This Holiday Season, Let Your Need for Perfection Go

Last weekend, I started dinner hoping to cook something tasty. The last meal I had served my family was Chick-Fil-A, thanks to my daughter’s evening ballet rehearsal.

I wanted comfort food. Something I would have eaten as a child. So I prepared a meatloaf. But by the time I got it in the oven, my body had given out on me.

My family jumped at the opportunity to help.

I sat on the couch and listened in on their conversation. They were bonding over inside jokes. There were lots of giggles. It made me smile with love.

But they were also making a big mess. I heard frozen corn spilling on the floor. Someone was pummelling the mashed potatoes — whack, whack, smack. Laughter as the lid from the pepper came off and pepper inundated the poor, beaten potatoes.

My body tightened. Despite feeling so exhausted, I wanted to relieve myself of having to listen to their cooking inefficiencies. I wanted to take over!

I stood up. My body hurt. So I took a deep breath. Sat back down. Let my body relax. Yes, they were destroying the kitchen I’d earlier cleaned. Yes, their timing was way off, meaning cold mashed potatoes.

But they were making me a meal, with love. And that’s what really counts.

This holiday season, I hope you too can let go of the need for things to be done your way and accept the love that surrounds you.

I got my much needed rest. They got a chance to cook together.

It was delicious.

Sometimes, self care is a hemorrhoidectomy

Taking good care of yourself is priority one when you live with chronic illness. But it ain’t easy. That’s why I’m redefining what self-care looks like in my own mind.

A year ago I would have told you that self care is all about yoga and meditating and eating healthy food. But this too brought out an ugly truth in me: When I fail to practice yoga and meditate and eat healthy food, I feel that I failed. And that opens up an ugly cycle of self-flagellation (because, I know better, I can do better, I hate myself for not being better…).

Besides, yoga and meditating and healthy food aren’t the only way you can take care of yourself. So today I’m listing some of the non-conventional ways I’ve taken care of myself over the past month. With this list, hopefully you’ll find some new ways to take good care of yourself, too.

  • I had a hemorrhoidectomy. I know, ew. But many people suffer from hemorrhoids. I got them when I was pregnant. Post-baby, my OB/GYN said to wait until I was done having kids to have them repaired. That was seven years ago, before I got sick.
  • I acknowledged a hard truth. I suffered with those damn hemorrhoids. They were painful and embarrassing and contributed to my ongoing struggle with anemia. By having surgery, I was acknowledging the fact that, 1) I’m 41; and 2) I have a medical condition that causes miscarriages and atypical fetal development; and 3) I’m probably not going to have another.
  • I let myself be heartbroken. My dog died. I am not going to give my daughter a little brother or sister. These are two things I’d rather stuff deep down inside with pizza and beer and maybe a few of the 90-some Percocets I was prescribed post-surgery. Instead, I’ve been letting myself grieve. I cry. A lot. I went back to therapy. I whisper soothing sweet nothings to myself. I joke about losing my mind. But in fact, I’m starting to think this is as sane as I’ve been since childhood.

Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all routine. We all need to pay better attention to what we need, in the moment we need it. And not be afraid to ask for it, and not be afraid of facing what comes up because of it.

Sometimes self-care is yoga and meditating and eating healthy.

And yes, sometimes it’s having a hemorrhoidectomy.

Have You Met Kesha?

Kesha is Lupus Colorado’s office manager. In June, she celebrated her 10 year “lupie-versary.”  

Like so many people with lupus, her journey to diagnosis wasn’t easy. And it seriously impacted her life.

When Kesha was just 12 credits shy of her degree, she started feeling sick. In fact, she was sick for about five months. Her doctors misdiagnosed her, unsure of what was wrong. It took a trip to the emergency room on June 28, 2007, to know the severity of what Kesha was facing.

Her body was shutting down. She spent 32 days in the hospital undergoing test after test and ingesting large doses of prednisone. On the 16th day of her stay, she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Two months after her diagnosis, Kesha’s kidneys started to fail. That’s when she was also diagnosed with lupus nephritis. Kesha had to put her dreams of finishing college on hold indefinitely. She had to move back to Colorado to be near family.

Selfishly, we’re glad that Kesha is back in Colorado. And we’re thrilled that she’s able to help others with this terrible disease. As office manager, she’s the person people in Colorado speak with first about how their own disease in impacting their lives. Kesha helps people find the resources they need, including connecting them with Lupus Colorado’s emergency assistance fund. This fund helps with financial burdens, such as high utility bills, medication co-pays, and unexpected hospitalizations.

Kesha’s ability to help others with lupus helps to keep her own trials in perspective.

“As the Office Manager for Lupus Colorado, being able to help someone daily gives me hope and keeps me going and able to maintain lupus with peace of mind,” she said.

Thanks for all you do, Kesha!

City and County of Denver Launches Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program

Are you struggling with paying your rent, facing eviction or another housing crisis? The City and County of Denver has launched a new pilot program to assist residents who may be facing a housing crisis. Through the new Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program (TRUA), the City is offering resources to help mitigate displacement, help residents avoid eviction, and provide time to help connect residents to alternative housing for longer-term stability. 

Details regarding the program and how to apply can be found on the City and County of Denver website or Click Here to download the PDF.