Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Relaxing in the eye of the storm.

I've just had one of those moments of quiet when I see things clearly, like I'm walking on the bottom of the ocean with lead weights on my feet, wearing one of those big dive helmets with the port hole windows that the sponge divers would wear when we would watch demonstrations in Florida when I was a child.  Like I'm standing in the center of a whirlwind looking around me, turning in place to view my recent past and future experiences in this windless space.  It's a great place to be and I have such a sense of anticipation and excitement for things to come in my life and in the lives of the ones I love that I felt it was important to stop and recognize these feelings as a means of sending my gratitude to the heavens.

The last few weeks have been tense.  I've been on the verge of feeling fearful, yet not quite thrown into the funk that I've felt on the edge of toppling into.  The glass is half full mentality is finally becoming my own, I think, and it feels pretty good. 

Within the last few weeks my aunt learned that she had cancer, but with radical surgery, her physicians believe she is now on her way to a healthy life. All this was going on when my husband's health took a curios turn.  He was recovering well from the heart attack but then his blood pressure sank and has stayed very low ever since.  It's better than it being high, at this point in his recovery, as I'm sure his cardiologist would agree, but along with the low pressure came a lethargy that was shocking and almost left him unable to function from the afternoon hours until each following morning. His doctors said his condition was to be expected with his bp naturally going down from all that he's doing right and from the double medications he has been required to take since the heart attack.  They just didn't get it, though.  He went from feeling like a 20yr. old again to looking, acting, and feeling like a 90 yr. old.  Something was wrong and no one seemed to take it seriously. 

Of course I called my father to confer with him about my husband's condition because he's been the greatest source of medical knowledge throughout my life and he's always spot on with his assessment whether it be acute appendicitis or newborn infant care.  Chiropractors, despite what medical doctors and much of the population commonly think, have a vast understanding of the workings of the human body since they specialize in matters of the spine and central nervous system. 

Electrolytes.   That was his say on the matter.  "The boy", as he calls my husband, was probably lacking magnesium and potassium due to his rapid weight loss and increase in exercise.  Once again, Dad was right.  A week later my husband is back to his old, new bouncy self and feeling great.  We added natural, whole food protein shake mix made with almond milk to his daily food intake, more fruit, supplements, and more protein.  His weight loss hasn't slowed any, however, but he gets a pat on the back every weigh-in at his tri-weekly cardiac rehab. sessions.  Frankly, I don't know how he can lose any more.  He's already looking like the boy I married and while I am losing with him, I can only hope to return the favor over the next few months and give him back the girl he married.

All of this, and the heart attack for that matter, occurred when we were in the midst of planning the vacation he so very much needed.  We were finally going to make it to Montana and to Washington state to see his father and to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  When the long journey was in the planning stages, I could almost taste the dungeness crab and smoked trout we would enjoy on that trip.  Post heart attack plans were made, as we sadly, once again, back-burned a visit with his family and decided to take an easy, relaxing trip closer to home.  Williamsburg Virginia and Chincoteague Island, with possibly some Maryland and Delaware coastal road tripping, becoming the back-up plan.

When my aunt discovered that there was the likelihood that she had cancer, not long after we had scoped out the Virginia trip, we decided that if the diagnosis came back positive that we would take the opportunity to go see her and move our trip to Florida.  St. Augustine, though we've been there a thousand times, would make a great anniversary trip.

Well it was indeed cancer, so the Florida trip was in the works, even though a prognosis had not been given.  Finding a hotel room in the heart of St. Augustine, close to everything and within our price range so that my husband wouldn't have to overexert himself with lengthy jaunts in the Florida heat, was difficult and daunting.  In the midst of that process, I wondered, though I knew that just sitting and holding his hand on our anniversary would be celebration enough, especially considering how lucky I feel I am to even have him to celebrate this milestone with, if the trip would be jumbled in my senile mind years from now, mixed in with all the other St. Augustine visits we've made.  I also figured that with what we would be spending to do the same things we always do in the ancient town, that we could go all the way to Key West for the same price.  I was right.

Our reservations are made and it will be a memorable and very relaxing respite on the little island at the end of the Florida peninsula, thanks to a wonderful desk clerk who spoke to her manager explaining my husband's health situation and giving him a disabled veteran discount.  We honestly couldn't stay in the Days Inn down the road in the mountains here for the nightly rate she gave us.

So here I am in the eye of the storm looking behind at all that's happened and ahead at the excitement to come.  And though I have SO much I should be doing right now, I'm basking and taking a moment to think about how grateful I am for my life.  My aunt and husband are on the mend, and hopefully out of danger.  My other family members, myself, and my children are all healthy and strong.  I live on the little farm in the mountains that I've always had a vision of and a desire to own, and have the critters and garden and cool mornings I always dreamed of.  I'm going home in just a matter of hours, now, and have the assurance from my wonderful father that I can drive through the night, state to state while my little family sleeps, and he'll "have breakfast ready" and I can "sleep all day".  I can't imagine anything cozier, but maybe bear hugs from all of my family members which I will also get later in the week. 

Then, tip to tip, I get to explore my home state and enjoy the places it has been holding for me all these years, just in case I was ever lucky enough to get the chance for such an adventure.  Lucky enough?  Yes I am.  Lucky.  And spoiled rotten by this blessed, wonderful life, feeling the sun shine on me where I stand in the eye of this crazy little storm.

UPDATE-- Just received an email from my aunt saying she got the all-clear and is cancer free!  Great news!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A quiet blogging homeschool mom's night out.

Unlabled Mama, a friend and fellow homeschool blogging mom, and I are leaving the state for the ultimate mom's night out. 

We both need the break like crazy and though I feel a little guilty about leaving Hubby home alone while he is recovering, I am honestly looking forward to an evening of not hovering over him and checking his blood pressure every time he sneezes or yawns.  Okay, I'm not that bad, and he loves every minute of it, but I'm tired and really need to get out of here, if not physically, then mentally and emotionally...and the tickets to the concert we are attending during our escape were purchased in January when I had no idea what was coming. 

"Nickelback, Seether, My Darkest Days, and Bush all in the same arena."  I keep saying it to myself trying to fathom the insanity. 

The thing that cracks me up is that Unlabeled Mama is as shy and quiet as I am and we have tickets on the floor, front and center.  There we'll be, standing quietly in the middle of all that raucous.  Cracks me up. 

But for myself, as a sensitive person, it's the total sensory immersion in events of this sort that I crave. It's all or nothing.  That's how I am with everything.  I don't turn up the stereo much at home and despise a t.v. that is "too loud".  I can't tolerate fireworks, sirens, kids screaming (other peoples'), motorcycle roars, etc., but need to feel those drums vibrating my sternum and the strains of a guitar through my gut at a live concert.  I can't eat just a piece a chocolate.  It's a lot, often, or none at all.  Fortunately, I'm in the none at all phase right now.  The heat really irritates me, it's in the 80's again today in the mountains, but I can melt under the Florida sun on vacation like it's nothing.  I want it all.  And it can go either way, I may be wound up for days unable to sit still following a concert of this size or exhausted and ready to go into seclusion to recover.  I never know. 

I guess I'll find out later in the week.

And these silly traits of mine, that I used to be ridiculed for or made to feel weren't normal, I am beginning to recognize and understand.  With the understanding comes the knowledge of how to take care of myself and I am grateful every day that I finally know who I am and that being "sensitive" is okay.  Yay me! 

And thank heavens there is a concert on the horizon because I was really starting to suffer some major withdrawal.  Actually, there are a few.  It's going to be a fabulous summer.  The summer that I turn 40. Gulp.  4-0...