Lists & Links: Perfectly Random

At the end of last year, I started a new category here on TCO called: Lists & Links. These posts are full of fun, little, things that I wanted to share with you that don’t necessarily warrant an entire post – a perfectly random bag of things, just for you! It’s been a while, but here we go!

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I have been obsessed with Panera’s new delivery services while I am at work – I tend to forget neglect to make a lunch on a daily basis and Panera delivery has saved me on more than one occasion. This week I tried a new cookie to curb my everlasting sweet tooth, and MY GOD was it delicious! It’s huge, pricey, decadent, and full of calories, I’m sure. But it’s delicious none-the-less.

For Christmas my sister gave me an Amazon Echo Dot (Alexa), and while we set it up and used it for a few weeks before Justin’s admission to the hospital, we had kind of forgotten it was there since coming home. We set everything up again this weekend and I’m already in love that we can connect our Spotify apps to it, and do little things like ask about the weather, set timers, and make lists. I’m sure there are many more sophisticated things Alexa can do, but for now she’s happy being our real, live, google machine.

I have been back to work for about four weeks now, and am still feeling like I’m catching up but my team has made the transition much easier for me than I had anticipated. They have been supportive, welcoming, excited, and engaged.  I thought coming back to work would be miserable, and in all actuality, it was a welcome addition to my routine that helped me focus on something other than medications, doctor appointments, and Justin’s every move. There are still hard days, but they have been incredibly understanding and supportive when those days come up.

My friend had been stalking me about downloading a new app called: ibotta a couple of weeks ago. She claimed it was awesome and that I needed to get it and start using it. With a roll of my eyes, I downloaded the app and started searching for rebates on things that I usually buy. I found a few things and on my next grocery trip found enough things to get $4.50 back in rebates. Not a millionaire making strategy, but I’ll take it! If you want to try it – use my referral code: ppfciim

Finally, I just finished the new Netflix docuseries: The Keepers this week. Man, I wasn’t quite expecting the emotional heaviness that it brought, but it definitely was an interesting story. I wish I could hear more or go and help those looking for answers. These women are amazing and so brave for telling their stories. I’m glad I heard about on one of my favorite podcasts and took the time to watch. If you’re interested in true crime, the systemic nature of religion, and are not triggered by sexual assault stories, check it out.

One Day at a Time

One Day at a TimeFor the first time in almost three months I am sitting down at my computer with the intention to write. I took a break to regroup, refocus, and really, to just breath. I was certain I would come back in a week and pick up where I left off, it seemed as I got more encouragement and praise that I had more to say, until I had nothing to say.

I’ve thought about writing a lot, thought about jumping on my computer and telling more of my story and each time I thought about it, I felt weighed down by the idea. My day to day life was too heavy and I couldn’t comprehend using my brain for anything other than binging on Netflix.

Being a caregiver of someone recovering from a bone marrow transplant is so much different than I had anticipated. I assumed it would be similar to being the caregiver of someone going through chemotherapy or radiation: difficult, frustrating, scary, but ultimately, bearable. A bone marrow transplant is, quite literally, a whole different beast. My can-do attitude and desire to take care of everything were irrelevant and those exact things sent me deeper into a space I didn’t know how to navigate.

Anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, catastrophizing, anger, loneliness, guilt: all of the words that have been brought up in my sessions with my therapist since Justin has come home. I had the hardest time understanding that I was grieving, mostly for the life that we had once considered “normal”. There was a new, unpredictable, normal that I couldn’t get a grasp on and it threw me for a loop.

I wish I could describe it to you, I wish I had words of wisdom for you, I wish there was something I could do to keep anyone else from ever feeling the way that I have over the last five months, but as I am learning, I have no control. At all. How disappointing.

I spent many days wondering how I would start writing again. How would I come back? Do I take a deep dive into my experiences over the last few months? Do I just skip over it and talk about all of the things that have gotten me through? Do I just pretend the three months never happened at all? What is the best way to try and regain some of your “normal”? I was apprehensive and insecure. So, here I am, unpolished, raw, and still trying to figure it all out. I suppose that’s all I can ask for at this point.

My world was flipped upside down and I’m still trying to get everything off of the ceiling. It will take some time, and every once and a while something will float back up, but progress is being made on both fronts: Justin’s health and my mental health. For now, we’re just taking it one day at a time.

