Saturday, April 16, 2011

Courtney's Mission: Optimal Optimism

I've been really remiss in posting and commenting here, but you Allies are doing such a fabulous job of keeping me upbeat! I truly appreciate all your help and support.

I also want to send a warm welcome to Alys, who has joined the game! Welcome, Alys, and thank you!

For Courtney's first mission, I was asked to do the following:

"You should let us know what all is keeping your spirits up, what has made you laugh, what is getting better and what you have been utilizing to maintain your spirit. Also let us know what has been hard, and what we or you can do to make it easier."

Really, my extremely wonderful friends have been keeping my spirits up.  It was a little tiring to have company right after my surgery, but I am also so incredibly glad that Alys and her beau Chris could come visit us.  It was a much needed break from the stress and strain of illness, and it's really impossible to feel badly when Alys is around, because she is so bubbly and funny.  Additionally, they brought horribly awesome movies (the kind that are so bad they're great), and I laughed so hard my damaged lungs either accelerated in healing to full expansion or were further traumatized, I'm not sure which.  

All the support messages I received has helped me to maintain my spirit as well, and just connecting with friends to talk about mundane stuff has made me feel like my life is getting back to normal.  As for what's getting better: my pain is greatly diminished, in both my arm and face; the swelling is almost gone; I'm able to eat progressively more human foods (I had pizza last night! Not the crust, but pizza nonetheless!); I feel less like I've been pummeled on by a professional boxer.  Some of the feeling is coming back to my face, which makes me very happy as well.  I'm still pretty tired, but I'm at a point where I don't know if that's because my body is recovering still or if I'm low energy due to lack of exercise.  When I start to feel bad emotionally, I reach out to my friends, I read posts on this blog, I read post on my Facebook wall and Twitter, and that reminds me that I am not alone, and I take encouragement from those words. 

The hardest thing has just been dealing with the everyday life stuff while Matt has been out of town.  It's really exhausting to me to keep up on laundry, dishes, walking the dog, taking care of the dog and cat, and cooking when he's not here (and makes me appreciate even more everything he does when he IS here, because Matt is my superhero.)  I feel guilty about not playing with the dog as much or taking her out for long walks like I used to do.  I feel bad because the house gets messy and I just don't have the stamina to clean.  Doug, who may also soon be joining the game, helped me take care of some household duties Friday, including taking out my trash and carrying Bella's dogfood into the house, since the PICC line prohibits me from lifting more than 10lbs on my right arm.  I felt embarrassed asking him to help, especially with the trash, because I feel like these are my responsibilities and I shouldn't be foisting them on other people.  That exemplifies the hardest thing for me: acknowledging that I am legitimately ill and injured and need help.  It's not that I think I can do everything by myself, but I just never feel like I'm so sick I should be asking people to do things like chores for me.  I have a constant fear of overextending my friends' goodwill or of asking too much, and that makes it really hard for me to reach out when I need help.  Similarly, it's hard for me to give myself permission to do nothing and rest.  Angela, the friend who originally linked me to SuperBetter, suggested making rest a goal, and I think that would work well for me.  My problem is, when I spend a day on the couch, I always have a voice in my head yelling at me for "wasting time" or being lazy -- even if I desperately need that rest.  It's like I always think I need to be doing something: cleaning, exercising, working on my designs or learning code, running errands, etc.  If I make it a goal, I'll instead feel like I'm accomplishing something instead of "doing nothing."

That's also why I really appreciated Courtney's other mission, to review movies and TV shows suggested to me last week.  It makes rest a mission and a goal - and Courtney knows me well enough to know this is how I have to approach it if I don't want to struggle with my Type A personality.  I couldn't find some of them on Netflix, but I did find Dexter, Pillars of the Earth, Penn & Teller, and a couple others.  I also found Tudors on streaming, which wasn't suggested to me but I have been wanting to watch.

Also, my cello teacher will be amused to know that the first question I asked the radiology team when they placed my PICC in my right arm is if I could still bow with it.  They said yes. :) I hope to start playing again soon, as my arm is finally not throbbing with pain.  I do feel like things are slowly but steadily improving, so let's just hope my bloodwork and films show the same thing on my bone.  I would like to start gently exercising next week, but for that, I need your help.  Mission for Allies in next post.

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