Feeling overwhelmed

My emotional status is a roller coaster times 20… I am frustrated with myself, with this situation, with allowing my patients to dwindle… I know everyone says “it is natural, normal, you are only human”… But I am in the midst of this shitty situation without “in person” support……I don’t have time to be emotional….Cancer sucks, it really shakes up the life of those diagnosed and those closest to them in ways beyond the obvious…. My husband has a diagnosis that has turned from B cell lymphoma to double hit lymphoma and the treatments will progress for a while and it is scary. I am angry… I am pissed off and deeply saddened but yet I don’t know how to express this anger and sadness…. I have to be strong for everyone in my family, strong for my husband, strong for my children- we will get through this/ there is no other option…. But I run around with my hair on fire, taking the kids to and fro, getting them into their new preschools, learning yet another city, trying to get back to work, being there emotionally for my husband and my kids, trying to keep up the positive energy all while feeling defeated, exhausted, and drained because we have no real help… Nobody close by who can relieve any of the responsibility, the pressure… Even for a few hours … We need to find a sitter – we are in a new city and have been searching- hopefully by this weekend. Anyway, I feel like I am failing in every aspect of my life during this tragedy… Why can’t I get up, dust myself off and keep dancing????????

Advertisements

Keeping it “normal”

With all of the changes, moving away, getting settled somewhat, then having a Cancer diagnosis, moving to yet another location (small house with 6 people one of whom I do not have a very good relationship due to an anger management issue- another story), major surgery, and no day care or kids to play with and I had the challenge of trying to minimize the stress for my children and keep a routine of sorts. I was stressed out of my mind- worried about my husband and whether this man I love so much and who is my best friend and the loving father of our two children would survive and trying to stay positive and care for him as he was feeling pain… Scared about the possibility of life without him for my children and myself… Trying to explain what was happening to my 2 and 4 year old, trying to keep them busy and away from their dad who normally is so active but was suddenly physically unable (at least keep them from jumping on him and managing their expectations about daddy’s activity level)…..stress of our living situation …Being the only one who can care for my children and not having a break….

I am grateful that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my children although I wish it was under different circumstances. I am thankful that my kids are the best huggers in the world— no matter how shitty I might feel a good long squeeze from my kids puts a smile on my face and lifts my spirits. We were thrust into a tragic situation and our kids adjusted well, they had a few tantrums and expressed their sadness and stress in their own ways- my son had a few tantrums and also asked lots of questions to try to make sense of this in his way. My daughter (2), cried A LOT, needed her blanket more and needed to snuggle more and had tantrums like I have never seen from either of my kids… But she would release the emotions and then visibly feel better…. Both needed Mommy more and more and had a hard time leaving my side… How scary it must be for them….

Sarcoma….

The original biopsy diagnosis was retro peritoneal Sarcoma…which has a fairly low survival rate.. I was terrified but had to keep it together for everyone, my husband, my kids, my mom-in-law, friends etc. I made up my mind that the ONLY option was kicking this thing’s ass. So, immediate surgery was scheduled to remove the mass, which was quite large in the retro peritoneal area. My husband and I had a very intensely emotion and intimate conversation the night before surgery because there was a chance he would not survive— we shared so much- he is truly my soul mate, my teammate, my partner in all that we have lived, loved and endured and te idea that he might be gone is so tragic- not just for me and my children and our families but anyone he has or would encounter because he has a way of bringing out the best in people and he makes a difference in so many lives just by being the wonderful person he is… He also said something that I don’t believe many in this world can say– he said he has no regrets, he felt his life, although short, was full and rich with experience and love and he wouldn’t change a thing. Being faces with mortality gives everyone involved a reality check… Life truly is too short to sweat the small stuff… Live life and accept yourself – strengths and weaknesses.

