Happy in my skin …

Wouldn’t it be great if every time we looked in the mirror we loved what we saw? And I don’t mean just our faces. I mean EVERYTHING physically.

Why do I ask this? I went to the dermatologist today. I love my dermatologist but I absolutely hate that appointment. Probably more than any other doctor’s appointment I drag myself to. My dad died of melanoma and I have a lot of sun damage from sunburns I had as a child. These have lead to years of freezings (OUCH) and one biopsy (HOLY OUCH). On top of all of that you strip down to your undies and for about 30 minutes you get to search your entire body for all of your skin flaws. FUN … NOT.

Needless to say, I REALLY don’t like going and when I do my anxiety is astronomical. It’s so bad that even my normal blood pressure skyrockets when I go. NO JOKE. It’s noted in my chart that I have to have it checked because it’s always so high when I first arrive. Thankfully it usually normalizes before I leave. But still, I am THAT anxious! Anyway, all that being said I couldn’t be more thankful for such a great doctor. She’s thorough and compassionate and really hears me when I talk to her. It is a blessing to have access to such great care and I will never take it for granted.

So back to what I started with. Wouldn’t it be great if we loved what we saw when we looked in the mirror? ALL. OF. IT. Bumps, bruises, scars, ripples, dimples, you name it! EVERY perfect imperfection! And unless you figured out a way to airbrush your humanness, we ALL have them! So why then, if we all have them can’t we learn to love them? You read that right! Learn to love our bodies just the way they are. Hmmmm.

Sure, days like today are harder for me to do that. REAL HARD. Good Lordy, can you blame me?!?! I spent the morning focusing on what is wrong with my skin. Ugh. I truly LOVE the idea of LOVING what I see. And I’m going to work more on this. I am turning 50 in July and I want to embrace the changes I see happening in my body. I want to accept them as part of my life story. This incredible body has been through and survived a lot! And it has gifted me with so much joy! It deserves my love and respect until my last breath. I want to love myself in this time of my life, inside and out. And I think I just might be on the right path. This morning after yoga, a long walk and 15 minutes of breathing techniques I arrived at my doctor’s appointment … and for the first time in YEARS I had a NORMAL blood pressure! GO ALMOST 50 YEAR OLD ME!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel happy in your skin!!!

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Do what you gotta do …

Today I had my annual mammogram. It’s always a little nerve racking for me, as I would assume it is for all women. It’s incredibly hard to sit there calmly when I have to answer questions about my mom and the disease that took her life. I literally want to jump out of my skin. Today I decided to have no coffee before I left for my appointment. Sleepy and lazy is way more beneficial to me sitting there waiting for my name to be called, than amped up on caffeine and nutty. Trust. Me.

I arrived to the hospital early and got called back very quickly. I was in and out of there 10 minutes before my scheduled appointment time. WOW! It all went as usual but the tech took some extra images. That freaked me out a little until she explained why. She actually showed me why on my images. My boobs for didn’t fit in the whole image frame. HA! This happened to me years ago. I believe I was told that they try to use the same size imaging plates every year for continuity, so if you gain or lose weight that can alter what they see. I was fine once my tech told me why and thanked her for being thorough.

Anyway, for me mammograms will always be scary. I will never go into one anxiety-free. Nor will I feel relieved until I get my results. Mammograms are, at minimum, very uncomfortable and can be downright painful. I will always want to cancel my appointment, but I will show up anyway. And … I will always stand in front of the mirror in the dressing room and take a good long look at myself before I go in to the imaging room. It is here where I ground myself in my truth.

I am Donna’s daughter.

And yes, she died of Breast Cancer.

But I am also me.

I am who God created, and I have my OWN life journey.

It does not have to be the same as my mother’s.

Perhaps one day it could be.

But for now, I will just take care of myself in the best ways I know how. Even if it terrifies me to do so.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you do what you gotta do!!!

Do what you have to do …

I used to love going to the dentist. Yep. I was one of THOSE people.

But not now.

The day I got my second round of meningitis I spent the morning at the dentist so I will FOREVER connect the two. God love my dentist and the entire office for how good they have been to me. They have done everything they can to get me back to that dentist loving patient again. I can’t appreciate them more. I truly believe that dental health is beyond valuable. So as scared as I’ve been, I’ve kept going. It hasn’t been easy. Trust. Me. The first few times I went back, I will admit, I cried! Yes, my fear was THAT bad.

