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I'm not here for me

I drive by myself only once a week.  My drive is to the farm where I find the most peace of any place I've ever been on this earth, but the drive itself is usually reflective and quite fulfilling. 

The drive there is usually filled with thoughts of despair and loneliness and how I'm not good enough for the role I'm playing in life.  The drive is quiet and sad and I usually cry.  There, I said it.  I cry.  Pretty much the whole 17 or so minutes it takes to get to my happy place.  Once I'm there, I wander the fields snipping zinnias and herbs.  Marveling at the growth of the sunflowers from the week before.  Watching the bees do what they do.  Sneaking cherry tomatoes into my mouth while I fill my container. My brain settles into the idea that everything is ok.  Everything is more than ok, in fact.  It's actually pretty great.

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As I see the colors on the flowers and smell the leaves of the tomato plants as I brush by, I think I catch a glimpse of an idea that might make sense.  It comes with the breeze and sort of whirls into my head.  I can't quite get it into focus.  So I wait and pick my weekly share from the farmhouse and load it into my car.

As I pull out of the lot like I do each week, that thought becomes clearer.  Today all the sadness is pushed out of focus long enough to squeeze out the meaning of it all.  Today I realize that maybe we are not here on this earth for ourselves.  We are here strictly for each other.  

When we're sad, the first thing we do is shut down.  What if we were to instead just give ourselves and all our pain freely away to those who want to help us?  What if that's what we are supposed to do?  Instead of feeling all the pain and worry, what if we are supposed to trust in one another to fix that pain?  What if instead of looking inward, we look out and help others? What if we focus less on our own pain and focus fully on the pain of our friends? If everyone were to do that, maybe we would all be ok.  

I know the feeling I get from helping others.  It's tremendous.  It has a way of taking all the pain I may be feeling and replacing it with hope.  We are here for each other.  I believe it.

 

 


Today I felt small

I found this post lurking in my unpublished folder just now.  I am not sure why I didn't publish it.  I can only assume that I was waiting until that "small" day had passed and it was far enough away that I wouldn't remember at all what day it was.  I guess today is that day.  So here you go...

 

Today I felt small.

I hate days like this because they start with the feeling of hands covering my head pushing me down into a dark corner with wild laughing eyes staring at me from above and all around.  Telling me I'm wrong.  Holding their arms and hands up and walking away as if I'm a dog they want to stay put.  Only glancing back while they move on to other things.  Leaving me there in a heap to question myself forever.

But then the day shifts and I stand up without a care for those who put me in my slump.  Because they didn't really put me there.  I did that myself.  And I realize that I'm still in control no matter what.  My ideas are good.  My thoughts are strong.  And it's OK to be happy.  

I learn a lot about myself on days like today.  


I had a massage and now life will never be the same again- my review of Massage Envy Spa

I had the pleasure of enjoying a complimentary massage at Massage Envy Spa in Toms River in exchange for this honest review.   IMG_6974

I just want to explain first that I am not a massage person.  I have no reason other than I am a very particular person when it comes to people touching me.  I need things to be exactly right in order for me to enjoy a massage.  Ridiculous, I know.  But because I am also a cheapskate, I don't feel that spending money on a massage that could possibly be sub-par to my ridiculous standards is worth the money.

But I am also an optimist who will always give experiences a second or third chance in hopes that my mind can be changed.  After all, people all across the earth absolutely LOVE massages.  Why can't I be one of them?

So I agreed to visit Massage Envy Spa in Toms River to experience a one hour massage.  I made my appointment and impatiently waited for the day to arrive.  To add to my excitement,  I got both a phone call and an email the day before my appointment to remind me of my upcoming relaxation session with Peggy, the top massage therapist at the Toms River location. IMG_6972

When I got to Massage Envy Spa, I was greeted by two lovely hostesses who had me fill out a sort of medical form on which I would list any medical issues, trouble spots, or special instructions for the massage therapist like certain spots I do NOT want massaged or spots that might need more attention.  The form also had a section where I was to indicate what type of massage I would like: Light, Medium, or Deep.  (I chose Deep because I am a very ticklish person.  Basically anything less than a slap makes me giggle.) 

