Saturday, November 8, 2014

Perfectionism and Christmas Cards

I've got a problem. I have been aware of this for at least eight years but I'm willing to bet that it's been going on for a whole lot longer than that.

It's something that I have been battling for a long time. Perfectionism. It's not necessarily aimed at my husband and daughter, it's just more of a standard that I hold myself to. The bow has to be exactly centered on the wreath I've made. I have to use the manners I was taught to an exact degree, or I'll keep playing it over in my head. That one piece of hair that's out of place needs smoothed down before a picture. And the house needs to look and smell fantastic before having someone come to visit, including that pillow that needs straightened.

Through the years that I have had Sjogren's Syndrome I've realized that I had to let go of some things. It's down right tiring. And having an auto immune disease that limits my energy doesn't mix well with a personality flaw of mine that requires me to live to an exacting standard (even if it's only my own standards I have set in my mind).

I have had a hard fall season, for many reasons. Getting back into work has been rough on me in certain ways, my body is REALLY not happy with the weather changes this year, my daughter's soccer schedule has been brutal with three practices a week and a game (some more than an hour away) every Saturday, and we have been dealing with some other major issues that I don't feel comfortable going into here as well. Mix that all together, throw in a new medical diagnosis, and I am just barely hanging on at times.

The thought of the holidays and a huge super fun vacation coming up (and all the planning that entails for me to travel with all my extra issues) leaves me feeling excited and panicky at the same time. I've slowly come to realize that something had to give. I started thinking about things that I would be willing to give up to make things easier on myself and thought of the perfect thing! I'm giving up Christmas cards this year. Writing all those cards out and licking every single envelope sounds like torture to me at the moment. With my arthritic hands and lack of moisture in my mouth, not sending out cards sounds like the perfect thing to do to help save myself some stress in the next two months.

With all that babbling said, there is still a tiny part of my perfectionism squeaking at me in the back of my head. "What about your manners? People will think your rude! They will realize that you really don't have everything together as much as you want them to believe. Will your family and friends think you don't love them or aren't thinking about them, this Christmas, if you don't send out cards?". I heard all those things, thought about all the good it will do for me not to send out cards, and then made a HUGE step in abolishing my perfectionism, my friends!!! I. Am. Not. Sending. Out. Cards!!!

I let my decision settle into the dust for a little while to see how I would feel about it. And I still came to the same conclusion. Bubbling up with that knowledge was a little bit of giddy joy. Almost like when the Grinch felt his heart grow two sizes that day!! I've just had some serious personal growth here people!

Now, I don't want to say that I am happy for everything I have been going through this fall, because some of it has just been plain miserable and life altering. However, I am the person who always tries to be positive. And I can say that perhaps, through all of this God has been trying to helping me learn some things along the way. That I am not perfect. And I don't need to be. Because I have people who love me. All of me. Even if I do have on two different socks, I swear I left a light on upstairs, and I bounce around doing the chicken dance at random times. I'm not crazy, my mama had me tested. I'm not perfect. And I'm proud of myself for that! :)



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stay Positive

Photo Credit

I recently exchanged e-mails with a lovely reader and wanted to share a brief paragraph, I wrote to her, that I thought is very relatable to many of us Sjoggies...

"Staying positive is a BIG DEAL while dealing with chronic illnesses of any sort. I have found that to be especially true while being a mom. Being a mom, in and of itself, is a hard thing to get used to. Yes, you love your kiddo more than life itself! But that doesn't mean it's not hard getting adjusted to it at times. Throw in dealing with an auto immune disease and "watch out! the ship is sinking!". Keeping a positive attitude (and maybe being willing to laugh at your situation a little bit) is the difference between having your hands or a bucket to bail water out of your auto immune disease boat"

It seems, for me at least, keeping myself upbeat and staying positive can make all the difference. Especially since being negative can lead to stress which can cause our bodies to be even more unhappy with us about things.

So, keep a little humor in your life and smile.  :O)




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Discovery

I had a visit with my rheumatologist yesterday. I went over some new(ish) symptoms I've been having. My hands and feet have been getting really cold. REALLY cold. They also change colors, mostly splotchy red and pure white and sometimes purple. Numbness and a tingly feeling almost always accompany this. The symptoms started last winter but happened infrequently enough that I wasn't completely sure that anything was actually going on. Now that the colder fall weather has started kicking in I've realized that there was something consistent happening. Dr. A and I discussed all of this and we decided that a diagnosis of Raynaud's Disease was in order.


Mayo Clinic defines Raynaud's as this...
"Raynaud's (ray-NOHZ) disease causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers and toes — to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas (vasospasm)."

