Days 100-107: Am I a Quitter?

Days 100-107: Am I a Quitter?

I made it to 100 days…and then sailed right on by it without marking it.

I meant to celebrate my 100th day, but as I am a mom of two very young energetic and fully occupying kids, I just could not find the time.

It’s been an imperfect 100 days. I have definitely not managed to adhere entirely to my own rules. I feel like I have spent quite a bit of money, mostly on things I think are necessary, but sometimes that definition has been gray.

I must also confess that I really want to quit. I don’t feel like I can do this well, and it bothers me. For one, finding time to blog about my experience has proved to be rather challenging. By the end of the day, if my baby has finally given up fighting sleep, it is usually so late that my writing is incoherent; my enthusiasm for writing is…tepid at best.

The other reason I want to quit is because…I want to spend money.

I didn’t mention this earlier, because it is all quite tenuous and I am kind of waiting for everything to revert back..the other shoe to drop so to speak…but two things have happened in the last month: I unexpectedly lost a bit of weight (no idea how, but most likely as a result of stress) and my hand eczema has almost entirely healed.

Both of these things have been…wonderful but…the urge to buy a new dress…or outfit of some kind is overwhelming. It’s somehow part of my psyche that in order to celebrate something like this, this “new me”, I should spend on a new wardrobe to highlight my new physique. Not totally unreasonable I suppose, but it is exactly what I am trying to avoid.

My monkey mind has told me more than once this week that I need to quit this whole venture because I am doing a terrible job of it, no one cares, no one is reading this blog, anyone who is reading this blog is confused by it’s random posts, I don’t know how to blog, I’ve already spent money I shouldn’t have, who wants to read my on-going confessions…etc.etc.etc.

I knew this was going to be hard. Things that are worthwhile tend to be.

So, though I am so very tempted to throw in the towel and go on a mad spending spree, I am not going to.

What I will do is adjust how I blog. I must acknowledge that I am a busy mom with not much free time. Thus, I will not fruitlessly aim for a daily blog post but a weekly one, which will greatly relieve the low-level stress I feel when I realize how spectacularly I am failing at posting daily. So, starting tomorrow, I will be collecting my thoughts from Monday to Sunday and posting on Sunday about my week of “not spending on unnecessary things”. Today is day 107..that’s how many weeks…let’s call that 15 weeks and change. So, next Sunday’s post will be week 16.

Ta da! It ain’t perfect, but it’s an effort to stay in the game.

See you next Sunday.

 

Day 95: Creating My Zen Garden

Day 95: Creating My Zen Garden

So, continuing on with my purge and sort approach to our house, I worked still more on the kitchen. The goal was to get the counter completely clear of any and all items. I want my kitchen to be my zen garden, a place of ease and simplicity. I have plenty of chaos in my life; and the kitchen is one of those places when in use, but to be able to start with a clean slate, everyday, would be heaven.

Surprisingly, there hasn’t been too much to actually get rid of, only small things here and there. Mostly it is a re imagining of the space and finding new homes for things to create a work-flow that actually works.

The counter started out looking like this:

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and ended up looking like this:

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So, the purging and sorting continues. More on that as it happens.

In regards to the eczema on my hands. It has not fully resolved, but it is at least, not extreme.While I traveled, especially in the hospital, it really flared. Then it calmed while I was at my mom and dad’s place for a few weeks and then flared again just before our trip back to Cali. So, it is at at least in part, triggered by stress. I also suspect that allergens in the air cause me to react a bit. As to whether diet has any effect, it is hard to really know. I had to toss aside my strict diet for the month I was away, and so I have not returned to it. The only foods I am avoiding are: pineapple, orange, lemon and mango as recommended by the Chinese doctor I saw while in Canada.

I also had another suggestion from a friend of a friend of my sister-in-law who suggested it might be a fungal or nano- bacterial infection. While this is worrying, I am also half hoping this is the case so that I don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions. As to how to treat something like that, I have no idea.

My own protocol that has been working to ease the itching and oozing is: as soon as itching occurs, I cover the affected area with green clay until the clay has dried. The longer the clay is on, the more of the oozing liquid it helps to absorb. Then I douse my hands with liquid nano-silver which is an antibacterial agent. Then I coat my hands in castor oil or coconut oil and put on cotton gloves for the night.

Now, sometimes, the mere act of trying to hydrate my hands causes more itching, so that piece is iffy. I did come across some eczema info that suggested that hydration is necessary, but should be with a water based cream. I may have to give that a go.