Surgery started early in the morning and It was expected to be 6- 8 hours – it was 8. The entire day felt like déjà vu with my moms surgery… She was supposed to have an 8 hour surgery and after 30 minutes they came out and gave her a 50/50 chance of survival… So I was on edge even more – and the seriousness of the surgery would have been enough. I felt sick every time a patient number was called because I desperately did not want them to call me over early. I also had to keep it together for my mom in law who was extraordinarily negative but we managed to find a common ground. When the surgeon called us in to speak with him after 8 hours of surgery the news was good- they removed the tumor and felt they were able to get it all (which is the key to beating Sarcoma), however, hey had to remove his kidney, graft his vena cava, and pull it away from his aorta. I started to cry a blubbering cry that I could not control because I was so relieved that he was ok and I hugged the surgeon…

I got to see him in the ICU and I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to be ok… He had so many tubes but seeing him briefly open his eyes and look at me I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and felt his fighting spirit kick into high gear. I settled for rubbing his arm and telling him, “I love you so much and everything is going to be just fine”…

How coaching soccer to 3-4 year olds helped me become a better parent!

I took on the wonderful and very difficult task of coaching soccer to a team of 3-4 year olds – some who have just turned 3 and some who are 4 or 4+ and a few in between.  This is a difficult task for a million reasons but a few obvious ones are the developmental differences between a child who just turned 3 and one who is 4 and also the ability to focus.  

The first few practices were a mixture of fun, chaos and a few goals…. we played fun games to teach them fundamentals – dribbling, NO HANDS :), shooting, defense, etc.  We played “Sharks and Minnows”, Pirates Treasure, Keep away, get the coach, etc.  The favorites are Pirate Treasure and Get the Coach… so we stick to those most practices.  As the coach, the most difficult task during practice is keeping all 9 of them on the field.  The first practice we had some wandering into the bushes, walking into the building adjacent the field (the local YMCA), hanging with their parents on the sidelines, picking grass, etc.  The second practice was better, the third was much better and I introduced the concept of goal side and many of them picked up on it quickly.  It is amazing how you can see the defensive and offensive minded players developing already!  

After practices I am exhausted, from carrying little ones to and from and jumping around and running to keep their attention and get them to first and foremost LOVE the game or just sport in general and have fun and second to learn a few fundamentals.  

In coaching, you have to learn the players as each responds to a different manner of coaching (or parenting).  This is where the lesson has come into play.  I had read and read about ways to interact with my own kids and tried to put it into action and then through working different angles with the team I began to work harder on them at home.  

I always get down on their level to explain anything and to talk to them.  I make time to chat with them individually and I try to make time to chat with their parents and ensure I give them praise in front of their parents (so important because they light up and look at their parents like – did you hear that – and are so proud of themselves – which is so important for self esteem).  I also learned to give it time and truly be patient because as you continue to try and work with them at their pace instead of rushing it.. they enjoy it much more and really do make steps (baby steps) toward playing and having fun on the field or in life.  A few of the players were hesitant at first and sometimes at practice are very distracted but I get them involved as much as I can and in the 2nd game – they wanted to play the entire hour!  It is on their terms or a perception of being on ‘their terms’ and they will get there – patience is the key.  You cannot force it but lead by example, encourage and be positive, point out all of the positive – even if it is something that to you may seem so minor (ex: getting on the field even if they don’t touch the ball but being on the field with the team), try to empathize and truly feel what they are feeling and NEVER focus on a negative aspect (Don’t say – why didn’t you xxx).  

Parenting:

1) Lead by example – look at yourself and how you interact with others.  Truly take a look and be aware of your “attitude” and reactions.  Your child is learning from you by watching your actions not just hearing your words when you speak to him/her.  So make sure you are a positive example.  Interactions with your spouse, family, friends, strangers should be positive and even during arguments it should be fair, communicative and using good listening skills.  Your example in terms of nutrition and exercise are also important.  If you eat well, your child will eat well – also what you have in your home is what the child will eat – if you stock up on whole foods and make them accessible – your child will eat them!  Be respectful and teach them how to be respectful.  If they show disrespect – explain to them what and why it was disrespectful (in a calm tone at their level) and let them know that if they do that again there will be a consequence (time out, reward taken away, etc) without warning.

