GIRL AFRAID
January 5, 2016

The New Year always brings thoughts of improvement, change, and resolve. It always seems like the time to devote oneself to overhauling ourselves, our finances, our jobs, our lives, and despite my reeling against making resolutions, I do find myself in that same contemplative mindset.

The big ah ha for me is that I am my own worst enemy. I seem to get in the way of my own success or interest far more often than I don’t. A big part of my problem is that I have become a creature of comfort. Where I once barreled into things head on, I now research, create excuses, and find myself sitting resolutely where I am comfortable.

Comfort however should not be construed as content or satisfied. It’s simply a place where I know what is expected, or how to do maneuver, or how to behave. Some of this comes naturally with age and some of it comes from trying to maintain some sort of control in a life where I often have very little and some of it comes from fear.

Fear can be debilitating. I don’t think I’m that extreme but I do have a level of fear of the unknown that frequently keeps me from reaching a perceived goal or intention, or from trying new things.

I really started thinking quite a lot about this as we began contemplating our annual family trip to Mammoth so Cole and Dan can ski. We’ve been doing this for several years now with three or four other families in tow.   I learned to ski when I was nine and skied often until I was in my early 20’s. I was actually pretty good and really loved the sport.

I haven’t skied on any of the recent trips. The first year my excuse was that I needed to be available for Cole, who skis with an amazing adaptive program, Eastern Sierra Disabled Sports, in case he wanted to stop or needed anything. The next year, I got it in my head that I would fall and hurt myself and it was all over.

This year, I’m skiing. So what if I fall. I’ve fallen lots of times in the past and I know how to fall and to get up. I’m not that fragile and I want to have fun skiing with my husband and friends.

I do the same sort of thing to myself concerning my weight. I know how to be the fat girl. I know how to be the curvy one. I know how to handle myself with extra padding. When I start to lose weight and am working towards becoming fitter, stronger, and yes, thinner, I sabotage myself. The minute it becomes noticeable, I feel less confident with the attention and begin the slow decline of success. I’m not good at envisioning myself at my goal where I will likely be less comfortable, even if I’m healthier and smaller.

This past year or more I’ve actually managed to keep weight off despite my best efforts to thwart myself.   I’m intending to rejuvenate the efforts to improve my health and to lose weight, to lose baggage. The reality is that there is more to fear in staying where I am, as I am, in terms of longevity. It’s time to learn how to deal with my own discomfort and my own pathos so that I can become a support to myself, not a hindrance.

I’ll save some of the other fears for another time. I know I’m not alone in this pathos and I know it’s a challenge to get out of my own way, but I face challenges all of the time as Cole’s mom and I don’t view them the same way I view my own. I would move heaven and earth to make every day of his life better, easier, more fulfilled. I just need to try to give myself the same care and attention. The better off I am, the better able I am to rise to his needs.

Here’s to a New Year! One filled with first steps, second steps, and new steps.

MOVEMENT OF FEAR
June 15, 2015

My mind takes me to dark places when I think of Cole going under the knife. His surgery is just three days away and we’re all feeling the stress. Cole’s anxiety is palatable and my husband and I are both on edge.

The pre-op and admissions are done and all that’s left is arriving day ready to stay for a couple of nights. The surgery itself could take about ten hours. Those are the hours I most dread. I have this unreasonable, unfounded fear of anesthesia. I don’t worry that the actual surgical procedure will go badly. I worry that he won’t wake up from the anesthesia or that he’ll have a seizure and it will go badly. My brain just goes to that place when it comes to anesthesia.

I know, in my heart and head, that it’s all going to be fine and I know that the anesthesia is not the high-risk part of the surgery. It’s just my darkness. Maybe it’s just how I cope with my own fears and anxiety about Cole having surgery.

My fear leads me to do things. I spin my wheels. I spend a lot of time researching and planning and organizing. It’s one of my coping mechanisms. It helps me to feel like I’m contributing to the overall success of his care and healing. I’ve got him on doses of Emergen-C (to help boost his immune system for hospital and vitamin C and zinc are both helpful in healing) and bone collagen (helps to heal tissue and bone). I can’t say for certain that they’ll help but his doctors agree it won’t harm.

I’ve got aromatherapy spray to keep the hospital room smelling comfortable for him. I’ve been dosing the room every night before he sleeps so it will calm him in the hospital room. I’ve created a soothing playlist with lots of his favorite songs so if he’s feeling woozy and in and out on pain meds, he can listen to quiet music to help him relax.

At the end of the day, all of the preparing and accouterments aren’t going to make as much of an impact on him as having his parents there when he wakes up and by his side in the hospital room. All that will matter to him is that we’re near and that we’re doing every thing possible to get him through this surgery and the long healing process as comfortably as we can.

All that matters to me is that he wakes up and eventually cracks that sweet smile of his at me. My brain will quiet and the fear will sit still.