I got back from a whirlwind overnight trip to Epcot last Friday night. A little less of a drive than last month’s work/road trip to Atlantic City, so I’ll take it! Oddly enough we stayed at Disney’s BoardwalkInn which is themed as 1920s Atlantic City. I stepped out onto the boardwalk, overlooking the sparkling and pristine World Showcase Lagoon with the Eiffel Tower looming in the background and thought, “Hey wasn’t I just here?”
The Museum I work for loaned several objects to Epcot who just opened (yesterday) a new exhibition in their American Adventure featuring tribal history and culture. It’s beyond overdue to include native history, but I guess 36 years later is better than never…
Anyways, I was doing my duties of meeting, greeting, hugging and guiding people to the exhibition area when I realized I had forgotten to put on deodorant. This would have been fine except it was 1 billion degrees outside and not a breeze to be found. I was a sweltering, hot mess. Who forgets to do something you’ve been doing every single day for 25 years? Me. And on the hottest day of the year.
Sometimes I wonder where my brain is but then I think about all the things I have to be responsible for in a single day and the amount of baloney we all have to put up with and I realize I’m doing alright, deodorant or not.
Whew. What a week it has been. I can’t recall the last time a week has pushed me to my mental limits. But it is a beautiful Sunday morning and I am thankful for a new week!
Aurelia and I are just basking in the morning light. The tiniest snoring noises and fluttering purrs are coming from her as she takes her 2nd morning nap. With fresh brewed coffee in my favorite vintage mug I am working on my grocery list for the week. PS–Why does it take me an hour to make a grocery list?
This past week I also began a serious change in my diet. I recently reconnected with a childhood friend who does health coaching on the side. My twin sister- who hears my daily woes and excuses of my lack of good health- urged me to reach out to her. After my surgery I knew that I needed to pull up my boot straps and start making some solid, long term decisions that would have a positive impact on my health. I don’t want to be that person anymore that just complains and does nothing about it—so I’m doing something about it!
I’m really excited. Like, super duper excited! I’m on day 5 of a completely new way of eating. I’m drinking 80 ounces of water compared to my previous 8 ounces I used to consume. I’m eating 6 times a day and ingesting lots of vegetables and protein. I’m retraining my brain to understand what my body needs and that food is fuel. I’m on day 5 of no pasta and I actually don’t feel too sad about it! My body was in detox mode the first several days and there were moments of wanting to give up, but I just took it one minute at a time. Friday I came home from work with a splitting headache, achy body, and a mood that compared only to an irritable dragon. But today I am feeling great!
I was thinking the other day about the word journey. H E A L T H J O U R N E Y. I don’t know why, but suddenly I don’t like using that word to describe what I’m doing. I think its because it makes it seem too easy, like its going to be this blissful, sun-drenched, paved road ahead–frolicking down a path with a basket full of perfectly ripe peaches and shiny green vegetables and positive encouragement from all of my woodland friends. But the reality is that this is tough. I’ve let my PCOS symptoms dictate my life. I’ve developed 10 years worth of bad habits that are so ingrained in me it makes me worried to think I won’t be able to break them. I have become so comfortable with my discomfort that the idea of transforming is terrifying. But I’ve dug up some courage and I’m going to give it my best try.
Day 5 of my health odyssey and I am on my way.
I was in a meeting the other day and looked around and realized I was the only woman out of eight men. It was a construction meeting for our new office building and I was representing the end user. Everyone was nice. Everyone gave me the floor to speak. No one treated me with disrespect because my profession is museums and not construction management. No one was chauvinistic.
But I realized sitting there that I present myself differently in meetings where I am the only woman. I prepare myself for those off-handed comments I have received in similar meetings, or the patronizing tones, or treating me like I’m a five year old girl who has innocently stumbled upon this meeting of “gentlemen”. I may be soft spoken but I’m not a bimbo.
When I was on a work trip recently installing an exhibit, I was helping a co-worker hang framed prints from the Museum’s collection down a corridor. These were big frames– like 4′ x 5′. At two different occasions, two men walked by us while we balanced on ladders, holding screws, levels, and drills in our hands and made comments about the fact we were female and using power tools. I almost lost my marbles, shouting after them that we are perfectly capable of doing this job!
Several years ago I asked a past male employee during their annual review what additional support I could provide him and his team. He told me that everything was good, and that he felt like we had a good working relationship even though I was a woman. I calmly asked him to clarify what he meant. He was flustered and muttered something about how its great he doesn’t have issues with a woman being his boss and we can work well together…
Oh, ok. Cool.
I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say but it was all twirling inside my head the other day. I know things have come a long way, but I do just fiercely wish that it wasn’t a thing. Why does it even have to be a thing?
I’ve learned to keep myself occupied over the years on my commutes to and from work. Driving 60 miles each way means always having a killer playlist. Today was a very stormy and overall terrible traffic day. To keep myself from getting frustrated, I just concentrated on my music. I started humming along to songs and then one of my favs came on so I couldn’t help but sing along.
OH HELLO, DOLLY! WELL HELLO, DOLLY! ITS SO NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK WHERE YOU BELONG!
