May 8, 2013 § 4 Comments
For the first time in my life I understand what it feels like to be a woman classified as difficult, when if I was a man I’d be considered tough.
Thanks to pranayama (yoga breathing), my roar has softened.
But my fire might not be gone until sleep.
I was on fire.
Have you experienced this?
*wall mural available @ wordybirdstudio on Etsy
May 1, 2013 § 7 Comments
Last night via DVR my mother and I tuned into the special shortened season of The Big C, Hereafter; the new post script indicating the story’s coming end.
The dramedy, which has followed Cathy Jamison through her melanoma diagnosis (and all the ups and downs associated with such) charged into its first show of the final season by extending the programming time to one hour, giving all the characters a little more time to breathe.
Cathy’s cancer diagnosis has moved to a new stage, and we now find her making the tough decision to quit her next round of chemotherapy because her quality of life has dissipated so much that she doesn’t feel (anymore) like herself.
“Chemo isn’t a cure,” she explains to her son when she tells him her choice to quit.
For Cathy, saying, “No,” to drugs is saying, “Yes,” to life.
Almost five years out of my own melanoma nightmare (at this point the cure rate for me is roughly 92%), my experience is very entwined with that of Laura Linney’s character.
Of course, I connect on the cancer level.
But I also connected with Cathy’s independence, and her acceptance that she’s the only one in charge of her happiness.
She fiercely loves her kid.
She makes the best decisions with what she’s got.
She’s far from perfect, and she knows it.
Her journey has been her own.
Even though the subject is tough, the way it’s been presented is the best example of art as life. The best art makes us question ourselves, our beliefs, our lives. It can open our hearts or frighten us into closing ourselves off.
Despite the undercurrent of grief, The Big C writer’s have made humor an integral part of the story, pulling me (and so many) back, season after season.
But Hereafter implies death, which I find an unbearable truth.
Lose your dad at fourteen and see how much you accept the fairness of a life (any life) coming to an end?
Do I stop watching because the story might end with the one part of life that haunts me?
Hereafter’s message is not only about the end.
It’s the living part that matters.
And life for the living keeps going, no matter your diagnosis.
Have you watched The Big C? I’ve written before about Cathy getting a tattoo over her cancer scar. Any thoughts about the tattoo I should get to go with mine? I’m thinking shooting stars with lots and lots of color …
Vintage Marquee Lights – Letter C available at Etsy. Created by Jerrad1.
March 20, 2013 § 17 Comments
I’ve said “hasta luego” to coffee … again.
The last two times I quit (when I was pregnant and during a cleanse), I had only been a morning coffee drinker, sipping less than a cup and then moving on with my day.
But this year I turned into one of those coffee addicts who drinks a few cups in the morning, swings through Starbuck’s for an early afternoon pickup, and if energy was really low (around 3:00) would brew another pot. As a busy mom, I was looking for help to get me through the day that didn’t include consumption of sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods.
I told my doctor about this and she said that for some people, using coffee in moderation acts as quick energy, and can work as a slight appetite suppressant.
For people like me, though, pre-diabetic and prone to impulsivity with foods (sugars especially), the stimulation from afternoon coffee wears off so quickly that the (compulsive) habit of reaching for sugary foods for energy sets the stage for an afternoon of destructive eating.
Also, to be noted, the adrenal glands (responsible for our managing our flight or flight response to stress), increase their efforts when the caffeine from coffee has been ingested, causing blood pressure to raise. For a person struggling with life-stressors (like most moms I know), coffee and caffeine is not a healthy habit to rely on (not to mention the energy drop when the caffeine has worn off leaves the body even more tired).
Through my studying (trying to find some proof that how I’ve been feeling after my coffee consumption could be Scientifically explained) I happened upon New York Times author Dr. Mark Hyman.
Dr. Hyman wrote an entire book about insulin resistance and inflammation in the body and studied how coffee may be a trigger for these things in people who struggle with diabetes.
Though harmless for some people (normal people can actually benefit from drinking it), research has shown that for other people with a propensity for Type 2 Diabetes, blood insulin spikes and an increase in blood sugars after meals was noticeable with the coffee drinkers. According to research shared by Dr. Hyman, coffee is responsible for the higher level of insulin secreted from the pancreas.
Dr. Hyman’s list of the 10 reasons to quit coffee is even more evidence that supports my personal desire to quit.
