Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Back Inside

I had my third ECT treatment yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't return home afterwards. I was feeling so low I was in tears, and I was re-hospitalized. I think I am now here for at least one week or more. The doctor wants to do my remaining ECT treatments while I'm an inpatient rather than an outpatient. I'm hoping he doesn't want to do all ten while I'm here, because that would put me here for another 2-3 weeks. I simply can't afford that. Next weekend--that's my goal. I don't think I'd be able to stand it much longer than that.

Despite the fact that I'm back inpatient, things are going okay. My body is really tired, so I've not yet had the energy to exercise. Besides attending the required education groups, I've spent much of the last couple days sleeping. At least I have my computer now, so I can keep this blog updated. But I miss Puck, and I miss being outside already. I think it's going to be a long week. But that's okay, too. The reality was I couldn't continue living the way I was, so this is, for now, the place for me to be. Things can only get better from here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2191 Days

Six years ago today, I took my last drink. It's another birthday for me. It's hard to imagine my life today had I not quit drinking. In fact, I doubt I would have a life today. It's much more likely I'd be dead. And even in the dark moments of these recent weeks, I know I am privileged to be leading the life I lead. I have safe housing, a healthy body, the time and ability to do things I love, a wonderful dog, a new relationship, and I'm surrounded by amazing friends and professionals who care about me. None of that would have been possible without sobriety. I'm humbled by and grateful for my sobriety today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ECT--it's a waiting process

I had my first ECT treatment today. I got home from D's house last night, spent the evening re-settling into my home, and got up early this morning to get going. I arrived at the hospital around 8:00 AM to begin the process.

My least favorite part of the process is waiting. After having our vitals taken, one by one, each patient is sent to a tiny room with about 8 chairs to wait. It is a tiny, box shaped room with chairs along each wall which face each other. There is just barely enough space to walk between them on your way to a seat. There is no music, nothing to distract your attention, and similar to an elevator, I find myself staring at the floor in order to avoid the eyes of the person directly across from me.

As you can imagine, this teeny room is filled with all sorts of ill characters. After all, we wouldn't be there if we weren't ill! I prefer to sit in silence and generally bring something to read, which is a little silly, as I can barely concentrate on reading. This morning the woman next to me, so close I had to avoid touching her, kept looking over at my reading material. That was annoying. She was also the token patient, there's always one, who preferred to talk out loud regardless of whether anyone responded! That drives me crazy. The poor soul across from me was so nervous he kept holding his breath. Every 10-15 seconds, he'd discontinue his apneic period with a long, loud, exhalation. He did this over and over again. Ugh! If the room was a fraction larger, and if depression didn't make me irritable, perhaps these idiosyncrasies wouldn't be noticed or annoying. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

We wait in this tiny room for what feels like an eternity. One by one we are called out to see a physician's assistant. There is an expectant rush about the room every time the P.A. opens the door to select the next person on his list. My name is never called soon enough. This morning, I waited in the tiny room for about 35 minutes, but in the past I've been there for over an hour.

After meeting individually with the P.A. for about 5 minutes, we each get transferred onto a surgical gurney in another room. This is the room where our I.V.'s are started, heart monitoring electrodes are placed, and the blood pressure cuff is applied. There are three rolling gurneys in this room. Once we're poked and set up, we wait to enter the ECT suite. Again, I tried to read. I have no idea how long I waited in this room today, but it felt like 15-20 minutes.

Finally, I got rolled into the ECT suite. As soon as the gurney was in place, the ECT team was active. The waiting was over, as the anesthesiologist almost immediately injected the medicine, and I was asleep within 10 seconds. I woke up in the recovery room some time after that. More waiting ensued as I sipped on some juice and awaited the arrival of my ride home. The whole process, which required a lot of patience, took about 2.75 hours.

I spent the rest of the day lying low. As usual, I slept for a couple hours after ECT. I had a bit of a headache, but it never became severe. Because of the holiday yesterday, I actually will have my second of the three weekly treatments tomorrow. I've never had back-to-back ECT before, so I'm not sure what to expect. Except for the waiting, of course...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Inpatient, Outpatient, ECT

You may have been wondering where I've been. I was hospitalized Wednesday night. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to be there, but it was the safest, most sane place for me to be. While inpatient, I had no access to a computer, so no updates for you and no therapeutic writing for me.

I got out of the hospital yesterday just in time to drive to my boyfriend's home for his family Christmas party. It was a huge affair with too much food, lots of people and an equal amount of revelry. It was very fun, albeit a bit overwhelming. But it was a great distraction from the misery of the past few weeks.

The plan is to return home tomorrow and begin outpatient ECT treatments on Tuesday. I will likely end up doing 6-10 treatments, just as I did last spring. Again, this is not where I wanted this relapse to take me, but it is the only option left to deal with the pain I've been in.

Unfortunately, ECT treatments will put me in a world of hurt financially, as I will not be able to work for perhaps up to 4 weeks. I'm going to be a rebel and try to get in a few days here and there, but I don't yet know if that will be possible. I am also not allowed to drive, and therefore I will need to negotiate rides everywhere. There are many other issues, including telling my work and explaining things to D, but I've only got time for the above update right now.

As usual, I will appreciate any prayers and support during this incredibly difficult time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I understand I'm not

I don't understand
the ups and downs.
The rapid descents
following the sanity
discourage the most.

Nobody can tell me
what's going on.
Focus on getting through,
that's what they say.

But I can't understand
these rapid descents.
Crashing to earth
after feeling so,
dare I say,
normal
Hurts.

I want to understand
what's going on.
Struggling through 
is admirable,
but it doesn't make it stop.
Understanding leads to treatment,
does it not?

Is it depression?
Is it character defect?
What's wrong with me?
Why can't normal last?
What did I do
to deserve such pain?

Everyone thinks
I am so strong.
But even I
can only take so much.

Everyone thinks
I am so strong.
But I'm afraid.
I'm afraid I'm not.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday. Wow, I'm getting old! I remember when I used to think 40 was so old! Now I'm a bit into my 40's...yikes! I am blessed. I have everything I need, but it is a little tough for me to get older. I can't help but think about every year that passes, and what could have been, if not for depression altering my life. I'm grateful to still be a living, active participant in life. But I can't help but feel there is so much more I could be doing.

D and I had a conversation along these lines yesterday. He is a real worker-bee. He is very career oriented and quite successful. He's been working, and working hard, for over 35 years. I, on the other hand, can't seem to work 3 days in a row without having a meltdown. Whereas I used to work full-time, I now manage only part-time employment with success. I've tried working more, but I get overwhelmed, tired, and out of balance very quickly. I want to work more. I'd like to be a whole lot more financially comfortable than I am. I plan to work more. I just don't know when that plan will ever go into effect.

D and I both know this is a major difference in our lives. We discussed it yesterday. I worry he misses out on some of life by spending hours at work. I apologized for some recent comments I'd made which indicated just that. I also explained why I no longer work full-time. I'm sure it is hard for him to understand. I did my best to explain it, but for someone with as strong a work ethic as he has, I know it's probably difficult to comprehend. Regardless, it was a good conversation covering something I think we've both been worried, or at least thinking, about.

We've had a nice time together this weekend. It's been so great seeing him two weekends in a row. It will soon be three weekends in a row, as I'm going to spend Christmas with him and his family next weekend! We've relaxed more and talked more this weekend, and I've been happy.

Last night we spent hours at Bill and Cindy's house for dinner. There were six of us, as my sponsor and her husband joined us for the birthday celebration as well. Bill and Cindy made an amazing, huge prime rib meal. Everything was beautiful. I was so grateful to be surrounded by so much love.

And that's what I need to keep in mind this birthday. Not what I can no longer do, have, or be, but rather what I can do, what I do have, and who I can be. I am blessed. I have a life filled with satisfying work, people I love, activities I enjoy, and a lovable, loyal dog. I have everything I need.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Okay

Okay. That's how things have been going since the weekend. Okay. My mood has dipped a bit since Sunday's post. Actually it's dipped a lot a few times, but I've survived. I'm working hard on dealing with the dips by remembering they are only temporary. Along those lines, I heard something great at a meeting last night. One woman laughed and said that she somewhere got the idea that she would always feel good. We all laughed and nodded right along with her. She expanded on the thought. She told us if she didn't feel good, she assumed it meant something was terribly wrong. Again, I nodded. What a thought, huh?

It made me think. Perhaps some of my angst would be relieved if I remember life isn't always supposed to feel good. So simple. And, when I don't feel good, perhaps I need to relax before concluding something is terribly wrong. Maybe all these years of depression have made me too sensitive to the little dips. I know I can survive. I've survived in the past. I need to remember that.

So things have been okay. I'm working as scheduled. I cleaned my house. I paid my bills. I walked/ran with Puck yesterday, and I plan to swim tomorrow. My knee is coming along. It gets sore after work and after my walk/runs, but overall, it's slowly healing, I think. Mentally, I'd like to feel better. I'm not back to full strength, but I'm nowhere near as low as I was just one week ago. I'm grateful to be feeling okay.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A good weekend

It is nearing the end of the weekend, and the good news is things have gone well. I am with my boyfriend, D, at his house. We've been together for the past two days. We've been busy, and I think that has helped keep my mood in check.

We were especially busy yesterday. I had trouble sleeping overnight, so I was out of bed very early. D awoke several hours later and we took Puck out for some exercise. Did I mention the doctor is now letting me walk/run a little bit? Well, that's what we did for a couple of miles. It wasn't much, but it was certainly better than nothing. It was cold, but the sun was very bright. It was nice to be outside together in the crisp, sunny air.

After our brief encounter with exercise, we went to see the movie, j. edgar. It was excellent. Surprisingly, I was able to stay focused throughout. I'd been having a lot of trouble concentrating and staying focused since my mood tanked. Again, it was nice to spend the time together with D.

