Monday, April 4, 2016

Season of Change

For almost two weeks I stepped away from blogging and social media. I was exhausted and needed a break. Life has changed a lot for me in the past five months and I never got the chance to step back and let it all sink in. All of the busyness, chaos, and stress from the last five months hit me full force and I was burnt out. 

I'm the kind of person who likes to be busy. I hate being bored- I've always been told that I have ants in my pants (still do). Whether it was school, working out, volunteering, student organizations, etc. I always gave 110%, but having pedal to the metal permanently is not good for your health. I graduated from college early last December and after the busyness of the holidays was over I was left feeling empty. I threw myself into looking for a job, but not having a day structured around school or work was something I've never known. 

In mid January I had sinus surgery and the day after surgery I landed in the hospital for almost a week with a horrible bout of pancreatitis. This is when the trouble began. Most of my doctors believe that for some reason the surgery or anesthesia caused my lupus to flare, which in turn caused pancreatitis. When I got out of the hospital I was hopeful that the worse was behind me and I could begin the road to recovery, little did I know that wasn't the plan. 

When I left the hospital I was on a super restrictive soft foods only die, so my body could adjust to eating again and begin to heal. Around this time I started having serious digestive issues. I have always had stomach issues, but it got increasingly worse to the point where I pretty much only eating oatmeal, my stomach was so swollen I looked like I was 6 months pregnant, and I had the worst stomach pains ever. My rheumatologist didn't seem concerned, so I took matters in my own hands (once I couldn't handle the pain anymore) and made an appointment to see the gastroenterologist that I saw in the hospital. The gastro immediately put me on some medicine to calm my stomach and he also placed me on a restrictive diet- no dairy, lower carb, low fat, low fiber, and I was to keep a journal of everything I ate. I left feeling overwhelmed, but hopeful. 

Let me tell you I have never spent so long in a grocery store as I did after my gastro appointment. Milk is in EVERYTHING! It has definitely taken some adjusting to, but I have gotten used to it. I make a lot of my own food, but there are some allergy friendly foods I buy for when I don't feel like cooking (Qrunch vegan burgers are so good, free from the top 8 allergens, and they don't break the bank- and no I'm not paid to say that). It is harder and it takes more time to meal plan, but so far it has been worth it. I have been significantly less swollen, had less stomach pain, and my stomach has felt better than it has in a LONG, LONG time. 

While, my things have been on the up for my stomach that's just one piece of the puzzle. Since surgery my lupus has been going crazy, in part due to the fact that I have not been allowed to be on my medications to control it- I had to stop for surgery, then couldn't be on it because my pancreas needed to heal. Lupus is a crazy disease (I'll share a lot about it next month for Lupus awareness month) because it affects everyone so differently. One of the first things I dealt with when I was diagnosed with lupus was extreme weight loss. I've always been naturally thinner, but it got to the point where I would be outside in 80F degree heat and be freezing. Once I was finally able to get back to a healthy weight, everything started spiraling out of control, my medications were being yanked around, which lead to a lot of weight gain. I hadn't stopped exercising- I was still lifting, running, walking, etc. and my eating habits hadn't changed (this was pre-surgery). It may seem silly, but the weight gain has hit me really hard. 

Before everyone calls me a hypocrite because I always say the scale shouldn't dictate your life- try dealing with everything I'm dealing with then we can chat. I'm going to be completely honest I've cried a LOT about the weight. I don't feel like me. Now by no means am I overweight or unhealthy, but I don't feel good in my own skin (especially on the days when my stomach is really swollen). I've had to get some new clothes and had a meltdown in the dressing room. It's hard. It's really hard to have no control over how your body reacts to different medications, treatments, etc. I don't obsess over the scale- I only weigh myself about once a week- but it's hard to not let the numbers get to you. 

The past two weeks have been very hard on me. All of these issues hit me head on and left me completely exhausted and drained- mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I took some time away from blogging and social media because I needed time to focus on myself. I got so caught up in going through the motions, but I was not really focusing on myself. I took time to rest, listen to my body, and start a new IIFYM plan. I want more than anything to get back to where I was, but I know it's not going to be easy. Not every workout is going to feel fantastic, and there will probably be more frustration and tears (there seems to be an abundance of those lightly), but it's worth it. I'm worth it. Will the weight magically fall of? Of course not, it's going to be hard, but it's a good plan- I'm not starving myself and I don't have to spend 4 hours at the gym doing cardio. I am still bummed that I can't run due to hip problems and pain, but I will get back out there (hopefully soon). In the meantime I'm going to focus on my health, getting a job that I enjoy, and living life.

I'm not striving for perfection because perfection isn't possible. I am striving to be the best version of myself in every sense- mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I'm in the middle of a season of change in my life, but I'm excited about it. There is going to be hard days when I don't feel good, like the way I look, or get caught up in the number on the scale. All of these struggles will be worth it in the end because self improvement is always worth it. Stepping away from blogging and social media gave me the time and space I needed to focus on myself and start a new chapter in my story.

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