Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Back to Basics

When I lecture on death/dying, I often talk about how even with all our modern marvels of medicine, human life always comes back to two basic needs- eating and sleeping. When a person is undergoing treatment, neither eating or sleeping is easy to come by. Palliative/comfort care often restores exactly that- the ability to eat and sleep more easily. That is why research shows that people often live longer with palliative care than they do with curative care (chemo, radiation, etc.).

I’ve been thinking about how recently my eating and sleeping have been not been doing so well. Honestly, not eating well has been a lifelong problem. It has been the exception when I have been able to get a handle on eating properly. I’ve actually been successful, but only for brief periods of time. Every day I wake up and attempt to do so again, but usually by 2:00 pm I’ve sunk again. I have all the education I need, I just don’t have the motivation or willpower to follow through. Or something.

I tried to think of a baby step I could take and I came up with setting up a task in my calendar that comes with an alarm. At 8 am every day, I want to have a protein shake. That will start my day correctly and maybe if it is an actual task that needs to be checked off, I can put my OCD to good use. If I can get that to be habitual, my next goal will be to set a reminder up at 9 pm that says, “No more eating” and eventually decrease the time until 7 pm.

Sleeping is another lifelong battle. Even my baby books talk about the problems I had. I’m sure I had night terrors, they just hadn’t been named yet. I’ve done sleep tests at different ages. I’ve tried all the different medicines there are. But lately, I’ve just gotten in a bad habit of watching Netflix until 1 in the morning. Then I don’t want to (or can’t sometimes) get up when I used to. After waking Frankie for school, I go back to sleep. By mid-afternoon I need a nap in order to get through my activities. Vicious cycle. Once I nap, then I’m up at night again.

My baby step was again to add a daily task set up with an alarm. My goal for the first few days is to go to bed at 11 pm, WITHOUT Netflix or anything else. Even if I just lay there, it will help break the habit. Then I can lower the time by 30 minutes until I get to bed at a more decent time for me.

So simple, but sometimes I just have to hit myself over the head. Your eating and sleeping is off, Darcy so it is effecting everything else. You need to fix it.

Tiny, elementary steps that I feel like I shouldn’t need to still be making at 50 years old, but yet here I am. Small, incremental steps are the only way that I know of though, to make changes that won’t make me want to jump off a cliff.

Sigh.

I love the ‘ol AA slogan: One day at a time. It’s better than not trying at all, right?


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Crab Legs

Dave eating oysters at Myrtle BeachIt’s Thursday. It’s blog day. I’m blank. Brigitte says to take a walk in the sunshine because it will inspire me. I take a walk in the sunshine. I’m still blank.

I say to Frankie, what should I blog about? He says crab legs and clams. He LOVES crab legs and clams. He won’t eat a hamburg like a normal kid, but he loves those slimy seafood. Oysters too. Yuck.

But he got me thinking about things I am crazy about. It is definitely not slimy food. But food in general? Yep, that’s totally me. Love, love, love to eat food.

I’m not a lazy person by any stretch of the imagination. When it comes to food though, I do NOT like to work for my food. Crab legs aren’t slimy, but they are a lot of work. So is lobster. Too much work for me. I want instant gratification. That’s why buffets are NOT good for my waistline.

I was walking in the woods today with Taffy and ran into a woman walking her two dogs. I recognized her but don’t know her name. She tells me how sick she is of the cold and that she has gained six pounds. I laughed and told her I finally weighed myself on Monday and found out I had gained six pounds too. She said she had fifteen to lose BEFORE the winter started. I laughed again and said that I did too. Not that we really thought it was funny, but what are you going to do? Crying is the only other option.

So after the Monday weigh-in shock (although why I was shocked I have no idea), I started to more earnestly try to eat more healthy. I know exactly what to do, I just need to focus and be disciplined.

That’s all it took. Just a mental decision to try to do better. Since then, I have felt hungry all the time. I want to eat constantly. I went and bought fresh fruits and vegetables, but I crave ice cream like I was pregnant or something. Or chips. Or cookies. Or bread. Or any kind of carbs. Or any kind of sugar.

Ridiculous. My jeans are tight. They actually cut into my skin. That’s enough to motivate anyone, right? So I’m going to keep trying. Right after I eat that one ice cream bar that is left in my freezer :).


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Detox

So I am currently on Day Seven of a food detox I signed up for. I’m actually in the last hours of it. Vegetables only, plus 3 small fruits a day for seven days. Doesn’t sound hard to you? Just don’t say that to me.

I’ve been pondering what the word strength means this week. The closest people in the world to me have taken the brunt of this horrid week. One person made the mistake of saying “That’s not that hard” after she found out I vould eat as many vegetables I wanted. After I ripped her head off, I told her not so politely that if she isn’t detoxing she has no right to comment on it at all. No one gets to tell me what is hard and what isn’t.

The next person made the mistake of saying “It’s not that hard” when we were discussing separating egg whites. I’m not supposed to have eggs at all this week, but I was ready to give up on the program altogether. My coach said I could have egg whites if I needed to in order to not give up. So I ate an egg. The WHOLE egg. But I stayed in the program. So this guy says something about how it’s really not that hard to separate out the yolks. I ripped his head off also. Then I cried nonstop for about 20 minutes. He just sat in silence.

The next person said “Go get a snack” when I was going out of my mind. Again, I freaked out. “But you can have as many vegetables as you want” was the next sentence. So I explained (rudely, of course) that I hate vegetables to begin with- or at least most of them. Then I have to eat them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No exceptions. A friend of mine who detoxed said she went hungry because she just couldn’t stand eating another vegetable. That’s where I was at. Go get a snack? I was glad it was a telephone conversation so I didn’t cause any bodily harm.

I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Summer last September. I was having a nervous breakdown over an orange folder Frankie needed for school. I’d been everywhere and called her in desparation. Because she knows everything about everything, she knew exactly which store and aisle to get it in. (She knows I hate her sometimes for knowing so much…lol.)

Anyhow, I was disgusted with myself for being so undone over it. Of all people, I know better what is important in life. Why would I let it get to me? She gently, and laughingly told me that she thought I understood something about myself already or she would have pointed it out sooner. I’m just the opposite of most people. I can handle the really big stuff- like climbing into a hospital bed with my dying husband and not blink an eye. So the small stuff- like orange folders, do me in sometimes.

And like separating egg whites. No one is more embarrassed than I am that I can’t separate eggs without having a meltdown. But I am strong. I am very, very strong. Sometimes separating egg whites undoes me. It really is too much. And you know what? That’s totally ok.

By this time tomorrow I will be eating lean proteins and it will feel like the biggest feast I’ve ever eaten in my life! I just hope all my headless friends still love me 🙂