Self Care can take on many different flavors depending on where we are in life and the circumstances we find ourselves in at the present moment.
As for right now, I am trying to embrace a spiritual approach to things while still having my feet firmly planted in practically and realism. Often new age spirituality of love, light and positivity can be odds with our true emotions. The key seems to be to acknowledge the heavy emotions, feel what you feel, while not letting yourself get pulled too far under. This is typically where I struggle. I often seem to either go full steam ahead and completely ignore any heavy feelings until I have some type of physical or emotion crash or I go so far down into my emotions that I struggle to pull myself out.
I suppose all of this is a reflection of how I live life – I am ALL OR NOTHING kind of girl. I am all in or I am all out. There is no grey to me. Grey to me isn’t authentic. Grey is keeping your options open. Grey is skimming the surface but not really feeling anything deep. From my perspective, grey is a half-hearted way to live. It’s non-committal and form of settling. Grey has no clarity to me. Typically I struggle when things are grey or lack clarity. I value clarity and authenticity in my life, in my relationships, in my career and in my body.
My recent health issues have had me squarely planted in the grey world of having no idea what’s happening in my body or how to fix it. In the early weeks of the Gastro symptoms, I was changing my diet, increasing medications, living on Gaviscon and getting relief. I tried stretching out in case it was muscular. I bought new bras in case the bands were putting pressure on the area. I was so busy trying to fix it that I was just wasn’t accepting it and loving this part of my body that was in pain. In reality, I was creating anxiety and stress for myself by trying so hard to fix it.
It wasn’t until this past week that I started to think differently about things. I had a few key conversations that helped me seeing from a different perspective. Most importantly, it was a conversation with a Nurse Practitioner at my Cardiologist office that gave me the most to contemplate.
My Cardiologist retired in June. This is the second Cardiologist that I’ve had in five years that retired. I decided to switch to the younger Cardiologist who is joining the practice September. Perhaps we will grow old together 🙂 Because I have congenital arrhythmia and have a cardiac history, I needed Cardiac Clearance to get Conscious Sedation during an Upper Endoscopy. The Nurse Practitioner was able to see me to do the assessment. The appointment went well. She did tell me they will give me clearance for Conscious Sedation which is used Endoscopies and Colonoscopies but she said I would need a Echo and Stress Test by my new Cardiologist for General Anesthesia. She also told me if I ever need General Anesthesia, a Cardiologist should be on standby. She advised me to add Cardiac Conditioning to my work outs. She thinks I am getting dizzy on the treadmill because I am losing Cardiac Conditioning. I need to start doing interval training with the incline while leaving the speed at 3.0. For example, I start walking for 2 minutes, then raise the incline to 7 for two minutes then lower the incline to zero for two minutes and repeat this cycle for 20 minutes working up to 30 minutes twice a week. This is in addition to strength training and power walking.
The technical part of the Cardiologist appointment was successful and went smoothly. However, we got into a conversation about my history and my arrhythmia. Here’s some background info…The arrhythmia wasn’t detected until I was 24 year old. I was in great physical shape. I was a runner and a gym rat in my mid-20s. A doctor heard a murmur during an exam and sent me to a Cardiologist for an EKG. It was on the EKG they saw Inverted T-Waves and Premature Ventricular contractions (PVCs). This can often indicate Ischemia or a heart attack. Some folks call PVCs skipped beats. In PVCs, the beat actually comes prematurely and there is a delay before the next beat. The Cardiologist did an Echocardiogram and a treadmill stress test. I passed both as he said “with flying colors” and it appeared my heartbeat regulated itself during exercise or when my heart rate goes up. That means it was functional and innocent. However, he cautioned me it would need to be monitored for the rest of my life because as I age it may cause me problems.
I told the Nurse Practitioner that I quit smoking and drinking, I lost 60 pounds, changed my lifestyle and diet. I then said my heart has been more stable since doing all of that but I have had a lot of tummy issues. As we were talking about Cardiac risk, she told me other than my congenital arrhythmia and family history, I didn’t have any risk. I am not diabetic. I don’t smoke or drink. My weight is ok and I am active. It was then she hesitated. She looked me in the eyes and said, “In your situation, a congenital issues and genetic issue, what’s wrong can’t be fixed. It can only be managed. You are doing everything you can do to help yourself. Other than adding Cardiac Conditioning, I don’t see anything more you could be doing. You know sometimes you can do everything right but a congenital or genetics issue still can get the best of you. I am not telling you this to scare you. I am saying this because I think you may be trying so so hard to do everything right that you are stressing yourself out, causing yourself anxiety and quiet possibly making yourself sick with worry.” My eyes welled up as she said it. I am trying very hard at everything. She then said, “You poor thing. I really feel for you. I want to make sure you know YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT! I think you need to cut yourself some slack and accept that there are some aspects of this you have no control over. It’s in God’s hands. Go Live life. Go out and live. Enjoy every moment and try to work toward acceptance that there are some things you have no control over.”
I’ve been thinking A LOT about that conversation. I’ve been thinking so much about it because she was 100% right. I just couldn’t see it. I have been stressing myself out trying to control things I can’t control; not just with my heart and stomach problems but in other aspects of my life too. I also been keeping myself busy so I couldn’t grieve for the loss of my best friend and also trying to fight the feeling that I may be losing BlueLove too. Nothing negative has happened between us. Seems like everything is fine. I just haven’t been able to see those beautiful eyes much. I’ve been keeping a distance because I can’t get a sense if I am wanted and welcomed. I worry about us but I know it’s best not to push with him. I will put it in God’s hands. If we are meant to deepen our connection, it will happen without me worrying about. I truly love him. That is my authentic truth.
Self Care often requires us to accept things as they are and live in present. To live in the present, we must not live in our past memories or plan the future so much that we don’t enjoy the now. I would liken it to folks who go to concerts and spend the whole concert recording it on their cell phone. They see the whole concert through the small screen of their cell phone to upload to Social Media and miss the 3D live experience of the now. Don’t view your life through the small screen of the past or future. I am working toward acceptance that some things are out of my control and to be present and live in the NOW. That is good self care.
(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC