Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back From My Unplanned Break

Hi friends.  I'm back from an extended break and lots of thoughts and experiences to share.

It wasn't the break that I had intended to take.  In early July we left for our long-planned family vacation to the east coast.  My son attended a summer program at Princeton for three weeks, and my hubby, younger son and I headed out in his last week to enjoy some special vacation time.   My husband and I took a very nice four-day break on the Delmarva Peninsula to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, while my younger boy stayed with family in Maryland.  It was lovely and rejuvenating in every way.

When my husband and I drove into cell phone range, I noticed lots of messages from my sisters, which got me worried.  It turned out my oldest sister, who lives in Connecticut, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was kind of a miracle that I should be on the east coast at that moment, since I live in California.  My little family was headed to New England anyway to visit relatives and take college tours, so after a quick stop to pick up my son in New Jersey, we kept moving north, and I decided to join my sister and be with her through the beginning diagnostic appointments and procedures.  I ended up staying for three weeks with her.

For those of you who have been through a serious diagnosis or who have experienced one through a loved-one, you know how every day can bring a flood of new, life-altering information, with every doctor's appointment.  All sense of time gets thrown out the window.  Every day felt like we lived for a week.

While away, my diet became more carb-filled with mostly wine and fruit.  But it was also salad focused and generally healthy.  I managed to exercise almost every day, just for my own sanity, and also to take advantage of the beautiful area where my sister lives.  I walked and jogged and felt great about staying active through all of the stress.

I returned 10 days ago, and hopped back into my life, preparing the kids to return to school and making a point to do something special with each of them, since I missed them while I was away.  It has been a busy time, but nothing extraordinary.  I planned a beach bonfire to celebrate the end of summer break, and spent the day at our favorite beach last Friday.  I had an excellent time swimming and boogie boarding.  I also got a wicked sunburn, but it was worth it :-)

I posted a note to a very wonderful Optifast Maintenance group on Facebook last night, and one of my fellow bloggers, Optifast Mom, encouraged me to get back to the blog.  We made a pact to do it together, since she was also letting her blog slide and needed to make her health a focal point (in writing) again.  Wise words.  I've been away from both reading and writing about good health, and I don't like feeling remote from such an important and helpful part of my life.  I have missed some of my favorite lady bloggers, so I'm looking forward to reconnecting.

Reflecting on this time, I think I'm experiencing a delayed stress reaction.  For the past month, I've had to be "on" very intensely.  When faced with lots of responsibilities and multi-tasking, I'm pretty good at keeping my focus, but it takes a lot out of me.  Coming home, I was able to just let it all go, especially my hyper-vigilance and my schedule.  It's kind of like THIS is the vacation, now that I think about it.

But I know that my body doesn't take a vacation.  It sees the poor diet and exercise and reacts with lethargy and weight gain.  I'm not feeling as vigorous as I used to feel.  So here I am, and just writing it all down is making me feel better.

As of today, the vacation ends and I'm going to get my spandex-clad butt to the gym for a second day in a row.  One choice at a time, I'm going to return back to a healthy routine, and a focus on my health.  It’s also time to start training for the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon that is coming up in November!

It's easy to let it slide, as I've done in the past.  Time gets away from me and I could just let it keep going, but for my blogging friends and my support systems.  That's the real difference in my life that I am humbly grateful for.

Thanks to everyone for your kind remarks on my last post.  To recover from busy times is part of the process of establishing a new life focused on my health.  I'm not the poster child for success, but I'm still here giving it a try and feeling better with every positive choice.