While I filled out my form, I sat in the waiting area, which had several soft seats and a bar with different types of teas and cold water to drink.  After about five minutes, Peggy came to greet me and bring me back to one of the many therapy rooms.  She went over the form with me and again asked if I preferred a Deep massage.  She then advised me to disrobe down to whatever garments made me most comfortable and slip under the covers face up on the heated massage table.  Then she left the room.  Already, I felt the relaxation slip over me. IMG_7110

When Peggy came back, the massage began with my scalp, then moved down to my neck, shoulders, decollete, and arms.  I have never had a massage on my forearms like this before.  It was wonderful.  I could feel knots being released that I didn't know were even there.  I mean, who carries stress in their forearms, for Pete's sake?  I guess I do.

Then Peggy moved down to massage my legs.  My favorite part was when she did my shins.  Again, stress in weird places.  What the heck?  Anyways...

I was then asked to flip over so she could continue with the back of my body.  She slipped a pillow under my feet and then put her hands on both my heels and rubbed straight down both soles to my toes.  She massaged my arches for a while and then did the one thing that I absolutely NEED to have when I'm given a foot massage (remember, I have weird ridiculous standards): She massaged each toe pulling each one through her fingers at the end.  

Let me just stop right here for a minute to share one more bit of my weirdness.  See, in all aspects of my life, I need symmetry.  Like, NEED it. Things don't necessarily have to match, but they need to give off the same amount of energy on both sides.  When it comes to massage, if one side of my body is massaged differently than the other, I get very uncomfortable.  And to further that feeling of symmetry, I need that symmetrical energy to be pulled out from my fingertips and toes or I feel incomplete.   I know that's very particular, but that's how I feel.  

Back to the massage...

After Peggy massaged my toes, she then moved to my glutes, lower back, and then the rest of my back.  Because I have been experiencing some lower back pain lately (and indicated it on my form) Peggy made sure I was feeling OK before she continued with the massage.  I told her it felt great!

When the massage was over, I cried.  Again, I am admitting my weirdness because I feel like it's important.  I really did cry.  

Not only did the massage undo all the knots in my muscles and refresh my body, it refreshed my spirit as well.  I felt cleansed.  I didn't know how much stress I had been holding in until Peggy was about to help me release it all.  When I left, I felt like gelatin.  This may or may not be actual footage from my walk back to the car: 

 

I think it's important for us to release all that built up stress when we can.  To start fresh.  To give ourselves a better chance at taking on the world!  Maybe a massage every once in a while is a good thing.  I know I have become a believer.

So now to the technical part about Massage Envy Spa:

Massage Envy Spa offers either individual fees for services or a membership fee which includes either a massage or facial each month.  If you enjoy monthly massages or facials, the membership is well worth it at $59.99.  And yes, you can roll over your unused services to the next month.

For more information about Massage Envy Spa in Toms River, visit their website: http://www.massageenvy.com/clinics/NJ/Toms-River-.aspx

Or visit Massage Envy Spa's corporate website at : http://www.massageenvy.com/

 


I don't think we're supposed to go this fast all the time

Today's my birthday.  I'm 41.  It's cool.  I don't feel like it.  

Yesterday I was running and had a whole bunch of thoughts.  A lot of metaphor-like thoughts that compared running with real life and blah blah blah.  Not unusual when I'm out there because the rest of the world is basically background when I'm running.  Some days those thoughts fall away like dreams when I wake back up at the sight of the dishes in the sink or whatever.  But yesterday they were more lasting.  

I thought about how I haven't really gotten any "better" at running over the past year.  I don't go any faster and I don't cover more ground than I used to.  In fact, I've done the opposite.  I think I've actually slowed down.  And that's actually fine.  I wasn't conflicted with myself at all about this realization like I normally would be.  I used to strive to always beat myself every day.  I would wait for my little Nike app to tell me how much better I did than my last run and hope for some famous runner's voice to give me a virtual pat on the back for a job well done.

But it's been quite some time since the line graph has made much upward movement on that app and I'm more than happy about it. It made me think that I need to carry that feeling over to real life.