Our big event of the weekend happened last evening. I believe I mentioned in my last post that D invited me to his company holiday party? It was a semi-formal affair in a local museum, which we had all to ourselves. Despite my anxiety, it was a very nice event with about 70 people in attendance. I felt honored to be introduced to D's colleagues, and he thought I looked "pretty" in my semi-formal attire. Perhaps I'll post a picture soon.

After the company party, we actually went out to a bar. D's son was having a party in a local establishment, so we dropped in to say hello. There was live music and lots of revelry. It was fun. And I finally got to meet one of D's best friends. He said D speaks highly of me. I felt good about that.

Today brought a little more exercise, brunch at a trendy little restaurant, relaxation and football. We are both football fans so we spent time watching our teams. His won. Mine didn't. It's been a little slower day, which has been nice, too.

I've been able to take time for myself, as needed, over the weekend. D's been respectful of my need to nap, for example. In fact, I just woke up! I've struggled with a little anxiety here and there, but the overwhelming, unremitting sadness has, for now, given me a reprieve. I hope, as I make my way home and back into my routine, the reprieve will last. I think I'll say a little prayer for that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Focus forward

There's no change thus far in the mood department, but I'm tired of writing about that. I'd rather turn my focus forward. Today I am preparing for a weekend away with D. Actually, I've been preparing for several days, as he and I are attending his semi-formal Christmas party on Saturday. Semi-formal is not something with which I am typically associated. I had to go shopping.

It's hard to shop when feeling heavy and tearful. Fortunately, I found a couple of items fairly quickly and bought them without even trying them on. I couldn't get out of that store fast enough. My friend, Cindy, took over from there. I tried on a couple of combinations of skirts and tops for her, and we settled on a lovely combination of black on black! How appropriate! At least the color of my outfit will match my mood! Cindy set me up with a couple of accessories, like a black velvet coat, and I am apparently all set.

I am actually looking forward to this event. It's been a really long time since I've gotten all dressed up. And if I do say so myself, I believe I will look rather stunning despite how I've been feeling! Maybe I'll post some pictures and let you be the judge. Regardless of my appearance, I am looking forward to an evening of getting outside myself, focusing on others in the moment, and having some fun. As difficult as life has been recently, it's nice to focus forward for a change. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sometimes survival is ugly

Another Monday, and here I am. I am dressed and ready for work again. The weekend was long. I wish I could say it was pretty, but it wasn't. I grappled with the decision of whether or not to go to the hospital more than once. I was so low, suicide crept in and took up residence in my brain. I couldn't see a way out, and I couldn't stand feeling so miserable any longer.

Yet here I am. It's Monday. I survived. I pulled out all the stops and did what I needed to do. I talked to a lot of people over the weekend, friends and professionals alike. I wrote a lot. I ranted against the devil of depression, as I was furious with this illness. I took my meds as prescribed, including the as-needed meds I don't always like to take. I exercised when I could. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. I slept a lot. My energy was sapped, and sleep, at least, was a good diversion. I did the best I could, and this morning things appear slightly brighter. I survived.

I don't like writing about feeling so miserable. Maybe I want to be some sort of depression hero, one who always puts up a noble, beautiful fight. But this weekend the truth was uglier than that. At times I was a tearful, crumbled mess rather than a poised, striking statue. Despite the ugliness, I made it through. It's Monday. Here I am. I'm still fighting the not-always-beautiful fight, and I'm hoping the battle will be over soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Glad it's Friday

I last wrote here before work on Monday. Now I'm in the midst of my morning routine, and it's Friday. It's been a really long week. I haven't had the motivation or the words to write since Monday. My mood continues to challenge me to the fullest. I'm not sure how I've survived.

I did my best to travel the path God laid before me. I made it to work. I went to my meetings. I met with and worked with my sponsee. I took Puck for his walks. I even made it to the pool once for a swim. But my mood did not respond.

Despite participating in life (to the best of my ability), my mood continues to be very dark. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of hours lying motionless on the sofa, and a lot of moments of sheer, isolative misery. It's been tough.

I've tried to combat the darkness by communicating with my treatment team. Yesterday I met with my social worker and doctor. My doc increased one of my meds. We all hope that will do the trick. If not, I'm not sure what options lie ahead. In the meantime, I need to work hard to keep myself safe and moving forward, I guess. But honestly, that's getting more and more difficult to do. I'm praying for a reprieve.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Off to work

Sitting under my artificial sun light, eating oatmeal, drinking coffee, and watching ESPN, I'm already dressed in my scrubs and ready to go to work. It's Monday, after all, and work is what I do on Monday. I made it through the long holiday weekend. It wasn't necessarily pretty, and it certainly wasn't easy, but I did not let depression totally knock me down.

At times it was hard to move. Depression weighed heavy on my limbs. But I took Puck for his walks and made it to an appointment for him. As is typical, he made me smile.

At times it was difficult to reach out. Depression weighed heavy on my soul. But I finally called my friends, and they kindly took me in. We shared a few meals and hung out. They even made me laugh.

At times it was almost impossible to handle the distress. Depression wreaked havoc on my thinking. But I practiced some of the skills I'd been taught. Cognitively, despite how I felt, I knew this would eventually pass. It's always passed in the past, and despite how miserable I felt in the moment, I had to focus on that. I did the best I could, and here I am. It's Monday.

I'm ready for work. I don't know what this day will hold. I can't afford to worry about that. I'll do my best to take it as it comes. I have a few hiding spots at work where I can stop and take a breath when and if that's needed. I'm a competent physical therapist no matter the turmoil raging inside. I look forward to seeing my patients and letting them pull me outside myself for awhile. It will be a relief to focus on them rather then misery. I'm ready. Today, I will not let depression totally knock me down.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

trouble

trouble, trouble, trouble
I'm in trouble
feeling out of control
feeling so low
depression has me in its grip
I'm not sure what to do
don't know where to go
I'm in trouble
making the effort
taking the steps
the mood doesn't care
getting harder to make the effort
difficult to take the steps
so low

worse than low
unfeeling, unemotional
listless, impassive, indifferent
numb
worse than low
hurts

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A difficult day?

Everyone knows holidays may be emotionally difficult, especially for those of us with mental illness. Maybe we are no longer close to family or friends. Maybe we don't tolerate large gatherings of people. Maybe we can't get off our couch and out the door to partake in the holiday cheer. Whatever the reason, holidays may be emotionally difficult for a wide variety of people in a wide variety in situations.

Today, a day typically devoted to compiling my gratitude list, has already begun with my mood in the toilet. It's been a long couple of days of misery. My mood has me feeling isolated and alone. My energy has been extremely low, and my fatigue unusually high. I had hoped today would dawn a little brighter, but so far the cheer of the season has not rubbed off on me.

Despite my mood, I've pushed on through the darkness. I've made it to work. I've treated my patients well. I've done my best to move my body. Even if it's only been taking Puck for a walk, I've moved a bit each day. I've done my best to reach out, but I confess, this I've not done all that well. Misery, it turns out, does not always love company. I'm doing the best I can and waiting for "this too shall pass."

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends and gratitude. I'd rather not do any of the aforementioned today, but I will. I will compile my gratitude list. Even in my darkened state, I know I have a ton of people and things for which to be grateful. It will serve me well to acknowledge them all.

I have been invited to the home of friends for dinner, and I'd rather not go, but I will. It will serve me well to participate. I may not stay all day. I may leave after an hour, but I will almost certainly feel better there than if I stay home alone. I'll also call my mom, even though I don't like to talk to her when I feel so sad. She'll appreciate the contact, and hopefully it will momentarily get me out of myself.

And I will move today. I will take Puck for a walk. Of all the things I have to be grateful for, he is number one. We are quite the team, and I don't know what I'd do without him. Today is a day for me to take the actions in hopes that the mood will follow. Please mood...follow!

Certainly, I'd rather feel better today, but the reality is I don't. I'll put one foot in front of the other and do the best I can. I'm grateful to be able to share a little of my story with all of you here. I appreciate my readers, commenters, and cyberspace friends. Thank you all for keeping me moving even when the moving isn't easy. I appreciate your support. Here's to a day filled with friends and family and gratitude for all of us. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eleven Years

It's time to change the description on my blog again. When I first began this blog, it read, "Diagnosed with depression 8 years ago, I lost the life I once knew..." And then it was 9 years. And then, until today, the number was ten. It's now been 11 years since my journey with depression ensued. Around Thanksgiving, 2000, I first noticed I wasn't feeling quite right. Eleven years ago...

Not quite right was exactly how I described it at the time. I knew something was off. I knew I wasn't myself.  Having had depression as a teenager, the symptoms soon became all too familiar. Within a short period of time, I knew it was depression. And it took me quickly. It was only a few more months before my first hospitalization in the spring of 2001. If only I knew then what I know now.

At that time I thought a short hospital stay and initiating medication would get me back to normal. I was hopeful. I had no idea the journey that lay ahead. I had no idea of the losses I would incur, or the depths to which this illness would drag me. I never imagined losing my job and living on disability. I never dreamed I'd require ECT in order to function. I never thought my spouse would leave, nor that I'd be alone. Those were not pictures I had of my life. My life today looks nothing like the life I had 11 years ago.

I look nothing like I looked 11 years ago either, and I don't mean physically. In losing so much, I've also gained. I've gathered some wonderful people, friends and professionals, around me. Depression forced me into relationships. These are people I likely would have never known nor thought I needed. Today I trust them with my intimate details and count on them when I need assistance. They keep me safe, and I am forever grateful.

In 11 years I lost the person I used to be, but that turned out to be okay. Chronic, debilitating depression gave me a new perspective. It's true what they say. Illness makes a person see things differently. I notice more and worry less. I discovered living one day at a time, even though I don't always practice it, and gained the gift of gratitude. I'm less concerned about mistakes and less judgemental. I'm more honest, trusting and empathic. I'm a kinder, gentler, nicer person than I used to be. That's not so bad.

