Thursday, February 11, 2010

There is No Reverse

I hate that. I hate that there is no reverse in our lives, a magic button where I could just revisit moments and treasured jewels in my life in vivid reality over and over again. Unfortunately, I fear that people like me are the very reason we do not have this ability as human beings.

Hubby and I were about to go to sleep a few nights ago and I mentioned this to him. He sort of chuckled and brought up Hiro from "Heroes" which we have recently started watching. We both agreed that I would be the worst Hiro in the world. I know that time and time again, I would rewind time to revisit those that I miss and love. I would bypass saving the world, putting it off over and over again as I waltzed through my own personal time line savoring every moment.

This week has been very difficult. It is one of the worst parts of losing someone you love - that morning when you have to return to work and a regular routine. It is hard to watch the world continue to spin while you try to figure out how to fill the hole in your heart and jump back into life. It reminds me of when I was a kid waiting for just the right moment to jump into the ropes as their lines spun over and under, over and under.

This has bothered more than I expected. My grandfather was sick for many years and I have jumped at the phone every single time it rang for nearly ten years. I still jump. Then I remember. My family seems to be handling things really well. I see the strength in my mom and my grandmother and I feel like a coward. I try to put on my strong face and muster the strength to make it all day without any tears. Every day this week, I have taken a quiet lunch in a secluded room so that I can cry alone.

I lie awake some nights and think about our plans. In May we will begin the process of bringing new life into the family again. If we are successful, this little person will be the first one in our family to never know my grandfather, it will be the beginning of a new generation. I try so hard to turn my face forward and carve a path for the future, but I catch myself looking over my shoulder from time to time.

Thank goodness, I'm not a Hiro.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Farewell to a Hero

I've known for a long time that this post was coming. I knew the title of it and had even mapped out some of the things I would say. Still, I kept hoping and praying that God would keep pushing that day further and further into the future.

As a kid in school when we had those "Who is your hero and why" essays, I never had a solid hero per se because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by leaving them out. It was always so important to me as a child that no one's feelings ever got hurt and they never ever felt that I favored one over the other. I shed many tears over the torn ache in my heart as I decided whether to go with my parents or stay at my grandparents' a few days longer. I always based my decision on who I thought sounded the most disappointed or hurt about my choice.

Not long after I got married, I realized who my hero was though, and I also realized that he had always been my hero, I was just too afraid to admit it out loud to anyone. My grandfather passed away this afternoon. He had been sick for over 12 years after miraculously surviving a very serious aneurysm rupture in his stomach while out feeding his cows. His battle to survive that only bolstered my admiration and love for him as did the long road of recovery for many years after.

He got very sick with an infection a few weeks back and the doctors were gentle and honest with all of us, including him. They didn't think he would make it out of there but he surprised them as he always does. Because of the constant and complicated medical care that he needed, he had to be moved to a nursing facility. Once there, we knew he would never leave. He fought his infection and subsequent delirium to spend a week or so talking at very brief intervals with each of us and allowing us all to say goodbye. Last night, he told everyone that he just wanted them to stop everything and let him go. It was the last thing he told us.

I feel like my heart is breaking in two. I keep thinking of the last thing we shared alone together as granddaughter and grandfather. I stayed with him while my aunt went to pick up her children from school and he happened to wake up for a while. I was reading one of my assigned books for class and he asked me to hand him his book off the table. He hadn't been able to read for several weeks by that point, but I understood his point. I helped him open the page and try to steady the book in his hands. He read maybe a page before he dropped the book. It was too hard for him to hold it. He looked up at me with heartbroken eyes and said "Hon, I can't read anymore."

I sat in the parking lot that night before going home and sobbed. That was one of the things we had always shared together was our love of books. When we were together, you could usually find us on the couch eating quartered apples out of a bowl between us as we sat together silently, lost in our book worlds. He told me that day of several authors that he knew I would like and told me to go to the house and get those books soon. He'd been wanting me to read them. I will go someday and get that box of books and one by one my hero and I will read them together again, only this time, I will have to eat the apples alone.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My bike; a love/hate relationship

For Christmas, my husband and my parents bought me a recumbent bike. I had been walking, mostly outdoors, and by December it was just too cold to walk outside for any length of time. The bike not only allows me to exercise indoors, but it helped me burn more calories in a more effective and low impact way.

With my schedule, it was hard for me to consistently exercise every night. I had to let Hubby take over some of the household chores and I had to really push myself to stick to it, but after a couple of weeks, I had a routine carved out each night before bed. Now, I don't sleep well unless I have exercised first.

