It’s Been a Long Hard Winter

I was doing good really this winter…despite all the snow, ice, frigid temperatures, I was holding my own as far as feeling overall optimistic.  Until I wasn’t…

Have you ever felt that way? Life is moving along, you feel that you are handling things well even when others struggle and then wham…it hits you like a bucket of rocks… I. AM. OVER. IT.

For me that time came somewhat suddenly with our last round of snow storms in early March.  Things had been happening and I suppose all the little things just kept piling up until one day I was just ready to be done with it all.  This winter had been rough in a number of ways that suddenly seemed overwhelming:

  • In late December as I was doing my regular bench press workout, my right shoulder started aching – bad enough that I stopped benching and went to see a sports medicine doc right away. This was cause for concern as I just registered for my 2nd lifting meet (competition is 4/27).
  • Late January my mom (76 yrs old) fell on the ice and broke her leg; it was her femur (thigh bone) so a big one. This was especially disheartening to me as we had just gotten Mom back into a normal routine after she had experienced several complications post knee-replacement surgery one year before.
  • Late February our oldest dog Lucy (10 yrs old) had started chewing on a cyst on her tail. It’s been there a while but was fine as long as she leaves it alone/it doesn’t get infected. But for some reason she started messing with it…so off to the vet again (we’ve had a lot of dog health issues lately…) for medicine and the dreaded cone of shame. This time the vet said the time had come that once it healed up, if Lucy continues to mess with it, we should have surgery to remove it. Due to where the sore is though, she would need to remove the tip/end of Lucy’s tail as there’s no way to just remove the cyst and get it all out.  That pretty much made me cry…although the vet reassured me that this incision would actually be smaller than the one she made when Lucy last had a spot on her tail.
  • Early March, amid the multiple snow storms, I helped push Brian’s car out of the snow and ice. In the moment it was fine, but the next day my shoulder was killing me again.  I had been making great progress and increasing my weight again on bench press…so this caught me off guard and I just felt totally deflated.  The doc I had been seeing is not in my network so insurance didn’t cover it…and I was out of flex dollars, so I needed to switch gears and go to my primary care doc and go through the normal routes of seeing what she said, resting for a week, then going to an orthopedic doctor if still having issues.  I knew this would take time and that was depressing. The whole ordeal made me horribly sad. All this transpired right before driving to visit my mom for her birthday (still in skilled care) and I cried half the way there (in the Quad Cities).
  • Mid-March one week before our vacation I got a pretty bad cold…which just wiped out my energy and motivation.  My head hurt, I lost my voice and I was exhausted.

This was about time that I broke down. In many ways, I realize that my life overall is good…we have a great life and these are not permanent or life threatening issues.  However, sometimes all the “stuff” of life just seems too big and overwhelming.  I had hit my limit… Adulting is hard and I was sick of it!

Thankfully, I have a great husband who listens to me rant and rave….and good friends who are supportive and listen and empathize with life’s trials and tribulations. I also had to practice giving myself a lot of grace.  We are so good at beating ourselves up when we are feeling blue or going through “stuff” instead of realizing that this is life and it’s okay to be sad as long as you don’t get stuck there, as long as you keep moving forward despite the setbacks.

What really kept me going though was knowing that my husband and I were going on vacation to Sedona, AZ for a week and a half at the end of March.  The timing of this vacation could not have been more perfect.  That was somewhat just pure luck. We had made plans for this trip the prior year in our annual “where should we vacation next year” conversations.  We typically try to take at least one “big” trip a year together, meaning at least a one week vacation.  I had been wanting to visit Sedona for a while; pictures of the area looked gorgeous. My sister had been there and said late March or early April was a great time to go weather wise and before all the summer vacationers invaded. Brian was excited to mountain bike there and I was excited to hike. We had plans for my friend and her sons to meet us there for part of the time, plus my college friend lives in Phoenix so I was hoping to see her as well. Brian and I also vacation well together; we both like a blend of being active and a healthy dose of good food and relaxing.

It ended up being just what I needed.

Are all my woes suddenly gone?  No, of course not.  My Mom is still healing in skilled care and it is looking like she will be there a couple more months.  We came home from vacation to sick dog that had made a minor disaster on our living room carpet. My shoulder is still hurting and it is impacting my lifting, but I did get in to the orthopedic doctor this week and have had x-rays and an MRI; just waiting on the results to plot our plan of attack.

But the good news is that the time away allowed me to recover, regroup, relax and explore without worrying about work/dogs/family/life.  It was good for the soul and helped me to live to make it through another day and the tough times.  It could not have been more perfect timing if I had tried…  🙂






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