For me, with my health a serious concern (constantly sick, stressed to the maximum, and with skin that looks like it belongs to a teenager), cutting out the coffee is my first step in reclaiming my wellness.
It’s a baby step, which I can do.
Today, day three, I am not experiencing any headaches. I’ve been starting my day with a cup of room temperature water with freshly squeezed lemon, and am drinking small cups of green tea with almond milk a few times a day (delicious, healthy, and quite civilized).
I’m not certain if I’m feeling better yet, as I’m still recovering from diagnosed strep and a possible allergic reaction to something blooming in the air, but I’m not feeling cravings (for coffee or other things), and for me that’s huge.
Do you drink coffee or not?
March 19, 2013 § 8 Comments
My mother thinks I need to go to the doctor and do an analysis to figure out why I’ve gotten so sick this winter.
But, it’s not just me. My kids have had one illness after another. My yoga teacher and her kids have. A mom at pre-school is on her second round of Norovirus with her two boys. The pediatrician’s office called back on a Saturday night in regard to Sophie’s last ear infection. It took them all day of triaging calls to return my a.m. message.
What is it that’s making us so sick?
As I recall from my younger years, I’d fight off sinus infections twice a year, fall and spring, as plants would begin to bloom and my allergies would go haywire.
I’m sure there was the occasional flu, too. A virus here or there? Of course.
But this winter I alone have been ill roughly every other week since the weather turned cold (then hot then cold then hot then cold … mother nature has done a real number on those of us in the south).
My attempt to get my health back on track was scheduled to begin yesterday with another round of the Clean Cleanse, but was put on hold seven hours in when I was prescribed a round of antibiotics for what was diagnosed as strep throat.
It’s hard to cleanse when you’re intentionally putting medications into your body, which due to their very nature make them a toxic substance (to your sick cells at least).
My decision to quit coffee, since it was begun before my throat closed up completely, is still in effect (the current suffering in my head may be more due to the lack of coffee… the antibiotics have really helped the throat).
An increase of cardiovascular exercise will certainly make me feel better, but has my lack of running contributed to this winter of despair?
My diet (and that of my kids) needs an overhaul. Has my complacency in what I allow us to eat created bodies that can’t fight off infections?
Over-usage of antibiotic soaps or not enough hand washing?
And what about stress?
An in-the-process divorce, a house that’s been listed for sale, seeing my stuff all boxed up day after day.
And kids whom I love, but are messy and high-maintenance and creators of mass laundry.
Could the stress be the nail in my sickness-causing coffin?
I’d love to figure this out without yet another visit to the physician’s office; that germ-filled mecca of hopeful answers that could be the culprit itself.
How are you and your family feeling? What has contributed to your health and/or wellness this winter? Has mother nature been cruel to you, too?
February 26, 2013 § 6 Comments
Everything is keeping me from yoga this morning.
1. Two workmen are supposed to call me at 10:30. I told them I’d be available to talk to them at 10:30, but I was mistaken, as I’d gotten confused about my classes start time and said, “9:00,” instead of,”9:30.” Right about the time I should be balancing in tree or warrior or something, I’ll be worried about angry, burly workmen instead of focusing on a point and staying upright on one leg. This is the worst, and enough to keep me from class altogether.
2. I haven’t showered in two days. I never don’t shower for two days, but having signed with the realtor on Sunday, I am in “get the house together pack, pack, pack” mode, and neglecting to showering on Sunday was a mindful decision (she was coming, I showered the night before…it was alright). Neglecting to shower yesterday was a complete brain burp. I should get up and shower right now, but I’d rather write about it. I also feel better sharing that despite the lack of showering, I did manage to brush my teeth morning and night. I’m disgusting, but not that disgusting.
3. It’s raining again. Yesterday was the coldest 52 degrees you’d ever felt. The day before was the most glorious 63. We can thanks this flip-floppy weather for the massive illnesses that every poor Raleigh child has fought this winter, as well as the confused red budding trees outside my front door. Is the rain really keeping me from yoga? No, not really, but it sure isn’t acting as motivation, either.
4. Grace is still asleep, which is unusual, because we travel in a pack and when one wakes up, so do the other two. This can only mean two things. She’s either going to be a whiner, angry that we left her, or she’s coming down with something. In that case, there will be no school, which definitely ixnaes any yoga.