Sure, I always want to strive to be a better person than I was the day before.  That will never change.  But do I need to try and get there so quickly?  Nope.  

Slowing down to enjoy the process is something I'm going to strive for this year.  Less "convenience", more time. No more doing something a certain way because it's easier.  Because it's NOT easier.  Buying premade items instead of making them myself isn't fulfilling.  It doesn't teach my children anything.  It doesn't teach me anything.  Cramming a million activities into a day doesn't give me more time tomorrow, it just leaves tomorrow open to cram more activities into.  

I can't help but think about our bodies and how I don't think we're supposed to go this fast all the time.  I know we can sprint and I know we can run marathons.  That sprint is supposed to be a short burst.  For hunting.  For running away from a predator.  We shouldn't be sprinting all the time.  

 So if you see me running so slow out there that it looks like I'm basically standing still, don't worry.  I'm ok.  I'm just striving to be a better person.


These are my legs

My legs

My legs are not pretty.  They never have been.  I have terrible skin due to psoriasis.  I've had knee surgery over twenty years ago that left a keyloid scar and a strange squishy bump on my left leg.  I've got spider veins coursing throughout every inch.  I bruise at the slightest touch.  When I shave, I have red spots everywhere.  When I don't shave, my hair is way darker than I thought possible.  My legs are not pretty.

But it's hot out.  And I want to wear shorts.  So I will.

Why am I writing about it?  Because it's important.  Well, to me at least.

The other day when I was about to go for a run, I noticed the temperature was pretty high on our thermometer.  I debated putting on shorts because, well, ...my legs.  I thought about how weird I would look out there running on these ugly limbs.  

But then the heat hit me and the thought of wearing pants flew right out the window.  I put on my shorts and headed out.

As I was running, I looked down at my legs to see just how terrible they looked down there.

All I saw were two powerful stems carrying me forward.  Each stride pushing me to my destination.  Every step making those legs even stronger.  I forgot all about the "ugly" exterior of my legs and focused on the muscles beneath.  The joints that moved me along.  The way they held me up even when the rest of me was ready to stop.

Yes, it's a metaphor for outer vs. inner beauty.   Yes, I want to relay this message to my daughter and let her know beauty isn't skin deep.  All that.

But the other day's run was really mostly for me.  

I'M the one who needs to remember that it's OK to show even the "ugly" parts of me.  I need to be OK with it.  I need to know that even when I don't like how my legs look, and they won't get me any leg modeling jobs, they are still there to help me put my best foot forward whether I cover them up or not.

So I'm not going to cover them up.  I am sorry if the sight of them makes you cringe, but frankly I have reached a point where my self esteem has to trump what others think.  These puppies carried me to where I am today which is at the helm of a wonderful family with my fantastic husband right next to me.  

I don't want to start any revolution or insist that others join me in some shorts wearing crusade.  But maybe take a minute to think about some part of you that you have been covering up for no reason.  Ask yourself why.  Maybe revealing it could make you even stronger than you already are.

 


My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 5: About 9 months later

I apologize for taking so long to write more about my ablation experience, but to be quite honest it's because I haven't had anything to write about, really.  To quote all the Lego people from the Lego movie, "Everything is awesome!"

OK, there were a few very minor things that came up over the past months since having my ablation, but really nothing I was worried about.  For one, I do have periods sometimes.  Not at ALL like the ones I was experiencing before the procedure, but there are some months when I have minor spotting or even just a slight thin clear discharge.  Glad I didn't throw out all those sanitary liners.  

Other months, I get very minor indicators that my cycle is ending: very slight cramps, one or two small pimples on my face, and irritability (although my family may call it something else). These symptoms were the same as I had before the procedure.  The only difference now is that they aren't accompanied by the massive bleeding I was experiencing. 

I have experienced a couple yeast infections.  I know... gross.  I even gagged a bit when I typed it.  But to be fair, I don't know if they had anything to do at all with the ablation.  In fact, I have my yearly appointment with my OBGYN next month and plan to ask him about it.  I will let you know what he says.

