Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hello from the amusement park!

Last post (oh so long ago-sorry!), I said my life was like a movie. Not really. It's been more like this:

I love this classic photo, which has inspired countless internet memes. It's all the more funny to me because the terrified kid reminds me of one of my daughters (when she was little), and the girl holding her hand reminds me of my niece, who is close to the same age as said daughter.

Every time there's a chronological gap in my blogging, I allude vaguely to how challenging life has been, and I more or less hint that I may explain myself in time, but somehow I never do.
I probably should, because maybe it would be interesting and possibly even comforting and (dare I hope) inspiring if I could share some of my challenges and how I'm trying to deal with them.

But it's not easy to catch up on weeks and weeks, especially when the time has been so busy and crazy and full of highs and lows (see photo, above). So here's where I am right now: there have been many good things happening in my life, but also an ongoing struggle with shaky health (too many issues to mention! sheesh, growing old is hard), depression and anxiety (those last two always seem to go hand in hand--they run in my family. Heck, to quote Mortimer Brewster , they practically gallop).

Where to begin?

The Good Ship CrossFit sank before it left the harbour. When I posted on Facebook that I had gone to a CrossFit gym, one of my friends commented, "Are you crazy?" and the answer is... well, let's not go there. But keep this in mind. In wanting to start a new fitness adventure, I had decided NOT to research CrossFit and knew NOTHING about it before I went to the gym, because I didn't want to scare myself and chicken out before I'd even tried it. I have since discovered that people in their 70s (and probably older) do CrossFit, so it's not an age thing. Besides, they scale down the exercises, weights, and moves to suit your ability. I survived the workouts I attended, but decided overall that the approach was not for me. It's fairly high-intensity, and therefore the exact opposite of what a cardiologist ordered for me after I had some tests done a few years back. I also could not afford the gym membership. So there you have it.

During Holy Week, I attended an iconography retreat at St. Therese Institute, and that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. More on that in a future post (and yes, I will show you the icon I wrote, even though it didn't really turn out as I had hoped, and thus I am pleased with it. You read that correctly.)  Easter weekend was lovely, even though some of my daughters were not able to make it home. The Triduum was so beautiful, and thanks to the Rosary of Abandonment (thanks, Jim!), it was the least stressful of my life, despite the parish jobs, long hours, and lack of sleep.

'Twas Easter Monday that the birds flew south. And the culprit was refined sugar. NOT. That is a lie. The culprit was gluttony and a lack of discipline. I ate WAY too much Easter candy, and way too much Easter bread. I don't normally eat a lot of bread, but over the Easter holiday, there was so much of it around: sticky cinnamon buns, poppyseed loaf, and danishes (all homemade, some by me, and some by my daughter who could be a pastry chef, but has decided to study Nursing in uni).

Friday, came the news of the Bronco's bus crash. No further comment needed. We are all grieving, and will continue to do so for a long time.

I really felt sick all last week (no need to say "I told you so," all you people who say Sugar is Toxic): lesson learned. On Easter Saturday I was hit by such incredible back pain, I literally couldn't walk. I spent the next two days on painkillers, an electric heating pad and Rub A535 (remember that stuff, fellow high school badminton players?). It still stinks, but man does it work.

On Monday, my back was well enough (painkillers etc) to drive my daughter to pottery class 45 miles away. Mentally I was still in a fog, but had decided to make some changes. The first thing I decided was to start thinking a little more outside the box when it comes to wellness. Prescription drugs can help, but I've been taking too many for too long, and I'm kind of sick of it.

I also know that diet is key, so to get back on the Healthy Lifestyle wagon, I decided to see how my body would react if I quit eating refined sugars and complex carbs (bread, grains) for a week. The results have been rather mind-blowing. Not going to make this post any longer than it has to be (I may have passed that point already) but I am feeling VERY well: lots of energy, more mentally alert and positive, not depressed, not tired. And in five days, I've lost 5.2 pounds. I have not had time to exercise much, due to sewing costumes and other prep for music festival next week, but yesterday our family played about two hours of badminton and pickle ball, and that was lots of fun.

Life is hard, but God is good. If you're at the bottom of the roller coaster right now, hang on.

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