It feels "right" to come back and blog again...I realise I'll probably be talking to myself but my blog has never had a huge following, it's more about the therapeutic benefit for me.
...where to start? ...do I need to recap everything that's happened in the past eight months?...not all at once, I think things will emerge in their own time.
For now I will just state the "obvious" and that is that my beautiful mum did indeed lose her battle with cancer...there was no surgery, no chemo, the cancer was too widely spread and she made the decision to not undergo treatment...all she wanted was to be pain free (that proved to be a challenge) and comfortable (I will never really know whether she was) and with her family, not in hospital. So she spent the last five months of her life in my home, with my little family around her and anyone else who wished to visit. My home has never been so full and hasn't been since...
They were the best of times and the worst of times (is that a quote?...I have a vague idea it's from A Tale of Two Cities)
And so life goes on...and I still miss her - I miss her so much the grief is a physical pain...like nothing I've ever experienced. And I know she's still with me and won't ever leave me but there are days when I just want to hold her, to care for her and do the everyday things I used to do, and those are the hardest days, because the truth of the matter is damn hard, and it's like my brain cannot process the fact that she won't be physically here ever again...
There are times when my heart overflows with gratitude and joy at the good times we had during her last few months...the times when she made us laugh out loud, and although I know that those are the times I should hold on to, the bad times come rushing at me all too often, the constant pain, the mind-numbing medication, the sadness...
And so I am back to blog...about my life and how it has changed, I believe wholeheartedly that my mum's battle with cancer and her subsequent death have changed me spiritually...and all those times when I questioned my purpose in life, one thing is now clear - I was born so much later than my siblings just so I could be the one to hold on to Mum's hand as she died...I was never meant to leave her, and I didn't. So so much suddenly made sense to me during those last few months of her life...it was like opening a box and having my purpose in life revealed to me...and I knew it was so because it felt "right"
I didn't know what my strengths were until I faced fear...fear like nothing I've ever known...but the one thing I knew was that Mum must never see me cry or be afraid, she had enough to cope with without having to worry about me...
During those five months, people were calling me "strong" and were telling me how much they admired me. To say it shocked me is an understatement. I had never thought of myself as strong...but life was forcing me to show my true colours and I did it without having anything to prove to anyone. It was autopilot all the way - focus focus focus - 100%
So seven months later I found myself extremely overweight, depressed, angry and without "focus"
By chance a wonderful Facebook friend read between the lines of a status I posted and suggested we have a chat over the phone...
This clever woman identified my need to find a "new project" and after an hour on the phone to her, my next project had manifested itself.
Next March (2015), I will be doing the 100km Coast Trek. It raises funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
I'm hoping to document my training, trials and tribulations on this blog.
Let the next chapter begin - I know you're shaking your head with a smile on your face, Mum. I'll be fine, because you're with me.
Fast forward to today, and things have certainly changed on most fronts - our lounge room has been turned into "Mum's room", with a hospital bed that has an air mattress to avoid pressure sores and pain while mum sleeps, an oxygen machine and nebuliser. There is another single bed in there for the nights when mum needs some constant vigilance, some lounge chairs and as of next week, there will be a new recliner for mum to sit up on during the day.
Fast forward to today and I weigh in at 68.5kg...that's exactly 10kg lower from my pre-Christmas weight. Like I said in my last post, the one thing I can control right now is my health, and the healthier I am the better care I can take of everyone...
How did I finally lose that stubborn weight?...I did the Whole30 in May and the rest is history...
I'd heard about Paleo before but had never looked into it deeply enouhg...who'd a thought???
It would appear grains are my number one enemy, I've tried re-introducing oats and brown rice into my diet and the effect grains have on me is amazing - I crave sugar and more grains almost immediately and just feel "hungry" all day.
I'd still like to lose another few kilos, so I will stick with this way of eating and once I reach my "goal" will see whether I can tweak things around to have grains some times as well as full cream dairy...it's all about listening to my body and watching it react to different stuff for me at the moment.
It's been a lonely old ride, this caring for mum.
I miss not having the freedom to just leave the house whenever I want to for however long...but it's the least I can do for my beautiful mother right now, even if it isn't enough. It's all about pain relief right now and that is our focus.
I can't be away from her for more than half an hour at a time because she needs me to help with toilet etc but that's ok, she is so frail and thin, and half the time is very drowsy from the amount of drugs we have to give her for the pain.
Anyway, that's my update for now, I've missed blogging and must say I haven't been reading many of my regular favourite old blogs...
I might post more regularly and I might not - it depends on how much time I have.
I thought you'd like an update, although most of you see me on FB, which is quick and easy at times like these.
My mum's had a cough for about six months now...a niggly persistant cough that seems to get worse at night. A couple of months ago, as she was walking to the car one day, she was very short of breath and wheezing, had to stop several times along the few metres from the front door to the car.
