Spring has Sprung

Ah, can you tell I’m back to work? The silence here is telling of life these days.

Stress, worry, stress, and worry.

When that happens I retreat into a shell, only tackling what absolutely must be done (and cleaning, always cleaning because that I CAN control).

With the longest winter ever, returning back to work, figuring out child care, a jobless and very stressed husband, [trying] to pay bills and buy groceries, health problem after health problem for each member of our family, and a baby who is having separation anxiety I have been dealing with my own mental health.  For a while there I was scared that I was actually starting to truly be depressed.  I noticed the signs of anxiety, the feelings of hopelessness and loss of control, the inability to control my thought processes.  There were several times I thought about making a doctors appointment – our physician is a strong advocate for mental health and screens for it with every visit, sometimes discreetly and other times bluntly but I have ALWAYS appreciated that.  With every snowfall I felt the pressure more and more, and I began to understand why many people struggle in the winter months.  I also began to understand why it’s important to get outside, stay active, and eat healthy in every season – something I DID NOT do this winter.

Anyways, with the much anticipated change in weather I feel the fog lifting, the anxiety dissipating, and my thoughts focused less on the negatives and much more on the positives.  With the changes in my mental clarity I am also beginning to make and implement plans to get healthier because that is also something I can control.

Frankly I’ve been wondering if this day would come again, I’ve thought about it often. About how my desire and passion for healthy living was put to the side as I dealt with a very difficult 1.5-2 years of health issues and then a complicated pregnancy and finally the recovery from that pregnancy and [ungraceful] transition to a mother of two.  Even my love of cooking had faded and I really only cooked out of necessity.  I still tried to eat balanced and definitely stuck to my convictions with feeding my children.  We still mainly eat fresh food but our budget has shrunk drastically and so the quality of food we can afford has also suffered as a result.  Since I have such strong feelings about food I have really struggled to want to cook or eat the food we can afford to buy.  I realize that fresh is always better than processed but it’s still been a significant struggle for me and has had a huge impact on my motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.

Having said all that, I feel as though I am finally in a place that I can start to make some small changes for my health.  I’m not making any grande plans that will be hard to keep with but something I do want to eventually end up doing is following the Autoimmune Protocol.  I don’t think I can implement it all in one shot but I am going to try and implement it little by little.  I also hope to get more active – walk A LOT, stretch and maybe get some other simple strengthening exercises in.  I’m at a disadvantage right now because I’m having some major back issues but hopefully it all clears up quickly and doesn’t affect me long term so I can get going! Something else I need to get back to doing is seeing my chiropractor – I was lucky enough to find an incredible chiropractor before getting pregnant with Eden but with such a hard pregnancy and very limited finances I had to stop going but I know I need to start up again soon.

You also know that gardening season has begun and so that is a major source of mental health for me and I’m so excited for this years garden.  I’ll be sure to post about it often!

Did you struggle this winter? Give me some simple healthy changes you think I should be implementing! I’m all ears!

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.