Still, it's been 11 years, and I'd be lying if I said I was celebrating. This is a time of reflection for me. Some reflections bring sadness and grief, others produce satisfaction and even joy. I'm proud of my resilience. I appreciate my acceptance of change. I'm pleased with this blog. I've accomplished some things despite this dreadful illness.

Depression is a dreadful, debilitating illness. It has, without my consent, irreparably altered my life. For 11 years, at its whim, depression has dragged me into the darkness, stolen my soul, and left me for dead. But I'm still trudging along. I'm still fighting. I'm still living. I'm especially proud of that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Riding the coaster

Going up? Maybe. It's hard to say. I've given up trying to figure it out. Instead I'm focused on staying on the ride. I'm strapped in. My butt is firmly planted in the seat. It's a temporary ride, as one of my readers reminded me, and I just need to hang on. Hanging on tight, I am.

I've been doing what I need to do. Work has been extremely busy lately, which is good, although my low mood made it a bit more challenging. Fortunately, work also provided a distraction from the darkness. I may not have been quite as efficient over the past couple days, but I saw to the needs of all of my patients nonetheless. I've got some really neat people on my caseload, and they certainly help me keep life in perspective.

With my mood being so off, I've let a lot of things slide away from work. My house, for example, needs some assistance. It's a mess. Cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, and dusting all await my response. My front yard needs to be raked--still. I'm lucky it hasn't snowed. And Puck is a constant reminder that I need to keep moving. If not for my sake, for his. Perhaps today will allow me to address at least one of these concerns.

One thing at a time, one day at a time. That's where I'm focused. I'm riding the rollercoaster. I'm strapped in and hanging on tight. Soon, I expect the bumps will smooth and the coaster will slowly roll to a nice, quiet stop. I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No good

I'm so tired of writing this. Things aren't good. My mood, which rebounded for my visit with D over the weekend, tanked again by Monday evening. Things have only worsened from there. Tuesday, a longer day than I thought possible, left me in tears. Wednesday's long, busy day at work temporarily distracted and then exhausted me. And this morning, I've awoken heavy and sad. Mornings are usually my best time. Feeling like this so early in the day is quite foreboding. I don't know what to do. I can barely move.

I'm so tired of writing this shit! The rollercoaster of good, bad, good, bad makes me nuts. I never know what to expect. It's disheartening, exhausting, and soul crushing every time I fall. And it's not just a fall, it's a free fall--so fast. It doesn't make any sense. It is, I guess, my illness at this moment rearing its ugly head.

I'm so tired of writing this that I'm going to stop writing now. In a few days, if the rollercoaster continues to race, I may be telling you how wonderful I feel. Stay with my on the ride, my friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Home again

I'm home from my weekend away with D. We had a really nice time, which made up for the stressful drive there and back. My vehicle was acting up a bit, and it made for a tense drive. Every time I thought I had the problem licked, it would crop up again. I guess a trip to the mechanic is now on my to-do list.

Anyway, the weekend was really good. Yesterday we went to The Harley Davidson Museum. As a former motorcyclist, I really enjoyed that. Last night D took me out to a nice Italian restaurant in a a very hip section of the city. We had a fabulous dinner and then walked the streets and talked. I hadn't been treated to a romantic dinner in quite a few years, so that was also really nice.

The physical distance between us was a topic of conversation a couple of times during the weekend. We both acknowledged it was difficult. We have such a nice time when we're together, but building the relationship in fits and starts is not ideal. Unfortunately, that's the way it is right now. Fortunately, it is changeable. We ended up agreeing it was best to take things as they come, one day at a time. After all, fretting about how far apart we live won't do either of us, or our relationship, any good.

My mood remains good. I'm sure being doted on over the weekend was helpful. Puck and I are now settling back into our home and routine. He's already asleep on his bed, and that's exactly where I'm headed--bed. Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Still moving forward

I'm tired tonight. But that's a good thing. I'm tired because I put in a full day of work, came home and took Puck for a walk, made supper, and am now in the middle of my third load of laundry. I'm moving.

I'm feeling a little brighter. The darkness has abated a bit. Connecting with members of my treatment team has helped. I've also spent more time lately with friends, Bill and Cindy, and that's always helpful. But mostly, I've focused on moving--one foot in front of the other--moving.

Speaking of moving, I'm preparing for a weekend away with my boyfriend, D. It's weird to use the term boyfriend at my age (and his age), but that's what he is, I guess. I'm not looking forward to the Friday evening four hour drive in the dark, but D's going to have dinner waiting for me at the other end. It's been three weeks since we last saw each other. I'm really looking forward to reconnecting.

I'm glad to be feeling better in advance of the weekend. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle feeling so down around D. He's not seen that side of me yet. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about it. I'm grateful to be feeling better.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Upward trend

Things are moving. I'm feeling a little better. I've been forcing myself to take the next right action, to keep moving forward despite the urge to sit still, and I think it's made a difference. My mood is slightly better, and I think it's because I've forced myself out the door.

Yesterday, I made it to an AA meeting. I picked up a friend along the way, which forced me to go and stay for the entire meeting. Afterwards, I went out to breakfast with a couple of other friends. They know I've been struggling, and they were kind to suggest the outing. After returning home I crashed on my sofa, as that was a lot of activity for my fogged brain. But I survived.

Surviving is the extent of what I've been doing over the past few days. Work has been especially difficult. I've been in a state of gray, suspended animation. I've been such a fake. I could see myself from the outside looking in, as I performed with one patient after another. A performance, that's what it was. I acted as if, and wondered who I was the entire time. But again, I survived. I did what was required, and in the end, despite feeling like crap in the moment, maybe it helped in the long run. Who knows?

Today, as I start my day, the sky is clear, and the sun is about to rise. I doubt I would have noticed that even yesterday. So things are maybe, cautiously, looking up. I will continue to move as much as I can. I'll fake it if I have to, but hopefully I won't have to do that for much longer. I wish you all a day of sunshine and serenity. Keep moving.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A realization

I realized something this morning. I put a lot of pressure on myself. Regarding this blog, I've been feeling bad about feeling bad. I feel like I've established this positive vibe regarding my blog/my story, and I need to keep that up for all of you. Yet in the past, when I've felt good, I've felt bad about feeling too good, afraid that I'd alienate some of you. Isn't that something? I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. And the damnation is all thanks to my own thoughts!

I'm not sure why I place this pressure on myself. It's one of the unhealthy things I do, I guess. Perhaps I'm trying to please everyone. I know that's impossible, yet here I am trying to accomplish it. I'm going to make an effort to stop worrying about how you will perceive what I write. What I write is authentic, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't smooth out the rough edges. That's silly. I feel what I feel. It is what it is. Worrying about whether I'm doing too well or not well enough is not helpful. I'm going to have to remove that pressure.

Right now, I'm in a dip. A dip is one of the many annoying aspects of this illness. It comes and goes. My psychologist reminded me, "You've been here before. You know it will pass." I know it will pass, and it still feels like shit to be in the middle of it! That's where I'm at.

Depression sucks. It fills me with worry and foreboding. My brain feels not my own. My thoughts are dark and brooding. My energy is low. Yet I am going to keep moving forward. Not because I am some kind of hero, but because I am a veteran of depression. My experience reminds me, forward is the only direction which may provide relief. On this day, I will relax and move forward. Rather than worry, I just need to do.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I need to write.

I need to write.
I need to let you know,
I am still here.

I need to write.
I don't want you to worry.
I'm still moving.

I need to write.
Times may be tough, but
I've not given up.

I need to write.
I feel obligated
to stay on track.

I need to write.
Though I have not much to say,
I am still here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Taking the Actions

It is said, if you take the action the mind will follow. It's kind of like faking it until you make it. It's what I've been forced to do for the past several days. As best I can, I'm taking the actions in hopes that my mind will follow. With the exception of yesterday, when I was dark and virtually catatonic, I've been trying to put one foot in front of the other. So far my mind has stayed put.

This will be a short post because I don't want to whine. Besides, I've not got much else to say. My mood is low. Yesterday was long and solo. I did make it to the pool for a swim, but just leaving the house brought tears to my eyes. This morning, after some encouragement, I made it to an AA meeting. That brought temporary relief, just enough to get me into the grocery store. The tearfulness returned somewhere in the produce aisle. I hastily made my retreat. Home again, I'm still trying to do the next right thing. Right now it's laundry. One foot in front of the other... I wish my mind would get on board.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not the full truth

I guess I lied to you when I said I was okay. Here you were, sitting on my sofa, asking just that very question, and I lied. I don't know why. Perhaps because I'm trying to ignore the descent. I'm trying to shut out the darkness that's already made its way in. I lied because I don't want it to be so, but it is.

It makes sense, this descent. Healing has left me to spend much time alone. I'm not able to move my body in the ways of which I am accustomed. And the outcome of this injury-surgery-healing process is still largely unknown. The darkness outside is descending, too, as each day dwindles and less light is produced. It's a perfect storm of circumstance. Descent into my own darkness makes perfect sense.

The problem is I seem perfectly content to let it be so. To be left alone, that is my wish. Maybe that is why I lied. Perhaps I'm not so much ignoring the descent as I am going with it. There seems no fight in me right now. I know it's coming. Hell, it's already here, and I don't seem to care. I can't explain why that is so, but it is. I guess I lied to you when I said I was okay. I'm not, and yet I am.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Accepting help

D just left my house. He's on his way home. As usual, it was great to see him and difficult to see him go. We had another nice weekend together, although his purpose this weekend was to assist me. That was his idea. He was going to do some work at his lake home this weekend, but he decided to come here instead. He thought I needed help, and he wanted to be the helper. That was nice.