All in all, I am VERY pleased with having had the ablation procedure.  Similar to childbirth, I honestly do not remember any pain or discomfort I was having before or during the procedure.  It's more like thinking about a movie I watched a long time ago.  During the first few days following the proceudre, I was worried that I would have regrets.  But I don't.  I feel good.

Oh, and I decided not to share my story on the Nova-Sure website.  I had a wonderful experience with their product and will continue to give my honest review of it here on my blog.  I just didn't want anyone to think I was being paid or being swayed by them in any way to post my experience.  I feel it's more nature here in my own space.  

Please as always feel free to contact me at cynthialeemom@yahoo.com if you have any questions about ablation or if you just want to chat about it.  I would love to help you.  Thanks for following along!

Here are links to the rest of the series:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure


Not why I run

Running

There are plenty of reasons why I run. In fact, I already wrote about them here if you want to read them.  But today I'm going to tell you the reasons that don't even come CLOSE in my mind when I run:

I don't run to get a PR or a Personal Best.

Nope, I run to FEEL my personal best every time.  Running itself is what does it.

I don't run to be competitive.

There's enough competition in my life.  No need to make one of my favorite things into a competition, too.

I don't run to be fast.

I only really need to be fast enough to keep up with my kids and not feel like I'm going to have a heart attack during a game of tag.

I don't run to look "hot".

That ship has sailed, my friends.  I am happy to just not GET too hot when I run.

I don't run to torture myself.

Yep, it hurts sometimes.  But I have never ever come home from a run and said, "Gee, I wish I didn't do that."

I don't run to lose weight.

But if it happens, I wouldn't be disappointed, I'll tell ya that much.

I don't run to feel good about myself.

Oh wait...yes I do.  And guess what?  It works.   

It's funny, but after having taken such a HUGE break in running, I never thought I'd get back into it.  And now I feel like I never stopped.  I am very happy to be back.


My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 4: Two weeks after the procedure

I visited the doctor yesterday for a follow up after my procedure.  When he walked in the door, I was very happy to hear him cheerfully say, "Good news!"  

When I had my ablation done, he also performed a D&C to remove some polyps that had grown in my uterus.  As per standard procedure, the polyps were run through some tests to see if there were any abnormal cells.  The good news my doctor told me was that I have no cancer cells.  Woohoo!

He asked me a few questions about my recovery and how it has been going so far.  I told him that over the past two weeks I have experienced little to no actual bleeding, but there is still a watery blood-tinged discharge that still occurs.  I asked him if it is normal to still have the discharge and he said yes.  I could have it for a month or so and that is still considered normal.

I am very curious to see how it goes from here.  I will post again in a couple weeks to let you know how I'm feeling and whether or not I get any type of "monthly visitor" as this procedure will supposed to have either lessened it or stopped it completely.

Oh!  And I wanted to share something pretty cool, too!  After my last post, I was contacted by NovaSure- the company who manufactures the equipment used for my type of ablation.   NovaSure's people at Change the Cycle sent me a message via Twitter.  They asked if I would like to share my story on their page.  I told them I would love to.  

I hope that if you are reading this that you are feeling OK.  If you have any questions about my experience or just want to chat, please feel free to send me an email at cynthialeemom@yahoo.com.

Here are links to the rest of the series:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure


My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 3: One week after the procedure

SO... it has been one week and one day since my ablation and I can honestly tell you I feel physically 100% fine from it.  I am thoroughly surprised at how well everything feels in that general area.  I thought for sure there would be some remaining pain or soreness, but there is really nothing.  

Since there really isn't much to report on the subject, I thought I would take this opportunity to answer some of the more "interesting" questions I've been asked about the whole thing.  There are some things that you may not feel comfortable asking your doctor about, but I definitely encourage you to do it anyway.  While reading here and in other places are great for learning about other people's experiences, it is always best to talk to your doctor about anything pertaining to your own health.

I want to give everyone fair warning right now that some of the questions and explanations may not be for the faint at heart.  So if you would rather not read on, I completely understand.  OK, here we go...

