Insomnia

It seems overtired ramblings are almost becoming a theme here.

I went to bed 3 hours ago.

I laid there for 2 of the last 3 hours and was unable to fall asleep.  Instead of getting frustrated I got up and did some chores I should have done before bed – wash, dry and put away the dishes, fold the load of dry laundry, prepare Ezekiel’s lunch for tomorrow.

So all that is done, but while I was doing it I was mulling over WHY in the world am I still awake?? I very very rarely suffer from insomnia (unless I’m sleeping during the day post night shift).  I am having quite a bit of heartburn tonight – despite a ginormous dose of a PPI prescribed for that.  So that could be it, or at least contributing.  Is it stress – that too is likely contributing.  Although I don’t feel super stressed I can’t deny that my current health is starting to really weigh heavy.

The interesting thing is that I no longer fear it being something incredibly serious and scary.  I’m not really sure why – my symptoms have become even worse than they were the last time I wrote.  I’m not going to get into that again but it’s pretty bad now.  Even as bad as it is I still catch myself daily analyzing them – is it really as bad as I’m making it out to be? (yes) Is it really necessary to get so many investigations? (yes) Can’t I just live with this – make it my new normal? (no)

I think I’ve officially come to the point of frustration and I’m realizing the frustration all lies in lack of control.  Of course it sucks to feel crappy all.the.time. but the frustrating part comes in not being able to do anything I had planned for the year.  I had really big plans this year – MCAT, Yoga, Steps, possibly baby #2 and all of that has been thrown off course, put on hold.  I’m here waiting for the next step but the next step isn’t even in my line of sight.

The internal medicine doctor that I have been seeing is equally stumped and frustrated.  He can’t clinically narrow down a diagnosis and so we wait for more tests and more consults meanwhile trying to treat the symptoms – which has been difficult and unsuccessful thus far.  I’ve tried desperately to manage the symptoms with diet thinking maybe if I just get a little more strict with this or that – maybe that will fix it.  Nothing I’ve tried thus far has worked.

So here I am, unable to sleep overanalyzing life desperately trying to cling to control of anything. It’s probably why I’ve become even more obsessed with plants (it’s a real problem) and why I wore myself thin trying to get my greenhouse up and running (IT IS! YAY! More on that later).  Tonight I’ll just try and accept what is and live life anyways – starting with sleep.

Stress Away is diffusing, chamomile tea is being sipped and worship music is playing.  I think those will all help.

Good night friends, thanks for sticking with me through my ramblings.

 

Overtired Ramblings

A day of feeling severely unwell followed by two night shifts and very little sleep has me so exhausted and in a state of constant reflection.  What better way to process overtired thoughts than to type them up and share them with the world right?

If you know me, or follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’m fairly addicted to that little social media app.  Apart from Pinterest (is that social media?) I don’t have any other social media accounts, Instagram is my one and only and I’m far too attached to it then is healthy – but everyone’s gotta have their guilty pleasure…. am I right? Anyways – if you’re in the know about what’s going on in the Instagram world you’ll know that they are bringing in an algorithm to change the way you see posts.  It will no longer be chronological but based on what Instagram deems most appropriate for you to see.

Bummer.

The fact that I have been mulling over this since I learned the news gives me flashing red warning signs.  I am far too emotionally attached to something so minute and so virtual.  So instead of being upset about it I’m just accepting it as an opportunity to put that one little word I chose at the beginning of this year into action – INTENTIONAL.  I took some time this afternoon to go through my list of people I follow, narrowing it down to accounts that are people I know and love, to local small businesses, and accounts that have tangibly taught me things throughout my time following them and who I feel have really invested into me.  In the end I was able to shave down my list to 3/4 of what it was.

Less time scrolling, more time investing, paying attention, making memories and being intentional with my life.

It’s actually EXACTLY what I need right now.  So after all that emotional investment into the change I’m really thankful for it.

Speaking of being intentional, it seems like a good time to do a quick check in on how the year is shaping up.

