Friday, April 24, 2015

One and Done

It’s not often I say I’ll never do something again. But today I ran across one of those things.

Two years ago I was a mobility-scooter bound person. During that time I remember a visit to Leavenworth, Washington on a hot summer day. My biggest thrill of the day was being able to take my scooter down to the river and put my feet in the water. Even took a picture of it.

I also took another picture that day that has been stuck in my mind ever since. I saw someone stand up paddle boarding. I remember thinking that while I would have loved to try it, I would never be able to do something like that. Scooter, one working lung, bad knees. Odds were so far against me.

But I didn’t give up on that dream and today in the warm waters of the Bahamas that never-gonna-happen dream came to fruition.

Was I scared? Absolutely terrified.
Was it difficult? So much harder than I could have ever imagined. One of the most difficult physical (and mental) things I have ever done.
Could I balance without my son-in-law holding the board? No way.
Did I fall? Lots of times.
Was I graceful? Nope, not a bit.
Will I ever do it again? Heck, no.

Check that one off my 50 by 50 list.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Multiple NSVs

My husband likes to snuggle. Some might call it spooning but I call it annoying.

As a big girl, it was easy for him to snuggle. Throw the arm on top of my large body and call it good. But now...

Now I don't take up as much room in the bed. I pretty much lost a person - 175 pounds - and that has freed up space in the bed and changed his snuggle routine. Now the arm is tightly gripped around my waist. On my side of the bed. With snoring in my ear. Which is why I am here, unable to sleep, writing in the middle of the night. While I find it pretty annoying when I'm losing sleep I am absolutely thrilled with the extra space in the bed. An NSV - Non-Scale Victory. Not tied to the morning's number on the scale. Based on life.

I have accumulated several NSVs over these last few months. These life changes have brought me much joy.

Just look what this rheumatoid-arthritis, one-lung, two knee replacement, former mobility-scooter-based gal has done:

Swam in the ocean for the first time in Hawaii

Walked a 5K with my daughter

Walked the Golden Gate Bridge (both ways)

Visited Iceland

Snorkeled in Belize and Mexico

Flew in a helicopter over Kauai

Walked on the Walk of Fame

Witnessed sunset over Greenland.

Paddled an outrigger canoe

Went sailing

Walked 7.47 miles in San Diego

Zip lined in Puerto Vallarta

Flew without a seat belt extender

Sat in a hammock on the beach

Fed iguanas in Honduras

Rode a mule

Slept on an Amtrak train in the top bunk

Walked in the Muir Woods in California

And just this week, I can now cross my legs when seated. First time in over 30 years.

And those are just the things I have photo proof of. Can't wait for my next NSV!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In the middle of the night

My nights of waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep continue.

Joint pains from rheumatoid arthritis flare up, finances, knowing I need to keep sucking-the-marrow but having a body that doesn't appreciate it, pain medicine side effects, hubby snoring, forgetfulness at work I'm trying to make up for, mess of still trying to get moved in, maintenance light on in car, right front passenger window not rolling up, weeds popping up, documents to be shredded piling up, debit card declined - a fraud alert was put on it because I was using it around Mexico, trying to keep hubby upbeat and busy, living on Greek yogurt and apples and peanut butter because I don't feel like eating anything else, losing two phone charges.

Why is it I stress about these things whether I am at home or on vacation? At least on vacation I got to sit in the "Piazza" and think. But vacation is over.

And I have one more worry... I. Must. Keep. Myself. Together.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Up to 50+

As I reread yesterday's middle of the night blog post listing things I want to experience before I turn 50 I realized it might appear quite unrealistic and unattainable.

That's fair. 

I'm very aware that some of those things - like seeing penguins in their natural habitat - may not happen (or at least may be extremely difficult to pull off). But I'm completely confident that others - like dog sledding or swimming with the dolphins - will absolutely occur. 