WE FEEL THE ROOM SWAIN’ FOR THE BAND’S PLAYIN’ ONE OF YOUR O L D favori….
As I belted the word ‘Old’ I could sense someone staring at me. I slowly turned my head. Sure enough some guy in a box truck next to me wearing a cut-off t-shirt was eyeballing me. Me and my showtune got a bit flustered, but we shook off the embarrassment and finished off strong–
LOOK AT THE OLD GIRL NOW, FELLAS! DOLLY WILL NEVER GO AWAY AGAAAIIIINNNNNNN!!!
This morning I put on deodorant! High five for small achievements!
The last few days as I’ve rested, I’ve been doing a huge organization of my digital life. Cleaning out thousands of e-mails (anyone else an e-mail hoarder?), organizing all of my photos off my phone, and doing some things around the home. I never set aside time to do these things so I am glad I’ve been able to clean out some cobwebs and start the week off fresh.
On the to-do-list today is:
- Find room for the rest of my hurricane supplies in the closet (fingers crossed Hurricane Beryl dissipates)
- Grocery shopping
- Clean the bathrooms
- Clean out the trunk of the car
I realize, however, that this is quite ambitious seeing it is already 12:00pm.
This week I am back to work full time (minus my doctor’s appointment) and am encouraging my brain to get behind this grand idea I had. Because I am solo in my carpool all 5 days, I thought I would get to work 30 minutes early and spend that time trying to clean out this monster of a filing cabinet in my office. This cabinet serves no function except to 1) Hold 5 year old files that I inherited from my predecessor 2) Take up valuable real estate and 3) Be an eye sore. Sometimes I am envious of people’s short commutes. I realize it seems silly to have to plan this time to clean out a filing cabinet but when I work over an hour away from home, I have to be wise with my time.
I’ll leave you with a few photos I found on my phone during my organization spree:
Helicopter ride over the Everglades- July, 2017
Bandolier National Monument- October, 2017
San Francisco- June 2017
Paonia, CO- July 2016
Commute home- December, 2017
I had my hysteroscopy and D&C this past week. The surgery went well and I will have my postop appointment with my OBGYN next week to make sure everything is healing properly and get the lab results of my polyps. We’ve already spoken about some possible medications for me to start taking to help my uterine wall not build up like the Great Wall of China and give me a regular period (!).
I knew this wasn’t heart surgery, but the anticipation build up was giving me restless sleeps. I was very proud of myself the night before as I worked hard to address my anxiety and stay calm. I really believe the support and love from my family and friends, plus exercising my mind to be in the present moment, helped tremendously with me staying focused on reality.
I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am and by 5:45 I was assigned to my bed and the sweetest nurse Judy. Because I was a surgical newbie she was careful to explain everything to me and made me feel calm. By 7:30 my doctor had arrived in cheerful spirits and I had already met my OR nurses and anesthesiologist. I kissed Bobby good-bye and all I remember is being wheeled down the hall into the OR. That’s it. How crazy!
I woke up with my postop nurse telling me I did great and my calves getting massaged by these cool compression wraps they put on me prior to surgery. Bobby was summoned from the waiting room, I drank some juice, ate a 1/4 of a graham cracker and by 11am I was being wheeled out to the car. I am truly grateful for the amazing care the hospital gave me. My only experience with hospitals thus far was being a candy-striper for several years in high school and watching Grey’s Anatomy–both obviously reliable and up to date sources of information.
My recovery has been just fine. Some discomfort, light bleeding, cramps and tiredness for several days as the anesthesia has worn off. Bobby has been wonderful and put up with my demands for ginger ale, back rubs, and a mild case of the grumpies. Overall, I’m feeling on the mend and am starting to feel eager to focus on my health and healing. I took the rest of the week off from work to heal, rest, and work through some things in my head. My path ahead won’t be easy. Infertility is not even the most difficult obstacle I face. It is learning to care for my body the way it deserves to be cared for and minimize symptoms that have controlled my life for far too long.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was the summer of 1992 and my family was sitting around the kitchen table for dinner. My sister and I had just spent the day at our friend’s house. This friend had a sweet new kitten named July who’s birthday was on July 8th. How fun!
I remember sitting there that evening (probably pushing around my dinner with my fork) as the wheels in my head started turning. I knew that sometimes my birthday fell on Thanksgiving so that meant other people’s/cat’s birthdays could also fall on holidays.
So I asked my family, “Is the 4th of July ever on the 8th?”
I waited for the response, so utterly hopeful that my friend’s dear cat could sometimes share her birthday with the best holiday in summer. I mean, pie and free fireworks? What more could a cat want?
But instead of confirmation of this amazing possibility, my ears were met with my family’s laughter.
“No Kate. The 4th of July is never on the 8th. Its always on THE 4TH OF JULY!”
It took me several agonizing minutes to understand that the 4th of July did not have the same calendar hopping as Thanksgiving. My heart sunk deep into my stomach. Poor July the Kitten had been robbed of sharing her birthday with America!
And for the rest of my life my family will never let me live down the dumbest– although well intentioned– question my 8 year old self ever asked at the dinner table.