kids and theirs as well.

Pandemic Motherhood

March 19th, 2020

Feeling grateful today that we currently have an almost 14 year old, 15 year old and 18 year old. I have survived being a SAHM to these three boys. I did my time so to speak. I know what it’s like to be “stuck at home” with three little kids.

I have multiple chronic illnesses. I spent a good deal of time when they were younger unable to leave the house because I couldn’t manage them all and or have the energy to do so. I am a different person today. I thank God for that too.

Today I realized how grateful that I’m not in that place. I’m also grateful that we’re at this stage of parenthood while going through this pandemic. I’m grateful my current concerns are about whether or not they are able to keep up with their homework or if they are playing too many video games. My other concerns are about whether I have enough work to keep me busy while I work from home instead of going into the office. Because I’m now healthy enough to hold a job, something the old me wasn’t able to do.

So to all the moms out there suddenly finding themselves in a newfound role for a little while, know you can get through it. Countless women before you have done it, you can do it too. There were days when we didn’t know how we’d get through it, but somehow we did. Looking back, I wouldn’t have traded those days for anything. The chance to be home with my kids was and is a true gift. Value every day you get to be there for your kids. Take every opportunity to engage with them. Turn off the tv and the video games and spend time with them – no matter how old or young they are. Time is fleeting. So hats off to the SAHM, WAHM, working, single, or basically any kind of moms out there. Every season has it’s ups and downs, but you’ll get through it.

Just the beginning

March 12th, 2020

We are living in such a strange age. I have never received so many emails from companies about a disease before in my life. We live in an information age. We know so much about this, yet still so little. People say we are overreacting, but I don’t think that’s true. You have to remember this has only been around since December. I think if we looked at what’s happening in other countries you would realize we are not overreacting at all.

I am not worried for my kids, well maybe Zeke who’s immune system is lacking, but the others will be fine. I worry about my grandparents and parents. I worry about myself.

I’m currently sick. I doubt it’s coronavirus, but it’s damaged my already weak immune system. I can’t afford to be exposed to more germs.So if you are sick, stay home. I am staying home, keeping my germs away from others just in case. It’s the right thing to do.

Do your part. Stop buying all the things from the store. I could really use some lysol wipes so my family doesn’t catch whatever it is I have, but they are hard to find right now.

Be aware of others. Check in on others. The more events that get cancelled the more likely your lonely friends will be to be even lonelier. Reach out via phone, email, chat. Let them know you miss them. Don’t let this put even more walls up between us in this age that already has enough distance between us.

It’s coming..

March 6th, 2020

I’ve been called the worrier in my family. It’s just a family curse. Last week I was talking about how things would progress in the next week with the coronavirus. My family said I was nuts. As things continue to unfold. I just keeping shaking my head, because some of us saw this coming. The impact is going to be something we haven’t ever imagined before, at least for my generation. Or so I think. We’ll see, but I think at least for a little while things are going to be kind of crazy. I could be wrong, and I am willing to admit that. But we’ll see….I am not even worried. This isn’t about me being worried for my kids. I think they are safe. I am a little worried about myself and maybe Zeke, who also has a crap immune system. But I am mostly concerned for our patients at work who have bad immune systems. My older family members. Our communities. The economy. Hang on. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

Puddle Jumping

February 2nd, 2020

This fall I bought a pair of custom shoes. Only 100 pair exists. I have tried to take good care of them. They are my favorite pair of shoes. They mean something to me.

Today I went out to do 3 miles. I unexpectedly found myself in my favorite place, along the trail faced with a nice, muddy mess. But I was wearing my favorite shoes, still nearly pristine.

I laughed. My life is currently a mess, yet here I was trying to avoid the puddles and mud to protect these shoes.

I love these trails. I love getting my shoes muddy, a sign I am not afraid of being perfect. A sign I am willing to take risks. It’s something I have come to love about walking or running on the trails. It’s become therapeutic.

I wasn’t ready to let go of these shoes. I decided I needed to let go. It was about so much more than a pair of shoes. I have been trying to keep up appearances, keep up the status quo, hold things together.

Life is hard. It’s ok to not be ok. My hearts been broken. It won’t be fixed overnight. As I trudged through the mud today, I was grateful. For all the life lessons I learn as I walk these trails.

I highly recommend taking a nature bath regularly. It’s good for you, but maybe not so good for your favorite pair of shoes.

Road to Recovery

September 12th, 2018

On April 19th I had major surgery on my left foot. At the time I thought my recovery would take 8-12 weeks. It’s been 21 weeks and I’m waiting to get cleared to stop using crutches. At the beginning of August I was given permission to start using the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill and the exercise bike to get more mobile. I was eager to start moving again and the progress I’ve made since then is substantial. My pain has decreased and my energy levels have increased.

Some of you may be wondering what an anti-gravity treadmill is. It’s been a very useful recovery tool for me these last two months. The technology was originally created for NASA, but was later put to use to create the anti-gravity treadmill which helps people with arthritis, those recovering from major surgery, obesity or other health conditions which limit their mobility. Elite athletes also use this technology to supplement their training. This treadmill allows them to stay active by limiting their pain and the impact on their joints.

On August 2nd I started out using the treadmill at 40% weight-bearing. I had some pain as it was the first time I had walked since April. To use the treadmill you wear special shorts that zip into the machine that keep the pressurized air inside. It’s an odd feeling at first, but you get used to it.

Each week I slowly increased the body weight percentage up higher as long as I didn’t have an increase in pain. You can also increase the speed and incline of the treadmill if you desire. I knew that by September 19th my doctor would have me off of crutches, so my goal was to be at 100% body weight before then if I could tolerate it and did not have any pain. As the weeks went by and I increased the percentage my pain decreased in my foot and I found it became more natural to walk on the treadmill. My body was getting used to returning to normal activities.

In addition to using the anti-gravity treadmill I was doing at least 30 minutes a day of cycling on the exercise bike 3 days a week. This also helped condition my legs and get them stronger after having been on bed rest for so many weeks after surgery.

My goal once I get final clearance from my doctor to be off of crutches will be to begin walking outdoors again with my dog for short walks, slowly rebuilding my mileage back up to a 5k distance if possible without pain. I will also begin cycling with my bike outdoors several days a week. I know that without the use of the Alterg treadmill I wouldn’t have made as much progress as I have these last few weeks. I was in pain 2 months ago when I walked on the treadmill but now I have no pain when walking. My body has adjusted to being mobile and the natural progression to full weight bearing that the treadmill gives allowed my bones to continue to heal throughout the process. I highly recommend using the Alterg anti gravity treadmill post surgery for recovery and rehab!!  It’s cost efficient, easy to use, promotes healing, and is a natural way to return to weight-bearing after prolonged use of crutches.

Below (click to enlarge) is the data for how I progressed on the Alterg treadmill over the weeks to get from 40% to 100% weight-bearing. I think this was a successful journey and I am grateful for the ability to use the anti-gravity treadmill as part of my recovery.