The new SOB (Shortness of Breath)

I guess I have been in a little bit of that river of denial, believing that I could be normal as I was before the diagnosis.  When I would feel better I do more than I should at a faster pace than I should.  It is what I was used to.  I walked fast, talked fast, did things in a hurry and rarely slowed down as it would make me anxious to be non productive.  Although, that was probably the definition of non productive that I had learned as a child growing up.  Just sitting and relaxing and not jumping up every 5 minutes was a chore, just ask my husband, it drove him crazy.

I am slowly learning that it is ok to take my time doing things.  I am also finding out that even when I SOB I can recover on my own.  I stayed in the practice last night during hitting drills.  The drill when I did it got me and I then had to be ready for hits coming to me.  I stayed with it and was able to catch my breath eventually without passing out, lol. It was scary and hard but I did it.

Because I have been having issues the past week or so I was only able to 23 1/2 laps in 5 minutes.  Plus I am totally blaming the new skates and wheels, I wasn’t near as comfortable on them as my old ones. They are still being broken in and it was only the second time I wore them.  I got another chance on Thursday and got 24 laps. I stayed in the drills and even made a few good moves against the jammers.

My biggest problem is trying to figure out what triggers the blocking of my airways.  Other than the obvious of  cigarette smoke, pollen and perfumes, there are times that I get sob and cannot figure out what triggered it. Some days I wake up sob and others not as much.  I take all my meds as instructed and yet some days can be bad.

After some more research, certain foods and drinks contain ingredients that can cause the airways to become constricted and therefore doesn’t allow me to receive enough air to keep my oxygen levels up. There is so much to learn and so much I don’t get or understand.

I have joined a Facebook support group that has a Dr on it giving us videos, explaining all the things and just learning how other people cope with the day to day struggles. I try to stay positive but every time I think I am close to staying well, I get Bronchitis again. I took a short trip to see family and came back sick and back on antibiotics and steroids. I don’t get to play roller derby in my game this weekend. I worked so hard at getting healthy and exercising and now I can barely stay on skates for longer than 3 to 4 weeks. My family had to see just how awful this is and it was disheartening and depressing. Every single thing in my life has changed and dealing with it is the hardest thing I have had to do.

We all take the fact that we can breathe for granted. Because of the constant cough, I am always thinking about breathing. Deep breathing, expelling as much air as possible and often as possible, preparing for activity, taking medication, eating healthy, pushing through the bad days. Giving up is not an option I just have to push past the disheartening effects that I have no control over and keep moving forward one step, on day at a time.

Here’s to more progress for the next post!

Love, Kool

Work Life Balance whhhaaaat??

This amazingly isn’t just about Derby, these are personal reflections.

I have been working at my company for 32 years wow that’s a long time!!  I can remember when I first started and how ambitious and anxious to learn and do a good job and spend every chance I had working to get ahead, (whatever that means).  I probably had an idea of what that was way back then.  I was young, worked hard, played harder and then came the family.

I remember still wanting to work, feeling guilty for that but doing it anyway for multiple reasons.  Mostly because of divorce and debt and twin girls to raise but also because at that time, just raising a family was not all I wanted to do.  I have enormous respect and admiration for mother’s who take on their families as their full-time job just as much as I do the ones who work and help provide for their family that way.  But it took a long time to feel good about my choice.

Now, I am happy with that choice and most of my other choices in life.  I did learn how to spend quality time with family and how to instill the importance of family to my girls and my son.  Our reward for this is the grown children finding family traditions just as important as we do. It was my husband was who helped me to grow up and appreciate everything about me, and us.

The corporate world during most of my work life had no time for balancing work and life, it was all about working yourself ragged and proving how valuable you are to the company.  Which even then meant nothing, really.  I have seen this gradual change to flexible hours, work weeks and multitude of other ways to have a life outside of just working.  I love that I have lived during this change!

I really can’t pinpoint when I personally changed from being all about the company to realizing that I was working in order to do the things I enjoy, and have the means to do them.  In other words, I work to Live, I do not live to work.  I take my vacation days and holidays and random other days because those are the things I am working for all year to be able to do!  And believe it or not I do like my job, however, I see that light at the end of this tunnel, retirement coming right upon me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a good many years to work but I can see myself retiring now and that used to scare the daylights out of me when I was younger.

I have a hobby (Roller Derby, DUH) that is expensive and time-consuming and the third best thing to ever happen to me.  First being my husband, second our kids.  I can honestly say I love this life and even though I will never be a CEO of anything, I am rich with all the things that matter most to me.

This journey of life is all about choices, and accepting the ones we have made and striving to make better ones along the way.  My priorities today are nothing like there were 31 years ago, or even 15 years ago.  They change, they evolve, we change and we evolve and grow with experiences all the time.  I have had to learn to embrace this instead of carrying around a load of baggage that did nothing for me but bring me down!

I have learned so much about myself, my capabilities and passions just from Roller Derby. I am so thankful to have found it and for a family and husband who supports this craziness that I absolutely love! I hope to one day pass this passion on to my beautiful Grand Daughter Katelynn! (and the grand children to come)!

Derby Love to all and remember to LIVE life everyday! Choose to be HAPPY and you will be!

Melody Kool