Wednesday, February 27, 2013

9pm Coffee

That's not a typo. It's 9pm. We just brewed a pot of coffee. And no, it's not Stephan's night to work. He is, however, writing a paper. It's the first time during this program (turning him from a simple MS/RN into a FNP/ENP [Family Nurse Practitioner/Emergency Nurse Practitioner]) that the two of us are up late working together to write a paper. It's a paper about the medical needs and considerations of refugees.

He hates this part.

I LOVE this part. I have pages and pages of paper torn out of notebooks. Each has its own heading: Definition. Culture (and women). Culture (resettlement). The sources are cited on the first line. The publishing organization is on the second. Applicable abbreviations on the following lines, and a summary of the article or relevant statistics drip down the pages. It's beautiful. It's so organized. I practically take notes in APA format.

I LOVE this part. I have to admit- the saddest fact of being a theater arts major (with a focus on lighting design) is the lack of papers I had to compile. I took elective classes like I was Undecided just to expand my publishing potential. One of my proudest moments was taking a line from Simon and Garfunkle to title a paper about the woes of remodeling architectural masterpieces without regard to the original designer's intent or body of work: So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright (the central example was the Guggenheim Museum in New York).

We have an agreement: when Stephan graduates it's going to be my turn. The hard part will be picking my new major!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sweat Thoughts

I watch The Biggest Loser. Religiously. The last few weeks I've noticed a few different articles online about the efficacy or motivational attributes of the show. At the same time, I started hearing friends comparing themselves to the contestants on the show. Last year I heard that the producers fake some of the results of the runs- most notably that the Marathon has never been certified by anyone as actually being 26.2 miles. 

And here's why I'm frustrated...

I LOVE this show. I LOVE watching people do things they never thought they could do. I feel like working out when I see people logging miles and tossing weight around. And here's the point: 

I let myself be inspired by the contestants, but I would never try to imitate them. The show is amazingly inspirational- but completely impractical. It's a gameshow. Game. Show. People. NOT a lifestyle plan. If you honestly think quitting your job and working out in front of cameras 8 hours a day with medical professionals, personal trainers, chefs, and physical therapists, is the actual way to make a change to your life.... well, then, you're setting yourself up to be really disappointed. 

Find a physical hobby. Experiment with healthier foods. Encourage yourself to not be as sedentary. It's not that easy. You might need help. Eh- you'll probably need help. But don't think that the numbers you see on Biggest Loser will translate in any way to your current situation. Use their perspiration for your inspiration. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No, Really. Who DID Move My Finish Line?

I feel cured. Can I be cured?? Can Bipolar II have just been a 6 month segue from summer to winter?

What? No? Huh.

Here's the professional's opinion: mental health is like physical fitness.

Here's what that means to me: there is no finish line (cue The Matrix: there is no spoon). 40 Miles South of Nowhere wasn't the end. 13 miles West of 40 Miles South wasn't the end. The line at the end of the 26.2 that was sadly devoid of celebration was just a mile marker.

I think this is what makes someone a runner: the race you're training for isn't your last race. When you see "Finish" you think, "Finish[ed 3.1]" or "Finish[ed 13.1]."

Am I finished with therapy? No. Probably not. But maybe I can see one (of a multitude of) Finish Lines up ahead.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Generic Blog Post

[Insert something inspirational, funny, poignant, and moving here]


[Witty conclusion referencing title]

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"I'm So Sorry."

I'm young(ish). I'm fit(ish). I'm thin(ish). I'm healthy. But when I mentioned to someone this week that I'd had cancer he said, "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry." It prompted me to make the following list.

Because of cancer I lost 25 pounds.
Because of cancer I ran a marathon.
Because of cancer I put sunblock on every inch of skin I see.
Because of cancer I eat less processed and junk food.
Because of cancer I get all my regular screenings.
Because of cancer I raised more than $1000 for the ACS.
Because of cancer I can relate to a LOT of people.
Because of cancer I spend a lot of time being grateful for every step I take.

I am healthier because of cancer. That's nothing to be sorry about.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

If I needed to read it...

... Maybe you do to.

Dear, Me a post from 2011

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wax On


THIS moment




Draw in





Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I. Am. Batman.

I wear a face mask to run when it's less than 25 degrees. And now I know what it's like when people are dozens of feet underwater and panicking and they take off their breathing apparatus thinking that will save their lives.

I hate breathing through a mask. It feels like suffocating. It feels like a hand is over my mouth, like I'm just not getting any oxygen. I know that if I take the mask off the cold air will freeze my lungs and throat and make everything worse. I know the air is too cold to really absorb, and I'll end up losing my breath quicker.

And yet, today, with 16 degree air temperature, running my speed drills (30 seconds with 60 second 'rest' breaks), I just couldn't breathe. So I lowered the mask and inhaled deeply several times. And it burned. Duh. The thin cold air stung into my chest. It made everything so much heavier. Within seconds my feet started dragging on the ground. My throat started to close. My eyes stung.

I threw the mask back over my mouth and tried to take a set of warm moist breaths. But it was too late. One minute of frozen air had tagged my lungs with its burning graffiti. It's a weird drowning feeling- mask on: not enough air. Mask off: burning icicles of respiration. I lose either way. The challenge of the frozen run is to tell your brain what your body knows... you ARE getting enough air. You're still breathing. You're still moving. You're fine.

You're Batman.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I might have stolen that word from somewhere. Regardless. It was 6 degrees on Friday with a -16 windchill. This is what I wore for a 35 minute run:

Top from left to right: Waterproof windbreaker. Fleece zip-up. Black face mask. Pink and white hat. Long underwear waffle shirt. Blue Under Armor base layer. Bra. Thin running gloves. Heavy running mittens.
Bottom: Dog (did not come with). Waterproof windproof pants. Thermal leggings. Shoes. RoadID. Socks.

I tried to take a picture of my frozen eyelashes and sheet of ice that covered the inside of every layer of clothing. But the camera wasn't cooperating and it all melted quickly.

Why have I started running again now that it's frigid and frozen in Chicago?? I don't know. I'm back after six weeks really slow, following the Zombies, RUN! 5k Plan. REALLY slow. But when it's time to run I really let loose and sprint. And sprinting in the winter, through the rain or snow, is more like playing. It's more like romping. More like fun.

I love stretching out my legs for the 30 second strides. I love it because I know I don't have to maintain it for long. I know I can slow down and walk when I get tired, and it doesn't reflect on me as a person. I am just playing. I don't have a race planned, a pace goal, a distance milestone or a demon to stare-down. This is a liberating type of running, despite not being able to 'put my arms down.'