I've been receiving help from several people lately. My friend Therese has taken Puck for several walks and short runs. Without her, Puck would likely be going nuts by now. D also took Puck for a couple of long walks over the weekend. My friend Katie arrived at my home Thursday morning with four boys and some rakes. She and her boys raked my leaves and mowed my lawn. My lawn now looks presentable. Even my parents got into the act. My mom made me some good pea soup, three quarters of which I froze, before she and my step-dad went south for the winter. I'm not used to receiving so much assistance.

I'm not used to receiving help, and accepting help makes me uncomfortable. After all, I'm a pretty independent gal. This weekend D kept asking, "What can I do for you?" I didn't know what to say. He kept making me sit down so he could get me water, or coffee, or whatever I needed. I was a little embarrassed. When Katie was here raking, I couldn't sit down. I kept wandering around outside, but with me on crutches, there was little I could do. I just felt like I shouldn't sit when so many others were working. Even when Therese is out walking Puck, I barely sit. It's silly. Accepting help is difficult for me. I always say thank you, but sometimes that just doesn't seem enough.

I need to work on accepting help gracefully. Recovering from this knee surgery will give me that opportunity, I guess. Maybe that's one of the things I'm supposed to learn while I sit on the sidelines. I'm very grateful for the assistance I've recently received. But I can't wait until I am again the helper rather than the helpee.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Disappointing news

I saw my orthopedic surgeon today. He took the stitches out of my knee, explained the photos of the surgical procedure, and checked on my progress. Then we talked about rehab. Unfortunately, the microfracture surgery he performed is not a quick healing procedure. In fact, he doesn't even want me fully weightbearing on my right leg for another 2-3 weeks. Since he repaired the patello-femoral joint, I have to avoid loading my knee when it is in any more than a slightly flexed position. That means I cannot go up or down stairs, squat, kneel, bike, jump, row, or run. I can return to swimming next week. I can return to gentle biking from a high seat in 2-3 weeks. I won't be able to climb stairs, squat, or kneel for quite awhile. But here's the kicker. I may not be able to run for 6 months. Ouch.

I wasn't expecting the running news. I thought 3 months would be the longest possible layoff. Six months took me by surprise, and I've been working on swallowing it for the rest of the day. Obviously, things could be worse. He could have told me never to run again. I guess I'm having a hard time accepting this because it was a surprise. I wasn't prepared. The other problem is The Boston Marathon, for which I am already registered, have a room and a flight, is almost exactly 6 months from today. I really wanted to run a good Boston in 2012. The news from my doctor today was very disappointing.

Despite the disappointing news, I have much to look forward to. I am really looking forward to getting in the pool next week. I feel heavy and out of shape already. It will be nice to move freely and expand my lungs again. I'm also looking forward to this weekend. D is coming to visit. It will be nice to see him and spend time together. And I'm looking forward to continued healing. Day be day, things will improve, and I'll likely be running again before I know it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things are getting better

I'm healing fairly well. I spent most of the weekend inside, sitting, icing, reading, and watching TV. It was beautiful outside, so I hobbled around a bit in the driveway. There wasn't much for me to do out there, and I wasn't sure I was supposed to drive yet anyway. Today I didn't care. I got in my car and took myself to the gym. I spent 45 minutes lifting weights. People were staring at me hobbling on my crutches from machine to machine, but I didn't care. It felt good to move my body. I probably should have gotten myself there earlier.

I stopped into work to say hello. I'm hoping to get back to my job soon, as I don't know how these bills are going to get paid if I don't. Financially, I'm stressed. I hate financial stress, and that's all I'm going to say about that!

My mood remains good, but I do miss running. I'm anxious about my recovery. There's no guarantee the surgery will cure me to the point of running again, but I try really hard not to think about that. Instead, I'm looking forward to being out there in the sun again, running, and painfree. That will be a glorious day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Healing is boring

I've not got much to report today. I'm feeling a little better everyday. My knee is coming along. The swelling is significantly less. I'm able to put some weight on it, and I'm working on flexing it a little further everyday. I'm pleased with the progress.

The main issue I'm having is boredom! There is only so much one can do in one's own house when one only has the use of one leg! I'm spending most of my time sitting on my butt watching TV, reading, and snoozing. For a little wrinkle, I add ice to my knee. I get up and amble around, but I have a little house. That distraction doesn't take very long. The days are getting really long. I'm bored.

Things are getting taken care of around here. I'm not supposed to drive yet, but I went out to a board meeting the other night. I had to get out of the house! A friend picked me up for an AA meeting this morning. That was nice. AA'ers are good people. One friend has been taking Puck for walks. She even took him for a run today. That made him happy and tired him out! Another friend offered her sons to mow my lawn and rake my leaves. If they agree, that would be a big relief! So I've really got nothing to complain about. I'm grateful to be surrounded by such caring people.

Things are going well despite my lack of patience. I'm anxious to exercise again, and I may try lifting some light weights tomorrow. Other than that, I'll be here sitting. It's all part of the process to get me running again. That's the goal waiting on the other side of the boredom. With patience, I'll get there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alive but not kicking

I'm about 24 hours post-op right now. My right knee is very, very sore. I've not yet been able to put more than a few ounces of weight on my leg and bending my knee is still out of the question. I wasn't quite prepared for this level of discomfort. Ice and pain meds have been crucial.

The good news, and the odd news, is that my lateral meniscus was totally intact. My doctor and I were both surprised. Rather than a lateral meniscus tear, as we had thought, I had a totally screwed up patella-femoral joint. That's the joint between the knee cap and the femur. The joint surfaces were very rough. They're supposed to be as smooth as glass. There were bone spurs on my patella. The cartilage was torn up. And strangest of all, I had a hunk of scar tissue sitting right in the joint space. Yet I had NO patella-femoral joint pain! All of my pain was posterior and lateral. Patella-femoral pain should occur right under the knee cap. My doctor said he'd only seen such a thing once or twice before in his many years of practice. What can I say? I guess I'm unique.

My doctor fixed me up. He smoothed out the roughened joint surfaces, removed the damaged cartilage and bone spurs, and excised the scar tissue. He then performed microfracture surgery. In microfracture surgery, holes are drilled in the bone surface down to the layer of bone marrow. He drilled holes in my femur. The holes allow growth factor and blood circulation to reach the outer bone surface which regenerates the cartilage. If the procedure works, new cartilage will fill in the gaps created by removing the damaged cartilage. The recovery may take a little longer, but hopefully I'll be able to run painfree in the end.

I'm optimistic. Since surgery, I've done a lot of reading and watched some YouTube videos about microfracture surgery. Several athletes have had positive results and returned to their sports after having the surgery performed. That's all I want. I want to return to my sport.

Hopefully the pain will subside soon, and I can get on with moving and strengthening my knee. I'll be on crutches for at least one week. At that point, I'll follow-up with my doctor and learn more. Thank you for all of the prayers and well wishes. I really appreciated the support.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

At the lake

I'm sorry for the long delay in posting this week. I have finally recovered from my illness. I'm spending this weekend with D at the lake. It has been an unbelievably gorgeous weekend. The sun has been shining non-stop, and the temperatures have been in the 80's. The leaves are beautiful, and the smell of fall fills the air. This is exactly what I needed.

Not only is the weather beautiful, things with D are going great. We've spent a lot of quality time together. It's so great that we like to do the same things. Yesterday we returned to the bike trail in the woods, the trail on which we met, and went for a long bike ride. We stopped a few times and took some pictures, chatted with a few other folks on the trail, and generally had a lovely time together. After dinner last night we didn't want to come inside, so we built a fire and sat quietly under the stars before retiring for the night. This morning, the lake was like glass, so we set out in the kayaks for a journey around some islands. Again, it was beautiful. We took our time, took more pictures, and soaked in the sun. Like I said, this is exactly what I needed this weekend. I'm happy.

I return home tomorrow to prepare for my surgery. Tuesday really can't come soon enough. I'm so ready to get this thing taken care of. I'm anxious, of course, as I won't know until I wake up from surgery what kind of recovery to expect. The unknown is always scary. But I'm optimistic everything will work out as it should, and I will be back running soon enough. I'm trying to combat my worry with faith. Any prayers you may offer will certainly be appreciated.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sick and Stressed

I don't know about you, but being ill exhausts me. I have been feeling poorly for over a week now. Last week was brutal. I had a fever, sore throat, stuffy head, and fatigue for 5 days. Then the cough set in. I've been coughing day and night since late last week. It's exhausting.

It's been a tough 10 days. Besides being sick, which makes everything else more challenging, I've been worrying about my knee and upcoming surgery. I'm worried about how long the recovery will take, and if/when I'll be able to run again. I'm worried about my finances, as I don't have enough sick time to cover my extended leave from work after surgery. I'm anxious about my physical condition, and not being able to exercise has compounded my stress. I just feel like crap.

I hate to complain. Things could be worse. And a lot of things are going well. I am a little worried about my mood. It seems to be sliding. I'm not surprised. I don't think I'm dealing with things very well right now.

My friend, Kate, was here this past weekend to run The Twin Cities Marathon. We were supposed to run it together. It was nice to see her, show her around my state, and introduce her to my friends. Unfortunately, I think all the socializing we did wore me out. And it was really tough watching a race I was supposed to have run. By Sunday night, I was wiped out.

I'm supposed to visit D. this weekend at his lake home. I'm not looking forward to the 5.5 hour drive. I'm still so tired, and I just don't know if I have the energy to be social for another entire weekend. That scares me. Like I said, I'm worried about my mood. I'm finding myself wanting to stay home and sleep instead of doing just about anything else.

