Stubborn Is My Middle Name

At some point, I’m going to learn the lesson.  It just hasn’t happened yet.  Please humour me now, while I take a moment to warble on at length, about how *seemingly* healthy I once was.

From childhood through to the age of 34, the biggest illness to have plagued my body was a severe withdrawal that I went through, when I abruptly stopped taking birth control pills.  For a period over 3 weeks, I visited the emergency room at the Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora about 4 times, all on account of some debilitating cramps that I began experiencing once I stopped taking The Pill.  When my next cycle began though, the cramps stopped, and I felt more like my normal self.   After a series of ultrasounds and exams, the best the doctors could surmise at the time was that my body was going through some sort of unusual and uncommon withdrawal from the pills.  Aside from that, I’ve had strep throat a handful of times, and in more recent years as I detailed in a post from last week, I’ve had some fun times with vertigo.

I’ve never broken a bone.  I haven’t needed braces.  All in all, I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to relatively good health-physically.

It’s occurred to me though, that perhaps my lack of serious illness has stemmed from the incessant pace I have maintained now for the last 12 years or so.  My daily routine, as I have shared before was non stop, with me hitting the ground running, literally, at 4.30 each morning.  I managed to hold it all together until about 7 or 8 each evening when I would crash hard.

Over this last weekend, Ian and I did some looking into Ayurvedic body types-while Ian is someone who is more well-versed in this subject than I am, it is still a topic that I have been more open to exploring.  With some of the articles, one can get a pretty in-depth analysis of your particular body type, detailing what foods work best for you, and what exercises are beneficial.  Our conversation and subsequent research was fuelled by my out-loud wishful thinking that I hoped one day, I would be able to make it through the entirety of the day without getting exhausted, as I have been experiencing more recently.  For about the last year, regardless of whether I wake at 4.30 or 7.30, I would experience a heavy wave of fatigue which lasted between 10 and 12 each morning-usually right after I finished my workout routine.  It would be so intense a wave that if I could, I would nap.

In trying to make better sense of what was going on, I expressed my befuddlement to Ian: why, 5 years ago, was I able to get up at 4.30 am, run a 10K, manage an 8 hour work day, and feel okay about everything?  Ian suggested that perhaps the likely cause of my seemingly manageable and inexhaustible day came from the fact that I pushed myself-too hard-and just plowed through the day, whereupon everything would catch up with me by the evening when I would essentially stop functioning, and look a little like this:

Now that I have in some ways (not all) stopped, I don’t have anything-a job commitment or otherwise-that I use to push myself through the day.  I have the chance and am afforded the time to get tired when it hits me.  It also dawned on me, in the research over the weekend, that my workouts are perhaps too intense, and don’t really fit with my type-I figured I’m predominantly Vata with a small bit of Pitta.  As with many things, I am learning, I tend to push myself to the point of exhaustion where fitness is concerned.

I’m trying to shift my perspective (again) and am keen on incorporating some modifications in my daily routine, which will hopefully allow me to experience each day in a more fulfilling and present manner.

There’s an even bigger lesson though, that I haven’t learned yet.  Listening to myself.  In my session last week, one of the more profound questions that was asked of me, was why I give so much of my own power away to others.  This is a habit that I have been practicing for as long as I can remember.  I generally don’t speak up or offer my opinion, because I am afraid of disappointing others, or upsetting them.  I’ll go along with the plans of someone else, even though I don’t necessarily wish to.  I’ll stay in quiet resignation until the cows come home.  If a stranger came to the door asking for my power, I would hand it over easily.  It’s a sad statement to make, but it is what I have allowed for ages.

A few weeks back, I half-heartedly applied to a position that was brought to my attention by someone I am incredibly fond of.  I applied, not so much because I wanted the position, or felt that it would be a good fit for me, but rather because I didn’t want to disappoint this person.  Even as I clicked the apply button, I KNEW I didn’t really want to.  I knew it was too soon.  I knew that while it was a position I would be interested in down the road, it was not one I was interested in now.

Last Thursday, I was contacted and asked to come in for a language proficiency test.  And last Thursday, I developed my very first U.T.I.  A 37 year old female who has never had a U.T.I. in her life-I knew how lucky I had been as I’ve known many women who have had them, and in so, I have heard about how unpleasant they can be.  In being asked to come in for a proficiency test, it was a step in allowing the application to continue forward-remembering it was an application that, in my heart of hearts, I didn’t really want to make.  An appointment was set up for this morning.  I was given directions, and told the testing would take anywhere between an hour and a half to two hours.

With it being my first U.T.I., I maybe came into it a bit naive.  I wasn’t super keen on the idea of going to a walk in clinic and so did my reading online about symptoms, signs and what to do.  In spite of the repeated messages of GO TO A DOCTOR FOR ANTIBIOTICS, I blissfully figured I could beat this thing on my own, by chugging cranberry juice and lots of water.  So that’s what I did for the next 4 days.

This is pretty close to an accurate representation of what I looked like, last Friday as I madly searched the aisles in the grocery store for straight-up cranberry juice-no cocktails, no added sugar.  WHERE IS THE PLAIN CRANBERRY JUICE?!?!?!?!?!?!  Anyone who has had a U.T.I before, knows that one of the symptoms can be a constant, DESPERATE need to go to the bathroom.  All. The. Time.

It felt like my whole mouth imploded when I drank my first glass.  That stuff is TART.

Yesterday, I began to get a bit of a weird cramp, and figured, as things weren’t getting any better, that I would get myself to a walk in.  I spent nearly 3 beautiful hours in the wait-room (sarcasm) before I got in, which I spent dreaming about drinking something other than straight-up cranberry juice.

I was quickly given my prescription, and went to have it filled.  By this point, the cramping had moved into my lower abdomen, and that combined with the long wait time left me feeling pretty crummy.  I came home, popped my first pill and ended up emailing the admin person I had been in touch with about the proficiency test, letting her know I was sick and wouldn’t be able to make it.   I. Felt. Guilty.

As a result of the guilt, instead of leaving it as a cancelled appointment, I said that I would be happy to reschedule, if there was a chance-again, knowing deep down that I didn’t really want to.  This morning when I woke up, I felt a bit off, managed to get some breakfast down and another pill, and then went back to bed where I slept HARD.  Today, the former date of my appointment, I have felt exhausted with no energy and a bit shaky.  Definitely not myself.

I know most would say my U.T.I has nothing to do with this job prospect, but Listening to My Body and My Heart has become my motto now over these last few months.  I just haven’t mastered the listening part.  Just like the cold that took me down for a week after I finished work in late June when I had so many plans and ideas of how to control my recovery, and just like the small blips of vertigo I have experienced when I have forced things, I think this U.T.I came on too, with a strong message.  Slow down.  Take my power back.  Make decisions for myself.  Listen to MY HEART.

I’ll get it.  Someday.

I really love bunnies.


With Love,

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Olivia Shaw

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