My brother Eddie has taken her to her GP several times about this cough...she had two lots of antibiotics first, then a few weeks later the doctor thought it was a sinus infection, so more antibiotics and also antihystamines...
Eddie is heading O/S next week, so he wanted Mum to have a check-up before he went and they went to her GP again last Monday. This time he suggested it might be reflux so wanted to tweak her meds...but just as they were leaving he decided he wanted x-rays done just to see how her lungs were...
...there was fluid on the lungs, so he wanted to see what was "under the fluid", cat scan next...
...there is a mass taking up two thirds of her right lung...
...My mum has lung cancer...
Every time she comes over to stay and I hear her coughing I ask her "Does it hurt anywhere when you cough?", and always the answer is "No, no pain at all, it's just so annoying..."
Lately she's been up before dawn, just sitting there and watching TV because she coughs less when sitting up. Some mornings when I come in from a walk/run I find her sitting up with her TV on but asleep, her chin resting on her chest...
She's been looking so tired, she's not getting enough sleep...
We are waiting on a call from the specialist to book in an appointment. I'm guessing he'll be wanting to operate ASAP. I have mixed feelings about that and they're purely selfish...
a) I don't believe in my heart of hearts that Mum will survive surgery
b) I am afraid of what comes after that surgery, chemo? radiation? = more suffering, more pain...
I am overwhelmed and still have that feeling of floating on air but not out of happiness or elation, more a feeling of *surrealism* - this is the last thing I expected, I mean, Mum has already had cancer, she had Lymphoma and is in remission...she *shouldn't* get cancer again, right? Apparently not.
I was lying awake this morning and thinking how I CANNOT drop my game right now. The girls are both fighting virus infections and Maddie has just revealed she's got some sleep disorder type issues - "Sleep Paralysis" and something strange that happens to her while she's dreaming, similar to "Lucid Dreams" but very scary. Our doctor wants to investigate further...
The girls need me. Mum needs me. Michael needs me.
I need to look after Me.
***Otherwise, I cannot be there for them right now.***
Last night as I was getting off the phone with Eddie, I was sobbing, and he asked was I going to be OK? I replied, Yes, I was going to go and make a cuppa. "Forget the cuppa" he said "have a glass or two of red instead"...
Funnily enough, there was a bottle of red on my kitchen bench. A lovely client had given us a bottle to say thanks for some work we did and Michael had brought the bottle in from the car that afternoon...
I looked at that bottle and for a minute I thought to take my big brother's advice. Then I remembered very clearly the headache, the fuzzy brain, the sore swollen eyes, the dry mouth that I would experience the next morning from simply having *one* glass of red wine...worth it? Is that how I want to feel just as those around me need me most?
It was a no-brainer. I boiled the kettle and had a nice cup of tea.
The bottle of wine is in the pantry...maybe one day I'll feel like having a glass with friends to go with a nice meal. It won't be because I'm upset or lonely or confused or overwhelmed. It will be a choice.
And that led me to think clearly and make a deal with myself. No matter how hard things get for my mum over the next few weeks/months, I will continue to eat what I eat every day. No sugary sweet, no piece of organic dark chocolate, no kind of processed crap is going to make me feel or cope better.
And I will continue to get my workouts in...sitting on my bottom is not going to make me a better or more attentive carer/daughter/mother/wife...going out for a run or walk with Ollie on the other hand leaves me energised so I should use it as an outlet to *refresh* myself every day and connect with nature. My RPM and boxing classes will serve well to help me unleash frustrations and pent-up emotions...
I will not let myself go...that would be letting my loved ones down.
When the girls were little and I was a stay at home mum, every night I would make a list of everything I wanted/needed to get done the next day.
The list was pretty thorough...everything from "finish ironing and put away" to "fruit and veg shopping" or "ring Nan" was on that list. Needless to say, there were days when not all the items were ticked, but they made their way onto the next day's list and so on.
I wrote those lists down on paper, usually a pretty notebook that someone had given me for Christmas or a birthday, or the type you get for free with magazines like Country Style.
I've kept many of those notebooks (horder, me?) and they are fun to look back on as I sometimes used to write down stuff like the weather, and how much I weighed that morning (daily weighing goes back a long way with me)
Then, for some reason I stopped writing my lists...I still plan my workday in a big plain notebook every morning, but that is just work tasks. I like the structure it gives my day and it also serves as a record of events if ever I need to recall something.
I guess I thought I had my homelife/housework down pat and no longer needed my lists...but in reality it's more like work took over and personal/family life took a back seat, something to be fitted in around work. I hear it's not uncommon when running your own business from home.
This morning as I was hanging out the washing, I realised I miss being really organised and on top of all things domestic. I also realised I need my lists back.
So I decided I will start doing my lists last thing at night again, and hopefully reap the rewards of being more organised in this area of my life...