I've contacted my doctor, and I've let my best friends know I'm worried about my sliding mood. Now I'm letting you know, too. I need to arrest this before I sink. I think this upcoming surgery will be stressful enough. I don't want to add a depression relapse on top of it. I've got to be on guard and proactive. I can't ignore it. As my friend, Cindy, told me last night, I have to keep moving forward, one step at a time, and do the next right thing. If I can just focus on the next right thing, this too shall pass.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Surgery

The verdict is in. I will be having surgery on my right knee. As I expected, I have a torn lateral meniscus. The only question remaining is how severely it is torn, and we won't know that until my MD sticks his scope in there and peeks around. So I won't know until after I wake up on October 11th, the day of my surgery, how long my recovery will take. It all depends on what my doctor finds and how much of my meniscus he will have to remove. It could take a few weeks or a few months. Obviously, I'm hoping for the former rather than the latter.

I'm very relieved to finally get moving on this problem. It's been frustrating waiting for my doctor's appointment when I've known for a month what was likely going on. I'm especially fortunate to have such a good relationship with this MD, as his next available surgery appointment was actually in mid-November! Instead, he was kind enough to add me to his schedule on what was supposed to be the last day of his upcoming vacation. He knows how important running is to my overall health and well-being, and we both knew it would be almost impossible for me to wait another 6 weeks for surgery. By scheduling me on October 11th, I may be back to running by mid to late November! I'm very, very grateful my doctor afforded me such an opportunity. 

I'll be spending the next 10-12 days getting ready for surgery. There are pre-op doctor's appointments to be attended, and there is paperwork to be completed. I also have to work out time off with my boss. I don't know what I'm going to do to pay my bills while I'm out, as I haven't yet accrued enough sick time to cover more than 2 or 3 days off. If I don't work, I don't get paid. I'm worried about that. I'm trusting it will all work out. I just don't know how yet. I'll also have to find some volunteers to walk Puck while I'm gimping around. He won't tolerate sitting still for long. My yard may need to be mowed or raked, and I don't know how long I'll be unable to drive. There are a few things to figure out over the next week and a half. Obviously, getting ready for surgery will require more than just getting ready for the surgery.

Nonetheless, I'm grateful to have a diagnosis that is fixable. I'm grateful my MD fit me into his personal schedule. And I'm really grateful to be moving forward rather than standing still. I'm relieved. While having surgery may create some other issues, I don't think any of those issues will be impossible to deal with. One day at a time, I'll deal with them as they arise. In the end, I'll eventually be back to running, and that's what I'm focused on right now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Still sick

Ugh! It's been a long week so far. I've been feeling like crap since Saturday night. I thought it was just a bad cold, but now I think it's more likely been the flu. My body has been aching so badly it's kept me awake at night. I had a low-grade fever through yesterday. And my head has been painfully stuffed up. Last night I was up coughing half the night. Needless to say, things have not been fun. I hate lying around doing nothing, but I really didn't have a choice.

This morning my temp is back to normal. I'm tired, but my body is aching less. I have to go to work because I have four new patients who need to be evaluated. I think I'm past being contagious, but I'm going to wear a mask so I don't get anyone else sick. Once my evaluations are done, I'll be back home resting again.

I also have my appointment with my orthopedic doctor this afternoon. Hopefully, I'll finally have a definitive diagnosis and a plan for recovery. My knee has been worse the past few days, and I've finally made the decision that I won't be running on Sunday. It will be hard.

My friend Kate will arrive Friday night for marathon weekend. I guess I will be her personal chauffer for the weekend. I'd rather stay away from the race all together, but obviously I can't do that with Kate here to run. Oh well. It will be nice to see Kate again, and I'm sure she will love the race.

That's all for now. I'm off to ready myself for my day. I'll let you know the outcome of my ortho appointment. Send prayers for something easily fixable. And have a great day!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Under the weather today

I'm supposed to be at work right now. Unfortunately, I spent much of the night awake with a sore throat, headache and body aches. I do believe I am getting sick. I hate being sick. I especially hate being sick one week prior to my next marathon. Hmmm...perhaps God really is trying to tell me something.

Speaking of sick, my orthopedic doctor called in sick on Friday. Therefore, I did not get to have my knee evaluated. I'm pretty sure I have a torn meniscus in there, but I need him to confirm that and to get the ball rolling to recovery ( i.e. cut it out). Fortunately, I was able to reschedule the appointment for this Wednesday, so I don't have too long to wait to see him. I'm going to see what he says about running vs. not running the marathon next week.

My friend, Kate, will be coming into town for the marathon. This will be the fifth marathon we will be doing together in the last year and a half. I'm looking forward to seeing her and showing off my home state. I just wish I was in better shape myself. Oh well, whether I run or not, I know she will enjoy herself.

Well, my head is pounding. I guess it's time to lie back down. I've gotta get my rest. I've got no time to waste!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A shared experience

I finally got around to reading my October Runner's World magazine today. One particular article had been recommended, and so I went there first. The article was about Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic gold medalist and 1976 Olympic silver medalist, in the marathon. He is widely known as the initiator of the 1970's running boom, and he remains revered within the running community to this day. I was anxious to read the article.

My anticipation stemmed from the article's focus. Titled Frank's Story, it detailed the abuse he endured as a child. In it, Frank Shorter discussed how his dad, a small town, heroic, doctor, mercilessly abused him and his siblings. He detailed his memories of walking on eggshells around his dad, listening to him climb the stairs before he chose which sibling to beat with a belt, and of his father's competition with his own children--belittling their accomplishments rather than celebrating them. Those details were all too familiar to me.

I was so moved by Frank's Story, and his brutal honesty, that I looked him up. I found him, too. After a few deep breaths, I dialed his number. I recognized his voice on his voicemail, so I left him a message. I told him how much I respected his honesty and openness, and I let him know I shared many of his memories. I left my phone number, and three hours later he called back. We talked for quite awhile--me and an Olympic gold medalist--and I hung up amazed. Our shared experience brought us together in a way nothing else ever could. Amazing.

And just now, I am realizing that's exactly what I'm doing with you through this blog. Sharing experiences... Most of you don't have a clue who I am, and yet we are here, together, because of our shared experiences, whether that's running, or depression, or a little of both. I'm so grateful for my interaction with Mr. Shorter today, and I'm thankful you are here, too, sharing my experiences with me. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Revolt of my Body

I'm afraid my body is against me. My right knee has been steadily improving. It has improved so much, in fact, that I was able to run on it today. I did a one mile lap with Puck to warm up, and that went really well. After dropping Puck at home, I set out again. I was just settling into my relaxed pace when I felt a tug and then burning in my left calf. I knew immediately. It stopped me in my tracks. I pulled my left calf muscle again. My body, apparently, is revolting.

I'm so frustrated. I was only two miles into my run when this happened. I don't know what to think. I've been working hard and doing the right things, but to no avail. I guess I'll make a massage appointment. My massage therapist fixed my calf in August. Maybe she can work her magic again. The Twin Cities Marathon is looking more doubtful every day. Oh well, maybe this is God's way of telling me to rest. If so, I don't like the message!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pleasantly Tired

It's the end of a long weekend with D. He's on his way home. He left 3 hours ago, so he's probably getting close to home now. I miss him. I feel a little silly saying that, but it's the truth. I miss him. My house feels empty. I think Puck's even a little sad. We're missing part of the pack.

It's funny. This is the first time he's come here, rather than me going there, and this is the first time I've felt sad when we've parted. Usually, I've felt pleasantly tired and happy. Today I'm pleasantly tired and sad. Weird. My friend Cindy says it means I'm falling in love...

D and I had a great time together this weekend. He seemed more relaxed. It's probably because he didn't have to worry about what we were going to do next. This time that was my worry. The weekend went by so quickly, I didn't have much time to worry though.

It was a busy weekend. Actually, Friday was relaxing, but Saturday was quite busy. My sponsor and her husband treated us to a Minnesota Twins game yesterday. After working out, we left home early for the game, which took up most of the day. The Twins lost, but we had a lot of fun. After returning home, we had about 30 minutes to relax before going out for dinner with my sponsor, her husband, and friends, Bill and Cindy. Dinner took up the rest of the day. We were whipped by the time we got home for bed.

Today was a little more relaxed, but it was too short. We worked out this morning, had coffee with Bill and Cindy, and watched a little football before he had to head home. We basically had just over 48 hours together. I'm not complaining, but I can't wait until we can spend more time together.

Hmmm... I just got off the phone with D. Maybe my friend Cindy is right...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going back to Boston

I registered for the 2012 Boston Marathon today. I was worried the race would fill before I got a chance to register, but thankfully, I got in. I can't wait to go back to Boston next April. I've got a bone to pick with that race. It was the toughest and slowest marathon I ran this past year. I'd like spend more time running and less time walking next time.

Speaking of running, I haven't done a lick of it since Saturday. I've only run twice since my last marathon 3 weeks ago. My knee is not responding to the rest, ice, or ultrasound. It's better, but I can't run without pain, so I'm not running. I'm pretty sure my lateral meniscus is torn. That's the cartilage between the bones on the outside of my knee. I see my orthopedic doctor in 10 days, and I think we may be discussing surgery. But we'll see. Maybe things will yet improve on their own.

I've been training hard despite not being able to run. I've been swimming, biking and lifting weights. I feel good. I don't think I've lost a lot of fitness, but time away from running always hurts running performance. I'm still holding out hope of completing The Twin Cities Marathon in a few weeks, even if I have to walk most of it. That may not make sense to my non-running readers, but I love this event and I'd like to finish it. I hate signing up and not showing up. Of course, I won't do it if it means I'll do major damage. I'll likely decide after discussing it with my doctor next week.

I've been busy sprucing up my home and getting ready for D to come visit. He'll arrive Friday morning for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to seeing him. I'm also anxious for him to meet Bill and Cindy. They are my closest friends and a huge part of my life. He needs to know who they are. We are having dinner with them one night this weekend. I can't wait. I'm sure it will be fun.

