It's been awhile -- my shrink was on vacation. However, I'm proud to say that I did start swimming two Mondays ago, as I had promised all of my inner selves (remember the guided imagery? If not, see Part 5, below. There's my little girl, the used-to-be-angry teenager, and now the blueberry jam girl, along with my spirit guide). I've stopped eating corn muffins for lunch most days. I have a couple of additional foods to eliminate over the next few weeks, and then I really will be at a point at which I will be eating very little, and if I still don't lose weight, I'll have to look into things like the effects of some of my meds on metabolism and things like that. But I've made real progress, changing habits and learning new ones that should work to my advantage in the long run, certainly for health's sake, if not my weight.
I've done a few other good things for myself in the past couple of weeks. My friend from camp Jan, who lives in Florida, was here yesterday and I took the whole day off and we went sight-seeing around Connecticut and had a really nice, relaxing, fun day. And I've started to make it clear to the Advocacy for Patients Board that it's time we moved out of my house. I'd like to be able to come home after a long day and actually be away from work, or take a day off but stay home if I want to. Starting to draw boundaries -- these are good things.
All that plus a huge accomplishment yesterday -- a medical device manufacturer is going to donate a special pulmonary vest to a 3 1/2 year old little boy based on a letter I wrote to the President of the company. I am so privileged to be able to help save a child's life, to do work like this.
We had a Board meeting the other night -- strategic planning. The exercise was to make a list of the internal issues that impact the organization. The first thing on everybody's list? Jennifer's health! A friend -- a FRIEND -- said that my health restricts the extent to which I can travel, which impacts the reach of the organization. The conversation went downhill from there. (And by the way, I've been to LA twice, Portland, OR, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago several times, Atlanta, and on and on -- I travel plenty). I finally reminded them that they could get sued for talking about an employee's disability like that, and then my friend interjected that my health is also a benefit to the organization because it's part of why I am good at what I do. I've always thought that was true, too.
So Ellen and I talked about all of this, and we both felt pretty good about it. Not celebrating WOOHOO kind of good, but just content, comfortable, peaceful kind of good. After ruminating on all of this, Ellen asked me if I wanted to check in. I knew that meant closing my eyes to see how the "gang" was feeling about all of this.
The little girl and the teenager were sitting up against a tree relaxing, happy. The blueberry jam girl was still eating, but more slowly.
"How do they feel about all of this? I mean, not what do they think, but what's in their hearts?"
"We all have the same heart," I said. And then it dawned on me.
"It's my heart that makes me special. It's not that I'm smart. It's my heart."
"It's not the fact that I'm sick that makes me good at this work. It's my heart that makes me good at this."
And the blueberry jam girl stopped eating for a minute, listening. And my spirit guide smiled its wise smile. And I knew I had unlocked another door to my self. Jennifer