For now, the itching has been minimal enough that I can resist, for the most part, scratching which seems to be key in order to not open up wounds which take a long time to heal (but heal quite quickly using nano silver).

The other piece is that I am trying to have a micro meditation session every morning before I get out of bed into the chaos of my kid filled life. By micro, I mean micro, like maybe 5 minutes…maybe. But in that time I envision all my cells vibrating to the same frequency, out from my heart center. I try to feel deep gratitude for my life, acceptance of the moment and compassion for myself and everyone around me. To some of you this might sound a little too far out there. But I know myself to be not only a physical being but a being of energy and a product of my own mind. When I am stressed it affects my physiology, thus, if I can be at peace and calm, perhaps my eczema can react in kind.

Days 66-71: Normal

Days 66-71: Normal

Slowly, every day, little C has returned to herself. It was touch and go for a while. The first day back from the hospital (Monday) I watched her like a hawk and she seemed to be in so much pain still. I almost called emerg back to check if her continuing pain was normal. At night she would whimper and cry out. I couldn’t tell if it was from pain or nightmares (of the hospital?) but she wouldn’t (and won’t) tell me because she is afraid that more will be done to her. I feared something had been missed, but ultimately I went with my gut, because so far it has served me well, and I decided to wait. The next day, she was still whimpering from pain, but better. Every day, three doses of oral antibiotics and Tylenol as needed. So much Tylenol. Hard to see her consume almost an entire bottle when I have only ever given her such a drug once before this illness. But then, finally, she didn’t need it. Today, Friday, she is much skinnier than she was a week ago, but she is definitely herself…throwing challenging tantrums, being her charming hilarious self, making us negotiate every damn thing because she is stubborn as all get-out. Ahhh. Back to normal. Deep breath and appreciate this.

As for not spending…well, I have definitely failed. I have thrown caution to the wind and spent on things at my sister and brother-in-laws coffee shop, Engine House Coffee, bought T-shirts at the caves we went and visited yesterday, splurged on poutine and other treats. I am trying not to go over-board as a “thank god we are back to normal, lets spend to celebrate” kind of way…even though that is definitely an impulse I am feeling and trying to examine.

I also happen to be on “holiday” as harrowing as it was this past week, so I feel like a tourist in this town and want to enjoy it.

So, yeah, I’ve failed on the no frivolous spending front. But I am not going to quit. What I am going to do is assess these feelings, these impulses, try to reign them in and also atone for them when I get back. That means, I am planning to do a lot more paring down when I get home. We live with excess. I had begun a KonMari inspired cleansing of my home, but failed to complete it. I think I will renew those efforts to eliminate.

My hand eczema has calmed in direct relation to the drama of a health crisis calming down too. While C was in hospital, the inflammation, weeping and drying was so bad my hand was an unbending claw. Since then, the layers have peeled off and my hand is mostly back to normal, though quite red and occasionally itchy. The treatment plan, with the help of my mom, is to do green clay compresses almost every night, followed by a coating of castor oil before putting cotton gloves on for the night. Also, several times a day, after washing my hands, I splash nano-silver all over the affected areas and air dry as it is antibacterial and helps quickly seal open wounds. I am not following any specific diet, other than avoiding shell fish and citrus as recommended by TeeMing, the Chinese doc I saw in Toronto.

So far so good. I am afraid of a re-occurrance, but one day at a time. One day at a time.

Enjoying having my hubby here for a few more days as C fully recovers. Hopefully we can get a beach day in and a bit more sight seeing. Though it was not the nicest way to get daddy here (via an emergency), we are sure glad he’s here for part of our vacation.

 

Days 64 & 65: Improvement

Days 64 & 65: Improvement

Daddy arrived and it marked a huge improvement in all of our outlooks. Little C perked up and ate and wanted to play. I finally had someone who could comfort my infant and allow my mom and sister much needed relief from all the endless wailing. Everything started to feel less traumatic. We all caught ourselves having moments where we were not rushing to help or tag team and wondered: what am I not doing? Why do I have a moment of nothing to do?

The news is good too, this Sunday morning. The docs say that tomorrow we take out the IV and switch to oral antibiotics. This means we get to go home. Though, where “home” is will need to be determined. I would love to stay on and finish our visit here in Canada, but if a one week or even two week follow up is required, we will have to fly back to California since it will no longer be covered under “emergency” care.

We have a whopper of a bill coming our way. I’m trying not to think about it. I am so grateful for the care that C received. I do find it ironic that this blog was about cutting out needless spending and I had hoped to see a lot of savings as a result…instead, we’ve had a bout of very necessary spending that will leave us…well…I don’t really want to go into that right now.