As I read the list I also thought about more experiences I'd like to have. I'm now to over 50 on the list but I figure that will give me some wiggle room in case some can't be arranged. My new additions: 
46. Ride a bike
47. Hike Diamond Head
48. Watch a bear catch a salmon 
49. See the Grand Canyon
50. Go to the ballet
51. Learn karate
52. Ride in a pedicab
53. Jump on a trampoline 

Even started looking at bikes, just in case. Isn't she pretty? If I ever own a bike  I want it to look like this. 

Anxiety or Adrenaline?

When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t return to sleep it is usually because thoughts race through my head. Typically they are either anxiety-producing irrational thoughts or adrenaline-producing suck-the-marrow thoughts.

Tonight my brain is torn between the two.

The other day I read about someone trying to do 50 things before their 50th birthday. Being I will be turning 50 this year the article led me to start my own list. Things I want to accomplish before turning 50. The great thing about the list is I've already knocked some things off the list over the last few months. The bad thing (actually, a good thing) is that I have a long way to go. In no particular order:

1. Swim in the ocean
2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
3. Ride in a helicopter
4. Go dog sledding
5. Visit Iceland
6. Ride a Segway
7. Learn to snorkel
8. Ride a zip line
9. Overcome fear of lizards
10. Go salmon fishing
11. See the Cabo arch
12. Learn to stand up paddle board
13. Swim with the dolphins
14. Walk a half marathon
15. Fly in a seaplane
16. Ride in an outrigger canoe in Hawaii
17. Visit Norway
18. Ride in a race car
19. Walk on a glacier
20. Take a hot air balloon ride
21. Go para sailing
22. Take a long distance train trip
23. Ride a mule
24. Take an air boat ride
25. See the Hollywood sign
26. Shoot a gun
27. Cross the Arctic circle
28. Visit Machu Picchu
29. See penguins in their natural habitat
30. Ride in a zodiac raft
31. Take a Hobie Cat ride
32. Visit Greenland
33. Publish another book
34. Lose 25 pounds
35. Go inside a wind turbine
36. Tackle another suspension bridge
37. Ride a Ferris wheel
38. Take a water aerobics class
39. Learn yoga
40. See the Northern Lights
41. Lie in a hammock on the beach
42. Ride an ATV
43. Tent camp in the woods
44. Live on a cruise ship for a month
45.   Learn to dance

As much as I tried I couldn't get to 50, at least not yet. (Does that mean I’m 45 at heart?) Either way it’s an adrenaline-producing suck-the-marrow somewhat-rational list.

Now for the anxiety-producing thoughts.

Sucking the marrow over these last few months has been expensive and I’m running out of money. Our Marsing house hasn't sold. Hubby isn't working and hasn't yet had a determination about disability. I've quit my job only have a few months left of income.

The two hour commute to work is killing me. The energy left for self-care is limited. My eating habits suffer. I drink too much caffeine, have been eating some carbs and sugar, and am not keeping true to my plan. My exercise habits suffer. I am too pooped to do anything once I get home. I start a great plan of daily walking at work and on weekends, but one day of overdoing it and my joints scream out to stop.

My pillowcase sewing project has netted 45 pillowcases for a local children’s home. Another dozen for a foster home organization. Another 20 to be hand-delivered next month to an orphanage in Honduras. I’m passionate about the project. But my family cut me off. Stopped me from doing more. Arthritis in the neck and looking down to sew isn't working out so well. While I was on the infusions and chemotherapy I could sew longer without an issue. But off the treatments? Not working so well.

Then the suck the marrow adventures make the arthritis flare up big time. A great day of adventure equals a few days of being down and having to take it easy. Life shouldn't be this hard.

My family wants me to cut back. They tell me on a regular basis:
Work from home. 
Cut back on sewing. 
Don’t be so adventurous. 
Take it easy. 
Stop walking. The doctor told you so.
Calm down.
Go back on your arthritis treatments. You need to be able to play with grand kids.

I am so torn. I know in my heart everything will work out. I don’t know how it’ll all work out, but it will. The money will come when it needs to. I may need to go back on my medications (I SO don’t want to) if I want to continue sewing and adventuring.

One single day spent snorkeling in Cabo last week may have made me rethink my life. Maybe it's time to swallow my pride and listen to them. But I can’t give this up. Could you?