Caregiving is a series of small acts of care
that alter the course of someone's life…
Im very blessed that at almost 52 years of age, I still have 3 of my 4 parents…my mother, my father and my mother in law. Last October, we said goodbye to my husband's father Robert…and it was one of the toughest things I thought I would ever have to do.
But what is tougher is being helpless in the care of elderly parents. We all know that the aging process brings slowness of the body, weakness of the mind for some and eventually the end of our days but what sometimes we are not told is how difficult is it to watch a loved one in pain.
In the last two weeks, my mother and my mother in law have faced some serious health challenges. My mother is dealing with heart and breathing issues. My mother in law in the last 5 days has undergone a full knee replacement. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I would have given anything to switch places with either one of them so that they would not have had to endure the pain, discomfort and the general "fear of the unknown" that both of them have had to go through. Both of them are tough women…both of them have lots of support from their family and friends. They are blessed beyond measure and, we believe, in the end, both will be in pretty good shape after the procedures that they face.
But at the end of the day, I have come home an emotional mess. It has been an interesting journey for me to see how food plays a role in stress relief in my life. For YEARS, I would use food to calm me down….to remove the stress in my life but in reality, it simply just made it worse. Increased weight and the effects of weight on my body only made things more difficult as the pounds piled on.
Being in Destination Boot Camp and following the State of Slim Program with Anchutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado has taught me that the better way to deal with stress is with a different mind set. This has not been an easy transition and these two weeks have proven that I have a long way to go to remove food from the list of stress relievers in my life.
In these two weeks, I have cried a lot and let my emotions out instead of holding them in. It is almost embarrassing to me to admit that I cried this much. In my family, we really never showed emotion in this way. I was taught to never cry in public…to never let the world see you vulnerable. The only way I could find to deal with the emotion was to eat…stuff it down…and keep it hidden.
Writing this blog is just one way I am learning to deal with the emotion and stress of seeing family in pain and being powerless to change the situation. I have done what I can..hug them…kiss them .. listened to doctors..made doctor's appointment…do daily chores when needed…and cried…a lot. I hope I don't sound like too much of a mess in all this but I am slowly finding my way in how to take care of me…and take care of those that mean so much to me. It is a learning process. I am sure I will trip and stumble in that process but I will get there..and I will be better for it. Hopefully they will be better as well.
At the 2 month mark from my week of boot camp in Colorado, I have lost almost 22 pounds. I can wear a pair of size 12 pants that I wore the night before my Ironman attempt in 2013 so I know I am getting close to that magical weight which is the lowest I have ever been in my time since my gastric bypass. If my scale is correct, I have lost 3.5% of body fat in 2 months (those sensors are always kinda iffy) and in my right thigh alone, I have lost almost 2 inches in 2 months. I am grateful for all of these things but I am especially grateful for the changes in my emotional health and my mind set towards the world. The work is not completed…but I am moving in the right direction to be a better daughter, a better daughter in law, a better wife, a better friend, a better athlete and a better citizen of the world.