5. I am getting up now. Going to make lunch and shower and brush teeth and dress the kid who’s up. I’ll see what’s up with the other kid and assess her situation.
What are the chances I’ll make it to class?
Om shanti shanti. Your guess is as good as mine.
How’s your morning going? Any tug of wars happening in your life?
February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments
My modern-day funk-filled soul kept my body in the seat of the car yesterday after pulling into the driveway, pulsating to Florence Welch’s collaboration with Calvin Harris. My girls were strapped into their car seats having ingested a pound of sugar hearts, while reading Valentine cards with their friend’s names spelled out in different sized letters.
This morning, my funk-filled nose is keeping me from tomorrow morning’s yoga practice. A bummer, certainly, but I will not infect sweet Katie or the baby girl cooking in her belly with this annoying nose funk. It would not be fair or right, and totally against my deepest belief in doing what’s fair and right.
As far as being in a funk about that, I am not.
My mood is fine, and my spirit is actually on high this morning.
The sun is shining. It’s my mother’s birthday. My girl’s are excited about getting to choose four of those big Whole Foods cupcake’s (a grandmother birthday tradition).
I’m trying to keep the ball rolling from yesterday’s Love post. It’s very hard when you live with your separated spouse (God give me strength and please light a fire under the editors at Huff post … they really need to publish that article already).
I’ve got to keep my eye on the good, the light, the things that are fair and right.
How’s your funk?
Warning: This video is an artistic interpretation of the song. If you are old-spirited or closed-minded you might find the visuals too violent or irrelevant to the song. It’s called art!
February 7, 2013 § 6 Comments
A short visit to my trusty M.D. spun me right around, straightened this girl out, and sent her back into the world with a clearer plan for a healthier day-to-day existence.
1. Too much stress is physically bad for the body.
i.e. Stress causes cortisol to raise, which can result in lovely cystic-like (face and neck) acne that five-year-olds can be trained to extract (though they won’t always coöperate when asked).
2. Too much coffee is helpful as an appetite suppressant, except that it has a short half-life, and if you’re already in an anxiety ridden state, added caffeine can increase said anxiety, which leads to impulsivity (of the bingy sort in my case, the liquid sort for alcoholics, etc.).
i.e. Afternoon Starbuck’s trips are fun, but polishing off three boxes of Girl Scout cookies in exactly two after-school afternoons is not. Afternoon coffee and impulsiveness must stop.
3. There is no pill in he world that will tell you that you are full, make you stop eating, or cause you to view sugary icing with repulsion.
i.e. Just don’t go near the “Make Your Own Box” of cookies located next to the salad bar at Whole Foods. In fact, avoid the grocery store altogether, but for once a week. Remember to always go with a list, and when you do go, adhere to the list at all costs.
4. Do the things you know that work, no matter how much you feel like ignoring them.
i.e. Move your body every day. i.e. Hug a kid instead of eating a pound of sugar. i.e. Count your calories. i.e. Use your brain.
5. Set boundaries with people who don’t care about your well-being.
i.e. Say, “No.” i.e. Don’t listen to the meanies.
6. Do what feels good as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.
i.e. Blog the hell out the blog. Facebook ’til the cows come home. Be a budding social media rock star. It’s yours. Don’t let anyone take away what you love.
7. Come back in six weeks.
i.e. You can do this mama.
When was the last time you had someone spin you around and set you straight?
January 30, 2013 § 2 Comments
That, my friends, is worth more than the money you don’t actually have to pay them because the house isn’t sold and the home equity is tapped out and after all of this time the divorce has barely even begun (North Carolina doesn’t start the one-year-separation-tick-tock until spouses live in separate dwellings).
Long-term stress cannot be tolerated by even the most loving and generous of souls. Even the most enlightened have their limits, at which point, thank God for sound legal advice; the costly cure to settle an unsettled mind.
What do you do, whom do you call, when troubles and/or anxiety rain buckets on your parade?
January 18, 2013 § 5 Comments
You can be replaced.
Martha’s gut (and ego) in turmoil over a pizza/Rice Cripsie hell binge that leveled 12 great days of good choices and diligent fitness pal app food documentation.
Do you believe that hormones play a part in hunger? Do mad hormones act as triggers for mass consumption?