I bought a bike with a full seat on it. It has a tall back on it to prevent lower back strain and allow for comfort. I love that I can do other things while riding which has helped me to stick with my commitment more easily.

At first, the bike and I argued. I had to really dig deep to work up to an intensity that I felt was effective. After about fifteen minutes, I would start to get crabby and tired, but I kept pushing through because I knew I could do it if I really wanted to. Usually after about a week of consistently trudging ahead, I could feel the workout getting easier. I try to constantly challenge my body, so I never keep it easy for more than a week.

The past couple of weeks, things with my grandfather have been really bad. He is slowly fading from us, and its been really hard on me. At first I skipped the bike, but lately I have been craving it. I didn't realize how much I relied on that half an hour for myself. I tend to lean more on my ipo.d these days and I've moved the bike into the living room, so that I can workout alone (Hubby's computer is in the bedroom). I picked out a handful of uplifting, happy songs, that help me to set a positive, fast pace for my workouts, and I often lose track of time now. Sometimes on the weekends I may exercise for an hour if Hubby doesn't do an occasional time check.

It feels so great to finish my workouts now. I stop pedaling and I feel a true sense of accomplishment and energy. I feel revived and uplifted. I love that I have been able to find a positive outlet for my anxieties and frustrations. When I have a bad day, those are the days that I walk in and head straight for my bike. Hubby knows that this is my time to vent and relax. It's my escape.

I'm telling you all of this, because many people fall off the resolution wagon towards the end of January. They get frustrated and overwhelmed. This is the time to push the most though. It is important to make the most of your time. Do what works for you. Instead of thinking that you are going to have to squeeze in some time to exercise, allot a specific time, and make it all about you. If you like television, watch television, if you like music, get you some positive tunes to help you pass the time. If you need to be quiet, turn everything off and focus inward. Let your family members know that this is your time, and you need their support to keep going.

The first time that you end a workout and feel the stresses of the day fade away is an empowering and addictive moment. If you can strive for that moment in all of your workouts, not only will you look forward to your workouts, but you will also find that you are better equipped to deal with stressful days and frustrating situations.

I hope this helps encourage even one person to stick with their routine and push forward into spring.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Endometrial Biopsy

I've been putting this post off. I'm not sure why. It wasn't one of the worst procedures I have endured by any stretch of the imagination. I think there is just so much anxiety and fear that surrounded this particular doctor's visit, and emotionally I just wasn't ready to go back there.

It is important to me that I tell you about this procedure though. Most of the fear that I had built up was thanks to good ol' Dr. Google. The things I read there were horrible and sounded dreadfully painful. My doctor kept assuring me that it wasn't painful at all, but Dr. G can be mighty persuasive sometimes.

Before the exam, the Nurse Practitioner came in and saw my trepidation (it didn't help that she was carrying in wire cutters). She laughed and took the time to show me everything in the kit that they would be using. It is a very simple brush on a stick. The wire cutters were to cut the brush off into the sample container. I felt better after she showed me this. The brush is very small and it is sheathed during insertion so that you don't feel the bristles.

The doctor came in and prepped me just as he would for a pap smear or a regular exam. He put a speculum in place, swabbed iodine on my cervix and proceeded to insert the brush. My case would have to be an exception of course. The brush is on a flexible wire and my cervix gave too much resistance for the brush to go in.

The nurse brought in a sound to help guide the brush into my uterus. I will not lie to you. This was a very uncomfortable moment. It was painful, but not unbearably so, and as I have said before, I have been through many other experiences that hurt much worse than this did. Usually the sound is not even necessary, but I thought I would mention it, as this is as bad as it gets.

Once the doctor was able to move past my cervix, he took a quick swab and that was it. The whole thing took about five minutes and the residual pain was very minor. It took about a week for my results to come back, but my procedure was done three days before Christmas, so I expected a long wait.

Just some tips in case you find yourself in this situation...

Bring a pad. The doc told me I would spot lightly for a day or so. I actually had a full on period. Some of that has to do with the way my lining is though, so I'm not sure what you should expect normally.

Take something. The NP talked to me several days before and told me to take three ibuprofen about an hour before the procedure. Thanks to that tip, my husband and I actually went shopping after I returned home from the doctor. The small amount of pain I had was gone the next morning.

I hope this helps. I don't think the biopsy would have been near as bad if someone had explained to me what the procedure was ahead of time instead of leaving me to consult Dr. G.