If you’ve been reading my posts recently you’ll know that I’ve been dealing with some health issues.  I wish I could say that I have answers, or that things are looking up and getting better.  Neither of those things are true, and I’m quickly going from my optimistic upbeat self (it’s fine, it’ll all work out, it’ll get better) to a state of frustration.  I’ve actually forgotten what it’s like to eat for enjoyment, right now I’m eating purely out of necessity.  In a way it’s really helpful for my nursing practice – I now know exactly what my patients are talking about when they explain nausea, lack of appetite and struggling with eating.  I crave nothing and want to eat nothing so preparing food for myself or my family to eat is getting more and more difficult.  I suppose it’s a really good thing that I’ve spent the past two years focusing so heavily on diet and nutrition, I know exactly what I should be eating and so I’m doing my best to continue to fuel my body with food that will feed it best.  It’s actually not hard to do since “treats” only mentally tempt me because my brain still remembers that at one time I really enjoyed them, but recently each time I try and eat a treat I’m left with so much disappointment (and nausea) and so the treats are getting few and far between.  I am also doing my best to make sure that I am eating enough calories – I’d love to lose a few pounds but right now is just not the time to do that.  Enough with with debbie downer talk – here’s the good news: my family physician is AMAZING and disregards my downplaying (I have no idea why I have such a hard time being my own advocate when I spend my days being such a strong advocate for my patients – it’s a real problem).  He listens to my symptoms and even though each test has come back with results that provide no answers he’s committed to finding the answers.  He has a specialist visiting his office and doing consults on some of his patients, he made sure that I was guaranteed an appointment and I’m optimistic that some answers will be found soon.

Anyways, back to the point – all these health issues that are getting worse instead of better have made being intentional so very difficult.  I haven’t made 10,000 steps in weeks, I haven’t done yoga in even longer.  I have had to put the MCAT on hold because I literally cannot muster up enough energy to open a book.  My husband and I have done a date night each month which is a WIN and it has been so rewarding we both love and look forward to those nights.   I try so hard to be intentional with Ezekiel but often on my days off I’m feeling my worst just trying to recover from the days working so this has been a struggle.  I’m so thankful for a carefree, easy going, loving, adoring and amazing toddler – we were created for each other and God’s graces in our relationship are so evident.  I’m not worried about this but I am really looking forward to feeling well enough to be far more deliberate with our time together.

I guess in the end the moral of the story is that life is never static is it?

It’s moving, flowing, like a river through the mountains.  Obstacles get in the way but it never stops the movement of life does it? We do our best to adjust, go around the obstacles and find another path.  My path is not what I would have chosen or dreamed of but I know that it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be and I’m trusting that once I get through the current obstacles I’ll have a moment of smooth flowing.  Today in my over-emotional, overtired state of mind I’m holding on to that hope and I’m praying that you can too – no matter what you’re current obstacles are.

 

I’m Not Immortal

It’s not often that I have health concerns – I count myself very lucky that I am a relatively healthy person (aside from that pesky genetic mutation).  I don’t often have to go to my family physician with any sorts of concerns other than my regular annual check up.  I make my rounds through my list of specialists each year and when I’m pregnant it all ramps up quite a bit as a precaution – so it may seem to the outside world that I’ve got a lot going on but overall I’m happy and healthy.

A couple months ago I started having some concerning symptoms – pain, intermittent nausea, constipation, feelings of fullness, lack of appetite and fatigue.  My closest nurse friends shouted from the roof tops – go the your DOC! I promised and promised and re-promised but I’m really good at ignoring and putting things aside.  I learned to live with the discomfort and didn’t really pay it much attention, often I’d think “hmm… it seems to have fixed itself” and I kid you not, each time I thought that I’d get the now familiar jab to my abdomen – a reminder that something is still not quite right.  Then about a month ago my body sent me an alarm that can’t be shoved to the side or ignored – unbelievable constant heartburn.  That was my final straw to finally go and see my physician.

I work in two different places – both in Oncology and so I realize my view of the world is very skewed yet with every new diagnosis I see I think to myself – a few days ago they thought they were healthy and now their world is turned upside down.  It’s a big joke in the Oncology nursing world that we all think we have cancer at the slightest headache, but it really is impossible to get that out of your head when sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to come in to their Dr and be diagnosed.  I don’t actually think I have cancer but historically in my life I get ominous feelings – a feeling of knowing something isn’t quite right before I get an actual diagnosis.  My infertility and PCOS is a prime example – I didn’t need a full work up to know exactly what was going on and I wasn’t surprised or shocked at the diagnosis.  It was the same with my Marfan’s diagnosis – I got the phone call and a sympathetic genetic counsellor on the other end saying “I’m sorry, it’s come back positive,” cheerily I said “I thought it would! Thanks for letting me know!” She seemed taken aback – “you don’t sound upset or surprised” and I replied “Well, I’ve been assuming that’s the correct diagnosis most of my life so it’s actually nice to finally have a confirmation.”

