Friday, February 23, 2018

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Pets,

The last four weeks post-surgery have been rough. 

And when I say rough, I mean I’ve been rotating the same comfy pants and baggy shirts for over four weeks. 

I’ve been keeping medication charts. 

I’ve been taking naps. 

I’ve watched more tv in the last month than I probably have in the entire last year combined. 

I’ve been missing exercise, baths, wine, going anywhere quickly and general contact with the outside world that now feels like a foreign country because I’ve been inside my house too much.

But you, my loyal and sweet dog and cat, have been right by my side through it all. You’ve cuddled close and absorbed my pain. You slowed down to match my pace. You looked cute and made me smile. Pet therapy is a real thing. And I’m so thankful for you both.

With love and appreciation,
A Furbaby Mama

Dear Authors,

I have read eight of your books in four weeks. You’ve kept me entertained while I rested and tried to keep my brain functioning as I take time off work. You’ve reminded me of the power of the written word and my own passion to share what’s in my brain. And you’ve inspired me to get back into a daily writing routine, as well as start a new project I’ve been contemplating for years.

Thank you for helping me find new words,
A Writer With a New Plan

Dear Psychic Energy,

As rough as this month has been, I feel like I've managed to rearrange you in such a way that any negativity is transforming into positive juju.  

I had my annual psychic reading last week. As always, my session was a practice in reflection, insight and motivation. And although most of the reading wasn't much more than an affirmation of things I already planned to do and my mom later claimed she could have told me all that for free, I needed to hear it from an objective stranger.

You also went through a cleansing by smudging. I started with my house and finished with my body. My house instantly felt cleared of negative energy, and whatever negative physical vibes were left over from my surgery drifted out the open windows as well. I cleansed, I dismissed, I dispelled. 

A Cleared and Focused Woman

Dear Passport,

I’m starting the process of figuring out how to use you again this summer. Last year was the Dominican Republic. The year before was Costa Rica. The year before that was Turks and Caicos. My list of travel dreams never stops growing. Thank you for helping me satisfy my wanderlust and see fun new parts of the world. I can’t wait to see where you take me next!

An Aspiring World Traveler

Dear Beach,

Since I had my hysterectomy over four weeks ago, you have been my goal. 

As my happy place that just happens to be a short three minute walk from my front door, I fear I may have taken you for granted. Even in the winter, I typically visit you multiple times a week. I use you for sunsets, dolphin watching, paddle boarding, reading, dog walks and anytime I need a break.

For the past month, you’ve seemed too far away. The first time I reached my goal of walking to you, I was ecstatic! And I was also exhausted. Too exhausted to do anything but say hello and turn around and head home.

But two days ago, I finally reached my goal. On an unusually warm and sunny near 80 degree day, I did more than just say hello. I visited you for almost an hour and a half. I dug my toes in the sand. I meditated. I stared at bright blue sky as the clouds crept by. I read. I walked to the shoreline with my daughter as she braved the freezing water.

After weeks of not enough fresh air, you were exactly what I needed.

A Believer in Saltwater Therapy

Friday, February 9, 2018

5 Word Friday: My Current Status As Told By a Dog and a Cat

Sixteen days ago I had a hysterectomy. And for 16 days, I've never been more aware of every ache and pain in my body, every wave of intense fatigue and every limitation that reminds me I'm in the middle of recovering from major surgery.

Despite all that, I remain positive that I'll continue to get better every day. In the meantime, here are my dog and my cat to illustrate my current status in 5 words:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wellness: My One-Word Resolution for 2018

A new year has rolled around once again. And like most people, I spent the last few weeks of 2017 reflecting on the year about to close and outlining goals for the new year to come. 

Did I do everything I hoped I would do in 2017? Did I learn any lessons to bring with me into 2018? And more specifically, did my 2017 one-word resolution bring me what I was looking for, and how would that answer affect my word choice for 2018?

I may not have done everything I set out to do in 2017, but generally speaking, it was a year filled with exactly what I was seeking: Balance. That was my 2017 word, a word so perfect for me that I almost wanted to repeat it for 2018. 

My word helped me to balance my body by incorporating yoga and other exercises into my workout routine to keep me injury-free, by eating more nutritious meals and by drinking more tea and less coffee as per doctors’ orders. I balanced my mind by making meditation and mindfulness daily practices and by returning to my love of reading by carving out time to disappear in a good novel. And I took advantage of my balanced space by using my Meditation Station and making sure it continues to be a stress-free space I can escape to anytime for meditating, practicing yoga or cuddling with my dog, who often joins me for yoga sessions.

By the time I closed out 2017, I really did feel balanced.

But as a writer who prides herself on having original ideas, I knew I had to come up with a new word. Balance had treated me well, but I had to build on that, not repeat it. I had to take those goals accomplished and lessons learned, couple those with the new challenges I found myself facing at the end of 2017 and forge forward with a different word.

Despite my goal to balance every area of my life, my body had something going on that was beyond my control. Towards the end of 2017, when I found I could no longer ignore my near-constant pain and the myriad other pesky symptoms I was experiencing, I was forced to make a decision to advocate for my health and schedule a pretty major surgery that requires a lengthy recovery period. 

Suddenly, my health was in the spotlight, and getting well was all I could think about. Because of that, I knew what my 2018 word needed to be.

That word is:

My surgery was supposed to be shortly after New Year’s, but thanks to the worst timing ever of a blizzard, it was pushed back to this week. I thought by now I’d be almost halfway into my four to six week recovery, in the middle of my total focus on Wellness. But as we all know, life rarely goes as planned.

As I waited for the new surgery date to roll around, I shifted my Wellness focus from recovery to prep. I figured the stronger I am going into surgery, the more solid my recovery will be. I had 20 extra days to run, swim, practice my beloved yoga and meditation, and shed those holiday pounds I inevitably gain the end of every year. 

After surgery this week, my Wellness journey will switch back to recovery. Instead of running shoes and bathing suits, I’ll be focusing on rest and listening to my body’s cues. And then, when my body (and my surgeon) let me know I’m ready in late February or early March, I’ll shift gears again and gradually rediscover Wellness in those running shoes and bathing suits.

Where will my 2018 word bring me from there? I’m not sure. My January has been all about taking life one day at a time, and I imagine I’ll be in wait-and-see mode for a good portion of the first half of this year.

So far, I can say I’ve meditated every day in 2018 thanks to the Calm 30-Day Meditation Challenge I discovered on Twitter. As I learned from my 2017 year of Balance, meditation is beneficial for me in lots of ways, including stress reduction, pain management, sleep aid and maintaining a general sense of calm, so I plan to continue meditating throughout my recovery and beyond as an integral part of my Wellness journey. 

I expect each day my focus might be different than the previous day, but being patient and flexible are also big parts of my Wellness journey. For today, I’m focusing my Wellness on washing my hands like crazy and praying I can go a couple more days without catching the nasty flu that’s going around so this second surgery attempt will happen.

As for tomorrow and the next day and the next day? I’ll just have to wait and see.

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