Attention Caregivers: Are You Taking Care Of Yourself?

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    • #27699
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      Yesterday I turned 49. Going into the last year of this decade has me taking a closer look in the mirror and evaluating my health. I feel like I could be doing much better than I am. Years of focusing on my family, especially my son Cullen, and  not enough on myself has caught up to me. I’ve gained weight, look tired most of the time and only go to the doctor if I’m having serious problems that won’t go away. Can you guess what my birthday resolutions are?

      So this week I was open and honest in my column about how I look and how I feel at 49. Fellow caregivers, how are you doing? Can you honestly say you are taking care of yourself? I know how hard it is to find the energy and time to do so but it is so important. Share your thoughts about being an aging caregiver.

    • #27713
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      I love this column for so many reasons, @colleensteele! I am so happy that you are now making yourself a priority. I know that as moms, we tend to put ourselves last. Having a young child with PH and then going through a transplant must make things that much harder. I can only begin to imagine.

      When I worked in nursing, educating the caregivers, and reminding them that it is OK to take time for themselves was always a big part of what I did. I have been guilty of myself and only now start to notice how I did this for years.

      I think you are beautiful for the record, and I so wish I had your Dad’s hair, LOL. I think I started to see grey hair in my early 30s, hehe. I’m thankful for the hair color.

      One of the biggest concerns I have always heard is time and energy, just as you mention. But it is important to me time, a great example for others, and I love the way you are choosing to start a new year for yourself. Nice job, and thanks for being vulnerable so that this will help others.

      So, when is your first appointment?

    • #27726
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      @jenc my mom started graying at 18 so the fact that I didn’t had me thinking I would be lucky like my dad and not see any until my 80’s. It’s weird, I’m not graying a lot. Every once in a while…often week’s apart, I will find one gray hair (and yank it out!) LOL! I’ve never dyed my hair and I’m trying to delay having to do that.

      Agh, no appointments scheduled yet. I think the first ones I really need to do is the female ones. I am years behind on those.

    • #27729
      V.R. Peterson
      Participant

      I’m in my 60s. While I only have a few strands of gray, the weight and lack of exercise have caught up with me. I really need to start walking again.

    • #27738
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Too funny @colleensteele, I love that you took after your Dad with the greys! I also am impressed that you have never dyed your hair at all; wow, that is fantastic. If I did not do root touch-ups every 6 months, y’all would think I was ready for Halloween all year. My hubby, Manny, keeps trying to have me just let it grey. I am so not ready for that, just yet! LOL

      Ughh, yes, I usually schedule the gyne and my mammogram in October each year. This year I have yet to schedule them. I may do the mammogram because I keep getting notifications from them; Gyne may wait until next month. Keep us posted; we want you to get those scheduled; that is the first step! You got this!

    • #27739
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Hey @mamabear007, I am starting to be a bit jealous now. As I mentioned, I started greying in my early 30s, not long after my PH diagnosis. Wow, impressive to be in your 60s and no grey; a few would be none to me, hehe.

      Did you stop walking when COVID hit or before then? Can you walk in the beautiful outdoors? When do you strat get cold weather? Did you have a walking friend before or alone? Before PH, my coworker and I would meet at the track at 5 AM. Often my young daughter(then) would go, too. She hated it, I must say, hehe- But we did at least a mile then went home and showered to get ready for work. I did better walking if someone was with me, holding me accountable, like a buddy system.

    • #27743
      V.R. Peterson
      Participant

      @jenc, I stopped walking last year because of back problems that zaps my energy. There’s nobody within a mile who could walk with my. My neighbor used to live closer, but cancer took her far too early, leaving only his widower. If I would get up the gumption, there are lots of places outdoors I could walk — miles in either direction down my gravel lane (or up the mountain). When it starts snowing, when I decide to walk, it’s just circles in my 5-acre pasture; because there are no sidewalks along the road, I don’t want to risk a car sliding out of control on the icy road.

    • #27748
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Oh no, back issues are no fun. So, walking made this worse for you? Some say walking helps back pain others say not. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your neighbor; this is too bad. Are you mean the back pain is zapping your energy to walk? Pain certainly will zap you fast!

      I am happy that you have a backup plan for when the roads start to ice. Yes, cars slip and slide all day in ice; that would be horrible!

      Maybe you can start by short walks if your energy allows only on days when you feel like you do have the extra boost. I know, easier said than done, right?

    • #27759
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      @mamabear007 agh! back issues. I carry stress in my back and sometimes my RA hits my spine…not fun. Is your pain muscle or bone related? I swear by Icy Hot or BenGay with ibuprofen. The relief is never 100% or long term but it helps my ability to move around more during a flair-up. Do use or take anything that helps you? Change of weather probably isn’t helping either?

      I would worry about you walking on busy icy roads too. Is there a park or nature walk anywhere close to you that you could occasionally drive to? This summer into the fall I’ve been taking my dog for walks a lot more often than I use to. There are days, like today, when I had to force myself to do it. I have to say thought, once I was out there I found myself relaxing and enjoying it.

    • #27761
      V.R. Peterson
      Participant

      Thank you, @colleensteele. My back pain is from degenerative disk disease. While my disks are either herniated (or gone, causing bone on bone in my spine) along the entire spine, I mostly feel it in my neck and shoulders. The past few days, I’ve been feeling in in my lower spine, as well. I’m allergic to most things (Rx and herbal) that would help, but I take a muscle relaxer at night. I’ll give myself a short time to indulge in my pity party, then I’ll pull myself up by my bootstraps and soldier on. It’s the only way to keep my sanity intact. 🙂

    • #27765
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Ughh, so sorry for back pain. I also have some degenerative issues that add to my chronic pain. I love heat, like my heating blanket bit I wrap myself up like a burrito in it, hehe.

      That sucks when you are allergic to so much, @mamabear007. I hope that you can find some type of relief. Colleen is right; the cooler air does not help. That and rainy days are the worst for my back, neck, and shoulder pains.

      I love this outlook; I’ll give myself a short time to indulge in my pity party, then I’ll pull myself up by my bootstraps and soldier on.”

      – hugs from Texas

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