While a diagnosis is nice for me, as I tend to be a person who likes to know what's going on and research things, it doesn't change too much as there isn't a lot to be done for it. And I already "do" the four things suggested by Mayo Clinic in regards to lifestyle choices with Raynaud's...
"A variety of steps can decrease Raynaud's attacks and help you feel better.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking causes skin temperature to drop by constricting blood vessels, which may lead to an attack. Inhaling secondhand smoke also can aggravate Raynaud's.
  • Exercise. Exercise can increase circulation, among other health benefits. If you have secondary Raynaud's, talk to your doctor before exercising outdoors in the cold.
  • Control stress. Learning to recognize and avoid stressful situations may help control the number of attacks.
  • Avoid rapidly changing temperatures. Try not to move from a hot environment to an air-conditioned room. If possible, avoid frozen-food sections of grocery stores."
In addition to these things I also use Hot hands. I've already written a blog post, that you can read here, about these wonderful little bundles of warmth. If you have Raynaud's Disease I highly suggest you try these!!



Saturday, October 18, 2014

40 before 40

 I wrote this blog post back in October of 2010.  Looking at it today I realized that I had things I was able to cross off my list.  Yay me!!......


I've been inspired by this blogger. A list of forty things she's always wanted to do before she gets to be 40.  There are some majorly cool things on her list.  I don't think I will ever be as cool.  But it made me wonder what might be on my list that I've always wanted to do (and some that I have already done) ...

#1...Sandals Montego Bay Jamaica
1. Renew my vows on a beach in Jamaica where we honeymooned.

2. Karioke... 'nough said.

3. Take part in a fund raising walk for Sjogren's Syndrome. 



4. Get a tattoo that I've designed myself.

5. Sit in a pub in Ireland.

6. Finish a will.   edited--We finished one right before our trip!

7. Move into a new house.  One that has everything that we want.

8. Go to the beach with both sets of Grandparents.

9. Go on vacation out of the country.

10. Attend a black tie event.

11. Get a passport.

12. Take my daughter to Disneyworld and Universal Studios.   edited--And now we're headed back again sometime in December!

13. Become a better listener.

14. Be a "cool mom".    edited--Or at least I was for a brief moment in time!

15. Have professional family pictures taken.  edited-- And my husband even lived to tell the tale!

16. Rescue a dog.

17. Rescue a cat.

18. Take a romantic walk in the rain with my husband.

19. Go to Niagara Falls.

20. Take L to Niagara Falls.

21. Drop L off at preschool and not cry until I've left. 

#23.... Found in Utah.  Which would also satisfy # 35!

22. Same goes for kindergarten.

23. Sleep in a hotel room with no roof.

24. Be brave enough to try sushi.

25. Find some AMAZING friends who "get me".

26. Accept my limitations better.  edited--I have worked SUPER hard at this one. Though, I still have moments when I struggle with it I think I have come to a better understanding of my limits. Even though I may not always like them.

27. Decide if we're done having kids.

28. Become a mom.

29. Volunteer in L's preschool class.

30. Feel empowered.

31. Visit New England again.  edited--My hubbster and I managed to get a whole week away in New England to celebrate our ten year anniversary. Now we desperately want to get back there!

32. Go on a trip with just my girlfriends.

33. Take a vacation with just my mom.

34. See a musical on Broadway.

35. Visit my 20th state. (At 19 now.)  edited--Thanks to our New England trip I am not at 21 states thanks to Rhode Island and Maine!

36. Fly first class.

37. Become more confidant.

38. Finish an awesome devotional book.

39. Walk in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

40.Do some freelance photo editing work.


I officially now have six years. Only 16 more to go!!! And of course I know that there's probably NO WAY that I will actually accomplish all of these. A girl can wish! I'll be crossing things off as I go.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Patience and Pain

I'm discovering, or maybe rediscovering, that it's hard to have both pain and patience. The last weeks (since school started and I went back to work) have been rough on me. High pain and low energy levels, while working, don't leave much room for patience with my kiddo. Which is super frustrating for me as I know it's not fair to L, which adds a healthy dose of Mommy guilt to the whole situation. I feel a little as if I am coming unglued at the seems right now trying to stay on top of everything, while attempting to push my pain down, and still be the "same ol' mom" to my girly. Parenting is hard on a normal basis. Parenting with a chronic illness can be brutal.

Perhaps I need to learn something from what L wrote to me recently...

"I'm so sad about missing all the memories [we've made this summer]. But I just realized when I was writing the letter, you don't realize the memories your having right now. So I learned that you appreciate what is happen[ing] right now and think about those memories while you [are] have[ing] them."

I guess I need to let go of my fear of letting things slip, try to look through the pain, and just be in the moment. And remember to "appreciate what is happening right now". My girly. Such a smartie for an eight year old!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cheater Style

We have a family reunion, happening today, that we have to bring a side dish or dessert to. My exhaustion from the work week isn't gone yet so I've decided to cheat. And I'm sharing it with you should you need to find a dish to bring when you're short on energy!

Step 1... Buy a box of cookies, freshly made, from the store.


Step 2... Buy a tinfoil baking dish in the "baking isle" of the store.

Step 3... Arrange the cookies lovingly into the container. And now, it looks like you spent all day making cookies for family when in reality you've only spent minutes arranging them! And that's how you "bake cookies" cheater style.


 

Monday, August 25, 2014

FYI

I may be taking some blogging time off in the next few weeks. I am not certain how much I'll be able to blog, since I am headed back to work, now that school has started back up. Here's hoping I am not as exhausted as I am preparing for!