Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Progress and Setbacks and "It's Not About What You Can Do But What You Are Willing to Endure"

What a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been.

Calliope seemed slightly congested at bedtime last night, more congested this morning, and spiked a fever while I was at work. Her temperature was up to 103.1 at 5 pm. She looked remarkably good when I got home, and was toddling around saying "Hi!" cheerfully, but decomposed into runny nosed tears shortly thereafter.

I gave her some Motrin, nursed her, and put her to bed at 5:30 since she had no interest in dinner. I'm glad she at least was willing to nurse; I was shocked to realize this morning that we had both forgotten about it, a first. I'm hoping for a peaceful night tonight, though planning to go to bed early just in case it's not. I'll stay home with her tomorrow, guilt notwithstanding.

My mom finally got her pathology report. It still seems pretty vague but diagnoses her with a "high grade carcinoma." She has her appointment at MGH on Friday with a team of doctors (she's had to postpone this twice because the pathology report wasn't available.

She seems to be extremely positive and focused on getting control of the situation. Although she told me yesterday that she wasn't planning to work for a while, that she lacked focus for the office (she co-owns a small law firm), she apparently changed her mind and went to work today and plans to continue to work for now. I'm very glad about this. I think she needs to stay busy, even if it's hard to stay focused on work. Sitting around alone at home and focusing on her illness seems like a recipe for depression, even for my remarkably cheerful mother.

As for me, well, last week was tough. I felt totally exhausted and overwhelmed. And stressed and a little depressed. I had balancing work plus home so well for so long, relatively speaking, that I thought I was on top of my game... but adding my mom's new illness into the mix completely threw me.

Last week, my body and soul was so bone tired I thought long and hard about asking for respite care help from friends with Calliope so I could have some time truly alone to decompress. But then my darling girl took a two and a half hour nap on Saturday and a three hour nap on Sunday! God bless her. I worked out both days, and during Sunday's nap,  after my workout and shower and cooking for the week and cleaning up the apartment (three hours is a loooong time to get things done, especially when you think each precious minute is your last one to get things done, and so you're racing around at top speed), my mood turned around. Phew.

Apart from my mom's illness, I've been struggling with my, well, body situation, for lack of a better word (I am try to avoid using "weight.")  Again.

Rip 60 is going very well. I started Level 5 after the Thanksgiving week (a recovery week of yoga which I only did every other day), and I was surprised to find Level 5 not nearly as hard, relatively speaking, than Level 3. Though it's ten minutes longer, which is an adjustment, now a full hour, including warm up and stretching afterwards. But the challenge seems more doable. And I love my alternate days of elliptical -- it feels so fun, now, to "just" work out on the elliptical, compared to Rip 60.

My brother unwittingly gave me a new mantra which I've found very helpful, "It's not about what you can do, it's about how much discomfort you are willing to endure."

This is great because it's easy for me to get discouraged that I can barely do a plank with reverse crunch, despite all these weeks. But if I just focus on how hard I'm able to push myself, that's a lot more motivating.

And yesterday, sprinting up the stairs at school in pursuit of a "profusely bleeding head injury on the fourth floor," I was shocked how easy it was to pound up the stairs. Pretty cool.

I plan to increase again to Level Six during the week of Christmas, since as a Jew, I have no real plans and lots of opportunities for rest between workouts. My brother seemed to get stuck on Level 6, so I'm a little intimidated by that, but hoping for the best.

The thing that's been hard is the weight. After losing a bunch of weight, slowly, over months, it's been coming back. Very disheartening. Mostly because I don't feel like I have much control over the process.

I eat as healthy as I know how. I refuse to starve myself, or to count anything. I eat when I'm hungry, and stop as soon as I'm full (not stuffed). I believe that dieting only leads to weight gain, so I no longer even try it. I do follow a general nutrition plan -- high fat, moderate protein, low-ish carb -- and it was working well, albeit very slowly, for me, so it's incredibly discouraging to see my progress falter and, indeed, reverse.

But now I'm wondering if it's just that my body takes a long time to show the effects of eating, so that the gains I'm experiencing are from Thanksgiving and before, when I was eating cookies and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So that I won't really see the results of the hard work I'm doing now for several weeks.

I hope so. I hope the tide is turning.

I'm reading Anne Lamott's new book, Help. Thanks. Wow. And she talks about asking for help when we feel stuck. So I'm practicing that. And it feels good, to turn over some of the responsibility to the universe.


  1. I really need to learn to ask for help. My recent vacation taught me that. I have it stuck in my head that if I ask for help I'm admiting failure.

    Glad your mom is feeling positive...hope Calliope is feeling better.

  2. I swear by oats. The more I eat them the more weight I lose - but they are just a tad boring!. I too think its extremely important to keep eating even if trying to lose weight. Also remember that when your body is stressed is not going to be easy to lose weight - just keep eating the good foods and it will all come right in time!