Take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough rest. Take time to focus on you.
Those are statements I have heard a million times. It is hard, when you are a parent, wife, co-worker and friend, to take time for yourself. Just when you sit down to take a breath, someone needs something from you. I don’t think that is a bad thing, ya know, to be needed and wanted. But I will admit, from time to time, I get overwhelmed with my responsibilities adulthood brings. Trying to juggle home, work and social life can really bring a strain when you are trying to be all things to all people. And of course to add to the stresses of every day life, I am also managing and taking care of a child with cancer. (On a side note, I am not sure which is worse, dealing with a 15 yo teenager or my 11 yo cancer child. Stay tuned for a post about that. LOL.)
I can not think of a time in my life where I have been more stressed out. I remember thinking college finals were stressful. Then I started working in the advertising world and that was stressful and demanding. Wait, having a husband and a baby was stressful, demanding and overwhelming. So why not add two more of those. Kids, not husbands. But trying to manage home, work, kids, job and cancer is really putting a strain on me mentally, emotionally and physically.
I think I do a pretty good job of keeping it together, from work meetings, school functions, doctors appointments and house duties, but here lately I just have not been feeling like my normal self. I have become easily fatigued, grouchy, foggy and unmotivated. It seems like I have been this way for years, but reality is only a couple of months. Everything I tried to feel better wasn’t working. I could tell something was wrong health wise, but couldn’t put my finger on it. I started with allergy medicine, (living in the midwest it is allergy season 24/7) and that wasn’t getting rid of the symptoms of stuffy nose, headaches, dizziness, clogged ears, the normal allergy signs. I let it go for about two weeks and finally called the doctor. I got in and he said the same thing I already knew, allergies. So he gave me antibiotics and told me to take Claritin. Sweet, no problem. I knew I would be back to my ol’ self soon.
I finished the antibiotics and still was not getting better. I was so bummed. I was tired of feeling like crap. I kept thinking, I am too busy to be ill. I will just ignore this a keep on trucking. A week later I was in the ER for a UTI. A UTI is really far away from my sinuses, so where in the world did that come from? So, I was given antibiotics for that and said I should be feeling better in no time. Great! I was excited to be feeling better in that area too. Still fighting the head cold from hell, I did get over the UTI and was feeling better. I still kept pushing myself, even though my husband kept telling me to rest. He kept saying something is wrong and I should go back to the doctor. I kept blowing him off because deep inside I knew there was something wrong, but I didn’t have time to deal with it. I am the amazing woman ~ no time for sick.
Anyway, about three weeks ago Mallorie had a spinal and chemo. I felt horrible, but I got out of bed early that morning and we went to the appointment. I could not breath out of my nose and I had no energy. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I actually curled up in the bean bag on the doctor’s floor and slept while Mallorie was getting treatment. By the time we got home, I was running a fever, had the chills and pretty sure I was going to die. Rob loaded me up and took me to the ER, again. Diagnoses, sinusitis. I got another round of antibiotics and a steroid. This time I know I will get better. Right?
I took my medicine just like I was directed. Starting feeling better. I could breath out of my nose, the pressure was pretty much gone and so was the dizziness. I am on the mend! I kept up my busy schedule. All the hustle every mom knows. I was still very tired and my body ached really bad. I was not sure why this was happening. My upper back was achy and my lower chest felt a bit tight. Breathing was becoming painful. I was told I now have pneumonia. What the heck? Are you serious? I have never in my life had sinusitis or pneumonia. And within two weeks, I have both. This is not ok.
I received my first breathing treatment yesterday. Worked really well. I was given MORE antibiotics and an inhaler. I now notice that breathing is rough at times and my body still gets very achy, like I don’t even want to walk. I get tired just walking down the stairs to the basement. I have started coughing a lot and it hurts. It is really no fun. I am just praying that this time the medicine works and I will start to be back to my normal self soon.
I feel guilty for being ill for so long. I feel like I have let my family and my job down at times. I take my role as wife, mom and co-worker very seriously. And I would feel horrible if I gave my illness to my husband and kids, especially Mallorie who has a jacked up immune system already. I now understand how important it is to truly take care of yourself first. I am no good to my family or work if I am not healthy. I have got to get it through my thick head that I must take time for myself and chill out every once in a while. The past couple months I have felt worthless and miserable.
One hand full of rest is better than two hands full of work and trying to catch the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6. This verse reminds me that I don’t have to be everywhere all the time. I don’t have to try to be Wonder Woman trying to save the day, or conquer the laundry in single bound. If I don’t ~ oh well. As long as we have clean underwear, I should not feel guilty if the laundry sits one day while I rejuvenate not just my body, but my soul. I write this post with the hope that others, who are in a similar situation will realize they are not alone and we need to take time for ourselves. We should not feel like less of a person because of it. And since I have chosen to not take care of myself like I should, (I know my husband will read this and silently think to himself ~ I told you so.) I am having a harder time getting to 100 percent. I should have just stopped and rested in the very beginning. It makes me think of what my high school gym teacher, Teach, used to say, “Do it right, do it light. Do it wrong, do it long.” Please take time to rest your body, mind and soul. The world will not stop and your home will not collapse. It will make you better in all areas of your life.