Today I want to get a little more persona and share why I decided to make my health a priority. It’s not always easy for me to open up about deeply personal issues, especially when I feel like it highlights a weakness or a failure, but I feel it’s time to share some of what’s been going on in my life. For me, part of the Wonder Woman complex, trying to be all things to all people, has resulted in me not taking care of myself the way that I should. For probably the last 27 years, I’ve been last on the priority list. The kids, Mike, my job, the list of things that I prioritized before myself was endless. Putting myself last for so many years resulted in me being completely wore out and \never feeling good. Exhaustion, migraines, heartburn and generally feel ill followed me from day to day. Every. Single. Day.
The picture above is one from our last vacation and when I look at it I see someone who is completely wore out. I wasn’t feeling well, I was exhausted and quite frankly, a shell of the person I want to be. When I look at it, I see a person who needed to make some serious changes in her life to start living the life she wants. The picture actually makes me a little sad when I look at it because it reminds me of how awful I felt.
Maybe by sharing my story, what’s been going on and what I’ve been doing it will help someone who is feeling the same way.
2016 – a life changing year for me
Last year was a pretty tough year for my family. In April 2016 my mom had a surgery that went horribly wrong. From almost the beginning, her recovery went very poorly. She was unable to keep food or liquid down, she was exhausted and felt terrible all the time. The surgeon who did the surgery at one point suggested it was in her head and maybe she needed to be committed to a psychiatric hospital. He unknowingly released the Kraken (that would be me) with that statement. Knowing my mother, we knew it wasn’t in her head and to hear a doctor say that, angered me immensely. We were determined to get to the bottom of the issue and get it resolved. Over the course of 5 months, many hospital stays, weight loss of over 100 lbs and generally getting to the point where we didn’t think she would survive, she was diagnosed with a surgical complication that her original surgeon assured me wasn’t the case when I asked him at the very beginning of the ordeal if that could be the problem.
The only way to fix the issue was to perform another major surgery but she was to weak for them to do so. To get her well enough for the surgery, she needed to go into a nursing home where she could receive nutrition through her PICC line (she was unable to keep food or liquids down). The type of nutrition she was receiving had a lot of risks so the next four months were filled with a lot of drama. Two staph infections, an Ecoli infection that sent her into septic shock and a blood clot. Needless to say, 2016 was an incredibly stressful and scary year for my family.
The good news is that there is a happy ending. Between Christmas and New Year my mom was well enough to have the corrective surgery and she’s made (almost) a full recovery. Six months later she’s doing fabulous, my dad was finally able to retire (he was going to retire last year but couldn’t because they didn’t want to change insurance during my mom’s illness) and they’re planning a trip to Alaska next year to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Watching my mom go through this struggle and seeing the affect that lack of nutrition had on her made me realize that I needed to make myself a top priority. By not making myself a priority all these years, I found that it was even harder to step in and be the support I needed to be when a family member was going through a crisis. To live the life I wanted and to be strong for those who need me, I knew that I needed to make some significant changes in my life and make my health a priority