May Was a Marathon
I’ve known since back in January that May was going to be a taxing month. We had DD#2’s graduation, yes, but what I didn’t tell you was that my mother, sister, and the girls and I also had a trip to London and Edinburgh planned for the last week of May. (I don’t like to advertise my absence on the blog.) Those two events were enough for one 31-day stretch, as far as I was concerned, but the universe saw an opportunity to turn the screws a bit more and took it. The BMW broke down, literally, on May 1. The Crown Vic, which I was driving while the BMW was sitting in the garage waiting for its replacement part, decided it needed a new battery. Graduation was emotionally draining, both because I still cannot figure out where the last 22 years went and also because I was playing hostess to a dozen out-of-town guests in another city and had to accommodate physical and dietary needs for a group of people ages 21 to 80. We then had the Herculean task of moving a kid and her houseful of stuff back here, some of which is still here and needs to be moved to the storage container or put in closets. And while I love my children dearly, having them here means that I fall back into the habit of unconsciously monitoring them and their needs, which I am convinced is a mom skill that never completely goes away. Please do not tell me that my children are adults and do not need to be monitored. Intellectually, I know that, but this is not a switch that can be flipped on and off at will. If my children (or husband) are physically in my vicinity, I monitor. It’s as simple as that.
Added to all of this drama was the fact that physically, I was only at about 65%. In one of the great ironies of my life, I did not—contrary to the predictions of all my oncologists—experience early menopause as a result of the chemo I had for leukemia 25 years ago. (The 25th anniversary of that diagnosis is this week. Shall we celebrate?) I am smack in the middle of hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. That last one is killing me. I have always needed a solid nine hours of sleep every night and haven’t ever had trouble getting it. Now I am up for about three hours in the middle of the night almost every night. Nothing helps. (Melatonin gives me weird dreams.) I read or play games on my iPad and eventually I fall back asleep.
[I’ve known for a while that I have way too much estrogen in relation to the amount of progesterone my body produces, so I’ve been on bio-identical progesterone for about six years with great success. The problem is that now my hormone levels are fluctuating so much that it’s hard for me to determine how much progesterone I need. Too much progesterone is almost as bad as too much estrogen. It’s like trying to hit a moving target from the back of a galloping horse. I am reluctant to add black cohosh or other herbs because I don’t need one more thing to manage. It’ll get sorted out eventually, but it’s hell in the meantime.]
I was also having a lot of back pain, and that meant that working in the garden was a lot harder than it should have been. My chiropractor was able to get me in for two sessions before the flight for London. Apparently, my pelvis was twisted, which twisted my spine, which caused inflammation in a ligament attaching one of my ribs to my spine. I felt relief as soon as the chiropractor adjusted my pelvis and back. It’s much better now. I did not get as much done in the garden before I left as I had wanted to, however, and I was carrying a whole load of guilt about the husband having to cover some of the things I usually do. There are very few people who can keep up with him physically—and he tells me all the time that it is not a contest between the two of us—but I felt bad that he had to step in and pick up the slack right at the busiest part of concrete season, including fixing the BMW.
[While I was gone, his e-mail account decided to stop working, the county landfill closed his account without notice and gave him a hard time when he brought a load of refuse in, and he got two nails in one of his trailer tires. I’m the “snowplow wife.” It’s my job to clear a path for him so that he can get all the money-making activities done every day, and when I am not here to clear that path, it makes his job twice as hard.]
Through all of that, the two things that would have helped me maintain some equilibrium—sewing and gardening—were so difficult that I gave up trying. As a result, my reserves were pretty low by the time I got to London. Being in a large, unfamiliar city is a constant assault on my senses. (There is a reason I live in the woods and it’s not because I like having forest animals in my house.) When my brain gets overloaded, it shuts down. It shuts down to the point where I have trouble stringing words together to make a coherent sentence. Despite all that, there were some parts of the London trip that I enjoyed very much, and it was fun to see the girls having such a good time. I did take some pictures to share with you. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the London Sewing Machine Museum, but that happened on the last day of the trip so you’ll have to wait for that blog post. I’ll give you a bit of a teaser, though:
This is the All Saints store in Notting Hill, and amazingly, all those sewing machines have a connection to the London Sewing Machine Museum.
Driving home from Seattle today felt like falling over the finish line after a very mentally, emotionally, and physically intense month. I don’t plan on going anywhere for a while. Gardening season will be taking up much of my time for the next three months.