On a totally different note -
My mother in law has gained about 25kg since I met her in 1992. It has been a fairly steady gain, I recall it all started when she sprained an ankle, then retired, so she wasn't as active as before and being home all day with a husband who has a sweet tooth and controls the grocery shopping is as good an excuse as any to let yourself gain weight...
She has joined Weight Watchers more times than I can remember, usually loses about five kilos max and then of course there is a wedding/birthday/funeral/Easter or Christmas party where apparently people are just there to hold her down and shovel food into her mouth so she loses count of her *Points* and the five kilos (plus some more) go back on again...
When we caught up with her and my father in law just after Christmas, she was complaining that her surgeon would not consider a knee replacement and apparently his advice to her was to "take it easy" and wear a band around her knee...I suggested Krill Oil, as both hubby and I are having a lot of success with it. I also tactfully suggested that if she lost some weight, the stress on her knees would be eased and she may experience some relief. So she accepted my advice and I gave her some guidelines to clean up her diet and hopefully see some results.
She and my father in law went on a three day cruise to celebrate his 80th birthday and got back last Sunday...I've been sending her weekly suggestions and updates, so I was a bit disappointed when I got a reply this week that went along the lines of - "With all the eating on the ship and B's birthday, I lost all sight of diet. Monday will be a new beginning"...
Here is my gripe (I suspect I'm beating a dead horse here) - eating well and for weight loss is all about choices, you can choose *what* you eat, and you can choose *how much* you eat...if a cruise that costs you $2,000 for a couple of days around Sydney Harbour does not offer you any fresh produce or leaner alternatives, then I want my money back...and even if the food on offer is not the most conducive to weight loss, then you can control your portions the *how much* to eat part of the equation. The other thing that bothered me was the statement "with all the eating on the ship"...was it an "eating cruise"??? Surely there was swimming, walking and other activities available? Or did they go there just to eat?? It certainly sounds like it...
Apparently, the week that followed was one celebration after another for my f-i-l's 80th, their Rotary Club, their neighbours, their choir, their church, ALL put on a celebratory lunch/dinner/afternoon tea...I know it takes some discipline, but if she were serious about losing weight, she could have said "NO" to cake - I am no weight loss guru or wonderful example, but I only eat cake on *my* birthday, and then it has to be a cake of my choosing, and a small slice by most people's standards, and hubby and the girls know that I want that cake out of the house and out of my sight within ten minutes...
And the final gripe about her message is - "Monday will be a new beginning"...what's wrong with *TODAY*??? Why wait til Monday???
aaargh!!! I should just butt out, I know...but it really angers me that she is just another contributor to the stats that place Australia as one of the most obese countries in the world.
The one good thing she has achieved is that her son (my hubby) has always said he will not be in the same state of health as his parents, and so far so good. He has never been overweight, his blood pressure is always normal and he is a very fit man.
Hello there - I found this over at Norma's blog and decided to do my own version...just to show my face around here :-)
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Yes, my grandmother was a big fan of all things Hollywood. She named my mum Norma after the 1930's actress Norma Shearer (google Marie Antoinette movie of that era) and when I was born, she chose Sandra after the 1960's star Sandra Dee...even though my maiden name started with "L", my nickname has always been Sandra Dee, so it was appropriate that my married name starts with D...
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I cried yesterday - one of our kittens got very sick and died last Sunday...I nursed him for about three days and he finally gave up the fight, he was resting on my lap and we were looking up at the sky and the big tall gum trees he never got to climb...my eyes are welling up as I type...
(RIP little Freddie)
3 DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
I've never thought about it - although I use it less and less these days...if I'm trying to write thoughts down, it's a mess because my brain is faster than my hands, but I do a nice job when writing a Thank you card etc
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Hot Spanish salami
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Yes - two gorgeous and talented teenage girls. One is arty and gifted musically (courtesy of her dad) and the other is crazy about dance and also gifted musically...they are both very kind and compassionate human beings, and that's enough for me.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
It takes a very special, awesome sort of woman with no hang-ups to be friends with me...I don't like copy-cat or twin/joined at the hip friendships...
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Is there any other form of entertainment...?
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Not even if you paid me. Absolutely NOT
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Not a fan of cereal...does oatmeal count?
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
I'm told I'm a bit of a "rock" emotionally, physically, I'm getting stronger with age
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Not a fan of ice cream at all...I can (and have) lived without it for years...
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
In women - their hair.
In men - their shoulders.
15. RED OR PINK?
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
I find something to critisize someone for just about every day...
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My dad, and my little girl who never got to grow up (still-born ten years ago next month)
18. WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?
19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Hot pink Havaiannas
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
A handful of almonds
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
A pot of soup bubbling away, the fish tank.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Chanel No 5,
my husband's neck,
24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU?