This week my current symptoms have been screaming at me – I can’t tell you if they are truly worse or if my final acknowledgement of them have made them more real to me.   This time is a bit different than every other medical issue I’ve had – I have not a clue what’s going on and my only assumption is the worst one.  My Dr is quite stumped as well and can only offer that maybe it’s a mechanical bowel issue – I’m almost certain that it’s not but I’m willing to test out that theory.  My blood work is almost perfect – but that’s not very reassuring for me, I almost wish it wasn’t so at least we’d have a direction.  We’ve talked about lifestyle and diet – I thought at the beginning it was stress related due to my work situation, I changed that up and have no work or home related stress at all – symptoms persisted.  I know my diet isn’t perfect but compared to the vast majority of the North American population it’s pretty close to being flawless, I make an effort to drink a lot of water, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods of any kind, no refined sugar of any kind.  Of course I treat myself here and there and maybe I just need to be more strict – so in hopes of figuring it all out I’m going to once again get my diet to a strict gluten, sugar, dairy free diet, maybe that’ll help.

It’s really rare for me to be concerned or worried about anything health related – even cardiac wise, which is my biggest risk, I have a carefree attitude but this time around I just can’t shake it.  I think for the most part as I’ve gotten older, and as I have started a family, I realize that I’m not a superhero that can survive everything.  I am but a mere mortal at the mercy of whatever gets thrown my way.

I don’t mean to be so negative and really I don’t think I have cancer, and to be honest I just needed to get this all out as some stress release.  I’m just ready to start feeling well again and the more days that pass the farther and farther away that feeling gets.  Right now my norm is naps in the day and sleeping from 730pm to 7 am.  I used to be able to clean the house, do the laundry and prepare the food all in a day, recently I can only do a portion of a couple of those things throughout the day and the rest of my day is spent resting.  I’ve taken for granted my health in the past and today I am thankful for an incredible health care system (even a broken one) which includes an amazing GP who truly listens and investigates concerns.

Growing Season

It’s the beginning of growing season and I couldn’t possibly be more excited!  I have some really big plans for my yard and garden this year – I’m going all in and I can’t wait to share it all with you in the coming months.  I’m in the planning stages at this point and soon I’ll share the plans and hopefully get some advice.

A few years ago if you asked me what my hobby was I would not be able to tell you anything.  I enjoy things like cooking and crafting and photography but I never considered anything to be my hobby.  The more I reflect on how much I love plants and gardening the more I am realizing that this is seriously my hobby.  It’s the one thing in my life I am really willing to invest in.  I look forward to visiting nurseries and plant stores.  I love doting on my plants daily, making sure they aren’t dried out and are growing OK.  My husband thinks I’m a little crazy but I literally can’t help myself.  If it came down to buying clothes vs buying plants or tools to help me grow plants I’ll always spend the money on plants.

I’ve been trying to think back on when this love of mine came about.  How did my love for growing things expand and when did it start?  I spent the first 10 or so years of my life on a farm surrounded by the culture of growing food both animals and plants.  My parents grew lots of things in the fields and we also had a huge garden that was planted each year and I was always part of the garden planting.  Then we moved off the farm but still we always had a garden, in my teens my only part of the gardening was picking the carrots and peas for a snack.  Regardless, those years at home being surrounded by that culture of growing your own food has obviously had an impact on me.  I have such fond memories of planting and weeding and harvesting I’m sure that’s where the love started.  Now that I have my own house and room to grow some of my own food that love is expanding.

I can’t wait to document and learn throughout the growing season this year and I can’t wait to share with you!

