Sunday, November 29, 2015

Health and Patience

It's been just over five months since the last time I went in for chemo. That's weird. In one more month I'll have as many months of post-chemo as I had of going through chemo. That's weird too.

Life is so nice not being sick! This Thanksgiving was so different from last year, when I was a skeleton who was in so much pain. A year ago I didn't even know I had Crohn's yet. Last year I remember seeing so much good food, and even loading up my plate to eat, but ending up only eating a a few bites. Derek had to finish eating the food on my plate for me. My body was depleted and tired, and we hadn't even started chemotherapy. Last November was definitely one of the lowest and hardest parts of my (and Derek's) life.

But this year was so great. Health! I helped cook the rolls, green bean casserole and began learning the way of the pies, under the tutelage of my mother-in-law Mary. I didn't have room to eat seconds, but I had a generous plate and ate everything (except the jello). I even ate a few bites off Derek's plate! We have been enjoying leftovers and life.

For the past few Thanksgivings that I've spent with Derek's family, we have gone around the table and said what we are grateful for, and then we'll share a word that sums up a goal for the next year. This year I said that I was grateful for health. So grateful. Every day I thank God that I am alive, not in pain, and once again able to do things. And I'm so grateful that my family and friends are in good health too (take care of yourselves my friends! I want you all to live long and happy lives!).

The word that I chose for my goal this year is patience. I can be pretty patient with other people, but it is an entirely different thing to be patient with yourself. But that's what I need as my body continues to heal. I'm so much healthier than I've been in ages, so I often forget that I need to still take things slow. My body is quick to help me remember to slow down by quickly becoming exhausted. I need lots of rest at night and I get frustrated when I am to tired or weak to do things. Sometimes I cry when I feel like I'm not making progress. It's not easy. But it's easier when I try to point out the good things that I do have and what I can do. I'm learning to be okay with setbacks, and to look at the positive ways in which I've progressed.

Being madly in love with your best friend also helps. *saaaaaappy loooooove*

And now for some frequently asked questions!

Do you exercise?
Yes and no. I walk to school most days of the week, which takes me 30 minutes. And it's uphill on the way back, so I sometimes have to stop and catch my breath. Basic things like walking and grocery shopping are draining, so I could those as exercise. But no, I'm not out running or anything.

How much do you weigh? How much did you weigh?
I weigh 115 lbs right now!!! AMAZING. I've gained 20 lbs in the past six months. I was 123 lbs before I started getting sick two years ago, but 115 is average for both my grandmas (when they were younger) and I have the exact same body type as both of them. So I am in a really good range. Waaaaaay better than the 83 lbs of last winter. MY CURVES CAME BACK HURRAY.

What can you eat?
Anything! But I don't feel good when I eat straight dairy, so I limit that to cheese and homemade yogurt, and the small doses that are cooked in stuff. I can eat grain again, but try to limit that. Derek and I eat somewhere in between paleo and vegetarian.

Do you feel like you are back to normal?
No. I'm still nowhere near as healthy as I was two and a half years ago. And it'll take me years to get back there. But I am in drastically better health than any point in the past two years. Some things feel more normal, like being able to take care of myself, and to even take care of my husband (for the first time since we've been married), but it comes and goes. Sometimes I'll have a week or two where I'm so very tired and don't get as much done. But then other times I'll be a boss lady and clean stuff and do homework and everything. I take it day to day, and try to stay patient and positive.

And Happy Halloween (very late, but whatever) from the Von Trapp family!

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