I'm not sure where to start. I honestly have so much swirling through my head right now I would need a dozen right hands to get it all out on paper (meaning I'm right handed and would need 12 pieces of paper to write down all the things). I guess I should start at the very beginning, it is a very good place to start don't ya know.
On Monday my mother and I made our way to Sibley Memorial Hospital for my next installment of maintenance ECT. Well the nurse looked at my arms and found no veins. "Don't worry," he said, "the anesthesiologist is really good and will find one for sure." Um, not at all the way it played out!!!! For 30 minutes, at the very least, the anesthesiologist poked and prodded and stuck me a minimum of six times, digging around, and could not find a viable vein for the IV. Finally the doctor said that we should think about a permanent port. NO WAY I screamed!!!!! The doctor finally asked me if I wanted to stop for the day. I said, "Yes sir!" And out I walked, back to my mother, sitting in the waiting area, shocked to see me so soon. I told her what happened, inbetween sobs and shakes. We sat there for a while while I got myself a little more together. We went down to the coffee shop where I got an iced coffee and she got a hot coffee. It was there that I made my decision:
NO MORE ECT!!!!
NO MORE INVASIVE TREATMENTS!!!!
IT'S TIME TO BRING IN THE NATURAL, HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENTS!!!!
I made the decision that while I will still work closely with the psychiatrist, whom I love and trust implicitly, and my therapist, with whom I have an equally trusting relationship, and I will stay on my meds, I am going to do more for myself than just be a passive patient. I think for a long time I expected people to do things TO me or FOR me. My psychiatrist would PRESCRIBE medications for me to take that would heal me. My therapist would talk TO me and I would answer her, passively. I would go to acupuncture, but not do any work in between the treatments. I expected that since I was so compliant and did everything my doctors told me to do I should be well. Um, let's look at that with our reality glasses on, shall we?
I let the doctors tell me what to do. Did I always do it? Honestly? No I did not. They told me to cut out processed foods and to drink enough water and to get regular, consistent exercise. Did I do all those things? Absolutely not! I still grabbed the mac n' cheese when I had a bad day. I still reached for a Coca-Cola rather than water. And lastly, I would curl up on my couch, hour after hour, watching Netflix or iTunes, even when the weather was so gorgeous you couldn't believe it was real. I met with a nutritionist, who was great, and loving, and kind. Did I follow what she said for me to do? Nope, not even close to it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I bought all the cookbooks she recommended and I might have even cooked out of them once or twice. But did I incorporate her recommendations into my permanent rotations of cooking? N.O.P.E.
This past experience with ECT, showing me how being passive is sometimes just as hard and just as unpleasant as taking charge and being in control of your own life and health, opened my eyes to something that I think I had my blinders on about. I need to take 100% control of how my health plays out! Will it be easy? Absolutely not, I have many, many, many years of old habits to replace with new ones. Will it always go my way? No, I've been learning that life is about riding the rollercoaster; you take the ups with the downs and learn from them both. But regardless, you take the helm and set the course.
So what am I going to do with this new realization? Quite a few things actually.
First of all, I am really making sure to drink at least 2 liters of water while I'm at work and then one more when I get home (and by water I mean seltzer with a splash of 100% cranberry juice). I find myself in the bathroom quite frequently doing this but I've been told your body gets used to the additional water intake.
Secondly, I am focusing on my nutrition. I make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, protein based, every morning. I have a mid-morning snack usually of fruit, or fruit and plain Greek yogurt. I eat lunch which is left over from dinner the previous night. Always a protein and some veggies. In the afternoon I have another snack, usually nuts and dried cranberries. Then I come home and for dinner I have something involving a protein and some veggies. I'm learning that the recipes I make do not need to be fit for the Queen of England, she is not coming over any time soon. It is okay to make simple, wholesome meals that do not involve a ton of random ingredients and spices. And of course there are carbs thrown in for good measure. I'm just not making them the center of all my meals, good bye Wacky Mac!
And lastly I am focusing on my exercise. I realize I have been a lazy bum since my NY Road Runner's days. It feels good, I am rediscovering, to work up a sweat. To have sweat run down your arms, down your nose, into your eyes (well that doesn't feel good, but you get my drift). I've been going for three runs a week, usually for about 50 minutes. I am currently doing a run one minute, walk four minutes pattern for eight repeats. That'll cover about 2.35 miles. At least that is what I did yesterday. I'm aiming to cover more ground in the same amount of time before adding more running to the ratio. Not sure what Runner's World would say to that. Maybe I'll ask them. In fact I think I will! Thanks for the idea blogosphere!!!!!
So far I am half way my first week. So far, so good. I'm going to run to the Giant to pick up some tuna fish and tomatoes to make a salad for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. Knowing me I'll probably make more tuna fish salad than for only two meals, so I'll eat it more, that's okay, I'm not so picky.
Here's a question for all of you readers out there, whether you've been with me from the beginning or are just reading for the first time: What are you doing to take active control of your life? Are you playing the passive recipient? Is it working out for you? That is not a judgment question, I really want to know. Because for me I think playing the passive recipient seemed to be working for me until it wasn't. You know, perhaps my life could have been a whole lot easier if I had taken charge sooner......I'll never know. But what I do know is that it is not too late to become the master of my ship, my own designated driver, the decider (you know George Bush, you're not the only one who is the decider). Leave a comment and let me know what IS or IS NOT working for you right now, in whatever season of life you find yourself.
But in the meantime, I leave you with this powerful image, posted by my friend Sherry on Facebook earlier this week:
Why I'm Blogging
Just your average 40 something trying to find the way in which she can make sense of her life. I hope you'll join me for this journey.