Sabbatical

It’s funny how a stressful time can also bring clarity. I started out this year with dreams of contentment, progress, and moving forward. In my head that meant an ever-growing blog following, crazy social media stats, a blooming creative business, and finally, a light at the end of the tunnel on the last year of our lives.

I was talking to my mom recently, explaining to her how spending five weeks inside of a hospital room can make you realize just how unnecessary some things are in your daily life. The stress and the pause that forced on your life can create a vacuum where you have the ability to evaluate your time, your hobbies, your relationships, and the things that are important to you.

My entire outlook on life has changed in the last five weeks. Things that I once thought I was destined to do no longer seem of value. The petty, the dramatic, the time-suckers – they no longer deserve a place in my life. Life is short, and you’re, most certainly, not guaranteed anything beyond the here and now.

You see, I tend to go into things at one of two speeds: full throttle or half-assed. I thrive on the initial excitement that comes with a new idea or project, but as my enthusiasm begins to wane I lose sight of my founding inspiration, and then ultimately my desire to keep moving forward. I went at this year for The Corner Office full throttle. I was going to make my dream come true of writing for a living, and I was going to do it by growing this blog, creating social media pages, and interacting with the other bloggers in this community. In my quest to do this, I lost sight of my original passion: writing.

I’ve spent endless hours in a hospital room trying to go about my daily life – writing, posting, creating graphics, engaging on social media, keeping up with everything, and at some point, I just became so irritated with trying to keep up that I stopped. I took some time to pause. I reflected on what I wanted out of this space and this community – was it to create my own business? Was it to be some amazing, sought after, creative entrepreneur, photographer, graphic designer…the list is endless? No. I wanted to create a space to write, share my story, and, hopefully, inspire other people. I was disappointed with how distracted by the hustle I had become. I was going through life thinking about how I was going to document it for the masses instead of actually living my life. Which, let’s face it, is a huge problem in our society now – we live to share it on social media, not to actually experience it.

As I was packing my overnight back on one of my trips home I picked up my PowerSheets, a couple of markers, and a notebook. I wanted to take some time and search for clarity on how I see my life in the next year – it’s only March. There is so much time left in 2017 to get back to me. The next afternoon I spent a few hours, while Justin slept, looking out the window, sipping on coffee, and listening to…well…myself.

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The conclusion: I need to take a break and spend some time focusing on the real world and the things that are happening right in front of me. I need to be present. And being present means letting go of some things, at least for now.

I won’t lie to you, I contemplated contemplating deleting The Corner Office Blog. Walking away and getting back to focusing on just the writing was sounding really appealing. I asked a friend how crazy I was to even contemplate deleting TCO. She simply responded: You are not deleting your blog. I asked why and she said “I like it” – so there you have it. TCO will stick around, but, the constant pressure I put on myself to post, share, and promote will be going out the window.
I am taking a sabbatical. I’m not sure when I will post again – it could be tomorrow, next week, two months from now, or in a year. I am taking time to start planning my life out again and really listening to myself. Instead of letting the hustle take over, I am going to enjoy, I am going to learn, I am going to engage, and I am going to be present.

The New Normal, Again.

ruleI have been a out of commission lately. Upon Justin’s discharge from the hospital my role as his caregiver increased significantly before he was admitted back into the hospital through the ER late Sunday evening. To say the last week has been overwhelming and a rollercoaster of emotions would be an understatement. To read about how Justin’s doing, feel free to check out my latest update on Project: Transplant.

I learned a lesson in self-care this week. For weeks I have had people ask me: “Are you taking care of yourself?” – with rolled eyes, I said “yes, of course.” I felt fine, a little overwhelmed at times and tired, but I was okay. Coming home from the hospital was a shock to my system. I was excited, my husband was finally coming home after 21 straight days in the hospital, our puppy would finally have his human back, and I could finally take a breather from my constant commute back and forth.

No sooner did we walk in the door of our house did I realize how wrong I was. Being home, while slightly comforting, was completely overwhelming. There was no medical team, no routine, no doctors walking the halls – it was just me, a bag full of medications, some instructions, and our animals. What the hell had we gotten ourselves into?

