Gosh, it feels weird to blog again!
It’s not as though I haven’t been writing…I just haven’t been writing anything for myself. I suppose it’s both a blessing and a curse to have so many exciting freelance projects up in the air all at once.
Before I finish my calories in/calories out series, I wanted to talk a little bit about my experience in the last few weeks in dealing with rehab, stress, sickness, and change, since it’s part of my story, and, well, why not?
So, as many of you who know me in the real world know by now, I’ve been back at the retail store for a week and a half. I’m only working part time hours because of my ankle, but in those part time hours, I only get one break and spend the rest of the time in shoes and on my feet. I’ve done surprisingly well, although there have been moments (read: hours) during which I’ve done semi-barefoot.
The funny thing is, there’s nothing structurally wrong with my ankle anymore, but for the fact that it’s weak as hell and has severely limited functional range of motion. The pain persists in two forms: the same dull ache that drove me to the operating room in the first place, and acute electric shocks resulting from even the slightest touch to the skin (a condition called allodynia, where pain occurs from an otherwise non-painful stimulus.)
It’s the allodynia that makes me feel a little insane…for example, I’m performing in Les Mis in a few short weeks, and we performed “One Day More” at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday night. Due to some parking issues (because that’s so unlike California, right?), I and the woman with whom I’d car pooled, had only five minutes to make it from the parking garage on the other side of the complex, through the massive, packed, standing-room-only crowd, and to the tree. I had no problem ducking, weaving, and speed walking (when it was possible) through the crowd, but the fact that I was wearing boots that touched the side of my leg while I stood to sing made me want to cry.
My physical therapist is getting aggressive with the treatment, since I won’t be able to see him after November 30th. (Details on why in a moment.) He’s been trying to help me desensitize the area…we started by just lightly brushing it with a tissue, but by the end of my last session, he had some scary, silver, ridged tool out and was basically digging it into my scar for a good 10 minutes. Apparently the fascia is ridiculously tight, and that may be causing some of the pulling on the scar, which causes the nerve pain. I sat there and took it, but there may or may not have been tears.
All that to say: we’re not there yet, but we’ll get there. I just have to be more aggressive with my own treatment. I even kept my shoes on through my whole shift on Friday…(Although I’ve been paying for it with random shooting pains in my foot and ankle all weekend…)
SICKNESS & STRESS
Besides the physical stress, I’ve been dealing with the kind of emotional and work-related stress that I haven’t seen since I went on disability over five months ago. (Hard to believe it’s been that long…)
I have been incredibly fortunate to take on several freelance writing projects–from public relations, to marketing, to social media and brand management, to copywriting/editing an ebook. I’ve even written a 120-question reading and writing drill for a test prep company. (I now have a new-found respect for the good people who write the SAT. If you think it’s easy to write those boring reading comprehension passages, I can assure you, from firsthand experience, it most assuredly is not. It’s a seriously intense undertaking.)
Unfortunately, however, I haven’t just been sitting at my adorable little neighborhood Starbucks and lounging about all day while writing, as I had been able to do while blogging all summer. Not only am I back at work for four hours each day, but I’m also in rehearsal for four hours each night and six hours on the weekends. Moreover, I’ve actually been more social than usual (and more about that in a later post as well).
In other words: my sleep has been a little limited. Most days, I’m up by six or six-thirty, at Starbucks to write by seven-thirty, at work by nine-fifteen, and in physical therapy or back at Starbucks until rehearsal at six. I get out at ten, and then if I go out afterward, I’m usually up until one, before I repeat the process again. It’s a little stressful, both mentally and physically, to say the least. Especially since I’m used to going to bed by eight, and not having anywhere important to go or anything important to do.
Between the lack of sleep and the stress of writing deadlines, my poor little immune system has been compromised. And so, after five months of perfect health, I went back to work in the petri dish retail store and immediately got sick.
I’ve been congested and coughing all week, so that hasn’t helped my ability to function much. I’ve avoided the gym, because I know that I just need to rest my body instead of adding another extra stress, but that does add a little bit of mental stress (once a chronic exercise addict, always a chronic exercise addict–I’m still learning how to handle the cravings to work out…). I just want to get better, but I know that it’s going to be difficult until I can cut some of the extra stress out of my life.
But that being said, I’m kind of grateful for having gotten sick. I know that sounds crazy, but let me explain:
I have always just allowed stress to happen. I’ve always said “yes” when asked to do a project. I’ve always taken on immense guilt for saying “no” to friends who want to go out when I’m exhausted. I’ve always overextended myself, because I hate to be bored, because I hate to feel unproductive, because I hate to feel like I’m missing something.
And this was, in some ways, very instructive for me. I got the chance to see how much I could handle before my body and my brain just had to tell me “no.” This awful sinus thing is my reminder that I can’t be Super Woman. It’s my reminder that wanting to do everything and being able to do everything are two entirely different things.
While I’m continuing to freelance, I’m only working on one (and a half) project(s) right now. While I’m continuing to work at the retail store, I’m only doing so part time, and not stressing about my job while I’m home (a first for me!). While I’m continuing to do the musical, I think this will be my last one for a while. I’ve made my peace, and I’m ready to have some down time.
But that being said…I do have a big announcement. A very, very big announcement. A very, very big, life-changing announcement:
I’ve put in my two weeks notice at the retail store.
I have gotten a job at a startup in San Francisco. It’s my dream job: In-house Journalist/Copywriter/Copy Editor. I’m in charge of all of the written content and reporting to the VP of Marketing.
My life is about to change in so many ways. And now I’m going to be better prepared to handle it. Because I know my limitations, and I know my strengths. I’m scared to death, but I’m excited as hell.
This is definitely a good week for giving thanks–because I have so much to be thankful for.
So…here goes nothing…
Happy Sunday, y’all.