Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting Better

It's been a hard few months. No, it's been a hard year. Year and a half. Wow.

Having a baby, getting no sleep, having a husband working in another state, both of us adjusting and sometimes not well, to parenthood and losing some of our independence. I'm not going to lie, we had some really ugly times: some of the worst moments in our marriage and I am full of sadness and regret about that. I'm going to write a memoir about it once the current one is done and I'm calling it "The Year of the Tiger." Maybe I can make it funny, even though it wasn't very.

Yesterday I found out about the sudden death of a grad school friend. She was someone I adored and loved being in class with. She was beautiful and vibrant and talented. She had the coolest voice. I am heartbroken over her death. She was only thirty-three.

On the last day of January we lost another friend, my husband's friend more than mine, but what does that matter? He was killed in a car accident in Thailand while on a trip, leaving behind his fiancee. Again, someone who was a radiant personality, an artist, a magnificent talent. My heart was broken over his death as well. He was also in his early thirties.

Both left behind their creative works. She with her writing and he with his music. The world is less without these two people in it. I've been incredibly depressed for the past two days.

I have lupus and Sjogren's Disease. I've known for a while that I had something wrong, but I could never get a specific diagnosis and then when I was pregnant it went into remission for a while and I hoped it wouldn't come back, the whatever it is, but it did come back and worse and I've felt horrible, so I went to the doctor and my blood work came back more conclusive this time, and also worse. My rheumatologist wants to start me on Plaquenil, which is highly toxic, takes months to work and I'd have to stop nursing, which is overwhelming to me. I'm not happy about this development at all, although, at least I have an answer now. There's an explanation for my symptoms. I'm not crazy. Well, maybe I am.

The deaths, the sickness, the sadness I've felt has made me need a change. I have to get better for a million reasons. I'm starting now. I'm dedicating myself to being healthy physically, mentally and spiritually though I don't have much of a plan in place. I'm kind of going to wing it here.

I made an appointment with a therapist for my anxiety and depression. I'm following up with my doctors. I need to exercise, though I hate it. I'm going to stop eating like an asshole, because I have been. Lord have I ever been eating poorly, and mostly out of depression and boredom and whatever. I'm an emotional eater and I need to cut it out and eat better, less comfort foods. I might get the nerve up to go to the dentist. I don't want to end up dead at a young age or crippled by these stupid autoimmune illnesses.

But here's the good news. Venus Williams has Sjogren's too so obviously the disease targets women who are strong, beautiful and successful. Wink, wink. I'm going to kick this disease's ass. And I'm going to write about it.

Someone reminded me of A.J. Jacob's new book in the last post and I was so glad because I forgot he had a new book out. I love his writing, so today I got Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection
and I'm pretty excited to read it. Jacobs' writing is usually very detailed and he has a way of making normally boring material very funny and interesting. His writing fits into what I call the "crazy experiment" genre of creative non-fiction where the author subjects himself to some kind of odd, difficult or radical conditions for a set period of time in order to learn something and then writes about it. In his last book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible he followed the Bible literally for an entire year. I loved it. It was hilarious and I learned a lot from reading it while being thoroughly entertained, and surprised even. So anyway, I'm going to read the new book this week and try to get healthy myself. Wish me luck.


Lauren said...

Yikes! I hope you get a break from craziness soon. Good luck with all your health changes... I am right there with you on the "eating like crap" and emotional/boredom eating... and that's why I carry around an extra 25 (guessing) pounds. Also my toddler is about 25 pounds and I carry her around... ha! I hope you don't have to stop nursing until you want to, but if it happens maybe a side effect will be more sleep??? Good luck with whatever happens!

Marie said...

Wishing you all the luck in the world in your quest for better health.

I do understand the journey and even at my age (60's)I have been able to significantly improve my health and feeling of well-being.

So good luck, God bless and know that for sure you will have many people wanting the very best for you.... and not only out of self interest in wanting to read your entertaining and thoughtful blog!

beatgrl said...

You are totally on the right track. I have a chronic illness, too (MS) and the three pillars that have me feeling MUCH better are healthy eating, exercise and eliminating stress. Learning to say no without guilt and not to take on too much was a hard one but has had fantastic results once I mastered it. Good luck, we are all rooting for you.

skip 2 colorado said...

Thank you for sharing this- it took courage. I think underneath it all, you have the heart of a lion. You're one of the funniest writers I've discovered, and your works are addicting to readers. Please remember that, no matter what else you have to go through, total strangers appreciate the gift you have, and you've got the ability to make others laugh, cry and reflect. That's pretty big.
Wishing you some good things-

fan said...

What they said.
Exercise is the engine, and my experience is that if I equate working on my machine to feeling happier I'll do it. The machine is a Total Gym; I have the bike add-on that makes it a recumbent stationary bicycle. The beauty is that I don't have to go anywhere, see anyone, wear anything except my iPod. Good luck, be strong.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and good luck on your mission. Just remember to take it slow. The last thing you want to do is to add more anxiety or burn out because you're taking on too much all at once and are concerned about everything. Focus on small parts at a time.

kerry said...

Eek- a medication that's nearly as bad as the thing it's trying to treat? Yikes.

Yeah, boredom/emotional eating is an easy thing to fall into. I certainly do it. Need to stop.

I think the trick to exercise is finding something that's fun. That way it doesn't feel so much like work- mine is biking. Biking allows me to get around where I want, in about the same time, and get a little bit of workout at the same time. I'm not willing to work out terribly intensely, but the gentle workout is something I can handle.

I refuse to use a stationary bike, though.

A friend does dance for her exercise- just put on some music at home and move. Some of the video games have dance ones now, and you can get quite a workout. In your own home. Dancing. :)

I hope some healthy habits will help you feel better! (and let you stay away from that drug)

Anonymous said...

Was the musican you were referring to the one from San Francisco. A terrible loss. I am so sorry about your friends and everything going on right now. I hope you are feeling better. Please keep writing. You are so talented!

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