Here’s the progress so far:

  
 I have some more seed shopping to do but I needed to pick up some tomato and pepper seeds to get started last week.  I may be going overboard but I figure I can also gift some plants if I need to.  So far I’ve started 4 types of larger tomatoes: Red Brandywine, Italian San Marino, Mixed Stripe, and Black Krim.  I’m also planting a lot more peppers this year: Habanero (our most loved and used pepper in our house), jalapeno (probably will gift most of what we grow but I really wanted to try), and two types of sweet peppers for roasting and sauce making.  I couldn’t resist picking up a pack of snapdragons to start either.  I really want to try and grow mostly organic seeds this year.  They are pricey but will be worth it! 

  
The snap dragons and peppers have a much longer germination time then the tomatoes so I planted 4 of each kind in a seller are seed starting tray so that I didn’t have to try and figure out how to separate them like last year.  I ended up just using egg cartons to plant them because it’s what I had but I am noticing some weird growth that’s not the plants in the styrofoam cartons.  I suspect it’s from all the humidity but I hope it doesn’t interfere with the germination. 

  
I planted 36 tomato plants in total- 9 of each variety and I was much more careful at labelling this year.  I planted everything on February 25 and as of today all but 1 tomato has germinated.  

  
I used a regular potting soil instead of a soil free seed starting formula.  I did this for a couple reasons: it’s what I had and also I don’t have to transfer these so quickly into pots which gives me some more time to work out how the heck I’m going to grow all these until they are planted in the garden. 

Get ready for so many gardening posts to come! 

Time Management

  
I’ve been thinking a lot today about time management because today is my get everything done day.  A couple days ago I had a rest, relax and take care of me day.

I often get comments about how  I “get so much done all the time.” I suppose it seems as though I accomplish a lot, but when I look at it I see a lot more that needs to be accomplished.  I’m starting to realize that it’s necessary for me to daily reflect on the tasks I’ve accomplished in order to give myself grace for the things that didn’t get done. Inevitably each day I go to bed with much more left on my to-do list then was there when I woke up that morning.  If I don’t allow myself grace I get so stressed out about what’s left.

Whenever someone comments on the amount I get accomplished the thing that flashes through my mind is the endless house “to-do” list I have going.  There are things on that list that have been there for 2 solid years – a good example of that is painting the walls.  I’ve learned though that leaving things on a to-do list is not a bad thing! Eventually they will get done, and if they don’t then it wasn’t too important anyways.  I’ve also learned that leaving them on the to-do list will eventually give me motivation enough to finish it. Sometimes I get in a mode where I’ll all of a sudden be so motivated to check something off that endless list and I’ll power through it in no time.  The office is a good example of that, it went from a disaster to completed in a day – all because I left it on the list until I got a spark of inspiration.  There is still a few things to do (I’m going to do the filing today! That’s a year and a half over due!) but overall it’s done.

It’s still hard for me to accept the endless lists will never get done though – despite knowing that it’s really OK.  I have this weird habit of thinking in time management mode.  From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep I’m thinking about time and how I will fit everything that needs to be done today/the next day in the moments I have.  What time will I need to wake up tomorrow in order to finish my tasks? How long will I have in the morning to sit and relax before I need to get up and go? What time will I need to leave the house to get to the store, get the shopping done and get back for lunch and nap time? It’s a constant thought process of time and sometimes it’s really annoying and especially stressful if you have other people to plan around – like a husband and a toddler 🙂  If I need a rest day I actually have to mentally prep myself the night before to have a “lazy day” where I won’t have to think about time or to-do lists.

Weird right?

But that’s me.  Always needing something to do and always thinking about the next thing that needs to be done.

How do you manage your time? Are you stressed out about time like me or are you relaxed about everything on your to-do list?

 

 

God is here, He cares and He’s in control


The past couple weeks I’ve had so much more time off than I am used to.  Last year for most of the year I would regularly have one day off sometimes 2 and if I was really lucky I might be able to take a long weekend off.  Now with the change in my job situation I have 3-4 days off at a time and it is glorious! I’m still a bit stressed about a lack of shifts at work but I’m counteracting that stress with being very intentional with my spending and time.

For groceries I try and make our meal plans for the week out of what we already have here.  It takes the question from “what do I want to make for supper?” to “what do we have in the house that I can make for supper?” It’s really amazing what you can make – whole nutritious meals – with what you already have on hand.  It does require a small amount of creativity and improvisation sometimes but 90% of the time it works just fine.  Over the last year I’ve transitioned most of our foods to organic when possible which means that it is more expensive to buy.  Admittedly we spend quite a bit of our budget on food but when I’ve thought about this recently I can’t imagine not buying the quality we buy just to save money.  So that means I just need to make some sacrifices else where – no more buying daily coffees (it really helps that I bought myself a Chemex last year), I think twice even three times before buying ANYTHING (do I need it? Do I really need it? Will I use it this week? – if not then I don’t REALLY need it).