Having not arrived home until after 9pm, we were both exhausted and decided that going to bed was probably the best choice for both of us. After a crappy night’s sleep our first official day home had started. Justin wasn’t feeling well, but pushed through, even showering before falling back asleep. The visiting nurse came by to show me how to operate his IV pump, clean his port lumens (lines), and take his vitals. So. Much. Information. Just thinking about disconnecting his IV, by myself, at midnight when his drip would be done gave me a whole new level of anxiety. Trying to hold it together, I found myself sitting in the garage, crying to my mom on the phone. I felt unprepared and inadequate to do all of this. I went to bed that night exhausted, but ready to do my part with disconnecting his IV meds. And, quite frankly, I kicked ass. I was quick, confident, and precise as I cleaned, flushed, and heparinized his lumen in under 10 minutes so he could get back to sleep.

Despite my midnight confidence it took less than half a day at home for both of us to feel overwhelmed. We made the best of it, but we knew we had a lot to figure out. By Sunday afternoon, as we were catching our groove, Justin spiked a fever of 100.8, warranting a call to the BMT unit. After being directed to go to the ER for admission, I packed up some of our things and felt a twinge of relief mixed with anxiety. It was scary that we had to head back so soon, but comforting to know he would soon be back in the BMT unit with his medical team. I made the decision, from the ER room, to take the week off of work. I had been working remotely while Justin was in the hospital, but just couldn’t find it in my power to focus on anything but what was right in front of us. It felt like a small self-care win.

I spent the night with Justin both Sunday and Monday, only going home briefly to shower and grab some additional things. When Tuesday morning came I felt panicky, I had a stomach ache, was convinced I had a urinary tract infection, was exhausted, and couldn’t do anything for my husband to help him recover. I was dreading talking to his doctor, assuming that my physical symptoms would mean they wouldn’t allow me to stay with him. I couldn’t stand the thought of being kept away right now. His doctor walked in the room, gave us an update and asked if we had any questions. Justin pointed at me and said “She doesn’t feel good.” I started bawling. She convinced me to go home, see a doctor, and get some rest. I did exactly as she said.

After lunch with my mom, seeing a doctor, doing a quick shopping trip, and picking up an antibiotic for myself, I was home. I sat in the sunroom with the windows open, ate dinner, and just took a breather. Around 6:30pm I shut the house up for the night and went into the bedroom, I was asleep within 20 minutes. Despite the felines waking me up a few times I slept until 8:30am on Wednesday morning, I couldn’t believe it. 13 hours of sleep in one night and I was convinced I could keep going. I forced myself out of bed, made some breakfast, took a shower, and prepared enough food to keep me satisfied for a couple of days at the hospital – something I had never taken the time to do before. I felt ready to get back to Justin.

I had convinced myself, over the last month, that I had been taking care of myself. I didn’t feel any more exhausted than I should, I made excuses for all of the signs of burn out I was experiencing. Of course I felt like this – my husband just had a bone marrow transplant.

That is no excuse. I didn’t adjust my self-care plan based on our new day to day life. I wasn’t increasing my water intake to compensate for the dryness of the hospital, I wasn’t being proactive with my food preparations because it was easier not to, I wasn’t napping when Justin was because I thought that was my time to “get things done”, I was lying to myself and to everyone else about my self-care and right when my role changed, it bottomed out on me. I had to, yet again, create a new normal. One that was focused on our physical and mental health FIRST. Everything else can wait for us.

 

Mondays are for Making it Happen

Being outside of my usual routine, all of the days seem to run together. Waking up on my little pull out couch in Justin’s hospital room, I witness the hustle and bustle of a Monday but it still doesn’t feel like Monday. I woke up, walked down the hall to the bathroom, stopped to brew the first pot of coffee for the unit, stole some coffee for myself, and headed back to set up shop on my little couch looking out the window on the hospital campus as the parking lots fill up and the sidewalks start to fill with staff, patients, and students.

While my Monday morning is not structured as it normally would be, it’s a Monday nonetheless – and that calls for some motivation!

I am excited for January's blog stats! It is my first month intentionally tracking goals and I can't wait to see this awesome month in numbers! (#nerdalert)-2.png

REBLOG: Searching for Happiness – The Value of Suffering

reblogPart of my weekends are dedicated to catching up on my reading and networking with other bloggers. I was intrigued when I found a post on ScaleItSimple – a blog that focuses on Positive Vibes, Lifestyle, and Travel. Please take a moment and check out her post: Searching for Happiness – The Value of Suffering.

BLOG –> Scaleitsimple.com

FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, & TWITTER

Meet and Greet: 2/4/17

Join the Meet & Greet today!

Dream Big, Dream Often

 dreambigwallpaper-pinkombre

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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