Archive for June, 2013


No More All-Nighters for Me…

June 30, 2013

I think one of the hardest things about the realities of living with a chronic condition, and multiple ones at that, is just realizing I’m not as young as I was or that I don’t have the stamina any more.

I’m in the process of telling my cousin who went through all the trouble of trying to plan a family reunion that none of my branch of the family will be making it. And the guilt is killing me.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing a week at camp, throwing the girls in the car with me and driving 4 hours to spend 1 day with family I barely knew, spend the night in a hotel, and drive 4 hours back to drop one of the girls back off at camp.

Now? Now I have to really gear up for it. I have to plan it. I have to make sure I’m not at camp the week before such a big drive & day. Now I need more than one night to recover.

I just drove T2’s scout troop 5+ hours to their 3 day trip. I had time to relax and recover on the trip so the drive home wasn’t too bad. But even just a few days later my sleep is off and I’m struggling with just hour-long drives. I could have gone to bed tonight at 7 PM!

I know one thing I need to do is get extra sleep to recover. I won’t have that chance working at camp for a week prior to this. I spent 2 hours in a parking lot on the interstate yesterday and let me tell you it was a dangerous experience. (I know staying up till 1 AM and having to get up at 7 AM did not help.)

I will have to say that since giving up caffeine, the fatigue has actually lessened. My E.o.t.T. workouts don’t leave me totally drained.

I think that is something that bothers me–I have the energy and the strength to push through 90 minute gruelling workouts, bench pressing and running but then I would go home and sleep for three hours. As I said, giving up caffeine has helped.

This week though, following the trip I struggled through the workout and the aftermath.

My cousin isn’t the only one I’ve had to let down. The camp needed teachers and kitchen staff the week before my assigned week. I love camp so much but not being prepared for house sitters etc. made it a difficult choice. Then all the teaching positions were filled and they wanted me in the kitchen–ok, cooking is not my strong suit but then with the schedule the kitchen keeps I was really worried I’d be burned out and not able to teach the following week. I turned them down–but I found them someone MUCH younger to go in my place.

The day the Chief went back to sea was T1’s orchestra trip to the amusement park 1 1/2 hours away. I was truly worried about the drive and the long day. Would I be able to drive home safely? The beauty of not being a chaperone meant if I felt tired I could sleep in the car before driving or just leave early altogether (but at those ticket prices I was loath to do that!). I ended up going and didn’t push myself but again, if the drive had been any longer than that, that late at night, it wouldn’t have been safe.

The fatigue is a new thing in recent months. Before I started the Enbrel I did drive all the way to Florida (15 hours), spent 2 1/2 days at Universal Studios, and drove all the way back (not letting my friend do ANY of the driving on the way home). I go for blood work next week and I will ask for some additional tests to make sure nothing else is going on.

On this trip I loved (read with dripping sarcasm) listening to 10 & 11 year olds complain about the heat, the sweat, walking 3.3 miles … Seriously? I have a 39-year-old body that is acting like it is 60 years old at times and I appreciate every step.

I also just don’t want my girls to have to slow down or give up things because there are just days when it is a struggle. I don’t want them to see me as weak (that’s for a whole other post). I don’t want limitations … but then when I waste time or stay up to late I’m not exactly being responsible for the time and the needs of my body. And I don’t want the girls to say “ah, do we have to?” I want them to embrace life as “Oh, I get to!”

On a side note about this reunion: my children are not too disappointed to not go. Their grandparents and own aunt and cousins won’t be able to go or don’t want to go so they wouldn’t know anyone … I know the Chief would not have particularly wanted to go and is secretly happy he is at sea.

But I feel guilty nonetheless. What will my cousin think when I post that I’m going to visit the Chief’s family in August? Will he understand that I will have two weeks to recover from camp before going, that I’m flying and not driving, and I’m not going alone–and I will have three weeks to recover before school and sports start?

Yeah, I feel guilty. And my family made me the lucky one to deliver the negative RSVP.

UPDATE (7/1): based on the reaction of some, I no longer feel guilty.