The most frequently asked question I hear pertains to the amount of blood I experienced after the procedure.  Surprisingly enough, there was very minimal blood.  There is a bit of spotting and a watery discharge that comes and goes, but wearing a thin pad or a liner is enough.  There was one day over the weekend when I did have a small bit more bleeding, but I think that was because it coincided with the date when I would normally have had my period.  I think my body was just adjusting.

The second most asked question is about how I am feeling.  I really do feel fine... physically.  I had some minor cramping the same day over the weekend when I had the spotting.  But otherwise everything feels exactly the same as it did beforehand.

I am not going to lie, though... mentally I am not really sure yet.  As you read in my post the day after the procedure, I had experienced some sadness which I attributed to the anesthesia.  That did go away after a day or two.  However, I still have a lingering sense of 'What If?'  

I don't think I made the wrong decision.  However, I can't shake the fact that I willingly ended my body's chance of ever having a baby again.  I know this is an irrational thought because I had consciously made the decision to have no more children a LONG time ago.  And I STILL do not want any more children.  Because I know my thinking is irrational, I will definitely talk to my doctor about it when I see him next week.  

I will update you all again after my visit with the doctor and let you know if anything else comes up in the meantime.  And PLEASE let me know if you have any questions.  You can either comment below or send me an email at cynthialeemom@yahoo.com.  I don't know if I can help you, but I certainly will try.  

To read the rest of the series about my endometrial ablation, here are the links:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure


My experience with endometrial ablation | Part 2: One day after the procedure

As promised, here is my honest account of how things went yesterday.  

I want to start this post by saying how I feel today: I feel 100% fine!  As if I had not undergone any type of procedure yesterday at all.  I am writing this at 8:00 AM.  I know this feeling may be fleeting as the day goes on, so I will take it easy today.  But as of right now, I am surprisingly AOK.

My doctor said everything went very well.  There were no issues and the procedure went smoothly.  I have to see him in two weeks.

Yesterday is sort of blurry in my memory due to the anesthesia, but I will tell you all that I remember.  The procedure itself went rather quickly.  I remember seeing 10:00 on the clock of the operating room and then I was asleep.  I then woke up in the recovery room and the clock said 11:12.  

I immediately felt pain in my abdomen.  It wasn't terrible pain, but enough to get my attention.  It was a sort of dull pain throughout with a slightly sharper pain in my left side.  Because I felt that pain, I got worried that it would get worse as the medication wore off.  On the contrary, it subsided as the day went on.  By the time I went to bed at 11:00 last night, I was just a little bit crampy - like I normally feel the day of my heaviest flow each time.  

When the anesthesia fog started to lift, I checked under the blankets to see what everything looked like.  There was very minimal spotting.  Throughout the day yesterday, there was only one or two spots.  This morning I am wearing a pad as a precaution, but so far it has not been needed.  I will probably wear one for the next few days to be safe.

The physical part of the procedure was very easy.  The worst part about it was the anesthesia which nauseated me and left me feeling hungover all day.  What I was not prepared for though was how I was going to feel emotionally.  

When I was wheeled back into the area where my husband was sitting, something came over me.  A wave of sadness overtook me.  I couldn't contain myself from crying.  I know it was partially from the anesthesia, but it was also something else.  It hit me like a ton of bricks right at that moment that I could no longer carry a child.

My husband and I had decided long ago that we were done having children.  It was absolutely no surprise that this procedure would prevent just that.  But the finality of it struck me like a blow to the chest when I woke up.  A rush of thoughts flooded my brain.  Did I make the right choice? 

As the day went on, I noticed that sadness slowly going away.  You know that whole 'when a door closes, another one opens' adage?  Well, I started to feel the other door opening inch by inch with every hour.  I could see how much better things are going to be now that I don't have to worry about all the issues I was having with my periods before.  I felt lighter and more free.

Today I feel like a brand new woman.  All that sadness from yesterday is gone.  I think I needed that cry as a type of closure.  It helped me to accept the changes I made to my body and move on to this next part of my life.

I will post again in a week to let you all know how everything is progressing.  I hope this is helpful to anyone who may be considering the procedure!  

 

Here are links to the rest of the series:

Part 1- Before the Procedure

Part 2- One day after the procedure

Part 3- One week after the procedure

Part 4- Two weeks after the procedure