As I type, I am trying to convince C to lie still. We’ve been working at trying to nap for over an hour. I am feeling very frustrated by trying to negotiate with her to lie still and rest. But it’s also a very good sign, because this is how all nap times go down when she’s happy and healthy. Hopefully I will be able to hold onto this and remind myself, in moments of frustration, that I would rather have these challenges a million times over, than the submissive, moaning, half conscious toddler I had only a few days ago.

My itchy eczema outbreak has also calmed, though now I am dealing with the dry, stiff skin on my hands that make it impossible to bend my fingers without pain. My whole face is also like leather and peeling. I’ll take it over the itching though. I’m afraid that I will not be able to find a resolution for this. I just long for C to be healthy and for me to be healthy.

At the same time this whole experience has reminded me how lucky we have been thus far, and how easily life can change. I am reminded to appreciate every moment, every dull, hum drum day, when nothing is happening and we are experiencing the ordinary….those are the days that are extraordinary and a gift. To have health, youth, no discomfort. I must absorb those moments, because we all age, we all will experience ill health and death.

Today marks a mass killing in Orlando Florida, the biggest one yet. Not a record to be proud of. The details are splashed across every news outlet, so I need not go into details. I am so angry, terrified and sad. Again, this is a reminder that the hum drum of life is what we want, not the horrors  of hate and violence and ignorance. I must not sink into fear. Having kids makes fear and worry that much closer to the surface. I find myself seriously considering moving back to Canada, where universal health care is the norm, where hate filled, bigoted, racist clowns like Trump aren’t currently  being considered for the biggest leadership role in the country, and gun ownership is actually controlled to the extent that mass killings are not the norm. How can I continue to live in a country that so blindly and passionately defends their right to bear arms even as these mass killings occur on a sickeningly regular basis. Obama, in his address to the Nation today almost had no words. He’s had to make this speech a ridiculous amount of times. America, the world is watching, and you are coming off as fools.

Anyway, I could go on, but I’ll stop.

Let me return to the fact that  I am grateful. Grateful that we are leaving here, and that C has her health, and that there is still hope for me to recover from eczema even if it takes some doing.

Love to all.20160612_114245.jpg

Days 57 & 58: Wedding!

Days 57 & 58: Wedding!

Gosh, by the time I get to writing these blogs it’s so late my brain is no longer working.

I will try to be brief.

This weekend I and my two kiddos along with my sister and brother-in-law got to go to a dear friend’s wedding. It was brilliant: ceremony, food, dancing and sleeping all in one place. Our hotel room was on the 3rd floor and the ceremony and dinner/party were on the main floor. Super set up for having kids in tow…which was exactly as the bride and groom had planned as they too have a little kiddo of their own. The dancing at the end was dominated by kids, actually, which made for a lot of fun and helped me feel not so worried about “ruining” the festivities with a potentially out of control toddler who hadn’t napped all day. Luckily, my girls did really well- little M slept through the ceremony and C slept through dinner and dancing.

I am quite exhausted without the hubs here to relieve me on night duty and diaper changes. My littlest is particularly clingy as all the new environments have her wanting to come back to the “Mother Ship” frequently for nursies…and she’s teething. It was quite the trick to put both girls down for the night, all of us on one queen bed. I managed to drag a heavy chair and ottoman tight to one side of the bed…which was good because in the middle of the night my toddler was sleeping on the ottoman with her head on the bed…she moves a lot! Luckily, no falls onto the floor as a result of this arrangement. I was snug in the middle with my 10 month old on my other side, blocked by a pillow to prevent her from falling off the other side. I left the dancing early because they were both looking so beat (and I didn’t want to be that mommy who ignores her kids and just does her own thing but I LOVE TO DANCE!)…but as soon as we got to our room they were both wide eyed and ready to partay. I considered returning to the dancing in our jammies, but instead we had a mini cartoon watching session. Eventually we all fell asleep close to midnight. A small miracle since my toddler also was sort of scared of the room, and sleeping in all these new environments has her a little confused. She said ” I want to leave this room right now”several times when we first arrived. I am so impressed that despite that, she listened to me, did not freak out, and eventually slept. I’m beat.

The annoying part of all of this is that  I’ve been flaring up eczema-wise every other day since flight day. I guess the stress has been a factor. But last night, my neck and face also joined the flair up party and I think it was purely environmental. When we walked into the hotel room I immediately smelled the cleaners and whatever it is that they wash the bedding in – very perfumey. Wherever my face touched the pillow it became itchy. I had to put gloves on so I wouldn’t scratch anything. Happily, in the morning, nothing was swollen.