The Realities of Life

June 26, 2013

I learned real early in my relationship with the Chief that one of my responsibilities would be to have to make the decision whether or not to tell him of the passing of a loved one. At least I got the choice. My MIL had to wait over three months to tell my FIL that her own mother had passed–it just wasn’t information you shared in a 70 word tel-ex. From that long fall day where I waited anxiously by the phone (I wrote a fictionalized account in Bad News Travels Slowly), in our 17+ years I have had to tell him of the passing of 6 of his own family members, 1 of mine, and a handful of close family friends … all over the phone.

This week heaven welcomed home one of the faithful. Probably one of the most genuine and kind and patient men you’d ever meet. He’d baptized more members of my family than not and he performed our wedding ceremony. T1 & T2 were blessed to be able to call him one of their Papas.

I got the word while on a trip with T2’s scout troop. My mother made the phone call. Then texts started coming in from T1 and my MIL. I have an old school, 2nd generation Kindle so if you’re familiar with that you know the “Experimental” web browser is exactly that and still hit-or-miss. I knew the Chief did not have the “cheap” Sat Phone … and as Papa was not a direct family I did not feel it would count as a justifiable call to the ship. I had e-mailed him as soon as he entered hospice so it wouldn’t be a surprise (but we visited days before the Chief shipped out because the Chief “knew”–this was the third time he went to “say good-bye”). I could barely get the Kindle to load recent FB posts, let alone let me launch AOL to e-mail him the news.

We were on our way to a show when I saw the ship’s number on my cell–my cue to call back. Being on hands-free speaker phone I had to ask the girls in the car to be quiet for a few minutes.

“Hi. I got a text from T1 and I wanted to make sure you knew.”

“She texted you? I’m sorry she had to be the one to tell you. My mom called and then I got the same texts. I didn’t think you could get texts and I was going to try to e-mail you tonight.”

“It’s a part of life and it’s a lesson she’ll never forget. I took the phone call about my Grandma Fern because no one was home. I was only 9 and I had to tell my parents.”

T1 was prepared to be a help when the news came–my in-laws will have much to do to help with the arrangements. She took a big step to take it upon herself to let us, her parents, know. It should have been the other way around. It just makes me sad that she is only 13 … I was 21 and about to get married before I had to tell the Chief of a loss over the phone. I signed on for the realities of “This Life” but the girls were born into it. Hopefully this will make the girls realize all the more the sacrifices the Chief makes for us.

I guess just like that long ago Fall day God knew our family needed to communicate … I probably would have been worrying and praying about how to share the news with him once the scouts were asleep and the Kindle frustrated me to no end. I was spared that and got to share a few minutes of mutual solace with the Chief.

My heart is sad but my soul rejoices for I know our friend is in a better place.


Just a Little Update

June 22, 2013

Haven’t gone anywhere … just really busy. The Chief got to call several days during a port call. We’ve been e-mailing regularly. SAT-phone communication is going to be spotty and expensive at best so we’re making due. He did call T1 on her 13th birthday.
I don’t know how he feels but I think I’m in denial that we have a teenager now. I didn’t even go shopping for her birthday gifts until the night before. How sad is that? We spent her birthday working on location for her Silver Award. We then spent the afternoon at my in-laws … stuck there while T2 tossed her cookies.
I’ve had some good moments of personal growth and purpose. Nothing I can post about yet but thanks to the e-mail I have been able to share with the Chief.
I’ve also had some sad moments–a dear family friend who I have known for more than 30 years has been placed in hospice. The Chief knew I guess and insisted we visit him in the hospital before he left. He had that same feeling with both of his grandparents. I hate having to make that phone call… this time it will be so impersonal with just an e-mail.
Getting ready to start the really busy part of the summer–go, go, go! So I hope to have more to post soon!


USMMAAA&F: Observation Area Dedicated to Scott M. Heilman, Jr., USMC ’10

June 18, 2013

USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation – Observation Area Dedicated to Scott M. Heilman, Jr., USMC ’10.

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