2) Give them opportunities to be independent, to be a leader

3) Show and teach good sportsmanship

4) Foster a positive environment that feels safe

5) Talk with them at eye level and explain why they should/shouldn’t do something – they often understand more than we think they do

6) Empathize – try to understand what it feels like in their shoes and talk about it out loud – example: A child who is afraid to go on the field – instead of saying come on the field – it will be ok – Try:  It is scary out there with all of those kids you don’t know so well, huh.  Sometimes I feel nervous when I meet new people too.  Would you like to come out with me and meet a few first?  or Your mom/dad can come with you and dribble and pass with you.  Then when you feel comfortable, maybe you can come show how great your shot is!  Kids feel things differently than adults do and sometimes we have to remember what it is like to experience things for the first time – it can be scary!  Instead of saying – it’ll be ok- validate their feeling and let them experience that it is ok.

7) Have patience – don’t rush it and don’t compare one child to another…. kids develop at different rates

So we have had 2 games and the first was all about getting used to being in a game situation.  Some tears, some bumps and bruises and a few ‘own’ goals :).  The second game was a masterpiece – they played well together – most of them were comfortable on the field, they were cheering each other on.  The older ones became leaders, helping the younger ones feel comfortable… we won, had fun and scored 6 goals – 5 goals and only one ‘own’ goal (an own goal is one that is scored in your net (counts for the other team)). 🙂  I look forward to the rest of the season and hopefully having everyone on the field playing together and enjoying it!  SO MUCH FUN!

You are beautiful, you are deserving

You are beautiful, you are deserving of all the love, passion, experiences, desires… yes, YOU.  So often we all, men and women alike, are afraid of transition, afraid of change, of the unknown, afraid to love and accept love, to love OURSELVES, the way we are – for who we are and recognize the beauty in ourselves, our partners, our families, our friends.

You are beautiful, you are deserving….

Do not be afraid to show the light you have inside of yourself.  All living things have a gift and when you share that gift and open your heart and mind you allow others to do so as well.  By being genuinely you and allowing your strengths to shine and exposing your weaknesses allows others to be closer to you and allows love to flow into your heart.

You are beautiful, you are deserving….

Surround yourself with those that offer you positive energy, that are supportive of you, that give you energy.  You deserve to be lifted up, to be given a chance to show the world your light.  As my husband has taught me people can be energy givers or energy takers and if your cup of energy is being depleted more than it is being filled then you are surrounding yourself with the wrong people.  Take time to choose your relationships wisely and if you realize a relationship is unhealthy have the courage to break those ties.  It is important for your health, your life, your soul.

You are beautiful, you are deserving…

A partnership whether friend, lover, family, co-worker should have more positive interactions than negative.  Communication should be fair and open.  It should be a partnership not a dictatorship.  You are strong and intelligent and are able to take care of yourself and yet share your life with your partners, friends, lovers, etc.  Love yourself.  Love the way you look, the way you feel.  Do not allow another to put a demand on you that you do not agree with, that you don’t want.  Love is about sharing and allowing your partner to be FREE to truly be who they are.  NEVER SACRIFICE your sense of freedom.

You are beautiful, you are deserving….

A quote that has stuck with me, although I do not know where it is from: People accept the love they feel they deserve…. so believe and know that you deserve a fair and free true love from friends, family, lovers and anything less is not love but control.  You deserve to be surrounded by positive energy.

YOU are beautiful, you are deserving….

Striving towards a mindful lifestyle….

Mindful, peaceful – those are things that I work towards in my chaotic world.  I decided to document my journey towards mindfulness as a way of helping myself and hopefully helping others along the way.  I am a woman, a mother of 2 (3-year-old boy and 9 month old girl), wife, daughter, entrepreneur, endurance athlete junkie, and student.  Writing that I just realized I am spinning too many plates and one is bound to fall soon!!  I struggle with the dichotomy of myself – the peaceful, earth friendly, happy-go-lucky, relaxed side and the type A, overachiever side.  These two personalities battle each other EVERY day.  I will be documenting my challenges, my successes and the funny stuff that just happens when you are married with children and seeking to be mindful and peaceful.

At peace at the foot of a glacier…