Well, I think my kitchen floor has dried, so it's time for me to move onward. I'll sign off for now with best wishes for a good night and a better tomorrow. Thanks for reading, my friends.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Less to say

Things are continuing to go well. I guess I could complain about my knee, which is still bothering me, but complaining is so useless. Besides, I had a great workout today. If I were able to run as I wished, I would have done 20 miles in preparation for my next marathon, which is now 3 weeks away. But 20 miles was out of the question, so I decided to bike, run and swim instead.

I wanted to work out for three hours, which is approximately how long it would take me to run 20 miles. I began my morning in the pre-dawn light on my bike. As the sun rose, I biked a 34.4 mile loop. It was quite chilly when I began, but by the time I finished, the sun had warmed me nicely. I jumped off my bike and ran 3.6 miles. My knee hurt, but it was tolerable. It was too bad, for I felt like I could have kept running forever. After my run, I drove a couple miles to my gym and got into the pool. I swam one mile. In total, I completed 39 miles in just about three hours. It was a great workout. I had plenty of energy, and switching things up definitely kept me interested throughout.

The rest of my day has been filled with errands, chores, and of course, a nap. I may go to a movie with friends tonight. Tomorrow I have to work. Pretty boring...

That's the problem with feeling well. I have less and less to say. I worry about what to write here. I don't want to bore you. I know some with depression have trouble relating when my life is so "normal." But this is my life with depression. Sometimes it hurts and sucks. And sometimes, as is the case right now, I feel well. So I apologize for having less to say, but I'll keep writing about my boring life as long as you'll have me. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Updates

The long weekend with my friend D went well, although not as swimmingly as in the past. There was a simple reason. D's 30-year-old son joined us at the lake. He's a nice guy, and he likes me, but it made things different. First of all, he's a very intense young man. I'm not used to being around intense people. It was a little tiring.

There were also some moments of tension. I think D wanted to please both of us and/or didn't want to offend either of us. For example, I wanted to take D out for breakfast on Sunday, just the two of us, but he thought it would be rude to leave his 30-year-old son home alone. I disagreed. I ended up going out with my parents instead.

Some of the tension was of my own making. D's divided attention caused me to worry. My fears of being hurt reared their ugly head. I had to work hard to accept the situation as it was, accept D's divided attention, and to not read anything into that divided attention (for example, thinking it meant I was not liked). By the end of the weekend, I accomplished that. It was, overall, a good weekend once again.

The other update is not so promising. I am injured again. Actually, I tweaked my knee during my last marathon, and it's been bothering me ever since. I have a longstanding, slight meniscus tear in my right knee, and I think I irritated it coming down one of the long, steep hills during the race. I actually didn't run at all during the last week. I biked, swam, or lifted weights everyday instead. By Saturday, the pain was significantly less.

As per my plan, I set out for my usual long run on Saturday. D's son is also training for a marathon, and we were both scheduled to go 14 miles. Unfortunately, despite feeling good prior to the run, my knee flared up around 4 miles. I made it 8 miles, but that was it. And I payed for it later.

I'm taking another break from running now. I will treat myself with some ultrasound, get a massage, and cross-train again. It's already better than it was over the weekend, but I'm worried. I don't know how soon I'll be able to run again.

Despite my injury, my mood is still holding steady. I'm grateful for that. I'm also grateful for all of you readers. You really keep me going. You have no idea! I have a busy week ahead. I'm hoping things go smoothly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another long weekend ahead

I've not got much to report. Things are going well. I noticed a slight dip in my mood early this week, following my DNF over the weekend, but I was able to right myself relatively quickly. I just had to let go of the disappointment and focus on what my reader, Maggie, mentioned in her helpful comment. DNF means Did Not Fail. I like that. Thanks Maggie.

I'm off to the lake again this weekend. It's supposed to be nice, and of course I'm looking forward to seeing D! I'm hoping to run 13-15 miles with D and his son on Saturday. His son is training for his first marathon, which unfortunately is the same weekend as my next marathon, so D will be far away with his son on that day (as he should be). I've had a refreshingly good week of training so far. It will be nice to run through the quiet woods, with someone whose company I enjoy, to finish off the week tomorrow.

Nothing more to report from here. Have a safe, enjoyable, healthy holiday weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The conversation

As planned, I had the big depression conversation with D this past weekend. In fact, I got it out of the way within a few hours of arriving. We were sitting together on the couch when I came out with it. And you know what? It didn't seem to be a big deal. He seemed to take it in stride.

The talk itself was relatively short. Mostly I talked, and he listened. I was expecting a lot of questions, but he only asked one which I remember. He wanted to know if I took medication. That's all. I wish he had asked a few more questions, actually. Answering questions would have allowed me to expand on the information I gave him. Instead he got just the basic outline of my story, nothing more.

I told him I've had depression since November, 2000. I told him I took medication. I told him I had been hospitalized for it. I told him fatigue was a lingering symptom and the primary reason I no longer worked full time. I explained that I'd been relatively stable for quite awhile, and I even told him about this blog.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to tell him many details. I didn't tell him about the number of hospitalizations. I didn't tell him about the suicide attempts. I didn't explain other treatments I've had, like ECT. I didn't tell him about disability. And I didn't explain what depression had taken from my life. I felt like I left a lot out.

Perhaps what I told him was enough information for him for now. Perhaps that's why he didn't quiz me. He sat quietly, asked his one question, and that was about it. I had to be okay with that. He's a contemplative guy, and perhaps that's what he needed to do--contemplate.

Depression came up in normal conversation a few more times throughout the weekend, but that was it. I wanted to say more, but I decided to let it go. I figure it's out there now. Perhaps he will have more questions for me in the future. If not, I guess more of the story will slowly come out.

The good news is he didn't treat me any differently the rest of the weekend. Everything continued forward without a glitch. In fact, everything went great! Our relationship seems to be growing stronger with every moment spent together. It's nice. I'm happy. And I'm so relieved the depression conversation is now behind me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

An unexpected result

The good news is my left calf did not hurt one bit during Saturday's marathon. It was absolutely fine. The rest, painful massages, Epsom salt ice baths, stretching, and prayers must have worked, for I didn't even feel a twinge of discomfort. Unfortunately, there is bad news as well. Despite the lack of expected calf pain, I did not finish the marathon. For only the third time in my life, I dropped out of a race.

DNF (Did Not Finish) are three letters I don't like to see following my name in any race result, but Saturday just wasn't my day. I have no other explanation than that. I felt great on Friday. I ate well, hydrated, and rested appropriately. The weather was nearly perfect Saturday morning. I felt ready and had only the typical nervous anticipation prior to the start. But I think that's where the normalcy ended. Shortly after the gun went off, I had an inkling something wasn't quite right.

Perhaps I started a bit too fast. Although my pace was nearly the same as I ran at Grandma's Marathon just two months ago, I couldn't catch my breath. I chalked it up to nervousness and tried to distract myself with some gratitude prayers. At each mile, throughout the mile, I thanked God for a different person in my life. The distraction worked until mile 5 when our flat course suddenly became gigantically hilly. It was a course change I hadn't expected. My quick pace bit me in the ass.

For the next three miles we summitted 4 hills, each one longer and steeper than the last. I hung in there up and over the first three hills, but by hill number four I was in distress. First of all, my GI system was off, which forced an emergent bathroom stop. Then the lengthy fourth hill slowed me to a walk half way from the top. The steep descent on the other side must have torn me up, too, because by the time our path flattened around mile 8, my legs were trashed. The hills were done, and so, I feared, was I.

It was more than just my legs giving way. My shortness of breath, which the hills exacerbated, never ceased. And my energy all but disappeared. I felt cooked, and I was only at mile 8! Dismayed, I tried to soldier on. I walked at mile markers. I joined up with other runners in hopes they would pull me along. I walked through water stops. I waited for the bad spot to pass. But Saturday, for whatever reason, the bad spot only worsened. Despite my pride in perseverance, stubbornness, and personal pep talks, my body just wouldn't go.

I ran and walked from miles 8 through 12 while still maintaining a reasonable pace. But after mile 13, in which I walked more than I ran, I finally gave up. I wasn't having fun. I knew if I continued it would be a really long day. So one hour and fifty five minutes into the race, at exactly mile 13.1, I dropped out. I was disappointed nearly to tears, but it was the right decision and knowing that kept my chin up. I caught a ride to the finish where D was waiting, first with surprise and then with a hug. My day was done.

This was a small blip of disappointment in an otherwise excellent weekend. Believe it or not, while I know I could have finished, I'm proud of myself for making what was probably the wiser decision. My focus now is on recovering, resting, and preparing better for October. After all, the Twin Cities Marathon is only 5 weeks away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wait and see

Sipping my morning cup of coffee, watching SportsCenter, it looks like a beautiful day outside. I'd usually be working out right now, but today is a rest day in advance of my marathon this weekend. So I have a little more time to relax this morning before work. It's nice, I guess, but I'd rather be doing something a bit more active. It feels too early to wait.

Waiting. That's what I'm doing. I'm waiting for Saturday to arrive, and I'm waiting to see if my calf will cooperate with running 26.2 miles. I had another massage yesterday. It wasn't uncomfortable, so I think I am healing. I attempted a 2 mile run/walk with Puck last night. There was no pain, but my left calf wasn't quite right yet. I was encouraged that at least there was no pain. I think Saturday will be okay, but there is nothing left to do now except wait.

I don't know about you, but I am not terribly skilled at waiting. Whether I'm waiting for an injury to heal or for an episode of depression to lift, patience is difficult. But I'm more skilled at it than I used to be. You wouldn't think I'd be able to relate a calf injury to depression, but watch this. I think I'm better at waiting out these little running injuries because of my experience with depression. Seriously.