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
I live in my dream mountain hideaway but I'd like a beach house to run away to for three weeks every year...
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Basketball and soccer
27. HAIR COLOR?
28. EYE COLOR?
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Right now - pears
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Black tank top with a multi coloured "hippy" top (brown, red, pale pink, pale green)
34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Autumn, but if it has to be Summer or Winter, then it's WINTER!
35. FAVORITE DESSERT?
36. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Running and RPM classes by choice, strength training by necessity
37. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Lost by Cheryl Strayed
39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
A 2012 calendar
40. FAVORITE SOUND?
The birdlife around here first thing in the morning
41. FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC?
Hard to choose, but right now - anything 90's
42. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I speak four languages apart from English, it's a hobby...
I'm good with strangers' kids
44. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Uruguay - South America...my parents and theirs before them were "explorers"...my background is French/Spanish
45. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Blue Mountains - 2 hours west of Sydney, Australia
46. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
Grey weatherboards with white trim and a dark red front door
47. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
A dark red called "Seduce" by Ford - it goes a lot faster than the white version...
That sums up my Blogging life at the moment. I spend about an hour each morning reading a lot of my favourite blogs by women who are awesome and keep me motivated and I also read some blogs by women who motivate me in a different way - sort of a "what not to do" way...(but we'll leave those alone)
2012 was a non-event. I could go on and list all the stuff that went wrong in 2012, or "not to plan" etc but hey, it's over, I'd rather leave it behind me.
One thing I do know : weight loss was zero, nada...a fail of epic proportions
I could console myself with the fact that I did not gain...but I am not in "maintenance" mode, so that's hardly consolation...I could list some excuses : the onset of peri-menopause, a foot injury that wasn't fixed til July (and what a relief it was to get it fixed!) looking after my elderly mother, running the business on my own, raising teenage daughters.
There, I've listed the excuses, and that's what I'm calling them. Big Fat Excuses.
So let's move on, shall we? 2013. I am normally against New Year's Resolutions because I see so many of them broken...the gym is packed for the first three weeks of the year. It's impossible to find a parking space in the lot, and us regulars have to park a few blocks away, if you don't get to RPM before it starts, you are very likely to miss out on a bike, or miss out on your "usual" spot...etc etc
Come February things are usually back to normal...
I have some goals I want to kick this year, and I will mention them as I go (if I get the old Blogging mojo back)
For today, let's just concentrate on one massive goal that I will achieve by the end of March. Get this ass down to 60kg. That's it. I don't need to elaborate other than say that when Autumn hits, I will be rocking my size 10 (I think that's a size 8 in US sizes...hello US readers!!?) skinny jeans and feeling great.
If I felt like I was losing momentum at all over the past couple of days or about to drop my game, I have to thank two wonderful people in my life for keeping me inspired...no, it's none of you gorgeous kick-ass bloggers that I adore...it's my brother Eddie and my neighbour Kim (I think I bitched posted about her a while back...the neighbour who wanted to do C25K with me)
This morning I went to the fruit shop to get some fruit and veg before the heatwave struck and guess who was the only other person in the shop...that's right, Kim!...we made some small talk about the weather, which led to her asking "you're not going to gym today, surely?!" my reply was "actually, I really love the 4.30pm RPM class, so yes, I was planning to..." "In this heat? you're mad!" was her response..."I work up a sweat at the gym anyway, and it is air conditioned..." I replied. I paid for my groceries and smiled and said ta-tah...
If for one minute I'd considered that it might be "too hot" to go to my RPM class, Kim's comment certainly made up my mind for me...
I was having a conversation about a rather overweight member of our family with my brother Eddie. Apparently Eddie has been giving this relative some health and weight loss advice (he is three years younger than me) and this guy had come up with every lame excuse under the sun, one of the best being "I've accepted that this is just my build..."....ummm OK...none of my business. No comment.
What did get me though, was something Eddie said - it went along the lines of : once we reach "a certain age" it becomes almost impossible to lose weight, as you'd know, Sandra...
OK. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH EDDIE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH YOU'VE MOTIVATED ME.
Yes, I'm motivated to lose the weight...but I think I'm more motivated to prove Eddie (and countless others who share this belief WRONG...
Anyway, that's it for me. I have a sink full of dishes which I'm considering leaving until the morning...We've so far survived the big bad heatwave without any bush fires in our area, but hey, this is only one day in January...they say it's going to be a long hot Summer...who knows what's round the corner? All I know is that a cool change is about to hit and it means a good night's sleep. It's hubby's band practice night so I might as well get into bed and watch some girly crap on TV or read a book uninterrupted...
Am I the only person who gets motivated "in reverse"...?...Tell me how well I'm doing and I relax...tell me I'm too old, crazy, too weak, and I just HAVE to prove you wrong... ;-) <insert evil laugh>