I’m still itchy, but it’s not as bad as it was just having left that environment. I’m also using nano silver topically because all my aunties are recommending it very highly, and since I’ve also had a consult with a friend of a friend who thinks I might have some kind of nano bacterial infection…and silver is anti bacterial….I thought I’d give it a try. 20160605_231523.jpgIt really takes down the swelling fast and seals open wounds rapidly. I am going to stick with that for a while to see if I keep healing up. It can also be taken internally, but I’m just trying it topically for the moment. If it’s bacterial, this should help. If it’s internal, this won’t necessarily be the solution.It’s a process of elimination…unfortunately I am very impatient.

Also, because it was a wedding, and because I’ve been so restrictive for so long, I totally went whole hog and ate all the foods I haven’t been having…cheese, sugar, caffeine, wine, wheat. I did notice that my tummy did not want to process the cheese so much, but otherwise no immediate discomfort. Hard to discern, really, because I did it all at once, AND I was mixing foreign bedding in with the whole thing. Right now, as I type on this Sunday night, a day after the wedding, I have a returned rash on my neck, itchy face…but surprisingly calm fingers and hand. The silver is really soothing.

So, it’s back to eating predominantly healthy food with moderate off-the-tracking. I still do not know how to incorporate the advice from the Chinese doc. I’m really trying to feel things out at the moment.

More later. For now, I sleep.

Day 56: Processing

Today I went to the Chinese doctor my aunt recommended, Te-Ming, for a diagnosis and consult. He couldn’t prescribe me a brew because I am nursing, but he did give me advice on the foods I should and shouldn’t be eating…and it totally turned everything I’ve been doing on its head.

Among many things, according to the Chinese medical wisdom, I should be eating carbohydrates, sugar but NOT fruit sugar, no teas but coffee is okay, dairy is okay. My skin condition and based on a reading of my pulse he can see that I have weak digestion and a lot of “damp” that needs to be cured with “fire”. So alkalizing foods should be limited (ie vegetables) and acidic foods should not be avoided. I can still have veg, but in moderation and definitely cooked. I MUST avoid all citrus including lemon (which is alkalizing). Also, avoid GMO everything as it has an effect on the skin.

So now I need time to process this complete about change. I need to decide what could possibly work for me.

Feeling a little confused right now.

 

Days 53,54,55: Busy

Days 53,54,55: Busy

Where have I been?

Busy. Busy packing into the wee hours of the night (I hate packing, and packing for two kids and myself was a challenge) before an early morning flight.

Then, busy traveling with kiddos. I was SO nervous. But they did great. As was expected it was exhausting – how could it not be when you’ve got two littles that want to be held…usually at the same time…add in carry-on luggage etc. and it was….quite a work out. I was also surviving on a handful of nuts and two raw seed bars and nothing else, because there was nothing I could buy that fit my diet regimen at the moment. I had plenty for the kids though.

I’ve been having hand eczema flair ups through it all. Very annoying. I chose to do late night green clay treatments on my hands instead of blogging. Priorities. No doubt the flair ups are connected with stress ( and possibly the hormonal cycles of the month). I’m going to have to relax a bit on the whole green smoothie everyday etc. since I’m not home and can’t do my usual flow. It’s been over four weeks, so it is a good time to re-introduce more foods. Perhaps some sprouted wheat…more fruits. What I will stay away from is dairy and refined sugars for a bit longer.

I’m starting to think that there is definitely an emotional component to this whole eczema thing too. There seems to be a direct correlation between my itchiness and when I am agitated with the kids, or stressed out ( such as with the recent flight). I need to get to the bottom of it. So, not only addressing diet and exercise but my internal world as well. Easier said than done…but I will try.

I was also hoping to visit a Chinese doctor to get some advice on where to go with my diet. If nothing else, it will inform me and let me know if I am on the right track.

Not much to report, I guess I have been having more thoughts about purchasing stuff. In the last ditch effort to pack everything I needed, I did have to run to the store and grab some essentials like teething meds, snacks for the kids. Somehow, in so quickly grabbing and purchasing stuff it rekindled that part of me that likes to shop and not overthink things too much. As a result, I’ve caught myself thinking ‘oh, it would be nice to have this and that’ etc. So long as they are just thoughts, I will witness them and let them go.

Still quite tired. Goodnight!