Depression has taught me patience. I'm no expert, but like I said, I'm way more patient than I used to be. Depression forces that on us, doesn't it? It arrives for no reason. It often sticks around despite treatment and/or lifestyle changes. And frequently it lifts just as mysteriously as it arrived. We have no choice but to wait it out.

Some of us have waited, and waited, and waited. At least with my running injuries, I can take steps which almost certainly guarantee healing. Patience is a skill more easily practiced when I know I am doing what needs to be done. While depression is my chronic companion, I've learned the dark episodes are temporary. They do lift eventually. In the same manner, I know this injury will heal. It may not be on my time, but if I can survive the debilitating effects of depression, I can easily survive a little muscle injury. I just need to practice patience, do what I can, and wait. And that's what I'm trying to do.

I leave tomorrow for my race. I may not have another chance to write before the marathon. I'll let you know how everything turns out. I guess it's now your turn to wait. Hopefully, the waiting will be rewarding for all of us.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

No running, but healing

I had a really good weekend of workouts and relaxation. My calf is still sore. I had a painful deep massage Thursday evening, but I felt better Friday, so I guess the pain was worth it. It feels like my calf is slowly improving.

Yesterday I didn't even attempt to run. I swam 1.5 miles instead. I was really proud of myself. I planned to swim one mile, rest, and then swim another half mile. I felt okay at the one mile mark, so I thought I'd just do a few more laps before resting. Well, before I knew it, I had my sights set on finishing the whole distance, and I did! It was tough, as I haven't swum that far in an awful long time, but I finished it. It was a good substitute for the 10 mile run I had scheduled.

Today I spent the entire morning with friends Bill and Cindy. They just returned from a coastal vacation, so I hadn't seen them in over a week. We hung out in the beautiful morning sunshine, drank coffee, chatted, laughed, and then went out for lunch. It was lovely. I so appreciate them, and I am so happy they are in my life.

After lunch I took a very restful nap. Then I headed out for today's workout. I rode 25 miles on a local bike trail. I rode hard. It's a relatively flat trail. I averaged almost 20 miles per hour, and I was happy with that. It was gorgeous, perfect weather for a ride. I'm pleasantly tired right now, but I still need to take my boy for a walk. That will be a nice end to a very nice day.

My mood continues to be good. The mental health stability certainly is nice. Physically, I think I will be okay for my marathon this weekend, as it feels like my calf is healing. And of course I'm looking forward to seeing D again. We will spend the weekend at his home, as the race is not far from where he lives. I'm looking forward to another good weekend ahead. Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Damn injury!

I'm only nine days away from my next marathon, and my calf hurts! I'm limping. I thought it was better, so I went for my tempo run this morning. Unfortunately, 3 miles from home my calf began to cramp. I stopped. I stretched. I ran again. It stayed tight, but it didn't get any worse as I made my way home. Well, it's worse now. It hurts.

I'm working on making it better. I've scheduled a massage for later today. I've iced it several times throughout the day, and I may try some ultrasound tomorrow. It still hurts.

I'm getting worried. I have nine days to get this thing right. Of course I want to run the marathon. And unless it gets worse, I probably will. But I'd rather it didn't hurt. If it hurts, running the race will be much less fun. I hope it gets better, and I hope it gets better soon. I'm worried it won't.

I hate being injured!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another good weekend

I spent another weekend away with my new friend, D, at his lake home. We had a great time again. We did pretty much the same stuff as last time. We ate good food, ran together, biked together, saw family--his and mine, went out on the boat, had coffee and conversation, and generally relaxed. It continues to be nice when we are together, and I am really enjoying getting to know him. I think we are both getting comfortable with each other. It was such a nice weekend, I smiled the whole way home.

We both arrived Friday evening. We got up early Saturday to run. D is training for two half marathons, one each of the next two weekends, and my marathon is less than two weeks away. I was hoping to do 12-13 miles, but my left calf cramped around mile 4. I ended up sending D on his way while I walked and slowly jogged back to the car. I made it 8 miles, but my calf is still sore today. I was unable to run my speed workout today and had to swim instead. I think it's just cramped, and I expect it will be better soon. That's my hope anyway.

We spent Saturday night with D's family and some friends. They made a delicious meal and built a big fire in their fire pit near the lake. The weather was perfect and the company was delightful. We sat around the fire and laughed at various comical life stories. It was really fun.

We took my parents out on the boat on Sunday and then had them over for dinner. I got to go waterskiing, which was fun, although I did have a pretty spectacular wipe out! My parents really like D, and he seems very comfortable with them. We had a wonderful grilled salmon dinner. D is actually quite a good cook. I was impressed. I don't enjoy cooking, and I'm not good at it. I'm a hell of a dish washer, though! Anyway, we all ate too much and went to bed happy. It was a nice evening.

Nice, fun, relaxing...Those were the general themes throughout the weekend. I wish D and I weren't so far away from each other, but so far we seem to be making it work. I'm happy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another weekend away

I'm off for another weekend at the lake with D. I'm looking forward to seeing him. I'm looking forward to our long run together tomorrow morning and grilling a great dinner together tomorrow night. I'll see my parents, too, while I'm there. I'm hoping to take them out on the water with us, and maybe we'll even get in some waterskiing. Puck will be there, too, of course. Did I tell you Puck was the first dog ever allowed in D.'s lake home? I told D. from the first day that we (Puck and I) were a matched set. Apparently he heard me, and now Puck's charmed his socks off anyway! It's all good. I can't wait to get going.

I'm only two weeks out from my next marathon now. D and I will run 12-15 miles tomorrow morning and then the serious tapering begins. I had a great week of running and working out this week. I'm feeling really good, and I think I'm ready. I have no plans or goals for this race. I'm going to wait and see. If the weather cooperates, and I'm feeling good in the first few miles, then I may go for a good time. If it's hot and humid, a distinct possibility, or I'm not feeling great those first miles, then I will focus less on time and more on enjoying the experience. Either way, it should be fun. D is running the half marathon, so we'll be there together and spend the rest of that weekend together, too.

I'm off now. I hope you all have a great weekend. Take time out for yourself. Find some fun. Focus less on illness and more on moments. And enjoy each moment to its fullest. That's what I'm going to try to do. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Speaking up

I stood in front of a church sanctuary full of people Sunday morning and opened my folder. In it I had a journal entry I had written 8 years ago followed by 4 pages summarizing my journey with depression. I took a deep breath, and I began. Nine minutes later I returned silently to my seat, and the service continued.

I participated in a service dedicated to educating our congregation about mental illness. Everything in the service was tied to mental illness in one way or another, even the music. Until Sunday I had no idea the composer Robert Schuman struggled with bipolar disorder his entire life and actually died in an insane asylum. Besides me, there were four others who shared their journeys. It was a powerful, somber service.

I'm so glad I shared. I procrastinated preparing for it until the day before. But once I got going, the words flowed. The journal piece I started my presentation with is quite descriptive of the despair which is depression. It seems to make people sit up and take notice. From there, my story is powerful enough, I guess, because the feedback I got after the service was amazing. It was a great experience.

All of the stories were powerful. All were unique but shared common themes of loneliness, despair, stigma, and pain. We all received support and positive feedback afterwards. I was stunned and humbled by the amount of passionate feedback I received. This was one of the most positive speaking experiences I've ever had. I hope some of you find similar opportunities to have your voices heard. I recommend it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A gratitude day

I was up early this morning. Today was my last scheduled 20-miler before my marathon, which is only 3 weeks away. I was outside running by 5:00 AM. It was dark and very humid. Puck and I did our typical warm-up loop together before I dropped him at home and went out to complete my own 8 mile loop. By 4 miles, the sun was coming up. The sky was filled with light, fluffy, pink clouds. It was beautiful. I thanked God.

That thank you started my gratitude list. As I ran, I thought of all my good fortune. I thanked God for the foot path and the healthy body with which I was performing. I was so lucky to be out there at that beautiful time of day, feeling well, and doing something I loved. I thanked God for my new relationship and the excitement it has brought to my life. And I thanked God for those who have helped me get this far.

I have been given so much by so many people. One by one I thanked God for each of them. First up was my doctor, with whom I have been working for almost ten years. I don't know what I'd do without her. She has seen me through thick and thin. Next came my therapist. She's also been with me for awhile. She's given me her best when I've been at my worst, and she's another big reason I was out enjoying dawn this morning. I thanked God for my social worker. She's made herself available no matter what my dilemma. As the sun continued to slide, I included friends like Bill and Cindy. I could write an entire post about how much they mean in my life. I love them both. On and on I went, thanking God for all of them. I've been blessed.

Before I knew it, the miles had passed, and I was back at home. I jumped in my car and headed out for my 11 mile race. Yes, I did an 11 mile race as part of my 20-miler.  I tried to remain grateful as I raced along the lovely trail on which the race was run. It was an out and back course, and if it had been about one mile shorter it would have been perfect. I ran around 8 minutes per mile until the last two miles, which is when I crashed. Nevertheless, I finished in the top 5 women (there weren't many women there) and first in my age group. It hurt a lot, and I'm not sure I'll do that again, but I'm pleased with the results. I think my training has prepared me well for this upcoming marathon. Again, I'm grateful for that.

Thinking about what's going well, thanking God for those around me, and having an attitude of gratitude keep me stable today. We all have something for which we can be grateful even when the black hole of depression sucks us in. It's important for me to remember that. Gratitude gives us a break from grief, distracts us from misery, or adds a special dimension to a scenic run. I am grateful today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A great weekend!

I'm recovering from my weekend away. It was so nice to be on a lake in a nice spot with someone I care about. I just wish it wasn't 5.5 hours away. That long drive was exhausting! But it was worth it. Puck and I spent the weekend with my new friend, D., and we had a great time together. The sun shone brightly. The air was warm. We ran. We boated. We grilled out. We talked. It was really nice.