Today I had another appointment scheduled. I was a ball of nerves on the drive over and sitting in the waiting room my stomach ached! I didn’t want to go. I wanted to cancel my appointment but I showed up anyway … because fear will not stop me from doing what is best for my health.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you do what you have to do!!!

A lot of baggage …

Flying two kids home from college with all their STUFF is a lot to manage and can be quite stressful. They have finals to deal with and I’m excited to have them home and want their travels go smoothly. So it can be a big cluster of anxiety to say the least. But this morning after thinking about it and trying to convince myself that there is nothing to worry about, I made myself giggle (alone at the carwash).

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t have a lot of baggage!!!

A survivor (times 2) …

One year ago today I woke up early and headed for the gym. I did some speed-work and clocked my fastest 1/4 mile (7:13). Not to shabby! I went home and continued on with my typical morning routine. Then I headed to my dental cleaning. This would be that last time I would feel like myself for months.

Later that day I would find myself in an ER with symptoms I was all to familiar with. I was sick. And despite the fact that no one believed me I knew my body. I had meningitis. Again.

Today is the one year anniversary of my second round of meningitis. Still with so many questions left unanswered. That alone is a demon I must face every day. I have become obsessed with Facebook memories. Trying to find some clue as to how I got so sick so fast. Again. There is nothing there. Nothing. I finished a week of 100,000 logged on my Fitbit. I mention twitchy legs, crazy fast speed-work and a rest weekend. It was to be a well deserved break from my training that was going better than I ever could have hoped for. I was strong and healthy. Race ready. There was nothing in those memories that would indicate that I would become so sick in just mere hours. How can anyone’s brain be that swollen and they not show any signs or symptoms?!?! It’s baffling. Utterly.

There are days that I still feel like a ticking time-tomb. I’m not sure if that feeling will ever go away. The memory of this experience and the fall-out afterward will always be unsettling. The “unknowns” are worrisome at best. But I refuse to cave into fear and let it immobilize me. Life is too precious for that. I thought battling meningitis once was bad enough. Twice, just seems insulting. But I truly believe that life gives us lessons for reasons. Reasons we might not ever understand. And THAT gives me my peace. Trust me, I can easily focus on all the things that this illness has robbed me of. How disruptive it was to, not just my life, but my family’s and friends’ lives as well. I can resent the fact that I still don’t feel like myself and that I fear it happening all over again. I can focus on the anger I feel when I see my precious kids worrying about my smallest of ailments. Children shouldn’t have to worry like that! OH, if meningitis was a person I would have punched it in the throat long ago!

Anyway, as I see it I have two options. I can choose the road paved with anxiety, fear and bitterness … OR … I can be thankful that I even had a road in the first place.

Let’s face it, life is not always easy. Crap happens through no fault of our own. But life can still be beautiful. I’d be lying if I said this illness hasn’t changed me. It has. I am not the same woman who woke up on this day a year ago. I am, for better or worse, the Jennifer I was supposed to be on this day and in this moment. Meningitis helped shaped me. And I’m OK with that. I am an ever-evolving woman who accepts that change and defeat and pain are an acceptable way to form me into the woman I am meant to be. Meningitis was a pit stop. OK fine, TWO. But it wasn’t my final destination. God and the universe clearly are not done with me yet and that’s good … because I still have dreams. And as long as I have breath, scared or not, I will chase them.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are a survivor (times 2)!!!

Spinning …

We have had a busy summer. It's been fun but we have been on the go since George's graduation day in June. It's honestly been a whirlwind. The past few days we have had at home we spent catching up on life. And by life I mean laundry, HA! Well, that was part of it anyway. But we also had even more running around to do. Ugh. Next week Sid is moving into her new house and George will be moving into his dorm. So we had lots of shopping and packing that needed to be done this week. Not to mention Libs and Reese! Luckily they have a few more weeks of summer left so I still have some time to get their back-to-school things in order. Thank. God.

Last night George and I finished the last of our errands to get him ready for college. I felt so relieved! So relieved that I think my body shut down when I went to sleep last night. I woke up in the same position I fell asleep in. Ouch. And I was rudely reminded by my body that I drank no water yesterday. How is that even possible?!?! Busy anxious mom-ness is how that is possible! Needless to say I was so dizzy when I woke up that I could hardly walk. I guess my body has had quite enough of this summer schedule and has decided it's time for me to rest. OK, fine … I'll reluctantly listen.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren't spinning!!!