Along with being careful about our food budget I’m finding on my days off that I’m just not going out all the time.  On my days off before I would be out and about, usually spending money somewhere.  The past couple weeks I’ve only wanted to stay home, I can’t even think of something I’d like to do instead.  I was thinking about this this morning because when I talk to new moms I always say – “make sure you get out everyday, even just for a walk.  It’ll be so good for your mental health.” I wondered where I was mentally because I have no desire to leave the house – it’s usually a red flag for me.  I did a quick self evaluation of my own mental health compared to a few weeks ago just before writing this post and the difference really is night and day.  Mentally I’m in such a better place, instead of needing to go, go, go and do, do, do I’m content to just BE.  I think mentally and physically I’ve just been subconsciously using this time off to recover from the past year of insaneness.  I’ve been soaking in every second I can with Ezekiel and usually just staring in wonder at the creation he is, thankful for each moment spent with him.  Oh I still have so much to do even at home and slowly I’m tackling those projects (2 years of filing oy!) but I am just so content.

Sometimes we need to be forced out of what we think is the best situation for ourselves in order to see how destructive it really was, or maybe it’s not completely destructive but there’s something so much better out there.  I’m so thankful for the past year – even though there were so many difficulties.  In the day to day moments I really enjoyed what I was doing and most importantly I was able to provide for my family.  I expanded my knowledge and experience as well as learned new things about myself (clinic nursing is not my favourite, I still want to pursue my dreams etc.).  It’s hard to see the 360 degree view when we have our blinders on to get through the days.

There’s a theme in my life (and in yours) that I keep seeing time and time again.

God is here, He cares, and He’s in control.

Goals Check In

Is it too early for a goals check in?
  
Probably but I’m so excited about this tracking tool that I bought from Elise Blaha Cripe that I can’t help but write about it! It’s seriously has made a huge impact on pursuing two of my concrete goals.

  
At the end of December I wrote about my One Little Word and I talked about how I was going to be intentional with myself.   Part of that means moving my body more.  I decided for this year that everyday I wanted to make it to my yoga mat for some practice and walk 10,000 steps.  I have been following Elise for almost two years and I’ve seen her use a tracking tool that she created to achieve her goals and I thought maybe they would help me in moving my body more.  So far so good!

I kept my goals very simple with little expectations behind them.  Literally the only expectation I’m putting on myself is that I just do it.  Yoga everyday does not mean I’ll be sweating it out for 60 minutes a day.  This week it’s meant I’ll be doing a very gentle yoga sequence for 10 – 15 minutes (and I missed a day in there).  I don’t expect to be able to do handstands or crazy poses at the end of the year, I don’t expect to advance to any great lengths.  I’m purposely not taking pictures of myself or comparing my practice to anyone else’s.  I’m simply getting to the mat, I’m focusing most on my breathing during the practice and being completely present.  I’m making it work with a busy schedule, sometimes I’ll do it before bed, or at Ezekiels nap time or bath time just to fit it in.  If you are a newbie at yoga like me I suggest check out the Yoga By Candace YouTube channel, it’s the only videos I use and she has a huge variety of lengths and skill level.

10,000 steps every day was hard for me before I made it an absolute daily goal using the goal tracker.  I bought a FitBit in October and I’ve loved it but I have been lacking in my steps even with using it. Now – it seems so simple! With the use of the goal tracker my excuses went out the window.  I’ve been doing laps around my house while listening to one podcast episode.  When I put something in the microwave I walk laps until the timer goes.  Ezekiel and I will have a 20 minute country dance party which he absolutely LOVES and is a great workout for me! I’ve realized that just because I am at home all day for a lot of days I don’t have to be so sedentary.  I can move just as much at home as anywhere else, I just have to be a little more creative.  I’ve consistently been going OVER 10,000 steps each day and it feels GREAT.

I’m pretty confident that using this goal tracker is going to not only help me achieve my daily goals but have such a huge impact on my overall wellness.