We had several nice, long talks over the course of 4 days, but we didn't discuss The Big D. Depression was not on the topic list. I felt good about that decision. We were still getting to know each other, and the time was not right. I feel more strongly now that there will be a right time, and I feel more confident that it will be okay when I do tell him. I'm less anxious than I was, but I'm sure it will still be nerve-wracking when we have the discussion.

One of the other nice things D. and I did together was a 12 mile long run Saturday morning. There is a very nice bike trail near his home. In fact, that bike trail is where we first met. We ran through the woods together, and although he thought I'd run faster than him, we matched paces really well. I don't usually run with other people, but it provided us with more time to get to know each other. It was a relaxed, fun run.

I'm getting back into my normal routine now. Work has been very busy and shows no sign of slowing down. My training continues to go well. I ran a 6, 3/4 mile repeats today. It was a hard workout, as I think I'm still fatigued from the weekend activities, but I got it done. And I have my last 20-miler prior to the marathon scheduled for this Saturday. Only 3.5 weeks until my next 26.2 mile race!

Things are going well. I'm still smiling from the weekend. It feels good to have something so wonderful to smile about. I wish D. and I lived closer to one another, but that's not the way it is. We'll just have to work a little harder if this thing is going to work out. And right now I certainly hope it does.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm back

Just a quick note to say hello. I am back home after a long weekend with my new friend, D. We had a great weekend together--a great weekend! But right now I'm too tired to write much more. I'll be back here tomorrow with the full scoop. Until then...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A long weekend ahead

I'm busy packing tonight, as I am leaving tomorrow for a long weekend at the lake. My new friend, D., and I are spending some time together at his lake home. I'll also see my parents and hopefully get in a little fishing.

I've been extremely busy at work. I've worked the last three days in a row, and we've been swamped with patients. The days have been crazy. I can't really explain it. Things have just been a little off kilter. The patients seem sicker and more debilitated, which means a lot more physical lifting and maneuvering, and the paperwork is never ending. So far I'm handling it okay, but it is exhausting.

It would probably be less exhausting if I wasn't getting up at 4:45 AM to run, swim, or otherwise work out. But 4:45 seems to be working for me. I'm able to run outside and miss the heat of the day. I'm able to get to the 5:15 circuit training and spinning classes at the gym. And then I'm able to relax at home and eat a leisurely breakfast before work. Or, like I did this morning, do some laundry! I know I wouldn't work out or run if I left it to be done after work. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the evenings, and like I said, work exhausts me anyway!

My training is going well. I'll run with D. this weekend. It will be our first run together, and I usually train alone, so I'm interested to see how it goes. I only have 13-15 miles scheduled Saturday. Next week is my last 20-miler before my taper begins. It's hard to believe I've got another marathon just around the corner.

That's all I've got for now. I've got to get back to packing. A long drive awaits me tomorrow, but there is a long weekend waiting once I arrive. Yippee! I'm really looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Productive weekend

I've had a successfully productive weekend. It started at 4:45 AM yesterday morning with my 20 mile long run. As I predicted, it went well. I did hit the wall at mile 19, but until then the hours clicked by relatively quickly. It was a bit steamy outside. I was soaking wet. Even my shoes were soaked from the sweat running down my legs. They squished with every step. Regardless, I tolerated the humidity and ran well. It was a good training run.

Today I hit the pool and cleaned up my yard. Puck woke me at 5:30 AM, even though I had planned to sleep in. I swam for 35 minutes. It felt good to stretch out in the pool. Then I mowed my yard and pulled weeds for what felt like hours! I had monster weeds growing up through the cracks in my sidewalk. I'm still trying to clean the dirt out from under my nails! At least my house looks presentable from the curb now.

My mood has been good, but I'm a little anxious today. I actually had to take a prn medication to calm down. I've been thinking and worrying about next weekend, which I will be spending with my new friend D. We've got a long weekend scheduled, and I'm excited to see him. I'm trying to stay in the moment now and stop the worry thoughts. I think it's going to be a long week leading up to the weekend. I'll have to really work hard to take one day at a time. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More joy...

I detailed the joy of owning a home in my last post. As the outside temps and humidity increased, my air conditioning decreased. Today, my house is slightly cooler, but that's because the Amazonian temperatures and humidity have finally broken. My poor, old air conditioner can now keep up. And that's basically what I found out from the air conditioner repairman. My air conditioner is old and needs to be replaced. Ugh...

Replacing a central air conditioner, it turns out, is quite an expensive proposition. I've only gotten one quote so far, $2700, but I will be getting more. I'm also in the process of trying to figure out how to cover the cost. I keep telling myself it will all work out. And it will. I just don't know how yet.

In other news, my running is going well. This is a big week. I completed my speed workout on Tuesday, 4 x 1 mile, and an 8 mile tempo run today. Both were tough, but doable. On Saturday I'm praying for cool weather because I'll be outside for 3 hours running my 20 miles. I'm not necessarily looking forward to the 20 miler, but I'm not dreading it either. That's a good sign. I think it will be a good run.

My next marathon is only 5 weeks away now. I'm running The Eisenbahn Marathon in Wisconsin. It's a smaller race, run primarily on a bike path, between two small towns. I'm looking forward to it. It will be my 7th marathon in 9 months. I never thought I'd do this many marathons in such a short span of time, but it's been fun, and I think it's helped my mental health.

It's important, I think, for all of us to find something outside our heads on which to focus. Having a chronic illness is tough enough without spending an inordinate amount of time fixated on it. For me that focus is running. I wonder what it is for you? I encourage all of my readers to find something which brings joy. Despite our illnesses, joy is possible. Look for it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The joy of home ownership

Minnesota Public Radio announced this morning that our humidity level yesterday was as high or higher than the humidity level in the Amazon Rain Forest. That will continue into today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Combine the humidity with our air temperatures, in the mid 90's, and they say it will feel like it's 110 degrees today! And guess what? My air conditioner isn't working. It hasn't worked properly all weekend. Ahhh...the joy of owning a home.

I'm stressed. There is never a good time for things to break, but now? C'mon! It's hot. My dog is panting just lying on the floor. Heck, I'm panting. When I went outside this morning, my glasses fogged up from all the water hanging in the air! Plus, I'm coming off three months without work, secondary to this damn illness, so my financial situation is a bit precarious. Like I said, there's never a good time for things to break.

I did what I could over the weekend. I discovered I could keep my indoor air temp around 82 degrees with the judicious use of shades, fans, closed doors, etc... I felt like I was living in a cave, but it was better than the alternative! I called two different AC guys, both of whom called back this morning. I'm currently waiting for one of them to arrive. Hopefully, the fix will not be too painful.

Over the weekend, I also discovered when I'm stressed, my mood takes a hit. My mood took a hit this weekend. It wasn't a big hit, perhaps because I was aware of where the hit came from. I did what I could to deal with it. I didn't worry. I didn't give the dip more power than it deserved. I recognized it. I acknowledged it, and I tried to let it go. It seems to have worked. This morning, I'm less stressed and my mood has improved. But that was a good lesson to learn. Stress = potential lower mood. Good to know.

Now I wait. The AC will soon be fixed. I do appreciate owning my own home. I know I am fortunate. It isn't always a stress-free proposition, but I'm glad to be here. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Working and Running

I'm not sure what to write about today, as there is nothing special going on right now. Although it has been pouring, and I mean pouring, rain all day. I'm sure there is major flooding going on all around the area. I don't think I've ever seen it rain this hard for this long. We were almost flooded out of our office at work today. Twice the rain over-powered the outdoor drains and water came pouring into the basement, which is where our office is located. It was a mess.

Speaking of work, it's been very busy lately. We've been admitting patients left and right. It's okay for now, but if it keeps up, it's going to get overwhelming. I'm still having moments of low confidence there, but that's getting better. We've got some medically complicated patients right now, so I'm having to call on a lot of skills I haven't used in awhile. It's probably good for me. In the end, it will hopefully make me more confident rather than less.

I ran painfree yesterday. It was a short run, but I was still glad it was painfree. I've got 18 miles scheduled for tomorrow morning. When it stops raining, it's supposed to get unbearably hot, so I plan to start at dawn. I hope I can do the 18 painfree, too.

Other than that, life continues moving forward. My mood remains good. I saw my MD yesterday, and we're slowly decreasing some of my meds. A few of my meds were increased when I was in the hospital a couple months ago. I'd like to get back to pre-hospital levels, so that's where we're heading...very slowly. I'm grateful to be well. I'm grateful to be working and running. I'm grateful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not quite healed

I thought I was healed, or at least healing, but this morning my right calf tied up after only 5 blocks of running. Bummer. I was supposed to do a speed workout of 12 by 400 meters, but instead I headed to the pool and swam 12 by 75 yards. The pool was frigid for some reason, so the workout was a bit tougher than it needed to be, but I'm glad I went. After my calf tied up I didn't want to do anything except go back to bed and feel sorry for myself. Fortunately, I nixed that idea and got my butt to the pool. Afterward, I was pleasantly fatigued.

I'm not feeling terribly pleasant about my calf, though. I'm pretty disappointed. I had a terrible long run this past Saturday, and now I totally missed today's run. I am scheduled to do a short tempo run Thursday and 18 miles on Saturday. I hope this calf thing is a very temporary cramping situation. I'd rather not miss any more miles.

Of course, if I do miss more miles, everything will be okay. I'll survive. The world will not end. Life will go on. Acceptance. At my AA meeting tonight, we discussed acceptance. How appropriate. The Big Book of AA tells me that acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. It took me awhile to accept that (ironic, I know), but it's true. If I accept the situation, rather than fight it or try to change it, I live with serenity rather than aggravation. Simple, huh? Yep, not always...



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